Essentials

Discussions pertaining to scripture and theology from a philosophical approach.

Essentials

Postby DaveB » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:42 pm

Ok, I will admit to having gotten myself a little worked up (I'm over it now :D ) over what I think is an asinine statement from Parry:

"Indeed, “evangelical” universalists regard Unitarianism as a fundamental betrayal of the gospel and the biblical revelation of God."

What matters, it seems to me, is a life pleasing to God, loving Him and the neighbor, and even one's enemies. Elementary, my dear Watson.

What would Parry, et. alia., think about a Spirit-filled, wise, loving, scripture-believing Christian who honors God but happens to believe that the Father is the only true God?

And more to the point - if God be for a person, happy with that person - who gives a d***, really, if they are betrayers of what others make believe is Orthodoxy?
Or does God only bless Trinitarians? If God has accepted non-trins, why would we call them betrayers? Or are non-trins NOT Christian, and not spirit-filled and not pleasing to God, even though their only sin is not believing in a politics-driven speculative philosophy from the 4th century?
Again this is so elementary.
Is our life more Spirit-filled, happier, better in any way because we have convinced ourselves we have better doctrine? In what was is the non-trin experience of God ANY different from God's point of view?

All this rant to say: there are essentials of true Christian belief; trin or not-trin is not one of them. Understanding and obeyingwhat the scripture clearly teaches. IS essential

BTW - I'm NOT saying that good Christian portrayed above is me - far from it, I've got a long ways to go..
Rant over.
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Re: Essentials

Postby davo » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:11 pm

DaveB wrote:Ok, I will admit to having gotten myself a little worked up (I'm over it now :D ) over what I think is an asinine statement from Parry:

"Indeed, “evangelical” universalists regard Unitarianism as a fundamental betrayal of the gospel and the biblical revelation of God."

Ok… so what’s the greater context of this?

That asked… it is “IMO” an inherent problem of “evangelicalism” that no matter how broad one’s soteriological view might be e.g., “universalistic”, the evangelical mind-set by its very nature ALWAYS seems to fall prey to the “THEM / US” divide; sad to say. :?
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:33 pm

Parry's comment was linked to in this Forum's Statement of Faith.

I agree with your assessment.
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Re: Essentials

Postby maintenanceman » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:46 pm

DaveB

I understand.

davo wrote:
DaveB wrote:Ok, I will admit to having gotten myself a little worked up (I'm over it now :D ) over what I think is an asinine statement from Parry:

"Indeed, “evangelical” universalists regard Unitarianism as a fundamental betrayal of the gospel and the biblical revelation of God."

Ok… so what’s the greater context of this?

That asked… it is “IMO” an inherent problem of “evangelicalism” that no matter how broad one’s soteriological view might be e.g., “universalistic”, the evangelical mind-set by its very nature ALWAYS seems to fall prey to the “THEM / US” divide; sad to say. :?


David E.

Could you expound on the 'evangelical mind set you mention?

Thanks

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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:51 pm

Instead of saying 'asinine statement' in the OP, I should have said 'the content of the judgment itself is asinine."
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Re: Essentials

Postby davo » Wed Jan 20, 2016 7:44 pm

maintenanceman wrote:David E.

Could you expound on the 'evangelical mind set you mention?

By that Chad I mean the “formulaic” nature of escaping hell and reaching Heaven, demonstrated for example in the assumption that “you must make Jesus your personal Lord and Saviour” and again according to a pet formula to get to Heaven postmortem. There ISN’T a single NT text that says to do this. There IS an evangelical interpretation brought to the text and THEN an understanding given thereupon. However…

It was GOD who “MADE” appointed and set Jesus as ‘Lord of all’ (Acts 2:36) i.e., it didn’t and doesn’t require OUR vote of confidence (acceptance) to establish this… God did NOT consult us nor seek OUR permission to “make Jesus both Lord and Christ”. I’m all for “accepting Christ” BUT WE DON’T “make Him Lord” – He already is. There are of course benefits when we take and make this reality “personal” but that’s another story.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Bob Wilson » Wed Jan 20, 2016 9:40 pm

Dave,

Not personally being persuaded of Trinitarian formulations, I was the only moderator who contested using such non-Biblical language when we debated putting it in our site's doctrinal statement. But I am puzzled that you are so shocked that an "evangelical" would say that Unitarianism betrays their tradition's sense of the Biblical revelation. The Trinity and deity of Christ has been affirmed as a central Biblical basic by all branches of Christians East and West, by ecumenical movements, and the W.C.C., much less by evangelicals. Your certainty that it can't be seen as a doctrinally orthodox essential suggests to me that you are not much hanging out with historic evangelicals.

I have never gotten the impression that Robin judges non-Trinitarians as non-Christians, as lacking the Spirit, or that he would disagree that love is ultimate. I have always experienced him as humble and gracious. Your accusation that it is asinine for him to affirm the overwhelming evangelical consensus about the Trinity sounds at least as much of a judgmental rant as I have ever heard him deliver. Regardless of whether the label 'evangelical' fits or not, we Christians need to be more inclusive than that. I'm glad that you have a place to vent, but I don't think that to be assured that God embraces us (or that we have a "life pleasing to God"), we should need others to agree with our own formulations.

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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:01 pm

Thanks for your measured response, Bob.
I did rankle to think that, as Robin himself wrote, unitarian belief is - not an affront to a set of beliefs - but a betrayal of the very Gospel itself. And I repeat that I do think that the statement - not Robin himself ! whom I respect and have profited immensely from - is asinine, in its sense of 'senseless'. I'm not calling anyone an ass. But it is senseless to name as a BETRAYER OF THE GOSPEL someone who disagrees with an interpretation, not of scripture, but of Athanasius or whoever.

