Wether you are new to Scripture or not, we are all attracted to the God of the Bible with TRUTH (Titus 1:2) being one of the perks of a relationship with him. Scripture tells us that it is not by chance that we are attracted to our creator, but rather it is more of a calling us in (John 6:44) to our relationship with him that takes place. This is a relationship that can begin at any point in our lives with no expiration date, save death, to that open offer. During our short time on Earth we face a plethora -and then some -in the area of crisis. Many of us will seek out help in forming our relationship with the designer, creator, and giver of life. Sometimes this alleged help will even come to our own door step. It can come in the form of any given denomination of Christianity that assures us that despite Jesus words found in Luke 9:50 and Mark 9:40 THEY have the exclusive on salvation, their ‘exclusive interpretation’ of scripture coming in the form of the 67th book of the Bible, the book of Opinions is above all other denominations of the faith.
Scripture invites us to ‘not quench the Spirit, not despise prophecies, but test everything’ 1 Thessalonians 5). It is each individual follower of Christ’s responsibility to make an honest effort to dig for spiritual truth (Proverbs 2:4) the reward for these efforts are of the highest sort. Therefore, let us not be misled by the 67th book of scripture comprised of the thoughts of men, attempting to complete the thoughts of God. Read your Bible today.
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I have been busy transitioning into early retirement and getting a strong start on a few writing projects. These manuscripts have served to sharpen my nearly focused view on scriptural history. I will gladly share snippets in a bit.
What is the number? The total number of human beings who have put faith in Jesus Christ teachings since he walked the Earth? Even a simple google check, or a random internet scholars guess would be a large sum indeed. Now factoring the different variation, total sum, and amount of faith each individual held during their walk on the Earth, is a more daunting equation to take a stab at.
Simply looking around us nowaday, it gets very complicated to even try a guess at who still believes in a designer, creator, and giver of life. What percentage of humanity will never believed at all? (John 6:44) How many are in denial of Gods calling within them? Over time, have they simply gotten really good at ignoring their spiritual needs? What are they doing to drown out this call? or How are they attempting to replace it?How many hear the call quite clearly and simply make peace with it being around and no further action is taken on their part,ever? Basically, what hope is there for the spiritually deaf?
Many an overzealous Christian would simply dismiss these secular masses with a simple man-made catchphrase such as ‘Each one reach one’ or ‘They aren’t worthy.’ During our walk with Jesus, many of us have learned through experience that this life, as it is, holds many a different season for all of us. We go through seasons in our lives where it almost seems that we are in a literal spiritual paradise and everything around our lives, especially as regards our relationship with God, is as perfect as it can get. The season suddenly and sometimes even violently turns for the worst and we are bucked in place. Occasionally tossed out of that spiritual paradise altogether. Our reaction to these sudden spiritual startlements varies by not only faith, but experience as well. Both our own experience and that shared by others.
Now, what if there is NO experience to grasp at? (John 17:3, 1 Timothy 2:3,4) (Romans 12:12) What if all we have is a small grain of faith and hope that, maybe, just maybe, there IS a God that can help, yet we have no clear path to follow? Should the spiritually deaf be left to their own fortune in life? We know full well that there are those invisible agents who delight in just this outcome. Jesus Christ himself cleared up this process called life for us and cleared up exactly what his followers were up against and who would be HIS agents of truth and hope (Matthew 28:19,20) (James 5:20). Let us all prepare ourselves to not only defend our faith, but more importantly share it with all who will listen.
As a minister in my former church/congregation, I would frequently use the term ‘Spiritual paradise,’ which gave the membership an adverb to describe the feeling of being home spiritually. It is not a phenomenon exclusive to one denomination, it is what we feel when we are fulfilling our part in the advancement of the good news of salvation through Christ (Matthew 28:19,20) and we feel strong and protected in a difficult world. We abstain from most sin, we are regular in attendance with our local church (Hebrews 10:23-25), we also feel that we have fully responded to our calling in life (John 6:44) having made clear our acceptance of Gods invitation through Christ.
We know we are in a healthy relationship with God that is like a tree planted by streams of water (Psalms 1:1-3) as we read from Gods word on a daily (or almost daily) basis and through acquiring knowledge of the Father and the Son, we get to know the personality and expectations of both (John 17:3). We are astounded by Gods great patience (1 Timothy 2:3,4) and Jesus example of mercy, forgiveness and self-sacrifice. Like any good book or movie, we get a clearer understanding of what the author intended to communicate with us. We learn of how ‘The Law’ was given to a recently freed people of Israel to help them shed Egyptian ideologies and return Israel to pure worship. We learn how they were instructed to Never amend their own rules to ‘The Law’ or ignore any part that was inconvenient to them (Deuteronomy 4:2). We see clearly how Christ Jesus updates this arrangement to fit all of humanity and pushes for love of God and neighbor above all other laws (Matthew 22:37-39). We read the closing words to all of Biblical scripture found in the book of Revelations 22:18-21 where Jesus echoes the words that accompanied ‘The Law’ in Deuteronomy 4:2, when he makes clear that no one is to amend their own rule or custom to the Bible, much less omit any of its words that are inconvenient at the time.
The Crisis of Faith occurs when our specific denomination of Christianity completely disregards scripture and begins to impose supposedly ‘necessary’ rules and amendments to the load that Christ partly came to Earth to make lighter on worshippers of God (Matthew 11:28-30). They completely ignore or twist scripture to suit an agenda of authoritative control over Jesus flock. While on Earth, Jesus Christ would encounter holier than thou teachers of ‘The Law’ that would beat on the faith of Gods people with their amended customs, traditions and twisting of The Law (Isaiah 29:13,14) (Matthew 15:8,9) (Matthew 11:29,30). A Crisis of Faith is the burden which comes with coming to an exact knowledge (John 17:3) of scripture by very simply and faithfully reading once and again a book that is shorter than most series dominating best-seller list are and finding what is read to be in direct conflict with what is required by ones church. It is also a great blessing to be able to sit at your church/congregation listening to an imperfect teachers sermon and be in on the TRUE context of any Biblical passage quoted. Calling said teacher out on ignoring the context of the passage and attempting to turn scripture into high school Shakespeare is a conversation for another day. Who knew a Crisis of Faith could be such a good thing (John 8:32) (John 4:2,4).
Would a bad church/congregation experience justify our leaving Christendom altogether? Absolutely not, more on that later.