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Bex4Jesus
Dec 17th 2008, 02:44 PM
I was talking with a friend last night who is "sort of a" Christian. He was raised going to Church but admitted he 'doesn't think much about it' anymore.

Anyways, I was talking to him about Jesus and he asked me some questions. This is sorta the jist of it,

"Why is the Bible so complicated? How do you know YOUR interpretation is right? Aren't there hundreds of different denominations who think they are right, including the Catholic Church? So if God wanted us to know what to do, why didn't He make it clear?"

He went on to tell me that in high school he figured he would never know for sure because even his parents disagreed and so he just gave up.

I am probably going to see him tonight. Does anyone have any advice about what to say? I have to admit I was not prepared for this one.

Love to all,

Bex

moonglow
Dec 17th 2008, 02:50 PM
I think this article may help.


What about different denominations?
(http://www.carm.org/seek/denominations.htm)
The reason there are different denominations within Christianity is because the Bible allows for us to have differences of opinions. Within Christianity there are very few essential doctrines that define what it means to be a Christian. These essential doctrines are,

1. Jesus is both God and man (John 1:1,14; 8:24; Col. 2:9; 1 John 4:1-4).
2. Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21; 1 Cor. 15:14).
3. Salvation is by grace through faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 3:1-2; 5:1-4).
4. The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Gal. 1:8-9).
5. There is only one God (Exodus 20:3; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8).
6. God exists as a Trinity of persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (See Trinity).
7. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary (nature of incarnation)

As long as a church believes in these essential doctrines, then it is Christian. However, there are many things in the scriptures that have been interpreted in different ways. For example, what day of the week should be worship on, Saturday or Sunday? Should we baptize by sprinkling or baptize by immersion? Do we take communion every Sunday, once a month, or once a year? The answers to these questions do not affect whether or not someone is a Christian. It is in these issues, and others like them, that denominations are formed. It does not mean that one denomination contradicts another. It means that though they agree in the essentials, they differ in some nonessentials. This is permitted in Scripture:

"Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. 2 One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. 3 Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5 One man regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Let each man be fully convinced in his own mind," (Rom. 14:1-5).

Sadly, there is another reason for denominational differences and that is the failure of Christians to live according to the will of God. The truth is that we are all sinners and we do not see things eye to eye. It is an unfortunate truth that denominational differences are due to our shortsightedness and lack of love. But, the good thing is that God loves us so much that He puts up with our failures. There waits for us, in spite of our differences, a great reward in heaven. Neither salvation nor damnation is dependent upon our differences. Our salvation is based on our relationship with Christ.

I think that is sad he gave up simply because his parents didn't agree on certain things...biblically the wife should have follow her husbands lead on this as he is the spiritual leader of the family and this kind of division would not have happened and caused their son to fall away from God...:(

God bless

Rullion Green
Dec 17th 2008, 03:04 PM
The Bible can be open to interpretation but the Gospel is not, it is laid out in certain terms.

I was a Catholic for 32 years as i was born into the religon but i eventually came to know the truth, i was not particularly looking to change my faith it just happened i went through some crazy paths but got to the truth in the end. The Holy spirit will lead someone and show them the Way the Truth and the Life.

On other issues you will have to look back to Godly men and traditional Christian beliefs held throughout the history of the church. A good knowledge of the word of God is needed to reprove someone so i suggest some study and listen to a few sermons from sermon audio on the topics you want to learn about there a thousands. :)

