| 2006/4/12 23:01||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
| 2006/4/13 0:33||Profile|
Thank you Greg !!!
I can't stress enough, that there are 'good' apologetic sites and some not so good.
You've chosen the best myke and the links go on and on from there.
You go to one of their links and then to that next site's links from their [url=http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/page4.html]Links page[/url] and on it goes, to people who truly care for The Sheep and Protecting them and are Jealous for God's Word as TAS would say.
They even have a [url=http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/biblestudies.html]Bible Study Page.[/url] Etc.
The Search Engine on that site you gave is outstanding.
You can type anything into it ... a name or a teaching and hit one small circle by each ministry at a time, with the same search, just by pushing your back button.
Here's just one ministy's search results on what you've mentioned here.
It is good to put a Desktop Shortcut to this particular Search Engine up on your desktop, for quick excess whenever you need it.
[url=http://www.google.com/custom?q=Richard+Foster&sa=Google+Search&cof=L%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.deceptioninthechurch.com%2Fimg0.gif%3BAH%3Acenter%3BS%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.deceptioninthechurch.com%2F%3BAWFID%3Aa5fb401f0d8ee3f3%3B&domains=deceptioninthechurch.com%3Bbanner.org.uk%3Bdiscernment.org%3Bsliceoflaodicea.com%3Bmoriel.org%3Bwww.geocities.com%2FHeartland%2FPlains%2F4948%2F%3Bthebereancall.org%3Bdiscernment-ministries.com%3Bwww.erwm.html%3Bpfo.org%3Bletusreason.org%3Bchristian-witness.org%3Bpowertostand.org%3Bapologeticsindex.org%3Bsvchapel.org%3Bwww.geocities.com%2Fbob_hunter%2F%3Bwww.ncinter.net%2F%257eejt%2F%3Bpro-gospel.org%3Bchristianresearchservice.com&sitesearch=deceptioninthechurch.com]One Ministry's Search Result from that Search Engine.[/url]
Lord Protect His Sheep. Amen.
| 2006/4/13 3:57|
There's a blog site for those in this apologetic burden with a Search engine also on the right side [url=http://achristianjourney.blogs.com/achristianjourney/the_dangers_of_contemplative_spirituality_mysticism/index.html]A Christian Journey Blog Site.[/url] and [url=http://achristianjourney.blogs.com/achristianjourney/apologetics/index.html]One more category from Right Column on Site.[/url]
Good Blogs ;-) .
| 2006/4/13 4:29|
| Re: Richard Foster|
Now that I have read the articles provided by the moderator I understand your viewpoint.
Agree? Not at all ... but after reading these two articles I do understand that you believe what you have read.
One of the first statements, for me set the whole tone of the attack on Foster and his literary tome... Yes, please note the words used, IMHO, their tone is so distinctly inflammatory, but surprizingly not against Foster so much as the people and 'religions' he 'borrowed' his quotes and ideas from. Almost, IMHO, as though they felt betrayed that such a great literary work could spring from such "heretical sources"...
In his original printing of the above book (I have a copy lest any should doubt my comments) he plainly expressed his source of inspiration, and his New Age thinking. Later, he changed the text as Bible-based Christians uncovered his errors. This is what he originally wrote: We of the New Age can risk going against the tide. Let us with abandon relish the fantasy games of children. Lets see visions and dream dreams. Lets play, sing, laugh. The imagination can release a flood of ideas, and exercising our imagination can be lots of fun. Only those who are insecure about their own maturity will fear such a delightful form of celebration. (p. 170).
When the first book was written the term "New Age' did not denote the same thing it does now ... sort of like the word "gay," the meanings and connations have changed over the years. Foster comments on this in the 20th edition that I have.
Oh! and to quote Foster with that particluar quote was Too delicious to my questing spirit to not bold. Please, forgive me for that ...
Then the comment caught my eye ...
Quote: Where was the Holy Spirit when she was reading it the first time? And when did this revelation of the spirit happen after reading the works of website author on which her essay rests? Hmmm, how did that work out?
When I read Celebration of Discipline for the first time, many years ago now, I was strangely moved by it, until my eyes were opened by the Holy Spirit.
myke...Dear one...Have you read the Book, Celebration of Discipline? Try reading the latest edition of book and bathing it, and yourself, in prayer before doing so.
I pray that you discern for yourself, through the light of Christ, the truth of the passages Foster has written and use them to deepen your relationship with our Lord. I Pray that the Holy Spirit may reveal to you the truth of Christ and mind of God. I would also pray that you would trust the guide and counsellor that my Christ has given us to bring us closer to him.
