What you believe, and why

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Michael Wrenn, Nov 3, 2012.

  1. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Maybe this is too broad,and maybe it doesn't fit here -- I don't know.

    But I would like to get to know the members better and find out how you came to be where you are today, in your beliefs.

    So, here are some questions to start the discussion:

    Were you raised in a Christian home? If so, do you think this had a major influence on what you believe today? If not, how and why did you become a Christian?

    Why are you in the denomination you are in now? Were you always part of that denomination? If not, what made you change?

    Is your belief based on head knowledge, heart knowledge, or a combination? What kind of personal experiences have you had of God? Has God spoken to your heart? How do you know? Have you heard an audible voice? Does your belief come solely from being convinced of the Christian faith by reading the scriptures?

    Have any of you ever been atheists or agnostics? If so, what changed your mind?

    Was your coming to faith a slow and gradual process, or dramatic and sudden? Have any of you believed since childhood, or never remember a time when you didn't believe?

    Why are you a Christian and not some other religion? What answer would you give to a person of another religion, or no religion? What if you were asked how you know that your religion is correct and true and none other is?

    Why do you think there are so many denominations, all claiming the Bible as the final authority, or the source book of the faith? If someone asked you how to determine which was the "truest" one, what would you say?

    Well, that's enough for now. I hope we can have some good, in-depth discussion and not have it degenerate into something it shouldn't. Maybe we can all learn something from each other and understand each other better.

    I hope this is something many of you will want to talk about. Heck, since my banishment from the Baptist sections, I want to talk about something since my options have thus been limited by the action of the admins. I notice they continue to talk about me there and what I believe, but I can't respond. Oh, well.
     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Before I go through a long discussion with you, do you know Anthony of the desert? How about Francis of Assisi?
     
  3. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Yes, I know about them both, but I'm not sure why you asked.
     
  4. Jack Matthews

    Jack Matthews
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    Well, let's see. I was raised in a home with no Christian influence. Neither of my parents came from families that even gave them a sense of connection to a Christian identity, and they were not Christians. I came into the church through a close friendship in college, through the ministry of a college-based student ministry operated by the Disciples of Christ. And after becoming a Christian, I went to a large D of C congregation near the campus, where there were quite a few college students. During my last year of law school, an unfortunate auto accident required me to finish raising two younger brothers, and then, after I got married to a beautiful woman raising a son from a previous relationship, and her brother also came to live with us, we had a full house with three teenagers and a pre-teen. We began attending a two year old church plant that was affiliated with Southern Baptists because of their very healthy youth ministry.

    Prior to becoming a Christian, I didn't give it much thought, one way or the other. I'd seen some people that seemed to be "over the edge" in terms of their approach to church and ministry, the image you get from seeing the television people, but I just never thought about going into a church or becoming a Christian.

    I think that we have so man denominations because we have people who make up churches, we're not perfect, and there are different expressions of Christian faith. Given that the Bible teaches loving your neighbor and the brotherhood of believers as core principles, and as evidence of true faith, I'm surprised at the hostility that often gets tossed around over who is right and who is not, especially among Baptists. There are some individuals who consign you to hell if you don't think like they do, even on issues that have no relation to faith at all. I'm glad to be in a church that is much more focused on its ministry of making disciples and reaching lost people than it is on stealing them from other churches by running down what they believe and how they do church.

    How's that for now?
     
  5. Doubting Thomas

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    I was raised in Christian home and it did have a major influence on me being a Christian today.

    I was raised Southern Baptist but have been Anglican the past 6 years. I changed my beliefs when I began to reexamine certain Bible passages that always bugged me as a Baptist, particularly in the light of what the early church believed, after being challenged by reading debates involving RCs or EOs on the internet. I did take a good hard look at the claims of the RCC and an even longer look at the EOC (and was even an EO catechumen for a few months) before landing in 'continuing Anglicanism'.


    I've pretty much believed since childhood but have definitely had peaks/valleys in the fervency of my faith.

    Well, by God's grace I was raised in a Christian home and by His grace I believed this Gospel I was frequently exposed to. On an intellectual level, I remain a Christian because of the evidence that we live in a theistic universe, and the historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth which vindicates His claim as the one and only Son of God. I thus trust His testimony and that the Scriptures are the Word of God and that the Apostles were given authority to found the Church which is the ground and pillar of truth. On a sprititual level, I remain a Christian by the power of God's grace working through the Holy Spirit--convicting me and leading me to repentance when I sin and assuring me I'm forgiven in Christ.

    My starting point would be based on how much common ground we have already (ie Belief in ONE God, Jesus, etc). For nontheistic religions, I'd began with general revelation and show (using forms of the cosmological or teleogical arguments) how creation testifies to the existence of the Creator, and since theism is thus established, nontheistic worldwiews can't be also true.