Kahtar
Dec 17th 2008, 03:04 PM
It is true, everyone has their own interpretation.
The Bible is both simple and complex. It is a 'living' Word.
What makes it living?
The same person can read the same portion of scripture at several different points in their life, and get something different from it.
The Bible speaks to us where we are, and speaks to what we are experiencing and going through at any given time.
The Bible is like an onion. It has a (rather hard and crusty) outer layer, which anyone can see.
But beneath that layer lies layer upon layer of good, sweet, meaty onion.
Example:
Genesis 1:1-3
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
Most people see that for what is says. God created everything.
Some see the scientific aspects.
But, if you look closer, you can see that God does not explain his own existence here. He just IS, and it is up to us to accept that.
And closer, we see an allegory of man. God created us, but we spiritually are formless and void, and full of darkness. But we hear God's voice, the the light of understanding and truth fills us.
In the same way we can also see an allegory of the church and the kingdom.
And looking closer, at the words themselves, and their meanings, we can see the trinity presented. Christ is the 'beginning and the end'. The Beginning, and God, and the Spirit of God are all seen right there.
And looking closer, at the arrangement of words, in Hebrew, we see that there are seven words that compose the first verse. The first three speak of things in heaven, the last three of things of the earth. the the center one speaks of that Alpha and Omega, or actually the Alef and the Tet. It sets a pattern for us that is seen all through the Word clear to Revelation. A pattern of sevens.
Back to interpretations, what one man sees at one point in his life, is probably a good interpretation for him at that time. What another sees, likewise, but the two understandings may be different. Doesn't mean they are incorrect.
But the Word explains itself. All interpretations must adhere to a certain guideline. One part cannot contradict another part. The Spirit does not contradict Himself.

Indueseason
Dec 17th 2008, 04:13 PM
I was talking with a friend last night who is "sort of a" Christian. He was raised going to Church but admitted he 'doesn't think much about it' anymore.

Anyways, I was talking to him about Jesus and he asked me some questions. This is sorta the jist of it,

"Why is the Bible so complicated? How do you know YOUR interpretation is right? Aren't there hundreds of different denominations who think they are right, including the Catholic Church? So if God wanted us to know what to do, why didn't He make it clear?"

He went on to tell me that in high school he figured he would never know for sure because even his parents disagreed and so he just gave up.

I am probably going to see him tonight. Does anyone have any advice about what to say? I have to admit I was not prepared for this one.

Love to all,

Bex

These very questions have ruined my life! My husbands faith just couldn't handle them and he has turned completely away from God.He's angry he ever believed any of it and now wants nothing to do with God or his family. When families are buying presents and gathering together for Christmas, mines is in chaos and in need of a miracle. We sit on these forums and debate back and forth what we believe the Word of God says, and we dont realise thats these same discussions can destroy the faith of others.

If your out there and all this stuff confuses you, let it go. Just hold onto Jesus and the depth of His undying love for you, and seek Him only. A relationship with the Lord is the only thing that really matters, the rest can wait.

:hug: blessings

kenrank
Dec 17th 2008, 05:37 PM
I was talking with a friend last night who is "sort of a" Christian. He was raised going to Church but admitted he 'doesn't think much about it' anymore.

Anyways, I was talking to him about Jesus and he asked me some questions. This is sorta the jist of it,

"Why is the Bible so complicated? How do you know YOUR interpretation is right? Aren't there hundreds of different denominations who think they are right, including the Catholic Church? So if God wanted us to know what to do, why didn't He make it clear?"

He went on to tell me that in high school he figured he would never know for sure because even his parents disagreed and so he just gave up.

I am probably going to see him tonight. Does anyone have any advice about what to say? I have to admit I was not prepared for this one.

Love to all,

Bex

I love those questions Bex. I get them a lot. I personally believe that God set all this out as he did because he wanted a people for himself who "want to love him." So some parables are used, and some metophor, and we have to work to understand the answers a little. That effort comes from love and belief, for if we didn't love or believe, we wouldn't bother, now would we??? ;) But because we do, we "search the scriptures" and we try to "prove all things." Again, we do that out of love. And when we put in that effort, and we stop and ask him questions, he rewards us with answers. Think of how much YOU have learned lately, all because of effort based on a love of God.

Peace.
Ken

chad
Dec 18th 2008, 05:56 AM
Hi IndueSeason,

It is very sad to hear that your husaband has turned away from God. On these forums, there are various types of people.

Those in the faith who have been reading the word of God for along time. They are use to eating the solid food or as the KJV refers to the Meat.

Then there are those new to the faith, they need the milk, and a nuturing environment to allow them to grow in faith and thier walk in God.

If someone is given the solid food/meat before they are ready for it, it can turn them away rather than towards God. If they start on milk first, then as they grow in knowledge and God working in thier life, God will bring them to a point where they can go deeper into the word of God, and be able to eat of the meat.

