What life should a Christian live to be Christian?


(Cindy) #81

From the article:

Fortunately, I was able to incorporate several of Sun’s insights in Reading Romans with Eastern Eyes (coming out in February).

I will keep both of his books in mind! I have a feeling of where he might be going with the “Eastern Eyes” thing but I’ll wait and see. He may well be a good source for a future School report! Thanks!


#82

So everyone here is a theologian? Not in my opinion, but hey…


(Mitchell W McKain) #83

Well if you want to limit it to those with a degree from a theological seminary… then I would still be included.


#84

Yes, indeed.


(Richard Wright) #85

Hello Shawn,
@Seeking_Harmony, @mitchellmckain, @Jay313

Let’s put to rest this heretical notion.

“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” (John 4:23)

Jesus said that God the Father seeks worshipers. Our lives as Christians is our true worship of God, and God seeks true believers to worship Him with their lives and glorify his name. God, speaking though Isaiah of future Christians, said:

They will proclaim my glory among the nations.” (Isaiah 66:19b)

All the greats have stated this, Old Testament and New:

DAVID

"All the nations you have made will come and worship before you, Lord; they will bring glory to your name." (Psalm 86:9) [prophesying about future Christians]

Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” (Psalm 34:3)

PAUL

“so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:16)

AND, OF COURSE

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:16) [I could have used many more passages]

It has nothing to do with stroking God’s ego or lording power, and we don’t need to, Jay, put, “glorify” in quotes. It’s clearly God’s will for our lives as followers of Jesus to glorify Him with our lives.

How can we glorify God? Be being gentle and humble at work when someone is aggressive and rude. By the purity and reverence of our lives. By living for more than politics, sports and even family. Or keeping on loving and trusting God when diagnosed with a terminal illness, the very thing that initially triggered Francis Collins to consider that there is a god. Those dying people glorified God with their faith in Christ, and helped Francis become a believer, so our glorifying God with our lives can help accomplish God’s will:

“who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)


(Mitchell W McKain) #86

So the objective I suppose was to test whether you could find any scriptures which backed up your claim that what gmt said was heretical.

You found 7 passage about worshiping and glorifying God.

Do any of those passages say God needs people to worship and glorify him?

1 John 4:23 close but no cigar, All it says is that God seeks true worshipers, but no that doesn’t mean God needs them. There can be quite a variety of reasons for seeking things other than having a need for them.
2 Isaiah 66:19b Nope. God speaks of a people who will proclaim His glory in the future, but no that doesn’t mean God needs worship or glory.
3 Psalm 86:9 Nope. Same as 2.
4 Psalm 34:3 No, this is a call by David upon his people to glorify God.
5 Romans 15:6 Nope. Just asks that God grant harmony to his followers.
6 Matthew 5:16 Nope. Just makes the connection between the character of believers and how the people watching will think of God because of them.
7 1 Timothy 2:4 No, this just says that God wants all people to be saved and know the truth.

So the result of your little test is that the answer is no, you could not find scriptures to support your claim that this is heretical.

In fact, going back to the context, I would like to point out the following.

Well gosh! That sound remarkably similar to one of the passages you quoted: Matthew 5:16. So let’s quote that one right here for all to see.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Not exactly the same but I see more similarity here than what you have been trying to make this passages mean.

But… perhaps what Richard means to say is something more like the following…

Even if God doesn’t need people to worship Him or to glorify him, nevertheless, God does seek after true worshipers who worship in the spirit and truth. And God sees a time when all the nations will worship Him and bring glory to His name as David called upon the people of Israel to do. And this seems a worthy goal to Paul who called upon God to bring harmony to his flocks that they would glorify God together, and a worthy goal to Jesus who said we should shine the light of good deeds on people so they would glorify God too. What God wants is all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of truth, and for many people that seems like a good reason to worship and give glory to God.

If that is what Richard meant to say then I quite agree!


(Jay Johnson) #87

Every unorthodoxy isn’t heresy. I think that Shaun and Mitchell are just trying to express the idea that we, as mere human beings, can add nothing to God, for God has no needs outside himself. He is a se, strictly speaking. Now, using this as a reason not to worship or glorify God is certainly an error, but I don’t think that’s what either of them are saying. Even if that was their position, I’m not sure it would be heresy. I would compare it to a mistake along the lines of hyper-Calvinists who say that we don’t have to evangelize, since God will draw the elect to himself regardless.

I put glorify in quotes not to de-emphasize the word, but to try to highlight the fact that it means “honor.” Obviously, I failed. Mitchell is correct that we can add nothing to God’s shekinah glory, which emanates from his presence. Coming from the same root, our word “glorify” confuses the issue of what we actually do when we give glory to God. The Eastern concept of “honor” is much closer to capturing the essence of what the biblical authors intended, because that was very much the culture in which they operated.

A good example is found in John 8, beginning with v. 31: “If you continue to follow my teaching, you are really my disciples and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The religious leaders object, claiming Abraham as their father, to which Jesus replies, "You people are doing the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Jesus, “We were not born as a result of immorality! We have only one Father, God himself.” Notice the implied insult to Jesus’ parentage. The tension soon escalates. “The one who belongs to God listens and responds to God’s words. You don’t listen and respond, because you don’t belong to God.” The Judeans replied, “Aren’t we correct in saying that you are a Samaritan and are possessed by a demon?” Jesus answered, “I am not possessed by a demon, but I honor my Father—and yet you dishonor me. I am not trying to get praise for myself. There is one who demands it, and he also judges.” The religious leaders throw the worst epithets they can think of at Jesus. Now, we get to the crux of the matter: “You aren’t greater than our father Abraham who died, are you? And the prophets died too! Who do you claim to be?” Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory is worthless. The one who glorifies me is my Father, about whom you people say, ‘He is our God.’ 55 Yet you do not know him, but I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you. But I do know him, and I obey his teaching.”

