Accepted and no partiality

“It is incumbent upon us, as those who profess our desire to see a reunion of the Christian churches, to understand and gain an appreciation for the African American Christian tradition, so that we might be equipped to bridge the gap between Christians from these denominations and those within many of our own predominantly white American conservative Protestant traditions”  Jonathan Bonomo http://evangelicalcatholicity.wordpress.com/2008/01/16/racial-reconciliation-and-catholicity/

What God has declared clean you must not call common. Do our traditions line up with the instuction of our Creator who has accepted us? Our freedom to worship together and reconcile our differences begin with our adoption in Christ. We have to know Christ, really know Christ to be free of these racisms, or classisms to truely be united.

God makes no distinction between us and those not like us, as he purifies us by faith. ” For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body’ whether Jew or Greek, whether slave or free, and have all been made to drink into one Spirit” It is our unity with Christ that brings us together.

As we examine the racial tensions in the church specifically what is it that is apparent? Its the primary point that we are divided. By laying down our traditions and learning to respect each others positions only stengthens the body of Christ. There is a need to strengthen ourselves in the church and our brothers and stand for Christ!

” And here, dear friends, one must not insist upon his rights, but must see what may be useful and helpful to his brother, as Paul says, Omnia mihi licent, sed non omnia expediunt, “‘All things are lawful for me’, but not all things are helpful” 1Cor 6:12. For we are not all equally strong in faith, some of you have a stronger faith than I. Therefore we must not look upon ourselves, or our strength, or our prestige, but upon our neighbor, for God has said through Moses: I have borne and reared you, as a mother does her child Deut 1:31. What does a mother do to her child? First she gives it milk, then gruel, then eggs and soft food, whereas if she turned about and gave it solid food, the child would never thrive 1Cor 3:2, Heb 5:12-13. So we should also deal with our brother, have patience with him for a time, have patience with his weakness and help him bear it; we should also give him milk-food, too 1 Pet 2:2,cf. Rom14:1-3 as was done with us, until he, too, grows strong, and thus we do not travel heavenward alone, but bring our brethren, who are not now our friends, with us. If all mothers were to abandon their children, where would we have been? Dear brother, if you have suckled long enough, do not at once cut off the breast, but let your brother be suckled as you were suckled. I would not have gone so far as you have done, if I had been here. The cause is good, but there has been too much haste. For there are still brothers and sisters on the other side who belong to us and must still be won.”  Martin Luther 1st sermon at Wittenberg 1522

Taken from [book] The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors 

 If the church is to prosper and mature, she will need faithful men to lead and care for her. The church will need men who are sound in doctrine, whose lives are guided by the Word of God, and who are willing to defend the truth. The church will need to hold up as its ideal those who model fidelity and love toward God, men who will pour themselves out for the benefit of the Lords sheep. Men of this mold are gifts to the church from her Lord.”

We need to free ourselves from the captivity of racisim and do as we are commanded and seve Him. This is our mission. Ex 8:1 The Lord speaking to Moses saying ” go to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: ” Let My people go, that they may serve me” 

D John

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Blind faith or not? What is faith…

We do not know what God knows, or has planned for us. He has reasons for doing the things that he does. However, we will miss the full understanding without a spiritual knowledge that gives us the power of discernment. Our trust and belief draws us near to Him. Through this faith, we the believer know He has the power to heal all.

What is faith? Is it some blind leap in the dark following that which we can not see? The simple answer is no.

As defined in the american heritage dictionary:

1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.

2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.

4. Often Faith Christianity the theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a   trusting acceptance of God’s will.

5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.

6. A set of principles or beliefs.

Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Lets examine a couple of words in the english and greek translation:

faith – Pistis… it implies such a knowledge of, assent to, and confidence in certain divine truths especially those of the gospel.

substance – Hupostasis … this is the basis or foundation, firm confidence.

things hoped for – Elpizo … to hope, expect with desire hope in a manner of trust.

evidence – Elegchos … it implies not merely the charge on the basis of which one is convicted, but also the manifestation of the truth of that charge.

C Michael Patton wrote in an article.

” Starting with Luther and developed further by Melancthon and others, the understanding of faith was expressed in three separate yet vitally connected aspects: notitia, assensus, and fiducia. The battle cry of sola fide ( justification by faith alone) was founded. We have the information; we are persuaded of its truthfulness, now we have to trust in it. Christ died for our sins ( notitia). I believe that Christ died for my sins ( notitia + assensus). I place my trust in Christ to save me ( fiducia ). The fear is, that there are many out there who are really not convinced of who Christ is and what He did”.

Isaiah 45:19 says, ” I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, Seek Me in vain; I , the Lord, speak righteousness I declare things that are right”.

We are directed to His truth, asked to obey His word that He would fulfill His promise. We are convicted of the truth of the promise of God with implicit trust. His word has been given to us and all the promises that lie within.

D John

What are the Essentials for Christianity? A Test of Unity and Diversity

I thought this was a fun test that was posted back in Nov from the team over at reclaming the mind website you can view some of the responses there just click this link :
http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2007/11/01/what-are-the-essentials-for-christianity-a-test/

Before you do, take the test for yourself and see how you faired against the other respondents.

