Fragments

HERM:
 Hi Chris, You wanted us to accept your statements about How the cults, Jw's,
 Christian Scientists, Mormons, Muslims, Etc., believed that Jesus Christ came in  the
 flesh so they must be of God according to 1 JN 4:2 if you interpret it
 literally. Steve showed how your statements were false, & that you had not researched your material
 correctly.

CHRIS: ATTENTION HERM ATTENTION HERM! Let me this again : Steve is the one who
 is mistaken on everyone of those groups except maybe, (cause I haven't even checked it yet) the Christian Science religion. PERIOD. It seems that either you are not able to follow what I'm saying or that you don't
 want to or chose not  to follow what I'm saying. It is totally fruitless for me to write if you're just going to ignore my response. So I'll say it again one more time. Muslims believe that Jesus Christ Came In The Flesh . PERIOD. The fact that they don't believe that he is not God or the  Son of God has absolutely nothing to do with that statement. Why? Because the Greek word Christ is simply a translation for the Hebrew word MESSIAH . The Jews are still waiting for the Messiah and They do NOT expect him to be God or the Son of God, just a human being like all the prophets. Also they do not except him to die on a cross! Or raise from the dead! None of these is implied in the simple word  messiah! The fact that Muslims do not believe (most Muslims, but that's another story ) that Jesus died on the cross has no bearing on whether they believe he was the messiah or a prophet. The
 Muslims consider Jesus a very special prophet whose job as messiah will be to return and usher in the Judgment day, that does not however (in their eyes) make him the Son of God or God, neither does it make him as great as Mohammed (in their eyes), The Seal of the Prophets, The Holy Spirit and Comforter. Similarly, the fact that The Mormons or JW's have all kinds of rather different ideas (to put it mildly) about who Jesus was before his birth does not in any way take away from the fact the they acknowledge that Jesus the Messiah has come in the flesh. What can I say? These are "on the record" facts. So much for your "false statements" claims. I can't be responsible for you or Steve's misunderstanding of my words. I can understand if you don't draw the same conclusions from the facts that I do, but disagreeing is not the problem. You are distorting what I am saying so you can dismiss it more easily, although you're probably  not doing it consciously. I have read Kingdom of the Cults and was given an audio of the author. I would never consider it objective in any sense of the word. If you really want to understand the Muslim position on Jesus I suggest you try reading some books actually written by by Muslims (what a> concept). About my "not researching " I don't want to sing my own praises , but believe me you don't even want to go near there. Understand I'm not saying any of these groups are right or wrong, all I
 was doing in mentioning this is challenging the notion that the words of Paul are to be taken  literally, and that we knew exactly what he meant In other words just acknowledging with the mouth or belief: "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh" is not enough, that couldn't possibly be what he meant (in my opinion). Here's what was said:

CHRIS' COMMENTS:
 (12/11)> Do we really know what it means "to acknowledge Jesus"? The problem with taking comments and admonitions that were made to people 2000 years ago is that we don't actually know the context in which they spoke. They are good for inspiration but that's as far as it goes (it seems to me). For example just take the verse that was quoted above ; 1John 4:2. Do you really think you know exactly what it he means? "Well of course! It
 means what it says and it says what it means, nothing more and nothing less!" OK then remember that the words spoken have to be taken literally then, here they are: "By this you know the Spirit of God: EVERY spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God..." So now here we are about to enter the year 2000, can we still read this and use it to determine when the spirit is the Spirit of God? Christian Science confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, So does the entire Roman Catholic Church, so did David Koresh, So did the Prophet Mohammed, So did Joseph Smith as well as every Muslim and Mormon .Yes muslims believe he was messiah (but not God), and that at the end times Jesus will return to bring in the day of judgment as God's servant and Prophet. Rather than go on and on , I'll let you create a list in your own mind of all the individuals and groups who confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh...  REMEMBER, the man said EVERY.
 Now if we say , "well hold on, not every, just those who believe this other stuff too", well then that's not EVERY. The next verse also says every, does that " every "count?

HERM:
 He was testing the spirit that came from you because when we speak about God, we better speak truly about Him. Don't take His name in vain, such as you can get to know Him through other religions. It does matter what you believe about Jesus Christ & what the Apostles wrote concerning Him. What one believes about Jesus is of the utmost importance. You're betting your life on it. GAL 1:8, 1 COR 15:1-4, JOB 42:7-8, Chris, I understand how hard it is for us to trust any spiritual authority, & especially the Bible, after the abuse we received from ST in the name of God's Word. I hope that God will be merciful & heal you & open your eyes to accept the Bible as His Word.
                                                            Herm Weiss
 CHRIS:
 Herm, I believed that this onlist is open to ALL x-boos when I got on. I made no attempt to get on any of the "strictly christian" lists. I purposely identified myself  (tongue firmly in cheek) as a heretic because I expected this. I certainly hope you're not forbidding me to express myself, I certainly hope you're not expecting me to not speak about God because you believe differently than I do. I didn't think this was" taking God's name in vain" but you are convincing me that this whole conversation may be "in vain". Funny how you seem to be saying that I have no right to speak about God at all. Am I reading this  correctly? I ask this honestly; if it were a few hundred years ago and you actually had the power to stop me from (as you put it), "taking God's name in vain" would you use it ? How far would you be willing to go to silence heresy  "for the sake of The Truth"? I totally respect your right to hold a belief that is different than mine and your right to speak it freely, I  hope you would do the same. Very soon I'll be going away for  a while so I won't be on list, but I wanted to make sure that I answered this.
I wish you well,
Chris

==========================================================
    From: Chris Gauci <goodlucknow@mindspring.com>
Subject: [cobu] LOFTY THOUGHTS
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 05:55:48 -0800
 

Mark writes: What is the problem with the apostles creed?  I don't know
enough about the history to know how that creed came about, what are your
sources? Perhaps its not perfect, but I see no great harm.
True unity amongst christians isn't a bad thing.  Though it's true there was
much evil and murder in the name of God. To read all that must be
depressing.

CHRIS:  Hi Mark, nice to hear from you. Actually  I don't have my ducks in a
row, but I think you'll find that earliest composition for the apostles
creed is about 140. It was not actually written by the apostles. There is
really nothing "wrong " with the creed itself it's just the way it was used
as a way to deny other points of view and was eventually used as a way to do
away with people who didn't agree with it. The church became a cookie cutter
thing, as you said.

Chris wrote: Of course the selection of books in the NT is a direct
result of  this whole movement to bring conformity to such a  wild and
untamed creature as early Christianity. Even if we suppose that everything
in the NT is 100% perfectly God's word, you know how leaving things out can
create an entirely different picture of the things that are left in. Editing
is everything!  So I wonder, what would Christians believe now if this state
sponsored intervention had not taken place, if instead things were left to
be sorted out by themselves.

Mark writes: Men will do what they will with varying intentions, there could
well have been mixed motivations of the men involved in deciding the canon
of scripture, but why not trust that God was in ultimate control of the
process and result? This has to do with that TRUST (true faith) you mention
down below. I wouldn't put my faith in those men of the Council or even the
Jewish Sanhedrin when they were planning to have Jesus put to death, but I
have faith in God's ability to ultimately control human affairs behind the
scenes. Are you saying that God doesn't involve Himself in men's affairs,
that He has no plan, Chris?

CHRIS: You do make some good points here. I actually do believe that
everything that happened and happens is according to God's will,
Everything. Otherwise it would not happen. That fact however does not
necessarily mean that decisions of the councils have authority over me. I'm
actually saying that God is involved with all our affairs, there was a
reason that the church had to be the way it was then. But things evolve and
God continues to lead in new ways. The fact Martin Luther had believed that
the Catholic Church was led by God in it's earlier days did not stop him
from leaving it, in fact he probably felt he was being led to break from the
Church by the same Spirit that formed it originally.

MARK: From the dead sea scrolls books like Isaiah were found that showed we
have that book in tact, and I thought there was part of one of Paul's
writings that was found if my memory serves me right. I think those men with
all their faults made the right selections of books, the sense I get from
apocryphal and pseudapigraphal literature was just historical and no unity
in their types and metaphors. I see a unity with all of scripture with the
types and metaphors.

CHRIS: Actually if they're all in the same translation the apocrypha blends
pretty well but we so used to reading only the canon together that it's hard
to tell. I mean if you never saw a Bible and someone handed you one that
also had the Gospel of Thomas or the apocrypha in it would you really be
able to see a difference? The Thomas Gospel uses the same language as the
others with differences that allow you to
see the others in a different light. Any way, this is truly a matter of
faith in that  you think the right choices were made and I can respect that.
Of course the "right" choices were made because everything goes according to
God's plan.

Mark writes (12/16) - The apocrypha blends well historically. I don't think
Jesus made reference to any OT apocrypha in his teaching and interpreting,
nor did anything He mentioned that typified Him come from the OT apocrypha.
"The volume of the book is of me."
"Jesus is the Word made flesh", etc.
For writings of the NT era that didn't make it, there are no signs that bear
interpretation, nothing within the kernel of the seed, nothing behind the
letters, no numerical patterns have come from them that I know of. There is
no one interpreting the law or the gospels as Paul did, opening them to show
true light.
Well if you disagree please give me an example in case I missed something,
because I haven't read them all. I do have an RC Bible,
Lost Books of the Bible (so-called) and Forgotten Books of Eden. That which
I bought because it was cheap, (and my household agrees with me that I'm
cheap, (smile)).

Chris: Remember that Emperor Constantine wanted a uniform Christianity, one
that spoke with a single voice, he supported factions that were able to
dominate others until doctrine was made clear enough to be a creed, which if
you swore allegiance to you were part of the orthodox, for the others:
eventually if they didn't conform,  the death squads were prepared, such a
sad commentary on human intolerance.