If, after your have read the book with your Guide's assistance, you discern the same thing as the articles' authors then you too can authoratatively speak to its wayward philosophy.
I have read the book, not once but several times and have used it in a study to 'foster':roll: discipleship. And now, I have read these articles and I do not agree with any of their premises.
I have used this book ... to focus on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to allow my time 'meditating' on the Word of God [and His use of that sharp sword to cleave away all that is not within His desire for me], my 'imagining' of our hours walking and talking in the garden of my soul and the blessed hours of 'silence'spent in the Presence of God to formulate and nurture my soul to become the man God has willed, and I want, me to be.
His [God's] will-Nothing more, Nothing less, Nothing else!
Baseball great Bobby Richardson at a FCA meeting
Blessed reading in the future...
| 2006/4/14 11:23||Profile|
Richard Foster in his popular book Celebration of Discipline, in the chapter on "Meditation," reflects the influence of Agnes Sanford and promotes a form of visualization prayer. Brooks Alexander observes: In his study guide (1983) Foster adds a decidedly unbiblical ending. He suggests that die imagery we have created can come alive to us and become a point of contact for a literal encounter with the Living Christ."4
Foster leaves no doubt that Jesus can be "called up" by imagination (occultic) techniques. He states: "It can be more than an exercise of imagination. It can be a genuine confrontation. Jesus Christ will actually come to you."5
Alexander also observes: "Clearly that [imagination prayer] alters our approach to God. Petition becomes manipulation. Seeking His will becomes detailing our own. The technical replaces the personal and the mechanical replaces the ethical. It is not, to put it bluntly, a biblical approach to prayer." http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/divinationfindsfurtherexpression.html
[b]*Celebration of Discipline* by Richard Foster[/b]
Written over twenty-five hears ago, and proclaimed by Christianity Today as one of the ten best books of the twentieth century, the influence of Celebration of Discipline is all but incalculable. It's author, Richard Foster, is a Quaker, so his spiritual life is grounded in the subjective inner light presupposition of the Friends. He is highly steeped in the Roman Catholic mystics, drawing from dozens of them for his theology. More than that, Eugene Peterson informs us that Foster has found the spiritual disciplines [in the mystics] that the modern world stored away and forgot (p. 206). Fosters views are also formed by Quaker mystics and even secular thinking, most surprisingly Carl Jung, self-confessed demon-possessed psychologist.
Without question, these extra-biblical sources are behind Fosters understanding of the Christian life. That is not to say that he does not refer to Scripture and occasionally interpret it correctly. However, it is astounding to see how often he mutilates the Word of God (e.g., pp. 16, 17, 55, 83, 114, 156, 170, and 177).
As a result of his unbiblical routes and disregard for the meaning of Scripture, it should not surprise us that Foster has become a Pied Piper, leading multitudes away from Biblical Christianity. From the vantage point of twenty-six years since the publication of Celebration of Discipline, we see just how far astray Foster has taken his followers. These include:
Subjective leading of God as being the norm (pp. 10, 16-17, 18, 50, 95, 98, 108-109, 128, 139-140, 149-150, 162, 167, 182);
Open theism (p. 35);
Misunderstanding of the Old Testament Law for today (pp. 82, 87);
The contemplative prayer movement, which has taken many to the foothills of Eastern mysticism;
Centering prayer, in which one moves to the center of God or selfan Eastern mystical practice;
Misunderstanding of the will of God in prayer (p. 37);
An unbiblical use of imagination, which leads to occultic visualization (pp. 25-26, 40-43, 163, 198);
Use of rosaries and prayer wheels (p. 64)
Approval of New Age teachers (i.e.; Merton, Eckhart; Loyola; etc.);
Embracing of pop-psychological views such as self-fulfillment, self-actualization, loving ourselves, mutual submission, and healing of inner wounds (pp. 113-120);
Propagation of the Roman Catholic view of confession, penitence, and spiritual directives (pp. 146-150, 156, 185);
Promoting charismatic patterns of worship, including calling for the presence of God and holy laughter (pp. 158-174, 198).
Overall Fosters book is an encyclopedia of unbiblical teaching, which leads the unsuspecting reader away from Christ and into mysticism, or worse. It is a telltale sign of the state of the church to find how accepted Fosters teachings are.
