Willohroots


Gnastic influence not Gnew, Gnow Sourced
February 6, 2010, 11:42
Filed under: Church wrongs | Tags: , , , ,

I have had a few conversations with Gnostics.  In order to converse with them I have read some of the Gnostic “gospels”in the same way that I have read the Koran and the Book of Mormon and the L. Ron Hubbard books.  It is an advantage to be able to relate to a differing belief system with some level of understanding,  and having a common platform from which to begin communication.  It would not be possible  to communicate with people unless you have some common frame  of reference.

It has been much more difficult to communicate with the Gnastic  Christians.  These are the people who just seem gnasty.  They have gnasty comments,  gnasty  actions and while they claim to use the Bible as a study guide, I have long suspected that another volume of “wisdom” of some kind takes precedence over the Blessed Scripture.

Certain modern bible scholars have used an inductive method to come to a conclusion that there was a pre-gospel book called “Q”,  the “source” for Matthew, Mark and Luke.  The claim is that there is so much commonality that a written form MUST have been in existence that the writers used as a template for their letters.  As an uneducated man, I always supposed the commonality to Christ.

Using this accepted scholarly technique, I propose that there is a source book for the Gnastics.   It is obvious from their large number and  homogenous nature, the uniformity and ubiquity of this branch of Christians , that there is some guiding text book on which their behavior is based. I will call it “The Gospel of Gnast, Guide book for the Gnasty Christian.”

I know this book is existent!  It must be.  There is such an amazing base of evidence . Based on quotes so often heard from people who follow this philosophy I believe it is possible to reconstruct segments of the Gnast, even to find verses, based upon the behavior and speech of the Gnastic Christians. While my scholarship is poor, my experience with the Gnastics predates my conversion to Christ my Lord, and in fact may have delayed it.  Were it not for the supremacy of God and the relentless power of the Holy Spirit,  I believe the doctrine of the Gnatics would have kept me from the  Grace in which I live.  Based on these years of  [horrible] experience I will interpolate what their Gospel must contain.

Verily, The Lord seeith the heart through rose-colored glasses.                               The appearance of religion is what is desired of you by your God.                           Cruelty is to be honored if it is ye who are cruel,  honesty directed at thee is      cruel and mean Spirited.                                                                                                             Your salvation is a badge of honor to you, and is to be used to make the  unsaved feel like the miserable wretches they are.                                                         Those preachers whose message is an ointment to your ears are truly blessed,   those with whom you do not agree are hell-bound sinners.                                     The way you were when you first became a believer is the way thou shalt stay, and those doctrines you first embraced are never to be questioned.                     Suffer the little children to be scolded and criticized, whereby ye can feel good about thyself and thy mighty status as “true believer”.                                                 Those who would criticize thee by holding scripture to thy face as a mirror  are of Satan.                                                                                                                                       Blessed art the sour,  for they shall ensure the pews have much open space.      For God so loved some of the world,  That He sent His only Son, that ye and thy little clique might feel superior to all.                                                                           Thou shalt support the church and thy Pastor as long as ye are having thy needs met.

There is a great body of Gnastic teachings that I have yet to compile. These teachings run deep in the    Body of Christ.  Have you experienced them?  Do you  have some Gnastic Verse to share?  How have Gnastics affected your life, your ministry?

Or is it just me.



odd man out
December 1, 2009, 13:03
Filed under: What would you do? | Tags: , , , ,

Have you ever felt like a square peg in the village of round holes?  You would think I would feel at home in a group of Baptisty  preachers and pastors, but I really do not.  There was a dinner at the mission, and i ended up sitting with the recovery people, I just felt more at home.

Then there is the music.  i really don’t enjoy listening to much country music.  I like Bebo Norman a lot,  but the live stuff quite often tosses me into rebellion.  There was a very talented man playing trumpet, guitar and singing to a recorded track, but he had that spikey short hair and one of those mustaches that slipped off the upper lip and landed just below his lower lip.  If i didn’t look, I could admit he was very talented.  I am that jaded.   The whole CCM scene has left me being judgmental to all CCM artists  and i am sure that is wrong.

