Tag Archives: Religion

Biblical food metaphors…

Have you ever noticed how many times a food metaphor is used in the Bible?  Many times, it isn’t “cream puff” ideas being put forth either…Jesus Himself employed them about various subjects, including Himself.  Why do you think that is?

John 6:35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst

Food and drink are two things every human can relate to.  We know what it is like to be hungry and thirsty; these are experiences we’ve all had.  When a food metaphor is used, it is then easy to connect to no matter who you are.

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Food and drink are essential to life.  Food gives us energy, and strength.  It helps us to grow and even to think.  Have you ever noticed that when you are hungry that it is easier to zone out; usually we just concentrate on the rumblings in our stomachs.  When you are thirsty all you can think of is how thirsty you are, how great it would be for a nice cool glass of some kind of sparkling liquid to quench that thirst.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

When Christ was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, one of the outcomes of the isolation was that Jesus was hungry.  Here comes the devil to tempt Him with food.  Command the stones to become bread, the devil prodded.  How did Jesus answer?  Matthew 4:4…Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The metaphor is doubled when we consider that Christ Himself is the very Word of God.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. 17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

So, that is our answer to getting spiritual food; we turn to the word of God; scripture, and also to The Word of God; Christ.  In the same way that physical food nourishes our bodies, helps us to grow, to concentrate, to be strong…so too does turning to the word and The Word of God.  I’ve mentioned before that I find it interesting that those who do not have a relationship with God; those that are not permanently quenching that thirst, try to quench it through various means, be it with drugs, human relationships, fame, physical food, man-made philosophy, etc…  While in their current lives, these things may add something, we are more concerned with eternal life. It reminds me of the occurrence of pica; the ingestion of substances that don’t really have any nutritional value…such as clay from a river bank.  Often times it gives the impression that one is feeding oneself, it makes you feel full for a time, but in reality, the person is not getting anything from what they are eating.  In fact, their body may be in need of some essential nutrient, but they are not getting it from the substance that they consume.

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come…. 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

So, for me, it is clear why food metaphors are used; they are central to the human experience, food and drink are necessary for life, we gather energy and strength from them, and let’s face it, most of us like good food.  Food, in the best of times, also becomes a communal experience, something shared between people.  Food connects us and enhances our lives…so it should be with spiritual food as well.  Just as with physical food and drink, we need to keep part of our minds on our health.  It matters very much what we put into ourselves, what we feed on, what we draw our nutrition from.

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Filed under Communion, The Bible, Theology

Pets in Heaven…

Will there be animals in heaven?  Will my pets be in Heaven?  Will my pets go in the Rapture, and if they don’t, what will happen to them?  If you’ve been around Christians long enough, these questions will and do come up.  They are not meant to be taken lightly, nor should they be.  Humans have strong bonds and emotional attachments to animals; animals, our pets, our work companions, are a part of our lives, and most of us believe gifts of God.  When we have a pet pass on, or a pet growing old, we begin to contemplate these issues.

First, there is no Biblical evidence decidedly for or against our pets being resurrected or taken to Heaven.  It disturbs me when I see someone pronounce a definite decision either way.  In this post, I’m going to talk about my opinion, but first a clarification on the issue.  When people ask me, or ask this question on a message board, “What about my pets?” I have one question to ask back that will supersede all others; “Do you trust God?”  That’s the real issue, do you trust Him?  If you can answer that question, the animal questions are covered.  If you can (and you should) answer “Yes, I trust Him completely,” then you can totally 100% rest your heart about your animals, no matter what happens.