IMO, the meat is a deeper understanding of Gods word, and by going deeper into the word of God, it enables you to develop your faith and you are able to debate the word of God without loosing faith.

1 Peter 2:2-3
(1 Pet 2:2 NIV) Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, (2:3) now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Hebrews 5:12-14 + Hebrews 6:1-3, 1 Cor 3:2.

I remember back when I was just a young maturing christian in faith, I didn't like the meat. I needed the milk first. Only after years of God working in my life was I able to really move on to the Meat. I thank God he has bought me to this point in my faith, but I will never forget the many years when I was growing by the milk and was not ready for the meat.


Chad :rolleyes:


These very questions have ruined my life! My husbands faith just couldn't handle them and he has turned completely away from God.He's angry he ever believed any of it and now wants nothing to do with God or his family. When families are buying presents and gathering together for Christmas, mines is in chaos and in need of a miracle. We sit on these forums and debate back and forth what we believe the Word of God says, and we dont realise thats these same discussions can destroy the faith of others.

If your out there and all this stuff confuses you, let it go. Just hold onto Jesus and the depth of His undying love for you, and seek Him only. A relationship with the Lord is the only thing that really matters, the rest can wait.

:hug: blessings

Tanya~
Dec 18th 2008, 06:28 AM
I am probably going to see him tonight. Does anyone have any advice about what to say? I have to admit I was not prepared for this one.



This is probably late and you may already have visited with him, but Jesus said something to Nicodemus: "You must be born again." When a person is born of God, the differences of opinion don't matter so much because the Holy Spirit Himself dwells in a person. Over time we learn and grow, and our views on things may change as God works in us. But if God is working in us then we won't have to worry about these kinds of things.

We need God to save us, and that doesn't happen by getting all the questions answered about every little thing. We need to seek the Lord, because this is why He put us in the times and places in which we live.

Acts 17:26-28
26 And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord , in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'
NKJV

crossnote
Dec 18th 2008, 07:04 AM
Going along with Tanya's post-

Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.
(1Co 2:12-16)

scourge39
Dec 18th 2008, 07:46 AM
While Scripture itself is Divinely inspired, its interpreters are not. We all overlook details of Scripture when we both read and interpret it because of our fallen sinful condition. No one's knowledge of Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, Biblical archaeology, etc. is perfect. This is why consulting commentaries and Church History when studying Scripture is so helpful. While those resources are not perfect, they do enable us to interact with the insights of interpreters who've preceded us from every era of Church History. We all need to have the weaknesses of our privately held Scriptural understanding challenged by others. It's healthy and can lead to tremendous Spiritual growth.

iyulchik
Dec 18th 2008, 09:31 AM
I was talking with a friend last night who is "sort of a" Christian. He was raised going to Church but admitted he 'doesn't think much about it' anymore.

Anyways, I was talking to him about Jesus and he asked me some questions. This is sorta the jist of it,

"Why is the Bible so complicated? How do you know YOUR interpretation is right? Aren't there hundreds of different denominations who think they are right, including the Catholic Church? So if God wanted us to know what to do, why didn't He make it clear?"

He went on to tell me that in high school he figured he would never know for sure because even his parents disagreed and so he just gave up.

I am probably going to see him tonight. Does anyone have any advice about what to say? I have to admit I was not prepared for this one.

Love to all,

Bex


This may not be an answer you want to give someone who's asking these questions, but I myself have wondered some of these things and through some recent study (not super in-depth so far, but still on-going) I have learned a couple of things.

One thing I've learned is that some of the beliefs that are considered fact today aren't fact at all (I can't give specific examples at the moment - sorry! I'm still finding out which ones those are). I'm sorry that my details won't be very specific. I don't remember all the dates and names. :(

How I understand it, a long time ago, sometime during the Catholic Church's period of great strength, the people in charge were getting tired of the people who disagreed with them. They were tired of people wanting to live by the Bible. So they figured, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." So they found some friends (I believe they were Jesuits) to study the Bible and create new interpretations. So that's what they did. And voila! When people said, "We want to live by the Bible," they could pull out their own list of beliefs from their "diligent study," and convince the people to believe really strange things. Well, then they were strange. Unfortunately now at least several of them are considered to be Biblically sound . . .