Richard Foster is the founder of the Renovaré Movement and General Editor of the Renovaré Spiritual Formation Bible (Harper San Francisco, 2005). The Renovaré movements major purpose is to subtly lead the church back into the occultism of the mystics of the early Roman Catholic Church through spiritual disciplines and spiritual formation. The Renovaré Bible is a major effort in that direction. A host of scholars contributed commentaries, among them Bruce Demarest, Professor of Theology at Denver Seminary; Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., President of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; Tremper Longman III, Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College; Earl F. Palmer, pastor of University Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA, and on the Board of Trustees of the long-apostate Princeton Theological Seminary (as was Sir John Marks Templeton). http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/BookReviews/bible.htm
[b]Richard Foster General Teachings/Activities*
Modern Christian Mysticism[/b]
Medieval mysticism has managed to survive within small pockets of Roman Catholicism for centuries but has gone largely unnoticed by evangelicals. It is true that a few groups, such as the Quakers, have always kept some aspect of mysticism within range of evangelical awareness, and elements of mystical practices have actually thrived in charismatic circles right down to the ranks of Fundamentalism. But classical mysticism was virtually unknown in Evangelical circles until 1978 when Quaker minister Richard J. Foster published Celebration of Discipline, the Path to Spiritual Growth. Hailed by Christianity Today as one of the ten best books of the twentieth century and voted by the readers of that magazine as the third most influential book after the Bible, Celebration of Discipline has blown the doors off evangelicals understanding of spirituality. What Foster has done, in essence, is reintroduce to the church the so-called masters of the interior life, as he likes to call the Medieval mystics. He declares that they alone have discovered the key to true spiritual life and slowly, over the last few years, convinced multitudes that he is right. It seems to me that Fosters recipe for Christian living has been simmering in the pot for over two decades, but as of late has caught fire. New forces and new players have popularized Fosters ideas to a new set of Christians and it seems to be rapidly taking hold. This is due to the efforts of organizations such as Youth Specialties, numerous Bible colleges, and a rash of books and speakers, all introducing mystical practices and theology to our young people and our young ministers. Many of these, having grown up in churches that no longer major on the teaching of Scripture, and are thus lacking Biblical discernment, are easy prey for spiritual sounding techniques, especially those that promise such personal and life changing encounters with God. Following is an overview into Fosters key teachings.
Celebration of Discipline alone, not even referencing Fosters other writings and teachings and ministries, is a virtual encyclopedia of theological error. We would be hard pressed to find in one so-called evangelical volume such a composite of false teaching. These include faulty views on the subjective leading of God (pp. 10, 16-17, 18, 50, 95, 98, 108-109, 128, 139-140, 149-150, 162, 167, 182); approval of New Age teachers (see Thomas Merton below); occultic use of imagination (pp. 25-26, 40-43, 163, 198); open theism (p. 35); misunderstanding of the will of God in prayer (p. 37); promotion of visions, revelations and charismatic gifts (pp. 108, 165, 168-169, 171, 193); endorsement of rosary and prayer wheel use (p. 64); misunderstanding of the Old Testament Law for today (pp. 82, 87); mystical journaling (p. 108); embracing pop-psychology (pp. 113-120); promoting Roman Catholic practices such as use of spiritual directors, confession, and penance (pp. 146-150, 156, 185); and affirming of aberrant charismatic practices (pp. 158-174, 198).
Fosters Mystic Heroes
Foster introduces to the unsuspecting reader literally dozens of mystics, some from the Christian tradition, some not. Many of these, he assures us, have traveled to depths of spiritual experience that we moderns cannot even imagine. Foster wants us to know that these individuals knew the secrets to an encounter with God. If only we would follow their pattern, we too could enjoy what they enjoyed. Just who are these mystics? Here is a thumbnail sketch of three of Fosters favorites:
Eckhart, a Dominican monk who lived in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, ranks among the great Roman Catholic mystics such as Teresa of Ávila, John of the Cross, and Julian of Norwich. Toward the end of his life, Eckhart was charged (and found guilty after his death in 1327) with heresy for his mystical assertions, which the Catholic Church determined had bled over into pantheism. Eckhart believed that in every human soul there is something of the very nature of God. Here it is that the human soul meets God
. [His] doctrine of the human soul has lasted to the present, and is reaffirmed whenever one speaks of a Divine Spark within each of us. Eckhart made statements such as these, Henceforth I shall not speak about the soul, for she has lost her name yonder in the oneness of divine essence. There she is no more called soul: she is called infinite being. And, She plunges into the bottomless well of the divine nature and becomes one with God that she herself would say that she is God. Such statements not only bothered the Medieval Church, but some more modern researchers have found agreements in Eckharts philosophy with all the major points of Hindu mystics. Other scholars are not so certain about Eckharts pantheism, but his statements certainly leave the door open for such interpretations. Yet Eckhart is considered to be one of the most important Christian mystics of the Middle Ages, and both ancient and modern mysticism reflect his views. Eckharts Divine Spark corresponds almost directly with the teachings of Eastern Mysticism, with the difference that the Divine Spark in Christian Mysticism is defined as God who resides in every human being.
