Good post. I had always bought into the whole 'dumb sheep' thing, until I married a lady with sheep and goats, and realized they aren't stupid at all. Both sheep and goats will search out a weakness in a fence and will exploit it until they get through. And, as that video you shared showed, they are quite tough when necessary. I would honestly pity the poor dog, no matter the breed, that ended up on the wrong end of a serious butt. We had a couple wethered goats that had lost their fear of dogs, and at their new home, they actually worked as watch-goats, and fearlessly chased dogs off the property. Also, for anyone who ever hunted wild sheep or goats, (like antelope), they are some of the hardest prey to hunt down because they are very canny. However, what sheep and goats ARE, if they are kept in a home heard, is needy-they need the shepherd to meet their needs, food, water and protection. And bottle-fed? Man, they are the most needy-they want to be with you all the time. I have a couple bottle-fed bucks, both full-sized, but whenever I am in their pen, they follow me, and demand to be petted and scratched and loved on. Just like puppies. And I think this is ideally the kind of sheep the Lord wants us to be, like bottle babies, not only needing Him, but WA NT ING Him.
Yes, the 'Been to Heaven/Hell' book are very popular. I just remind people of what Paul said, that when he went, the things he heard there were not lawful for a man to speak-basically, he wasn't allowed to tell what he had seen and heard there. I also suspect that, what we were to see there, we here in this life have no context for understanding it. Look at Revelation-John's writings have been available for us for 2,000 years, and we're STILL arguing over what it all means. Intelligent, godly men, who still can't come to an agreement about it. because we have so little context to understand it all. Is it literal? Allegory? Six of one, 1/2 dozen of the other? Is John describing things from a spiritual perspective, which we will see differently here, physically? So all these book that describe heaven according to very earthly descriptions, from the books you mention, to the writings of Ellen G. White, are clearly seen as fakes-Paul wasn't allowed to speak of it, and John's writings, as well as those of Ezekiel and Isaiah, make very little, or no sense, from an earthly perspective. Yet these other people go and talk about flowers and birds and little flying children and this and that. No, not buying it.
Well, I wholeheartedly agree with number 1-this is the only requirement to be a Christian and gain eternal life. Number 2, well, in a sense I agree with this as an act of obedience, but not for salvation. I would say, in some cases, a Baptist would be best, but really, it is the mode that is important, by immersion, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, according to Jesus' command, And it must be done by a pastor, OR someone who has been ordained the authority to do so. We see no other example in scripture. Why would I generally agree with a Baptist? Because some others will baptize by sprinkling, and some will immerse, but add baptism to salvation, rather than an act of obedience AFTER salvation. Generally, IFB 's baptize correctly.
As for the Baptist Briders, a big one that I am aware of are the MIssionary Baptists, who tend toward briderism. As a 30 year IFB , I have never been part of one that believed such. Universal church-I do believe that there is clearly taught a universal church, made up of all believers of all times, but it can't rightly be considered a church yet, as a church is only a church when they are assembled together-thus, the universal church will be fully realized not until ALL who are to be saved are gathered. Otherwise, 99% of the references to a 'church' in the BIble refer to the local New Testament church.
Surpried no one mentioned Piper and his Christian Hedonism heresy, or the fact that he counts such heretics as CS Lewis among his great influences. I read early on in this that it was this person's pastor's wife that was recommending these books to people, and it reminded me of when I was visiting a church some years back, and the pastor's wife there was gushing about how wonderful the Shack was-I had not heard of it at that point, so looked it up, and was shocked at what a mess it was, and how badly a prreacher's wife could fall for such claptrap. My wife recommends a lot of books to people in our church, and in fact, we buy books for people here, but I always reveiw them. I trust my wife's judgment, but ultimately it falls on me what goes to others in this church. I think only once did I have to reject one, and it was because a very good book shared the same title with a bad one, (Bones of Contention), and she accidentally bought the bad one.
Both my wife and I cook. Fortunately my wife is an excellent cook, always from scratch. Right now with issues with our water in the trailer and an oven that doesn't work, we are limited, but once we get those things ironed out we'll be doing great.
I run my whole farm on solar, not because its 'green', or to 'save the environment', but because it would cost $40,000.00 to get power lines brought to my property, and then a monthly bill on top of it, for use of a grid that goes out waaay too often. I use solar because its getting cheaper, and more efficient, and with a bank of back-up batteries, I can use power late enough that I haven't stayed up late enough yet to lose my power after dark.
I will probably add some wind at some point, because we get a L OT of wind, but I will probably build my own windmill, because the commercial ones are only about 25% efficient. BUt not to be green.
There are certainly interesting things to read in the apocryphal books, but except in the Catholic church, no one has ever considered them as canon or trustworthy. They certainly add strange doctrines, as well as some areas that are blatantly in opposition to Bible doctrine. As I understand, the book of Judith is about a prophet during the time of Jeremiah, who is supposedly given direction from God to tell the people that they are to stand and fight the invading Babylonian armies, while we know that Jeremiah told them to stand down and surrender and accept God's discipline, and He would protect them and the land and the temple, and bring them back. So Judith was telling them just the opposite of what Jeremiah was telling them. One is wrong.
So they are interesting, but dubious, at best, outright false at worse.
Don't know about anyone else, bt not feeling it for the new format. Maybe I'm not picking it up, but I miss the easy listing of the most recent posts, and the threads I have posted to, which seems to be missing. It seems like there's more work and searchng to find what I want to post in and read.
BUt maybe its just me. Anyone else have thoughts on the format?
I believe part of the pr OB lem is still the 'big church= success" mentality. I have felt its lure where I am, (Jim, you know our situation); I have caught myself longingly wondering why the SBC and AOG churches that flank our meeting place have such faithful attendance, and many more people, and wondering about their methods, before I catch myself and remind myself that I am just preaching the word, as we are told, and its up to the Lord to bring them in. If we are faithful in the word, and in witnessing, then we will prosper according to God's hand. So I know how it is and feel the temptations.
I remember a preacher telling a story of how he was just starting a new work, and he was advised by another pastor, who had a very large church, that if that new work, by the end of six months, was not completely self-sufficient and fully supporting him and his family, too, that he was a failure. Of course, (and I don't remember that older pastor), but having looked at his own record, he had spent years struggling himself in his forst church, so basically he was outright lying, knowing it was otherwise, but it laid this impression into this young preacher that size and money equaled success.
Another told of how he pastored in a town of about 500, and he had fully half or more of that population attending his church. he may have indeed been telling the truth, and if so, praise God, but again, it sets a mentality that unless you have the same success, you're a failure to God and in the eyes of other fellow pastors, who are ALL doing great why aren't YOU?!?. Kind of like J OB 's friends.
And this can be very alluring. But we need to understand that the time is indeed growing short, and if we get smaller, and people leave, it may not have anything to do with that pastor or the teaching, except that the teaching may be TOO true. Me, I am short and fat and not particularly good looking-kind of like a troll. Not charismatic, so anything that happens in our little work MUST be of God, because no one would think it was me. Praise God I am enjoying working closely with a young newly-saved couple who are really soaking up the truth of God like a sponge. One of the benefits of being in a small church is the personal time a pastor can spend with new converts who are willing.
But back to my original point-big doesn't always equal right. R OB Bell is now teaching tat Christianity can't remain 'relevant' if we continue to quote the Bible. And many will follow after their pernicious ways, (thanks, Jim). So be it: the Bible says it will be so, the tares separating from the wheat. We can pray for them, but if they go, let them go, because once they leave, and come back, they will be looking for more reasons to leave again.
While I generally don't go in for fictitious 'letters' from dead people, this was not bad, in that primarily it was just history spoken from a first-person persepctive. I suspect, however, that Leland would have much harsher words for churches today, particularly Baptists churches. Today, most Baptist preachers, (speaking as one myself) would not stand under such things as being dragged away from the pulpit to be whipped for preaching. We like to say how strongly we would stand in the face of death, yet we have such a pr OB lem standing when there is no such threat, how could we bear the persecution?