Write a Better Bible! challenge

September 16, 2008 at 1:22 am 118 comments

A number of months ago I wrote pair of posts called Why Doesn’t God Make Things Clearer? and God and the IRS. They touched on what has become a intellectual cornerstone of my own personal transition out of evangelical Christianity, namely, “divine hiddenness” – the idea that God, if there is one, does not seemed to have made things very clear for us.

But as we say in Texas, there is more than one way to rope a steer. (Actually, I think I just made that up. But it’s pretty catchy, yeah?) Here, I’d like to make this same point a little differently, and, hopefully, more entertainingly.

So let’s start with the basics: people disagree about God. They disagree about God’s existence, and, even among those can agree on this much, they disagree about God’s alleged nature.

But how is this even possible? How can there be so many different religions, creeds, theologies, churches, sects, and denominations? Especially if God, as is alleged, wrote a book to lay it all out for us! And if he did write us a book, then why are their so many, many views about what it really means and what it tells us about this God? This state of affairs does not seem to obtain with the IRS, where the instructions for its basic form, 1040, are intricate, perhaps, but overall pretty clear. To the point: if there is one Almighty God, and this God has one single, simple message of salvation for us all, then why doesn’t he just write the damn thing down – clearly?

This is, after all, not so hard to do! Writing declarative sentences (or instructions) that are unambiguous and relatively immune to (at least gross) misinterpretation is not rare. We puny humans do it all the time: Newspaper stories. Recipes. Wikipedia. The instructions of my bottle of Tylenol. A “Hello, My Name is…” nametag. A church worship service bulletin. Most science textbooks. Professional journal articles. The posts on this site. Even – Darwin love them – evangelical Christians can write clearly; the Four Spiritual Laws booklets are straightforward and easy for anyone to understand. The Westminster Confession is, itself, a far clearer document than the Testament on which it is based.

But, I thought, how can we bring this point home? How can we demonstrate that this concatenation of legend, exposition, poetry, folk history, and pious biography that we call the Christian Bible should never be seriously taken as God’s Final Message to His Creation – precisely because such a camel of a book has all the markings of an all-too-human committee, and none of an Omnipotent Creator?

Well, why not just write it again… better?

So, I offer my Write A Better Bible! challenge. The task is to write a (short!) scripture, only this time, do it better – by which I mean, clearer. We want to demonstrate that any God worth his cherubim could effortlessly have authored a text that clearly and unmistakably tells us the facts about him and about salvation, in such a way that even the most godless monkey-loving Wiccan liberal heathen relativist can read it and get it straight. And with none of this dithering about in Aramaic wondering whether that squiggle at the end of dikaiosune makes it mean “righteousness” or “goat stew.”

I suggest one (or both) of two forms for this challenge:

One, write a short set of verses clearly explaining the Christian religion in particular. Pick your denomination/movement/sect/cult and your creed/soteriology/Christology/theology. There is only one goal: make it clear. Quality, depth, inspirational value, and multilayered meanings are not required – remember, we are not writing this so that a bunch of bleeding-heart Unitarians get a warm fuzzy; we are just trying to set the alleged facts straight.

Two (and this may be more fun): make up a religion! Anything you want! The Formless Void is your oyster. Just give us a short scripture and tell us (a) what the facts are, (b) what the rules are, and (c) make it clear. That’s the whole point of the exercise.

So: Happy In-Spiring!

- Richard

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The God Challenge Obstacles to Critical Thinking

118 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 1:28 am

    To get the ball rolling, here is my effort:

    Hello, My Name is God. Do not speak that aloud unless you are talking to me or about me… that’s rule number one. Pay attention, because I have some more rules that you need to follow.

    I am Omniscient, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omnibenevolent. I will send a guy 1,225 years after Jesus is born (see below) named Aquinas to explain what that all means, but for now, trust me on this. No, its not a sin if you don’t. Just trying to break the ice.

    Relax! I don’t call it a “gospel” for nothing!

    Look, I know this sounds weird, but about 4000 years ago this gal named Eve ate this fig… well, it’s a long story, but basically, she really shouldn’t have, and anyway, now you’re really screwed. Now, you can’t help but “sin.” That means you are corrupt and selfish and self-willed. I will send a guy 500 years from now named Augustine to explain that, but for now, just take it on faith. You can’t be near me after you die, being sinful and all.

    So, here’s how we’re going to fix it (note: “we” refers to the Trinity. [See Glossary]): My son (“Jesus”) is going to be born in a little one-horse town (note: this is not literal!) called Bethlehem 27 years after the emperor August takes over Rome. 33 years later, he will be executed (my son, not Augustus).

    All you have to do to wipe away your sin and thus live near me forever after you die is: (a) believe this is true and (b) say it aloud. (Those who cannot speak due to illness or, [in your case, Elwin R. Fillingmiser, future “United States”] being underwater when you convert, are exempt from (b)).

    Now, here are the wherefores and what-have-you’s (sorry, my lawyers made me put this in.. right before I sent them to Hell!) (Just kidding! Har! Lighten up, man, will you? Remember.. “gospel”?)

    1. Anyone who fails to do (a) and (b) will be annihilated on his/her death
    2. There is no Hell. But if anyone teaches that there is, I will create one just for him. I mean, whoever came up with the concept of “eternal suffering” is one twisted motherf***.
    3. Babies are exempt from (1). Seriously, that would just be too mean.
    4. If you later de-convert, you will have to write a Letter of Intent upon your death, which will be judged separately (see Appendix for requirements).
    5. My son will live a good life, and do all kinds of cool things, which you should emulate. But the only requirements are (a) and (b)
    6. Pat Robertson, future “United States”, you’re going to get yours.
    7. Questions will be answered via prayer. All prayers will receive prompt reply.

  • 2. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 1:30 am

    Okay, so maybe that was more humor than sleep-inducing literal, direct, declarative sentences like we might expect if our salvation was at stake. But it makes the point. I mean, doesnt #3 pretty much settle the issue of infant baptism?

    Again, the point is that preventing such issues from ever arising would not have been hard.

  • 3. Quester  |  September 16, 2008 at 2:22 am

    To whom it may concern,

    You had no choice over being born. You could not choose who your parents would be, where you would be born, what you would look like, how healthy you were, what socio-economic status you would be born into and several other variables. I chose for you when I created you.

    Likewise, you will have no choice over where you go after you have died. You are not capable of impressing or influencing me. You are not capable of knowing what options there are for your next life (or afterlife). Again, I will choose for you.

    The only choices you have are how you are going to respond to the circumstances of your present life here and now. The only things you can affect with your choices are the quality of your life, and the quality of others’ lives. The effects may not be what you choose, but they will be the results of your choices (mitigated at least in part by the choices of everyone else). I advise you to choose carefully in how you respond to the circumstances of your life.

    While I’m offering advice, pay attention to what you have (as a skill, passion or resource) and what the people around you need. If you can figure out how to meet others’ needs by doing things that give you joy- or at least satisfaction- you will experience your life as having a higher quality. You don’t have to do this, but it is worth trying.

    I think you can figure everything else out for yourselves. Remember, what you do here only affects life as you know it. What happens after you die will be revealed to you after you die.

    Oh, and as for all the suffering in your lives? I’m afraid I’m not as powerful as people will make me out to be. I did not actually have any choice in how I made this world. Sadly, most of you will be largely ignorant of that as this last paragraph will be torn off and destroyed in forty of your generations. Still, those are the circumstances you have. Choose how you will respond to them.

    Peace be with you,
    Me

  • 4. The de-Convert  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:13 am

    The Beginning

    I’ve always existed so the beginning doesn’t make sense to me but for you, I’ll say that in the beginning I made everything and set you as the center of the universe, the object of my attention and, in turn, expect that I am the object of your desire.

    My Old Way Of Thinking

    And I have a great plan for your life. Plans to give you a future and a hope. I unconditionally love you.

    However, I like blood. I like the smell of blood. What a sweet aroma it is. Please do not bring me fruits and vegetables as an offering of worship. I do not need your food. Go kill innocent animals to make me happy.

    Alas, you didn’t obey me so I have to kill most of you and start over all over again so I’m going to send a great flood to kill the babies, children, animals, insects, etc. Oh, but I promise I won’t do this again and here’s your rainbow to prove it.

    Ok, now that we’ve started over, let’s really focus on getting me my blood. I only want the best animals. Split them in two and let their blood flow. Then and only then will I be happy. Oh, and please obey these zillions of laws and rituals in order to please me.

    Since I promised I will no longer commit genocide, I want you to wipe out those who do not believe in me and follow all my laws and rituals (I know some are weird but I am creative after all). Kill their babies. Kill their elderly. Kill their kids. Kill their animals. Kill ‘em all. You cannot have their evil ways corrupt you. Yes, don’t worry, killing them isn’t evil. It’s stopping evil. I am jealous. I’m a consuming fire and I have a great plan for your life. Plans to give you a future and a hope. I unconditionally love you (well, as long as you give me blood and follow all the laws and rituals I laid out).

    My New Way Of Thinking

    Oh wait! I’ve change my mind. Instead of you killing the animals and committing genocide, I’ll kill my own son, spill and save his blood, and be satisfied once and for all. This is my way of demonstrating my unconditional love for you. And you no longer have to follow all those ancient laws and rituals I set down. I’ll have some more forward thinking authors write a new set for you.