I myself am not a unitarian, nor am I strictly 'orthodox' - a term which means whatever a person wants it to mean. But neither would I call anyone a betrayer of the very gospel of Christ unless I knew that person, or that person had stated some grossly distorted moral position.

I won't be bullied, and calling me or anyone a betrayer of the Gospel - THAT is a rant.
Again: I'm not calling names. I'm pointing out a basic, fundamental problem in 'orthodox' attitude. I have fallen way way short of calling anyone a betrayer of the gospel.

I mean, which is the real rant?

I admire you Bob for your restraint, and no doubt I should not have used that one word 'asinine' though I did not mean it to apply to any person.
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:01 pm

Thanks for your measured response, Bob.
I did rankle to think that, as Robin himself wrote, unitarian belief is - not an affront to a set of beliefs - but a betrayal of the very Gospel itself. And I repeat that I do think that the statement - not Robin himself ! whom I respect and have profited immensely from - is asinine, in its sense of 'senseless'. I'm not calling anyone an ass. But it is senseless to name as a BETRAYER OF THE GOSPEL someone who disagrees with an interpretation, not of scripture, but of Athanasius or whoever.

I myself am not a unitarian, nor am I strictly 'orthodox' - a term which means whatever a person wants it to mean. But neither would I call anyone a betrayer of the very gospel of Christ unless I knew that person, or that person had stated some grossly distorted moral position.

I won't be bullied, and calling me or anyone a betrayer of the Gospel - THAT is a rant.
Again: I'm not calling names. I'm pointing out a basic, fundamental problem in 'orthodox' attitude. I have fallen way way short of calling anyone a betrayer of the gospel.

I mean, which is the real rant?

I admire you Bob for your restraint, and no doubt I should not have used that one word 'asinine' though I did not mean it to apply to any person.
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Wed Jan 20, 2016 10:55 pm

I'm going to ban myself from this forum for one week. I will accept pm's if the spirit moves you.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Eaglesway » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:31 am

Betrayal of the gospel is certainly strong language, but if thats how someone feels, so be it. Most evangelicals would consider the idea of an evangelical universalist an oxymoron at the very least..... but this is an evangelical universalist site.

For me, if I were to visit a "Pentecostal Universalist" site, I would expect to see certain foundations of pentecostalism expressed- but Pentecostals themselves would resent the attachment of their name to universalism.

Trying to dress the restoration of all things and ultimate universal reconciliation in orthodox costumery is a vain pursuit unless one is trying to appeal to orthodox believers. I have considered starting a "Fundamentalist Universalist" site- just so I could show fundamentalists that if the Bible is inerrant and inspired of God then the restoration of all things and ultimate universal reconciliation cannot be excised from the scriptures without denying their own premise, undercutting their own foundation, eviscerating their own paradigm and stumbling over their own stumbling stone.

The problem is when any doctrine gets elevated above the communion of saints who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and believe God raised Him from the dead, a sort of Gnosticism sets in, and certain esoteric concepts(that never seem esoteric to those who hold them) become the basis of fellowship and a circumcision of sorts.

Universalism is not a doctrine that will unify diverse believers. It is not the deepest foundation of the highest understanding(imo). Its milk. Paul didnt call certain Corinthians babes, and carnal, because they didnt understand the foundation doctrines. He called them babes because they were divided, and did not understand that their divisiveness was a violation and counterproductive to the purpose and mission of God in Christ.

Now that kinda sounds like a betrayal of the gospel.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Jonny95 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:26 am

It's a difficult one this because although you can argue that theoretical doctrines of God are not essential for salvation (which would be correct), you have to understand that for any particular group/denomination, there are going to be doctrines that they find jarring to hear someone deny. If a Trinitarian believes that Jesus is God, as well as the Father and the Spirit, then to hear someone not only deny that but actually affirm other basic doctrines of Jesus' life is inevitably going to be difficult to hear. It would probably be less 'harsh' to the heart to hear someone deny that Jesus even existed than it would be to say he existed, died and was raised from the dead and yet was not God. It's only natural for Trinitarians to react strongly to that, especially if they believe that the very word Christian requires at least a tacit belief in the divinity of Christ; that would also lead naturally to consequences on what they thought the gospel was - I mean, if we can all agree on something about the basis of the gospel, it's surely that Who God is is THE key part of it. Any fundamental disagreement about that (and the argument over whether Christ is part of the Godhead is definitely something of fundamental importance) will always lead to strong opinions either way.

I'd also add that Parry's statement is not strictly about Unitarians themselves - it's about Unitarianism. If you believe that Trinitarianism is a fundamental and clear doctrine "of the gospel and the biblical revelation of God", then I think it's perfectly understandable that you see Unitarianism as a betrayal of that. That's not to say that Unitarians cannot be saved or are being dishonest or immoral in their following of God or that a denial of the Trinity shows hatred towards God or anything like that. It's just to say that an intellectual belief of theirs is a false portrayal of the reality of God (or at least how Trinitarians see God).

However:
DaveB wrote:Or are non-trins NOT Christian, and not spirit-filled and not pleasing to God, even though their only sin is not believing in a politics-driven speculative philosophy from the 4th century?

That statement has basically undermined everything you've said in your OP. It's understandable you've got worked up about it but you cannot possibly complain about some Trinitarians' attitude towards a group like the Unitarians and then add in a pathetic, childish sentence like that. Accusations of intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy don't go down well if you're showing exactly the same attitude. We're all in a position of trying to understand Who God is and statements like that really don't help.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:02 am

See next post: :D
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Re: Essentials

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:03 am

Here's a good article on


Please note - as part of what I shared in Christians and Technology - I'm making a radical change in my life.

Image

I'm no longer using the IS.GD URL Shortener.

I am turning over a new leaf.

Image

Instead of using the URL shortener IS.GD, I've decided to pick one or two, that come up on page one of Google for "URL Shortener". So I will run with one of these - going forward:

    GOO.GL
    BIT.LY
    OW.LY
I'm sure some will be happy to see this radical change I'm making. But if I re-post old links already created - I'll run with IS.GD :lol:

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Re: Essentials

Postby Geoffrey » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:30 am

Truth is truth, regardless.

It is very important to know the truth. It is important to not believe false things.

It is even more important to live righteously.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:44 am

Geoffrey wrote:Truth is truth, regardless.

It is very important to know the truth. It is important to not believe false things.

It is even more important to live righteously.


Agreed. That's why you can read my detailed questions on IS.GD - defending it like Perry Mason - in Christians and Technology. And it is my civic duty, to educate everyone on what a false positive is. Like I've said before. Just because one or two say "God created evil" - doesn't make it truth. Or one or two - not in the top ten (and certainly NOT Google - by a long shot) - say they detected malware - doesn't make it truth. But I really don't want anyone dying of a heart attack, if they suffer a panic attack over IS.GD. :lol:

And to prove a point. Go to https://sitecheck.sucuri.net// - which was offered before as "proof" and put in the Google URL shortener https://goo.gl/. It's infected with malware. Explain to me how this is possible, given the money and talent at Google. Or should we question the company providing the information?
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Re: Essentials

Postby Bob Wilson » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:39 am

Dave B,

Thanks for your wonderful response and clarifications. I certainly don't think any ban is needed. I've always enjoyed your participation here, and yes, I can see how the language of betraying the Gospel can press our buttons. If I took it as "bullying" me toward a position, I would resent it too. Yet I'm afraid that the reality is that most evangelicals do see Christ's deity and the incarnation as a basic building block of the Gospel's story. So if we say that only the Father is God, it truly sounds to them that we have violated an essential.

My own bias is that what is crucial in traditional belief about Jesus, is to trust that in him we really find a trustworthy picture of God's character (that "God was in Christ reconciling the world," or as Jerzak argues in "A More Christ-like God," that God's nature is most clearly revealed as self-emptying love and goodness). Thus my preference was that we as an 'evangelical' site convey openness to all who want to argue beliefs on the basis of Scripture (such as universalism; even if their interpretations are not traditional). Therefore I argued with the other moderators for using Biblical terms and texts for Jesus, just as we did for every other affirmation in our creedal statement, and not philosophical concepts of later centuries.

All of them liked that language and were gracious to me, BUT vigorously insisted that since the Biblical terminology was "ambiguous," it was crucial to use creedal Trinitarian language and identify ourselves with historic orthodoxy. Part of this was because they thought anything less would raise red flags for the average conservative evangelical who we were inviting to consider a more universalist vision in Scripture. But much of it was clearly because they are more inclined than I to think that Scripture strongly backs up the Trinitarian formulation, and as I said, that that incarnational scenario is intrinsic to the Gospel message, and perhaps even essential to the mechanics of assured salvation.

Unfortunately I learned that if you and I concede that we are not "strictly orthodox," I have to expect many to say that my position 'betrays' evangelical interpretations of the Gospel. My impression is that Parry himself is broadening a bit beyond his initial claims to be classically evangelical (except for his U.R.). I'm not familiar with the context of his old statement here. I suspect it was in the context of the kind of debate I sketched above over language of an evangelical statement of doctrine, and reflected concern that questioning a classic incarnation not turn off his own traditional constituency to universalism, as opposed to making a judgmental claim about the status before God of others of us who interpret such things differently. I suspect it's a tricky balance to be The "evangelical" U.R. spokesman, and yet communicate as much openness as you and I would prefer. But hearing him at the recent Pasadena conference confirmed to me what an effective representative he is.

All the best to you,
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Re: Essentials

Postby Paidion » Thu Jan 21, 2016 10:45 am

Jonny95 wrote:
DaveB wrote:Or are non-trins NOT Christian, and not spirit-filled and not pleasing to God, even though their only sin is not believing in a politics-driven speculative philosophy from the 4th century?


That statement has basically undermined everything you've said in your OP. It's understandable you've got worked up about it but you cannot possibly complain about some Trinitarians' attitude towards a group like the Unitarians and then add in a pathetic, childish sentence like that.


Actually, I thought Dave's "pathetic, childish sentence" showed a great deal of insight.
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Thu Jan 21, 2016 12:33 pm

Thanks for the gracious responses, probably more than I deserve.

Jonny95 - I was not making a declaration that any trin has actually said so-and so - I was merely trying to point out that, if God blesses, loves is pleased with an individual, who are we to accuse them of the crime of betrayal?
I believe Hebrews 1:1-4 with all my heart. I don't think that, because I won't go further by adding the philosophical language of all-too-human councils to what the scripture plainly teaches (You, Father, are the only true God; God (the Father, obviously) was in Christ; one mediator, the man Christ Jesus - well we all know the drill) - because I do not add to the Hebrews statement and others with non-scriptural binding language, that I or anyone should be called BETRAYERS. That's all I'm saying.
My childish question was no more than a question - if I am a betrayer, then I am betraying not only the gospel, but Christ, correct? Is that correct??
It was not childish nor petulant - it had a point - to follow out to its logical extension the simple declaration that Unitarians (or anyone who is not 'us')? Whoever we are as a group?) is a betrayer.
That's it. I know it sounded bombastic, part of the reason being I'm trying to kick my dependence on depression meds, but putting the 'tone' aside, the content of my grievance is, I think, valid.
I am guilty of ignoring my own inner rules of posting before editing. I am sorry for the tone.
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Re: Essentials