They guys in the program told me they liked when I preached.  They said the last fellow gave a rousing dissertation on baptismal regeneration.  He stated that all “so-called Christians” that believe in baptismal regeneration are going to Hell.  He knew that because he had the Holy Spirit and that if you had the Holy Spirit and attended a church that believed in baptismal regeneration  you would immediately quit and join his denomination.   So much for Steve “theoldadam” and the lovely Church of Christ people who first befriended me.  Personally, I put a lot more faith in my Savior than in my denomination or my doctrine.

A lot of pastor meetings really depress me.  I was with a friend who was really struggling with a crisis in his ministry and life.  We were going to a pray in. On the way there he was rejoicing that he was going to confess and get support for a huge problem, it was so big that he needed the group to help.  We circled up and began to pray in order.  After one preacher prayed for God to guide the deacons to give him a raise, one prayed for  his flock to accept modern music, and another fervently, tearfully, prayed to God for his board to give him permission to rip up the pews, as we all know that souls are best saved by preaching in the round.  When it was my friends turn to pray, he said,”pass”.  Two months later he left his wife and his two churches and ran off with the gym teacher.  I don’t go to those meetings anymore.

I served on a regional board for about two years, we spent most of the time writing and adjusting the bylaws.  When i was an organizer I was taught that to take a group out of a coalition, get them working on their bylaws, it renders them useless.   I shared this, to no avail.  We finished the bylaws, and within a year the structure of the whole thing changed. Throw those bylaws out, start over. I don’t go there anymore.

I fit in at Dayspring!  Thank God he gave me a place to hang out and glorify The Lord!  I feel at home there.  We aren’t much, but we are real.



World Council of Churches, or World Climate Committee?
November 13, 2009, 09:58
Filed under: Church wrongs, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

oikoumene

It is so easy for a group to get side tracked,  to forget the reason it exists and drive the train of its time and energy down a good-looking dirt road.  Trains belong on tracks,  no matter what the power of opinion and well-meaning ulterior goals may be set up, a train on a dirt road is still a train wreck.

Keeping a group on mission the purpose of leadership.  When a town council declares the President a war criminal, the real criminal act is that the town council is not taking care of the town.  When the local PTA group getting involved in fundraising, they are not concentrating on v being a liaison between parent and teacher.  Fire Companies that become purely a social hall lose their focus on fire fighting.  Here is an example of this phenomena that I could never have thought up.

World Council of Churches to ring bells for global warming.

The leading council of Christian and Orthodox churches also invited places of worship for other faiths to join a symbolic “chain of chimes and prayers” stretching around the world from the international date line in the South Pacific.

“On that Sunday, midway through the UN summit, the WCC invites churches around the world to use their bells, drums, gongs or whatever their tradition offers to call people to prayer and action in the face of climate change,” the council said in a statement.

“By sounding their bells or other instruments 350 times, participating churches will symbolise the 350 parts per million that mark the safe upper limit for CO2 (carbon dioxide) in the atmosphere according to many scientists,” it added.

The chimes are meant to start at 3.00 pm local time in each location.

The WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican churches representing about 560 million Christians in 110 countries.

The Council of European Bishops Conferences, which gathers Roman Catholic bishops and archbishops, is also supporting the campaign, according to a letter released by the WCC.

If this were a group united to fight global warming,  I would have no problem with this decision.  Personally I find it a waste of time and energy by deluded people who have been convinced of a falsehood by a global climate change industry, but if that was what they were formed to do, more power to them.  However according to the WCC website these are the purposes of the organization:

  • are called to the goal of visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship;
  • promote their common witness in work for mission and evangelism;
  • engage in Christian service by serving human need, breaking down barriers between people, seeking justice and peace, and upholding the integrity of creation; and
  • foster renewal in unity, worship, mission and service

Here is their self description.

The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to the scriptures, and therefore seek to fulfil together their common calling to the glory of the one God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

It is a community of churches on the way to visible unity in one faith and one eucharistic fellowship, expressed in worship and in common life in Christ. It seeks to advance towards this unity, as Jesus prayed for his followers, “so that the world may believe.” (John 17:21)

These are commendable goals!  It would appear to me to be about as possible as bailing out the Titanic with a tea-cup at around midnight April 14, 1912, but I can appreciate impossible missions,  it is the effort that counts, but how does raising global awareness of a crisis that many do not buy into further the Cause of Christ?  How did a group who has avowed a purpose of Christian unity  become an environmental activist coalition?  Do you see this in their mission statements?  Here are some other issues the WCC addresses.