Second, I do think there is Biblical evidence of animals in Heaven.  After all, the army of the Lord rides down on horses, do we not?  So either there is indeed a Heavenly stable, or they are conjured for us between Heaven and Earth.  Heaven is beyond our ken; 1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

We also know that animals are precious in God’s sight; He sees every little sparrow that falls, and values them, though He values humans more, as we are made in His image.  We know that living animals have nephesh or a soul, though theirs are different than ours.  We know that love and loyalty are wonderful things, also gifts of God, and what allows us to show both love and loyalty better than our pets?  Adam was put in the garden to tend it, and was responsible for naming the very animals.  We have a connection to the furballs/hairballs that cannot be denied.  Our ancestor Noah, under God’s direction, help, and guidance, built the ark that carried their ancestors to safety, we are assuredly connected.  For a glimpse at the deeper side of animals, make sure to read the story of Balaam’s Ass in Numbers chapter 22, I’m sure many times they are quicker to catch on to Spiritual things than we are…

It is also possible that they will be resurrected during the Millennial Kingdom; we know for a fact animals will be on the Earth at that point, living peaceably side-by-side.  Or, it is possible that our pets will be made new when the Heavens and the Earth are made new; after all, He did say He was reconciling all of creation to Himself, and was going to make all things new.

In my family, our animals (we’re a dog family) are a part of our family.  I’ve cried tears onto their fur while mourning loss, or guilt for something I’d done.  I’ve cried tears without them after they’d died.  I’ve laughed at their antics and my life has been made richer for them; they’ve reminded me of how God is master of creation, and a God of love, life, and joy.  Do I think we’ll be seeing them again? Yes, but I’m not going to pretend to know for sure.  But, I do know for Truth and for Fact that I can trust God to deal with my pets, and yours, completely Righteously, Mercifully, and with Love for them and us.

Perhaps a fitting question to end this post would be, “Will your pets be seeing you in Heaven or on the new Earth?”  Never forget that we need our Shepherd, to believe on Him, to have faith in Him, for we are but “sheep” gone astray.  And, our relationship with Him is what takes center stage.

Trust God, have faith in Him, fear not, everything will turn out just as it is meant to.

Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail,” –Martin Luther

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Filed under Of Interest, Theology

Church of the New Atheists…

Anyone that has been in the land of Christian Apologetics online knows that atheists like to proselytize their own religion…er,um…beliefs…even when they are on websites, such as Christian message boards, where that type of thing is strictly prohibited in the ‘board rules.  When someone comments or blogs about atheism, often times it is the atheists that come swarming to read and respond, whilst responses from those from other belief systems are few; they wish to defend their belief system, just as I do, I get it; but what is the logical reason?

Make a post or a blog that doesn’t even have direct connection to Christianity, such as Intelligent Design, and they still come out of the woodwork.  Now, this is statistically an odd occurrence, since, for example, atheists make up only somewhere between 3-9% of the US population from what I can gather by looking at different polls (of course, this number is really hard to pinpoint since the way questions are worded in polls sometimes muddy the water, but the point still remains), of course responders and posters can be from different countries, but still, it seems sometimes that the ‘net is favored as an atheist playground in some respects.

I realized that along with the priests of New Atheism, such as Dick Dawkins, and their prolific proselytizing, the New Atheists also now have a Church and it is apparently the internet itself, or rather, certain corners of the ‘net.  It does make sense; before the internet (yes, all you younglings out there, there was a time before the internet) , with such a small percentage of the population declaring themselves to be atheistic,  it had to be hard to find a place of fellowship.  Of course I use the term “church” loosely, for instead of being outcalled by God, they attempt to outcall themselves in some manner.  If you do a search, which I can’t really recommend, trying to find a Church of Atheism, you’ll find them outside of cyberspace as well, but where else can such a large group of non-believers get together to fellowship, praise and offer thanksgiving to…themselves, and…materialism?

My husband brought up a good point; aren’t secular universities Atheist Churches too?  I’ve given it some thought, and I think secular universities as “Atheist Seminaries” is a better descriptive.  Go online and you will find an actual “First Church of Atheism” which offers ordination…yes, one can actually be an ordained minister…of atheism; but, nobody better make the claim that atheism is another religion…did I mention that they think that they should be allowed to preach what they believe, and that one reason this is available is so that atheist couples can have a minister to preside at a marriage ceremony…but, nobody better make the claim that atheism is just another religion *footstomp*

Make no mistake about it, many of the “New” Atheists take discipleship seriously, find a teacher (or teachers) to latch onto, and wish to churn out disciples of their own.  Sometimes, when you run into these disciples online, you can literally tell where the conversation will head, because they are all reading off the same attack oriented websites…because in their religi…I mean belief system..I mean lack of belief system, it is apparently part of the Creed to attack the belief in God, especially Christian belief, and if you can’t attack the beliefs directly, hang out and bash those that hold said beliefs.

