All Praise to God for his Mercy, Grace and forgiveness!
http://thechristiannetwork.com/testimonies also shares powerful moving testimonies of God's Grace for our sins!
Christian commentary with biblical truth to help the church think.
(For another perspective of my journey in life to Christ saving me see: My take: On fear, faith and being a sinner)
Believing the Gospel is the most important event that has ever happened in my life. So I don’t want to take this lightly. I am not sure where to begin, but I do want the reader to understand the reality of my life both before and after becoming a Christian. My aim in this is that God be glorified, my brothers and sisters edified and the non-Christian persuaded by the testimony of the grace of God by this sinner.
I was raised in the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) which is now known as Community of Christ. The RLDS is not to be confused with the LDS or Mormons. If you’d like a better understanding of the differences Bill McKeever has a good article on this subject. I was brought up with the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and the KJV Bible. As well as believing that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I come from a line of RLDS from my great grandmother on my mother’s side down through all of the relatives on that side of the family. My father’s side didn’t really have any religious affiliation. Eventually, both of my parents were ordained as RLDS ministers.
I was baptized in the RLDS church at 8 years old. I was raised to believe that in order to go to heaven I had to be good, just about perfect it seemed, as well as be part of the one true church which was the RLDS church. I believed that if I said a cuss word or had a drop of alcohol that I was on my way to hell. I had no concept of salvation by grace through faith in Christ. I started falling away from the RLDS beliefs in high school. Once I started slipping with the language via cussing that was it. I figured that was it. I’m done and keep moving away from religion. Being a good person still sort of stuck with me and I still believed there was a god, some sort of god, but that was about it.
Through my teen years I had been involved in martial arts which I started at 14 years old. Martial Arts combined with not knowing God, started an attraction to meditation and eastern religions. There was still that element of being good and thinking I deserved more for my goodness. So I was looking for that mystical experience that would empower me and take me to that next plane of spirituality. All I really got were some empty, seemingly peaceful, quiet moments.
In college I still believed a god existed and that was about it. I lived in and loved the world. I was your typical lost college student living in and thoroughly enjoying the flesh. My life, in no particular order, was studying, partying and athletics. There’s no need to further describe my lifestyle. Just imagine a movie about college partying. However, I do cherish the memories of my friends from that time and still keep in touch with many of them.
After college I was still a blind man who didn’t know Jesus Christ. At this point, I just worked and partied though the partying was kept to a minimum. I had a different set of responsibilities now. This is where I started picking up self-help books and trying to better myself and get more out of life. I still could not find any satisfaction. I even joined the Masonic Lodge. I became a third degree Master Mason in the Blue Lodge, but never went any further. There was a certain brotherhood and connection in the Lodge. I believe you get that connection by taking the same blood oaths while half-dressed in front of everyone. That experience will certainly bind you to other Masons. Not that the Masonic Lodge promised me anything spiritually, but I was still unsatisfied.
Eventually, I moved to Atlanta, GA from the Savannah, GA area where I lived since I was 12. I also continued reading self-help and eastern thought types of books. I continued seeking satisfaction in partying and all that goes with it only to wake up weekend after weekend empty.
One day as I was driving around listening to talk radio stations that I enjoyed, I came upon a Christian talk station. I started listening to preaching on the radio and got curious. At around the same time I re-connected with my good friend Russ who was still living in Savannah. It had not been too long since Russ had come to faith in Christ. Russ and I went to middle school, high school and college together. After college we hung out together occasionally.
Let me give some background as to what happened at this time. One weekend when I was back in Savannah after re-connecting with Russ, we had a day on the golf course I won’t forget. Three of us who’d been friends since high school golfed that day. Russ was a Christian, the other guy and I was not. We two non-Christians were giving Russ a hard time about Christianity. Russ didn’t have the answers we wanted, but he was calm and listened to our objections. I cannot forget the simple answers Russ gave which were basically, “I can’t answer all of your questions right now. I just know what I believe and what the Bible says about Jesus.” I have always appreciated his perseverance on that day as we poked fun at him for his beliefs.
So as I was driving around listening to sermons on the radio I wanted to read the Bible, but didn’t have any direction. All I had was the RLDS Bible and I didn’t want that one. I had no local Christian friends so I called Russ and another friend Heath. They recommended that I get an NIV translation and read the book of John. I did that and continued listening to sermons on the radio for a few months afterwards.
Now, I lived alone with my closest Christian friend about 280 miles away. One night, sometime in August or Sept. in 2000, the Lord opened my heart and gave me eyes to see and ears to hear. While reading the Bible I was convicted that Jesus Christ was the way, the truth and the life. I was convicted of my sin before a Holy God and came to faith in Jesus Christ on the spot. I knelt down with tears in my eyes and prayed. I prayed a prayer of repentance and faith. I repented of my sins and thanked Jesus for taking my sins on the cross and for saving me. I can’t remember the exact date, but I remember feeling like the world had been lifted off of my shoulders. It was such a peace that I can’t describe. I then knew that Jesus Christ was my Lord and Savior. It was awesome!
Today, the Lord has blessed me with a wonderful wife and daughter. I understand that my life is not my own, but is lived for Jesus Christ.
That’s my testimony in a nutshell.
You can download an audio version if you like here: My Christian Testimony
As I wrap up let me briefly present the Gospel.
The Triune God who is holy and perfect made us in His image to love, know and obey Him. We break God’s law through sin by disobeying and turning away from Him. This condemns us to death and eternal punishment. In love, Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to us as a man, lived a sinless life keeping God’s law perfectly. He died on the cross for sinners, rising to life after three days defeating death, taking the punishment for sins. We are to turn from our sin to Jesus in faith that He took the punishment for our sins on the cross. This is the grace of God through which we are born-again into a new and eternal life with God.
That’s my brief explanation of the Gospel. I appreciate you listening and I hope it was edifying and uplifting.
Thank you Lord.
What is the Gospel? See below and read here.
1 Corinthians 15:1 Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and 4 that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures
All Praise to God for his Mercy, Grace and forgiveness!
http://thechristiannetwork.com/testimonies also shares powerful moving testimonies of God's Grace for our sins!
My name is John and I have a true story.
Please pray for me and my family to receive the necessary tools for me to complete God's will and for protection from the evil one, Satan.
One day I became tired of my life so I took a whole bunch of pills. I passed out in the restroom. The EMS showed up and rushed me to the emergency room. I died while in route to the hospital.
Next I remember, I was floating up and I could see the doctors working on my body. I thought about my family and it was like I was with them, they were crying and angry at me for taking mine own life. I was no longer in pain and was at peace. I felt connected to everything and I was at peace.
In an instant I was at the gates of hell standing on a ledge when two demons started towards me to pull me through the gates.
I knew that I would be in hell forever. The demons were very angry as they hate all people. As the demons closed in on me, I notice a bright light and heard my dead father’s voice. Dad said something that stopped the demons in their tracks. Although stopped, the demons were still trying to grab me. Dad turned towards me and said we needed to talk.