Foster cites and/or quotes Merton on at least nine separate occasions in Celebration of Discipline, yet Merton was not a Christian. He was a twentieth-century Roman Catholic who had so immersed himself in Buddhism that he claimed he saw no contradiction between Buddhism and Christianity, and intended to become as good a Buddhist as he could. But despite his doctrinal views and New Age leanings, Foster considers Mertons Contemplative Prayer, A must book, and says of Merton, [He] has perhaps done more than any other twentieth-century figure to make the life of prayer widely known and understood. Merton wrote, If only [people] could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed
. I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other.
We know Loyola today mainly due to his founding of the Society of Jesus, or the order of the Jesuits, in 1534. One of the missions of the Jesuits was to fight the battles of the church against infidels and heretics, in what is now termed the Counter-Reformation. For our purposes, Ignatius contribution lies in the creation of his Spiritual Exercises which provided specifications for spiritual self-examination and the mental and spiritual conditioning of the Jesuits. Fosters disciplines seem to draw heavily upon Ignatius.
St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Ávila are also mystics of note, involved in the sixteenth century Counter-Reformation seeking to overturn the Reformation. These mystics believed that through contemplation a union with God could be obtained which would eradicate sinful actions and tendencies.
Fosters Main Teachings -- Celebration of Discipline
As are concerning as many of Richard Fosters teachings and mentors, far more disturbing are the two main thrusts of his spiritual formation system. The first is his use of what he calls the Spiritual Disciplines. The second is closely relatedContemplative Prayer―which is rapidly becoming the rage throughout much of evangelicalism, especially among the youth.
Spiritual Disciplines as a Means of Grace
It might be best to begin this section by relaying an experience that Foster shares in Celebration of Discipline. Having come to the conclusion that there must be more spiritual resources than I was experiencing, he prayed, Lord, is there more you want to bring into my life? I want to be conquered and ruled by you. If there is anything blocking the flow of your power, reveal it to me. God seemed to answer this prayer through a growing impression that something in his past was impeding the flow of life, so he set aside blocks of time on three consecutive days to listen to God in absolute silence, through the use of journaling, a process whereby God is supposed to reveal His mind to the silent participant. After the third day, Foster took his lists to a friend, who volunteered to serve as his confessor, who prayed for healing for all the sorrows and hurts of Fosters past as presumably revealed by God. It was following this experience of journaling, an experience not taught in the Bible but common in the occultic world, that it seemed to Foster that he was released to explore what were for me new and uncharted regions of the Spirit. Following that event, I began to move into several of the Disciplines described in this book that I had never experienced before.
It is most disturbing that Fosters magnum opus stems from a questionable Divine encounter of a dubious nature. But it is also significant to realize that Fosters system for spiritual formation is not drawn from the Scriptures, but from subjective experiences involving unbiblical methodologies, and reinforced by Roman Catholic mystical practices. At the very least, this should give pause to any seeker of truth. It must not be automatically assumed, as many seem to do, that Foster has rediscovered the missing jewels of spirituality.
Or as Eugene Peterson describes it in the twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Celebration of Discipline, Like a child exploring the attic of an old house on a rainy day, discovering a trunk full of treasure and then calling all his brothers and sisters to share the find, Richard J. Foster has found the spiritual disciplines that the modern world stored away and forgot, and has excitedly called us to celebrate them. For they are, as he shows us, the instruments of joy, the way into mature Christian spirituality and abundant life (p. 206). Even more to the point, the dust jacket of this edition assures us that it is only by and through these practices that the true path to spiritual growth can be found (emphasis mine). If spiritual growth is dependent upon the spiritual disciplines described in Fosters book, should not we have expected to find this truth in the Scriptures? Why did God reveal them, not to the apostles, but to apostate Roman Catholic mystics, and then to Richard Foster as he studied the mystics and used occultic techniques of meditation? We need to tread very carefully through this spiritual minefield.