    Now because I have my sons blood to satisfy me, you can have a pure heart free of killing animals, committing genocide, and all the others “evil” things I told you to do (yes, in my new way of thinking, those were evil acts after all, sorry! But don’t worry, I’ll have some apologetics explain why they weren’t). Anyway, you should be nice and kind to most people(few exceptions, of course) instead of killing them.

    Revelations
    However, even though I no longer need you to kill those who do not believe in me, I’ve developed a new plan, muhahaa. It’s a master plan if I may say so myself. I’m going to torture them for all eternity with fire & brimstone and with worms eating their flesh (yes, the fire won’t consume their flesh, just in case you’re wondering). Oh, there will be some serious wailing and gnashing of teeth.

    But don’t let that scare you (well, it should actually), I have a great plan for your life. Plans to give you a future and a hope. I unconditionally love you (well, as long as you believe I killed my son to finally satisfy my thirst for blood).

  • 5. John Cavender  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:18 am

    Their is not anything written unto other then what you perceive. the reason, for say, In the House of my Father’s Kingdom, From our Home, my Parents
    Forth-sent me with journey-provision. They bound up for me a load. That all alone I could bear it. For the way was hard and dangerous,
    For I was young to tread it. But from some occasion or other
    They learned I was not of their country. With their wiles they made my acquaintance; Yea, they gave me their victuals to eat. I forgot that I was a King’s son, And became a slave to their king. And from the weight of their victuals I sank down into a deep sleep. All this that now was befalling, My Parents perceived and were anxious. And for me they wrote out a Letter; And to it each Noble his Name set: “From Us — King of Kings, thy Father, And thy Mother, Queen of the Dawn-land, ‘To thee, Son, down on earth, Our Greeting! “Up an arise from thy sleep,
    Give ear to the words of Our Letter! “Remember that thou art a King’s son; Bethink thyself of the Pearl For which thou didst journey to earth. “Remember thy Glorious Robe, Thy Splendid Mantle remember, “To put on and wear as adornment, My Letter was a Letter
    The King had sealed up with His Right Hand, ’Gainst the Children of Babel, the wicked, Satan. It flew in the form of the Eagle, Of all the winged tribes It flew and alighted beside me, And turned into speech altogether. At its voice and the sound of its winging, I waked and arose from my deep sleep. Unto me I took it and kissed it; I loosed its seal and I read it. E’en as it stood in my heart writ, The words of my Letter were written. I remembered that I was a King’s son, And my rank did long for its nature…. So you see, That is it is written, Their is not anything written unto other then what you perceive.
    “Christ says, arm yourself with truth and righteousness! We are to
    endure/suffer without yielding unto evil, just as Christ Jesus endured the cross! so are we to
    endure until His re appearing. Now the just shall live by faith: So that we may boldly say, The
    Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. John http://www.captainjohn.us/

  • 6. The de-Convert  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:24 am

    Huh? I don’t think captain john understood the meaning of “clear.”

  • 7. John Cavender  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:30 am

    O on the End Where Written (That is it is) should be That is why it is written

  • 8. The de-Convert  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:36 am

    Now I got it. Thanks!

  • 9. ubi dubium  |  September 16, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Oh, there’s a good one already out there. The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which contains the “Eight I’d Really Rather You Didn’ts”. They beat the ten commandments all hollow. (I won’t quote them in their entirety here, just use the link.)

  • 10. HeIsSailing  |  September 16, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Richard, wow this is great!! You have given us the perfect opportunity to write the Bible that Christians *wish* they had.

    I will try and write it so that it is scientifically accurate, is in language the ancients could have used but not understood, and would astound us moderns with its profound insight after the fact.

    Here goes. From the Beginning:

    Genesis Chapter 1

    1. In the beginning, ELOHIM stood outside of all that existed.

    2. In the aeon before time existed, before length existed, before width existed, before height existed, yea before the seven lengths of space which are rolled as a scroll and tightly binding all that now exists was even present, ELOHIM, the ever present, was there.

    3. Then ELOHIM, who was one god yet with three distinct natures, wished to create all that now is for His own pleasure and as an expression of His pure love. The third nature of ELOHIM, the spirit of YWHW, moved over the face of the boundless void. And all three natures of ELOHIM as a single god spoke all that is into existence with the command, “Let there be light!” And light was.

    4. And ELOHIM made the light which I, Moses, am able to see, and the light which is energy that I cannot see, and all light which is the same as all matter. In that early time, ELOHIM separated the light matter from the dark matter – yea a mystery known only to ELOHIM. And ELOHIM saw that it was good.

    5 omit. Deep down, Christians wish they did not have to deal with ‘days’ of creation.

    6 And ELOHIM said amongst his three triune natures, “Let the light matter gather together into larger pieces of matter. Let the matter heat itself from the energy of its joining. Let that, over aeons of time, over its own process, create the sun. Let it also create the stars, which are also suns.

    7. Let even those stars collect together. Let those stars through their own burning create heavier matter – and let that matter collect to create the earth, the moon, and the wandering planets – yea a mystery known only to ELOHIM.

    8. Leave out all talk of firmaments and dividing waters from waters. It is too tough to extract modern science from ancient creation mythologies

    Man, I could go on forever like this. But I gotta get ready for work, so maybe somebody else can continue from here. If this were in ancient writings, I for one would be impressed.

  • 11. HeIsSailing  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Richard challenges us with these rules:

    One, write a short set of verses clearly explaining the Christian religion in particular. Pick your denomination/movement/sect/cult and your creed/soteriology/Christology/theology. There is only one goal: make it clear.

    Sorry Richard, I think I broke every one of your rules. I prefer a wholesale, verse by verse re-write, which still contains an element of mystery. I hope you understand.

  • 12. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:07 am

    HIS:

    Then ELOHIM, who was one god yet with three distinct natures,

    Bah! One god, three distinct PERSONS! You already blew it you heathenish heretic. Don’t you know your natures from persons? Sheesh!

  • 13. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 10:32 am

    In a vein like this article, I once gave an adult Sunday school group the following challenge:
    ————–
    You have been given the following facts about me:
    -I am not a believer.
    -I will believe and accept what you tell me as truth.
    -in exactly 2 minutes I will die

    Now, can you tell me what I need to know to be saved before I’m gone?
    ———————-
    I got the following:
    -God exists and He loves you
    -God became a man in the person of Jesus. He lived a perfect life, and was crucified, and rose from the dead after that.
    -You have sinned (done wrong in God’s eyes) and for that you deserve to go to Hell
    -Jesus’ life and death were done to make up for your sins, so you wouldn’t go to Hell, but could be with God forever
    -If you accept that Jesus’ life and death, were done for you, your sins will be forgiven and you’ll be with God

    I believe that was about it (of course I’m paraphrasing from memory).

    Nothing about a virgin birth; nothing about creationism; nothing about trinitarianism; nothing about how to be properly baptized; nothing about whether or not Adam had a belly-button……. And I think they had a minute to spare.

  • 14. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:27 am

    HIS- Lovely! I, for one, love mysteries and warm fuzzies as much as any liberal heretic does. But note that, despite that, you have still settled much better than the actual Christian Bible does the issue of the Trinity, as well as the question of Mosaic authorship of Genesis. No more JEDP for you!

    Leo- Exactly. All relevent questions converning salvation could be (and, in your case, were) explained clearly in under a minute. It would likely take less than a page.

    John Cavender- Worthy of the Bible itself.

    Quester – Love the “To Whom it May Concern!”

    The de-Convert- Very nice! Makes you wonder if the NT should have been issued as an “erratum”.

  • 15. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Funny thing. I, not knowing anything about Christianity, and having never read the Bible, was handed part of it one day. I read this one book from this Bible, and KNEW without a doubt that I had been saved. John 3:16 said “For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in him (Greek: trusts) should not perish, but have everlasting life”. The same book 1:12 “For as many as RECEIVED HIM to them gave he power to become the sons of God..”

    I became a Christian that day and have been one ever since. It was the simplest thing in the world. The path to salvation is clearly marked in the Bible—it is us who seek to confuse the matter and make everything so difficult to understand. Jesus said that unless you would receive his message as a little child would you most likely will miss a message that is so easy to understand a child can embrace it.

    Go ahead and re-write the Bible all you want to. To me, when I remember that day, and continue to rejoice in what happened to me then, it is the most beautiful book and message in the world.

  • 16. BigHouse  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Cooper, I just realized you used to post here under another handle. I forget what it was, but you also spent some time as a snarky grandmother named Honey butter or something…

    The path to salvation is clearly marked in the Bible—it is us who seek to confuse the matter and make everything so difficult to understand.

    So, explain to me then, why the Bible isn’t postcard size with just John 3:16 on it? Why the tome of contradictions surrounding the ‘perfectly clear’ message?

  • 17. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Jesus said that unless you would receive his message as a little child would you most likely will miss a message that is so easy to understand a child can embrace it.

    I’ve always had a hard time with that line from the Bible. Children believe things a lot more easily. They haven’t learned to rationally analyze things. If I have to start thinking about things like this the way a child would, I’d have to start accepting all kinds of pseudoscientific nonsense as truth.

