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Thread: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

  1. #16
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    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel567 View Post
    Why would you arrive at this conclusion, when this is not the first time that Paul tells Christians to examine themselves?
    Divinewatermark has set out to answer the OP, which is specifically centered on 2Corinthians 13:5. It's not a question of whether or not a believer should examine himself or herself; to answer that question we could find other passages of scripture. It's a question of what Paul means to say in that particular passage. In this context, Paul's point depends on the reason why he is asking the Corinthians to examine themselves.

    The supposition behind the OP understands Paul's exhortation as the process of testing for genuineness or authenticity of faith, which remains in question until examined. Whereas, according to the insight of Divinewatermark, Paul's argument takes into account the known and established fact that indeed the Corinthians were authentic, genuine believers. He asks them to examine themselves, not because he doubted their faith; but he was counting on their being genuine in order to prove that he was a genuine apostle. Bottom line, the fact that the Corinthians were believers is evidence in favor of Paul's claim to be an apostle.

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    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDivineWatermark View Post
    People tend to use a number of Paul's words (found in several different passages) to [incorrectly] be conveying such a thought.

    Philippians 3:8-15 is another such passage that is often misinterpreted to mean this.

    However, it doesn't mean that. Here is a brief appendix from a book (on Phil3:8-15... somewhat related to this same topic, as another one of the passages ppl use to say Paul meant that [though he didn't mean that]):

    http://articles.ochristian.com/article12455.shtml

    [quoting excerpt from link]

    "IF the commonly received exegesis of Philippians 3:8-14 be correct, we are faced by the astounding fact that the author of the Epistle to the Romans and of the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians -- the Apostle who was in a peculiar sense entrusted with the supreme revelation of grace -- announced when nearing the close of his ministry that the resurrection was not, as he had been used to teach, a blessing which Divine grace assured to all believers in Christ, but a prize to be won by the sustained efforts of a life of wholly exceptional saintship.

    "Nor is this all. In the same Epistle he has already said, "To me to live is Christ, and to have died is gain"; whereas, ex hypothesi, it now appears that his chief aim in life was to earn a right to the resurrection; and that death, instead of bringing gain, would have cut him off before he had reached the standard of saintship needed to secure that prize! For his words are explicit, "not as though I had already attained."

    [...]

    "If this passage refers to the literal resurrection, then the words "not as though I had already attained must mean that, while here on earth, and before the Lord's Coming, the Apostle hoped either to undergo the change of ver. 21, or else to win some sort of saintship diploma, or certificate, to ensure his being raised at the Coming. These alternatives are inexorable; and they only need to be stated to ensure their rejection.

    "One word more. If the Apostle Paul, after such a life of saintship and service, was in doubt as to his part in the resurrection, no one of us, unless he be the proudest of Pharisees or the blindest of fools, will dream of attaining it. In fact we shall dismiss the subject from our minds."

    --Forgotten Truths, Appendix 4: Philippians 3:8-14, Sir Robert Anderson

    [bold, underline mine]
    Since I didn't use Phil 3:8-15 I don't think the views you expressed here are relevant to my position.

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    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidC View Post
    Thank you, that does help. I have asked myself the question, am I really saved? Most of the time I am certain, but sometimes I wonder, those are the times when it seems God is far off. So wasn't sure if that is what it meant or not.
    There are some people who even after they are forgiven, are unable to believe and forgive themselves. Jesus is not a liar, if you confess from the heart you must also believe that you are forgiven. Faith is about believing in God - he said you're forgiven, if you still don't believe that, then your faith is in vain.

  4. #19

    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by TheDivineWatermark View Post
    "DOING" [or "have done enough"] is not how we "make heaven" [make it to heaven]... but what Christ HAS DONE. [1Cor15:1-4,11; Eph2:8-9]



    Recall, the ones Jesus refers to in Matt7 who say "have *we* not done... many wonderful works?" [even, 'in Thy name' done them].

    He will respond with "I NEVER knew you: depart from Me..."




