Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Eventfull Weekend

Hello to all. I have not had alot of computer time lately. I'm still recovering from last Lord's Day and all. Our friends John and Abby were back in town to visit Abby's folks and we were able to spend some time with them. Friday evening John and I took a trip out to the Marble's house to discuss theology over thick, dark beer. Saturday we were feeling ecumentical and all went to my inlaws Baptist church for their Christmas Eve service. While there, John and I discovered that the pastor believes in some kind of strange purgatory for old testament saints. If this doctrine is true, father Abraham must be really sick of twiddling his thumbs. On The Lord's Day we all went to visit a new reformed church about 45 min from home. It is a very interesting story. The congregation was originally a "oneness" Pentecostal church. "Oneness" is some heresy that denies and/or confuses the doctrine of the trinity. Anyhow, they not only became reformed Calvinists, they are also postmill, partakers of weekly communion and practice Paedocommunion . It was really exiting to see how God was working in this church. There worship liturgy was very good, much like what we saw in Bristol. These folks are seeking membership with Federation of Reformed Churches. Keep them in your prayers as they move ahead with all the changes. These folks are really exited, happy and joyful about the whole thing and I was blessed to be able to take the trip down and encourage them and worship with them.

6 Comments:

At 12/27/2005 12:51 PM, Anonymous KS Milkmaid said...

Hi Scott:

If only I understood half of what you were talking about here...I could get excited with you. It is like trying to teach my down's sydrome sister geometry. She didn't get it. Her eyes crossed but she was loving and happy student nonetheless. So here it is from a spiritually delayed farmwife: Wishing you well from Kansas with lots of love from the Lord.

 
At 12/27/2005 7:06 PM, Blogger JFC said...

Milkmaid,

Suffice it to say that they probably do and believe some things differently than you do, and believe, but they are alike in some notable ways.

First, do you feed everyone in your family? They do, too. They believe that if God gave his people a meal to share with him during weekly worship, then His whole family should get to eat, and they don't leave out the least of these (the little ones). That is paedocommunion.

Second, do you believe that God's people are supposed to pray to him "Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" and do you believe God has a purpose for telling us to pray that, and that He has intentions of answering that prayer by doing it? Do you believe that Christians should be faithful in that which God puts before them to do (both by circumstances -- bloom where you are planted -- and by commands -- we are to obey the scripture, even if it tells us to be where we were not first planted), and that God uses the faithfulness which he works into his people, in order to bring about his will being done on earth? They believe those things, too. That's postmill.

Reformed Calvinists means that God is God, and he DOES accomplish that which he sets out to do.

Liturgy is simply a service of worship, with elements in a particular order. Every church (except maybe Quakers and a few Anabaptist groups) has a liturgy. But most do not think deeply about what elements God instructed us to include in worship, nor whether he instructed us to do things in a particular order. So liturgy, in this context, probably means they have thought very carefully about those questions, and looked to the entire history of the Christian church to learn how they understood the answers to those questions.

Finally, Oneness Pentecostal is, in reality, not even Christian, for they cannot affirm even the basic Christian confessions from the beginning of the church. (They do not believe in the Trinity as taught in the Bible). So for God to take such a group, and turn them in the way Scott has described, is a remarkable providence of God. Truly incredible!

And one more thing, while I'm on a roll ...
You called yourself spiritually delayed, but I want to argue with you about that. God brings everyone along at a different pace, and in particular, learning different things in different order.

You have learned, and share with us, some remarkable understandings of Christian ministry, and of family life, and of Biblical Womanhood (vs. feminism). There are, however, other issues -- many of which are foundations upon which these things you have learned need to rest. And so, as time goes along, you are learning other things that may seem less practical, more theoretic, but actually should be the foundation on which other things rest.

"Spiritually delayed" would indicate, to me, NOT someone who does not know and understand things that others might have learned, but RATHER, someone who has encountered Biblical teaching, but refuses to accept it because they don't like it. Or they don't care about God enough to be learning about him.

And, believe me, I don't see you (nor any of our Agrarian Blogging Community) in those terms. We are not all on the same page in what we believe and understand, but it seems that we are learning and growing, and given enough time, would come to more agreement the more we learn and understand.

:) Thus ends this post by JFC

 
At 12/27/2005 8:41 PM, Anonymous KS Milkmaid said...

JFC,

Thanks for taking the time to explain these matters and for your confidence in my abilities spiritually. I am not sure I am as confident in my abilities, but only hope that God is glorified even in my lack of understanding/weaknesses. I would say that most of my understanding comes from just opening the bible and asking God for wisdom to understand and apply what I read. Once upon a time, I used to rely on footnotes and supplemental materials to understand God's word. My understanding didn't seem to go very far until I cast all that aside and started a few corny practices. I pray before I study asking God for understanding and wisdom. I keep, at times, a little notebook and jot impressions down, things that I learned through the word. I pray after the study and think about it much throughout the day. I have found more understanding asking God to give me wisdom than reading through theological books on the topic. My experience on the net has opened up a whole new world of terminology and jargon (that doesn't sound nice, but I can't think of a better word) It is all really foreign to me. I am anxious to learn about it, but I am not sure I will ever learn all there is to know because it seems new words and new concepts are developed about as fast as software programs. The offshoots and divisions seem to grow rapidly. I then look to Jesus and his ministry and scratch my head. He taught simply and basically. I wonder, in my niavety, what would Jesus think of all the terms and definitions I have stumbled across on blogs? Maybe he would say, "Well done". But, I often wonder about the disharmony I see in discussions about such topics. I don't see it strongly on ABC blogs but such matters spiral into vicious topics and accusations of heresy. I witness this with sadness in my heart. I know we are to discern false teachings. We are given a biblical method by which to handle disagreements. Seems to me it was to take someone aside privately and teach them from the bible which is profitable for rebuke, training and instructions in righteousness. I look to Jude 9 which talks indicates we should say may God rebuke you. How is it that we stand rebuking? Maybe there is scriptural basis to do such a public rebuke, I don't know. I am still but a toddler in all this process. The troubling thing is that I can't find penecostal oneness in the bible, I can't find trinity in the bible. I can find God, Jesus and the holy spirit though. Where did the term trinity come from? Why did man find it necessary to use such a term in discussing the bible? Do we trade off these terms for a deep comprehensive study of the bible? It seems that sometimes much labor is spent on trying to understand what each person means by trinity, postmil pentecostalism that the focus is shifted off of the bible to man made books. Maybe this is necessary. But, I find it sometimes bewildering to try to share joy of the Lord from my heart only to hear someone say, "You said, sinful from birth, do you buy into the doctrine of this or that?" Oops, I goofed and quoted and NIV version and started a theological debate when I was only trying to share the joy of the Lord. Now this did not occur here on the net but in my own community of believers. Sometimes we can't talk about God without having to pull out dictionaries or consult with someone who has a MDiv. Yes, I am delayed in that I can only find the most satisfying and simple answers in the bible. When I read it in the fashion I described above, I can't put it down. I was up til 1:30 in the morning the other night. I started out reading in Phillipians than looked at cross references in Romans, and then found myself in Jude. I was feasting ,brother. I was sort of bummed it was so late and time to call it quits so I could be an energetic momma for the next day. When I pick up books like , "Decieved on purpose". I yawn, stretch, pull out a dictionary, finding three different possible meanings for new age. I will continue to study these books and concepts as time permits. But, I can't tell you the absolute joy I feel inside just reading and devouring God's word as it is.

I will truly rejoice with Scott because even though I don't understand the terms and may never, I am compassionate. Blessing to both of you fine gentlemen.

 
At 12/28/2005 7:48 AM, Blogger JFC said...

MM said,

Thanks for taking the time to explain these matters and for your confidence in my abilities spiritually. I am not sure I am as confident in my abilities, but only hope that God is glorified even in my lack of understanding/weaknesses.

Yes. I wouldn't say I have very much confidence in any of us, or our abilities. But I do have confidence in God, who is able to do His work in us.


I would say that most of my understanding comes from just opening the bible and asking God for wisdom to understand and apply what I read ... Sometimes we can't talk about God without having to pull out dictionaries or consult with someone who has a MDiv. Yes, I am delayed in that I can only find the most satisfying and simple answers in the bible.

I see this as not an either/or situation, but as a both/and situation. God gave the church pastors and teachers, who are to devote their lives to the word and to prayer, in order that they may teach us and train us. If God had intended us to get all of our learning from the bible on our own, he would never have given the church pastors and teachers to equip us (Ephesians 4:11-16, note that unity and knowledge and stability are from the equipping by pastor-teachers, not from personal study). But, pastor-teachers are not to be taken without verification. When the Apostle Paul taught at Berea, he was checked extensively against the Bible (Old Testament, at that time), to verify that he was teaching truth (Acts 17:10-11).

So, you must continue to [open] the Bible and [ask] God for wisdom to understand and apply what [you] read, all the while being ready to listen and learn from those whom God has given to His church as pastors and teachers (and primarily those who are your pastors and teachers, rather than web-buddies, even though we may, at times, be helpful).

I will truly rejoice with Scott because even though I don't understand the terms and may never, I am compassionate. Blessing to both of you fine gentlemen.

As Jerry Clower used to say, "Ain't God good!"

 
At 12/28/2005 9:10 AM, Anonymous KSMILKMAID said...

Well stated, I wholeheartedly agree. I would clarify for further consideration is what our local teachers/ministers and elders bring to our attention frequently. I think this is worthy of repeating here.

What was required to be teachers and preachers of the gospel? What kind of knowledge/education did they have? Who were they? What were their educational and occupational backgrounds? What did they preach from what text? Where did they worship and how? What kind of buildings? Did they use additional "theological books" to instruct and equip? Is there a scriptural basis for such? Is there a scriptural basis for the creation of extra bibical terms to discuss word of God? Does this bring us closer to or farther away from God? Does this glorify God or man? Does this promote simplicity of God's word or confusion?

You are so right on the all or nothing issue on the need to have personal study and the need to have instruction from teachers and preachers and elders. What I am questioning here and perhaps using an all or nothing approach to is the need for additional texts, creeds and doctrines to understand the bible. Meaning books of theology and terms created by man to understand the nature and quality of God and his workings. Those who have taught me have rightly shown me how divisive and misguided such things can be. My only expereince with those who do not equip and instruct with just the bible without all the extra verbage is here with my "web buddies" as you coined them. I am stepping back and observing that yes, my instructors might be astute and rightly dividing the word when teaching me that the bible is the only thing we need for study. We also can go to God in prayer for asking for wisdom and he will answer helping us to understand how to apply the truths and transform our lives. A handy thing to have for biblical understanding is a basic knowledge of the original languages of the bible. While I am not an extremist on these issues, I am incredibly cautious when using other books. I love the story of the Ethiopian eunuch who was reading and then approached by a disciple. He didn't understand what he was reading completely. When asked questions, he began to understand. We do need our teachers and preachers. And they do need to be tested. Very astute reminder.

Thus concludes my contributions to this very intriguing discussion. Blessings to all!

 
At 12/28/2005 6:16 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

Many thanks to Jon, you saved me a lot of typing! Could not have said any of it any better...so I won't try.

 

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