“A world without poverty is not only possible but is in keeping with the grace of God for the world” affirms a call that will play a central role at the 9th Assembly of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Porto Alegre, 14-23 February.

What did Jesus say? John 12:8
For the poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always.

Christians should aid the poor, but a global redistribution of wealth seems out of line with the teachings of The Master.

Here is another project the WCC is working on.

Resettlement of people displaced by the consequences of climate change was highlighted as a major concern for churches at a gathering of ecumenical representatives from Asia and the Pacific region.

Now i am sure that if global warming were a truth, many regions of the world, Siberia, the Step’s,  would become hospitable for settlement and food production, but that really does not fit in the purpose of the WCC.  Seriously these people honestly think that global sea levels will rise dozens of feet,  submerging islands and leaving people in a “Water World”  environment.  I thought they might be followers of Kevin Kostner, until this picture surfaced.

Leader of the Warmer Climate Coalition This could explain a lot. Well meaning people get into a group and some sort of mob mentality takes place that drives them from the goals originally set up as their very purpose in life.  Global warming and poverty are not the only issues derailing the WCC.

agenda_02Peoples and the Earth?  I thought they were out to unite Christians?  Somehow the concerns of people and the earth have taken over.  The stated agenda now is Alternative Globalization.  I really don’t like the sounds of that, and I admit I do not know what it is.  None of this makes me want to dive in and join the WCC in its campaign to unite churches,  if they still try to do that.

Every group needs a purpose, and leaders exist to make sure that the group does not deviate from that purpose.  If the WCC  is now more interested in political, sociological, and environmental issues, that is fine, disband, or at least reorganize.  To continue to take money from churches who want to see increased fellowship and a move toward uniting the fractured Bride while existing to make social change is at the least hypocritical, at the most robbery.

Here is another WCC project.

SayNoToGunsThe terrible truth of this fallen world, is that guns often stop the killing. At Fort Hood it was an armed officer who ended the rampage.  History has shown us that it is the unarmed population that is subject to slaughter.  Opinions aside, do you think this fits into the WCC’s stated purpose?



I miss fitting in, am I a misfit?
October 30, 2009, 19:05
Filed under: blessings, Christ | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Thomas Grunfeldmisfit_4Thomas Grunfeld is my favorite taxidermist.  He has taken the Jackalope to new heights.  I really relate to these images.  Quite often I have felt that I too am an assemblage of cast off parts.

In my search for a new career,  OK,   job,  I  get the weirdest comments about my resume from interviewers.  ” So you were an Electrician for over twenty years, went from being  Pa.’s youngest licensed Journeyman electrician,  to an Electrical Inspector, then a teacher of robotics at a  junior college , yet you have a Psychology degree , spent more time as a volunteer Fire Chief  than in any kind of job,  worked as a banker for 12 years managing branches,  and you say you have been a Pastor since 2004, and now you want a career in with us?”  I can’t imagine why they are confused.  From this side of the desk it all seems so logical.

At least there is this degree of consistency,  my ministry resume is just as odd.  For years I did not go to any church planting meetings, as I did not think I was a church planter,  as I was in a pulpit of a church that was built 25 years ago.  Now I am in a church that is a new plant that started four years ago. It is the same  Church building, but a new church was born there.   I was just along for the ride.  There were no meetings or trainings offered for people serving in a church that was being reinvented.  Church Strengthening,  yes,  church Planting,  yes,  Church Reinventing or Church Rebirth, not so much.

I have been preaching the Gospel  as pulpit supply on and off for 32 years.  I never went to seminary, and that was by choice.  There is a  conservative Baptist dispensational  seminary almost in my back yard, and even though we preach from the same book and share so many values, I find an attitude there that repulses me.  I have looked back in the history of a few local churches and found that they were doing great, until a preacher from that Seminary was called to serve there.  After that church growth would cease and families would be torn apart, all in the name of Jesus.  As I looked into other sources of education I found two schools.  One so loosey goosey that scripture was a suggestion,  the other so sure of their doctrine that they would choose it over Jesus, and in fact I think some of them did. I then judged all seminaries by this one.  I am also nonjudgmental.