    I know that people often use 2Cor13:5 to mean "prove to yourselves and to others [by examining your 'works'] that you are a true Christian" [or 'have done enough to make heaven' and the like], but I am saying that 2Cor13:5 is part of the wider context of chpts 9-13 [Paul vindicating his apostleship], and not grasping this context (and focusing only on a few verses in chpt 13) brings one to this false conclusion (as to what 13:5 means).

    Faith, alone, in Christ and His finished work, alone, is how we "make heaven" (as you put it). Nothing else whatsoever.
    Good theology, in my opinion! I wholeheartedly concur.

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    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel567 View Post
    Why would you arrive at this conclusion, when this is not the first time that Paul tells Christians to examine themselves? See 1 Cor 11:28, and see why it is critical to examine oneself. Indeed, the whole tenor of Scripture indicates that Christians should examine themselves constantly and daily.
    I am glad you provided 1 Cor 11:28 as corroboration of the same instruction given to Christians in 2 Cor 13:5 to examine themselves from time to time. The passages are plain and unambiguous, but that still doesn't stop some people turning it into what it is not. For the purpose of clarity, I must emphasize (as I've already been quoted out of context) that the self-examination is not about our efforts or "works", but rather, whether we are living in accordance with the precepts of Christ.

    This self-examination can be compared to a man who attended a job interview. While waiting to hear whether he is successful, he can do an honest self-assessment of his performance to figure out if he has a chance. Even unbelievers who don't have the indwelling Holy Spirit can equally use their conscience for this purpose according to Rom 2:15. But for us, believers, the Spirit of God in us makes such evaluation even better and accurate, unless of course, the individual is in denial of the result.

    As Christians, we are also challenged now and again to do the same - assess our Christian life, using all the moral injunctions in the Bible as criteria. And our conscience will convict us of our failings and this, in turn, leads us to make the necessary changes to be in line with Christ.

    If this not what Paul meant in 2 Cor 13:5 then, I don't know what it is.....

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    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by CadyandZoe View Post
    Divinewatermark has set out to answer the OP, which is specifically centered on 2Corinthians 13:5. It's not a question of whether or not a believer should examine himself or herself; to answer that question we could find other passages of scripture. It's a question of what Paul means to say in that particular passage. In this context, Paul's point depends on the reason why he is asking the Corinthians to examine themselves.

    The supposition behind the OP understands Paul's exhortation as the process of testing for genuineness or authenticity of faith, which remains in question until examined. Whereas, according to the insight of Divinewatermark, Paul's argument takes into account the known and established fact that indeed the Corinthians were authentic, genuine believers. He asks them to examine themselves, not because he doubted their faith; but he was counting on their being genuine in order to prove that he was a genuine apostle. Bottom line, the fact that the Corinthians were believers is evidence in favor of Paul's claim to be an apostle.
    This is one way of looking at it and I'm not disagreeing with you.

    But given that the every scripture is enduring, we cannot, therefore, limit the passage to the extinct Corinthian church. So, how does the passage relate to you and I and the rest of Christendom today? On a broader examination, (forget about someone else's interpretation) how do you understand it with particular emphasis on you as a Christian?

  7. #22

    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by CadyandZoe View Post
    Originally Posted by Daniel567
    Why would you arrive at this conclusion, when this is not the first time that Paul tells Christians to examine themselves?

    Divinewatermark has set out to answer the OP, which is specifically centered on 2Corinthians 13:5. It's not a question of whether or not a believer should examine himself or herself; to answer that question we could find other passages of scripture. It's a question of what Paul means to say in that particular passage. In this context, Paul's point depends on the reason why he is asking the Corinthians to examine themselves.

    The supposition behind the OP understands Paul's exhortation as the process of testing for genuineness or authenticity of faith, which remains in question until examined. Whereas, according to the insight of Divinewatermark, Paul's argument takes into account the known and established fact that indeed the Corinthians were authentic, genuine believers. He asks them to examine themselves, not because he doubted their faith; but he was counting on their being genuine in order to prove that he was a genuine apostle. Bottom line, the fact that the Corinthians were believers is evidence in favor of Paul's claim to be an apostle.
    Yes, very well said. Thank you. This answer is succinct and precise, and one would do well to read it carefully and take it into consideration when reading chapters 9-13, for context (and even 1Cor2:1-5 [esp v.4] with chpt 1 as its backdrop as well).

    [the question pertained to 2Cor13:5 ]

  8. #23

    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    I am glad you provided 1 Cor 11:28 as corroboration of the same instruction given to Christians in 2 Cor 13:5 to examine themselves from time to time. The passages are plain and unambiguous, but that still doesn't stop some people turning it into what it is not. For the purpose of clarity, I must emphasize (as I've already been quoted out of context) that the self-examination is not about our efforts or "works", but rather, whether we are living in accordance with the precepts of Christ.

    This self-examination can be compared to a man who attended a job interview. While waiting to hear whether he is successful, he can do an honest self-assessment of his performance to figure out if he has a chance. Even unbelievers who don't have the indwelling Holy Spirit can equally use their conscience for this purpose according to Rom 2:15. But for us, believers, the Spirit of God in us makes such evaluation even better and accurate, unless of course, the individual is in denial of the result.

    As Christians, we are also challenged now and again to do the same - assess our Christian life, using all the moral injunctions in the Bible as criteria. And our conscience will convict us of our failings and this, in turn, leads us to make the necessary changes to be in line with Christ.

    If this not what Paul meant in 2 Cor 13:5 then, I don't know what it is.....
    I agree. We must make evaluations, because there are those among us who are living on strictly the knowledge of God's ways without actually *knowing God.* As such, they are enjoying fellowship with us without promoting the real basis of our salvation, which is *knowing God,* and allowing Him to be the source of our righteousness. We don't need a lot of liberals moralizing to us about doing good deeds of charity, as much as we need to know true good comes from the Lord's own Spirit. We must be joined to Him as a branch to a vine in order to bear His fruit!

    So yes, we must examine ourselves, because if we truly know Christ we will be assured in our faith that he is the source of our love, and that love is really in us. Those who do not have that love will of course justify themselves by their good works.

    Paul's interest seems to be to separate out those who are truly in the faith from those who are not, because those who are not promote a hollow religiosity and ultimately error. This is to encourage believers who really know God, since those who do not know God in reality will not benefit from his counsel. Those who truly know God will then recognize those who do not know God in reality. They will then be able to recognize error in the church before it becomes rooted. In fact one of the great errors in the church historically is Christian nominalism, the willingness to establish Christian morality without the necessity of the supernatural.

  9. #24
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    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    This is one way of looking at it and I'm not disagreeing with you.

    But given that the every scripture is enduring, we cannot, therefore, limit the passage to the extinct Corinthian church. So, how does the passage relate to you and I and the rest of Christendom today? On a broader examination, (forget about someone else's interpretation) how do you understand it with particular emphasis on you as a Christian?
    If I am right, the conclusion we draw from what Paul said is that he is, indeed an apostle. If his argument is convincing, and I think it is, I am free to believe that Paul is a genuine apostle. Now, based on that information I am ready to learn more from him. And to answer your question, then, I draw two significant conclusions from what Paul wrote: 1) Paul never gave up preaching the gospel, starting churches, writing letters, even in the face of stiff opposition on the one hand and extreme apathy on the other hand. 2) Whatever Paul wrote can be trusted as if Jesus wrote it himself.

    Now, if I were to offer a scripture where an apostle exhorts a believer to examine himself or herself, I would cite and review 2Peter 1:1-11.

    In that context Peter addresses his letter to "those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours . . .", which begs the question, "Am I one of those who shares the same faith as Peter?" And so Peter sets out to answer the question in the verses that follow.

  10. #25
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    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    Paul's interest seems to be to separate out those who are truly in the faith from those who are not, because those who are not promote a hollow religiosity and ultimately error. This is to encourage believers who really know God, since those who do not know God in reality will not benefit from his counsel. Those who truly know God will then recognize those who do not know God in reality. They will then be able to recognize error in the church before it becomes rooted. In fact one of the great errors in the church historically is Christian nominalism, the willingness to establish Christian morality without the necessity of the supernatural.
    It is so easy to drift away from God without knowing it. As you pointed out, playing "religion" is all too common today than actually serving God. Many don't realize that we shall be judged as per our relationship with Jesus rather than the church we attended.

    There is so much schism in Christendom now than before; the Methodist, the Presbyterian, Catholic, and Evangelical all feel some degree of superiority over the other. This, in turn, influences some of their congregation who are not yet grounded in the word of God to believe their church's doctrine is superior to the word of God.

    A common example is the Jehovah's Witness. They have a lot of kind hearted believers who just want to serve God, but have been indoctrinated so much into the church's doctrines that even though they have bibles, one wonders whether they actually read them? They believe more in the church's official publication (WatchTower, etc) than the Bible.

    Self-examination, allows the individual to look inwards and ask himself the all important question, do I really have faith in God? Do I trust him implicitly? I'm I really living to please Him, etc.? Ultimately, self-examination enables the vessel of dishonour to purge himself to become a vessel of honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use....

  11. #26
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    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by CadyandZoe View Post
    If I am right, the conclusion we draw from what Paul said is that he is, indeed an apostle. If his argument is convincing, and I think it is, I am free to believe that Paul is a genuine apostle. Now, based on that information I am ready to learn more from him. And to answer your question, then, I draw two significant conclusions from what Paul wrote: 1) Paul never gave up preaching the gospel, starting churches, writing letters, even in the face of stiff opposition on the one hand and extreme apathy on the other hand. 2) Whatever Paul wrote can be trusted as if Jesus wrote it himself.

    Now, if I were to offer a scripture where an Apostle exhorts a believer to examine himself or herself, I would cite and review 2Peter 1:1-11.

    In that context Peter addresses his letter to "those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours . . .", which begs the question, "Am I one of those who shares the same faith as Peter?" And so Peter sets out to answer the question in the verses that follow.
    2 Cor 13:2 I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare:

    3 Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.

    4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.

    5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye, not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

    Paul only made the reference to his Apostleship to challenge those who misinterpreted his humility in Christ for weakness despite the fact that the fruits (the word of God he imparts) strengthen them. The self-examination he exhorts them is not so much as confirmation of his Apostleship of Christ, but for them to ascertain whether they are indeed receiving the fruits - which only those in "faith" [as in those really in Christ] can receive. But the reprobates [those going through the charade of being Christians] cannot receive.

    My point is that Paul did not set out to make the passage all about proving his apostleship. That's only in part, the full essence of the text is for the believer to question himself whether he is indeed a true Christian. The fact that Paul used two extreme contrasts *faith* and *reprobate* should leave the discerning reader in no doubt that the focus is on the 'believer' to assess their standing with God rather than Paul's apostleship.

  12. #27

    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by Trivalee View Post
    It is so easy to drift away from God without knowing it. As you pointed out, playing "religion" is all too common today than actually serving God. Many don't realize that we shall be judged as per our relationship with Jesus rather than the church we attended.

    There is so much schism in Christendom now than before; the Methodist, the Presbyterian, Catholic, and Evangelical all feel some degree of superiority over the other. This, in turn, influences some of their congregation who are not yet grounded in the word of God to believe their church's doctrine is superior to the word of God.

    A common example is the Jehovah's Witness. They have a lot of kind hearted believers who just want to serve God, but have been indoctrinated so much into the church's doctrines that even though they have bibles, one wonders whether they actually read them? They believe more in the church's official publication (WatchTower, etc) than the Bible.

    Self-examination, allows the individual to look inwards and ask himself the all important question, do I really have faith in God? Do I trust him implicitly? I'm I really living to please Him, etc.? Ultimately, self-examination enables the vessel of dishonour to purge himself to become a vessel of honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's use....
    Absolutely. I agree that Christian salvation is *individual.* I have no problem with denominations, as such, because they are purely a vehicle. But inasmuch as they naturally produce "group think" they hold the danger of communicating to all their congregations errors as well as truth. So we must be self-critical, and recognize we can't blame others for our mistakes at the judgment.

    JWs are another kettle of fish! The American cults have produced pseudo-Christian groups such as the Jews, the Mormons, and the Christian Scientists, who are not doctrinally orthodox Christians. By "orthodox Christians" I'm not speaking of the Orthodox Church, nor am I referring to a sin-free, doctrinally perfect church.

    Rather, a doctrinally orthodox church for me means a church that 1) holds to the cardinal truths contained in the creeds, and 2) practices supernatural regeneration and belief in a divine Christ. We will always have slight differences in interpretation, but the cardinal doctrines are what hold Christians together in terms of a common experience and belief system.

    JWs, Mormons, and other cultic groups like them hold to a facade of Christian belief, but at the heart of their beliefs is a different god. Islam is no different. They claim to hold to the God of Abraham, but at the heart of it they have a different god. They certainly claim to have the same God, but in practice and in belief their god is different.

    How can we tell when a pseudo Christian group is so deviant that it has another god? Again, it is a matter of departure from the cardinal values contained in the creeds. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell the difference when the Scriptures are the same as Christians. It is similar to how the Jews in Jesus' day held to their own Scriptures and yet denied Jesus as their Messiah.

    Normally these cultic groups have a 2nd set of "scriptures" to interpret the true Scriptures differently, in an heretical fashion. That is something to watch out for. Also, they will be utterly unable to produce anything more than a *copy* of Christian virtue. They may do works that appear to be Christ's love. But the moment that "love" is tested, it falls flat.

    To me the greatest danger in the Christian West is the infiltration of nominal Christianity into genuine Christian churches. Those who lack true spiritual experience--those who are not truly regenerate--have entered the churches or have grown up in the churches, and now present to young Christians the temptation to capitulate to the "crowd." The Christian experience becomes so mixed that there is pressure to accept deviant lifestyles and deviant practices, slowly allowing the frog to become boiled in water. The gradual heating of the water gets unnoticed by the frog until it is too late!

    That was my experience in my teens. I cannot blame others entirely, but it is a problem to look out for. There is tremendous pressure against applying true discipline in the churches anymore. It is thought that Christians should love their enemies, and invite the sinner in to get saved. There is little thought as to the danger the presence of unrepentant "Christians" may do in a church! And yet, what Jesus said is true: leaven leavens the whole lump. Unless we remove the "wicked one from our midst" we will be slowly turned, become spiritually stifled, and eventually lose our lamp stand.

  13. #28

    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    Absolutely. I agree that Christian salvation is *individual.* I have no problem with denominations, as such, because they are purely a vehicle. But inasmuch as they naturally produce "group think" they hold the danger of communicating to all their congregations errors as well as truth. So we must be self-critical, and recognize we can't blame others for our mistakes at the judgment.

    JWs are another kettle of fish! The American cults have produced pseudo-Christian groups such as the Jews, the Mormons, and the Christian Scientists, who are not doctrinally orthodox Christians. By "orthodox Christians" I'm not speaking of the Orthodox Church, nor am I referring to a sin-free, doctrinally perfect church.

    Rather, a doctrinally orthodox church for me means a church that 1) holds to the cardinal truths contained in the creeds, and 2) practices supernatural regeneration and belief in a divine Christ. We will always have slight differences in interpretation, but the cardinal doctrines are what hold Christians together in terms of a common experience and belief system.

    JWs, Mormons, and other cultic groups like them hold to a facade of Christian belief, but at the heart of their beliefs is a different god. Islam is no different. They claim to hold to the God of Abraham, but at the heart of it they have a different god. They certainly claim to have the same God, but in practice and in belief their god is different.

    How can we tell when a pseudo Christian group is so deviant that it has another god? Again, it is a matter of departure from the cardinal values contained in the creeds. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell the difference when the Scriptures are the same as Christians. It is similar to how the Jews in Jesus' day held to their own Scriptures and yet denied Jesus as their Messiah.

    Normally these cultic groups have a 2nd set of "scriptures" to interpret the true Scriptures differently, in an heretical fashion. That is something to watch out for. Also, they will be utterly unable to produce anything more than a *copy* of Christian virtue. They may do works that appear to be Christ's love. But the moment that "love" is tested, it falls flat.

    To me the greatest danger in the Christian West is the infiltration of nominal Christianity into genuine Christian churches. Those who lack true spiritual experience--those who are not truly regenerate--have entered the churches or have grown up in the churches, and now present to young Christians the temptation to capitulate to the "crowd." The Christian experience becomes so mixed that there is pressure to accept deviant lifestyles and deviant practices, slowly allowing the frog to become boiled in water. The gradual heating of the water gets unnoticed by the frog until it is too late!

    That was my experience in my teens. I cannot blame others entirely, but it is a problem to look out for. There is tremendous pressure against applying true discipline in the churches anymore. It is thought that Christians should love their enemies, and invite the sinner in to get saved. There is little thought as to the danger the presence of unrepentant "Christians" may do in a church! And yet, what Jesus said is true: leaven leavens the whole lump. Unless we remove the "wicked one from our midst" we will be slowly turned, become spiritually stifled, and eventually lose our lamp stand.
    This is really good and I agree! I am a teen and it's really not good what is happening with youth rallies in my area at least, I do live in a highly liberal place, so during youth rallies it's not even about God, it's about bringing teens together to goof off really, no relevant messages, if there is a message at all it's about serving. They do not encourage Bible reading, just having fun. My dad made me read the Bible, studied with me, still does and wants me to be able to defend the faith and handle apologetics.

    I do wonder if local churches are relevant today?

  14. #29

    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidC View Post
    This is really good and I agree! I am a teen and it's really not good what is happening with youth rallies in my area at least, I do live in a highly liberal place, so during youth rallies it's not even about God, it's about bringing teens together to goof off really, no relevant messages, if there is a message at all it's about serving. They do not encourage Bible reading, just having fun. My dad made me read the Bible, studied with me, still does and wants me to be able to defend the faith and handle apologetics.

    I do wonder if local churches are relevant today?
    Some are not relevant. Some are. I can really relate to your experience, although I'm much older than you. In my early teens I came into a conflict between my church training and my experience both in the church and in the world. I capitulated to the world, because I saw God's love as better expressed among the lost and needy. I was becoming *a liberal!* Arghhh!

    But after finding out that taking up with the world only led me to participate in their sins, and after finding out the trouble this brings, I went back to the church and to holy living. I did not find help to make this decision within my old church, which had become liberal. I had to go to other churches.

    To write off all churches as "irrelevant," however, would be a big mistake. If you find that you can talk to and work with the Christians in the church in a significant way, it's well worth the effort to apply your own gifts there to make things better. We all need improvement.

  15. #30

    Re: Question about 2 Cor 13:5

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    Some are not relevant. Some are. I can really relate to your experience, although I'm much older than you. In my early teens I came into a conflict between my church training and my experience both in the church and in the world. I capitulated to the world, because I saw God's love as better expressed among the lost and needy. I was becoming *a liberal!* Arghhh!

    But after finding out that taking up with the world only led me to participate in their sins, and after finding out the trouble this brings, I went back to the church and to holy living. I did not find help to make this decision within my old church, which had become liberal. I had to go to other churches.

    To write off all churches as "irrelevant," however, would be a big mistake. If you find that you can talk to and work with the Christians in the church in a significant way, it's well worth the effort to apply your own gifts there to make things better. We all need improvement.
    I grew up in a conservative church but want to attend a more lively church, but the problem is these types of churches are liberal, so going is like joining a political party. lol

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