Postby davo » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:11 pm


So I checked it out… and I’m thinking it’s probably a case of ‘horses for courses’ as in any dyed-in-the-wool “evangelical” infernalist would probably and happily say in-kind regarding “universalism”. Especially when the power of ‘orthodoxy’ (in religious circles) is as powerful as it is. It then comes down to how comfortable (internally secure) we are in our own (considered by others) heterodoxy… which at the end of the day is what EU is to most evangelicals; even though secretly many in their camp would love it to be true.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Bob Wilson » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:16 pm

Dave, I fear you are turning a commonplace verb for lack of doctrinal conformity into a noun intended as an epithet. Calling Parrry's statement asinine is not the same as expressing an intention to call him an asinine ass. Similarly, I doubt saying one formulation is a 'betrayal' of another doctrinal tradition, is the same as asserting an intention to call you Christ's "BETRAYER."

We need to assume the best about those with whom we enter into doctrinal debate, and not treat their rhetoric about their views as if it is personally directed epithets. If our relationship with God hung on agreeing or getting all our beliefs right, we'd all be in the soup. You are loved, and no one here wants to diminish you.
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:21 pm

Right-0, davo.
It's not an argument for or against trin or non-trin that concerns me. Both of those are matters of choice and conscience, and from what I've seen and heard from people in both camps - there is no difference at all in the work God is doing in their lives. It does not seem to hamper or bless one way or another, which way one chooses as to that doctrine.

Working on tone.....
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Re: Essentials

Postby davo » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:23 pm

Bob Wilson wrote:We need to assume the best about those with whom we enter into doctrinal debate, and not treat their rhetoric about their views as if it is personally directed epithets.

Great words Bob! :)
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:32 pm

Yes, good words as usual Bob.
I'm not waging a doctrinal war; to what end would I, since bright minds and sincere spirits have wrestled with and argued the issue for an age or more, seemingly. I've knocked my head against that wall, and I think have learned my lesson. :D

I was wrong to meet the harshness of the judgment with my own harshness of tone.
My content stands, however.

I love this Forum; it has its warts and all, but also plenty of strong lights and intelligence; and I owe a lot to the founders and admins and mods for investing their time and energy in this good work.

Still, the content stands; the tone not so much. :oops:
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Re: Essentials

Postby pilgrim » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:39 pm

DaveB wrote:Thanks for the gracious responses, probably more than I deserve.

Jonny95 - I was not making a declaration that any trin has actually said so-and so - I was merely trying to point out that, if God blesses, loves is pleased with an individual, who are we to accuse them of the crime of betrayal?


It seems clear to me that Judas betrayed Christ, I have no hesitation in saying that. Perhaps it is also true that I have betrayed Christ many times in my life by my sinful actions. Neither of those statements exclude the possibility (and to my mind certainty) that Christ loves both Judas and myself. Whether He is pleased with a particular belief I hold is an entirely different matter and is unknown to us.
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:44 pm

pilgrim wrote:Whether He is pleased with a particular belief I hold is an entirely different matter and is unknown to us.


Agreed.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:13 am

Speaking of essentials. This recent blog post reminds us of a spiritual Christian classic:


Remember when I said this earlier?:

And to prove a point. Go to https://sitecheck.sucuri.net// - which was offered before as "proof" and put in the Google URL shortener https://goo.gl/. It's infected with malware. Explain to me how this is possible, given the money and talent at Google. Or should we question the company providing the information?


And here is an interesting article regarding Sucuri, by a software firm:


And a PC World article on Virus Total:


How much money does Google have to spend? Look at this BBC article:


Image

And if you noticed I used OW.LY, BIT.LY and GOO.GL in this post, you win a high-five :lol:

Image
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:27 pm

This thread has provided some good grist for the philosophical mill.

If we can put aside the rancor and misunderstandings - and please, let's do that - I'd like to briefly discuss what I think is the fundamental problem, as I see it, with what I called the 'harsh judgment' - re Unitarians and betrayal.
This will NOT have a focus on persons, personalities, doctrines, nor an attack of any sort. High-toned all the way.

I want to suggest that the term 'betrayal' is generally perceived as a negative MORAL term. It would not normally be used where there had not been a pledge, a commitment, or an agreement that involved TRUST. Without those or comparable pledges, etc., there could not be betrayal.
I"Betrayal' is a term of moral opprobrium.

I think I'm on solid ground thus far.
Next, I observe that to differ in one's opinion does not normally carry the same moral burden as making a pledge. To differ, with justifiable reasons, is not essentially a value judgment. It is a recognition that an opinion that is made public, is open to public scrutiny, can be questioned openly and fairly, can also be rejected with no moral consequences. This was not true in Calvin's Geneva - the interpretation of scripture by the magistrate carried severe penalties for those who disagreed. We do not live in that Geneva.

So, in what cases generally can a group that considers itself 'orthodox' make a moral judgment concerning those who differ in opinion and belief from that particular orthodoxy? Well, in the cases of ethical breeches, of what God/society have declared to be 'wrong'; actions that have the character of damaging other people or society as a whole. I'm over-simplifying here, but keeping the kernel of truth intact, I trust.

The point is that a moral judgment of betrayal has to be made on the basis of an ethical breech, harmful to others, disobeying God.
It is my belief that the unfortunate label of 'betrayal' was laid upon a group that had committed NO ETHICAL breech.
Moral judgments are not made because of a difference of opinion; especially among people of good will, and intelligent people who have justifiable reasons for their dissidence.

My suggestion is that the Statement of Faith be amended to show a recognition of the above argument, and tolerance on both sides concerning this issue.

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Re: Essentials

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sat Jan 23, 2016 6:40 am

I think I've made this point before :!:. Why can't we use the Clint Eastwood method for settling doctrinal disputes :?: :lol:

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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Sat Jan 23, 2016 8:17 am

We could, I suppose, but this isn't at bottom a doctrinal dispute.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Bob Wilson » Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:28 am

Dave,

I've agreed with you that the term, betrayal, can be loaded, and come across as harsh. But when I review Parry's words in context, I don't see him intending to assert a "moral" judgment, or to censor those with other views, or even to apply betrayal as a verb to non-evangelicals. I read him to simply be using this term to say that he believes that non -Trinitarian theology itself is contrary to evangelical's tradition (which it is). His intention in that essay is not to make judgments on non-evangelicals, but to convince traditional evangelicals that many of their beliefs are compatible with embracing universalism. And even as a non-Trinitarian, I too would affirm that.

If the term "betrayal" appeared anywhere on our Statement of Faith page as a formal position, I too would find it problematic. But I don't see that it is there. Thus I only see this as an issue appropriate to raise with Robin. Any suggestion of placing formal language that opposes his, or of deleting his term betrayal, could sound like a request to censor another member. And I've long stood here for the widest possible tolerance for differing views and semantics on our site. So my own preference would be just to allow you both to state your views.

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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:40 am

Ok, Bob, if you insist, I will let calmer heads prevail!! :D

Bob Wilson wrote: I read him to simply be using this term to say that he believes that non -Trinitarian theology itself is contrary to evangelical's tradition (which it is).


No, I would have been happy had he said that.
But it was a "fundamental betrayal" - not of tradition - but of the Gospel itself and the scriptures. I'm not going to argue any further about it, but words matter, and those are the words he used. And though it is not a part of the SOF, it is directly linked to; and I think many on this forum would agree with what he wrote.

Anyway, this dead horse is safe from me kicking it any longer. Yay!!
Thanks for the thoughtful perspective.

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Re: Essentials

Postby Bob Wilson » Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:10 am

Yep, Dave, we may have exhausted this. But yes, the reality is that the evangelical tradition sees rejecting the deity of Christ as a "fundamental" contradiction of its' interpretation of "the Gospel and the Scriptures." And since that is all equivalent to them, of course many here would appreciate Parry's point.

What I might add, is my perception that the proportion here who holds this traditional view is lower than it used to be, with more who question such views finding a home here. I can only conjecture that the vocal nature of non-traditional views here may explain why the range of participation has noticeably declined. It seems to me that those of us who have progressed to a place that appreciates being able to challenge traditional evangelical beliefs and rhetoric, may have to wrestle with the effect our rhetoric and judgments have on a site that was founded on welcoming an evangelical stance. For me, the upshot is that all of us need to be secure enough to avoid expecting everyone to state things as we would prefer.
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:53 pm

Agreed.

The forum has changed in the few years I've been here. When I first arrived, there was an agnostic moderator that noone had trouble with (nor I), another moderator who voiced his very low opinion of scripture and who wrote that Jesus was "kinda cool, he guessed" - I'm just saying that things were more 'open' and even those who denied the gospel or did not consider scripture authoritative in any way as compared to the artistic consciousness, were more welcome than any opinion from a fellow believer that was contra strict evangelical orthodoxy.

And that is the thing I was pointing to.

But I think you are right to approach it the way you do. I'm looking around for a more comfortable fit of forum; perhaps that would help the viewership issue here, where I did not know it was falling off.

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Re: Essentials

Postby Jonny95 » Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:55 pm

DaveB wrote:Jonny95 - are we ok??

Of course :) It was nothing personal at all - I just thought it was a silly throwaway line that was a little unhelpful, that's all.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Paidion » Sat Jan 23, 2016 1:21 pm

Bob wrote:Yep, Dave, we may have exhausted this. But yes, the reality is that the evangelical tradition sees rejecting the deity of Christ as a "fundamental" contradiction of its' interpretation of "the Gospel and the Scriptures."


However, Bob, rejecting the deity of Christ is not a defining characteristic of a unitarian (except in the case the modern position of the Unitarian-Universalist Association).

Jesus Himself was a unitarian. He said:
And this is lasting life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. (John 17:3)


With these words, Jesus identified His Father as the ONLY true God, and with that little word "and" indicated Himself to be someone other than the only true God. Notwithstanding, Jesus was well aware of his deity as the Son of God.

Throughout the New Testament, the word "God" almost always refers to the Father alone, and NEVER to a Trinity.
In John 1:1, Jesus is called "God" not in the sense of being identified as the Father, but as being of divine essence (as also indicated in Heb 1:3, where Jesus is stated be be the exact imprint of the Father's essence).
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Re: Essentials

Postby Eaglesway » Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:28 pm

Personally, over 40 years as a believer, having spent 15 years in "ministry" among many different churches, I have met so many beautiful believers from every persuasion.

Modalists, Trintitarian Pentecostals and charismatics, I met Andrew Buzzard(Biblical Unitarian annihilationist author)- wonderful brother I disagree with heartily on several things) and spent a good bit of time in his home and taught at the Unitarian Bible College in Atlanta as a guest speaker and singer(even tho i was and am not a Biblical Unitarian), and I've even met a few Bi-nitarians who just really loved Jesus a lot. Catholic Charismatics that I met when I was teaching Sunday School in the Nazarene church(the only church I was ever a member of) got me kicked out of the Nazarene church when they laid hands on me and I got filled with the spirit and began to speak in tongues. Then they kicked me out because I didnt accept the doctrine of the Trinity LOL.

For all my studies and conversations with learned men and women as teachers or as opponents or as fellow explorers, there are still grey areas for me concerning the mystery of Deity and the exact form of the relationship between the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. And I have studied this with intense interest- not just for the truth of it, but also for the nature of the conflicts over it, which have been, historically- really abhorrent.

Basing soteriology in the understanding of the thing is mainly a Trinitarian and Modalist error. The sectarian odor of that is to me strong evidence that they each lie furthest from the truth in their understanding. I mean, it would be no different to me than basing soteriology on understanding the ages or the restoration of all things. Those who insist most strongly on eternal torment and annihilation are most likey to cast universalists into hell for heresy, because their understanding, being weakest, needs the most shoring up with the prohibitions of religious dominion.

In a similar way, I began to be encouraged about the dubious nature of the doctrine of eternal torment in "Hell" when I discovered its roots in Catholicism of the 4th and 5th centuries at the beginning of the Constantinian hedgemony- a dark and unscrupulous era of ambition and political infighting among apostate men with gnostic tendencies and a total disrespect for the priesthood of the believer. Thus began the quest that led me to UR and being an absolute heretic :)

At least the Hellists have the King James translation to blame somewhat- but Trinity occurs nowhere in the Bible and the process of making it seem like biblical theology involves a lot of theories, opinions and assumptions established as facts- and I say that as one who sees aspects of the trinitarian view as correct. But while in the ministry in a certain denomination I was told that if I didnt believe the Son was co-equal and co-eternal with the Father, I could not be ordained, to which I replied, "Well, I am convinced by several verses He is definitely not co-equal, and I just dont know for sure about the other thing- and I dont believe you do either."

But I think is it dissembling to say that the words "betrayal of the gospel" would not be heard as a bit of an ephithet by anyone holding a position towards which those words were spoken, because it is really only a betrayal of trinitarian theology, or evangelical tradition, which ranks nowhere near "the gospel" by any measure I can see, being the jaded old non-denominational independent I am :lol: .

I hate it when I hear such sectarian terminology used by anyone to describe brothers and sisters in Christ, washed in the blood, reconciled to God and walking in the same process of sanctification in which I am, though we may see things differently.

To me the only soteriological absolutes are Jesus, Son of YHWH, the one true living God, Born of a Virgin, Sinless and Obedient to the point of propitiatory death on a cross, Raised in bodily resurrection from the dead, exalted in the heavens as Lord of ALL, and submitted to as Lord by believers/disciples in love.....

But it could probably be reduced further to

But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11 As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”12 For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

To add some systematic theology on top that statement is, imo, nigh unto sacrilege.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Eaglesway » Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:40 pm

Another thing I've seen in my days of vanity, wandering under the sun among the sons of men ;)

When we get a revelation, we often already considered ourselves somewhere near the pinnacle of understanding and spiritual evolution, so we return with it to our tradition thinking..... if only I can get them to see this- then we will REALLY be something.

But in the case of the restoration of all things and the salvation of all, it is not advanced theology OR advanced spirituality. It is just another step in the restoration of the milk of the "elementary principles of the oracles of God" and the foundation doctrines spoken of hebrews 5 and 6.

Being from any tradition, and now having also the understanding of UR, is more a reason to tear down deeply into what we thought our firm foundations were, more than a reason to just cap off what we had like adding a dollup of whipped cream to a slightly melted sundae.

The axe is being laid to the roots of the trees, and for far deeper reasons than misunderstanding the Godhead or being wrong about the doctrines of "resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement". Christianity is falling into disrepair, not just because "as iniquity abounds the love of many is growing cold", but also because it is so far from Jesus, Peter, Paul, James and John.... so eaten up with tradition and fine points of systematic theologies that are fundamentally out of sync with "the mystery of His will, His kind intention which He purposed in Him, the administration suitable to the fulness of times, the gathering together of all things into one in Christ" as to be of an almost wholly opposing Spirit, simply bearing a few platitudes, laws and wearing Jesus stickers and t-shirts while totally missing what God is up to in the world.

IMO, at the core of that deeper understanding is the body of Christ, a Bride "coming down out of the heaven"s, and a thing many people think God is done with, but I think He is just starting to renew- the church.

How the word "essentials" doesnt call to mind more how we relate to one another in Christ as a body than exactly what we see about the fine lines of theological concepts sort of bogles my mind. The body of Christ is an "essential". Jesus and Paul taught tons on it.

"That you may be one even as I and the Father are one, that I am in the Father and the Father in Me and I in you...

" until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

These are things that I think are being ignored(speaking generally) because of unbelief and immaturity, not because God is really only building the ecclesia in the heavenlies in some spiritual way. I believe that as Jesus is the "bread of life coming down out of heaven" the Bride of Christ must "come down out of the heavens" and that is what the wedding supper of the Lamb is really all about. The invitations have been sent, but most are too important to come and celebrate the union of the Bride and the Lamb. They may not have enough oil in their vessels to follow the Voice in thru the night to get there anyway- but I believe this age must see the bride adorned in order to be fulfilled.

I might be totally wrong, and I guess time will tell. Personally, I dont think God is done with the book of Acts yet, and the chaos we see erupting everywhere is like the tohu and bohu into which He will speak, "Let there be light" in some awesome new way, and there will be light, and it will be good :) And I hope the separation of the waters, and the dry land, and the fruitfulness that will emerge from the mists is a clearer representation of the gospel message carried by a generation of children and disciples in more love, power and wisdom than the old wineskins can stand.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Paidion » Sat Jan 23, 2016 5:09 pm

Thank you, Eaglesway! Your last two posts are much appreciated!
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Re: Essentials

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:20 am

Perhaps the Unitarians and Universalists can find common ground - over humor. Let me inject some. :!: :lol:

Image

I found this interesting "essential" cartoon today :!: :D

Image

And an "essential" joke from Please don’t feed the fears ….. :D

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The ball is in your court to prove otherwise :D

Dan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business.