Mark writes: Even those who are preaching tolerance today can be very
intolerant.  Sometimes being tolerant isn't being loving.

CHRIS: I agree with that, but it sure beats being burned at the stake.

Mark writes: (12/16) You've got a point there, I would like to think I am a
"son" of ones like John Hus who were burned at the stake, and not a "son" of
those RC's who did the burning. I hope the Lord sees me that way.
Also there was, is and always will be injustice in this world, the important
thing is how we react to it. We can either get better or bitter. I'm sure
John Hus, like the apostles, were thankful to be counted worthy to share in
Christ's sufferings.

Chris: This all makes me wonder if "The Spirit of Antichrist" is this
spirit of equating Wisdom with doctrine,  Faith or Trust with beliefs, and
loving people  with converting them.

Mark: What could be more loving than rightly leading someone to Jesus? That
is, true conversion.  Forced conversions weren't true conversions. Though
some in their methods of conversion were not so loving.

CHRIS: To understand love just read the story of the good Samaritan.
LOVE IS SACRIFICE AND LOVE IS ATTENTION.

Mark: (12/16) There's a good parable to pick apart some time.

Chris: What is the fear?  Will not Truth show itself to us if we are
sincere in our search?  Is there no TRUST (true faith) that God will lead
each where he or she should be?

Mark: Well, now we are on a more level playing field when we talk about
faith. I do have faith in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. What is it that
you place your faith in? God will indeed lead us where we should be, but
sometimes we don't stay there, but we must end up there before its too late.

CHRIS: I place my faith in God's love and guidance.

Chris wrote: If you give people a list of beliefs and tell them that
that's what faith is then you have control of them through those beliefs.
The Roman Empire was about controlling people.  To control people you have
to convince them that they can't trust themselves. If you can convince them
that their access to God depends on believing in the creed you give them
then you have absolute power, through fear.
    If people feel that their connection to God has little to do with
what they believe about God but everything to do about their trust in God's
guidance and presence in their lives , then you can't control them. If
people know that the only commandment necessary in human relations is to
love your neighbor as yourself then they don't need your rules.

Mark writes: One must have the Spirit of God to truly love your
neighbor. There is a love which is of God (agape); and there is a love which
is of the world and false, ever since the serpent told Eve
"you will be like God" which makes man feel like God. The false love may
work in human relations and society, but not with God.

CHRIS: I would actually agree with that statement although I don't
understand the ref. to eve. You know them by their fruits, if a person loves
someone as themselves that is the evidence of God's Spirit.

Mark writes: (12/16) The ref. to Eve, that is who the serpent spoke to.
The idea that the serpent introduced relates to the false ego building sort
of love, making some one feel good. This is what, in one form or another,
the world calls love. If this is the only love we have received, that makes
us God's enemy. Of course, deceivers speak to churches in this manner with
this lie. Our flesh loves this lie and the deceiver is always at work.
You have to have the agape love first, to give it, from the Spirit. For love
is of God, we did not first love Him, but He loved us.
There is also a discipline aspect to God's love, and if we aren't
disciplined, we have to wonder about whether we're sons at all, according to
the author of Hebrews.

Chris also wrote;
I would definitely agree that it is Spirit which is the real
authority. This is really the main point.  I would not however say that
those who consider Church authority as the source of truth to be any worse
off than those who consider scripture to be the source of truth. IN both
cases you can say that it really comes down to trusting church authority on
the one hand and yourself on the other hand. What I mean is that those who
simply  say they believe the Bible and refuse to look into who exactly it
was who put the table of contents together and who decided what stays in and
what doesn't are actually putting there faith in a Church Council whether
they admit it to themselves or not.

Mark writes: Despite the church councils and all that which I am not
disputing, could you not see the possibility that a christian could have
faith in God controlling this council and its process behind the scenes, as
in the case of the Jewish Sanhedrin when they were deciding about having
Jesus sent to Pilate to be put to death... Could we trust in God for that? I
do, Chris.  As far as believing in the councils themselves, I don't know
enough about them to have such faith.

CHRIS: Yes, this goes to God being in control of all of it, but this does not
justify the actions of the Sanhedrin.

Mark (12/16) - We agree on this one.

Chris wrote: It is my experience that the Power and Love of God is not
confined to any religion, sect or creed, nor to any one tradition. I
feel these were political notions used to control people. Perhaps at that
particular time in history it was all that we were capable of.

Mark writes: Do you believe in universalism?  There are movements today to
unite all religions. I would be interested to know how you came upon your
current beliefs. Certainly you have done the research.
However, intellectual knowledge is not the highest, and can serve to
build the ego.  In fact, storing up knowledge could be a lack of faith, I'm
not saying you're doing that but these are real dangers.
The Adam and Eve story shows us that there is a way that knowledge can
even hurt us, plus the guy who tore down his barns to build up new ones.
Someone with much knowledge can be a fool in God's sight.
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with learning the histories,
that in itself can be good.

CHRIS: I never really thought about it. I can't say if I'm a universalist.
I'd have to write a testimony out which I may get around to if everyone one
isn't fed up or bored with me by then. Suffice it to say that after leaving
cobu I made lots of mistakes and kept trying to learn from them. Eventually
I studied with several Buddhist teachers, mostly Tibetans,and spent alot of
time with a teacher in India who was a master of Advaita Vedanta.

Mark writes: (12/16) This isn't boring, nor are you. I'll bet there will be
those who read through this whole long message. Tell me, what practical good
does the Buddhist or Hindu teaching done for you on a daily basis?

Chris: I believe that the Bible and many other scriptures of the world were
inspired by peoples' unique and direct experience of God in their lives. I
believe that all, both orthodox and heretical Christianity is a blend of
both Semitic and pagan religion. The early church fathers were trying to
save the best from Greek pagan philosophy and combine it with the cultural
Monotheism of the Jews. This has been an underlying dynamic and sometimes
(only sometimes) hidden tension through the entire history of the Church.
How much recognition there is of this, or how much denial, depends on
whether we're talking Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Mainline protestant,
Evangelical or fundamentalist.

Mark: (12/16) God Himself inspires the Bible. In a sense, true Orthodox
christianity is Jesus Christ.  Your thought on the motivations of early
church fathers is speculation, the authors you read couldn't have known
either. Guessing at someone's motives is warned against in Matthew 7.
Having said that, they did live in the world and were influenced to some
extent by Greek and Jewish thought, but we of today have our influences
today.
 

Chris: I have had extensive exposure to both Buddhism and Hinduism. I've
spent a considerable time both in The States and Indian with teachers of
these traditions. I believe that anyone doing their homework will see that
there very definite ties between ancient Indian and Greek philosophies, at
times they are pretty much identical.

Mark: (12/16) Have you thought of why that is? Scripture mentions a guy
named Nimrod in the letter who was the first world dictator, legends that
were written about him and his mother, Semiramis, were passed down and the
same story with different names are found in many cultures. You can read
about this in detail in "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hislop.

Chris: Seeing this is not the same as wanting all the religions to become
one. This is just seeing that there is in some sense a kind of hidden unity
already there. In any case dialogue and tolerance as well as democracy and
religious freedom should be encouraged wherever
possible, but I wouldn't be in favor anything that tells someone what
they should believe. I may not agree with fundamentalists but unlike them, I
think the world would be a horrible place if everyone was in one religion.

Mark: (12/16) Who needs religion? Getting to know Jesus is far better.
Those who refuse Jesus must settle for religion.
==============================================================
From: CbHIMtg@cs.com
 

 Chris wrote: It is my experience that the Power and Love of God is not
 confined to any religion, sect or creed, nor to any one tradition. I
 feel these were political notions used to control people. Perhaps at that
 particular time in history it was all that we were capable of.  >>

Hi Chris, Again your statement according to what Paul & the Apostles wrote is
false. The Love of God is shown (manifested) in us only by God sending His only
begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not
that we loved God, but that He loved us & sent His Son to be the PROPITIATION
FOR YOUR SINS.1 JN 4:9-10. Since when do the Muslims, Jews, Hindu, etc. teach that the
Christ died as the propitiation for our sins. Their love is the love of this
world since they deny how God's love shown. Again the Power of God is from
His Spirit, & His gospel (ACTS 1:8, ROM 1:16) & His Spirit is received
according to Paul by hearing with faith (GAL 3:2). Faith in whom? Christ
crucified! (GAL 3:1) Those who teach another way to God are according to
Jesus's words are as thieves & robbers & the sheep did not hear them (JN
10:7-11). Your experience is leading you astray. May God give you eyes to see.
                                                            Herm Weiss
=================================================================
Chris Gauci wrote:

>  Herm, I'm not presenting my understanding of the Bible or anything else
>  as being authoritative, but you are: that's the difference in us. I> know
>  it must be frustrating to you that I call in to question findings which
>  you take as authority because you're using those findings
>  to not only live your life, but to tell me how I should live mine.
>  That's why your accusations of me disproving my own argument by showing
>  that "authoritative facts" are not to be trusted is inherently flawed.
>  That is also (I suspect) why could be
>  bothering you so much (it seems to me). It's like I'm not playing by
>  your rules, it seems almost unfair. Sorry, but the fact that I'm not
>  requiring you to believe the same way that I do gives me infinitely more
>  room to navigate. I'm not claiming that God has required everyone to
>  believe such and such or else. Believe it or not I really am sincere
>  about what I believe and I don't think that you have to change one
>  solitary belief that you have. I only call into question the authority
>  that you and other's claim to have in regards to what I should believe.
=======================================================
From: "steve saxton" <sksaxton@sg23.com>

