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crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Getting at the root of the problem

An excerpt from [url=http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/special/131christians/eusebius.html]Eusebius of Caesarea[/url]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Just as Eusebius was writing about Christianity's defeat of paganism, one of its greatest threats was developing on the inside. Arius, a presbyter from Libya, was gaining followers around the empire, teaching, "There was a time when the Son was not." Egyptian bishop Alexander and his chief deacon, Athanasius, fumed at the teaching. The argument spread throughout the empire, promising to rip the church in two. Constantine—God's chosen instrument, as Eusebius saw him—called the Council of Nicea to close the fissure.

Since his earliest days with Pamphilus, Eusebius was enthralled with the teachings of Origen, who has been criticized for 1,800 years for his belief that the Trinity was a hierarchy, not an equality. So Eusebius was less concerned with Arius's heresy than the threat of disunity in the church. When Arius was censured, Eusebius—who thought the entire debate brought Christianity the "most shameful ridicule"—was among the first to ask that he be reinstated.

At the Council of Nicea, Eusebius (whose name means "faithful") attempted to mediate between the Arians and the orthodox. But when the council was over and Arius was anathematized, Eusebius was reluctant to agree with its decision. He eventually signed the document the council produced, saying, "Peace is the object which we set before us." But a few years later, when the tables flipped and Arianism became popular, Eusebius criticized Athanasius, hero of the council. He even sat on the council that deposed him. Eusebius wasn't himself an Arian—he rejected the idea that "there was a time when the Son was not" and that Christ was created out of nothing. He simply opposed anti-Arianism.


_________________
Mike Balog

 2006/6/18 9:31Profile









 Re: Getting at the root of the problem


Hi Mike,

I'm not sure which problem you have in mind here.

Arius also did not acknowledge the Son as being of the same substance as the Father, and that caused a lot of trouble. (I have read that this thought was compatible with a Greek one, that women were not of the same substance as men.)

Then, the resurgence of this belief in Europe, in the 1500s led to a lot more in-fighting, as the Trinity, defended back at Nicea by Athanasius, came under attack again.

Isaac Newton was an Arian, it is believed. That's one of the reasons he was keen to develop his 'intelligent designer' theory, by proving there was order in the heavenlies, through observing and mapping it. This suggests he was not able to receive a whole strand of biblical belief in the creative word - the Word, spoken by God, who became Flesh, in history.

Quote:
He simply opposed anti-Arianism.

I am wondering if you think this is, or is not, a valid Christian stance?

 2006/6/18 10:11
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Getting at the root of the problem

Quote:
[b]He simply opposed anti-Arianism.[/b]



Quote:
I am wondering if you think this is, or is not, a valid Christian stance?



I think it [u][b]is[/b][/u] the Christian stance and the very root of the problem.

[i]Eusebius wasn't himself an Arian—he rejected the idea that "there was a time when the Son was not" and that Christ was created out of nothing. He simply opposed anti-Arianism.[/i]

Something intangible in this tension. It comes up here in so many different discussions, the KJV debate, the similar [url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=11067&forum=36&post_id=&refresh=Go]Practical Wisdom For Calvinists*[/url] 'debate', even by way of example and illustration the whole of the 'Recovery' and this great expression from T. Austin Sparks;

"[i]The great enemy does not give up his determination to interrupt fellowship and to spoil the work of the Lord by bringing division among His people. Everywhere this evil work is being pressed with increasing intensity. The enemy is set upon destroying anything that will result in the Lord Jesus coming into His full place. We must stand and withstand and do all in our power to keep this ground from him. It is costly, and it demands that we let go all that is only personal, and that we stand for the glory of our Lord's name and His interests alone... I am sure that you will never make me or my ministry a ground of division. There is no need to fight for me; the Lord is on the Throne, and He can order things to His Own Will - while we pray and trust Him.[/i]"

More importantly as he goes on ...

[i]Do you know that that is precisely and positively the teaching and position of the people called "Exclusive Brethren"? This teaching first went to Shanghai with the leading Exclusive Brethren who tried to capture the whole work of brother Nee. Brother Nee refused to be made an official part of that body, but the teaching got in, and has gone on ever since. When I came to Manila and Hong Kong I was very sorry to see that in both Assembly Halls there were for sale many of the books from the Stow Hill Bible Dept. in England. I feared that this would lead to both exclusiveness and division, and as late as last year one of the biggest divisions took place among them. Their whole church teaching is based upon this "Locality" law. (That is, the church ground.) Brother Lee is the strongest exponent of it in the Far East.[u]I love brother Lee and will do all possible to avoid separation from him.[/u]

[b]We must all fight hard to prevent divisions, and our ground must be Christ in all His own[/b]... I shall continue to pray for you all, and that the Lord will get a great victory over all the evil powers which are working so hard to [u]bring dishonor upon His name everywhere[/u]... Give my greetings to all the brothers and sisters.[/i]

[url=http://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?viewmode=flat&order=0&topic_id=9074&forum=31&post_id=&refresh=Go]T.Austin-Sparks (TAS) and Witness Lee (WL) - a short story - by Herald Hsu, student of Watchman Nee[/url]

The point of even bringing that excerpt out is not to reopen it all here, but the underscore and emboldening is in much more than the font style ...

It is and continues to be the very essence and aplanatic* aspect that alludes us. It is in the spiritual ... [i]marrow[/i].. the only word I can find expression in, more than 'manner' though that seems to be the crux of it. Our pride, our defending, the vileness that comes about or out of the evil heart in jumping to the dogmatics of doctrine rather than the Substance and substrate, the [i]marrow[/i], the ease to grieve the Holy Spirit by our unwillingness to bend and our overbearingness to get a point across. It is the tripping point of division unnecessary, of unkind words and even more cutting remarks. It is the blindness of so much that while it is or may be important, the whole of an argument can be reduced to rubble by just the constant neglect of...

[b]bringing dishonor upon His name[/b]

We forget. I forget. I can't even get very far along in trying to get myself to look at this and others to do likewise, this distinct and ultimate heart issue without making a mess of things ... We have so much confussion now that we often have to explain away [i]first[/i] what we [u]do not mean[/u] and\or we go off the rails and completely disregard the [i]weightier[/i] matters, so bound up in the arguments that we not only cannot hear each other, we don't even [i]want[/i] to hear each other, let alone attempt something so extreme as to humble ourselves and recall just Who it is and why it is we bring such grief upon and to and on ... as if it doesn't even matter. "I have a point to make!" "I have an opinion!" "[b]I[/b] think ..."

Sometimes I must wonder if the inverse of this verse is true;

Mat 18:20 [i]For where two or three are gathered together [b]in my name[/b], there am I in the midst of them.[/i]

To where it becomes, "Where two or three are [i]scattered[/i] in [i][u]my name[/u][/i] ..."

Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, [u]and went away[/u] again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode. Joh 10:39,40

Ever get that sense? That while all these turmoils and convulsions and arguments are ongoing, the placements of a jot or a tittle (Mat 5:18), in the midst of all the noise and clamoring, to stop and ask; Where is the Lord? Only to find that He left long ago and is far from us...

I know it sounds incredibly impossible, but I still am of a mind that if we were to really, truly humble ourselves, if the Lord was truly in our midst, if we were in a real state of manifest revival, the Lords [i]felt[/i] presence ... There would be agreement, there would be true unity, there would be admittance and change of mind and of heart ... it's there. It has to be. The Lord is not divided. [i]We are[/i].

There is something subconsciously sin-ister amongst us. An unspoken ideal that says "We just disagree" "We really do love each other" "We are only debating secondary issues" It's an afterthought or a 'given' but how much of it is in reality meaningless? We prove the opposite or the hypocrisy of it by our words and actions ...
Don't we?

I leveled the charge in shutting down a thread yesterday as it was getting out of hand and becoming ill-willed, cutting remarks, disinterested in the many who come through here and slapped the Ravenhill statement as part of the reason ...

[i]because you stink with pride, that's why[/i]

Well, so do I. It is impossible to level that charge without feeling the sting of the lash on the back-swing. And I am not sure if I need to apologize for it as much as I just need to repent of it as we all do.

This 'intangible', this tension... this [i]root[/i]. It's as if one needs to be pulled out and the other cultivated.

There is but a couple of important questions that we all must somehow keep before us. We are either bringing dishonor upon His Name or bringing honor to His Name.

But first we must remember His Name.




*[b]Aplanatic
APLANAT'IC[/b], a. [Gr. to wander.]

An aplanatic telescope is one which entirely corrects the aberration of the rays of light. It is thus distinguished from the achromatic, which only partially corrects the aberration.


_________________
Mike Balog

 2006/6/18 12:18Profile









 Re: Getting at the root of the problem


Ah! Mike! Thank you so much for sharing your heart again. And for explaining what you see and why you made the leading post.

I recognise this from the work my student friend of English literature is doing. His topic is 'philosophical scepticism' in the work of a seventeenth 'Christian' author - an author with Puritan roots who became a Catholic towards the end of his life. This in itself shows that he was questioning his beliefs over a long period of time.

Then, the Royal Society (1660), threw a lifeline to those who [i]would[/i] not believe in God if they didn't have to, but, it also was the beginning of [i]organised[/i] science - not that mathematics and philosophy hadn't been organised long before, but, toying with ideas and knocking them down to see if they could be destroyed, began there, even though in those days, everyone really was searching for a way to define truths objectively.

It was Boyle, the chemist, who first discovered the value of [i]failed[/i] experiments, and started dragging his chosen subject out of pure philosophy in which there was no resolution to his questions. When he died, he left money to promote the Christian view of science (that it was not in opposition to God), specifically to make a stand against the atheism which was developing in the wake of questioning everything.

Since then, as generations have passed through a process of ever-increasing scepticism towards God, to be sceptical for the sake of being sceptical - just for the fun of it - has brought a layer of dishonesty to many a debate, where those discussing are no longer searching for truth. Even recently, we have a Christian author over here, who would rather call himself 'foolish' enough to believe in Christ, than to vaunt the [i][b]wisdom[/b][/i] of his profession because it IS The Truth in which he believes.

I would not be too hard on this generation who have been brought up to sceptical thinking, but, perhaps you are feeling this continuous and deep grief over those attitudes because they really do need to be challenged when they lift their head above the parapit within Christian circles.

Quote:
I know it sounds incredibly impossible, but I still am of a mind that if we were to really, truly humble ourselves, if the Lord was truly in our midst, if we were in a real state of manifest revival, the Lords felt presence ... There would be agreement, there would be true unity, there would be admittance and change of mind and of heart ... it's there. It has to be. The Lord is not divided. We are.

The best remedy for this is for people to pray together. I really do want to encourage this, by phone, by skype, by im. I don't see a better way to find the Lord in our midst. He is infinitely more than our doctrine. Even the revelation of Him in scripture is basic. I am recently seeing that Jesus Christ is and God is, very much more than my paper perception of Him. I can say that only because He is making Himself known to me as very much more than I'd ever seen before. That doesn't mean I know Him as well as others do .... just more than I did before.

Quote:
We are either bringing dishonor upon His Name or bringing honor to His Name.

But first we must remember His Name.

Did you ever listen to Neil's compilation 'Isn't Jesus Wonderful?', which is a series of extracts from Duncan Campbell? It pretty much covers this - the whole tension created by theological differences, and the distance it can create between people and between the believer and God. I recommend it, simply because it encapsulates so much of what you're saying here. (It's on fireonthealtar.)

Quote:
He simply opposed anti-Arianism.

This is raw philosophical scepticism.
Quote:
I think it is the Christian stance and the very root of the problem.

Well, I don't perceive it as a Christian stance AT ALL. It is entirely a worldly philosophical stance, which seeks to cast doubt on a proper contention for truth - which [i]proper[/i] contention for The Truth is entirely scriptural.

 2006/6/18 13:40









 Re: Getting at the root of the problem


Apparently, there are seven Greek words which are translated 'contend' in the New Testament. Here is the first one, which seems most relevant to this discussion.


Jude 1:3
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should EARNESTLY CONTEND ("epagonizomai") for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

This is the only time this phrase "earnestly contend" is used in the New Testament. Jude's use of the word "diligence" makes this more than just an exhortation. It adds an intensity to his writing, as "do this now, don't wait." The reason was that false teachers perverting the faith had entered the church, and this needed immediate attention.

The Greek word ("epagonizomai" G1864) means "to struggle for" the faith, to intensify a healthy anxiety for keeping others from going into error. Jude says it "was needful" for him to write about this situation, not because the Church wasn't already contending for the faith, but that there was an increasing need to intensify this defense because of men creeping in unawares who were "turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ" (v. 4). They were bringing into the Church false doctrine and practices that denied the Lord Jesus, and this called for an intense struggle for the faith.

Along with this call to defend their common faith was the call to keep themselves in the love of God (v. 21) while struggling to "pull out of the fire" those listening to the false teachers. Jude's message called for humility in the fear and love of God as the believers intensified their defense of the faith:

Isa 59:19 . . . . When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.

The Church was to do these things while remembering and looking forward to the coming of Christ, knowing God would judge all who would not hear and respond to the truth. The capstone of Jude's encouragement was that as long as they held to the truth and delivered that truth in the character of Christ, believers could look to God to keep them from falling in their task and one day rejoice in His presence, while the false teachers would receive their judgment from the hand of the Lord when Christ returns.


[i]Extracted from a longer exposition on all seven Greek words sometimes translated 'contend'. By Ed Tarkowski.[/i]

 2006/6/18 13:43
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Manner ...

Quote:

[i]He simply opposed anti-Arianism.[/i]

Quote:
This is raw philosophical scepticism.



?
How did you get this out of all that came before?

[i]I think it is the Christian stance and the very root of the problem.[/i]

Quote:
Well, I don't perceive it as a Christian stance AT ALL. It is entirely a worldly philosophical stance, which seeks to cast doubt on a proper contention for truth - which proper contention for The Truth is entirely scriptural.



I have no idea what you are talking about... "cast doubt"?

[i]So Eusebius was less concerned with Arius's heresy than the threat of disunity in the church. When Arius was censured, Eusebius—who thought the entire debate brought Christianity the "most shameful ridicule"—was among the first to ask that he be reinstated.[/i]

[i]At the Council of Nicea, Eusebius (whose name means "faithful") attempted to mediate between the Arians and the orthodox.[/i]

[i]Eusebius wasn't himself an Arian—[b]he rejected the idea[/b] that "there was a time when the Son was not" and that Christ was created out of nothing. He simply opposed anti-Arianism.[/i]

I know next to nothing about Eusebius and the whole point of this excerpt and what followed was to simply point out that which few are reluctant to even attempt... A different tactic, a Christian one.

What in the world does that have to do with skepticism?


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Mike Balog

 2006/6/18 23:22Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

When I read what Bro. Mike is saying I am hearing a passage resounding in my heart from I Corinthians 8:1b:

...Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

I don't believe he is saying we are not to have convictions or stand for truth. This are all essential. We have to check ourselves before we enguage in conversations with folk. This is no different when we are witnessing to an atheist. We can win an argument and lose a soul. Same here. One could win a theological argument and lose a brother or sister in the Lord.

I have 5 teen aged children and a 5 year old. One thing I do not tolerate is arguing and bickering. When I hear this carrying on I am not too interested about who is 'right' and who is 'wrong'. My first response is to the tone of their behavior towards one another. The facts in the case are secondary, to me. We can work through the facts and get to the bottom of the truth; but an uncharitable posture towards one another, as my children, is to me [i]most vexing[/i].


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Robert Wurtz II

 2006/6/19 9:28Profile
InTheLight
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Joined: 2003/7/31
Posts: 2736
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 Re:

Quote:
...Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.



And another...
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.(1Pe 4:8)
I can appreciate Roberts story about the uncharitable posture between his children. I see the same in my home and it is indeed vexing. My father also used to deal first with this posture among me and my siblings when we took this stance with each other. He used to have a phrase that would usually deflate our prideful and contentious stance with one another. He would say, "Where's the 1st Corinthians 13 love?"

In Christ,

Ron


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Ron Halverson

 2006/6/19 9:43Profile
crsschk
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Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Digging

Quote:
I have 5 teen aged children and a 5 year old. One thing I do not tolerate is arguing and bickering. When I hear this carrying on I am not too interested about who is 'right' and who is 'wrong'. My first response is to the tone of their behavior towards one another. The facts in the case are secondary, to me. We can work through the facts and get to the bottom of the truth; but an uncharitable posture towards one another, as my children, is to me most vexing.



Ah ... [i]Yes![/i] A thousand times yes and amen.

"Tone"

What a well chosen word! It is to get to the bottom of the truth... the bottom of ourselves as well. It is most vexing when it rears it's ugly head. This matter of pride, the reluctancy to deal with it in all it's vast forms and manifestations.

Almost hesitate here, coming upon this. It is precisely the point brother, may it not be lost in the rather loquacious musings to follow ...


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Mike Balog

 2006/6/19 9:45Profile
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: What it is ...

What it is not ...

A condescending of truth or a compromise
A sophistry or slovenry
An intellectual argument or slothfulness of thought
Emotionalism nor ecumenicism
Pandering to men nor fear of man

It is not the philosophy of the head but the heart.
It is to set to suffer and be long suffering, patient, prayerful ... care - full.

It is not to win by intimidation or manipulation
It is to argue from the standpoint of the weakness of humility, the paradox and strength of honesty.

Something both struck and stuck for a little while now is just what is our 'apologetic', and maybe I could have spared all the former word-smithing with just these verses;

[i]But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.[/i]
1Pe 3:15,16

Seems to me the hinge word here is [i]hope[/i] while we tend to stand on the word [i]reason[/i] and in either case it is by dissection or cherry picking is the dialouge culled from and not the whole of context.

If we just had the first part of this ...
How much of the last part is in actuality an accurate accusation, to our shame not [i]theirs[/i]?

Our conversation in Christ is often not good but evil.
The things that spring forth out of our pens and our lips, bitterness and contention, entrenched in our theological positions even when correct are ruined by the the venom that spews forth in our defending. All the things Paul counted and called rubbish we rummage through, put a spit shine on and hold it up as a jewel of virtue. A pride of knowledge, of study, of learning, the happy sense of speaking well for the Lord so we think, without ever taking the time to find out if what we are doing is well pleasing in His sight.

We are reticent to take injury to ourselves
To be offended and misunderstood
Harboring resentment, stirring divisiveness
How long can we go in disagreement before the default mechanism kicks in and we must go to slander and presumption, character assassination, that strange insult to supposed dead to self people that we would like to think we are. There is a hilarity there almost, an absurdity that we take ourselves so seriously to be injured by the weakness, the holes in our arguments pointed out by others. Hunkered down into the trenches of our positions where no contrary thought dare enter. An old cigarette add once stated "We would rather fight than switch". Or in other words, reluctant to change our minds when they need to be altered, render our hearts by contrition and admittance.

We do know some things, if we know the Lord.
Have we forgot that we are taking orders not giving them? Becoming little armchair theologians, generals in our own right. our own sight.

Such a place, such a place it is here. Such a wonderful valley of discovery, a plethora of resources ... Will we scare off those who come with our high mindedness or lead them to Living water?

It is this substance, this root, this manner of conversation that I am attempting to mediate to our hearts. It is to reason from the hope that is in you, not the pride that is so deeply rooted.

[i]This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us[/i]. 1Jo 1:5-10

If we say ...
If we confess ...
If we walk ...


_________________
Mike Balog

 2006/6/19 9:49Profile





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