Christians believe that God wishes us to share the good news, and no, that doesn’t mean bashing someone over the head with The Bible, as some of my overzealous brethren sometimes tend towards.  Our motivation includes a “higher” calling; one from God Himself.  Our gathering together is called for as well as our sharing of the good news.  Why exactly do atheists feel the need to proselytize, what is their logical basis?  It isn’t as though they believe we humans are immortal beings and are trying to sow seeds that will help insure a right relationship with something above us, and a positive life in eternity.  Why exactly do atheists feel the need to be married by a minister…why do they feel the need to get married in a non-civil sense at all?  Besides the very grave, very serious spiritual implications, various studies have shown that things like faith in something greater than ourselves, prayer, hope, religious belief, etc… is a good thing for us humans…so what exactly is the joy in trying to tear down someone’s faith in God?  Usually some twisted idea that Christians are all a bunch of illogical, irrational, deluded idiots is set forth by non-believers…unfortunately for the atheists, that isn’t so.

A major point here being that the atheists have found a nifty base of operations online.  So, if you are out there contending for the Faith, and doing Christian Apologetics, or even Intelligent Design apologetics, be ready to meet and engage in dialogue with people from all backgrounds and beliefs…especially those that have found a non-believing church home on the ‘net, that wish to evangelize you to a state of…non-belief. Or, as I see it as a Christian; evangelize you to a state of having faith in something other than the only thing that deserves our faith; the One True God.  I write this too, to remind fellow Christians to support one another in real life, and especially online, as we have discussions and also share the gospel.

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Filed under Apologetics, Atheism, Humor

Transubstantiation (pt. 2)…

I focused solely on John 6 in the first part in regards to transubstantiation, and I’m going to pick up where I left off, and also move on past John 6 to show other evidence that transubstantiation contradicts scripture.  At the end of Jesus’ discourse in John chapter 6, in which He used symbolic language to get His point across, many of the people that had been following Him left. The ones who left Jesus when He made the Bread of Life speech were the ones that misunderstood Him. The ones that left Him took Him literally. The Roman church (RC) POV would have us believe that the ones who left Him understood Him perfectly. This isn’t so.

We have scriptural evidence that when people got angry at analogies used by Jesus, they were NOT understanding.

John 2:18 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? 19 Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. 20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

They took Him at His literal word, and they were wrong to do so. He did not mean the literal physical temple, He meant His body. The listeners got upset, and sarcastic, they misunderstood Him here, just as they misunderstood Him about “flesh and blood” in John 6.  I’ve had many RC’s ask me why Jesus didn’t stop them from leaving if they misunderstood.  Look at all the instances in scripture; He doesn’t stop people that leave or get mad over misunderstandings.  He talks in parables so that faith plays a role, and so that not everyone will get it, or have it “forced” upon them;

Matthew 13:10 And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Now, we also have the timing and positioning of the words in other scripture to show that the bread and wine are symbols.

Mat. 26:26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Note in verse 29 that the Lord says; I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine. It does not say blood, and this verse follows the blessings. He labels it fruit of the vine even after the blessing. The blessing is where the Roman church sees the transubstantiation as happening; however, from scripture we can see this isn’t accurate. Jesus is still at the table, the goblet of wine is still there and He labels what they’ve just drunk together as fruit of the vine.

Paul too seems to back this up:

1. Cor. 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

Notice Paul went through the happenings at Passover. Then he says in verse 26 that as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup. He does not say flesh and blood. And again in verse 27 he says whosoever shall eat this bread. It is literal and physical bread.