    Then I'd present the claims of Christ (including that HE is the way, truth and the life and none can go to the Father except through HIM) and the historical case for the resurrection which validates His claims. I'd then show, how the truthfulness of Christianity flows from His authority.

    Or I could also use the LAW (along with perhaps a form of the moral argument used by CS Lewis in 'Mere Christianity) to show how we have all fallen short of God's perfect moral standard, and are thus condemned and separted from Him, and then lead directly to presenting the GOSPEL.

    In doing all of this, I would keep in mind that the SPIRIT is in the One who brings about conviction, repentance, and faith. The arguments are tools (used in a way analagous to the way Paul would try to pursuade his respective audiences).

    In brief--sin. I may expound on this later, but for now there's plenty of blame to go around on all sides (RCC, EOC, Prot, etc). To use a quote I've read before: "The Reformation was a tragic necessity. Too often Protestants don't recognize the tragedy and Roman Catholics don't recognize the necessity"

    However, the continued splintering of Protestantism in particular shows the epistemilogical weakness of 'sola scriptura' (as commonly understood) in arriving at truth, since Protestant denominations ARE often divided by issues that to some may indeed have bearing on one's salvation.

    I'd suggest they do what I did on my spiritual (or denominational) journey---look at the consensus of early Christian belief on Scriptural doctrines (regarding God, Christ, salvation) and see which 'denomination' lines up the best with this. This is more or less the way of determing Christian truth that was expressed by St Vincent of Lerins in the 5th century--canon and consensus (universality,antiquity,consent). Afterall, it was this same early consensus that agreed (recognized) the exact boundaries of the canon at the end of the 4th/beginning of the 5th centuries.

    In other words, if one has an interpretation of certain Scriptures which seems the opposite of how the consensus of the early church interpreted the same, then one should probably question his own interpretation rather than denounce the early consensus as heretical (as certain posters have been known to do on this discussion board).
     
  6. Jack Matthews

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    How does the Anglican church in which you are involved differ from the Episcopal Church, and how did you locate a congregation?
     
  7. Doubting Thomas

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    Good question. Currently I am in a new mission parish/congregation for the recently formed Anglican Church of North America which broke off from the Episcopal Church because of the increasingly heretical direction that the national church was heading in. Our mission started about three years ago when our pastor (a former independent baptist) had begun his own journey. I met him for morning prayer a few times at the local YMCA (his wife and my wife knew each other from our kid's preschool). He ultimately reached out to the Bishop of the newly formed ACNA diocese, after finding some disaffected Piskies who were interested in a conservative Anglican church, and we started renting space from a small local Methodist church.

    Before that I was driving down every 2-3 weeks to an Anglican Catholic Chruch (which had formed in the late 1970s after similarly splitting off from the ECUSA) an hour away. By contrast my ACNA church is about 5-7 min drive here in my home down. We hope to get our own building one day when we get enough folks and continue to grow (one of our parishioners/vestry members is an architect, and he has drawn a pretty neat rendering).
     
  8. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Well because both those guys walked away from corrupt lifestyles by refusing to be polluted by the Status Quo system of religion. I find that those two particularly are hero's to me. They both felt Christ very deeply to the point it had to be a shock to the system & both deeply changed as a result of it.
     
    #8 Earth Wind and Fire, Nov 15, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 15, 2012
  9. awaken

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    Yes, I was raised in a Christian home. Our whole life surrounded church activities/services etc. Watching my parents in their marriage and how they handled everyday life the way the Bible says we are to live had a great impact on me.

    I was raised in a Missionary Baptist ABA church. In my late 40's I changed to SBC because the church we were attending split (nasty experience). I am still in SBC that believe in the full gospel so to speak!

    Wow..that is some loaded questions. I would say that head knowledge came first. I heard the truth of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and love for me..His love convicted me of my guilt and unworthiness. I trusted in Him at a young age..and the journey began. Never heard an audible voice...but His Spirit speaks to my spirit.

    Never!

    My journey began as I said earlier..young..and still growing and learning more! But I can say that I love my Lord now more than ever!

    I really do not like to talk about religion to a non believer. I talk about Jesus. I stick to the Bible and stay away from religion!

    I think all religions have some truth! No religion has complete truth!
    I look for a church..
    Where Jesus is welcome
    The great commission is taken seriously
    Worship is real and powerful
    spiritual gifts abound
    spiritual battles are won
    hurting ones are sheltered
    healing occurs
    Famillies are safe
    The Bible is released in the lives of people

    [/QUOTE]
     
  10. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Excellent; thanks for sharing!
     
  11. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Thank you for that detailed and excellent post!

    Your last two paragraphs comprise one of the best explanations of this that I have seen.
     
    #11 Michael Wrenn, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2012
  12. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Yes, indeed!

    Thanks for explaining.
     
  13. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Thank you for that wonderful post!
     
  14. Melanie

    Melanie
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    My dad was an RC and mum a Lutheran. When they married mum undertook that all the children would be raised RC and she would convert. Otherwise, they would not have been married in the RCC.

