Pagan Christianity

General discussions about Christianity including salvation, heaven and hell, Christian history and so on.
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Re: Pagan Christianity

#121

Post by Canuckster1127 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:21 pm

joanne wrote:Just read the Newsweek article and...hmmmm. A little bit cynical. Micro churches (like micro brews) are not, I am thinking, what Viola had in mind when he began writing.
Joanne,

I agree. The viewpoint is quite secular and very broad. I'm more interested in the poll results communicated than their take on it. It does confirm however that much of the trends that Barna predicted 5 years ago, are indeed coming to pass pretty close to his projections.

blessings,

bart
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Re: Pagan Christianity

#122

Post by zoegirl » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:25 pm

a secular news magazine being cynical of religion? Say it ain't so!! :ebiggrin:
"And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ"

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#123

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:29 pm

Joanne,

The only reason I asked you for your sources is 1) it is standard procedure to cite where you get major ideas like this (it may be important for discussion, too), and 2) certain sources are more likely to read their theology into the text than others. You will have to decide which sources you think are doing that.

As far as the rest of your post, I'm not sure what exactly I am supposed to respond to. I posted very specific points about the meaning of words in their contexts, and you simly wrote them off as a disagreement. There is nothing to say then, if you have basically said, "I don't really care what you think, because I disagree with you." I mean, you can do that if you like, but it makes conversation impossible. Doesn't strike me as very "organic" . . . you?

Beyond that, you never addressed my central point, which was that I don't see Christ as merely an equal footsoldier. Further, you keep lapsing back into comments on your fears of authority being abused, which is fine (I have the same fears), but that is a discussion on how authority ought to be employed, not whether anyone has it. Now, you can choose to continue to ignore my position if you like, but I don't see how that helps either one of us. The simple fact is that Paul uses the same word to describe Christ's relationship to the Church with the man's relationship to the wife. If, then, the relationship between the husband and the wife is not one of authority, then you cannot say the relationship of Christ to the church is one of authority.

Are you comfortable with that? Are you comfortable saying that Christ has no authority over the Church, because that is what your position entails. If it doesn't, I would like to see where I have misunderstood.

It seems to me the much better route is to recognize that their is authority in this world, and in the church, and shift our focus on how that authority is to be practiced. You and I both agree that churches have long abused that, and that the current model of the pastorate is based on a faulty view. The difference in you and me is that you want to solve the problem by throwing out the baby with the bathwater by rejecting all authority. Again, I would STRONGLY encourage to consider the fact that the rejection of authority is the fundamental sin that Adam fell into . . . I'm sorry if I am VERY suspicious of a position that seems to promotes the same idea that introduced the Fall.
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#124

Post by joanne » Fri Jan 01, 2010 5:39 pm

Gotcha Bart, and I agree. 7% is a pretty hugh number, and it does speak to the trends Barna has been tracking. Certainly, as you said, it's a mixed bag but the main thought is that this appears to be a serious trend. I am really interested in seeing where it goes.

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#125

Post by joanne » Fri Jan 01, 2010 6:03 pm

For me there is a difference between discussion and arguing. I have, in the past, had the stamina for arguing, but have found that the mental and emotional energy that it takes is more costly than the benefits it seems to provide.

For me discussion includes benefit for both sides, so now I am pretty quick to withdraw once it feels like, to me, that arguing is replacing discussing. The benefit I have gained, thus far, from discussing this subject of eldership with you, Jac, is that the intensity of interest in who has authority, and that there must be recognition of authority (which - to me - sounds like saying who gets to be the boss) is very strong. Perhaps you represent a large group of people for whom this is a central issue, and your interest in organic church is tempered, perhaps, by what you see as a lack of authority given to certain people. It's what it sounds like, to me, anyway. After reading the Newsweek article I noted that there is a movement towards starting churches in homes which might, perhaps, match something of what you had been suggesting to Bart earlier in this forum.

I did not get, from your previous post, that you were positing Jesus as a fellow foot soldier as your main point. The way you reached that particular rebuttal to what I had been saying seemed rather circuitous to me, and more along the lines of argumentative by using a straw man of your own to make what I said appear ridiculous. It seemed like a rhetorical question. That's how it seemed to me.

So I did respond, but in too oblique a way, it seems.

The answer is of course no. Jesus is not a fellow foot soldier. I do not believe that Paul was drawing the parallel of husband to Christ that you drew, in terms of authority, but rather in terms of sacrificial love. The husband is not to the wife as Christ is to the church in terms of holy authority. The husband is to the wife as Christ is to the church in terms of holy love. That's the word Paul was working with, the word "love." Not the word "rule."