If one views the wine as becoming literal blood, then it goes against this:

Leviticus 17:10 And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people.

And, to show that it is not just an old covenant teaching:

Acts 15:20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.

Acts 15:29 That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well.

This is teaching coming from James, the leader of the first church; Jerusalem. Now, whether or not you agree with all of James’ teaching, and his seeming legalistic bent, you can’t deny that he taught that believers should not drink blood. It’s straight forward; no blood. There are no exceptions taught, or mentioned.  Notice in the OT verse that it is any manner of blood; it isn’t limited.  Jesus did not break the Law, which can only mean He did not partake of blood at the Passover.

Another issue; Christ is not bodily on this Earth. He’s seated at the right Hand of the Father. He will only return bodily, touching this earth, at the second coming. If the eucharist is His literal body, blood, soul, and divinity, then He would already be here physically, which is not what scripture teaches, so it is another contradiction.

This brings me to the fact that not even the Roman church takes Christ literally. He said this is my flesh, this is my blood. However, the RC teaches that the wafer becomes not just Christ’s flesh but body, blood, soul, and divinity by transubstantiation. This idea is clearly not scriptural, even if you take His words as being completely literal. Jesus instructed the disciples to both eat and drink. The Roman POV is that you don’t have to do both, just one. This isn’t scriptural. We are to do both, first, the bread shows His body that was abused and pierced for us, second the wine, the symbol of His blood shed for us.

And finally, we have one really good example of what happens when Jesus turns one thing into another in scripture. He turned water into wine. When He did this it looked like wine, tasted like wine, everyone knew it was wine. With transubstantiation you do not have this. For all practical intents and purposes, to every scientific look, that bread is still bread, and that wine is still wine, not flesh and blood. We have a good basis; water to wine, to show that this is not how this type of miracle works. Why does the blood not taste like blood?

Taking all of scripture into account, and by looking at the context of all of these various verses, transubstantiation is not supported, and even contradicts several key verses.   I look forward to delving into the symbolic nature of Passover, that we carry out in communion in future posts, as well as whether or not we are to examine ourselves to make sure we are worthy (or for some other reason) before partaking in communion, or are we to keep our eyes solely on Christ with the acknowledgment that we are not worthy, but that we are symbolically showing His death, and remembering Him by partaking?

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John 6 and Transubstantiation (pt.1) …

Since this is my first post about Roman church (RC) doctrine, I want to make something clear from the outset.  As long as a person, as an individual, has placed all their trust and faith in and on Jesus Christ, The Father, and The Holy Spirit to save them, I don’t care what denominational title they give themselves.  I believe in the universal church; the ekklesia, in the Greek, that is made up of all believers regardless of what they call themselves.  We are to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling; I’m not willing to judge another’s salvation, that is between them and God.

That being said, I believe that all doctrine of all denominations is fair game when testing them to see if they hold up to the Apostle’s teachings, mainly found in scripture.  One of the claims of the RC is that their teachings will not contradict scripture, but that some of their teachings are based more on oral tradition.  Most of us Protestants have some issues with some of the RC teaching because they can’t be found in scripture, and are sometimes contradicted by the word.  I’ve always believed we should study to show ourselves approved, and I’ve taken a lot of time studying RC doctrines, and I also watch EWTN quite a bit; which I must say is much better in execution and style than most Protestant based television stations.

This post is to look at the doctrine of transubstantiation and John 6, I will raise more issues with the idea of transubstantiation in my next post.  I’m addressing this through John 6 because watching “The Journey Home” on EWTN regularly I’ve noticed an interesting occurrence in those Protestants that become RC…they all say they’ve never heard John 6 explained, which I can’t quite grasp, but I’m going with the flow anyway, and will discuss it here.

To start off; What is transubstantiation? Transubstantiation is the belief that the bread and wine at the celebration of Mass becomes the literal flesh of Christ, and the literal blood of Christ. When it says literal, it means literal. You are no longer eating bread; you are eating flesh (and in fact, the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ). You are no longer drinking wine, you are drinking blood. My main contention with this is not that this is taught per se, but rather, scripture is claimed to back it up. Transubstantiation is not something taught in scripture, nor was it believed or taught by the earliest church leaders. When we examine scripture; Christ did not teach it, Paul did not teach it, and even James, the leader at the earliest church, Jerusalem, did not teach it.

John Chapter 6; this chapter, to get at the meaning of Jesus’ words must be read in entirety and in context. Please do so, here I will only give a run down on context, then on to the the main verses at hand.

John 6:1-14 Jesus feeds the five thousand. He fed them loaves of bread and fishes. This same group follows Him after this incident.

John 6:15-21 Jesus walks on the water

John 6:22-71 As we go through this, you’ll probably want your Bible opened to this, or your web-browser open as there is a lot of ground to cover here. I’ll quote the whole verses in my responses.

So, in John chapter 6, the large group that followed Jesus were after one thing:

26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

They wanted actual physical literal food. They were there when He did it before (verses 1-14), and they want more.

31 Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. 32 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. 34 Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. 35 And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. 36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believenot.

So Jesus is the Bread of Life. Is He literal flour and water? No. This is a spiritual analogy. This clues us in right off the bat that He’s going to be speaking this way in this discourse. The symbolic language surrounding Christ is present in full effect in the Gospel of John, for example:

John 15: 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Is Jesus literally a plant? No.

John 4:13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. We have a perfect example here, because what is being compared is an actual drink; water. Does Jesus give actual physical literal water? No.

John 10:9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture Is Jesus a literal door or opening, made out of wood, or nothing? No. He’s a Spiritual one. Is He an actual lamb or lion? Are we literal and physical sheep? No.

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. In this context, is He literal light waves? No. The point here is that John especially is filled with highly meaningful symbolic language.

How does Jesus give life to the world? He came, walked perfect, was a sacrifice, gave His flesh and blood in that sacrifice for us. How do we participate in this life He brings us; not by physical eating, but by coming to Him and believing (faithing) on Him. He will not give them physical, literal food, but only Himself to faithe on.

For those that believe in Transubstantiation do you claim not to physically and literally hunger anymore? Do you claim not to thirst? Of course not, so this idea is not a literal physical one. We don’t hunger spiritually anymore, we don’t thirst spiritually anymore after coming to Christ and faithing on Him.

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

For everyone that has Faith in Him, they get everlasting life.

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. 48 I am that bread of life. 49 Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

So, He is the living bread. For those of you who believe Transubstantiation is literal, do you believe that you will not literally, physically die? Of course not, it is obvious He is talking about spiritual death. If we come to Christ, and Faith on Him, we will not die. How does He give His flesh for the life of the world? By sacrificing it, not by us literally ingesting it.

John 6:52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? 53 Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 54 Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58 This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Notice it is NOT as their fathers did eat manna. How did they eat manna? Literally and Physically. We also have a repeat of the phrase “hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” Where did we see this phrase before? In verse 40: And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day

So, we get this everlasting life by belief, or more accurately rendered; by faith in Him. This too lines up with all of Paul’s teachings on faith vs. works. And also professing Christ (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. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation) is indeed what saves, not literally eating or drinking.

John 6:60 Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? 61 When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? 62 What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. 64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. 65 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. 67 Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? 68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Now we come to the conclusion of this chapter, and it wraps the whole thing up. It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. Jesus is blatantly telling us that nothing you physically and literally eat can save you (this goes right along with His teaching that nothing you physically and literally eat can make you unclean; Matthew 15:18). His word are about Spiritual matters, not fleshly, the flesh doesn’t profit anything.  Peter’s answer sheds more light on the situation. “Thou has the WORDS of eternal life.” Peter got it, it was Jesus’ words themselves that were giving life, His teachings. Again, it’s backed up by Peter’s believing Him; thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. That is what saves, that is what we need to come to and believe in order to have eternal life.

In part 2, I will continue on by examining the reaction of the crowd, and other scriptural insights, such as the scene at the Last Supper, that do not support the doctrine of transubstantiation.

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Religion and Politics; Voting along religious lines…

Religion and politics; they are both hot topics, even separately they are two areas that stimulate a large amount of discussion but when you mix ’em together…whoa buddy, just watch out.

I observed a particular point-of-view that I found highly interesting after watching Jesus Camp, a documentary that followed a group of kids to an evangelical Christian summer camp.  After watching the movie, I knew people online would be all over it, in terms of discussion, so I looked up a discussion board, and sure enough everyone was getting worked up talking about it.  Amongst all the discussion, there was a group of people from the liberal side of the aisle who were horrified that people would let their religious beliefs influence which candidates or laws they would or would not vote for…scandalous I know.

There was an odd undercurrent of thought that if people voted their religious morals, then we’d magically turn into a Theocracy…showing that the slippery slope fallacy is alive and well.  What baffled me was the seeming lack of acknowledgment that we live in a republic and that we (at least used to) take democracy quite seriously.  That means we get to attempt to elect people that will represent us in government.  They were also making an odd fuss over “legislating morality.”  Folks, we legislate morality all the time, that’s why we have laws against things like murder, theft, and rape…

I can understand why someone might be upset by this, because maybe their view might not be represented…well, yes, that’s why people need to get out and vote, as well as to make their voices heard to their representatives in the different levels of government.  So, anyway, I filed this type of thought away for further analyzing, thinking that it would be a liberal gripe because of its religious nature.  Fast forward about a year and I’m discussing various laws from a religious perspective with some fellow Christian conservatives, and wouldn’t you know it, the same line of reasoning cropped up, only in a different form.  Turns out that there are some conservatives out there that do indeed think you should vote with your religious based morals as long as your thoughts on various laws line up with their thoughts, if not, all bets are off.

For the laws they like, oh, say, the death penalty…one that perhaps other Christians don’t support, all of a sudden they use the argument that God enters in and has set up rulership over others to keep the peace, work out His divine plan, etc… (which I believe) and we shouldn’t try to shift things too much…you know, like voting the way you feel lead to as a Christian.  I pointed out that the law of our land also says things like abortion is legal, so, should we not try to change that?  For some reason, no one wanted to touch that with a ten foot pole.  Yes, God sets up certain national leaders and directs history, no doubt about it.  But, He also lays a charge on us as individuals to be responsible within our own situations and cultures, and He happened to bless the USA with a representative republic…doesn’t that mean that it too is a part of His plan that we get to vote how we feel lead to in this great country of ours, even if my opinion on a law is different than yours?

Should we vote our religious convictions?  Can we vote our religious convictions?  I would think the answer to those questions would be obvious… I vote “Yes,” to both.

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Filed under Of Interest, Religion and Politics

Jesus; The Lamb and The Lion via Breaking Benjamin

Yesterday I talked about finding the sacred in the secular.  Today, I want to give an example of what I mean, while getting to the point of this post.  My current favourite band is Breaking Benjamin, and I can’t really recommend them to my Christian brethren, though there are many fans of theirs that are Christian; BB is alternative rock, secular, and like to add in the occasional (well placed) curse word.  However, Ben (Benjamin Burnley, lead singer) writes music that hits people on different levels, and encourages fans to find their own meanings to their songs.

One of the reasons that I like this band is their ability to capture certain emotion, and I don’t just mean when they’re screaming at the top of their lungs (which they occasionally indeed do, to very good affect). And, I don’t just like them for the themes that their songs make me conjure up, though that is part of it.  Sooner or Later, a song off their We are not Alone album, makes me think of Jesus and His position as King, and as a Lion, and of life and death without Him.  Now, to make this perfectly clear; I do not think this was Ben’s intent in any way, shape, or form (the song is more a self-reflection style song, and they are not a Christian band, although we know Mark and Chad believe, and ex-band member Jeremy); however, this is what certain verse make me think about.

Sooner or Later
…You’re like an infantile
I knew it all the while
You sit and try to play me
Just like you see on TV
I am an oversight
Just like a parasite
Why am I so pathetic
I know you won’t forget

These lines call to mind the way Jesus is often portrayed by TV preachers; like He’s standing head bowed, hat in hand knocking on your heart’s door, begging, for His own sake, to be let in out of the cold.  He’s also portrayed like a sure-fire celestial slot machine; a genie-type wish granter.  On the other hand, legalistic TV preachers often portray Him as a cosmic killjoy.  These images, that make me personally ill, stick in the minds of non-believers, and it definitely affects how they think about Him and even how they think about Christians.

People, even some believers, like to think of Christ as a Lamb, which He is; what they don’t like to dwell on is the fact that He is the Lion as well.  He is both suffering servant and conquering King, He brings mercy and forgiveness but also a sword of truth… in fact, I read a non-Christian’s write-up about The Chronicles of Narnia in which Aslan, a lion, is the Christ-figure.  The writer bemoans the fact that a lion is used; says it doesn’t fit Jesus’ character…he’s apparently never read the Bible, or he’s listened to too many of the “preachers” this song makes me think of.

…Just call my name
You’ll be ok
Your scream is burning through my veins

We are promised in scripture that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.  All it takes to get the relationship going is for us to call upon Him with a true desire to know Him better in our hearts.  When we do, He hears us, and wants that relationship too.  One of the images I love to mull over is the idea that we are called sheep in the Bible…and sheep need a shepherd, ours just happens to be a Lion, full of power and protection for those that call upon Him, and He indeed should be a point of fear to those that come bringing trouble to His sheep.

…Sooner or later, you’re gonna hate it
Go ahead and throw your life away
Driving me under leaving me out there
Go ahead and throw your life away

These lines make me think of what will come to pass if someone dies still rejecting God and Christ, unfortunately, and also not to let those image of Christ being peddled on TV stick in your mind; learn of Him on your own, through scripture.  If someone doesn’t come to Him, and embrace eternal life, they are in effect, throwing their lives away.  Most humans, believers and non, and I really mean this, strive to make their way through life the best way they know how.  Many people try to leave the world a better place than they found it…but in essence all of that, without Christ, won’t wind up having a permanent effect.  Even those that don’t believe in anything acknowledge that; our short lives are over far too soon, and we will all probably be forgotten within two or three generations…but, with Christ, our lives find their true meaning, ultimate fulfillment, and we carry on after death, even to a new Heaven, and a new Earth.

Why is it such a bad thing to deny Christ…the next lines in the song change “Throw your life away,” to “Throw my life away.”  By denying Christ, we are basically spitting on His life, and His death.  He suffered horribly, and died so that we might live, and if we deny Him,  we deny His life.  The next go around, the lines get changed to “Throw our life away…” which is ironic, because the name of the album, as I mentioned is “We are not Alone,” God is with us, for sure, and the relationship He offers is such a close one, He offers to be with us in good times and bad, that He will never leave us nor forsake us…imagine throwing that relationship in the garbage…  I love the power, and emotion in Ben’s voice, and the music to underscore the idea of a Person in the position of power, again, just in my own thoughts.

I have two main points in this post; first, just because something is indeed labeled “secular” doesn’t mean we can’t pull something out of it to add to our spiritual lives, we just have to be careful and follow the Holy Spirit’s lead.  And Second, Jesus isn’t a pushover.  He’s not a beggar.  He’d not only the Lamb, but also The Lion.  In Him, God’s Mercy and Justice meet, and He displays both God’s love and His power to mankind.  Whatever the preachers push on TV, and there are some good ones alongside the bad, don’t forget the seek Him one-on-one and through the scriptures and really learn about Him.

For anyone interested, here’s Breaking Benjamin’s video for Sooner or Later at youtube:

Edited on March 19, 2010 to add this link to a relevant article; Breaking Benjamin interview.  Ben and Chad mention issues of faith in the linked interview.

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Filed under Apologetics, Sacred Secular, Theology