Another thing I've learned is that God will never remove every single shred of "evidence" that could be used against Him. What I mean is that if someone is honestly looking for an excuse to not believe in God, he'll find it. Some people may say that's not true because they didn't want to believe in God but He removed all doubt and they began to believe. But I believe it has to do with our hearts. There are some people who are out to prove something wrong, but are willing to be proven wrong themselves (even if they don't know they're willing) if evidence is found. But there are some people who will look for any excuse to keep God out. It could be anything from something big like all the problems in the world, to something smaller, like how they prayed to become a millionaire over night but it didn't happen, and everything in between.

Maybe that paragraph is more about belief in God, but I think it also has to do with beliefs in God. Details about belief in God instead of the accetance that "someone is up there." Some people want to prove 'Belief A' wrong because they believe 'Belief B.' So they look and find that logically they're wrong, but they still want to believe it and so they find reasons as to why both can be right or why tradition is better than logic (or other reasons - they vary from case to case).

Another thing I've learned that I think is important is history. The first two things I mentioned involve history, so of course I think history is important. I believe that if we study the Bible with prayer, the Holy Spirit can and will open our hearts and minds and guide us. I think it's great that people say, "The Bible and the Bible only is how I live my life," but I think sometimes we also need to look at some external sources to help. Not other teachings and such. Just facts of life. I've been reading 1 Kings recently and they keep saying, "As for the rest of King So-and-so's actions and life, it's recorded in some book for the kings." Which means that the people back then knew more about what the kings did. It's hard to find good information, but it is out there. Why did one action mean one thing and something else mean something else? Why did everyone always do this? Looking back at the history and traditions they held dear is good. And it's good to find out why authors wrote to people in the way they did. It's also good to look at the history of the churches to find out why they chose their set of beliefs. Did they write down their options and draw them out of a hat? Did they vote? Did they study the Bible, searching for the real truth? What did they do?

Ok. I think that's it from me for now. It may not be an answer you're looking for, but it's what I've been learning.

Thomas1621
Dec 18th 2008, 01:39 PM
This may not be an answer you want to give someone who's asking these questions, but I myself have wondered some of these things and through some recent study (not super in-depth so far, but still on-going) I have learned a couple of things.

One thing I've learned is that some of the beliefs that are considered fact today aren't fact at all (I can't give specific examples at the moment - sorry! I'm still finding out which ones those are). I'm sorry that my details won't be very specific. I don't remember all the dates and names. :(
.
First let me say this regarding interpretations. Some of these denominations out there were founded by individuals who didn’t believe this or that but did believe some things so they established there own following or denomination based on their philosophies and made some “minor” edits to the Bible. That’s a simplistic answer but a space saver. If you want to know how easy it is to start your own denomination, I had someone ask me once to perform his marriage. It was in a way a heck of a compliment but I assured them it was not possible, that I was not in any way licensed or of a ministry to be able to do such a thing legally and would not do it otherwise. The issue was dropped. A little more than a month later I received a registered legal license in the mail listing me as a “legitimate Minister” with full legal recognition and once I had a fellowship with a minimum 35 members I was eligible for tax exemptions including with the IRS. It cost $20.00 at the time. I never heard of such a thing. The couple who asked me to marry them found out this could be done and filled out my application signed it and submitted it by mail so I could be licensed to perform the vows. Yes, it was considered legitimate and no I didn’t perform the vows. But if I were someone wanting to make a living at it all I had to do was gather a minimum of 35 people to join my group and I would have a tax-exempt income to live on. Build a church, a house, cars, and no limits. Now how many people out there have done just that do you think? It should make you wonder.

Thomas1621
Dec 18th 2008, 01:41 PM
How I understand it, a long time ago, sometime during the Catholic Church's period of great strength, the people in charge were getting tired of the people who disagreed with them. They were tired of people wanting to live by the Bible. So they figured, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." So they found some friends (I believe they were Jesuits) to study the Bible and create new interpretations. So that's what they did. And voila! When people said, "We want to live by the Bible," they could pull out their own list of beliefs from their "diligent study," and convince the people to believe really strange things. Well, then they were strange. Unfortunately now at least several of them are considered to be Biblically sound . . .
.