In most areas of doctrine people say I am quite conservative,  but I am comfortable with gays and addicts and criminals, and atheists,  many of whom really are nicer than I  by any standard.   I do not like liberal theology,  nor do I like the cocky conservative who is so sure of himself that he would advise the Apostles.  I am comfortable with reading conservatives, but would rather associate with liberals.  The conservatives think I am aberrant, the liberals think I am conservative.Neither side will buy me lunch.

I have never been ordained,  as the only groups whose ordination I would accept would reject me for some of my beliefs.  My head does not fit in the jar. I have sat on ordination councils, but it is not likely I will ever be ordained.  There does not seem to be too much of a problem with this in practice,  no one really seems to care.  When I was an Atheist I was ordained in the Universal Church Of   Life, as a professor of mine thought that if a bunch of ministers of this group met at his home , it would be tax exempt.   Ordained as an atheist,  but not as a believer.
What a misfit!

The people I baptize become Baptists, yet I was baptized Church of Christ.  I was dedicated as a Methodist, but was never a dedicated Methodist.   I play guitar in a praise band with drums and all, but I personally prefer the old hymns of the faith.  I serve communion with Matzo and Welches, and yet think that if there is  no Real Presence, something is awfully wrong.  I do  not believe in divorce, but the best elders I have worked with were divorced men. Divorce ends a marriage, not necessarily a ministry.

I preach out of the Holman, but only because I bought them for $3.00 a piece.  I love the King James, but lean on the NASB, study out of the ESV and put up with the NIV.  In the 70’s, after King James study and them discovering the NASB I really enjoyed the Good News bible.  I taught with a guy who claimed he was saved with the Good News,   and soon after his conversion the Holy Ghost told him the only translation was KJV.  Go figure .

To me the Catholic church has let down thousands of people,  so poorly taught them that the vast majority know very little of the Gospel, and fall into unbelief.  A couple weeks ago I sat in Mass  at a funeral and had a wonderful time of prayer and worship.  I disagreed with a couple points of the homily,  but the priest has such a loving attitude it did not bother me. It was all about Jesus and that suits me fine. I’m not turning, but I’m not all that turned off either.

I tell my  wife who is of Italian heritage that my Welsh heritage of song is superior to all, yet I listen to this, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2SZ-nCBmsU Nice as it is, it can’t compare to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_XJFp5JXpk

So none of the pieces fit together.   Well I have been given a great gift of faith,  I know that my loving, Father will not allow a sparrow to fall, but that He knows.  Even if it is a funny looking sparrow.

Thomas Grunfeld misfit_8

Thomas Grunfeld, artist for today's images.



Searching for what is not hidden
October 3, 2009, 11:21
Filed under: apostacy, Bible study, Christ, faith, Jesus | Tags: , , , , ,

hiddeninplainviewIt is human nature to explore, to search and to delve into depth and hight never visited before.  This personality trait  of mankind has motivated us to cover the globe with  civilization,  exploiting as many of the God given resources as we can find and put to use.  Were we not made this way there would be no advancement, no exploration,  no progress.In  academic and philosophic  circles there is a great desire to plow the virgin field, and to stake claim to new grounds as the inventor or discoverer or progenitor of a new theory or school of thought.

It may be this portion of our nature that cause so many people to search for a “deeper” or “hidden meaning”  in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am personally convinced that the Holy Bible holds all the    information needed to know and please  God, though the Good News of Jesus, the Risen Messiah.  The Bible has proven itself to me to be authoritative,  complete, and truly Holy.  There are many translations available to compare and contrast what is said to come to a personal  understanding of the meaning presented.  It is enjoyable and educational when people bring different translations to a small group study.  comments like,   “My Bible says,”  or “It is said a little differently here”  bring open discussion allow varying perspectives to be examined,  giving participants the opportunity to voice the sentence in their own words, so as to bring the meaning home.