Dad said he had a message from God. Dad told me that God, Mother Mary and everyone in the family were angry and ashamed of me. He told me that good deeds please God but when you commit sins it angers God. The reason I was getting a second chance was because of all the good deeds I had done helping people. If not for that I the demons would have taken me through the gates of hell. Hell is a very painful place. The fires of hell are never quenched. Dad told me I was very lucky very few people get a second chance.
Dad told me that I would have to change what I had been doing. I had to quit drinking, doing drugs and stop having sex with married women. One sin leads to the next. I needed to go to church and start praying for the strength to change my ways.
Dad told me that if you kill yourself you go to hell forever, no exceptions. I asked him what if you are in battle and you kill 6 of your enemies and save the seventh bullet for yourself? He said “no exceptions you will go to hell. It is not your life to take it is Gods life. God is the one that gave you life and it is His to take not yours”.
Dad told me to go back and tell people this story. I told him they (people) won’t listen and will think I am a nut! He said “a lot of them will but some people will take it to heart. The ones that laugh and don’t want to hear it are the ones that need to be prayed for”.
I was told to do this as soon as possible as there is not much time left, God is getting tired. I tried to get out of this by telling my dad that there was someone better for this job than me. I am a drunk and druggie; I can’t read, write or spell very well. Dad told me that God wants me to tell this story. The people I tell will tell other people and before it is all said and done a lot of people will be saved and the ones that laugh or don’t want to hear it we need to pray for them”.
Dad then disappeared and returned to heaven. I got back in my body. I should have started telling my story immediately to everyone, but I did not. I only told a few people about it. The reason I did not do this was out of fear that people would think of me as a nut and laugh.
The reason I am doing this now is because I promised my mother on her death bed that I would honor God and tell my story and that my time is running out.
The bottom line is that we must change. Ask God for forgiveness and you will be forgiven unless you take your own life. If you commit suicide you will go to hell.
Please pass my story on as it just might save some one’s life. In the last seven years five friends of mine have committed suicide without my knowledge. Had I taken the time to tell them my story it could have changed this sad outcome. On another occasion a friend asked me to tell her my story, but instead of taking the time to tell her my story I told her that I would tell her in the morning because she was cutting into my beer time. I postponed telling her my story even though she offered me a Styrofoam cup for my beer. The next day I had a hangover so I didn’t show up. On the following day I went to her store and I found out that she committed suicide the night before.
I am in a fight for my soul. I thank you for your time and consideration and will carry each and every one of you in my prayers.
My soul is far more valuable than any material possession.
Finally, I would like to remind you that no response is necessary and no donations please.
This is for God who is merciful, loving, compassionate and just.
Mark, wonderful testimony, thank you for sharing! It always amazes me how our Lord knows just what it takes to break, shake and wake each of us. He knows where we have to be and where we have to go all the days of our life. Each life we touch is HIS doing and for HIS glory! Praise HIM!!
I acknowledged the Lords call 38 years ago and have been driven to understand end time events from my born again infancy. I have learned many things about many subjects over the years but a few burn brightly day by day....
First the Bible IS the perfect word of God, if we have questions, the answers are there if we will read and seek HIS answers.
Second the FATHER, LORD and HOLY Spirit are the author(s) of truth. If it is truth we seek, we need to turn to the BIble to find it, not men. We need to stay in HIS word constanly for it is the food and drink we need to thrive and grow and come to know all truth. The FATHER, LORD and HOLY Spirit can not lie. If we search the scriptures on any given subject His word will prove out the truth and will help us to know what teachings are not Biblical.
So much falseness all around us, Satan is working hard with his deceptions. We need to absorb His word like a thirsty sponge and always be ready to give an answer for what we believe, no matter how many years we've been with the Lord! 'Out of the mouth of babes comes perfect praise'!
If we never have another word pass between us on this side of eternity.... my heartfelt blessings to you and yours as you seek and grow in the Lord. Until we kneel in front of our Lord, crying HOLY HOLY HOLY!!!!!
Yours in Christ,
Since I knew you in college, I know how far you have come in your walk with God. I am always amazed at how God works in other's lives. During my senior year of high school I was headed down the wrong path as well. I partied with the best of them, including you. When I came back from Savannah after my last visit with you, I got my own apartment, a full-time job and began college. I had a friend who would ask me EVERY week to go to church with her on Sunday and I always said no. Then one Saturday night I was up on the mountain fourwheeling and drinking with some "friends" when the truck flipped and rolled a couple of times. Once the truck stopped, we crawled out of the upside down truck. The cab was as flat as a pancake and lying on its top. There were four of us in this truck and we all crawled out, unharmed. As I sat there looking at the wrecked truck and had sobered up real fast, I realized then that God had a better plan for me. i was in the wrong place and needed to get out. So that very next morning I was in church with that friend that asked me every week to go with her and have been there ever since. That is where I met my husband and we were married when I was 20, so we have been together nearly 17 years now. We have two beautiful daughters and are all still very active Christians. Thanks for sharing your testimony, hope you enjoy mine.
I love to hear testimonies of what God has done for people as he has drawn them to Himself. You know, I am sure,that very few people come to Christ from your kind of background.
I can remember the dark and ugly hole in me that I could never fill up until the Hound of Heaven caught and saved me and filled my life with Himself.
God bless you as you work through seminary.
I should have also included
"but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." Hebrews 1:2-3a
Christ is clearly the means through whom the Father performed creation, and Christ is the sustainer of the universe as well.
Also, in my last comment I was probablly amiss in stating "eternity past", since eternity by definition knows no past nor future. Suffice it to say that Christ is eternal, alive forever, one Person of the blessed immutable Trinity.
I completely agree that the text states that all of creation came through Christ via the Father. I am reiterating this fact because I do not want anyone thinking otherwise.
As I have stated above, in relation to time Christ is eternal. In relation to the Father, He was created, thus having a beginning. We do agree that he has not end.
I forgot to thank you for your time Brother. I do enjoy these conversations. Believe it or not these debates sharpen my biblical knowledge and understanding. The different perspective gives me much to think and pray on.
I thank God for you and others who hold true to our' Savior Jesus Christ.
God bless and good night.
your brother in Christ,
I'm not sure if you are denying that Jesus the Son had a role in creation, but consider Col 1:16, speaking of the Son, "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him."
Regarding "from the beginning" vs. eternity, how can you distinguish the two? Christ existed before all things, and thus we get into eternity past. Are you suggesting there was a point in time in a timeless eternity where Christ was brought forth?
2 Tim 1:9 speaks of God, "who has saved us and called with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began." I believe it is safe to associate the beginning of time with that of creation, of which Christ was before and in fact intimately involved in.
When Jesus says "Before Abraham was, I AM," do you not see His claim to an eternal existance, in fact claiming the same eternality understood by the Jews as belonging to God?
Though He entered our world and for a time became likened to us (Phil 2:5-8), He exists and reigns beyond time and space.
No I would never deny Christ had His' hand in all of creation, we have no argument here.
The issue of eternity, we need to settle what you and I deem as eternity. If you mean before time, than I agree with you. But I do not understand eternity as in relation to time, because it exists outside of time. Christ said, (Rev 1:8)"For he saith, I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty." What is he a beginning and ending to? I say creation amongst other things. Once Christ comes back and throws Satan and hell into the lake of fire, we will all be eternal in Christ, with no end. But the Father has no beginning or end. Christ is His' only begotten Son. Can a Son be simultaneously as the Father is? He said, let us create them in our' image. I know of no man that is the same age as his father.
Again, time is only for you and I. God communicates to us through what we understand, but He and His' Son exist outside of those constraints. Did Christ give all honor to God who was in Heaven when he was here? Why is that? Because he honors the Father.
11 Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it; I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their hosts have I commanded.
If you notice the Lord (Christ) is being referenced in relation to His' Maker (Father). You can see the difference because it is capitalized referring to a proper noun not an adjective describing Christ. This makes him have a beginning, not eternal in relation to no beginning. He is eternal in regards to having no end.
I hope this clears up my understanding.
Uh, Shaun. You said The problem that arises with yours' and others claims that Jesus Christ is both the Father and the Son...
I didn't claim that. That position would be anti-Trinitarian, non-Christianity. I've even written against that as a form of modalism. I'm still removing comments from this thread soon. But please don't accuse me of holding to a heresy such as the Father and Jesus being the same Person.
I am sorry for the misunderstanding, but you said, "The Gospel of John (ESV) states "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made." This would mean that Jesus created Himself. Nor was Jesus was created by the Father. Jesus is eternal and uncreated unlike Satan."
God the Father is the creator. The Son was with the Father from the begining, not eternally. This is something you have injected into the scripture. If you could provide me with one scripture where the Son says he is eternal I would be quite interested. Because of this issue many people have had a difficult time separating fact from supposition.
You may not support modalism, but your rhetoric confuses one to believe you do.
I look forward to your comments, and let me also know where a proper place to dig into the scripture on this issue would suit you.
I agree with you regarding the gravity of any discussions of God.
I need to be brief right now, but there has been much discussion by theologians and even bloggers about whether John 3:16 infers the reality of a universal atonement - of Christ dying for every individual who ever lived. I am among those who believe it does not. The context and the consideration of the whole counsel of scripture tell me otherwise. I hope to post a summary of John Owen's exposition of that verse on StrangeBaptistFire in the near future.
Regarding the other issue, I am not a Roman Catholic either. I am not very concerned about Constantine's status. Yet I would think it folly to disregard the rich insights of many early church leaders and teachers who were gifted of God to soundly articulate biblical doctrine. The word Trinity is not included in scripture, but yet we have so much within the context of the Bible to show us that the Father is God, the Son (Christ Jesus) is God, the Spirit is God, and God is One. One in essence, yet three disctinct Persons.
Wait a minute, Darrin. I think we might agree here. However, to be respectful to the context of this thread as Mark has stated, we may need to move this discussion elsewhere.
Let me know where you would like to go within this site, as I am unfamiliar with the structure.
I look forward to continuing this dialogue with you and Mark
Christ's sacrifice was for the whole world; John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. But it is for the individual to choose whether or not to accept it; 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already.
You said, "On the Trinity, Christian doctrine is actually very clear. The Council of Nicaea in the 4th century carefully addressed and articulated the doctrine of the Son's relation to the Father, and within the following century the church developed, from scripture, a solid Trinitarian doctrine." I would disagree with this statement, for a couple of reasons. One I am not a Catholic, two Constantine was a heretic, and three the Bible says otherwise. I will discuss and argue on the merits of the first 2, but the last I will only provide you with scriptural references if you choose to ask. I do not believe that man can completely understand the nature of God in his temporal form, to do so is folly, To debate it is futile.
As I have told Mark, I enjoy the back-and-forth as long as it stays kind and loving. When it departs from a good path, I will wish you well. I also ask that these conversations stay within the confines of prayer, we are after all discussing God.
I look forward to your reply.
Christ's sacrifice was given for those to whom it applies, which are those whom He saves, by grace through faith, chosen by God from all eternity. It was for His sheep, His bride, His children, His body - the church of believers, that He died. This should be plain.
On the Trinity, Christian doctrine is actually very clear. The Council of Nicaea in the 4th century carefully addressed and articulated the doctrine of the Son's relation to the Father, and within the following century the church developed, from scripture, a solid Trinitarian doctrine. The Council of Chalcedon in the 5th century stated the doctrine of Christ as truly God and truly man. The doctrine of the Trinity was also affirmed in several other ecumenical councils. These articulations of truth by the early Christian church were, of course, largely motivated to counter the heresies of the day, thus preserving the truth of the gospel.
I take this conversation very seriously. Am I a Mormon, no I am a follower of Christ and I accept both the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God, a flawed human being that sought out His' council above all.
I understand your frustration with the facts. You have been led to believe things about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon that is not true. Let us remove some of the more prominent fallacies the Christian "main stream" have said we believe
36 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none: For I, the Lord God, delighteth in the chastity of women.
In the Times and Seasons (Church Publication) Thursday, February 1, 1844 a notice was written by Joseph Smith, and his' brother Hyrum. This notice is charging a man by the name of Hiram Brown for preaching "Polygamy, and other false and corrupt doctrines, in the county of Lapeer, state of Michigan."
Celestial Marriage does not exist, and never was preached by Joseph Smith, and is no where to be found in the "original" text of the Book of Mormon.
I belong to the Restoration Branches of the Church of Christ, which hold to the original doctrine restored by the Lord through His' servant Joseph Smith, Prophet and President of the Church of Christ that was established in April, 1831. I do not proclaim this because I want to endorse a Church, I proclaim this because I am here doing the Lord's work, not "playing games".
Please let me know if you have any other questions dear brother, but before you do please answer the question that I have posted in the last 2 comments I have made. How did you come to the conclusion that the Book of Mormon was a work of fiction, written by Joseph Smith Jr.
I hope that everything I have stated you consider not only scriptually, but prayerfully.
Peace and God bless brother,
My conclusion is based on the fact that I do not consider Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God. Why do you keep calling me brother? Do you accept Protestants as holding to the same faith as you?
Since you are a member of another Joesph Smith break-off I have no idea what exactly you believe. The reason I asked above about Jesus and Lucifer is because of something I quoted from an LDS member in this post.
We do not believe that God the Father and Satan are brothers. We believe that Jehovah (Jesus Christ, the Son of God) and Lucifer were spirit brothers. Lucifer (son of the morning) is our spirit brother who fell from heaven for rebellion at the grand heavenly council, where we were present and “shouted for joy” and overcame Satan by our love, faith, and testimony for Christ.
This does not line-up with Christian doctrine. The person quoted also said that LDS do not hold to the Christian view of the Trinity. Again, I'm not sure where you stand exactly.
I don't have much interest in arguing back and forth that which I'm not exactly sure I'm conversing about. I'm a Christian. A confession I hold to just fine is the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. I don't think any Christian has any trouble with Who God is and His way of salvation as described in this document.
I call any person who accepts Jesus Christ as his' personal savior, brother but if this offends you then I am sorry. I will refrain from doing so from now on.
You may not want to consider him a Prophet, many did not consider Noah one either. They actually bore false witness against him, and laughed and mocked him. But in the end they drown.
You said, "My conclusion is based on the fact that I do not consider Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God." This is not a fact, it is conjecture. Facts are based by physical evidence, not by a thought or a feeling. I do not mean to stir you to anger Mark, just to get you to look at the facts before you make statements about the Book of Mormon, or Joseph Smith Jr.
I used several scriptures that should have made you realize how much alike we are, rather than how different we are. Instead, you decided to choose a topic that even Theologians say cannot be completely understood (Trinity). We could go back-and-forth for hours on who is right, but in the end it is not a salvation issue, is it? Christian doctrine is not clear on the Trinity, research it. The honest ones will admit to this. FYI - The word "Trinity" is not even in the Bible.
I have been clear about my beliefs, they are stated in the quoted scriptures. I use scriptures to base my Faith on that way devisive individuals cannot twist my words. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God. He died for you and I that we might be free from the sins of our fathers. I pray in His' name for repentence because I am a sinner, and my soul would surely be lost if it wasn't for God's grace. Amen.
I pray that your heart softens, and you realize that Christ's sacrifice was not just for those you define as Christians. I thank you for your time.
InChrist with love,
Please forgive me for my misunderstanding, as you know it is quite easy to misinterpret an individual's response without the advantage of inflection.
The problem that arises with yours' and others claims that Jesus Christ is both the Father and the Son does not harmonize with scripture. I will give you 10 scriptural references to support this statement.
For the record, God the Father is the creator, Jesus Christ is the Father's only begotten Son. They are both of one mind, body and Spirit. Do not confuse body as temporal, it is the same that God wants from the Church; a single body of one heart, mind, and spirit. Full of individual personnages.
KJV Genesis 1:26 "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness".
-To whom was God speaking?
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son"
- Why not say he gave himself?
John 17:11 "Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
- If you are correct, and the Father is the Son, and vice-versa is Jesus actually asking the Father that we physically become one? My answer is no, he wants us to be unified.
John 5:43 "I am come in my Father's name"
Isn't he basically saying that he has come with His Father's authority? Not as His Father.
Matthew 16:16-17 "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.17 - And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon bar Jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
Jesus says the father is in heaven here, yet Jesus is talking to Peter on earth. Could you explain that?
Luke 2:52 "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" .
Luke 2:49 "I must be about my Father's business" .
Why not, my business?
John 10:37 "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not"
"As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you" (John 20:21).
Is He sending His disciples as Jesus Christ? Not in my understanding.
Luke 23:47 "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit" .
I really would have liked not to get in this debate because it is disunity. I do not think we are to argue over these issues, but concentrate on becoming servants. However your claim is not backed scripturally, because nobody can harmonize the scriptures I have provided with your claim of God the Father, and Jesus Christ being one personnage.
People aught be aware that we will be judged by our own understanding of the scriptures. Consider other peoples thoughts, but follow it up by mighty prayer and study. We are responsible for our own salvation.
I hope you consider these thoughts.
respectfully in Christ,
I'm sorry, I thought you had left. Here's what I'm going to do. First, I am going to shortly remove most of the comments from this page. My testimony page is not put here to get into debates like this.
Next, when time allows I will start a separate post concerning some of these issues.
Now, my mentioning that the religion from which you come is a sect of those who believe Joseph Smith a prophet was not meant to be inflammatory. It was meant to say that since I am not familiar with your particular branch of RLDS I'm not exactly sure where you stand concerning certain "Mormon" beliefs.
Thanks for your long list of baptists, but all you had to do is see my Me? page and you would see that I belong to a a Southern Baptist church. Being a baptist does not necessarily mean one belongs to a certain denomination. Normally, being a baptist means one is a Christian belonging to a baptist church that practices believers baptism as opposed to infant baptism.
Also, we are divided. Even your question shows as much Merely for dialogue though, if God the Father created Jesus Christ, and Satan what would you call them? The Bible does say that God created all things in Heaven and Earth!
The Gospel of John (ESV) states "1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made."
This would mean that Jesus created Himself. Nor was Jesus was created by the Father. Jesus is eternal and uncreated unlike Satan.
Joseph Smith Jr, and many others believe that Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of man, who died for our' sins. Christ, a perfect vessel layed down His' life to reconcile the Father's sinful children. This was so that they may receive salvation from damnation.
He was crucified in Golgatha, approximately 2000+ years ago.
If the above criteria does not fit into your definition of who Jesus is, then you are right we do have a different savior. I am not aware of any other historical figure that endured such things.
Paul did not "anathematize" the Galatians, he chastised the ones who were being led astray. The ones that believed that they could be saved by works, which we already agree is not possible. Anathema = a detested person; "he is an anathema to me" ; Chastise = To reduce to order or obedience; to correct or purify; to free from faults or excesses. The Lord loves all of His' creation, and Paul, a servant would not detest anyone if he is truly called of God.
I will not argue that Christ, and Satan are brothers because it is inconsequential. Satan is lost by his choice. Merely for dialogue though, if God the Father created Jesus Christ, and Satan what would you call them? The Bible does say that God created all things in Heaven and Earth!
The council belief seems to be from a lot of extrapolation, but I am certain I have not heard, or read everything God has spoken to His children. Because it does not go against the Spirit of the word of God I will not deny it.
You said, "
Since you are a member of another Joesph Smith break-off I have no idea what exactly you believe." This statement seems a little inflamatory, don't you think? You are a Baptist, as you stated earlier correct? If you are do you have any idea how many Baptist factions there are? Here are the ones I found:
* West Africa
o Ghana Baptist Convention
o Nigerian Baptist Convention
o Sierra Leone Baptist Convention
o National Baptist Convention, Nigeria
* Southern Africa
o African Baptist Assembly of Malawi, Inc.
o African United Baptist Church
o Baptist Association of South Africa
o Baptist Bible Church of Madagascar (Fiangonana Batista Biblika eto Madagasikara)
o Baptist Convention of Angola (Convençao Baptista de Angola)
o Baptist Convention of Zambia
o Baptist Convention of South Africa (BCSA)
o Baptist Evangelical Association of Madagascar (Association des Eglises Evangéliques Baptistes de Madagascar)
o Baptist Fellowship of Zambia
o Baptist Union of Southern Africa
o Baptist Union of Zambia
o Union of Baptist Churches of Mozambique (Igreja Uniao Baptista de Moçambique)
* Central Africa
o Association of Baptist Churches of Chad
o Baptist Churches of the Central African Republic (Églises Baptistes de la RCA)
o Baptist Community of Western Zaire (Communauté Baptiste du Zaire Ouest)
o Baptist Community of the Zaire River (Communauté Baptiste du Flueve Zaire)
* Regional Bodies
o All-Africa Baptist Fellowship
 Asia and Oceania
* East Asia
o Baptist Convention of Hong Kong
o Gospel Baptist Association (Fukuin Baputesuto Kyōdan)
o Japan Baptist Association (Nippon Baputesuto Rengō)
o Japan Baptist Convention (Nippon Baputesuto Renmei)
o Baptist Union of Australia
o Baptist Union of New Zealand
o Australasian Conference of Seventh Day Baptists
o Association of Seventh Day Baptists (Australia)
o Baptist Union of Papua New Guinea
o Marianas Association of General Baptists
o Solomons Baptist Association
* Southeast Asia
o Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches in the Philippines
o Baptist Conference of the Philippines
o Cambodian Baptist Convention
o Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches
o Convention of Visayas and Mindanao Southern Baptist Churches
o Luzon Convention of Southern Baptist Churches
o Malaysia Baptist Convention
o Myanmar Baptist Convention
o Philippine Chinese Baptist Convention
o Singapore Baptist Convention
o Union of Indonesian Baptist Churches (Gabungan Gereja Baptis Indonesia)
o Ao Baptist Arogo Mungdang (Ao Baptist Churches Convention)
o Apatani Christian Fellowship
o Assam Baptist Convention
o Baptist Christian Association
o Baptist Church of Mizoram
o Baptist Union of North India
o Bengal Baptist Fellowship
o Bengal Orissa Bihar Baptist Convention
o Council of Baptist Churches in Northeast India
o Convention of Baptist Churches of the Northern Circars
o Evangelical Baptist Convention of India
o Garo Baptist Convention
o Gospel Association of India
o India Association of General Baptists
o Karbi Anglong Baptist Convention
o Karnataka Baptist Convention
o Lower Assam Baptist Union
o Maharashtra Baptist Society
o Manipur Baptist Convention
o Nagaland Baptist Church Council
o North Bank Baptist Christian Association
o Orissa Baptist Evangelical Crusade
o Rabha Baptist Church Union
o Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches
o Separate Baptists in Christ
o Seventh Day Baptist Church
o Tamil Baptist Churches
o Tripura Baptist Christian Union of India
* Asia Pacific Baptist Federation (formerly Asian Baptist Federation)
 Europe and Eurasia
* Regional Bodies
o Association of Grace Baptist Churches (South East) 
o Association of Grace Baptist Churches (East Anglia) 
o Northern Region (Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland)
o Southern Region (Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland)
* Europe & Eurasia
o Albanian Baptist Union
o Association of Independent Evangelical Baptists of Spain
o Baptist Union of Austria
o Baptist Church in Bosnia and Herzegovina
o Baptist Union of Bulgaria
o Baptist Union of Croatia
o Baptist Union in the Czech Republic
o Baptist Union of Denmark
o Baptist Union of Hungary
o Baptist Union of Italy 
o Baptist Union of Kazakhstan
o Baptist Union of Poland
o Baptist Union of Romania
o Baptist Union of Sweden
o Oerebro Charismatic Baptist Interlink New Life Mission
o Brotherhood of Baptist Churches (Broederschap van Baptistengemeenten)
o Brotherhood of Independent Baptist Churches and Ministries of Ukraine
o Brotherly Union of Baptists in Slovakia
o Convention of Baptists in Portugal
o Convention of the Hungarian Baptist Churches of Romania
o Evangelical Baptist Church of Georgia
o Evangelical Reformed Baptist Churches in Italy Chiese evangeliche riformate battiste in Italia (CERBI)
o Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches of France
o Finnish Baptist Union
o Independent Baptist Federation (Federación de Iglesias Evangélicas Independientes de España)
o Independent Baptist Fellowship (Comuniôn Bautista Independiente)
o Norwegian Baptist Union
o Republic of Ireland
+ Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland (ABC/ABCi/ABCI)
o Swedish-Speaking Baptist Union of Finland
o Swiss Baptist Union
o The All-Ukrainian Union of Associations of Evangelical Christians-Baptists
o Union of Evangelical Baptist Communities of Lithuania 
o Ukrainian Baptist Union 
o The Union of Evangelical Christian Baptist Churches in the Republic of Belarus
o Union of Baptists in Belgium
o Union of the Baptist Christians in the Republic of Macedonia
o Union of Baptist Churches in Serbia
o Union of Baptist Churches in the Netherlands
o Union of Baptist Churches in Latvia
o Union of Baptist Churches in the Republic of Slovenia
o Union of Baptist churches of Saint-Petersburg and Leningrad 
o Union of Christian Evangelical Baptist Churches of Moldova
o Union of Evangelical Baptists of Spain
o Union of Evangelical Christian and Baptist Churches of Estonia
o Union of Evangelical Christian Baptist Churches of Armenia
o Union of Evangelical Christian Baptists of Azerbaijan
o Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of Kyrgyzstan
o Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of Russia
o Union of Evangelical Christians-Baptists of Yugoslavia
o Union of Evangelical Free Church Congregations in Germany
o United Kingdom
+ Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland (ABC/ABCi/ABCI)
+ Association of Grace Baptist Churches
+ Baptist Union of Great Britain
+ Baptist Union of Scotland
+ Baptist Union of Wales
+ Grace Baptist Assembly
+ Old Baptist Union
+ Strict Baptists
o Seventh Day Baptists in the Netherlands 
* Middle East
o Association of Baptist Churches in Israel
o Egyptian Baptist Convention
o Jordan Baptist Convention
o Lebanese Baptist Convention
o Syrian Baptist Convention
* Regional bodies
o European Baptist Federation
o International Baptist Convention
 The Caribbean
o Barbados Baptist Convention
o Spiritual Baptist
o Baptist Convention of Eastern Cuba (Convención Bautista de Cuba Oriental)(American Baptist Churches)
o Baptist Convention of Western Cuba (Convención Bautista de Cuba Occidental)(Southern Baptist Convention)
o Evangelical Baptist Mission of South Haiti
o Baptist Convention of Haiti(Southern Baptist)
o Mission Baptist Conservatrice
* Trinidad and Tobago
o Baptist Union of Trinidad & Tobago
o Spiritual Baptist
o Cayman Baptist Association
o Convention of Baptist Churches of Puerto Rico
o Jamaica Baptist Union 
* Regional Bodies
o Caribbean Baptist Fellowship 
o Caribbean Baptist Federation
 North America
o Association of Regular Baptist Churches
o Atlantic Region Ministries
o Baptist General Conference of Canada
+ Central Canada Baptist Conference
o Canadian Baptist Ministries
+ Baptist Convention of Ontario and Quebec 
+ Baptist Union of Western Canada
+ Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches
+ Union of French Baptist Churches of Canada (Union D'Églises Baptistes Françaises au Canada)
o Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists
o Covenanted Baptist Church of Canada
o Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada 
o Landmark Missionary Baptist Association of Quebec (L'Association des Églises Missionnaire Baptiste Landmark du Québec)
o Primitive Baptist Conference of New Brunswick, Maine and Nova Scotia
o Seventh Day Baptist General Conference of the United States and Canada 
o Sovereign Grace Fellowship of Canada
o Ukrainian Evangelical Baptist Convention of Canada
o Union of Slavic Churches of Evangelical Christians and Slavic Baptists of Canada
o National Baptist Convention of Mexico (Convención Nacional Bautista de Mexico)
* United States
o Alliance of Baptists 
o American Baptist Association
o American Baptist Churches 
o Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America
o Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists 
o Baptist Bible Fellowship International
o Baptist General Conference
o Baptist Missionary Association of America 
o Central Baptist Association
o Christian Unity Baptist Association
o Conservative Baptist Association of America
o Continental Baptist Churches
o Cooperative Baptist Fellowship 
o Enterprise Association of Regular Baptists 
o Evangelical Free Baptist Church
o Free Will Baptist
o Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship
o Fundamental Baptist Fellowship Association
o Fundamental Baptist Fellowship of America
o General Association of Baptists
o General Association of General Baptists
o General Association of Regular Baptist Churches 
o General Conference of the Evangelical Baptist Church, Inc.
o General Six-Principle Baptists
o Independent Baptist Church of America
o Independent Baptist Fellowship International
o Independent Baptist Fellowship of North America
o Institutional Missionary Baptist Conference of America
o Interstate & Foreign Landmark Missionary Baptist Association
o Landmark Baptists
o Liberty Baptist Fellowship
o Macedonia Baptist World Missions 
o Mainstream Baptist Network 
o National Association of Free Will Baptists
o National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
o National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. 
o National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Saving Assembly of the U.S.A.
o National Missionary Baptist Convention of America
o National Primitive Baptist Convention of the U.S.A.
o New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches
o North American Baptist Conference
o Old Regular Baptist
o Indian Bottom Association of Old Regular Baptists 
o Old Time Missionary Baptist
o Original Free Will Baptist Convention
o Progressive National Baptist Convention
o Reformed Baptist
o Regular Baptist
o Roger Williams Fellowship 
o Separate Baptist
o Separate Baptists in Christ
o Seventh Day Baptist General Conference 
o Southern Baptist Convention 
o Southwide Baptist Fellowship
o Sovereign Grace Baptists
o Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists
o United American Free Will Baptist Church
o United American Free Will Baptist Conference
o United Baptists
o Unregistered Baptist Fellowship
o World Baptist Fellowship
o Worldwide Baptist New Testament Missions 
* United States - Regional bodies
o Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches of Northern California
o Association of Independent Baptist Churches of Illinois
o Baptist General Association of Virginia 
o Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma 
o Baptist General Convention of Texas 
o Dakota Baptist Association
o Empire State Fellowship of Regular Baptist Churches 
o General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc. 
o Independent Fundamental Baptist Association of Michigan
o Inter-Mountain Baptist Fellowship
o Minnesota Baptist Association
o Minnesota Baptist Conference 
o Mountain States Baptist Fellowship
o New England Evangelical Baptist Fellowship
o Ohio Valley Association of Christian Baptist Churches of God 
o Southern Baptists of Texas
o Wisconsin Fellowship of Baptist Churches
* North America - Regional Bodies
o North American Baptist Fellowship 
 South & Central America
* Central America
o Baptist Association of El Salvador (Asociacíon Bautista de El Salvador)(Liberation Theology Church Affiliated to World Council of Churches and American Baptist Churches
o Baptist Convention of Costa Rica (Convención Bautista de Costa Rica)
o Baptist Convention of Nicaragua (Convención Bautista de Nicaragua)(American Baptist Churches)
o Baptist Convention of Panama (Convención Bautista de Panama)(Southern Baptist)(Mission Agreement with Venezuela)
o National Union of Baptist Churches (Union Nacional de Iglesias Bautistas de Costa Rica)
* South America
+ Biblical Baptist Convention (Convenção Batista Bíblica, modern fundamentalist)
+ Brazilian Baptist Convention (Convenção Batista Brasileira, mainstream)
+ Brazilian Conference of Seventh Day Baptists Churches (Conferência Batista do Sétimo Dia Brasileira, Sabbath Observing) (Website in Portuguese)
+ Independent Baptist Convention (Convenção Batista Independente, of Swedish origin) 
+ National Baptist Convention (Convenção Batista Nacional, charismatic)
+ Peace Baptist Churches (Igrejas Batistas da Paz, Native denomination)
+ Regular Baptist Convention (Convenção Batista Regular, Fundamentalist Calvinistic)
o Other countries
+ Baptist Cooperative Convention of Guyana
+ Bolivian Baptist Union (Unión Bautista Boliviana)( Churches planted by missions from Southern Baptist, Brazilian Baptist Convention and American Baptist Churches merger) (Mission Agreement with Venezuela)
+ Colombia Baptist Youth Union 
+ Ecuador Baptist Convention
+ Evangelical Baptist Convention of Chile (Convención Evangélica Bautista de Chile)(Severs links to Southern Baptists)
+ Evangelical Baptist Convention of Paraguay (Convención Evangélica Bautista del Paraguay)
+ Evangelical Baptist Convention of Uruguay (Convención Evangélica Bautista del Uruguay)
+ Latin American Baptist Youth Congress 
+ Light and Truth Evangelical Assembly - Reformed Baptist - (Asamblea Evangélica Luz y Verdad)
+ Latin American Baptist Women Union
+ Venezuela Baptist Convention Convención Nacional Bautista de Venezuela Cooperation agreement with Southern Baptists and Baptist Midmission
+ Venezuela Mainstream Baptists 
* Regional Bodies
o Union of Baptists in Latin America (Unión Bautista Latinoamericana) 
o Baptist Blogs List
o Baptist World Alliance ()
o Independent Baptist
o Independent Fundamental Baptist
o Seventh Day Baptist World Federation 
o Women's Missionary Union
o Fundamentalist Baptist Hispanic Database
 By Historical and Doctrinal Relationships
(Listed by historical connection to the three original doctrinal variations of Baptists, though the group may have modified its doctrinal stance)
 Free and General Baptists
* American Baptist Association
* Free Will Baptist Church
* General Association of General Baptists
* General Conference of the Evangelical Baptist Church, Inc.
* General Six-Principle Baptists
* National Association of Free Will Baptists
* Old Baptist Union
* Original Free Will Baptist Convention
* Separate Baptists in Christ
* United American Free Will Baptist Church
* United American Free Will Baptist Conference
 Strict and Particular Baptists
* American Baptist Churches
* Association of Grace Baptist Churches
* Association of Independent Evangelical Baptists of Spain
* Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America
* Association of Regular Baptist Churches
* Baptist Bible Fellowship International
* Baptist Convention Of Ontario and Quebec
* Baptist General Conference
* Baptist Missionary Association of America
* Baptist Union of Great Britain
* Central Baptist Association
* Continental Baptist Churches
* Conference On Evangelizing Black America
* Covenanted Baptist Church of Canada
* Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada
* Grace Baptist Assembly
* Norwegian Baptist Union
* National Primitive Baptist Convention of the U.S.A.
* New England Evangelical Baptist Fellowship
* New Testament Association of Independent Baptist Churches
* North American Baptist Conference
* Old Regular Baptists
* Old Time Missionary Baptists
* Southern Baptist Convention
* Sovereign Grace Baptists
* Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit Predestinarian Baptists
* Strict Baptists
* World Baptist Fellowship
 Seventh Day Baptists
* Seventh Day Baptist General Conference (USA and Canada)
* Australasian Conference of Seventh Day Baptists
* Association of Seventh Day Baptists (Australia)
* Conferência Batista do Sétimo Dia Brasileira (Brazilian Conference of Seventh Day Baptists Churches -in Portuguese)
* Zevendedags Baptisten Nederland (Seventh Day Baptists in the Netherlands -in Dutch)
* Baptistes du Septième Jour en France (Seventh Day Baptists in France -in French)
So when you say just another Joseph Smith break off, you need to take into account that the Baptist's have many more "conventions" with differing doctrines than does "Mormonism" as you and others have referred to us as.
Christians have been divided, persecuted, and sifted for centuries by pagans, agnostics, and atheists. Believers should never persecute any person, least of all other Christians. I love my brothers and sisters, and they are those that have placed upon them the blood of Christ, through faith, repentence, and baptism. I also love the lost, and I pray and mourn for them frequently.
Mark, please stop dividing us by doctrine, and cease to throw the stones of judgement unless you have a perfect faith.
In Christ with love,
anonymousbeing, please understand this. I never claimed Christ's sacrifice was just for those I define as Christians. Here is what I believe John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. From the ESV, emphasis mine.
I agree that the word "Trinity" is not in the Bible. Neither is Joseph Smith nor Moroni, etc. And it is a salvation issue. It goes to just who Jesus Christ, God, is. If you believe like my quote above that there was a council in Heaven, Jesus and Lucifer were spirit brothers, etc. then we believe in a different Jesus from one another. Note, I have no idea if you believe that or not.
I'm not angry, for one. And merely stating that anyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal savior is a brother doesn't really mean much as far as I can tell. The statement really is empty without defining Who Jesus is and such.
Those who Paul anathematized in Galatia had more in common with those Paul did not anathematize than they had in disagreement.
I am very happy that we can continue this conversation.
Your questions are interesting and because of my need for the truth I will only quote from the Scriptures.
1 Timothy 2:(NIV)
4 who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
6 who gave himself as a ransom for all men--the testimony given in its proper time.
1 Timothy 2:(Inspired Version)
4 Who is willing to have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth which is in Christ Jesus, who is the Only Begotten Son of God, and ordained to be a Mediator between God and man; who is one God, and hath power over all men.
5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
You asked who is Satan (Lucifer)?
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, `You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"
2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,
3 but God did say, `You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"
4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman.
5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
Genesis 3:(Inspired Version)
1 And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying, That Satan whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning;
2 And he came before me, saying, Behold I, send me, I will be thy Son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore, give me thine honor.
3 But behold, my beloved Son, which was my beloved and chosen from the beginning, said unto me: Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
4 Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him; and also that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan.
5 Yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive, and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
The NIV as you see is not sufficient in this part of the text, as you see. But the answer is definitely present in the Inspired Version; Genesis 3:5. "Yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive, and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice."
The relationship is adversarial, one would have taken the "agency" of man and forced him to worship God. The other (Jesus) desired to do the Father's will.
I previously asked how you came to the conclusion,"The Book of Mormon is basically a work of fiction written by Joseph Smith." I look forward to your' response.
May God bless you and your' family,
My frustration let loose yesterday when I posted a response to the reviews of The Shack. I have thought about what made me so angry ever since I did this. I want my words to come from a place of love, and so I have adjusted my perspective. I apologize if any of my words hurt you. It is not my intent to hurt you or anyone else. This does not follow what Jesus taught us, and I am a believer in the spirit of Jesus Christ. However, let me be clear, that does not change the fact that I find behavior like yours to be offensive at times. I have serious concerns about the messages that you spread to others who look up to you for guidance in their own lives. This is a huge responsibility you have chosen to undertake, and I pray that you will consider a dissenting viewpoint such as mine.
When I read your testimony, I felt happiness for you, in that you are now in place of greater fulfillment and peace. Indeed, this is a beautiful and blessed event. But this is not what stands out in your message, Mark. What stands out is the preaching that you are doing, both explicitly and implicitly, telling others that YOUR way is the only way to achieve being “saved” by God, even when compared to other faiths under the Christian umbrella (my Christian upbringing that “saved” me did not speak this language). You use the same textbook verbatim that I have heard so many times from like-minded thinkers, and it has no effect on me other than conveying that you do not have your own words to describe your relationship with God. You are repeating what you have been told. You are repeating what someone else has told you that the Bible verses mean. And this is what’s scary. I have a brochure that someone gave me on “being saved” that says almost the exact same words as the last few paragraphs of your testimony. What does Jesus being “the light, the truth and the way” mean to you? I hear those words quoted by self-righteous Christians all the time. Isn’t the point to that statement what it means to you individually, on an inner level? Spouting the right words from your church’s language doesn’t tell us anything about your experience.
I ask you, have you not gone from one exclusive belief system to another? Have you not become the very type of person that you turned away from years ago in the RLDS church? Think about it. Just because you have been told and believe that you have the “right” belief and book this time, you dismiss the beliefs of others who do not use your same vocabulary to describe their relationship with the divine. Once again, you are a member of a community of believers who exclude any viewpoint that differs from theirs; in essence, conveying the need get it perfectly right (again, a word you used to describe your experience in the RLDS church). Do you and the members of your faith community really think that God is so small-minded to only grant his blessings on a few churches around the world? No, it is humans that are small-minded in comparison to God, and humans are the ones who have created numerous different sects of religions.
I summarize using three quotes I pulled from your testimony and some of your responses to the feedback:
“The RLDS is not to be confused with the LDS or Mormons.”
“Since I hold to the Five Solas of the Reformation the Catholic Church would be contrary to my theological positions.”
“I must add this so people who read my testimony do not get the wrong impression by thinking I promote the Book of Mormon, LDS or CoC.”
All of these quotes are used to clarify the exclusive content of what you believe. What are you afraid of that makes you feel the need to make sure everyone knows you are aware of all the supposed distinctions between these “differing” beliefs? What point does this serve? I can’t see one, other than to affirm that this time, you got it right.
I am continuing to pray that you and others like you continue on your journey of faith. One of my favorite quotes is, “Believe in those who are seeking the truth. Doubt those who have found it.” Look at the life in nature all around you. All living beings, that God created, grow and change throughout the course of life, and when we stop growing, we die. Faith is not about reaching a destination and shouting your discovery of the right answers to save all the other seemingly lost souls out there. It’s a journey that never ends, and no journey is the same as another. It is not the place of human beings to judge the inner workings of God in others. Let your light resonate from within and let that be what inspires others, not the precise words you use. Your words may resonate within your circle, but they are alienating anyone who dares to think outside your box. I ask again, is this not what turned you away from religion in the first place?
In peace and love--
I really don't understand the problem you are having with my words. Aren't you trying to get me to "grow" and reconsider my positions of faith? IOW, you want me to change my views. Why? Do you think you are right and I am wrong? From where do you get your understanding of God?
I clarify my believes so people know who they are reading.
Yes, I am encouraging continued growth on your part by remaining open, because the impression you give is that you already have all the answers, which is impossible. I do not ask that you change your views at all. I ask that you consider your approach. I would never tell someone that their belief is wrong and that mine is right. In fact, this is the very problem I have with what you seem to be doing to others. It is not our place to tell others they are wrong in their faith, and this is why I became angry regarding the points of criticism for The Shack. Who are you or anyone else to pick this story apart because it doesn't CORRECTLY personify God and Jesus? You are denying others' experiences of the divine because it doesn't match what you have been told. THIS is what I have a problem with, not your own personal faith or your particular Christian denomination. So I think I already know the answer to this, but what does it matter where I get my understanding of God? Why is this relevant?
Hello again Mark,
Thank you for your response.
Let me reiterate what I said in the first post. "We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, not works", which you highlighted in your response. The problem is that if all you are looking for is salvation, what kind of relationship is developed with Jesus Christ? Do you, as a brother, son, or father accept those titles without developing the relationships that is implied? Certainly you may in fact biologically be a father, but are you in a relational sense if you have never met your son?
Works - We have established that we are NOT saved by works, through the scriptures. However, that does not mean that works mean nothing.
James 2:20 You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless ? (NIV)
James 2:21 Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
Again, we are not saved by works but by faith in Jesus Christ. But how does that faith manifest itself? By accepting Him as your savior....yes. By works that reflect your faith in Christ Jesus.....absolutely. If not, how does anyone know you have truly accepted and trust Jesus....how do you know? God tested Abraham's faith by asking him to sacrifice his' son Isaac, not because God did not know.
You said, "The Book of Mormon is basically a work of fiction written by Joseph Smith." I would be quite interested in how you came to this supposition.
You also said that Christians accept the Bible as the only inspired word of God. The Bible is a collection of books that was declared the "Word of God" by Pope Damasus I in 382, a.k.a "The Decree of Damsus". He removed hundreds of books from the current cannon of scriptures, by whose authority? I do not doubt the books included are inspired, however I also do not doubt that the Lord had much more to say to His' people than what is in the current "acceptable" cannon of scriptures.
The word Christian means following the teachings or manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon says (Mos 1:102)And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things, from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.(Alma 21:45) Yea, all those who were the true believers in Christ, took upon them, gladly, the name of Christ, or Christians, as they were called, because of their belief in Christ, who should come; and therefore, at this time, Moroni prayed that the cause of the Christians, and the freedom of the land might be favored.
I hope that this clarified some misunderstandings. I look forward to your response, and pray that the Lord will oversee this discussion that it will lead to truth.
I am sorry that the Brothers and Sisters within the RLDS faith led you away from the truth of the Gospel. This must have been very painful, and I know that the Lord weeps for all who are led astray by man. I pray that you understand that the Gospel restored in the latter days does not preach perfection, but to adhere to the example, which Christ led His' life. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, not works. But faith without works is dead.
The Book of Mormon is a testimony of the tribes and their generations that were scattered to the America's during the tower of Babal, where the Lord said he would confuse their tongues and scatter them to the 4 corners of the earth. Nobody, has ever proven it to be invalid with scientific evidence, however the people who have supported it have been persecuted.
The Bible is of the tribe Judah, hence "Jew". It came from "Israel", it is the testimony of the beginning to the days shortly after Christ died and rose again. It is the testimony of the Jews. I know that many faithful Christians have been led to believe that it (BoM) is our' ("Mormonism") Bible, it is only one testimony we believe in, the Bible is the other.
One post said they dislike how people put God in a box, but to believe that God only spoke to one tribe is basically doing that.
It is obvious to me that you have a wonderful testimony. I wish you well and I pray you might consider these thoughts.
FYI- I am not of the Utah LDS, or the Community of Christ. I endorse only God to lead you in this matter, not a Church.
I'm thankful that I was and am saved by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved a through faith. And this is b not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. ESV)
You say you're not of the Utah LDS nor CoC, however from the Christian perspective the only inspired book from God is the Bible. The Book of Mormon is basically a work of fiction written by Joseph Smith.
I must add this so people who read my testimony do not get the wrong impression by thinking I promote the Book of Mormon, LDS or CoC.
I had a very different path than you did, however my conversion was exactly the same as yours. Check out my new book Desperate Highway, it's on Amazon. I will be more than happy to send you one.
Praise the Lord for your life,
Thanks for stopping by. Praise the Lord for His grace and your testimony of it.
I'm always encouraged to read how God has worked in each others lives.
I found your site after googling for reviews on The Shack... and Praise God for grace! I was raised in church my whole life, made a profession of faith when I was 7 and was baptized, I grew up with one foot in the church and the other in the world. Two years ago I was punched in the face by God's Holy and perfect Word!! I was convicted of my sin and saw myself a sinner in need of a Savior.... Jesus Christ. My life has never been the same since then. Praise God for grace!
Thank you very much for your encouragement. When I get a comment or email like this it really humbles me before the Lord as it makes me reflect in what He has done in my life.
I'm glad you found my site helpful. You never know who is reading and even benefiting.
I've spent wayyy too much time today enjoying your website which I found by googling a review of "The Shack". I just read your testimony and am somewhat amazed that you have only been a Christian for 8 years. I so appreciate your site and enjoyed the posts. I have not read the book but listened to Albert Mohler's commentary on it. I wanted to discuss it with a friend who read it and only found it difficult as the story was tragic. I cannot tolerate God being reduced to such a character as described in the book and wanted to convey that to her. I thought maybe I was being too dogmatic. My salvation came at age 26 after attending (very faithfully) a Methodist church all my life and not having any knowledge of salvation. At the time of my salvation my daughter had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and I was desperate for God and answers so I am not very tolerant of dead churches and anyone who tries to portray God as different than revealed in the Bible. However, I don't want to come off as mean spirited but want to be heard, thanks for showing me how. keep up the good work.
Since I hold to the Five Solas of the Reformation the Catholic Church would be contrary to my theological positions.
Your testimony is so encouraging! We have a lot of outreach to university students here in Missouri. May the Lord bless you and use you in the lives of others for the glory of God.