I don’t know what source you got this from but if it were a book you should get rid of it...

iyulchik
Dec 18th 2008, 07:48 PM
I don’t know what source you got this from but if it were a book you should get rid of it...


I've read it in lots of places, but I can't remember ever reading it in a book. Maybe I did once, but I don't remember. I just know I've run across it quite a bit recently. Why should I get rid of it?

John27
Dec 18th 2008, 08:43 PM
I was talking with a friend last night who is "sort of a" Christian. He was raised going to Church but admitted he 'doesn't think much about it' anymore.

Anyways, I was talking to him about Jesus and he asked me some questions. This is sorta the jist of it,

"Why is the Bible so complicated? How do you know YOUR interpretation is right? Aren't there hundreds of different denominations who think they are right, including the Catholic Church? So if God wanted us to know what to do, why didn't He make it clear?"

He went on to tell me that in high school he figured he would never know for sure because even his parents disagreed and so he just gave up.

I am probably going to see him tonight. Does anyone have any advice about what to say? I have to admit I was not prepared for this one.

Love to all,

Bex


To find insight he should read the bible first. Now in a more edcated stance as he is older.

Also he must know what different christian religions pertain to and to know that he simply needs to understand jews a little bit. Basically before the NT the Jews seperated into two scriptures. One Scripture took only books that originated in Hebrew, the were more purist. But half of the OT was written in Greek due to tribal movements and the many lands the jews were forced into, Greek was a common language. So there are 2 main Jew sects and there are quite a few others. However this influences Christianity as well because Catholics accept the whole OT and NT. However the reformers(protestants) only accepted the purist jewish text or the original hebrew texts which is only about 2/3 of the OT.

Based on those two items there have been 2 mainstream views of christianity. Then afterthat those views broke up too.

This is why I like catholocism because it unites christianity under on set belief system that encompasses the scriptures, the core christian belief, and the apostalic traditions. These are kept in record under the pope and all the way down to the lowest priest and can trace back priest hoods to the original apostles.

Protestant beliefs are not united like Catholocism, different churches pray to different passages, different churches do things in different ways thus making thousands of diferent belief styles.

Some christian religions like Jehovah Witnesses rewrote the bible in some verses to hinder its true meaning. Jehovah itself is a mistranslation of the name of God.

ALso Episcople and Anglican churches are almost the same in their ways except that the Anglicans place the Queen of England as the head of their church, that is why Americans split off episcople.

However it is not these diferences that validate belief in God instead it is the idea and the message of the bible that validates God's message. Instead of worrying about the misunderstanding of texts he needs to look at the texts and then ask the scholars, theologians and priest about items it truely is insightful.

He must understand that the bible has literal meaning, figurative meaning, parabole, and spiritual meanings throughout, nothing can be taken at face value, there are more than one type of item within on passage, but they will not have different meanings, but instead reinforce the same meaning.

Friend of I AM
Dec 18th 2008, 08:51 PM
I was talking with a friend last night who is "sort of a" Christian. He was raised going to Church but admitted he 'doesn't think much about it' anymore.

Anyways, I was talking to him about Jesus and he asked me some questions. This is sorta the jist of it,

"Why is the Bible so complicated? How do you know YOUR interpretation is right? Aren't there hundreds of different denominations who think they are right, including the Catholic Church? So if God wanted us to know what to do, why didn't He make it clear?"

He went on to tell me that in high school he figured he would never know for sure because even his parents disagreed and so he just gave up.

I am probably going to see him tonight. Does anyone have any advice about what to say? I have to admit I was not prepared for this one.

Love to all,

Bex

The whole salvific message of the bible can be summed up in a few verses..next time someone asks you something about what it entails being a Christian and how to be saved, tell them these 3 things..

1. Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

2. Love the Lord God and his son.
3. Love one another.

Thomas1621
Dec 19th 2008, 12:39 PM
I've read it in lots of places, but I can't remember ever reading it in a book. Maybe I did once, but I don't remember. I just know I've run across it quite a bit recently. Why should I get rid of it?

In all the assumptions I have heard I never heard it put that way before but I can tell you I have researched the church's history in depth and never came across anything that would lead to that conclusion. :hmm: