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  • How dare we call ourselves "Christian"?

    I was going to put this in another thread, on Edification, but changed my mind because it might not be seen there, and it needs to be seen. I've been really grieving in my spirit for the last several days, and I believe that I must be obedient to the Holy Spirit to speak the words of correction that He has been using to correct me.

    For the last couple of days, I've been reading but not doing much posting. I've been reading thread after thread, and I am appalled at the number of threads that start out peacefully enough, but soon disintegrate into arguments. Now you can CALL them "debates", but what they really are is arguments. A person can call a skunk a rose, too, but that doesn't make the skunk smell any better.

    I've been asking myself "where's the love?"...."where's the edification?"... "where's the encouragement?"..."in what way are we glorifying God here?"... "how are we honoring God?"...."how are we reflecting His nature and character?"

    I am as guilty as everyone else. I have been drawn into disagreements and arguments as well, so when I throw stones, I must first throw them straight up in the air, so that they hit me first. I have sinned. I have been guilty of dishonoring my Lord and shaming the name of Christ. I went to the Bible and began to remind myself how it is we're supposed to be acting toward each other. Here are only a FEW of the many verses I found JUST in the New Testament:

    John 13:34-35
    34 "A new command (this is not a suggestion) I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."
    NIV
    Rom 12:9-12
    9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love . Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
    NIV
    1 Cor 8:1-3
    We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. 2 The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.
    NIV
    Eph 4:1-3
    As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love . 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
    NIV
    Phil 2:1-4
    2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love , if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love , being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.NIV
    1 Peter 3:8-9
    8 Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
    NIV
    1 Peter 4:8
    8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
    NIV
    1 John 2:3-6
    3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands (love one another as I have loved you) is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: 6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
    NIV
    1 John 3:8-10
    9 No one who is born of God will (deliberately) continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on (deliberately) sinning, because he has been born of God. 10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
    NIV
    1 John 3:16
    16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
    NIV
    James 4:17
    17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin .
    KJV

    And, of course, 1 Corinthians 13...I think we all know what THAT says.

    We know the Word of God. We know to do good...to obey...to love one another, but we "doeth it not" and to us it is sin. We can call it anything we want to call it, but it doesn't change what it is. It is what it is. We need to call it what it is and deal with it. We need to repent and humble ourselves before God and each other. We need to begin to build each other up instead of tearing each other down and making each other feel stupid or insignificant. We need to stop telling each other where they are wrong and we are right. We need to stop playing one-ups-man-ship and insisting on winning. What is more important?....being "right" or being right before God? Shall we flaunt our Bible knowledge at the risk of making someone else feel dumb or spiritually "less-than"? Do we realize that when we do that, we are guilty of spiritual intimidation?

    How dare we call ourselves Christians and bring dishonor and disgrace and shame on the one whose precious name we have taken? We take His name in vain. The sword of the Spirit is not to be used to cut each other to shreds...that's not what it's for.

    A house divided against itself cannot stand. As long as we are fighting among ourselves, we are no threat to the enemy....he laughs at us. And don't think he doesn't have his hand in all this.

    I don't know about you, but I am ashamed of myself for allowing myself to be drawn into the fracas and to bring disgrace upon the name of Jesus. I came here to encourage and to edify, to comfort and strengthen, and I have been as guilty as anyone else.

    I fully expect that there will be those who don't see anything wrong with what's been going on, and that grieves me even more.

    I must say this, though, that this board is a LOT better than most that are out there...that is to its credit...but that does not excuse us from our guilt.

    I want to leave the post with this scripture:

    Rom 15:5-7
    5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. NIV

    (And that includes me, too)

    Humbled and sorry,
    Hoot
    Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words. St. Francis of Assisi
    No reserve (from God, no holding back)
    No retreat (from God, no turning back)
    No regrets (from God, no looking back)

  • #2
    And in the end, we must all speak our mind and heart as the Spirit directs us.

    Jesus said many things that divided, as well - to many different groups.
    Even among His own.
    He called some vipers, some even Satan.

    Was He acting, and speaking, within love and the Holy Spirit - or not?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Duane Morse View Post
      And in the end, we must all speak our mind and heart as the Spirit directs us.

      Jesus said many things that divided, as well - to many different groups.
      Even among His own.
      He called some vipers, some even Satan.

      Was He acting, and speaking, within love and the Holy Spirit - or not?
      The problem is, we are not the sinless Son of God who had the Spirit without measure, and we too often speak our minds when the Holy Spirit ISN'T directing us.
      Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words. St. Francis of Assisi
      No reserve (from God, no holding back)
      No retreat (from God, no turning back)
      No regrets (from God, no looking back)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hootinannie View Post
        The problem is, we are not the sinless Son of God who had the Spirit without measure, and we too often speak our minds when the Holy Spirit ISN'T directing us.
        And that, is simply the problem with being 'human' - and not God, as Jesus is.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Duane Morse View Post
          And that, is simply the problem with being 'human' - and not God, as Jesus is.
          So do we excuse our lack of love and lack of obedience to His command to love by just saying "we're human"? Jesus would not have told us to do something that our "humaness" made it impossible to do. He has given us everything we need to live Godly, so when we don't, we are without excuse. David, when guilty, took responsibility for his own sin and said, "I am the man". We can come up with every excuse in the book to justify the way we act, or we can kneel in the presence of God and say "I am the man"...I am guilty. Which do you think God would prefer?
          Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words. St. Francis of Assisi
          No reserve (from God, no holding back)
          No retreat (from God, no turning back)
          No regrets (from God, no looking back)

          Comment


          • #6
            Yep guilty as charged! I've done my share of confessing sin and repenting as the result of unChristian-like behaviour on this site, I've had long breaks away from it in disgust of some of the things I've read, yet I am still here and enjoying it more than ever. But I've learned to keep the following thoughts always in mind:

            BibleForums is NOT a Church.
            There are MANY differing opinions within the membership here.
            There are many professing Christians on this site, NONE whom I've ever met in person.
            In general I feel a respect shown to others by MOST members.
            If I don't like something someone has said, most of the time now I simply IGNORE them and read the next post.
            I DON'T take anything personally.

            The above points help me to keep my sanity intact and hold on to my peace in here, but it took a while for me to come to those conclusions...
            - Matt -
            .
            Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing
            of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hootinannie View Post
              So do we excuse our lack of love and lack of obedience to His command to love by just saying "we're human"? Jesus would not have told us to do something that our "humaness" made it impossible to do. He has given us everything we need to live Godly, so when we don't, we are without excuse. David, when guilty, took responsibility for his own sin and said, "I am the man". We can come up with every excuse in the book to justify the way we act, or we can kneel in the presence of God and say "I am the man"...I am guilty. Which do you think God would prefer?
              Both.

              We are guilty, because we are human.
              Period.

              We can not fulfill what Jesus did.
              None of has ever done it, and none of us ever will - or can.

              When saying - I am 'the man' - what is that saying?

              Is it saying that - I am the Man, so that I am the Ultimate?
              Or, is it saying - I am the man, and I need the help of the Lord.
              ?

              De 18:13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
              1ki 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
              1ki 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
              Pr 2:21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
              Mt 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.



              So then, if we are not perfect - are we not accepted, none the less?
              (because of, and in our, belief)

              Which of us is perfect, in His sight?



              Our 'humaness' makes it impossible for us to reach unto God.
              Because our humaness, by its very nature, makes it impossible for us to be one with God.

              Jesus bridges that gap - by bringing God to the humaness - and the humaness to God.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hoot has some very good points. Thank you for that apology. And let me apologize as well if I indeed have come across as less than humble in any of my testimonies. Hoot I invite and encourage you to post in the edification thread your opinions/thoughts - particularly those in which you think would assist others. God bless.

                Stephen

                Comment


                • #9
                  Question Is: Which Spirit Directs?

                  Originally posted by Duane Morse View Post
                  And in the end, we must all speak our mind and heart as the Spirit directs us.

                  Jesus said many things that divided, as well - to many different groups.
                  Even among His own.
                  He called some vipers, some even Satan.

                  Was He acting, and speaking, within love and the Holy Spirit - or not?
                  God says in the book of Corinthians that He is not the author of confusion, so in essense as we walk out to be the ambassadors He's called us out to be, we would represent the Father without such confusion. Religions are born when people take certain scripture out of context. Your "Jesus said" statement has no reference whatsoever.

                  Colossians 4:6

                  Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.


                  I've been trying to reintroduce scripture to these threads and its disheartening to see those threads run down to the bottom and then off the page all within hours of their posting. Are we truly, via the heart, desiring to amply God and His glory?

                  Truth is not relevent, and anyone who believes such is duped by man (obviously not showing outwardly the fruits of the spirit), while in the same breath blaming God that He's not capable of protecting such a sacred Word from his own creation. <--- I've heard this before in threads of the past, how man over the years has screwed up God's Word, therefore you can not accept it as infallible truth. I have yet to see anything in the house claim dominion over the home owner.

                  Matthew 5:13

                  You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt has lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.


                  There is a sense of spiritual responsiblity if one is truly born of God to speak with the truth of God behind their words for the sake of the little ones, newly born to Christ that they not become confused; because as we know God is not the author of this.

                  We fail God when we input materials that feed the fire.

                  Proverbs 15:10

                  Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I completely agree with you Hoot, and I myself have been guilty. Sometimes we think we are the only ones who are right, right down to telling people the commentaries they use are wrong. Sometimes different people get different things from scripture, but some will come in and say "That's not what it means, I know more than you so listen to me or you will go to h8ll." That's nothing but pride. I'm not speaking of false teaching, but we are not clones, and we all have a difference of opinion on things. But it's not another posters job to tell me I'm wrong, that's God's job. Someone can instruct me or guide me, but it comes down to the Holy Spirit in the end to do the convicting.
                    When and if we guide/change someone's mind about something, do we give credit to God, or are we saying "I won, I did it, I changed them."? Are we doing it for them, or ourselves?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Loving, courteous, gracious speech: an important call from God!

                      The issue that hoot raises is a very important one, IMO.

                      We live in a world where many people are closed to Christianity. The 1st letter of Peter was written to Christians living in just such a world. Peter (3:4) urges us to adorn ourselves with graciousness so that "the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price" may by our example bring those around us to Christ. Peter goes on (3:8-11) to tell us " Finally, be all of one mind, having compassion one to another, love as brethren, be merciful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it."

                      This command is not just Peter's: powerful passages from James, from the Sermon on the mount, from Jude, and many other passages of Scripture, OT and NT, urge us to be gentle and courteous in speech, not just superficially, but expressing genuine love and humility. These things are important both because they are marks of being Christian which will win people to Christ and confirm people in their Christian walk, and also because they are elements of our obedience to Christ, and to all God's commands, and because by walking that way we are praying more deeply, joining ourselves to God.

                      But in fact, in todays society, Christians are often known as rude and arrogant and quarrelsome. Whether or not that is a fair stereotype, what is clear is that there is far too much willingness on the part of those who are serious Christians to get into barbed exchanges with one another, outsiders, and even members of our families. This is a major area of sin, according to the New Testament writers: it's a big part of what they condemn as worldliness.

                      Thus, we need to change: change ourselves, change our hearts, and change the Christian culture to make it one of graciousness and humility and wholesome speech. Hoot's post is an important call to us, I think!
                      "

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Nice post hoot. I COMPLETELY agree. I try to stay away from them and I have even wrote posts talking about how a non-christian coming to this board would run for the hills with all the arguing that is done over some pretty important doctrinal differences. But in the end I get dragged into arguments and I have gotten pretty heated myself at times.

                        Pride. It was behind the fall of Satan. It was behind the fall of man. It's behind us arguing until we are blue in the face so we can be right and convince the other person that we are right. Yes, there are those who genuinely want to help others because they feel they are being led astray. But there are many others who merely want to convince others of their view because in doing so it gives them that ego boost.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Dan Moran View Post
                          God says in the book of Corinthians that He is not the author of confusion, ...
                          And yet, so many are confused and confounded by what they read in the Bible.

                          Heck, people can not even agree about the first 2 chapters of Genesis because there are so many ways of looking at it.


                          So that about God 'not being the author of confusion' is misleading as all-get-out.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Duane Morse View Post
                            Both.

                            We are guilty, because we are human.
                            Period.

                            We can not fulfill what Jesus did.
                            None of has ever done it, and none of us ever will - or can.

                            When saying - I am 'the man' - what is that saying?

                            Is it saying that - I am the Man, so that I am the Ultimate?
                            Or, is it saying - I am the man, and I need the help of the Lord.

                            David was saying "I am the man" in confession of his guilt, and was taking the responsibility for his own sin, rather than making excuses for it.

                            De 18:13 Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
                            1ki 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
                            1ki 8:61 Let your heart therefore be perfect with the LORD our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.
                            Pr 2:21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
                            Mt 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

                            So then, if we are not perfect - are we not accepted, none the less?
                            (because of, and in our, belief)

                            Which of us is perfect, in His sight?
                            Humaness is no excuse. In our own selves, we would fail to be loving, but God has given us His Spirit to enable us to obey Him. Love for others is a major theme of the New Testament...it is a command, and the commandments of God are not grievous....we CAN be loving and kind, some just choose not to be. Scripture says (and I gave the verses in my OP) that if we call ourselves Christians and we DON'T love, we are liars.

                            1 John 2:3-4 We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. 4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands (love one another as I have loved you) is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
                            The Holy Spirit, through John the beloved, even goes so far as to say that if we do not love our brother, that we are not even children of God, but are children of the devil.

                            1 John 3:10 This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

                            I'm not going to argue with you about this. You will do what you will do, and apparently you will continue to make excuses. You don't have to answer to me....but you DO have to answer to God.
                            Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words. St. Francis of Assisi
                            No reserve (from God, no holding back)
                            No retreat (from God, no turning back)
                            No regrets (from God, no looking back)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by hootinannie View Post
                              Humaness is no excuse.

                              I'm not going to argue with you about this. You will do what you will do, and apparently you will continue to make excuses. You don't have to answer to me....but you DO have to answer to God.
                              Good to see that at least someone around here never sins.

                              Comment

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