The Spiritual Disciplines
But just what are the Spiritual Disciplines which are absolutely essential to our spiritual development? Foster breaks them into three categories: inward, outward and corporate. The first two inward disciplines both deal with prayer (and will be the subject of an update to this report at a later date). Fasting is the third, and as might be expected, his instructions on fasting are purely extrabiblical. The purpose behind fasting, the value of it, and the methodology are interesting, but purely subjective and unauthorative. The final inward discipline is study. The new reader of Foster might expect that he would direct us to the study of Scripture as the primary means of spiritual growth. But Foster has broader ideas. Actually, there are two books to be studied: verbal and nonverbal. Verbal books include any literature, and one of the important means of study is repetition. Here he sees the use of a rosary and/or a Hindu type prayer wheel as being effective (p. 64). After a number of suggestions on reading books, Foster finally discusses the type of books to read to enhance spiritual growth. At last, we think he will turn to the Word, and he does, for two paragraphs, before rushing off to recommend reading the Medieval mystical classics. The nonverbal book is mainly the reading of nature. Here, with St. Francis, he encourages making friends with the flowers and trees and the little creatures that creep upon the earth (p. 74). We should also be students of people, and of ourselves, and while there is undoubted value in this, many have spent a lifetime studying nature, people, and themselves and have no clue about God. Repeatedly, we find in Foster that he is just not that interested in the study of Scripture, except as it serves his purpose for contemplative meditation.
The outward disciplines begin with simplicity, starting with the simple life as modeled by the heretical cult known as the Shakers. Extreme mystic Thomas Kelly tells us that simplicity allows us to live out of The Divine Center (whatever that is), and existentialist Kierkegaard claimed it led to holiness. In attempting to find a Biblical base for his view, Foster makes the Old Testament civil laws a pattern for New Testament Christianity, and manages to misinterpret virtually every scriptural passage he uses (although he scores points on seeking the kingdom of God first). Next up is solitude. Instead of a nice chapter on the importance of breaking free from the noise and distractions of our world and focusing on God and His Word, we enter into the mystical world of Medieval Catholicism, Quakerism, and Eastern mystics. Quotes flow from Merton, Teresa of Ávila, John Woolman, George Fox, and St. John of the Cross. Terms like The Divine Center, The Divine Opening, and the dark night of the soul, dominate. It is here that we are taught to keep a journal as we listen to the thunder of Gods silence (p.108). The next discipline is submission, and it is in this chapter that we receive our heaviest dose of psychobabble, including: self-fulfillment, self-actualization, loving ourselves, and mutual submission within marriage. The final discipline is service, and as with the others, this one too is based more on writings of the mystics than on the Scriptures. This is only expected from Foster, because he places far more importance on mystical experiences than he does on the Word. For example, he writes, True service comes from a relationship with the divine Other deep inside. We serve out of whispered promptings, divine urgings (p. 128). Not only does Foster consistently elevate these subjective experiences over the Scriptures, but in this chapter on service Foster recommends self-abasement: The strictest daily discipline is necessary to hold these passions in check. The flesh must learn the painful lesson that it has no rights of its own. It is the work of hidden service that will accomplish this self-abasement (p. 131, cf. p. 133). This is in direct contradiction to Pauls teaching in Colossians 2:20-23, which tells us that self-abasement has no affect on the passions of the flesh.
The final category of disciplines is the corporateand here Foster does no better. The first corporate discipline is that of confession; and we are not surprised to discover that Foster supports the position of the Roman Catholic Church, complete with penance and absolution (pp. 146-149). And why not? For Dietrich Bonhoeffer assures us that when I go to my brother to confess, I am going to God (p. 146), and Foster wants us to know, The assurance of forgiveness is sealed in the Spirit when it is spoken by our brother or sister in the name of Christ (p. 148). Since none of this is drawn from Scripture, how can Foster be so sure? Well, not only do his favorite mystics back his view, but so does personal experience. Once, when receiving the confession of a lady she, looked at me and saw superimposed upon my eyes the eyes of Another who conveyed to her a love and acceptance that released her to unburden her heart (p. 155). While nothing in the Bible remotely implies such an experience, we are left to assume that the eyes she saw were the eyes of God.