I believe that Paul's parallel, in this passage, was how the husband is to love his wife. I believe that what Paul was talking about was blockbuster in his day, and yet completely scriptural according to what we would call the Old Testament today. Paul was certainly capable of talking about ruling authority, but instead he chose to talk about love. Though there is no direct parallel drawn from husband/wife relationship to elder/church relationship, I believe that this would be good teaching to elders in terms of how they are to be with the church. On the other hand, I agree with Viola that elders are not made by men with seminary teaching. Elders are formed by God and recognized by people.

As to the parsing of words, for example "over" and "among," this is where every person must rely upon a scholar for help, and the scholars themselves do not agree. I just don't have the stamina for it any more. However, point well taken, I can list the scholars I go to for help, as their names also help the reader to understand where I am coming from if the reader is familiar with the scholars I go to for help. Thank you for that.

I would not argue that elders are without authority among the members of Christ's body. I said it that way on purpose. Prophets also have authority. In their own way, givers and helpers have authority too, as do teacher/pastors. Defining "authority," then, is important. What I am hearing, and perhaps wrongly, is this concept that there is a group among the body who rule the body. I do not agree that this would be true, if that's the position taken. I believe that Christ alone rules as the invisible but very present and active member of every gathering of believers. He gives, by His Spirit, a portion for each member to share and calls upon all the other members to both benefit from, and cooperate with, each person as they share their portion.

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#126

Post by Jac3510 » Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:55 pm

Joanne,

I understand your frustration with debates. Further, I understand your extreme sensitivity to the word "authority." We all have our own particular issues that are particulary dear to us. As Bart can attest to, having known me for some time, in my case, it is salvation by grace through faith. I am VERY sensitive, having come out of a legalistic background, to people who think that works are in ANY way related to salvation.

I tell you that to try to help you understand that I can relate to your worry over the word "authority." What I can tell you for sure is that you are absolutely right that the idea of authority needs to be more fully defined. I absolutely agree that it is often abused. I absolutely agree that each part of the body has its own kind of authority. I absolutely agree that there is not one class of believers who are the "boss" of the rest. I have repeatedly tried to make that clear. Over and over I have said that the modern version of the pastorate is unbiblical. Over and over I have said that biblical authority is tied to service. What I am asking you to do is drop your guard just enough to have a real discussion--not a debate. Because, frankly, even if I were to adopt, for the sake of argument, the idea that the eldership is an actual office in the church--which Viola strongly disagrees with--I STILL think we can have a productive discussion in terms of what that office LOOKS like. Bart noted a long time ago in this thread that our main difference may be semantic, and that, in practice, what we are suggesting may look exactly the same.

The great shame of this thread is that we were never able to have a discussion about what real eldership looks like. To be blunt, I resent being told that I "represent a large group of people for whom this is a central issue", in which "this" is "who gets to be the boss." You complained that my point about Christ as a footsoldier seemed more rhetorical than not and looked like a strawman. How am I to feel when you have directly attributed to me a position that I have EXPRESSLY denied? May I suggest to you that if you really want to help people understand your position better--and not only your position, but the biblical model of authority--that you be a little less inclined to be so severe in your judgment?

As it stands now, I am going to have a very difficult time ever coming to grips with your "organic" church. I am going to read Viola's other book, and hopefully Bart and I can have a less judgmental discussion--perhaps privately--on the ideas in it. But if the "organic" church is so harsh toward those who hold to a traditional view of the Trinity, it seems to me to simply be another sect more interested in its own theology than fellowship, and we have more than enough of that to go around.

Now, again, I am not saying anything to you that I have not come to learn first hand myself. When you come to discover a truth that impacts you deeply and that you believe touches on the very fabric of essential Christianity, it is difficult to separate attacks from those who have questions. It took me well over two years to be able to have a rational conversation about the faith-alone Gospel with those who were stuck in their religiosity. None of the above is intended to be anything more than an honest assessment of the taste you have left with me regarding your position. I am smart to enough to recognize that your emotional response is not at all the same thing as the intellectual viability of your position, and so the two cannot be equated. But from a strictly human relations perspective, again, please just take this under advisement: not all questioning is done with the intent of argument, even questioning that is pointed. This is a very serious issue that deserves very serious, and very pointed discussion. It does no good to attribute to people so harsh a judgment as their simply wanting to be the boss of others.

I wish you the best.

God bless
Proinsias wrote:I don't think you are hearing me. Preference for ice cream is a moral issue
And that, brothers and sisters, is the kind of foolishness you get people who insist on denying biblical theism. A good illustration of any as the length people will go to avoid acknowledging basic truths.

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#127

Post by joanne » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:06 pm

okay, since we meet on the idea that "authority" needs a definition, then am interested in hearing how you would define "authority."

How would you define "elders"? What is the "authority" that you are talking about? What would that look like in a real life situation?

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#128

Post by joanne » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:36 pm

Spent a little more time thinking about it, and realized that maybe you're right, Jac, I am not being helpful in this discussion. May the Lord of all grace and peace continue to be present here as He guides this discussion. Thank you all for allowing me to join in with you, and am hoping you will forgive offenses received from me. Please know that none were intended.

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#129

Post by joanne » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:36 pm

Spent a little more time thinking about it, and realized that maybe you're right, Jac, I am not being helpful in this discussion. May the Lord of all grace and peace continue to be present here as He guides this discussion. Thank you all for allowing me to join in with you, and am hoping you will forgive offenses received from me. Please know that none were intended.

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#130

Post by zoegirl » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:40 pm

joanne wrote:Spent a little more time thinking about it, and realized that maybe you're right, Jac, I am not being helpful in this discussion. May the Lord of all grace and peace continue to be present here as He guides this discussion. Thank you all for allowing me to join in with you, and am hoping you will forgive offenses received from me. Please know that none were intended.

Joanne, I would encourage you to stay and contribute, there has been much fruitful discussion going on here and it would be nice to see this continue. I know this is a controversial subject but it is something that is very current and important. I have contributed some here but have preferred to listen, obviously not being in the now with this topic.


It's been nice to here the descriptions and the discussions. Let's not give up now.
"And we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Jesus Christ"

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#131

Post by B. W. » Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:51 am

Hmmm, women can't have authority?

Judges 4:4, "Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was judging Israel at that time..." ESV

Note also all of Proverbs 31:10-31

According to some, Joel 2-28/29, cannot happen because women are involved but who is saying otherwise?

Joel 2:27, 28, 29 - "Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the LORD your God And there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame. 28 "And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days." NKJV

Even more important is...

Gal 3:28, 29 - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." NKJV

When men fail to do what is right - women will!

Judges 4:4

Proverbs 31:30, 31
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Re: Pagan Christianity

#132

Post by ageofknowledge » Fri Jan 22, 2010 2:09 am

I finally read the book. The authors make historical assertions of error in some cases but most of what they say is true. Some of them are immaterial to their hypothesis such as page 11 where they assert that "It can be rightly said that Christianity was the first non-temple-based religion ever to emerge" (Examples refuting this assertion include pre-Mandir ancient Hinduism and other pagan examples) to critical errors such as their assertion that the sermon came later as a pagan influence of sophism completely ignoring Jesus's emphasis on the sermon (e.g. the Sermon on the Mount) as an integral and consistent part of His ministry or early church homiletics.

I do agree with them; however, that many pagan influences have found their way into the church since the apostolic period and also that many of them are undesirable. Even when I see they are building a position on a historical error they made I still can find some merit in their position. An example would be keeping homiletics in the church as a part of services but reducing their role so instead of churches acting as preaching/teaching stations like most are today with a paid sermon deliverer: instead of that members of the assembly become involved permitted to once again exercise their spiritual gifts in the assembly or services.

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Re: Pagan Christianity

#133

Post by Canuckster1127 » Fri Jan 22, 2010 5:33 am

ageofknowledge wrote:I finally read the book. The authors make historical assertions of error in some cases but most of what they say is true. Some of them are immaterial to their hypothesis such as page 11 where they assert that "It can be rightly said that Christianity was the first non-temple-based religion ever to emerge" (Examples refuting this assertion include pre-Mandir ancient Hinduism and other pagan examples) to critical errors such as their assertion that the sermon came later as a pagan influence of sophism completely ignoring Jesus's emphasis on the sermon (e.g. the Sermon on the Mount) as an integral and consistent part of His ministry or early church homiletics.

I do agree with them; however, that many pagan influences have found their way into the church since the apostolic period and also that many of them are undesirable. Even when I see they are building a position on a historical error they made I still can find some merit in their position. An example would be keeping homiletics in the church as a part of services but reducing their role so instead of churches acting as preaching/teaching stations like most are today with a paid sermon deliverer: instead of that members of the assembly become involved permitted to once again exercise their spiritual gifts in the assembly or services.
Thanks for your thoughts Age. There's certainly room for disagreement on points but overall I found the book pretty well documented and supported. The only response I would have with regard to your comments on the "sermon" would be, the institutional church has been hugely conditioned to look back upon things and events in the bible and superimpose back on them the assumption that they should be understood in the light of what we do today. The sermon as it is practiced in most protestant churches is the center of the church service. In the NT what equates to "sermons" were in public places and more evangelistic being delivered to a majority audience who were not part of them. There certainly was no one individual in the early church who spoke to the same group week after week. I think that's pretty close to what you're saying.

I'd encourage you, if you're so inclined, to look at Reimagining Church as well which is the followup and intended to balance out PC with a positive look at what the NT positively says about the church.
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Re: Pagan Christianity

#134

Post by ageofknowledge » Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:36 pm

I already agreed with you on the point of the place of the modern sermon and the need to change the modern assembling together to a more apostolic approach. I also pointed out that the authors did make historical errors and I began explaining some of them. You may feel it is well documented but I found it sloppy and prone to error. Nevertheless I agree with their basic hypothesis but certainly not every one of their assertions.

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