Recently, I had an email conversation with a brand new acquaintance; and during the course of that conversation, I happened to ask him if he had any interest in theology. Here is an excerpt from his response to that question:
I LOVE Jesus. He’s my man. I just don’t like the bible. The God of the old testament is a very angry violent god – can’t be the same being that created the universe. Anyone advanced enough to create a universe cannot possibly be that petty and cruel.
As it turns out, I have heard responses similar to the one above multiple times in the past. The basic belief is as follows:
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(This week I begin another series from my web site, dealing with Kingdom Living.)
The promises made to Abraham included land, material blessings, and protection. Those who are Christ’s now have the hope of partaking of those promises, and of ruling the world with Jesus Christ. That rule will be a perfect and righteous rule, and in order to enjoy all those things one would need to be given life in the Age To Come. Yet Jesus said that unless our righteousness exceeded the righteousness of the Pharisees, we would in no wise enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 5:20). This hearkens back to verses like Psalm 15:1-2, that the one who would dwell in God’s holy tabernacle is the one who works righteousness and speaks the truth in his heart.
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This weekend we have one of the biggest celebrated holidays of the year. Halloween is deeply routed in the american culture and has been for a very long time. Many fathers and mothers will dress their sons and daughters in costumes and go trick or treating with them while the other parent stays home to hand out candy to their neighbors children as they come to there door.
Before they know it, their children will not need them to help with the costumes nor need (or want) their supervision while they practice these Halloween traditions.
Plea’s from much christian leadership are viewed as legalistic, stubborn, extremist, etc. The arguments from the christians are old, repetitive and at this point dull.
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God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM” and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you ‘ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations.” Exodus 3:14 & 15 NASB
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Jesse Morrell is an open air preacher. He travels around and does evangelism at college campuses throughout the US. In addition he travels to churches and preaches indoors occasionally. He is only in his 20s and this sermon may have been done when he was still a teenager. It is called Uncompromising Holiness and it emphasizes the fact that as Christians we need to hunger and thirst for righteousness. We cannot allow ourselves to be satisfied with just being more moral than the world. Though I disagree with Jesse on a number of theological points (he believes in the Trinity and heaven at death), I found this particular sermon to be extraordinary. He clearly articulates the need for the church to be holy before God without compromise.
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In the New Testament, we are presented as God’s new Temple – where his spirit dwells. In the Old Testament God dwelt among his people in the the Tabernacle/Temple. This was a big deal for Israel. It meant that God was close to them, involved with them, and identified with them. It also meant that God saw what was going on intimately. God punished clearly and quickly when offense was made towards Him or His Temple. Think about Eli’s sons who offered strange fire, the earth swallowing up the families who stood against Moses in front of the Tabernacle. Think about Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning the Temple – it will be destroyed because of the unholiness present in it. God is angry when his Temple is defiled with unholiness and sin.
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Mount Sinai from Phinehas’ perspective (based on Exodus 19-20)
Phinehas had been dreaming about the time the Amalekites were fighting them with trumpets blaring and Moses standing on the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur holding up his arms. Suddenly he awoke with a start. As his senses slowly left the world of dreams and became tuned to reality, the sound of the trumpet did not fade. It was still dark when he sat up and rubbed his eyes. Who is blowing a trumpet? Why don’t they stop for breath? He made his way groggily to the opening of the tent and started to smell smoke. Now with speed, he divided the outer curtain and saw a number of other people staring with open mouths at something behind him. He knew from the bizarre look in their eyes that it was like nothing any of them had ever seen.
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some thoughts on Revelation 4
John the Apostle was blessed beyond measure to have a vision of the throne room of God in heaven. At first he saw a door standing open in heaven and then he heard a voice calling to him, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things.” Then in the blink of an eye he was in the spirit and was standing in the very throne room of heaven. His eyes first fell upon the throne itself and then quickly moved to the figure sitting upon it.
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It’s not always “fun” to be a Christian. Contrary to many popular beliefs, it’s actually not supposed to be that way. Christianity is supposed to be about holiness and God’s glory, not comfort zones and our happiness. True happiness is found in selflessness and hungering for and being filled by the Almighty. But here’s the thing – we aren’t born thinking of others. We don’t innately desire to be holy. We are born selfish and innately desiring to do evil. So the breaking/crucifying/dying of our flesh doesn’t happen with ease.
We hold on to our own desires and long for what will gratify ourselves. It’s easier that way. Perhaps you have battled staying like the world because you fear what would happen if people knew you were different?! And of course there is the challenge of letting go of the things we love–people, places and things. Changing the “way we’ve always done it.”
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There is no God like Yahweh. He is far superior to every god that man has contrived. In fact, when man creates a god to worship, that god has obvious character flaws. For example, consider this excerpt about Baal and his relations with the other Canaanite gods (taken from Encyclopedia Mythica)
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