When he found out that he was going to inherit a fortune from his dying father, he decided he needed to find a wife with whom to share his wealth.

One day, at the gym, Dan spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.

"I may look like just an ordinary guy," he said to her, "But within the next few months my father will die and I will inherit £200 million". "I’ve got to go now," replied the woman, "But give me your phone number and I’ll call you."

To his surprise, a month later the woman called and said, "Congratulations Dan. I’m your new stepmother."


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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:15 am

The dog on the couch - too close to home :lol:
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Re: Essentials

Postby steve7150 » Sun Jan 24, 2016 8:46 am

Indeed, “evangelical” universalists regard Unitarianism as a fundamental betrayal of the gospel and the biblical revelation of God."








Sorry I have not had time to read this thread but is it possible Parry was not thinking of the Trinity but of the often Unitarian belief that everyone goes to heaven automatically no matter what they do or think, simply because they exist?
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:05 am

Hi Steve - the context was actually very specific concerning the Trinity.

Just to re-state, I admire Robin and am thankful for his contributions, written or otherwise.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Bob Wilson » Sun Jan 24, 2016 9:57 am

Paidion,

You appear to suggest that it should be obvious to Robin and I that Unitarianism affirms the "deity" of Christ. I have a doctorate in theology, but have usually perceived that the opposite was generally understood as the usual implication of affirming one is a Unitarian. If your definition is assumed, all my comments miss the mark. But I suspect that you're actually raising a problem with shared understanding of terms, wherein your assumption about Unitarianism is different from Robin's or even mine as a non-Trinitarian.
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Re: Essentials

Postby DaveB » Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:46 am

Not all non-trinitarians are Unitarians.

Sometimes when a term is used, as in Robin's statement, there is a danger of setting up a straw man - I'm not saying he did this. But the moniker "Unitarian" is ambiguous, and does not necessarily equal non-trin; i.e., there is a range of justifiable positions between Trinitarianism and Unitarianism; further, there is a range of justifiable positions within Trinitarianism itself, and within Unitarianism itself.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Holy-Fool-P-Zombie » Sun Jan 24, 2016 10:47 am

Bob Wilson wrote:Paidion,

You appear to suggest that it should be obvious to Robin and I that Unitarianism affirms the "deity" of Christ. I have a doctorate in theology, but have usually perceived that the opposite was generally understood as the usual implication of affirming one is a Unitarian. If your definition is assumed, all my comments miss the mark. But I suspect that you're actually raising a problem with shared understanding of terms, wherein your assumption about Unitarianism is different from Robin's or even mine as a non-Trinitarian.


Perhaps what is needed is the Wiki link to Unitarianism?
Traditional Unitarians maintain that Jesus of Nazareth is in some sense the "son" of God (as all humans are children of the Creator), but that he is not the one God himself. [2] They may believe that he was inspired by God in his moral teachings and can thus be considered a savior,[3] but all Unitarians perceive Christ as human rather than a Deity.


During my life shortly after college (actually, before entering graduate school and becoming a junior college academic bum, after graduate school), I hung out with the Unitarians for a few months. I think you can believe just about anything. The main emphasize is on social programs and behaving ethically.

Please note - my definition of academic bum is one who is a software engineering Nerd during the day. But then takes academic classes, at the local junior college, at night - just for the fun of it.

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Re: Essentials

Postby pilgrim » Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:24 pm

Eaglesway wrote:I hate it when I hear such sectarian terminology used by anyone to describe brothers and sisters in Christ, washed in the blood, reconciled to God and walking in the same process of sanctification in which I am, though we may see things differently.

To me the only soteriological absolutes are Jesus, Son of YHWH, the one true living God, Born of a Virgin, Sinless and Obedient to the point of propitiatory death on a cross, Raised in bodily resurrection from the dead, exalted in the heavens as Lord of ALL, and submitted to as Lord by believers/disciples in love.....

Great posts Eaglesway thankyou but just a query about the above. You see, don't even your soteriological absolutes draw a dividing line as strong as Parry's even though they dont use the same stark terminology? I mean, unless I am mistaken about full-preterism, it denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus and so these absolutes put at least 2 of our forum members on the wrong side of your dividing line?
Isn't it true that any beliefs, of any substance at least, will have a similar outcome as Parry's? Whilst we may disagree with where Parry draws the line, or with his terminology, it is surely true that a line has to be drawn and this does not contradict the eventual reconciliation of the whole of creation.

I am also interested in your point about:
I believe that as Jesus is the "bread of life coming down out of heaven" the Bride of Christ must "come down out of the heavens" and that is what the wedding supper of the Lamb is really all about.

I dont know if I understand you. Are you saying that the Bride of Christ consists of saints who have 'gone before' and who will, sometime in the future, return to earth with Christ? Your help on this would be much appreciated.
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Re: Essentials

Postby Eaglesway » Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:14 pm

Perhaps they(points of my my soteriology) do, altho i dont use them as dividing lines. I understand soteriology as determining who is "in Christ", and it need not be an inherently divisive term, which is why I would use the Romans 10 verses as a base line. The other things I believe come with that understanding, or awakening to Jesus Christ as Lord are, in my understanding, a minimal foundation for a believer that comes with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I am simply communicating my understanding of what I believe constitutes a good place to start- not judging everyone elses soteriology by mine. If I am criticizing anything, it is the tendency to extend soteriology out so far to include oblique doctrines(like the Trinity) in it.

I dont think the basic gospel story of Jesus life, death, burial, resurrection and Lordship is going that far- but as I write I am thinking it could be too far if you want to narrow it down to that basic revelation wherein a person becomes a 'Christian", which is defined by some as simply believing in Jesus.

But where does that stop? Certainly in the early church salvation included submission to the Lordship of the resurrected Christ and an awareness of His propitiatory death on the cross at a minimum.

"For so it pleased the Father to make all fulness dwell in Him and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself by the blood of His cross".... such a simple statement really.

I dont think a systematic doctrine on the godhead existed until a couple hundred years later, when the church began to define itself in terms of doctrinal knowledge rather than in terms of a communally experienced life in the Spirit.

I would hazard a guess that soteriology ought to accurately detect and define a reality of who God is including in the fellowship of His Son's life in this age. Who are the ecclesia. At what point is someone "saved"(out of Adam- into Christ).

I personally dont think understanding the godhead comes into that at all.

-----------------

I (personally me, not trying to teach anyone)believe the Bride is the assembled ecclesia of this age, described in Hebrews 12...

22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of [h]angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.

I believe the parables about the wedding supper and the foolish virgins etc, refer to the manifestation of the Bride in any given generation, as well as over time throughout this age. She is a tabernacle of God in the Spirit built of living stones. She is "coming down out of heaven" in the same way Jesus was the bread of life "coming down out of heaven". I think this age is about the first fruits, and the taking of a harvest that wwill be the seed stock of the ultimate harvest of all creation. Thats why the whole creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the children of God(imo).

Thats also why to me, setting up camp around a UR banner tacked onto any version of old wineskin is an error of understanding in terms of what we ought to be seeking out as ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, stewards of the mysteries of Christ, a kingdom of priests. Every priest is taken from among men to serve them in the things that pertain to God. YHWH separated Levi out to teach the children of Israel to come near to God in an acceptable way "so that I won't kill them". Paul talks about acceptable sacrifices in Romans 12, "For by the grace given unto me I exhort that no man esteem himself more highly than he ought- for to each is given a measure of faith"

Everywhere Paul teaches this element of recognizing the body as critical to maturity and fruitfulness. Now, it is like things have been bad so long, this whole essential area of doctrine has been excised from the work because, "Who wants to be accountable to a standard set as high as that"?

One even as I and the Father are one...

Until we all attain to the unity of faith, unto a mature man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of the Son of God...

Its easier to get in a club and just stay there, but thats not the Wedding Supper. Thats not what disciples have been invited to attend. All those who love Him are betrothed to Him in the Bride. Everyone who is hearing Him call is digging deep and getting ready, just in case. I may be sleeping when He calls (long period of inactivity) but if the Bride, "comes down out of heaven"- if some revival or outpouring begins, will I see it? Will I hear it? Will I have interceded for it? Would I leave my cushy life to go to it? :) These are questions I ask myself, lest the gospel erupt out of theory and into my reality and I run and hide from it when it does.

And if it does, will I miss what God is doing because I am more attached to my systematic theology that to His Spirit moving in a body of priestly brothers and sisters?

The house of Levi lost the priestly commission because they "failed to teach the difference between the holy and the profane" and it went to the house of Zadok. As a result the sons of Levi were left to "minister to the house" but "they cannot come nigh unto me". The sons of Zadok ministered in the house, in the presence, because"they did not forsake Me in the days of Israels apostasy".

Things are not ok because they have been a certain way for a long time. What is holy to God is what makes us one body, members of one another, as Paul said, "discerning the body"- the failure to do that was causing many to "sleep and be sick among you". Recognizing the body of Christ is essential. Everyone who is born of God loves the child born of Him.

Setting up "unreal" divisions is sectarianism and is unholy.

I read a lot about the historic moves of God. The great stories like the rise of Methodism, the early Quakers and Shakers and Friends. A fellow named Frank Bartholomew wrote a book about Azusa street, he was a part of it. If his testimony is true God did some marvelous things because of a few praying Christian intercessors, but the work was short lived; Quickly carved up between Trinitarians and Modalists and the water quit flowing as quickly as it had begun because they did not recognize what God is doing. Building a house of prayer for all people or something like that LOL.
Last edited by Eaglesway on Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Essentials

Postby davo » Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:28 pm

pilgrim wrote:I mean, unless I am mistaken about full-preterism, it denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus and so these absolutes put at least 2 of our forum members on the wrong side of your dividing line?

YES Pilgrim to my knowledge you are fully mistaken… I have yet to meet a full prêterist who “denies the bodily resurrection of Jesus” – as a pantelist myself I fully affirm the “the bodily resurrection of Jesus” – the body that went into the grave was very much the body that came out of the grave, albeit very much alive.

Further up the page Bob posted this comment…
If your definition is assumed, all my comments miss the mark.

Never a truer word spoken. Well said. :mrgreen:
“...the power and mercy of God’s grace is NOT limited to man’s ability to comprehend it...”
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Re: Essentials

Postby Eaglesway » Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:02 pm

If there are people in any given fellowship who fall outside of whatever my minimum soteriology is- it is no causes for alarm or disrespect. As a steward tho, one has to decide where to draw their lines for the safety of all participants and staying focused on a particular mission. I would draw certain lines, but in a forum my thought is that anything can be discussed, but not all things can be taught, and to hold the line between discussion and debate, because debate just becomes teaching in a ranting form. If this forum is a Trinitarian forum, which I recognize it as, I am not going to teach and debate the godhead or my view of it, but I would discuss it on a limited basis in a respectful way.The only thing, however, that I really ever discuss about it, is the unnecessary conflicts and exclusions that occur because of a dimly understood thing that is.
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