As for the discipline of worship, we find that worship is a breaking into the Shekinah of God, or better yet, being invaded by the Shekinah of God
. We have not worshiped the Lord until Spirit touches spirit
. [And] it all begins as we enter the Shekinah of the heart (pp. 158-162). This convoluted understanding of worship is augmented with a strong charismatic flavor. As a matter of fact, if Jesus is our Leader, miracles should be expected to occur in worship. Healing, both inward and outward, will be the rule, not the exception (p. 165). Such services will have prophecies and words of knowledge (p. 165), and that is because, The mightiest stirring of praise in the twentieth century has been the charismatic movement. Through it God has breathed new life and vitality into millions (p. 168). But even more disturbing is the idea that in the worship of God, Our rational faculties alone are inadequate
. That is one reason for the spiritual gift of tongues. It helps us to move beyond mere rational worship into a more inward communion with the Father. Our outward mind may not know what is being said, but our inward spirit understands. Spirit touches spirit (p. 169). Remember above how we have not worshiped until Spirit touches spirit -- now we see the process. It is as we move beyond the mind and into mystical, subjective experiences, that true worship takes place.
With all that Foster has already communicated, the discipline of guidance is predictable. Many, he tells us, Are having a deep and profound experience of an Emmanuel of the Spirit -- God with us; a knowledge that in the power of the Spirit Jesus has come to guide his people himself; an experience of his leading that is as definite and as immediate as the cloud by day and the pillar by night (p. 175). The model, of course, of this kind of guidance is the mystic. We are also introduced at this point to the Catholic concept of Spiritual Directors (pp. 185-187), something that Foster believes only Roman Catholic monastics know much about today.
Foster brings everything together with his last discipline, that of celebration. Here we are to express joy in all that we have learned thus far in the book, even participation in holy laughter on occasion (p. 198).
Robert Webber, professor of theology at Wheaton College, sums up Fosters impact well, Over the past two decades, my own personal spiritual pilgrimage has taken me away from the propositional and rationalistic mind-set that proclaims an intellectualized proof-oriented faith toward a Christianity of practice and experience (p. 208). Webber is, of course, erecting a strawman. No one is calling for a purely intellectualized faith devoid of practice and experience. What those who draw their cue from Scripture, and not mystics, are calling for is a Christian faith, experience, and practice that is rational, intellectual, makes sense, and most importantly, is solidly grounded on the Word of God. Foster and company have taken many far afield in pursuit of mystical experiences that lead to a pseudo-Christianity that has the appearance of spirituality, but not the substance.
| 2006/4/14 12:36|
"In faith, UNITY; in opinion, LIBERTY; in all things, LOVE."
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.2 Corinthians 10:5
I am enjoying the reading so far. What is the source of the material listed as "Richard Foster General Teachings/Activities Modern Christian Mysticism?"
... a Baptist reformer from the Restoration Movement named Raccoon John Smith said at a meeting While there is but one faith, there may be ten thousand opinions; and hence, if Christians are ever to be one, they must be one in faith, and not in opinion.
As I said the book was a great help to me when I was looking to follow the narrow path ... it did not cause me to fall away nor stumble but strengthened me for the journey and I lay this all at the feet of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.
I can see where there may be those who may become confused. If you have any more materials, post them & I will add these materials to our church library to enlighten those who need to know.
| 2006/4/17 6:42||Profile|
freebyjc ~ Do you know what the "Restoration Movement" is ?
The statement by Mr. Smith above is the ecumenical cry. The Emerging church.
In my first post I left a Search engine for Apologists/Apologetics.
If you need more on this, you can do the research, as we did to answer myke here, who gave a very good site himself.
I don't like quotes - unless they're Found in the Word .... That's why we're in the shape we are in, as those called "Christians" ..... we've abandoned THE BOOK .... for "Quotes".
God have mercy on us.
| 2006/4/17 16:44|
IS THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH THE CHURCH I'M LOOKING FOR?
Yes, we believe it is! Since you have heard of, or visited a Christian Church there are probably several questions that have come to mind. This pamphlet's purpose is to help answer some of those questions and to share with you what we consider exciting news about an exciting church. This pamphlet will be in the form of questions as we try to anticipate what you might like to know.
WHY DOES THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH EXIST?
Our purpose for existence is not to add another denomination to the countless number of denominations that already exist today. The various church groups that we see today surely are not pleasing to Jesus and the teaching of His apostles (John 17:21; 1 Corinthians 1:10,11). If you have told anyone that you have visited a Christian Church, you have probably heard the question, "We all are Christians, what denomination is it?" The Christian Church has much in common with Protestant Churches but we differentiate from Protestantism and denominationalism because we are not "Protesting" against any church and we have not denominated ourselves to any man made creed or document. We have no creed but Christ. We have called ourselves the "Restoration Movement" because it is our desire to "restore" the Church as revealed in the New Testament, especially as recorded in the Book of Acts. To this end we have built a church without a denominational name, a man-written creed or any other barrier to Christian unity.
The plea of our Movement has been, "In faith, UNITY; in opinion, LIBERTY; in all things, LOVE." We believe that for the Church to be able to effectively evangelize the world there must be Christian Unity based upon God's word, the Bible.
The first rapid growth of the Christian Church as we know it today occurred on the American frontier in the 19th century. Many people were getting weary of restrictive denominationalism that was prevalent everywhere and there began a growing desire among God's people to lay aside the traditions of men and go back to the church described in the New Testament. The Restoration Movement quickly became the fastest growing religious body on the American frontier. In God's providence these people began discovering one another and eventually led to what we call the CHRISTIAN CHURCH today. Our aim was and is to call people back to the Church found in the Bible.
In our desire to reestablish the Church of the New Testament, we have taken just the name "Christian." We do not claim to be the only Christians, just Christians only.
We have also tried to establish a New Testament form of Church leadership. In the Church of the Bible you find a Church that elected their own spiritual leaders (1 Timothy 3; Titus 1:5-9). So, in each Christian Church you will find Elders (overseers, bishops, and pastors), as well as Deacons and Minister(s). The ultimate head of the Church is Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:24), it is His bride (2 Corinthians 11: 2; Revelation 21:2). It is His commands and leading, as revealed in the Bible that we strive to follow.
Even though our Churches are self-governing we cooperate locally and world wide in the support of missionaries, Bible Colleges and other joint endeavors. We have national fellowship through the North American Christian Convention and the National Missionary Convention. In our state there is fellowship through Leadership, Education, and Youth Conferences (etc.) as well as the Florida Christian Convention. These yearly conventions do not dictate any policies; their sole purpose is to edify God's Church.
WHAT DOES THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH BELIEVE CONCERNING SALVATION?
The Christian Church holds fast to the truth that salvation through the blood of Jesus' sacrifice is for anyone who may come to Him in faith, not just to a select few (John 3:16; Acts 2:38).
The Bible teaches a reasonable way to accept the forgiveness provided by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. The scriptures do not teach us to look for signs, listen for strange voices, or expect a certain feeling to know that we can be saved. God made it so plain that anyone could understand how to become a Christian.
The Bible teaches that we all decide at one time or another to disobey God, this is sin (Romans 3:23). Just one sin causes us to be sinners and therefore we are eternally doomed to hell as a punishment for our sin. We could never be good enough or do enough good things to be accepted by a holy and righteous God. God knew that we would disobey Him before He created us. From the very beginning of creation God had a plan to have our sins forgiven to bring us back into fellowship with Him. Because of His love for us, God began to reveal in the Old Testament that there had to be the shedding of blood for sins to be forgiven. You can see this displayed in the teaching of animal sacrifices. This was not God's ultimate plan. He was pointing man to the coming perfect sacrifice of His son-Jesus Christ. The Old Testament taught us what sin was, our sinful- ness, our need to be forgiven, and prophesied Jesus' coming and death to remove our sin problem.
Our only hope is in Jesus. Praise God, He's all we need (Romans 6:23)!
By faith we accept what Jesus did for us at Calvary and we know that we are forgiven (Ephesians 2:8,9). Accepting Jesus by faith begins by BELIEVING. We must believe that Jesus is God's Son and has redeemed us by the shedding of His blood (John 3: 16; Acts 16:31). You must be willing to REPENT. Repentance is the recognition that you are a sinner and that you are willing to turn your life toward God (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 2 Peter 3:9). A person must be willing to CONFESS Christ as their savior (Romans 10:10; Matthew 10:32; 16:16). Then a person is to be BAPTIZED into Christ (Acts 2:38; Roman 6; Colossians 2:12; Galatians 3:27; 1 Peter 3:21). If a person follows these steps in faith with a sincere heart they can KNOW that they are saved. Other examples can be found in Acts 2:38-41; 8:26- 39; 16:30-34; 18:8; 22:6-16.
The only baptism that the Christian Church practices is that of immersion. The word used for baptism in the New Testament literally means "to plunge, or to immerse." It was centuries after the establishment of the Church in the Book of Acts that sprinkling or pouring was used in the Church. We do not believe in "Water Salvation" or "Baptismal Regeneration." Only the blood of Jesus saves. Immersion is the reenactment of how we are saved, through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In baptism a "new person" comes forth, born again to serve God through Christ.
The Christian Church will also baptize any person who so desires who comes in faith to God. We do not stand in judgment of whoever desires to follow the Lord's example of being immersed. The person does have to be capable of faith. Therefore, we do not practice infant baptism. Babies, we believe are not sinners, because they are unable to disobey God. Babies are also incapable of having faith, Infant baptism was not practiced until over one hundred years after the death of the last apostle.
HOW DOES THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH VIEW THE HOLY SPIRIT?
We believe that the Holy Spirit is one of the personalities of the Trinity. He is not an emotion, or some mysterious spiritual force. He is as much God as the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit comes to reside in the soul of the Christian at their conversion (Acts 2:38; 5:32; Titus 1:5-7).
Without the Holy Spirit we would be helpless. It is through the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we find the strength to live the life Christ wants us to live.
When the Bible speaks of a believer being "filled with the Spirit" it means we allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control of our will. Of course the Holy Spirit does not take over our lives, but we strive to conform our wills into His that we may become more Christ-like.
The Christian Church as a whole does not practice what is labeled today as "speaking in tongues" or "modern day prophecy." We do not condemn the churches that do, but we hold that the Bible is the complete revelation from God and that these gifts were used in an age were there was not a written Word of God. Therefore, we do not adhere to the modem revelations of Joseph Smith, Taze Russell, Rev. Sun Yung Moon, or Mary Baker Eddie. We stand on God's Word and it alone (1 Corinthians 13:8). Where the Bible speaks we speak. Where the Bible is silent we are silent.
WHY DOES THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH WORSHIP AS IT DOES?
Even in our worship it is our goal to follow the example of the blueprint that is found in the Book of Acts on the early Church.
We meet on Sunday, the first day of the week (Acts 20:7). We sing hymns, and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:18-20; Colossians 3:16-17). We pray together (Acts 2:42: 1 Timothy 2:8), give of our possessions for the work of God (1 Corinthians 16:2,2 Corinthians 9:6-7), study God's Word (Acts 2:42; 20:7, and preach Christ (Acts 8:4; 5:42).
We also practice the weekly observance of the Lord's Supper. This has been true from the beginning (Acts 2:42). Jesus instituted this remembrance the night before His death. The bread is to be a reminder of the willing sacrifice of His body for our sins. The fruit of the vine is to be a reminder of the blood shed for the forgiveness of our sins. We are reminded weekly of God's grace and our purpose for living. It points our minds back to the cross, lest we forget. For almost 2,000 years God's people have remembered.
The Christian Church practices what is called "Open communion." If you are a Christian, whether a member of that particular congregation or not, you are invited to remember the Lord's loving sacrifice for our sins with us.
We thank you for taking the time to read this brief pamphlet. Any other questions you may have, please feel free to contact the Elders or Minister(s) of the congregation you have visited. I know that they would be more than happy to assist you in any way possible. We are excited about what the Christian Church is trying to accomplish, we hope you will be too. The concept of simple New Testament Christianity is a lofty goal as we strive for unity; yet a humble return to the Bible can cause God's Church to once again move as the early Church did. We are working to see it happen-why not consider joining a Bible centered, Christ exalting exciting body of believers such as your friends at the CHRISTIAN CHURCH!
Written by: Tom Underwood
Additional copies can be purchased from: Gandy Printers, Inc. 1800 S. Monroe Street. Tallahassee, FL 32301
| 2006/4/19 14:03||Profile|
At the a particular divinity school, all alumni are invited to the school annually for a reunion. On this day each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every reunion would include a great theologian to speak to the alumni.
At one reunion, the visiting professor spoke for two and one-half hours proving that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection, the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact, never rose from the dead in any literal sense. He then asked if there were any questions.
After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back.
"Professa, I got one question," he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it.
"Professa" .. CRUNCH, MUNCH... "my question is a simple question"... CRUNCH, CRUNCH...
"Now, I ain't never read them books you read"...CRUNCH, MUNCH...
"and I can't recite the Scriptures in the original Greek"...CRUNCH, MUNCH...
"I don't know nothin' about Niebuhr and Crossan"... CRUNCH, MUNCH... He finished the apple.
"All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate, was it bitter or sweet?"
The professor paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: "I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven't tasted your apple."
The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at the professor and said calmly, "Neither have you tasted my Jesus."
The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers.
The professor thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.
Have you tasted Jesus? He has risen...and He's coming back one day.
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. (Psalm 34:8) KJV
Do not judge the heart of a man nor a body of Christ until you've tasted the fruit of the Spirit.
| 2006/4/19 14:07||Profile|