C Michael Patton ~

I want to give you all a test. Let’s try to get as many people to take this as we can. It will be fun, challenging, and helpful—I promise.
We have quit a few readers to this blog and many of you are from different traditions. I want to test our audience’s unity and diversity. What are the essentials and non-essentials for Christianity in your opinion?
Here are the rules:
I am going to give a list of doctrinal issues. I want you all to rank them 1-6. Think hard about them. In your answer, give your tradition to which you identify most (e.g. Evangelical, Baptist, Brethern, Catholic, Orthodox, etc.). This way we can test the unity and diversity of those who call themselves Christian.
Here is a list of the ranks:
Essential for Salvation (1). Those doctrinal issues which rank as a 1 will only be those that you believe are absolutely essential for the Christian to believe in order to be Christian. In other words, if one were to deny this doctrine or issue, they could not be saved.
Essential for Orthodoxy (2). Those doctrinal issues which you rank as 2 will consist of those that you believe are part of the historic Christian faith. Ranking them as a 2 means that you believe that a denial of this doctrine, while not disqualifying someone from salvation, does disqualify them from orthodoxy. Obviously, if you rank something an 1 it will also be a 2, so there is no need to rank it with both a 1 and 2.
Important, but not essential (3). These doctrinal issues are those which you believe are very important for the Christian faith, yet do not qualify as a 1 or 2.
Not important (4). These doctrinal issues are those about which you believe that a person may have a strong opinion but you do not believe have any bearing on a person’s salvation or orthodoxy and are not important in any way for the Christian faith.
Pure speculation (5). These doctrinal issues are those that you believe are pure speculation. In other words, not only do they not qualify for 1-4, but you do not believe that anyone can or should have any legitimate conviction at all.
Wrong (6). These are doctrinal issues that you don’t believe.
Here are the doctrinal issues:
1. Belief in the full deity of Christ
2. Belief in sola fide (belief that salvation is by faith alone, without the addition of any works)
3. Belief in the existence of God
4. Belief in the pre-tribulational rapture of the Church
5. Belief that the witch of Endor saw the Spirit of Samuel, not a demonic representation (1 Sam. 28:15)
6. Belief in inerrancy (that the Bible does not have any errors in doctrine, history, or science
7. Belief that believers, upon death, go to directly into the presence of Christ, not into a state of spiritual unconsciousness until the resurrection (i.e. you deny soul-sleep)
8. Belief that Christ is fully God and fully Man
9. Belief that the book of 2 Peter should be part of the New Testament canon
10. Belief that the Gospel of John should be part of the New Testament canon
11. Belief that the doctrine of purgatory is false
12. Belief in the doctrine of the Trinity (i.e. there is one God who eternally exist in three distinct persons, all of which are fully God, all of which are equal)
13. Belief in the inspiration of Scripture
14. Beliefs about the age of the earth
15. Belief that Adam and Eve were real people, not simply symbolic of mankind
16. Belief in the eternal security of the believer/perseverance of the saints (i.e. that a true believe can never lose their salvation)
17. Belief that Jesus will come again
18. Belief that Jesus rose bodily from the grave
19. Belief in imputed sin (i.e. that we are held guilty by God for the sin of Adam)
20. Belief in personal sin (i.e. that all people have sinned)
21. Belief in the penal substitutionary view of the atonement (i.e. that Christ death on the cross was a substitute penalty required by God for payment for your sins)
22. Belief in monotheism (i.e. there is only one God)
23. Belief in sola Scriptura (i.e. that the Scripture is our ultimate and and only infallible authority and that no council or pope is infallible)
24. Belief that homosexuality is a sin
25. Belief that abortion is a sin

Stand in Faith

God has shown us many things, tested us in various ways to know where we stand. Are we truely a servant of His? We still have much to learn but in this journey we have much to share.

When we look at the state of our community locally, statewide and nationally, I find that we are in a state of complacency far removed from our Lord and Saviour. Yes we say we know Him and are saved, but our deeds tell me otherwise.

Often reminded of the seven church’s in Revelation I see the American church in many ways like them all with a small remnant. It is to that remnant I speak. We must stand on that truth of our Creator, and in faith not shriek back in the face of adversity.

As we examine the burden of responsibility to lead Gods sheep I often ask myself where are the shepherds the true shepherds, because what we seemingly have today are hirelings that run in the face of adversity, when the sheep are lost they run, or are simply paid off at whatever negotiated price.

I ask the Lord what shall I do? What shall we do?  He tells me begin by examining yourself. Prepare yourself, submit to my will, obey My word, and follow Me, I will show you the way.

We must get mankind to stand in the mirror of truth, and find out where they are, who they are and who He is. In this comes the denial that everthing is all right or worse yet He doesn’t exist or even my way is ok in whom I follow.

My prayer is that of thanks for calling us unto this journey and preparing me for battle. It is by the power of the Holy spirit and the grace given by Christ that we must stand as we start a new year. We walk in faith by the hope of things not seen and in the promise of what our Father has spoken to us in His word.

D John

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