  • 18. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:57 am

    Jesus said that unless you would receive his message as a little child would you most likely will miss a message that is so easy to understand a child can embrace it.

    Thats exactly the sort of non-clarity I refer to. You accept this “little child” reference too easily. What age child are we talking about? Preoperational? Concrete operational? Formal operational? There are wide differences in what a child “understands” and how he understands it depending on his age.

    My five year old recently told me he was scared of dinosaurs. I told him they all died long before he was born. He wanted to know where he was before he was born — i.e., what physical, geographic place — and why did he not see them there? Were they hiding?

    So, “little children” do not understand christian soteriology. They just parrot what their elders tell them because they intuit that their elders consider it important.

  • 19. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    John 3:16 said “For God so loved the world he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in him (Greek: trusts) should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

    So, based on this, if you choose to “trust” “in” Jesus, you will be saved? No accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior? No belief that Jesus was divine, the Son of God? Maybe Jesus was just a prophet. Is trust a feeling or a choice? If you quit trusting later in your life are you then unsaved?

    No belief requirements seem to be stipulated here, just “trust” “in” him. Is that what you believe?

  • 20. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Thats exactly the sort of non-clarity I refer to. You accept this “little child” reference too easily. What age child are we talking about?

    Richard—-

    One aspect of what Jesus is referring to is accepting the gift. When you hold out a present to a little child they will willingly receive it with joy. In fact, they will most likely jump up and down in joy before they open it. A child has not developed a Pharisee type attitude yet, and does not reject the gift through disputings and questionings which are really based in unwillingness to change their lives.

    BigHouse—-

    You are correct. I did post under another handle, but had to change it as one person in particular kept referring to me as a “troll”—which I am not. I simply am posting from my perspective—-not to cause arguments—but to be a kind of “devils advocate” :) if you will, from a Christian perspective.

  • 21. BigHouse  |  September 16, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    A troll by any other name is still a troll apparently doesn’t apply here then.

    So, can you address the last part of my #16 above?

  • 22. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Cooper — Thats a very nice interpretation. But its not what the text says. And thats my point.

    Jesus could have said, “unless someone receives my message in a way that is analogous to the way a child receives a gift”

    But he did not say that. He said:

    And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

    Matthew 18:3

    If he meant the former, why did he say the latter? In what way should we “become like little children”? There is no mention of a gift. But this is our salvation at stake! Couldnt he be more direct?

    Let me flog this horse a little more. You said:

    One aspect of what Jesus is referring to is accepting the gift. When you hold out a present to a little child they will willingly receive it with joy….

    That is very clear. And if Jesus had said that, in those words, we wouldnt be having this conversation. So, *you* can say what you believe the Bible really *means*, but in an unambiguous way. Why didnt the Bible just say it that way to start with?

  • 23. SnugglyBuffalo  |  September 16, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    (emphasis mine)

    . . .and does not reject the gift through disputings and questionings which are really based in unwillingness to change their lives.

    Oh please, not this again…

    If you’re going to go down this tired path again, we might as well end the discussion now.

  • 24. The Apostate  |  September 16, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    I was just waiting for it, and then comments 6, 7, 8 happened and I peed myself laughing (not literal).
    Thanks John and de-Convert for that :D

  • 25. Anonymous  |  September 16, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    LeoPardus corrects me:

    Bah! One god, three distinct PERSONS!

    Of course you are right. That is what I get for writting my own translation bleary eyed at 4AM. Alas, I am the first to admit that my Bible is *not* inerrant.

  • 26. HeIsSailing  |  September 16, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    LeoPardus corrects me:

    Bah! One god, three distinct PERSONS!

    I caught that too – but I wrote it bleary eyed at 4AM – so forgive my mistakes. At least I am the first to admit that my Bible is *not* inerrant.

  • 27. HeIsSailing  |  September 16, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Cooper says:

    Funny thing. I, not knowing anything about Christianity, and having never read the Bible, was handed part of it one day. I read this one book from this Bible, and KNEW without a doubt that I had been saved.

    I think we found the problem Cooper. The Four Spiritual Laws to salvation can be laid out on the last page of a pamphlet, yet they simply don’t tell the whole story. You knew nothing about Christianity and only read a small portion of the Bible to determine that you were saved. Try reading the whole thing. and learning a little about Christianity. Read a little about the Christological and soteriological debates and councils that existed. Learn a little about the different options and interpretations that Theologians have come up with over the centuries to determine the correct method or path of salvation. Then tell me how simple you find it.

    The bottom line is, most churches give you one interpretation condensed from a limited number of Bible readings and never ever deviate from that course. Because they want to keep it simple for you, and they want to keep you ignorant of other options. Trust me – the more you know, the more you read and the more you learn about your own Bible, your own Church history and your own Church’s diversity of opinion, the less your Church likes it.

  • 28. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    1- The game begins when someone smacks you and makes you cry

    2- You only get one life

    3- The game ends when your heart stops beating and brain function goes to nil

    4- We apologize for the inconvenience

  • 29. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    And, I like blood. I like the smell of blood. What a sweet aroma it is. Please do not bring me fruits and vegetables as an offering. I do not need your food. Go kill innocent animals…

    The de-Convert said the above. One needs to be very careful to go and read ALL of the passages in the Bible. For instance here is a verse at the very end of Jonah the prophet. Jonah was upset because he KNEW God was merciful and was going to spare Nineveh. Jonah wanted God to wipe them out! But here is what God says—note—he not only mention the value on men, but of the value of the cattle also. Thirst for blood? Hardly. There is much misunderstanding about the God of the Old Testament—sure—if one selectively lifts verses you can make that God seem like a blood-thirsty sovereign. I can also selectively lift verses and make him seem so loving he wouldn’t hurt a fly. We need to read ALL of the passages and really study what is being said, and it was context it is said, and what type of people he is referring to—this is extremely important.

    But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

  • 30. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    BigHouse–
    Concerning #16, what contradictions?

  • 31. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    HelSailing—

    Sure—churches and councils come up with a lot of things. But the salvation message is as simple and clear as day. Read Revelation 3:20, Eph. 2:8,9. John 1:12 just as examples. Most people are “saved” when they know nothing—-it is only later that all of the crap that some theologians try to debate comes into the picture. That’s why Paul in Galatians and Colossians tells Christians to beware, and stay with the “simplicity that is in Christ Jesus”. “As you RECEIVED Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him” Paul says—-walk as simply as you received—don’t let a bunch of debate swerve you off of the course you know from the first day of salvation.

  • 32. BigHouse  |  September 16, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    I’ll reiterate: If all we need is John 3:16 to be saved, why does the rest of the Bible exist?

  • 33. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I’ll reiterate: If all we need is John 3:16 to be saved, why does the rest of the Bible exist?

    BigHouse—-

    The rest of the Bible exists for many reasons. The whole OT basically is pointing TO the cross, while the NT from Acts onward is pointing BACK towards it. The Gospel of John was written to lead people to Christ. The other Gospels can do that also, but are styled much differently—-much of Matthew speaking of “KIngdom life” in the beatitudes etc. Much of the NT is written to how we live AFTER we are saved—-dealing with doctrines, form of godliness, church directions, etc.

    John 3:16 does sum up the Gospel message tot he lost though, that’s for sure. It’s all there in a nutshell. A person literally could become “saved” by reading that verse and coming to Chirst—-however, to GROW in him one needs the epistles, and Revelation speaks of the great hope, and the end of the present order of things.

  • 34. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Thats a very nice interpretation. But its not what the text says

    Richard—

    In a couple of the Gospels it says that the disciples tried to keep the little children from coming to Jesus. Jesus said the below. Note what is important: “do not hinder them from coming to me”. That is his main point. The Gospel is simple—come to Jesus Christ. Just as a child. If you need to repent (change) which almost all of us do—we need to become as little children, who freely ran into Jesus’ arms. That is the message he is conveying.

    But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.(Luke)

  • 35. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    To clarify—the “gift” of salvation is really Jesus himself. Little Children accept and run to this free gift. We should become as little children also and simply receive. That is much of the Gospel message.

  • 36. BigHouse  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    So you think that the Bible sends a “clear’ message when it’s thesis is summed up in one verse, but the remaning thousands of pages are the cause of all these disparate religions and councils and interpretations? That sounds to me more like the proverbial “needle in a haystack”.

  • 37. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Cooper- Again, I admire your exegetical talent and can even see the loveliness, in a way, of the picture youre painting. I, too, like that story about Jesus and the children.

    But, again, I think you are missing the point of my criticism. What you say is not what the text says. You are having to interpret what the text means. My point is, why is that necessary? If God wrote this, why would it *ever* be necessary to “interpret” what it says? Could not he just have written it clearly enough so that no interpretation would ever be needed?

    In short, saying “do not physically prevent these children right here from walking over to me” — told in the context of a literal story — is not by any stretch the same thing as saying “trust in me and believe my message, and you will go to heaven instead of hell.”

    After all, what of some modern person read this story and took it to be simply a nice story about Jesus rather than this allegory about salvation? He would be damned for just misreading the words– but he could hardly be blamed; he read the words right.

  • 38. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    My point is, why is that necessary? If God wrote this, why would it *ever* be necessary to “interpret” what it says? Could not he just have written it clearly enough so that no interpretation would ever be needed?

    “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28) “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man open the door I will come into him, and feast with him and he with me” (Rev. 3:20)

    The “interpretation” concerning the children actually becomes quite easy when you understand that others were trying to prevent them from coming to Jesus. When you say one shouldn’t need to “interpret” there are many, many other verses that make it clear that just coming to Jesus—listening to him, and accepting him lead to salvation. It becomes OBVIOUS that Jesus is saying that when we become as little children we become as easily trustful as they are. Or are you saying that you need everything completely explained to you at all times, and if not, it would not fit your needs?

  • 39. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Or are you saying that you need everything completely explained to you at all times, and if not, it would not fit your needs?

    Given that my “need” is to avoid eternal infinite torture in hell, then yes, I want things fully and entirely and unequivocally explained to me, in pictures if necessary. But not *everything* — just basic soteriology. I do not want to have to cobble together a bunch of disparate verses and then interpret their vagueness into something concrete. If my goal is to avoid hell, I dont think crystal clarity is so much to ask.

    And how “obvious” is it, really, when the two billion chrisitians in the world have dozens of different answers about what is required for salvation? Some say “accepting Jesus” (what does that mean, exactly?), some say trust, some say baptism into the Church, some consider a public profession of faith necessary. Some say you cannot lose salvation, some say you can. *All* base their answers on the same Bible.

    Dont you see how much easier it *could* have been and how much needless bickering (or, historically, butchery) there is based on this lack of clarity? Look, try this:

    Verse 1: “Saved” shall be defined as a state of spiritual purity such that, upon death, the saved soul ascends to heaven to live for eternity.
    2: Unsaved go to hell for eternity.
    3: Salvation shall be attained in any individual by BOTH
    (a) a private, inward belief (intellectual assent) inthe divinity of Jesus, and
    (b) a public profess of intent to trust in Jesus and submit to his authority
    4: Failure to perform BOTH (a) AND (b) shall result in failure to be saved.
    5: Those lacking capacity (infants, mental retardation) are exempt from (3) and are automatically saved

    Whats so hard about this??? No more confusion or disagreement. Ever.

  • 40. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 5:47 pm

    Richard—

    Perhaps God should have consulted with you before writing the Bible through Himself, the Holy Spirit.

    “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.(John 5:24)

    Note: HAS eternal life—not “might have”, or “might have if they are really really good”, or “could have if they follow the correct church”.

    If you are so interested in avoiding hell why not just accept Christ into your heart rather than bickering over why some churches teach this, or others teach that? If you read the Bible it becomes very clear that “accepting” Christ and trusting in his word is salvation. Basically, if you “trust” the above verse is true, and that what Jesus said is true, then you are “accepting” him—and by doing so you have passed from death into life.

  • 41. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    “Very clear” to you maybe. To all those other Christians — catholics, for example — in whose view the requirements for salvation are different, you conclusion is not nearly so clear.

    It did not have to be this way. You keep not addressing the main issue, which is that, no matter how “clear” you own theology may feel to you, the bible coulld have been written in such a way that it was equally clear to **everyone**.

    Why not just accept Christ into my heart? Because that may not be how salvation is attained. Thats how *you* say it is attained, based on your selective reading of the Bible. Other Christians differ. And thats the whole point.

    Tell me, why dont all Christians agree with you and teach exactly the same thing you do, if it is so “obvious”?

  • 42. BigHouse  |  September 16, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    I’m beginning to believe in Calvinistic Atheism. Some people are predestined to become atheists and the others are impervious to logic and reason… :-)

  • 43. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    I’m beginning to believe in Calvinistic Atheism. Some people are predestined to become atheists and the others are impervious to logic and reason…

    BigHouse—

    Actually, I think what Richard is saying is really without logic or reason. It is extremely clear that the NT teaches salvation by Grace through faith. “By grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, NOT OF WORKS lest any man shoud boast”. (Eph. 2:8,9) It goes on to say we are “saved UNTO good works” not BY our works. It is very clear. Men warp the book of James where he saves “faith without works is dead” and therefore infer works save you. But that is not what he is saying and if you read the context you can see it. He is saying many “say” they are Christians and claim to have faith—yet REAL faith will produce the fruits (works) that show a truly changed heart.

    If man wants to warp that into a legalistic teaching, or say “only through our church are you saved”, where they follow the traditions of men, and not what the Word itself teaches, they are free to do so. But the Bible does not teach that and all you have to do is read it very clearly.

    If one is not willing to receive salvation because the fact that there are so many churches teaching different things, that is that person’s loss. There are really only (2) differences in Christianity when it comes to salvation. (1) Jesus Christ alone
    saves you. You must receive him as your Lord and Savior. (2) Jesus Christ + something else (works, another set of scriptures, obeying elders, etc.)

    Jesus said IT IS FINISHED on the cross. He said that because he paid the FULL price. This is clearly taught in the NT if you read it “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me”. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God”.

    There are just too many verses which teach this—I don’t think stating that is lacking logic or reason at all. All it takes is a pair of good glasses, a Bible, and an hour or so to read.

  • 44. BigHouse  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    So, Cooper, your position is that you have this figured out correct and millions of other people do not? What happened to not boasting?

  • 45. LeoPardus  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Re post #42…..

    Post #43 also proves that they are impervious to barbed sarcasm. :)

  • 46. Quester  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    LeoP,

    I like your entry (#28), but imagining a church that could grow out of that scripture in a few centuries scares me.

  • 47. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 7:59 pm

    So, Cooper, your position is that you have this figured out correct and millions of other people do not? What happened to not boasting?

    BigHouse–

    It’s not boasting at all. There are (2) major schools of teaching in Christianity—you can check it out yourself. One says we are saved by grace through faith, the other says we are saved by works, or by grace + works (same concept really–one says works are biggest need, the other says grace is the greatest, but some works are required).

    If one truly reads the Bible, one finds verses such as Ephesians 2:8,9 which clearly teach salvation by grace through faith. It comes down to believing the Bible, or believing in a church. Those teaching works invariably teach that their church alone saves you, because their emphasis is on their church not Jesus Christ alone.

    I don’t have this “figured out”—millions who accept Christ will state the same thing. All it takes is some real reading on the subject to clearly see the teaching right in front of you.

  • 48. Cooper  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    Re post #42…..

    Post #43 also proves that they are impervious to barbed sarcasm.

    I understand the sarcasm. I’ve just heard the term Calvinistic Atheism and the explanation used before (maybe a bit differently–
    but same thought pattern). I guess it’s like hearing a joke that was really funny the first time, and but loses it’s punch after you hear it 3 or 4 times.

  • 49. BigHouse  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    I’m going to stop banging my head against the wall now. Cooper, welcome back and I hope you get out of your visit what you intend.

  • 50. HeiisSailing  |  September 16, 2008 at 8:33 pm

    Cooper says:

    ..There are (2) major schools of teaching in Christianity—you can check it out yourself. One says we are saved by grace through faith, the other says we are saved by works, or by grace + works ….

    There is way more to it than that. For instance, Mormons also believe in the salvation through Faith in Jesus Christ, and also consider their concept of salvation to be compatible with Scripture. Yet, chances are you probably do not consider them to be truly ‘saved’. But they are following your simple formula!

    What is the difference? Can you tell me?

    There *is* more to it. Everyone who reads New Testament does not naturally interpret it exactly as you and your particular church do.

  • 51. the chaplain  |  September 16, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    @ the de-Convert, re: #4 – excellent summary. Thanks.

  • 52. Richard  |  September 16, 2008 at 11:07 pm

    Cooper, I will simply reiterate my former question: why dont all Christians agree with you and teach exactly the same thing you do, if it is so “obvious”?

    Matthew 25:34-40 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35′For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in;36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37″Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38′And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39′When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40″The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

    This, obviously and plainly, teaches salvation through works. The individuals in this parable did not even know who they were helping, yet they were saved. There is no talk of faith whatsoever.

    Cooper, I will simply reiterate my former question: why dont all Christians agree with you and teach exactly the same thing you do, if it is so “obvious”?

  • 53. HeiisSailing  |  September 17, 2008 at 7:22 am

    Cooper says:

    Sure—churches and councils come up with a lot of things. But the salvation message is as simple and clear as day. Read Revelation 3:20, Eph. 2:8,9. John 1:12 just as examples. Most people are “saved” when they know nothing—-it is only later that all of the crap that some theologians try to debate comes into the picture

    Cooper, read what your LORD Jesus said in Matthew 19:16-30 about gaining eternal life. It looks to me like keeping the commandments, selling all that you have and following Jesus is the key there.

    I could go on and on… there are loads of varying examples of how to be ‘saved’, different concepts of sin, and competing ideas about who Jesus is, all found in your own Bible. You should read it sometime.

    You should also educate yourself on the history of church creeds, soteriology and christology. A good book to get you up to speed is John Leith’s ‘Creeds of the Churches’ – do a search on Amazon. There were many varying threories about who Jesus was, and how to attain salvation, and they were all reasoned out of Scripture by theologians. They were not stupid – but opinions and interpretations differ. I got news for you Cooper – not all interpretations agree with yours.

    The fact is, though you may trash church councils, creeds and ‘all of the crap’, your interpretation of the Bible is based on centuries of debate, argumentation, and not a small amount of politicking amongst various church councils. You have chosen a creed or statement of faith, one by your own admission that was read by you out of a pamphlet and backed up by a small bit of the Bible, that was cleverly devised by *somebody*, and you now try to interpret the entire Bible based on that statement.

    Why even go to church and listen to ‘all that crap’ if you can just read and interpret the Bible? Because you need those sermons, which are based on the theology of some creed, to interpret that Bible for you.

  • 54. Rover  |  September 17, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Cooper:

    Is the way to salvation really crystal clear?

    Phil 2:12Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

    Luke 14:27And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple

    Mark 10:18″Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. 19You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honor your father and mother.’[a]”

    Mark 10:20″Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”

    21Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

    These verses seem to muddy the waters. John McArthur teaches Lordship salvation and Charles Ryrie teaches an oppossing view. Who is right?

  • 55. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    HelSailing—

    I mis-spoke by using the word ‘crap’ and I apologize for that. I just meant the cornucopia of teachings based on “works” which have infiltrated the simple truth in Christ. Also, regarding the Mormons, they have a separate book, and the Bible clearly says that no one shall add to the Bible—the Mormons clearly believe in works for salvation, and categorically deny several accepted Christian doctrines—that is why if you pick up any book on “cults” the Mormons will be in it.

    Rover—-

    An excellent writer named William Bridge, in one of his books mentions how “Scripture answers Scriptures”. One scripture will say “whose house are we IF YE CONTINUE..” inferring that one could fail to continue if a true Christian—yet another scripture will answer that one with “Who WILL CONFIRM YOU TO THE END” or “Faithful is he who called you who also WILL DO IT”, or “He that has begun a good work in you WILL PERFORM IT until the day of Christ Jesus”.

    So, on the one hand, from OUR SIDE the Bible is speaking about staying faithful and continuing, with the inference one might fail, yet from GOD’S SIDE it is saying God WILL perform it and make it happen.

    Note your verse above—v. 12 says to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, but v. 13 says:
    13for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. —it is God working—-will God fail once he starts to work in us? Is salvation dependent on us or God? On God of course!!

    One has to read the Bible in this manner—comparing scripture with scripture. Last night I was reading Luke 18 and Jesus says it is harder for a rich man to enter heaven than a camel to go through an eye of a needle. But he then says “with God all things are possible. In the very next chapter a man named Zaccheus is “saved”, and it says he was very rich. He tells Jesus he has given half of what he owns to the poor. But giving his stuff away wasn’t what saved him—-it put him on a path of repentance and acceptance of Jesus and his teachings.

    Compare Matthew 10 and your verses above with Luke 19–I think you will see the correlation.

  • 56. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    I mis-spoke by using the word ‘crap’ and I apologize for that. I just meant the cornucopia of teachings based on “works” which have infiltrated the simple truth in Christ. Also, regarding the Mormons, they have a separate book, and the Bible clearly says that no one shall add to the Bible—the Mormons clearly believe in works for salvation, and categorically deny several accepted Christian doctrines—that is why if you pick up any book on “cults” the Mormons will be in it.

    So, first you apologize for using the word crap, then in no uncertain terms you describe the Mormon holy text as worthless because YOUR holy book says so. You HONESTLY don’t see this as circular and arrogant?

    Didn’t you learn in school that “you can’t define a word with the word in the definition”. The Bible CANNOT be the authority on why the Bible is holy!!

  • 57. orDover  |  September 17, 2008 at 1:49 pm

    Also, regarding the Mormons, they have a separate book, and the Bible clearly says that no one shall add to the Bible—the Mormons clearly believe in works for salvation, and categorically deny several accepted Christian doctrines—that is why if you pick up any book on “cults” the Mormons will be in it.

    But does that make them any less Christian that they added a book to the Bible? If they are truly saved by FAITH and not works (clearly adding to the Bible falls into the “works” category), then it shouldn’t really matter if they added another book. Even if they think that works are a part of salvation, they believe and have faith in Christ. According to you, that should be enough to earn them the moniker of “true Christian.” I’m not sure what doctrines you say they deny (is it the trinity?), but as long as they believe in Jesus, that he was the Son of god and died for humanity’s sins, then that should be enough to earn them salvation. Regardless of cult like actions or fringe doctrines, plain old belief in Jesus should be enough, if you really honestly believe in salvation through faith alone.

  • 58. HeIsSailing  |  September 17, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    …I just meant the cornucopia of teachings based on “works” which have infiltrated the simple truth in Christ…

    Those councils did much more than that. They defined the very person of who Jesus is. Your beliefs in the person and nature of Jesus, the trinity, the resurrection, the inspiration and canon of the Bible, etc, etc… did not come from the Bible. They came from the very creedalism which you so readily dismiss. You learned the creed first – you interpret the Bible to fit that creed. That is what creeds and councils do. For you, reading the bible is nothing more than trying to fit everything to match that creed.

    The Bible is far from simple as the hundreds of books that you can find in your public library will witness to. There are countless options and opinions to be found in its pages.

    A simple example being – Richard and I showed you two passages based on the teachings of Jesus which contradict your presentation of the ‘simple truth in Christ’. You failed to address either one – because it is not simple. Because there is no such thing as a ‘simple truth in Christ’.

    If you can boldly claim I was never a Christian, I will recipricate and boldly claim that you are a no-nothing ignoramus who unquestioningly swallows everything thrown at you from the pulpit with no verification or investigation on your own part. I suggested a good book – that was written from a pious but educated perspective. Read it, or something similar before you show your utter lack of understanding again. Please educate yourself Cooper because you are truly doing your cause for the Faith more harm than good. The Holy Spirit is doing a terrible job of illuminating the Scriptures for you – it is time to pick a spade and do your own digging.

    …he Bible clearly says that no one shall add to the Bible…

    No it dosen’t. And before you throw Revelation 22:18-19 at me, I suggest you do a little homework on how your Protestant Canon was developed. hint – it involves more ‘crap’ from numerous church councils, debates and politicking.

    …the Mormons clearly believe in works for salvation…

    Mormonism teaches salvation by grace as a free gift of Jesus Christ. Mormons are rewarded for thier good works in the afterlife – but their salvation is not a function of their works.

    Sounds exactly what I learned about my own salvation in Calvary Chapel.

    The main difference is that Mormons do not believe in trinitarianism – something that is not laid out in your ‘simple truth of Christ’ presentation. That is what I am trying to get you to understand – there is more to this salvation business than what you are telling us. We must not only believe in Jesus, but we must believe in certain things about Jesus in order to be considered orthodox. Scripture is ambiguous about many of them, and does not even mention most – like trinitarianism.

    So can you tell us Cooper? What must one believe *about* Jesus in order to be saved – and further – how do you know your information is correct?

    <blockquote…and categorically deny several accepted Christian doctrines…

    You mean there are more doctrines that can be denied that will damn a person? I thought this was simple – well then, what are those doctrines? Can you name them?

  • 59. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    orDover/Bigjhouse—

    You need to study Mormon theology and you will see why it is not really “christian” at all. Did you know that they believe God used to be ADAM? (Brigham Young taught this). They believe in a “council of Gods” which made our God “Jehovah” (who used to be Adam) God over this planet. They believe that they themselves will become “gods” also one day and rule their own planets. They teach God (Jehovah) lives on a planet called “Kolob”.

    The Bible has been around for a few thousand years—the NT for 1900 years or so of that time frame. Mormonism was “created” in 1830. So, yes, I have every reason to say that Mormonism is not Christian, and is false. Archaeologists have confirmed that almost all places historically in the book of Mormon cannot be proved. Couple this with their obviously warped doctrine, and yes, it is easy for me to reject it as false, and a “cult”.

    By the way—all of my first paragraph can be confirmed and is so far from true Christian teachings it is incredible.

  • 60. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Couple this with their obviously warped doctrine, and yes, it is easy for me to reject it as false, and a “cult”.

    Here you continue to show your true colors, a blind adherent to your own version of faith, unable to look up from the pages of the story youve created for yourself.

    I’m remembering why your were labelled a troll and people stopped debating you.

  • 61. orDover  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    You need to study Mormon theology and you will see why it is not really “christian” at all. Did you know that they believe God used to be ADAM? (Brigham Young taught this). They believe in a “council of Gods” which made our God “Jehovah” (who used to be Adam) God over this planet. They believe that they themselves will become “gods” also one day and rule their own planets. They teach God (Jehovah) lives on a planet called “Kolob”.

    I know all of that about Mormonism. During my Christian school education they took pains to debunk Mormonism for us. (By the way, I was saying I didn’t know which doctrines you were getting at, not that I didn’t know about it). We watched several videos and had several lectures over it. They also believe Jesus and Satan were brothers. But so what? If they believe and put their faith in Jesus, which they do, the rest shouldn’t matter (according to you). How does their view of God or the trinity affect the matter of faith in Jesus? Does believing in Jesus require you also believe that he is part of the god-in-three-persons, or is enough to just believe in his divinity, regardless of its nature?

    Whether their doctrine is “warped” from you perspective or not shouldn’t matter. As long as they simply believe in Jesus, and the free gift of salvation offered through his sacrifice they are Christians. They aren’t “mainstream” like you, but belief in Jesus makes them Christians. True Christians even!

  • 62. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    If you can boldly claim I was never a Christian, I will recipricate and boldly claim that you are a no-nothing ignoramus who unquestioningly swallows everything thrown at you from the pulpit with no verification or investigation on your own

    HelSailing—

    You must be referring to my post regarding your embarrassement at stating love for Jesus because you felt it had “homo-erotic” overtones. I just have to say without calling you a “no-nothing ignoramus” (it amazes me around here how easily people fall into name-calling when they are irritated over a point someone is making) that your description of love for God, and what it meant to you in that article confirmed for me that you really never grasped Christianity (no insult meant—just reality)—so I am not surprised that you would accept Mormonism as just as valid as true Christianity.

    Mormons may “say” they believe in salvation by grace—but all you have to do is study their doctrine to see that is not the case at all. Salvation for them is based in their “church”, and much of it also in priesthood for males, who will one day “call forth” their wives from the grave.

    As to swallowing everything thrown at me from the pulpit, that is just utter nonsense. Again, salvation by grace through faith is a “tenet” of the Protestant arm of the Christian faith–not invented by me or some wayward Pastor who I believe in—millions believe in it.

    I will also state this—you can be “saved” without realizing all the doctrinal issues regarding Jesus. If you truly become saved, the Holy Spirit will begin to reveal to you that Jesus is indeed God, not a “god” as Jehovah’s witnesses teach, and make clear and plain several of the doctrines that make a firm foundation of faith (resurrection, ascension, virgin birth, salvation by faith, etc.)—this happened with me. I accepted Christ and knew absolutely nothing about him. But as I read I began to understand that God himself, through “the Son” had come and died on a cross for me—and the more I read the more understanding I received, and soon the basic doctrines of Christianity became very real to me.

    When someone is “born-again” they are like a baby. A baby begins to see and hear, then more clearly—recognizes it’s parents, begins to walk, then to talk, etc. etc. It is the same with born again Christians. Many have no idea what has really happened to them at first—they just ran to Jesus and they were saved. But as they begin to grow they begin to understand more and more, and many of the doctrines begin to make far more sense—until one is eating “meat” rather than just drinking “milk”.

  • 63. john t.  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Bighouse

    If anyone actually calls themselves a Christian and really believes it, is there any point in debating it? There point in engaging you is supposedly to save your soul, what would be your point?

  • 64. john t.  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Cooper

    Can I make a suggestion. Just go drink the Kool aid and get it over with. ;)

  • 65. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    Here you continue to show your true colors, a blind adherent to your own version of faith, unable to look up from the pages of the story youve created for yourself.

    I’m remembering why your were labelled a troll and people stopped debating you

    BigHouse—
    :) See—this is why I used different handles. Look how quickly you have labeled me a “troll” and why? Because I disagree with you about Christianity. I may be a blind adherent to my faith—-but it is the faith espoused by millions of believers. There are many, many books written about the Mormons, labeling them a “cult” BigHouse—I did not author any of them, nor give the writers their ideas. I did not create a story for myself—it is believed by millions.

    You speak as though I alone believe these things. And because you can’t accept what I am saying–and again it is very simple—-you are either saved by grace, or grace + works—that’s all I really said, now I am once again a “troll”. :) :) :)

  • 66. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    what would be your point?

    I’ve learned there is none…

  • 67. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    Can I make a suggestion. Just go drink the Kool aid and get it over with.

    Very funny! :)

  • 68. john t.  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    See—this is why I used different handles. Look how quickly you have labeled me a “troll” and why? (Cooper)

    Youre not a “Troll”, you just sound desperate to have people believe “your” version of God. That music may be ok for you, but for most on here after the third or fourth verse, their sick of the song.

  • 69. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    John T.—

    I’m not desperate for others to believe. The discussion was write a better Bible and I simply stated that I think the Bible is fine as it is—in fact, I think it is wonderful. Someone said the Bible was so unclear that no one knew who anyone obtained salvation. I said this isn’t true—it is stated clearly. This led to a back and forth about faith vs. works. If people are sick of the 3rd or 4th verse, why do they keep asking questions then? :) And then when they don’t like the answer the person becomes a “no-nothing ignoramus”? :) :)

  • 70. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    De-Con: Why do you believe what you believe?

    Me: It’s in the Bible

    De-con: That’s your own interpretation.

    Me: No—many believe this.

    De-con: You’re a no-nothing ignoramus

    :)

  • 71. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Well-played, Cooper.

    Many people believed slavery was ok in colonial times, was slavery right?

  • 72. orDover  |  September 17, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    De-Con: Why do you believe what you believe?

    Cooper: It’s in the Bible

    De-con: That’s your own interpretation.

    Cooper: No—many believe this.

    De-con: That’s the argument ad populi and logical fallacy, thus the argument is moot. Come up with something else that doesn’t involve a fallacious argument.

  • 73. orDover  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Mormons may “say” they believe in salvation by grace—but all you have to do is study their doctrine to see that is not the case at all. Salvation for them is based in their “church”, and much of it also in priesthood for males, who will one day “call forth” their wives from the grave.

    It shouldn’t matter what they say. They believe in faith + works, but they still believe in faith, they still believe in Jesus. That means they are saved Christians. Believing that works ALSO contribute to salvation does not make your faith invalid.

    You say over and over again that all one needs is simple faith in Jesus Christ. Mormons have that “simple faith” base covered. They go a little further, but if FAITH is what really counts, that shouldn’t matter.

    If someone is a Christian who believes in Jesus with all of their heart, but they also thinking that doing works will earn them favor with God, does their attempt to do good works cancel out their salvation through faith?

    Doctrine shouldn’t matter as long as you have faith in Jesus. That is what you keep saying anyway. That is, until you are confronted with doctrine that doesn’t agree with your picture of Jesus. Do you see the hypocrisies and contradictions yet?

  • 74. The de-Convert  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Joe,

    Mormonism may not be true Christianity based on a strict interpretation of the New Testament and you may see them as following “another Jesus.”

    However, in the same vein, Christianity does not serve the “true Jehovah” of the O.T. The Jewish folks can make the same argument.

    Paul

  • 75. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Well-played, Cooper.

    Many people believed slavery was ok in colonial times, was slavery right?

    Not sure where you’re coming from on that one BigHouse, or what that has to do with works vs. grace.

  • 76. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    De-con: That’s the argument ad populi and logical fallacy, thus the argument is moot. Come up with something else that doesn’t involve a fallacious argument.

    orDover—

    It would be great if the conversation did end that way—–more often than not though it ends with the de-con saying “You’re a Know-nothing ignoramus” or “self-righteous idiot” or something to that effect. :)

  • 77. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    orDover—-

    Visit “Ex-Mormons for Jesus” or any of the ex-Mormon sites and you will see that their “supposed” faith in Jesus was not that at all. Many Ex-Mormons claim they were born-again when they were able to put faith in Jesus Christ alone. But I really didn’t mean to turn this into a Mormon debate—-I should have avoided the first question regarding Mormonism, knowing it would devolve into this. I mean, I don’t mind arguing it—-I’ve studied Mormonism quite a bit—-but I feel most likely the word “troll” will come up once again when the statements I make concerning Mormons hit the page. :)

    Good point The de-Convert #74

  • 78. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Cooper, the ignoramus-type comments, come well AFTER you don’t rebut the logical fallacies chrages levelled back at you, It’s what frustrates people here who rely on evidence and logic to determine their positions. It doesn’t justify the namecalling, and I apologize if I ever have namecalled you, but it does explain where it comes from.

    As for my slavery comment, you gave the justification for your belief in Jesus as “a lot of other people do to”. Slavery is an example of something that “a lot of people” believed was right and legal in the past. I ask you if you think slavery is right and if you say no, then someone retorting like you have on the Jesus issue would responde with; but a lot of people think it’s right.

  • 79. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    As for my slavery comment, you gave the justification for your belief in Jesus as “a lot of other people do to”. Slavery is an example of something that “a lot of people” believed was right and legal in the past. I ask you if you think slavery is right and if you say no, then someone retorting like you have on the Jesus issue would responde with; but a lot of people think it’s right.

    Oh great. The other day I used the example of Pearl Harbor with the Ascension as an argument to prove a point and was literally jumped on for my stupidity and ridiculousness for using those two examples together. But hey, looks like it is perfectly fine and acceptable for you to lump slavery and my response that many people believe in the same Protestant beiefs as mine together to make a point. :) Good one mate.

  • 80. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    To clarify—I used Pearl Harbor as an example of something that happened 70 years ago, and how the same story has basically held true over that short period of time. I used this to say that the ascension and it’s “telling” in Mark 70 years later was the same short period of time.

    I was raked over the coals for making the comparison. But now, slavery and protestant belief in salvation by grace through faith are lumped together, and apparently will receive a blessing. :)

  • 81. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I have to ask in reply, if a group of slaves from colonial times were catapulted into the future to witness Pearl Harbor, and preached to the Japanese about Jesus, do your think they would consider his ascension valid? Or would they become Mormons instead?

  • 82. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    Sorry to be late to the discussion, but someone playing Devil’s Advocate might point out that referencing Catholic and Mormon theology to debunk Protestant theology… seems just as ad populi as asserting Protestant theology is clear and unambiguous because millions adhere to it.

    @Cooper — do you believe that someone who picks up a Bible for the first time, and reads it cover to cover with zero prejudices other than what he/she has previously read therein at any given point, will unambiguously understand John 3:16 to be the linchpin of scripture and infallibly recognize its message to be true? Do you believe that choosing any other passage as the linchpin (Matthew 25:34-40, for example), and attempting to interpret all of scripture in that alternate light, is impossible to do, and blindingly obviously so? If so, can you back that up with any argument that is not itself scriptural in nature?

  • 83. Rover  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Cooper you really didn’t address my post

    “Compare Matthew 10 and your verses above with Luke 19–I think you will see the correlation.” I see that they are both teaching that to be “of Christ” we must do far more then just have faith.

    Mt. 10:22And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

    Mt. 10:34(AZ) “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth.(BA) I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35(BB) For I have come(BC) to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36(BD) And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37(BE) Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And(BF) whoever does not take his cross and(BG) follow me is not worthy of me. 39(BH) Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

    I don’t really don’t see how this teaches that we are saved by grace alone. What was Mt. 10 suppose to clear up? Is MacArthur right or is Ryrie? Is it really all that clear? Do I have to merely have faith or do I have to lay down my life in order to be saved? If I have to lay down my life, isn’t that a work? How can someone who is dead in sin lay down their life? It is a tad confusing don’t you think?

  • 84. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    Cooper, you asked LP why he doesn’t just accept Jesus if salvation is so concerning to him. Likely you were skeptical of his claim to be “interested in how salvation occurs” when you felt you had already made a strong case for it.

    You may have read my de-conversion story (hell, you may have commented on it, I just am too lazy to go back). But I can tell you that I can’t count the times — including after knowingly professing my agnosticism with atheistic leanings — I’ve verbally accepted Jesus into my heart. Nearly equal to that, though, is the number of times *absolutely nothing changed for me in the long run as a result.

    So tell me, am I saved? If not, what did I do wrong? Was I insincere in my prayer? If you believe that, how do you presume to know? Or did I fail to make a public profession? Or do I believe the wrong things about Jesus like the Mormons do that prevents me from being saved? Or do I need to get baptized before the Holy Spirit does his thing? Or do I just need to keep trying and not give up? Why am I not justified in giving up after so many tries?

  • 85. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    “absolutely nothing changed for me” is supposed to be in italics. This site really needs to get some formatting buttons. Manual HTML entry on the fly is error-prone.

  • 86. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    have to ask in reply, if a group of slaves from colonial times were catapulted into the future to witness Pearl Harbor, and preached to the Japanese about Jesus, do your think they would consider his ascension valid? Or would they become Mormons instead?

    Most likely if they were so moved, they would become one of the more popular forms of Christianity–Catholicism, Anglicanism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy–but what do you think would have stopped them from converting to Mormonism if some of them further investigated the matter and decided it to be correct?

    Furthermore, how do you propose enslaved African Americans, who have never seen an automobile, let alone a Japanese bomber airplane, witness to a bunch of pilots in the middle of a mission? And what the hell do slaves or Japanese bomber pilots have to do with the Ascension anyway??

  • 87. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    To clarify—I used Pearl Harbor as an example of something that happened 70 years ago, and how the same story has basically held true over that short period of time. I used this to say that the ascension and it’s “telling” in Mark 70 years later was the same short period of time.

    You’re marring the distinction between ordinary and extraordinary here. The book of Acts (not Mark — Mark does not mention the Ascension) is the only account we have of the Ascension, and it’s not even a firsthand account, by its own admission! Whereas Pearl Harbor has hundreds of still-living eyewitnesses, both American and Japanese, and has hundreds of independently corroborating written accounts from all different angles. Furthermore, planes dropping bombs is something that is commonly known to happen from time to time. Guys who were dead but now aren’t flying upwards into Heaven (which isn’t even “up” by all accounts), by contrast, is not a common occurrence. I know, I know, Elijah and Enoch and a few others were “ascended” too, but tell me how many times it happens in this day and age.

    And, for the record, 2000 years from now, if some historians wanted to dispute the historical account of Pearl Harbor, they’d be justified in doing so, and furthermore, while their peers might disagree, nobody would worry about them going to Hell if they were wrong.

  • 88. BigHouse  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Cooper, per your comment in 80, you don’t understand how analogies work. And it’s not the first time you’ve made the mistake. It’s another reason why it’s frustrating too debate with you.

  • 89. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    I should clarify — the best known manuscripts of Mark do not mention the Ascension, and even conservative scholars agree that it was probably added later.

  • 90. orDover  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Visit “Ex-Mormons for Jesus” or any of the ex-Mormon sites and you will see that their “supposed” faith in Jesus was not that at all.

    Oh. So it’s not just faith in Jesus, it’s the right sort of faith in the right sort of Jesus. That’s not complicated at all, is it?

  • 91. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    Rover—

    Perhaps you misunderstood what I said about scripture answering scripture. Here is an example. I will use your verse from above, and then answer it with another scripture.

    Mt. 10:22And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

    —this appears to state that it is up to us to endure. This verse is spoken from OUR perspective and responsibility. BUT, when it comes to GOD’s perspective and responsibility for our salvation he says this:

    He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus (Christ).
    God is faithful, and by him you were called to fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor. 1:8,9)

    Do you see what I am saying? One verse seems to state that “our works” are responsible for enduring. But the answering verse clearly states “He WILL KEEP YOU FIRM TO THE END..” which shows that it is God’s Grace which will ACCOMPLISH what Matt. 10:22 is asking. Only God’s grace alone can save us—this is clearly taught.

    Zaccheus was “saved” as a rich man because he came to Jesus—and the result was “fruits of repentance”—he gave away half of his possesions. He showed by what he did that he had real faith. Ephesians 2:8-10 says we are “saved UNTO good works”—not BY OUR WORKS. It is a clear doctrinal teaching of scripture.

  • 92. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Derek—

    Yes—I believe someone can come to Christ simply by reading John 3:16. They can “come” to him—-but they will not “grow” in him without the rest of the Bible.

  • 93. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    Derek—

    I have to ask what you mean by “tries” to be saved? Are you expecting some emotional rush? I mean if you accept Christ you “believe” he entered your heart. Forgive me if I sound crass—-I believe you are sincere in what you are saying—I am just having a hard time understanding the word “try” when accepting Christ.

  • 94. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    Derek—

    The point I was making is that if I can use two separate events to “try” to make a point and get raked over the coals for it, why doesn’t a de-con, who is lumping slavery and it’s acceptance by slave-owners as alright, with my assertion that millioons accept the teaching of salvation by grace through faith? That analogy is terrible—-but because it was made by a de-con it appears to be fine. :)

  • 95. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:54 pm

    who is lumping slavery and it’s acceptance by slave-owners as alright, with my assertion that millioons accept the teaching of salvation by grace through faith?

    The point there is you’re making an ad populi argument, which is not valid. If you’re defending the clarity of scripture as pertains to your theology, by saying millions of others subscribe to the same theology, why can’t the same be said of any other scriptural interpretation, or Islam, or Mormonism, or Hinduism, or Buddhism, or Catholicism, or Anglicanism, or Eastern Orthodoxy? Do you see why it’s not a valid argument?

  • 96. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    I have to ask what you mean by “tries” to be saved? Are you expecting some emotional rush? I mean if you accept Christ you “believe” he entered your heart. Forgive me if I sound crass—-I believe you are sincere in what you are saying—I am just having a hard time understanding the word “try” when accepting Christ.

    I believe you are missing my point. I’ve been told by some people that I just have to “keep at it” as far as the conversions that “didn’t take”. The point is how many times do I have to “accept Christ” before it produces a real, long-term change in my behavior? Shouldn’t it have worked the first time?

  • 97. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Yes—I believe someone can come to Christ simply by reading John 3:16. They can “come” to him—-but they will not “grow” in him without the rest of the Bible.

    That’s not what I asked. I asked you if someone reading the Bible in its entirety without any pre-existing bias will recognize John 3:16 to be the linchpin of scripture, and will accept the Bible as self-evident.

    I also asked you if you believed that taking any other passage of scripture as its “uniting theme” (e.g. Matthew 25:34-40) and trying to read all of scripture with that lens would immediately, unmistakably reveal itself to be futile.

    Further, I asked you if you could back any of those claims up with any evidence that was not scriptural in nature.

  • 98. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    Rover—-

    Here is another example just in case I am being confusing. You read a verse that says “He that endures to the end will be saved” and think “I have to endure..I have to endure….what if I don’t endure?” And it sounds like it is all based on our works. But then you read this scripture:

    May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it. (1 Thess. 5:23,24)

    You see? Matt. 10:22 is saying we need to endure to be saved, but 1 Thess 5 is saying we will BECAUSE GOD HIMSELF will accomplish it!!

  • 99. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Derek—

    I never said John 3:16 is the “linchpin of Scripture”—I did state yesterday that John 3:16 does sum up the Gospel—that God loved us all so much that he sent his son, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life”. One can read that scripture and run to Christ and be saved. But they would have to read other portions then to realize that when God said he gave his son he had him crucified for us—because John 3:16 does not mention crufixion.

    If I am not understanding you I apologize. I truly believe one can be saved by reading a short tract, or even one verse of scripture if they sincerely come to Christ as a result. I don’t think reading one verse of scripture will make one accept immediately that the rest of the Bible is true—if that’s what you mean.

  • 100. orDover  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    I truly believe one can be saved by reading a short tract, or even one verse of scripture if they sincerely come to Christ as a result.

    Ambiguous qualifier.

  • 101. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    Cooper…

    You see? Matt. 10:22 is saying we need to endure to be saved, but 1 Thess 5 is saying we will BECAUSE GOD HIMSELF will accomplish it!!

    You’re referring to Perseverance of the Saints. We get it. We’re also saying it doesn’t change the fact that it’s so obvious a contradiction that we’re utterly flabbergasted that we have to jump through hoops to explain it to you.

    You are saying that:

    1. Salvation is by faith alone.
    2. People who do not do good works are not saved.

    You then attempt to rectify it by saying:

    3. God makes saved people do good works.

    The problem with that is, it basically forces you to assume that EVERY self-professed Christian who either falls away or does not live a “godly” life–no matter how fervently they believed in Jesus or their own salvation–was never saved.

    That means if any of those people had died while they both believed in Jesus and lived godly lives, they would have gone to hell. Do you see the important point here? The logical conclusion of your theology is that some people will live their whole lives believing in Jesus and living godly lives and still go to hell. Yet this is something you insist will not happen.

  • 102. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I never said John 3:16 is the “linchpin of Scripture”—I did state yesterday that John 3:16 does sum up the Gospel—that God loved us all so much that he sent his son, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life”. One can read that scripture and run to Christ and be saved. But they would have to read other portions then to realize that when God said he gave his son he had him crucified for us—because John 3:16 does not mention crufixion.

    Quit dodging the question. You said earlier that John 3:16 forms the basis of all Christianity when you said, “The path to salvation is clearly marked in the Bible—it is us who seek to confuse the matter and make everything so difficult to understand. ” Do you believe that someone reading the Bible from start to finish–assuming no preexisting bias–will come to the same conclusion?

  • 103. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Do you believe that someone reading the Bible from start to finish–assuming no preexisting bias–will come to the same conclusion?

    Rather, do you believe that *anyone* reading the Bible from start to finish without any preexisting bias will come to the same conclusion and will come to regard the Bible as self-evident?

  • 104. Derek  |  September 17, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    And for crying out loud, will someone please get us back to the original intent of this article?? :)

  • 105. Rover  |  September 17, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Cooper,

    I think you have proved my point. By the way, whose camp would you be in, Ryrie’s or McArthur’s? Lordship or non-Lorship? Answer answer please – no avoidance. I would fall into Ryrie’s camp myself. and you?

  • 106. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    Rather, do you believe that *anyone* reading the Bible from start to finish without any preexisting bias will come to the same conclusion and will come to regard the Bible as self-evident?

    How the heck should I know? Atheists read the Bible from beginning to end and come to the conclusion God doesn’t exist. Others read a small portion and are saved wonderfully. The Bible itself says that God enlightens the hearts and minds—some understand and some do not. I don’t claim and cannot claim to know how God works.

    I was actually addressing Rover when I compared Matt. 10:22 and 1 Thess. 5:23,24. It does refer to the preservation of the saints. Rover appeared to be stating that the Bible teaches works salvation. I was simply showing that often when a verse is there concerning “works” it is referring to man’s “responsibility”– not salvation—–while the verse will be answered by another verse which says that God actually does the perservering and saving IN US.

    Derek– God alone knows the hearts. I don’t think anyone who sincerely receives Christ and is born-again will go to hell. The Holy Spirit in us will cause us to persevere. How do I know what a de-con is? God knows. Are they saved? I don’t know. Perhaps some are, and others aren’t. Some appear to have had a very real encounter with Christ–while others write articles that make me doubt they ever knew him, or they wouldn’t write with the disrespect that they do (just being honest). In the end though only God really knows. But the Bible does say over and over that perserverance is a true sign that the Holy Spirit is there. It sounds like a contradiction of terms, but I believe it to be true.

  • 107. Cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    Rover—-

    I really don’t know. I’m not that familiar with Ryrie. But I do not believe in Lordship salvation, so I must be with Ryrie. :)

  • 108. Rover  |  September 17, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    Cooper,

    thank you for your answer, but that’s leads me to another question.

    Why do you suppose John McArthur, RC Sproul, John Piper, Mark Dever, James Kennedy, Jame Boice, etc… disagree with you on your view of salvation? All these men believe in Lordship salvation. Is it because they are decieved by the devil? Or is it because the bible is not very clear on how men ar saved? Don’t we have to be honest and admit that even those who teach salvation by Grace can’t agree on what that actually means?

  • 109. john t.  |  September 17, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    Cooper

    Its just a matter of time and your inquiries will break you down and whoops next thing you know youre a member of De con Central ;)

  • 110. Anonymous  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Don’t we have to be honest and admit that even those who teach salvation by Grace can’t agree on what that actually means?

    Actually, no. The Lordship people accept that receiving Jesus Christ as Savior is scriptural—they just stress that the person must yield to him as Lord also in true repentance. There is an argument there, but let’s put it this way—if someone accepts Christ and starts asking “but do I really need to make him Lord also? Can’t I just accept him and continue living as I always have?” one would suspect that that person didn’t really receive Christ anyway. But I think the concept of salvation by grace through faith is pretty clear scripturally—salvation is of the Lord—not of our works–that is clear—–Lordship salvation? We can argue the point, but ultimately receiving christ into the heart is what is truly important—it is up to the person to submit or not.

    There are many disputes in Christianity—-there are a few churches that teach you must be baptized before you are saved. There are always verses though that refute such teachings. There is a small verse in Corinthians where Paul says he baptized two people, but “can’t remember” baptizing anyone else. So one has to ask “if baptism saves someone, wouldn’t Paul remember whom he had baptized?

  • 111. cooper  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    Its just a matter of time and your inquiries will break you down and whoops next thing you know youre a member of De con Central
    :)

    Anonymous above is me—my name field disappeared.

  • 112. john t.  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:12 pm

    Cooper

    Tick Tick Tick

  • 113. rover  |  September 17, 2008 at 8:23 pm

    Cooper,

    I am not sure you understand the Lordship debate, but that is not the issue. I am trying to establish that the bible may not be as clear as you think on the issue as demonstrated by major differences even in our own brand of Christianity.

    It is odd you should bring up baptism to make a point of clarity.

    1 Peter 3:20-21 ..when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you..

    how clear is that?

  • 114. donnaintera1  |  September 18, 2008 at 4:28 am

    You seemed to have understood the bible well enough to come up with your own clear and short pricise versions of the word!

  • 115. Derek  |  September 18, 2008 at 8:33 am

    How the heck should I know? Atheists read the Bible from beginning to end and come to the conclusion God doesn’t exist. Others read a small portion and are saved wonderfully. The Bible itself says that God enlightens the hearts and minds—some understand and some do not. I don’t claim and cannot claim to know how God works.

    At last an honest answer. Was that so hard?

    This being the case, then, how can you be so sure that the message of the Bible is clear and unambiguous, when so many people’s reactions to reading it front to back are so different?

  • 116. Richard  |  September 18, 2008 at 9:14 am

    And, moreover, given that those atheists are sure that they have correctly understood the Bible and you have not — just as you believe you have understood it and they have not — how can you be sure you are in the “enlightened” camp? Everyone thinks they’re right.

  • 117. Joey  |  July 19, 2011 at 6:15 am

    Jesus said forgive and you will be forgiven. He never said believe I am the son of God born of a virgin that I died for your sins and rose from the dead and will come back to earth. All Jesus ever said was forgive and you will be forgiven. The way to be saved is to forgive others and I will start by forgiving Cooper for being mentally limited by irrational faith in something Jesus himself never once preached. What Jesus himself preached is totally different from what the rest of the New Testament preaches. It is the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus teaches the way into the Kingdom and he never once mentions belief in his sacrificial death as the way to salvation. Jesus said if I forgive I will be forgiven. It’s that simple. Believing means nothing. In fact the bible says that even the devil believes. So even the bible makes it clear that belief in Jesus cannot save you. It is following Jesus very simple teachings that saves you. Jesus said if I forgive I’ll be forgiven which means I’ll go to heaven if I forgive others. I don’t have to believe Jesus was God or anything like that. The only one of the 4 gospels that indicates you must believe to be saved is the last gospel of John which was written much later than the first 3 gospels. Bottom line Mathew , Mark, and Luke say nothing about needing to believe in Jesus to be saved.

  • 118. cag  |  July 19, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Joey #117 please provide proof of the existence of Jesus without reference to the spin doctoring by the gospels. Why should anyone believe the bible any more than Aesop’s Fables?

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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