    Dad was regular army and away a lot leaving mum with the raising of little ones, often in states where she had no family and housebound with kiddies,not being able to drive. This was the late 1950s-60s.Mum tried the conversion, but she knew it would break her dad's heart, and there were always little ones.

    I went to Sunday Mass and a parochial school, but looking back I would say the home was Christian rather than Catholic. I lost my faith as a teenager and was determined to seek my own salvation.

    Many decades later, I was studying Buddhism and working at a small private hospital where I met up with an intense young doctor who started discussing religion on those long night shifts where I was often alone in the small Critical Care Unit. I was impressed that he gave up sleeping the night away at $55.00 an hour, when I could not leave to go to the bathroom!!!!

    He was a taditional Catholic and we discussed the horrors that had entered into the Church post Vatican 2. I eventually went to a Tridentine Mass....a Missa Cantata and it was the most beautiful and uplifting experience of my life. I have never looked back.

    I moved to Wanganui to buy a house within walking distance to my church where I attend daily Mass. I live a Catholic life and I am very happy an fulfilled. It has been my salvation.

    There is a verse at the Lavabo from Psalm 25:8 "O Lord,I have loved the beauty of Thy house: and the place where Thy glory dwelleth.

    That pretty well sums it up for me.:flower:
     
  15. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    I enjoyed reading your post; thanks for sharing!
     
  16. Bro. James

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    The real question: will our faith hold up at the judgement seat of Christ? See Mt. 7--the part about those who had done all manner of good things in His name--He told them to depart, having never known them.

    What's in your wallet? Beware: the right reverend doctors.

    Jesus paid it all.

    Peace,

    Bro. James
     
    #16 Bro. James, Nov 16, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 16, 2012
  17. Melanie

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    ....but that is where faith counts the most does it not, I KNOW I am unworthy yet I get up every time I fail and try to walk in His footsteps.
    If works are without charity it is for nothing. Our good works are about loving the Lord, nothing else.

    The Pentecostal minister doctor also spent time with me but not so much as he worked elsewhere, had a family, and was seeding a church.

    My wallet contains $200.00/week and my Sunday offering is $20.00, but I sure ain't poor.
     
  18. Jack Matthews

    Jack Matthews
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    I appreciate you putting this thread up here, and the content of the replies. We joined a Southern Baptist church because we had a houseful of teenagers, and found a church that had a fantastic youth ministry. So now, with all but one being in college, and hooked up with a great campus ministry and a great church, we are looking at the possibility of making some changes. Our local church has been excellent for the guys during their youth years, especially in our special situation of raising siblings. But for my wife and I, spiritually, not so much. The church was two years old when we came, with about 250 active members. The plan was to reach building capacity, and then start another church. Now, the talk is of expansion into more of a "mega church" model. Also, there's been a strong emphasis in the past couple of years on establishing denominational identity, which seems to be a relatively new phenomenon among some Southern Baptists. The appeal of Baptist cooperation, to me, was always the independence and autonomy of the local churches, not conformity and denominational identity. Commitment to missions programs is one thing, but what our church is doing goes outside that boundary.

    And from a theological and spiritual perspective, we are discovering that, among Baptists, there is an arrogance and attitude of superiority related to those of other denominations and backgrounds that is, frankly, not a demonstration of Christian character as it is defined in scripture. We are also discovering, through continuous Bible study and involvement with other Christians in small group settings, that there are interpretations and practices in Christian faith that Baptists don't particularly agree with, and this is factoring into the "Baptist identity" that our church seems bent on developing. So we are beginning to look at other options.

    I came from a background with absolutely no Christian influence at all. Neither my parents nor my grandparents were involved in a church, or expressed any kind of Christian belief. The combination of narrowness of interpretation, and insistence on being the only ones who are right seems to fly in the face of what the Bible teaches. It is almost as if one's salvation and relationship to God is dependent on getting it right, rather than on God's grace through faith in Christ's sacrifice on the cross. I think it is time to go elsewhere.
     
  19. Michael Wrenn

    Michael Wrenn
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    Thank you for this perceptive and informative post.

    You have expressed many of the thoughts and sentiments that I have.

    I really dislike the arrogance that I see in some Baptist circles, too -- with all this emphasis and desire to show how everyone else is wrong and "we" are right, being driven to expose "false teachers", not even considering for a moment that they might be the false teachers or following false teachers, or that what they're doing is wrong. You see some of that here on the forum.

    Paul said we all see through a glass darkly. Some people think that means everybody but them.
     
  20. The Biblicist

    The Biblicist
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    There is little value in any attempt to define truth or discover truth by personal experiernces, feelings, opinions, or any other number of subjective means.

    The bottom line is how does subjective experiences and opinions harmonize with the Word of God. Let God be true and every man a liar when it comes to a divergence between God's Word and man's experiences/opinions/etc.
     

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