Finding “hidden” meaning in Scripture is quite another matter.  There is a thriving industry, and has been as long as there has been scripture, in having some “enlightened soul”  teach the secret meanings, and “unlock” they mysteries of Holy Writ.  The new rash of Cabalists  tell people that they are skilled at finding the meaning in the white spaces on the page, not in the inked portion.  This obvious nonsense satisfies Madonna.  Books and websites and cults that brag on finding treasures hidden for centuries in the most read of all books abound.  There have been claims for everything from higher levels of awareness, to the location of Atlantis,  all placed in the bible, usually  KJ 1611,  or the original Hebrew, or even in a painting of The Last Supper.

Re-reading some Gnostic literature has fanned the flames of my irritation.  I take the words of Paul seriously, “This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God” , and I honestly do not believe that one can be a steward of the mysteries of god, without being a servant of Christ.  The conjunctive is binding.  Those who claim to have “mysteries” but are not serving Jesus, are quite possibly serving someone else all together.   Those who use the very words of the Savior to weave a web of confusion deserve a special place on my list of irritants.  Let me share this portion of poison.

Jesus’ Five Stage Model of Consciousness And How His Theory of Nature Provides the Key To Stage IV

Jesus’ parable of the sower (Mark 4:13-20) conveys how his teachings are received according to the stage of consciousness of the receiver. What the sower is sowing is the Word, meaning the logos/mind of God. As soon as those on the edge of the path (those in Stage I) hear about the word/logos, they let Satan [the personification of evil] come and carry it away. Similarly, those who receive the seed on patches of rock [those in Stage II] hear the Word [Jesus’ logos/logic teachings] and at first, welcome it with joy. But because they have no root in them, they do not last;.. When the first test or persecution on account of the word comes, they fall away at once. “For they have no moral conscience to persist. Then there are others, [those in Stage III], who receive the seed in thorns, [meaning in a judgmental environment]. They have heard the word, but the worries of this world, the lure of riches, and all other passions come in to choke the word, and so it produces nothing. And then, there are those who have received the seed in rich soil [those in Stage IV]. They hear the word and accept it and yield a harvest, 30 and 60 and a 100 fold.” [Mark 4:13-20]

The key concept, upon which Jesus anchored his knowledge teachings, is that each of us is meant to grow through five forms/states of consciousness and each form is initiated by a consciousness-raising idea.

This discussion  of   “levels of knowledge or awareness”  is quite common among those who seek to find the secret in the open.  Perhaps a better  “unwrapping”  of this parable was given by the author,” 10. And as soon as He was alone, His followers, along with the twelve, [began] asking Him [about] the parables. 11. And He was saying to them, “To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom of God; but those who are outside get everything in parables, 12. in order that while seeing, they may see and not perceive; and while hearing, they may hear and not understand lest they return and be forgiven.” 13. And He said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? And how will you understand all the parables? 14. “The sower sows the word. 15. “And these are the ones who are beside the road where the word is sown; and when they hear, immediately Satan comes and takes away the word which has been sown in them. 16. “And in a similar way these are the ones on whom seed was sown on the rocky [places], who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy; 17. and they have no [firm] root in themselves, but are [only] temporary; then, when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately they fall away. 18. “And others are the ones on whom seed was sown among the thorns; these are the ones who have heard the word, 19. and the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 20. “And those are the ones on whom seed was sown on the good soil; and they hear the word and accept it, and bear fruit, thirty, sixty, and a hundredfold.”

Nothing of levels, but of different reactions differing people have to the gospel, a reaction we have all seen take place.  The 8th chapter of Romans is also given a treatment of being divided into levels.  It seems anything is used to promote the idea that some people know some facts that others have missed.

Could it be the truth is plainly laid out for us? Hebrews 1

1. God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2. in these last days has spoken to us in [His] Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Joh 1:14
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Deuteronomy 30:11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, IT IS NOT HIDDEN FROM THEE, neither is it far off.

Col. 2: 2. That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3. In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. 5. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. 6. As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: 7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. 8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

Before delving in to supposed mysteries and hidden revelation, we should encourage seekers to contemplate the ultimate Mystery. 1Jo 4:19

We love Him, because He first loved us.




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