Chris,
 I am not telling you how to live or what to believe. I'm defending the
faith as the bible tells me to do. You have openly challenged the authority
of God's Word and God expects followers of Christ to defend His Word the
best they are able with the amount of light He has been pleased to give to
them. God is the one  who is  telling you how to live Chris,  and what to
believe as he does all of us. Jesus earned your loyalty by what He did on
the cross. None of all the religions you seem to have filled your religious
smorsgasbord plate with has anyone to compare with what Jesus did. He is a
jealous God also and He won't share His throne with any of the other so
called gods and religions that you seem so attracted to. You can use your
vast knowledge of all the world's religions till the cows come home but they
won't do you diddly on the day you find yourself standing in front of the
Author of Life and the Author of  those scriptures you refuse to bow to. If
this offends you, get in line. Most people are offended by Jesus in some
way. Better here while you have a chance to repent of your unbelief than
after it is too late. And God has given followers of Christ authority to
bring these truths to your attention. His long suffering is meant to lead
you to repentance. I hope, like Saul, God in His mercy knocks you off your
horse and turns you into one of Christ's followers based on His terms, not
yours as it now appears is the case. Yours in Christ, Sola Scriptura, Steve
==========================================================
From: Tom Pierron <tpierron@Op.Net>

You can win the battle and lose the war.
You win the argument and lose the other person.
"A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."
Those who have the truth, the Bible says, will correct their opponents
with gentleness.
I have seen stuff now and then that's emphatically dogmatically emphatic.
Like the person's in a panic. You feel your position is being attacked, I guess.
Chris is some one seeking and searching and examining and being honest
and saying some good stuff.
But then, woah horsey - what was that?!  And everyone gets on the bandwagon
of correcting the heretic.  This past week I think I've been a little burnt
out or I don't know what.  But I really cannot read all the blather.  (I just
looked that
up - it is a word - sometimes I write and I don't know where these words come
from, probably from reading a lot - and sometimes they do say what I want to
say - but I didn't know beforehand that I even knew the word -my note)
I suppose blather's a harsh word, but I really don't have the mind and patience
to hear back and forth about jot and tittle.  I would say defending the
Bible, etc.
is a noble cause - but if it ain't done in a spirit of gentleness (I'm not
saying I'm guiltless in this matter BTW) then it just ain't right - and that's
scripture too.
(I'm not saying anyone in particular - just all those other bad guys)
Here is an argument for a cult personality where we all amen and adhere to
the leader says it and that settles it.  Or, your view of this verse is this
and you must agree or you're definitely wrong yadda yadda.
We were in the leader situation and it did provide a sick sort of security.
(or you
could say dysfunctional - we weren't aware of it then but we certainly are now!)
Can we now be a little more broad based?  More tolerant.
Hey, I know a lot of stuff that you guys are totally wrong about but why bother?
There was a fellow who went off to get true enlightenment.
He would come back to his rabbi and say he had found it
but the rabbi would tell him that he hadn't.  The fellow would go off and come
back again and again and the rabbi would send him back telling him he hadn't
gotten it
yet.  Finally, the fellow didn't come back and the rabbi knew he had gotten
true enlightenment, because when you really get it, you don't have to come
back and tell someone. (Tolstoy said it better, of course...)
To make a long story short (too late, I know...)
Can we treat Chris like a brother instead of hanging him at high noon?
Are your belief's etched in the type of stone that makes you yell and scream when
someone runs their fingernails over it and makes a screeching sound?
Can't you take a little "what if?"  And a few other questions?  There are a
lot of questions to be asked and those who really want to know will ask them.
God is a big guy - he can take care of Himself.  When we defend Him in some
(lack of any word at all here) way - we don't present Him or ourselves in avery
good light.
Remember, through the years we have had our own goofy things in or heads.
And whose to say a lot of the things we hold so dear now aren't just as goofy.
(not me, of course, I fortunately am truly enlightened - do you get that -
by definition of the earlier parable; anyway....)I leave with this thought.
 Why could sinners, tax collectors, harlots etc. WANT to be around Jesus
while the Scribes and the Pharisees only wanted to find fault? (and kill!)
What boat do you want to be in?  Can you sleep while the wind
and the waves are going crazy?  A little compassion goes a long way.
(did this touch you?  - - if I could only figure out a way to pass
around the collection plate now...)
======================================================================
Chris :Thanks Tom.
I too am tired, it seems that I'm spending to much time on the computer.
I can even understand if there are those who will not except me as their
brother, though I consider you all brothers  and sisters (especially the
one's I argue with), let us at least be neighbors.
Jesus said to love your neighbor as YOURSELF. When he was
asked who your neighbor is he said that even Samaritans could be your neighbors.
The Samaritans mixed Paganism with Judaism. Here I am brothers and sisters.
Sincerely,
Chris
===========================================================
From: Tom Pierron <tpierron@Op.Net>

> From: Chris Gauci <goodlucknow@mindspring.com>

> Jesus said to love your neighbor as YOURSELF. When he was
> asked who your neighbor is he said that even Samaritans could be your
> neighbors.> The Samaritans mixed Paganism with Judaism. Here I am brothers and
> sisters. Sincerely, Chris

Bingo!
There's one thing Jesus showed me in Proverbs I've shared before and will again.
Not now.  It was a reversal of a hard held COBU belief.
Here's another that I heard from someone else:
Where we're told to treat someone like a Gentile.  We all hold that as
justification to write him off and ignore the "dog" or "sinner".
That's the COBU fundamentalist mental view.
But - how would Jesus treat a Gentile?  He would love him.
If you think someone is so lost they're a Gentile - then you need to
love them and hope they come back into the flock.  You don't yell at
them and make sure they stay out.  You build on the good.
You hold the door open and hope they agree with your view of Jesus.
I'm being a bit facetious there.
Some people want to find reasons NOT to love.  That's just one of
the reasons for camps such as COBU labeling other's as heretics.
Therefore you don't have to love them, now, do you?  And that's what
COBU does to us.  They don't have to love us.  We're crazy.
We're lost and written off; why God owes them an excuse if.......
========================================================
From: Robert San Pascual <bsp15@juno.com>

 Chris Gauci
<goodlucknow@mindspring.com> writes:

He also told me in no uncertain terms that Buddhism would not get
> me to heaven but that I'm saved and that's that. Sort of like,> "don't be
> silly" and that it didn't matter what I thought ,God would set me
> straight when we were in heaven.
> Here's my question: What do you make of such a statement? In your eyes
> is he a Christian if he can say such a thing?
> And does anyone out there believe in eternal security? If so why?
> I don't want to get into a back and forth thing about it , so I'll just
> "listen". Thanks, Chris

Hi, Chris,
These are great questions, and I'm sure we will start another round of
discussions going with this one. Mike, make room on your web site for this. :-)
One of my worst experiences in COBU was not having assurance of
salvation, except perhaps for my first 2 1/2 years there. What I mean by
"assurance of salvation" is the firm conviction that I was going to
heaven. And the only basis I had for having that assurance in the first 2
1/2 years was my own works, which was really false assurance.
When I left COBU, I thought about this and studied it some. There are two
main positions on this: the Arminian and the Calvinist. Calvinists
believe in "eternal security" and "once saved, always saved," though I
don't like those terms. I'm only using them here because most Christians
are familiar with them. Arminians, of course, take the opposite stance.
I tend to lean on the Calvinist side, though I'm still open to being
convinced otherwise, if that were more in line with Scripture. As I said
in one of my posts, one's doctrine is in a continuing state of formation.
Anyway, certain Scriptures seem emphatic about the Calvinist view. For
instance, those in John 10:27-29: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know
them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never
perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given
them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my
Father's hand." Another one is Philippians 1:6: "being confident of this,
that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until
the day of Christ Jesus."
I'm sure others on this list will post verses that seem to oppose this
viewpoint. However, one of my own thoughts that caused me to lean towards
the Calvinist camp (by the way, I'm not a full-fledged Calvinist), was
this: I felt that God would not dangle his children, so to speak, above
the fire of hell in order to motivate them to follow Christ. This is a
good picture of how I felt in COBU. In other words, be faithful or else.
I felt, and still feel, that He would use a different type of incentive
for His children, something like this: "I love you. I've saved you. You
have a home in heaven. Now, respond to my love for you with love in
return towards me." You can see why that's a lot more motivating for me!
The line against this, of course, is that people will take advantage. In
my opinion, though, people who willfully and continually take advantage
show their true nature. God's children have God's Spirit in them, and
they will want to please the God who loves them and has saved them and
has promised them a home in heaven. As for whether or not the person that spoke to you is really a Christian
or not, I think a person can be mistaken and still be a Christian. Each
Christian is in a process of maturing in the Lord, and trying to obtain
sound doctrine is a vital part, albeit not the totality, of the process
of spiritual maturing. Just as an example, consider this rebuke from Jesus:
JN 14:8 Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
JN 14:9 Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have
been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the
Father. How can you say, `Show us the Father'?
He was constantly teaching sound doctrine as He shaped the character of
His disciples so that they could bear the fruit of the Spirit. All of
these go together. As I disciple young people in my church, I have three
primary objectives for them: 1) Deepen in your relationship with God
(this includes, but is not limited to, knowing God in a personal way and
knowing about Him -- doctrine); 2) Develop Christ like characteristics and
conduct; and 3) Do the works of ministry.
In short, it does matter what we believe and how we conduct ourselves,
both. They are ways we respond in love to God (see my previous post on
this note) as well as evidences of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. On
the other hand, I can't say whether or not you or the man you met are
Christians, but I think that's the most important question in life. I'm
glad you asked!
In Christ,
Bob San Pascual
==================================================
Original Message-----
From: Chris Gauci <goodlucknow@mindspring.com>
To: cobu@onelist.com <cobu@onelist.com>Date: Thursday, December 16, 1999 3:36 AM
Subject: [cobu] MORE OF SOHM VING GOOD
>From: Chris Gauci <goodlucknow@mindspring.com>>>

MIKE SAID:>
>Okay, biblianity......kinda...dumbing following and never actually>making
>sure that what it says is what it says. I can see studying up to the>point
>that you know that you know that you know....then you do the word.>Right?  I
>appreciate you separating yourself from the gunk that passes for
relationship with God.  But I think there is a point where/when you>actually
>do say/think/acknowledge/turn your attention to Jesus AS  THE Son of>God.
>right? I mean.....you do see that right?>>

CHRIS:>
>Sure. Please remember that I was once a believer in exactly the same way
>you are now.>Now when I read the Bible I see it a bit differently.
>Bottom line is that when I read Jesus' words in the Bible, what I'm
>hearing is The Logos
>(consciousness itself) incarnated as a human being, speaking. He's
>telling me to abide in Him, not my ideas about Him, but Him.
>It's not like a conscious choice on my part, "I will see Jesus as
>Logos", it's more like He is introduced directly in the story  as Logos
>and when I read what He has to say it rings true.
>Not that I always understand what He says, but still.
>Remember , and it's here where I think we'll  disagree, I believe that
>it is THE LOGOS
>that is "the only Begotten Son". I'm sure that you'd agree that God the
>Father did not
>have sex with Mary (with all respect intended). When it comes to human
>beings this is what the word "begotten" means. Jesus was an incarnation
>of The Logos which was the only begotten of The Father. Logos is the
>only begotten Son  in the sense that nothing in the whole of the
>universe comes directly from the Unmanifest Invisible except His
>Consciousness of himself, His Logos.
>Everything or everyone in the manifest universe must go through Logos to
>get to the Father.>
========================================================
From: "Michael Montoya" <montoya@integrityonline1.com>
Okay....I follow what you are saying.....may I step back and make a few
points of feeling? As you speak I cannot help but feel that your God or your
relationship with Him is impersonal. I get the sense that you derive
personal relationship from a sort of one-foot hopping harmonic convergence.
John starts his gospel with " In the beginning was the Word" or Logos. I
grant that. John in his first letter in a similar way starts "That which we
looked upon and touched with our hands".....the first paragraph in 1st John.
I can imagine someone wanting  to investigate and know truth and figure in
and around and through Jesus because you have to face Jesus whenever you
search for truth in this life. Jesus was and is that Door  that light  that
way. His claims demand any philosopher's attention.
I think I struggle with your approach to him rather than Him revealing
Himself to you. I suppose you are knocking and the door is opened to you,
you are seeking......so there is scripture that speaks of us going to Him.
There is .....it's how you seem, Chris. It's as though God is not revealing
Himself to you, rather you are trying to explain Him to yourself and
us....with all the concepts and teachings you have gathered not teachings or
revelations God made to you.  I believe that this is one of the roads that
ends with "Depart from me, I never knew you." I just don't see God working
this way. He works through the Holy Spirit to guide us. He said he would
work this way.
I guess the major difference we have, Chris , is that I am very narrow in my
allegiances. I believe that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel made the
Heaven, Earth and Sea. I believe that this same God moved men and women by
the Spirit of God to pen scripture. I believe that the same God sent Jesus
Christ into our world to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus taught us
while he was in the flesh and established His church by the Spirit of God.
We partake of his divine nature by believing in Him and receiving His
Spirit.  Anything else preporting to do or be the same thing is a lie. What
say you?
Mike-----
 

============================================================
CHRIS:
Sorry, but I don't follow the logic here. Why are you saying that Jesus died for
no reason?
I never said such a thing. Jesus birth, life an death are a demonstration of the
love God has for the world (I think).
==================================================
From: Chris Gauci <goodlucknow@mindspring.com>

MIKE:
So Chris, Jesus died for no reason. Or he died for one of the many ways to
get to God?

CHRIS:
Sorry,but I don't follow the logic here. Why are you saying that Jesus
died for no reason? I never said such a thing. Jesus birth, life and
death are a demonstration of the love God has for the world.
I'd also add that Jesus birth, life and death are a demonstration of
what is necessary for us if we are truly to be surrendered to and in God.
=================================================
From: "Michael Montoya" <montoya@integrityonline1.com>
What I am saying is if you acknowledge other "paths" to God then Jesus dying
on the cross is not necessary...right?
mm
========================================
butting in here - - -
As for "other paths" - God sees our heart.  That may be hard to accept but there
are at least a few verses that directly support that.  Why someone would choose
"another path" is a bit beyond me - but not when I hear fundamentalists.
I have heard this and think it holds a lot of weight:
"When the words of Jesus Christ are not spoken in the spirit of Jesus Christ,
they are no longer the words of Jesus Christ."
I think the  verse Mike is applying certainly could apply in some instances.
What the verse initially was referring to was people who still wanted to obey the
old Covenant.  The New Testament, is the Last Will and Testament of God and
the one He goes by.  If we think we can please God through our outer actions and
obeying certain laws then Christ did die to no purpose.
As for those whose hearts are toward God and love their fellow man....
Their are some fundamentalists just as bad as those Pharisees and Saducees etc.
etc.And sometimes we come off that way - much like the COBU spirit.
(Don't you hate it when our past comes up?)  I am so glad to be free of my
past but know it can creep in at any creeping moment.
We will NEVER know the depths of God's love.But Lord, what about that man?
==========================================
From: "Mark Loftus" <mloftus955@hotmail.com>

Mike M. wrote: What I am saying is if you acknowledge other "paths" to God
then Jesus dying on the cross is not necessary...right?

Tom wrote: butting in here - - - As for "other paths" - God sees our heart.

Mark writes: God sees our hearts, that's right, that's why He set up the new
covenant and salvation by grace, the present condition of one's heart is
best expressed by the publican who didn't think the
condition of his heart was so great.

Tom writes: That may be hard to accept but there are at least a few verses
that directly support that.  Why someone would choose
"another path" is a bit beyond me - but not when I hear fundamentalists.

Mark writes: I think we should put prejudices aside and agree upon the "path
of life".

Tom writes:  I have heard this and think it holds a lot of weight:
"When the words of Jesus Christ are not spoken in the spirit of Jesus
Christ, they are no longer the words of Jesus Christ."

Mark writes: This is true, but what do you mean by the "Spirit of Jesus
Christ"?

Tom writes: I think the  verse Mike is applying certainly could apply in
some instances. What the verse initially was referring to was people who
still wanted to obey the old Covenant.  The New Testament, is the Last Will
and Testament of God and the one He goes by.  If we think we can please God
through our outer actions and obeying certain laws then Christ did die to no
purpose.
  As for those whose hearts are toward God and love their fellow man....
Their are some fundamentalists just as bad as those Pharisees and Saducees
etc. etc.

Mark writes: Not all the Pharisees were like American "fundies" of today as
they are characterized even though many were, the Sadducees were even more
liberal.  The Pharisees problem according to Matthew 12 plucking the grain
scene was not merely a legalistic attitude, but not knowing the spirit of
the law, that even the literal observation of the Law can be a transgression
of the Law.

Tom wrote: And sometimes we come off that way - much like the COBU spirit.
(Don't you hate it when our past comes up?)  I am so glad to be free of my
past but know it can creep in at any creeping moment.

Mark writes: The past is something we all can learn from, but yet the truth
can be presented in a right spirit. I did agree with you before that we
could afford to be kinder to Chris, but these issues can be brought up in a
right way.

Mark L
=============================================
CHRIS: I say that you are entitled to believe anything you want.
I say there are billions of people around the world who don't care what
either of us believes. I also say that the fact that they don't hold the
same opinion as us will not matter at all.  You seem to think that if they don't believe the same
thing as you they deserve to be tortured forever. You seem to think that
God agrees with you. I think that everyone will suffer in accordance to what they have done,
no more, no less. When they've paid their debt, the suffering stops, it has to do with how
they've lived their lives and how they treat others. Call me crazy, but
I think that is called Justice. I'm not witnessing here, also this is not my "church". I feel more like
we are a bunch of old veterans sitting at the bar. Sometimes arguing,
sometimes laughing, always aware of what we went through together.

MIKE:
So Chris, Jesus died for no reason. Or he died for one of the many ways to
get to God?

CHRIS:
Sorry, but I don't follow the logic here. Why are you saying that Jesus
died for no reason? I never said such a thing. Jesus birth, life and
death are a demonstration of the love God has for the world.
I'd also add that Jesus birth, life and death are a demonstration of
what is necessary for us if we are truly to be surrendered to and in God.

MIKE:
What I am saying is if you acknowledge other "paths" to God then Jesus dying
on the cross is not necessary...right?

CHRIS (12/20):
OK, Now I see your logic, but it aint necessarily so.Just how I see this:
As I understand it, prior to creation one can say that nothing is
necessary, including Jesus' death on the cross.
Once we talk about the created universe, Jesus birth, life and death are
a forgone conclusion, they HAD to happen, God simply could not stop
himself, given this creation and given His Nature.
Once this universe came into being, EVERYTHING that happens has to
happen exactly like this. This is the nature of the manifestation of
Logos (God's Consciousness),  it's all one seamless garment, you can't
rip any part of it out, period. This reality is all one interdependent
whole, and that aint just some feel-good beautiful sounding phrase.
It is "one" because we are right now , in this moment  (only this moment
is actually real,the rest is only in our thoughts, our heads) brought into being
simultaneously, in and by the Logos (God's Consciousness or "light" that is every living being's
Consciousness) all at the same time.So it is all inherent in the universe and has nothing to do with any
"paths". It's between a person and God, period.
If The Power sustaining and bringing into being the universe suddenly
was withdrawn, everything would, all at once, simply cease to be.
Recognizing that there is one underlying Consciousness (the Logos) in all of life is to see life as it
truly is. This seeing is a personal and individual experience
and this is between each person and God, it has nothing to do with their
religion. The degree to which their religion (or "beliefs")
helps a person to see this Logos is the degree to which it is helpful,
the degree to which it obscures the fact that there is one source
for the whole of life is the degree to which religion ( or "beliefs") is
an obstacle.
So you see there is only one "path", that of Logos , the Consciousness
in which all of reality rests. Nothing created has any
existence separate from it, hence it is "King of Kings" and "Lord of Lords".
This could all take even longer to explain but suffice it to say that
those who fully rest in and as Logos in surrender to the Father do not
experience the results of any of their actions because  their experience
of themselves is of the Spirit ,not the Flesh. They know that they are
not their bodies or personalities. The Logos lives through them, their
life is not their own. This is not about being good or trying to get to
God through our efforts, that doesn't work. God's love and presence is a
free gift, always was. God will do anything needed to get us to
recognize this, He can't help himself.
The effect of Jesus birth, life and death is universal. It is not
confined to any religion, tradition, club, political affiliation, nation
or sports team. This is not a competition , "mine is better than yours".
The means to access God's grace appears to be different in the different
spiritual traditions, each is actually written in a different figure
system. A different metaphor.
When we live our lives as if we are separate beings, and treat others as
if they were not our own Self, we suffer.
Those who find themselves relating to life this way when they die, will
experience the results of their actions, good and bad. But no more or no less.
Hell may be forever, but one's stay there is dependent on the damage you
do to apparent others. "Whatever you do to the least of these".
When I read "The smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever" I read
it a bit differently. First:
I know that there are particularly busy "Denny's  Restaurants" in which
the sounds of food being served to their customers has gone on nonstop
for weeks, months even. That does not imply to me that their customers
never leave, only that the restaurant  is always busy.Second :
The "forever and ever " thing is in  The book of Revelations, with
beasts and flying seven headed creatures with horns that speak. If this
book is literal then I wanna see those critters at the zoo.
So what happens to the soul after it experiences the results of it's actions?
Some say it is reincarnated either on earth or some other plane of life.
Origen seemed to suggest that they are given another crack at life after
the entire world system is over and the creation starts all over again.
Some say they just plain don't exist anymore and some that they are in
heaven with God. I say, Who knows? I don't. I'll just trust The One in charge.
================================================

> Chris is some one seeking and searching and examining and being honest
> and saying some good stuff.
On the contrary, Chris admitted he got saved by Jesus Christ and then
admitted he sought out other religions-eastern ones. He left Jesus to go
after other gods. How in heavens name can you say that he is seeking and
searching and examining and being honest? He needs to come to his right mind
and sin no more by going after other gods. The bible says that those who go
after other gods multiply their sorrows. Does Jesus have all the answers for
our searching or doesn't He?
Yours in Christ,
Sola Scriptura,
Steve
====================================
From: "steve saxton" <sksaxton@sg23.com>-

Brother Chris,
"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the women.
(In other words, lady, God is just plain lying to you because He knows that
you will just keep comin back in another life until you get this 'lovin
others' thing right. What a convenient, non intrusive, all inclusive, without consequences,
version of the Holy Scriptures you have been serving up, bro.
If all you say is true Chris, why did Jesus have to die on that nasty old
cross anyway?
But then, I'm so glad you aren't insisting that we believe what you are
teaching. I'm so glad that you are not selling it as hard as you possibly
can. I'm so glad the gospel is really just another name for "I'm ok, you're ok".
I do have a question about something you wrote:> Once this universe came
into being, EVERYTHINGJesus birth, life and death are
> a forgone conclusion, they HAD to happen, God simply could not stop
> himself, given this creation and given His Nature. that happens has to
> happen exactly like this. This is the nature of the manifestation of
> Logos (God's Consciousness),  it's all one seamless garment, you can't
> rip any part of it out, period. This reality is all one interdependent
> whole, and that aint just some feel-good beautiful sounding phrase.
> It is "one" because we are right now , in this moment  (only this moment
> is actually real,the rest is only in our thoughts, our heads) brought into being
> simultaneously, in and by the Logos (God's Consciousness or "light" that is every living being's
> Consciousness) all at the same time.

Could you please, since you are speaking about God's motives and methods for
doing what He did and still does, show me in the bible some verses to back
up what you are saying here? I mean since the bible purports(realizing, of
course that no one can ever be sure of anything at anytime, ever, nada)to be
God's thoughts to mankind.Have a great holiday bro.
Yours in Christ,
Sola Scriptura,
Steve
=============================================
From: "Richard MacLean" <BigMac55@ix.netcom.com>
> From: steve saxton [mailto:sksaxton@sg23.com]
> Doesn't the bible tell us to speak the truth in love?
> Should we just go along with Chris's distorted view of God's Word and say
> "That's okay brother, whatever you believe is all right with me. God is so
> big and has such broad shoulders and is so loving that He doesn't> mind that
> His word is misrepresented."?
> Confrontation is also a part of love, bro. Not pleasant, but necessary.
> Yours in Christ,> Sola Scriptura,> SteveSteve,
Arguing is not always the best form of confrontation.
I realize that I have been guilty of doing the same,
but the point of the list seemed to be to draw in x-boo's
and give them a place to make contact. Many are driven off
by the constant correction. I will make my case for
Jesus without demanding others feel the same.
Please forgive me for any contentious spirit I have brought
to the list in the past.God bless you,Rick
=========================================
> From: Chris Gauci <goodlucknow@mindspring.com>>>

Hi Steve,
> First of all the fact that I may have been mistaken about Chistian
> Science doesn't make me
> a liar, just mistaken. None of the others you mention seem to be> accurate.
> The fact that I mentioned Joseph Smith and the mormons in two different
> sentences is more of an error in grammar, is this the best you can do?
> I said directly that the muslims don't believe that Jesus is God but
> that is not the same as saying that they don't believe that Jesus Christ
> has come in the flesh. To believe that Jesus was the Messiah (Christ) is
> not the same as believing that He is the Son of God or God. Are you next
> going to tell me
> that the RC's don't acknowledge that Jesus has come in the flesh?
> Please,if your going to call me a liar just because you don't like what
> I say then don't expect me to dignify it on the list. If you don't
> believe that I really called out to Jesus when I got saved in 1974 just
> because you don't like what I believe now then I suggest that it is you
> who should examine himself. Your always free to e mail me at home.> Chris
=================================
From: "steve saxton" <sksaxton@sg23.com>

Brother Chris,I never accused you of not calling out to Jesus.
I have been thinking of 1 John 4:2 & 3. What did John mean when he said v.2
& 3-"This is how you can recognize the Spirit of  God: Every spirit that
acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every
spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not
from God."
Christ means messiah or anointed one. Not just any old messiah or any old
anointed one but relating to specific, OT prophecies about a specific person
to come on the historical scene. One who would take up time and space in a
particular geographic local. In other words, a flesh and blood real person.
First, to lay a little ground work. Numbers 23:19-"God is not a man, that He
should lie, nor a  son of man, that He should repent;Has He said , and will
He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?"
Isaiah 46:9, 10-"Remember the former things long past, for I am God, and
there is no other; I am God and there is no one like Me, declaring the end
from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done,
saying, 'My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good
pleasure.'" Isaiah 48:3,5-"I declared the former things long ago and they went forth
from My mouth, and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to
pass. Therefore I declared them to you long ago, before they took place I
proclaimed them to you, lest you should say, 'My idol has done them, and my
graven image and my molten image have commanded them.'"
Romans 1:2-4-"Which He promised beforehand through His prophets in the holy
Scriptures, concerning His son, who was born of the seed of David according
to the flesh, who was declared with power to be the Son of God by the
resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus
Christ our Lord.'"These have to do with Jesus being the Messiah:
Matt.5:17-"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I
did not come to abolish, but to fulfill."
Luke 24:27-"And beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained
to them the things concerning Himself in the Scriptures."
Luke 24:44-"Now He said to them, 'These are My words which I spoke to you
while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in
the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.'"
John 5:39,40,46,47-"You search the Scriptures because you think that in them
you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me;and you are
unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life. For if you believed Moses,
you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me. but if you do not believe his
writings, how will you believe My words?"
Mat.13:14-"And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled,
which says, 'You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; And you will
keep on seeing, but will not perceive.'"
Mat.21:42-"Jesus said to them, 'Did you never read in the Scriptures, "The
stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone..."'"
Luke 4:20,21-"And He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and
sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed upon Him. And He
began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'"
These have to do with Jesus fulfilling the OT prophecies as quoted by the
writers of the NT:
Acts 3:18-"but the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all
the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He has thus fulfilled."
Acts 10:43-"Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name every
one who believes in Him has received forgiveness of sins."
Acts 17:2,3-"And according to Paul's custom, he went to them, and for three
Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and giving
evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and
saying, 'This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.'"
1 Cor. 15:3,4-"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 that He was raised on the third day according to the
Scriptures."
Mat.2:4-6-"And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the
people, he began to inquire of them where the Christ was to be born. And
they said to him, 'In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it has been written by the
prophet, "And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the
leaders of Judah;for out of you shall come forth a Ruler, who will shepherd
My people Israel."'"
There are scores of other verses that prove that Jesus was this Christ,
Messiah, Anointed One of the OT-I don't think you disagree with that. And if
He is this same Christ that John refers to in 1 John 4, then do you still
contend that the Mormons and the JWs and the Muslims all believe that that
Christ came in the flesh? Particularly since that Christ did also claim to
be God?("word was God", "He who has seen me has seen the Father";"Before
Abraham was, I Am")
Yours in Christ,
Sola Scriptura,
Steve
======================================
Why should someone adhere to our still evolving view?
As someone said, something like our view is always being
"formalized" - always being formed.  I heard a great study on this
by a fellow observing a herring.  Through the binoculars it was grey,
as he got closer it was brown, and as he got even closer, through the
binoculars you could make out the feathers and the beak and it was beautiful.
And He felt God say to him that that's how my children are.
Some say I'm grey, some say I'm brown.The answer?  Come closer.
To make others conform to our view, I think, is very brown...
Although, I'd have to say on this list, no one is below orange.
===========================================
Brother Rick,
It is good to hear from you again. I am pondering and considering what you
offered and I will get back to you in the near future.
May you and your family have a great Christmas and a prosperous new year
with great blessings from our Wonderful God.Yours in Christ,Sola Scriptura,Steve
===================================
ON THE LAW:
From: "Mark Loftus" <mloftus955@hotmail.com>

Subject: Re: [cobu] More on "The Law"

Steve wrote:
Brother Mark,
Please continue on the spirit and the law. I'm finding it quite edifying.
Thanks. Yours in Christ, Sola Scriptura,Steve

Mark writes: (12/22) Glad you asked...    This is an interesting subject,
and one where we can go astray in either direction. I was studying Matthew
12 this week and it related to this subject of the law...  The disciples
plucking grain is like us feeding on the grain of God's Word or pastors as
they prepare it for their congregation. "Do not muzzle an ox when he is
treading the grain" is a reference,or is it the oxen which we are concerned?
  The plucking of the grain is implicitly going below the surface. The
scripture – or law – is compared to the corn in the husk, which must be
taken from there by the labor of the ox on the threshing floor before it can
support the life of man.  We have lost touch with some of these ancient
customs that God uses to teach us.
   This passage does more than speak against legalism as it is now commonly
preached in the churchianity.  That wasn’t the Pharisees only problem, they
didn’t understand the figurative object lessons due to their hardness of
heart.  Something more than just simple labor was going on there.  The
literal observation of the law is the transgression of the law, some thing
the Jewish mind in Jesus time had difficulty understanding.  The letter of
the law was ordained for the sake of the Spirit.  While the Jew trusted in
the law as a form, and were transgressors.  The Jews erred because of their
literal interpretation of the law.  Nor did these Jews understand the
Sabbath either, the literal sabbath was a type of the true sabbath rest
which was yet to come.
  You see, Steve, you don't have to say much to get me going...
In a sense, when David ate the Showbread and was guiltless, he was under the
new covenant.  The Jews of this passage were under the old covenant.
Perhaps the Pharisees would have done well to pluck grain themselves out of
concern for their converts, which would have taken a servant attitude.  Yes,
Jesus was working on the sabbath, for the good of His disciples.  The Jews
would circumcise a child on the 8th day even if it was a sabbath, this
should have made them think.
Jesus was trying to tell the Pharisees that they were on the outside
looking in at a new spiritual temple, greater than the literal one religious
Jews trusted in.  The kingdom of God was in their midst.  The true sabbath
rest was available to all.  The disciples were hungering and thirsting after
righteousness.  There may come a time when studying the Bible may be opposed
by the churchianity in the name of God. The attitude the Jews had is very
prevalent today.

Ray wrote:
Well let us consider the RC's. Confession is made before a priest
that is called upon or known as "Father", following said confession the
priest then awards a penance (price for sin). Now we know Jesus paid the
price, and we can do nothing to earn forgiveness of sins. But this is a rule
or law made from "Confess your sins to one another" which is a commandment
given by Jesus himself.
Here's one for you Catholics that commit suicide cannot be buried in
a RC cemetery, my questions is "Who cares"? Surly not the person
committing suicide. And who is to say that one cannot be forgiven of
suicide? My last knowledge of an unpardonable sin was not suicide.

Mark wrote: (12/18)  I'm with you on the above examples.
My prior responses were directed at the idea that we could just set
aside scriptures and do what we please because we are not "under the law",
going back to your sentence that was out of context.  To set aside
scriptures for that reason is wrong. We don't have to follow the ceremonial
laws of the Jews either.
Here is the key, "if we are led by the Spirit we are not under the
law". Look at the spirit of these scriptures and not as laws. This is why
Paul did the interpreting in Galatians 4, two women are two covenants. He
used that same method for the Corinthians as he interpreted, "do not muzzle
an ox when treading the grain". He went to the spirit of the law, not the
letter, he didn't set aside the law, but for example he would have no women
teach men because of the spirit of the law. (Ray, I know you weren't saying
otherwise on the women issue thing, this was just an example.)
I know sometimes when I explain things it can be confusing, but I
hope I made it clearer this time.

Mark writes: (12/20) I should add, Ray, that it is possible for the
literal observance of the Law to be a transgression of the Law from the
example of plucking grain in Matthew 12. The Pharisees, by their keeping of
the Sabbath, were transgressing the spirit of the Law as Jesus showed them.
But their problem according to this passage, wasn't merely a legalistic
mindset, but not knowing the spirit of the law, they only knew the letter,
even when the Law and Temple stood before them...  I just can't get off this
"law and spirit" thing, as you can tell. There's many aspects to it.

===========================================
Making contact will lead to discussion and discussion will
hopefully lead to the Spirit and the Spirit to the truth. I don't see
where bro Steve was arguing, but rather discussing the error
of another bro's ways. We are encouraged by the Word to win
those back that have been lost, or have been wandering. I am
blessed that someone confronted me with the Good News, that
there is truly grace in the Blood of Jesus.
When someone acquaints salvation towards man and says
anyone but Jesus can forgive sins, I for one feel the need to
step in and give correction, as has Bro Steve and I commend his efforts.
Now mind you I am not coming down on you Bro Rick, just
mentioning that I didn't think bro Steve was really arguing,
but we need to take a stand for something, if not we'll fall for anything.
Ray
==================================
Tough Call
From: "Mark Loftus" <mloftus955@hotmail.com
 
 

Ray wrote:  This was brought about by ML's mention of not lambasting our
former pastor in FF/COBU. While I agree in part, but on the other hand I
think we ought speak out against those in error so others might not trek the
path we chose.

http://www.angelfire.com/ny/japostle/orange.html
 

Herman wrote: Hi Mark, while I see using caution as being prudent in not
lambasting a former pastor, In ST case the man himself denies that he was
saved before 1989 & therefore could not be a true pastor led by the Spirit,
but was a false teacher who deserves no respect or deference from us. Rather
we should follow the Apostles example in standing against him.
                                                        Herm Weiss

Mark writes: (12/23) Yes, it is certainly right to speak out against his
false teachings or any false teacher.
The deference issue is a little tougher. I once was told that you have to
respect the office even if you don't respect the person.
Sort of like Clinton, he is the President and one has to respect that
office. ST still unfortunately has the title of pastor, an important office,
though he himself has proven unworthy. It's the same idea as how the
archangel Michael wouldn't rebuke Satan himself in the first person, but
said, "the Lord rebuke you".
Having said that, the young people and those living in who are receptive,
should be shown how ST and other false teachers are false.
That is a tough issue. There may be other scriptures that fit better.

Mark
=======================================
From: Robert San Pascual <bsp15@juno.com>
This is a tough call indeed. An applicable Scripture here might be James
3:1: "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because
you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." Because Stewart
presumes to be a teacher, he will be judged more strictly than others,
and I leave that judgment to a good and righteous Judge.
I think each person should be treated with respect and love. Speaking the
truth in God's spirit is loving, and in this case, to say that Stewart is
a false teacher is true, and I say it in love to any and all. One of the
things that convinced me that I made a wise decision in leaving COBU in
March 1989 is that shortly thereafter, Stewart began to teach that those
born of God do not sin and that those who still sin are not saved. This
is a false gospel, and the Apostle Paul said, "But even if we or an angel
from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you,
let him be eternally condemned!" (Galatians 1:8). I'm not wishing
condemnation on Stewart or any one else; I'm merely pointing out the
seriousness of preaching a false gospel. It's not to be taken lightly. I
do pray that he and any one else who teaches a contrary gospel wouldrepent.
I've written several times on this onelist on the importance and
necessity of obtaining sound doctrine. Here is a prime example where
unsound doctrine is harmful. I urge everyone to pursue the study of God's
Word in order to draw near to God and to obtain sound biblical teaching
so as not to be led astray by other false teachers. I know of some former
COBU members who went into the New York City Church of Christ after
leaving COBU. The Church of Christ is very similar to COBU -- see Ronald
Enroth's book, Churches That Abuse.
After I left COBU, I determined to learn how to interpret the Scriptures
for myself, and while it is not a simple process, it is a valuable one. I
have also taken many classes on the Bible, and this has helped my walk
with God. What we believe affects how we live.
In Christ,
Bob San Pascual
==================================
I like the attitude "Leave them alone; they're blind guides."
The attitude.  You know I don't "leave them alone".
I went past there just a few weeks ago and nothing looks changed.
Same spirit.  Sort of shame, a little on my part - having to admit
that I actually listened to the craziness.  I was real gun-ho many
times I was there.  Leaving meant leaving the only true way to God.
Anything else, and God wouldn't be pleased.  Breaking that mindset -
or coming out on the other side of what one brother apply put:
the Great Tribulation - is no small matter and only we know how tough
and personal that is.
For those to leave and see Stewart for what he is (or isn't) would mean
they would have to admit they were wrong.  That they were out there
working and sweating and trying to convince others of something they now
see to be wrong.  No one wants to do that.  In the book "Influence", it talks
about the value of "making commitments".  After you verbally, in front of
others say you're committed to thus and so - what are you going to do -
something else?  What are you schizophrenic - crazy or something?
So (and I know you all know this - it goes without saying) for those in there
to leave, they just about have to lose their minds so to speak.  And that is
probably the biggest step of faith I ever took.  Very scary.
But God assuaged me with His love and provided many answers
for the past madness.  When things don't make sense maybe they're
not supposed to.  There is light at the end of the tunnel - and I don't
have to tell you that - but our very existence should tell THEM.
No matter what apology Stewart thinks God owes him.
We know it's the other way around.
John D says one time Stewart accused him of stealing - out of the blue
Stewart said accusationally "You know I could have you arrested!"
The brothers carried around thousands of dollars of cash in the van business.  Stewart was
trying to bluff John into some confession.  You know how we brothers
were - we wouldn't want to spend our dime phone money on coffee for
fear of a guilty conscience.  And another time John said he told Strewart
that he didn't feel like he was in fellowship with the brothers unless he was
guilty - and Stewart laughed!
You know what they say - it's easy to make a Christian feel guilty -
and guilt is a powerful force - and Stewart's MO, eh?
Ain't it great to be free of that!!!!!  When we count our blessings
this holiday - there's a big one there!
I would see things now and then, but I would dismiss them - I wouldn't even
allow myself to make anything of them till I left and allowed myself to
make those things I saw make sense that was really there but I couldn't admit.  I've gone on enough for now.
Our very existence and survival and love for Jesus out from the compound
is something they have to reckon with.  How long can they consider us
heretics, backslidden, living for the flesh, or what ever label they've come
up with lately.  So they can write us off and not have to deal with it in their
minds and consciences like I wrote off stuff while I was there - lest 2+2
happen to become 4 I wouldn't know what for.  Admitting I'm doing the
wrong thing in the name of God and COBU - ........................
you finish this yourself - later, as you muse and the fire burns
====================================
From: Tom Pierron <tpierron@Op.Net>>

From: "Raynard" <n8vzl@mountain.net>>
> Although I do not recall ST making any false prophesies, nor do I recall
> his calling himself Christ (yet), but he is most certainly a false teacher
> and> has sought to deceive many.
About a year ago we went over the fact that Stewart a few times in a
few ways alluded to the fact that he was Elijah and all that stuff.
And I know I for one, went for that rumor hook line and sinker.
The guy looks like at OT prophet, doesn't he?!
When he came out with the 1st John 3.9 Bible study that March
or June - I think it was June of 1989 - and I was there - he had all
of 1st John written on two big poster boards and he looked like
Charlton Heston with the Ten Commandments.  No one said anything
- and it's another one of those things I thought, but didn't allow myself to
verbalize.
BTW - don't go looking for Elijah.  Jesus told the disciples - he asked
them what do the people say - that Elijah must come - and Jesus said
he DID come and they did to him whatever they wanted as it was
written of him.  It's over.  Elijah did come - end of story, Jesus said so.
Elijah does come, as they say - and he did come, but just like Jesus,
they didn't recognize him.
But Stewart acted surprised when he heard there was a rumor that he
was Elijah - isn't that what I heard?  He knew good and well that sword
of Damocles he had hanging over us.
============================
> > I've written several times on this onelist on the importance and
> > necessity of obtaining sound doctrine. Here is a prime example> where
> > unsound doctrine is harmful. I urge everyone to pursue the study> of God's
> > Word in order to draw near to God and to obtain sound biblical> teaching
> > so as not to be led astray by other false teachers. I know of some> former
> > COBU members who went into the New York City Church of Christ after
> > leaving COBU. The Church of Christ is very similar to COBU -- see> Ronald
> > Enroth's book, Churches That Abuse.
====================================
Our church rents it's building from a local "First Reformed Church of> Christ".
> They have services on Sunday AM, and we on Sunday PM and Tuesday PM.
> We also have youth services and youth events.
> I am quite amazed that they permit us to remain in their building. I> have
> been> to one or two of their services, and it is all in their bulletin
> what will> happen in
> the service beat by beat. Our services are rarely the same twice, we> are a
> Pentecostal non denomination denomination, and we are rarely quiet.> We
> have events where those from the daytime church join us. The First> Reformed
> is all older folks and as far as I know have no young people.> Recently they
> have> had an interim minister, and as far as I know they like him, and
> plan to> keep him.
> His last church was also a Pentecostal church, so they may be in for> a
> surprise.>> Ray>
==================================

From: Robert San Pascual <bsp15@juno.com>
Not all Church of Christs are related to the New York City Church of
Christ. The New York church comes from the "Boston Movement," if I
remember correctly. I've been approached by some members over the past
couple of years and so have other people in my church. Like us when we
were in COBU, they are zealous, no doubt.
By the way, for those who may not know, there is a chapter on COBU in the
book I mentioned -- Churches That Abuse by Ronald Enroth. Much of the
material was submitted by Beth Davies, an ex-COBU member who lives in New
Jersey and who facilitates a support group in her church for people who
were in cults. I highly recommend the book, as it helped open my eyes to
what went on with us and what goes on in other places.
In Christ,
Bob San Pascual
=============================
From: MGriffo@aol.com
Ray...I agree with Bob, and because of the numerous contacts I've had with
ex-members of the International Churches of Christ, or Boston Movement, they
are much different than the mainline Churches of Christ.  There is no doubt
in my mind that you are renting from a mainline Church of Christ church.
  There was a fascinating study done by Flavel Yeakley...an evangelical
christian who published his results through the Gospel Advocate Company.  His
book is called The Discipling Dilemma and while it is out of print, Yeakley
has granted permission for it to be published on the web...here's the url:
www.vcnet.com/measures/tdd.01.html.  In the study he administered a standard
personality test...the test is not meant to label personalities as good or
bad, but rather seeks to reveal a person's basic "bend."  He administered the
same test three separate times to about 900 International Church of Christ
members.  This was about 12-14 years ago, and I doubt he'd get that kind of
permission today from the ICOC.  He also was able to obtain permission to
administer the same test 3 times to a smaller amount of members from 6 other
"sects" or "cults."  For his control group, he administered the same test to
a variety of mainline churches (from what I can tell these churches ran the
gamut of Evangelical, to Catholic, traditional Protestant, etc.) also 3
separate times.
   On the first test, each individual rated him/herself as to how he/she was
5 years before or before joining their respective groups.  The variable in
personality types was normal for ALL groups across the board.  The fun came
in when the test was administered the 2nd and 3rd times.  For the 2nd time,
all of the participants were asked to rate themselves according to how they
saw themselves at the present, and the 3rd time they were asked to rate
themselves according to how they thought they would be in 5 years.  The
results for "control" group" on the 2nd and 3rd taking continued to show
normal variations in personality.  However, with the ICOC and the other
"sect/cult" groups members seem to gravitate to one personality type, and
that type depended on the group.  For example, extraversion, which is highly
prized in the ICOC, when scored on the 2nd and 3rd tests revealed that 97% of
those who rated themselves extroverts before remained that way, while 95% of
the introverts "changed" to extroverts.  The leader of the ICOC attributed
this to people becoming more Christ-like.  Yeakley does a good job in showing
that personality types and becoming more like Christ are two separate issues
as we are all unique as individuals and there is no "right" or "wrong"
personality type while the bible gives many examples of how to conduct
ourselves in this world and deals with our spirituality.  Like the ICOC, in
COBU, I think that the extroverts always came across as more "faithful."
   Anyway, sorry for the rambling...but I just finished a paper for school
(it's on the exCOBU web site) and have done a lot of thinking about this.  I
think if God wanted conformity we would have no multi-colored flowers (maybe
no flowers at all!) and the world would/could be just a grab grey.  In my
opinion, it is harder to allow ourselves to be our real selves while desiring
to be Christ-like than it is to just conform to an assembly line image.  To
be individuals means that we have to grapple with the fact that not
everything is black and white.  I don't mean sin here, but the many choices
in which what may be right for one person to do in a situation would not
necessarily be right for another facing a similar situation.  With automatic
thinking we can just do something and not think through for ourselves.  But
is "wearing" the one size fits all really what we should be doing?
  Again, sorry for the rambling...I'm on school break and have more time to
write...guess I'm making up for lost time =)
======================================
From: Robert San Pascual <bsp15@juno.com>

Fred wrote:
> More importantly, there are many religions and holy writings in the> world
> today. How does one establish the authority of one over another? And> what is
> the basis of authority for any supposed holy writings?

Bob writes:
Hey, Fred, good to hear from you. Your question is certainly a valid one.
Indeed there are many religions and holy writings in the world and trying
to sort though them all can be an exhausting experience. I haven't
personally experienced other religions myself (other than Catholicism),
though I have read about them and talk to people of other religions and
even visited a mosque and a Buddhist temple within the last few years.
Still, I can't speak for the authority of other holy writings, but I'll
try to give you my reasons (not those of other people) for believing in
the Bible.
1. Historicity -- Many people over the years have claimed the Bible to be
historically inaccurate. However, several noted archaeologists have
validated the historical claims of the biblical writers. Luke, who wrote
the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts which contains many historical
references, has been shown to be a very accurate historian, even though
the type of history he wrote is not the same as that written by most
historians today. He wrote history with a theological and apologetic
purpose without compromising historical accuracy so that none of the
historical claims he made have been refuted, to my knowledge. This is
external evidence, that is, evidence attested to outside of the Bible.
2. Prophecies -- Again, a lot of people today claim that the prophecies
written in the Bible are just "history in reverse." In other words, these
people claim that history happened first and then the writers wrote about
them in a prophetic style. But the prophecies about Jesus are just too
overwhelming an evidence to refute. There is no doubt that Psalm 22 and
Isaiah 53 were written hundreds of years before the historical Jesus.
That those prophecies were fulfilled in the life of Jesus of Nazareth was
attested to by the four Gospel writers. This may sound like circular
reasoning, but here I'm giving you an internal evidence, evidence
attested to by the biblical writers. If you want external evidence, I
believe the prophecy that Jesus made about the destruction of the Herod's
Temple applies if one is willing to believe that the Gospel of Mark was
written before 70 A.D.
3. Inspiration -- This is another internal evidence. The writers claimed
that they were carried along by the Holy Spirit as they wrote so that
they wrote the very words of God as He spoke through human beings. This
inspiration did not invalidate the personalities and experiences of the
writers, but made use of them. I realize that other religious writings
claim inspiration as well. I'm including this point here only because I'm
giving you the reasons I believe the Bible to be authoritative, not so
much what makes it unique.
4. The Resurrection (internal evidences) -- Personally, the historical
(not scientific) evidences for the Resurrection of Jesus, humanly
speaking, is what has kept me a Christian more than anything else.
Consider these evidences: a) the empty tomb -- Jesus' body has never been
found; b) the drastic change in the lives of the 11 disciples, from
cowards afraid for their lives to martyrs who died with the conviction
that Jesus was the Christ who had risen from the dead. They claimed to
have seen Him with their own eyes and felt Him with their own hands; c)
the conversion of Saul of Tarsus from persecutor of Christians to the
Apostle Paul, missionary and apologist of Christianity.
5. Conversions of skeptics (external evidences) -- Have you read Who
Moved the Stone? by Frank Morrison? He was a journalist or lawyer who
went to Israel to write a book that would once for all debunk the "myth"
of the Resurrection. He named the first chapter, "The Book that Refused
to be Written" because the evidence for the Resurrection was just too
overwhelming and he became a believer and wrote a great apologetic book.
Another example is Josh McDowell who as a skeptic examined the evidences
for Christianity and also became a believer and apologist, writing
Evidence That Demands a Verdict and other books.
I could probably go on, but I see this is getting too long already, and I
haven't even gotten to the other points you made below. Perhaps I'll
respond to those in another post. Let's keep in touch!
Bob San Pascual
========================================
Hi Fred, we went over this in earlier posts, for you nothing could or would
convince you, because your mind is made up that there is no God, save the Spirit of God.
But for the benefit of others, prophecy fulfillment, The miracles of Jesus attested to by
even His enemies, His post resurrection appearances to more than 500
brethren, the turning of Paul from an enemy to His greatest follower by His appearance to him on the
road to Damascus to arrest His followers, are all historical evidences of the
authority of the OT & NT as God's Word.  LK 24:44, JN 10:36-38, 12:36-37, 1 COR 15:1-10, 2 PET1:16,
HEB 2:3-4. Josh McDowell's book, 'Evidences That Demand A Verdict,' Gives
more than enough evidences to any fair-minded persons who research them.
                                                        Herm Weiss
===================================
From: "Mark Loftus" <mloftus955@hotmail.com>
 
 
 

    From: Robert San Pascual <bsp15@juno.com
Bob wrote: This is a tough call indeed. An applicable Scripture here might
be James 3:1: "Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers,
because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly." Because
Stewart presumes to be a teacher, he will be judged more strictly than
others, and I leave that judgment to a good and righteous Judge.
I think each person should be treated with respect and love. Speaking the
truth in God's spirit is loving, and in this case, to say that Stewart is a
false teacher is true, and I say it in love to any and all. One of the
things that convinced me that I made a wise decision in leaving COBU in
March 1989 is that shortly thereafter, Stewart began to teach that those
born of God do not sin and that those who still sin are not saved. This is a
false gospel, and the Apostle Paul said, "But even if we or an angel from
heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him
be eternally condemned!" (Galatians 1:8). I'm not wishing condemnation on
Stewart or any one else; I'm merely pointing out the seriousness of
preaching a false gospel. It's not to be taken lightly. I do pray that he
and any one else who teaches a contrary gospel would repent.

Mark writes: (12/27) The scripture about those who teach being judged with
greater strictness sure applies. The example of one mistake by one of the
greatest teachers of all times, Moses, should make all who would be teachers
pay particular attention to all their teachings and actions.  One mistake,
when he struck the rock twice instead of once giving the wrong picture that
God was angry with the people, and Moses couldn't see the promised land,
talk about being judged with great strictness...   Also, in recent times I
have had to be more careful with my own words because of my past
judgmentalism.

Bob wrote: I've written several times on this onelist on the importance and
necessity of obtaining sound doctrine. Here is a prime example where unsound
doctrine is harmful. I urge everyone to pursue the study of God's Word in
order to draw near to God and to obtain sound biblical teaching so as not to
be led astray by other false teachers. I know of some former COBU members
who went into the New York City Church of Christ after leaving COBU. The
Church of Christ is very similar to COBU -- see Ronald Enroth's book,
Churches That Abuse.

Mark writes: (12/27)I had run into the Philadelphia chapter of that Boston
Church of Christ, back in the days I visited people in Haverford State
(Mental) Hospital, through someone I met in there. I sensed something wrong
and contacted Bill Alnor for information on that group, and there turned out
to be horror stories associated with this movement.  They were definitely
into works like COBU, sure wasn't gonna fall for that again. If I get burned
twice, that would be shame on me.

Bob wrote: After I left COBU, I determined to learn how to interpret the
Scriptures for myself, and while it is not a simple process, it is a
valuable one. I have also taken many classes on the Bible, and this has
helped my walk with God. What we believe affects how we live.

Mark wrote: (12/27) Good point, Bob, none of us should be totally dependent
on a pastor, or in any way take part in making a pastor our idol, that's
back to the first commandment. That should be a lesson all of us well know,
but there is a need for godly pastors.
=========================================
Brother Robert,Well said indeed.
You have been learning well, my brother. I am grateful that our gracious God
has given you the desire to understand and rightly handle His word. You have
edified me greatly and I encourage you to keep on keepin' on.
Yours in Christ,
Sola Scriptura,
Steve
========================================
Chinese Cult Laws

From: MGriffo@aol.com
Thought everyone might find this of interest
"Full Text of New Chinese Legislative Resolution Banning Cults"October 30, 1999
To maintain social stability, protect the interests of the people, safeguard
reform and opening up and the construction of a modern socialist country, it
is necessary to ban heretic cult organizations and prevent and punish cult
activities.
Based on the constitution and other related laws, the following decision is
hereby made:
1.  Heretic cult organizations shall be resolutely banned according to
law and all of their criminal activities shall be dealt with severely.
Heretic cults, operating under the guise of religion, Qigong or other
illicit forms, which disturb social order and jeopardize people's life and
property, must be banned according to law and punished resolutely.
People's courts, people's procuratorates, public security, national security
and judicial administrative agencies shall fulfil their duties in carrying
out these tasks.
To be severely dealt with according to law are those who manipulate members
of cult organizations to violate national laws and administrative
regulations, organize mass gatherings to disrupt social order and fool
others, cause deaths, rape women, swindle people out their money and
property or commit other crimes with superstition and heresy.
2.  The principle of combining education with punishment should be
followed in order to unify and instruct the majority of the deceived public
and to mete out severe punishment to the handful of criminals.
During the course of handling cult groups according to law, people who
joined cult organizations but were unaware of the lies being spread by the
group shall be differentiated from criminal elements who organize and take
advantage of cult groups for illegal activities and/or to intentionally
destroy social stability.
The majority of the deceived members shall not be prosecuted, while those
organizers, leaders and core members who committed crimes shall be
investigated for criminal conduct ; those who surrender to the authorities
or contribute to the investigations shall be given lesser punishments in
accordance with the law or be exempt from punishment.
3.  Long-term, comprehensive instruction on the constitution and the law
should be carried out among all citizens, knowledge of science and
technology should be popularized and the national literacy level raised.
Banning cult organizations and punishing cult activities according to law
goes hand in hand with protecting normal religious activities and people's
freedom of religious belief.
The public should be exposed to the inhumane and anti-social nature of
heretic cults, so they can knowingly resist influences of cult
organizations, enhance their awareness of the law and abide by it.
4.  All corners of society shall be mobilized in preventing and fighting
against cult activities, and a comprehensive management system should be put
in place. People's governments and judicial bodies at all levels should be
held responsible for guarding against the creation and spread of cult
organizations and combating cult activities.
This is an important, long-term task that will ensure social stability.
=======================
From: "Mark Loftus" <mloftus955@hotmail.com>

Interesting Maureen...  China has certainly had their problems with various
cult groups in recent times, but this legislation can be scary depending on
how it is applied.  Certainly an unjust ruler could apply this against the
underground churches over there.
With good rulers the law would not be so scary.
 

Mark L.
===========================
What is the Chinese legislative definition of "heretic"?  It is my
understanding that Christians are severely persecuted in China...
                                        Amy
=================================
From: MGriffo@aol.com
Mark...I couldn't agree more!  I have learned much about manipulation and
control by reading about the Chinese...particularly how China was in the
early '50's and that knowledge helped me to understand more what happened in
COBU.  In fact, I used to work with someone who grew up in Communist China
and when I told her about some of the things that happened in COBU she
usually came up with a comparable story of her and her husband's experiences
in China.   While, according to her, there has been some improvement, the
government still exercises excessive control over the citizens.  Thus, to see
that a Resolution like this written, in my opinion, is like the expression
"the pot calling the kettle black."Maureen
================================
Amy....that, among other reasons, is why this Resolution seemed so ironic.
=================================
From: "Mark Loftus" <mloftus955@hotmail.com>

Perhaps the communists indeed developed some of their ways from the false
dead religion which they hate.  Through hatred of the Roman Catholic Church
and her power, the communists became like what they hated and developed
similar techniques to those who use religion as a means to power, like
Babylon. There is a sense in which communism is a religion, like Wurmbrand
said.

Definitely COBU had a similar MO at times.

Mark
====================================
 

Hi Amy, there is no doubt in my mind that this legislation will eventually
be used against christians over there.  I think the chinese government can
pretty much define heretic any way they want.
Historically, the communists would persecute christians and other groups
they don't like, then there will be a period of "openness" which the
Russians called glasnost.  This openness was for the West to open their
wallets and finance their system.  Then there would be persecutions again,
and the openness ends. Now, other than the Tianemen Square incident, not
much else gets reported.  It's not in the economic interests of the New
World Order because it may endanger trade with China, its almost like World
Trade is worshipped. Plus the Chinese labor is being exploited by big
corporations, so the media won't interfere.
Mark
===============================