To glorify God is to honor him by representing him as he truly is, which was the purpose of our creation in his image.


(Shaun) #88

God loves people and helps people live well. He seeks glory in His own success. If people glorify Him, that’s like saying “Thank you God for your love and help” or like recognising God’s work. And God can only succeed when people follow Him and do the right things. God can only be glorified by that.

If you go to a Catholic church, you will see a lot of rituals and singing. If that’s what you call “worship and glorify God”, then I doubt that that’s what God needs or seeks.


(Richard Wright) #89

@Jay313

Hello Jay,

This is the definition of heresy on dictionary.com:

  1. opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system.

Mitchell’s original assertion was that we shouldn’t do anything deliberately to please God, and that these are not good works but hobbies. That is heresy, because it’s at ridiculously at variance with what is, to myself anyway, accepted doctrine. He seems to be heavily influenced by Luther, who overreacted to Catholic legalism and said things like, “things done deliberately to please God are dirty rags”. That is the opposite of what Jesus taught, and is probably why Luther hid James and 3 other NT books in an appendix.

Then we had this exchange:

I showed clearly from scripture that we are called to glorify God with our lives as Christians. God desires people to glorify Him by being like His son (don’t forget, Christian means, "little Christ) so that people look at us and say, “there is something different about that guy, he is like Jesus Christ”. That is what glorifying God is and that is something God desires. So, in a sense, we are adding to God’s glory, be being another person who lives following Jesus. The more people who do that, the more glory for God. I’m not saying that in the absolute sense God, “needs” and can have glory added to him, that’s just a theological distraction from the clear message that we, as true, authentic believers of Christ, are called to glorify the Father with our lives.

Yes, and we failed, so God sent His son to be tortured and murdered and resurrected so that we can be saved. To glorify God now isn’t to be an image bearer but to be like His son, a full representative of the Father. But God does seek praise, you quoted it yourself!:

I said earlier there are many more passages I could have used. God seeks and demands praise. He seeks and desires true worshipers who will glorify his Name by living like Jesus. It’s a distraction to say that, “we can’t add to God’s glory.” The answer to that is, “yes and no”. But it can’t be denied that our purpose is to glorify God with our lives as Christians, something that Mitchell and seemingly Shaun deny, under the crux of, “well, we can’t add to God’s glory”. That’s just attempting to theologically blur the issue. So, IMHO anyway, it’s heretical to say that our purpose isn’t to glorify God with our lives.


(Richard Wright) #90

Hello Mitchell,

You seem to stuck on the word, “need”. Jay wrote:

You responded:

Meanwhile, we had this exchange:

I never said that God, “needs”, in the absolute sense to have us glorify him. Those were your words. I said that scripture is clear that we can glorify God and are called to with our lives as Christians. You refuted that our purpose is to glorify God and that’s the heresy I took down with scripture. As for the question of, “adding” to God’s glory, if we can glorify God, then we are adding to God’s glory here on earth - the more we’re like Jesus, and the more people who live like Jesus, the more Glory to God.

“I am not seeking glory for myself; but there is one who seeks it.…” (John 8:50a)

So if God seeks and desire glory and true worshipers, does he need us to glorify Him? In the absolute sense, no, but he needs us convert people to the faith since he has chosen to use us. So, in a sense, he does need us to glorify him, so more people will be attracted to Jesus.

If you’re saying that literally everyone on earth will worship and bring glory to God, then I don’t agree. Jesus said, “few” will be saved: "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:14). Are you a universalist?

I don’t see that as what Paul did. He saw himself as a minister to the Gentiles.

Jesus didn’t say it is a worthy goal, he said that is what we are called to to as his followers. We have a purpose as Christians, that we deliberately set out to do, something you seem to not want to accept.

This I agree with. Progress!

@gmt

I’ve always said that we glorify God, and our true worship is, through our lives as Christians.

I don’t think this is right. Our inspiration to live as we do is Jesus dying on the cross four our sins. We glorify God as Christians when people recognize that there is something different about us, who we are, as well as what we do, so that think or say, “I recognize Jesus Christ in that person.”:

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)


(Mitchell W McKain) #91

And you failed. God does not need glory and that is not why God created us. This is just an example human beings re-creating God in his own image of despicable self-absorbed narcissism.

And I think this is the obsession of religion mongers because what they are really doing is seeking glory for themselves. God knows this and shows his disgust with this in Isaiah chapter one. God would really much rather us focus on ceasing to do evil, learning to do good, seeking justice, correcting oppression and helping those in need.

LOL seriously? I agree with the quotes YOU pull out of the Bible and your response is this? Are you THAT determined to pick a fight over nothing??? No I am not a universalist. Are you a Mormon?


(Mervin Bitikofer) #92

@mitchellmckain and @Richard_Wright1 - you’ve both exchanged some interesting posts. The theme may have degenerated a bit here of late … reminding me of this cartoon (pasted below). Richard, you might not be having much traction with Mitchell, but I’m not afraid to fess up to that dirty word ‘universalism’ - or at least I’ve developed some tendencies in that direction the more scriptures I read. It’s pretty obvious that even just my entertainment of that idea would make me a heretic in your eyes - but I’m not too bothered by such labels if it’s for a good reason. I’m more interested in being challenged and corrected where I may be wrong; or helping others see with more light if they need that.

[just looking at Hobbes in the opening frame below … that is the perfect picture of a forum participant (or moderator?) who’s just thought of a juicy and particularly insulting reply he could make … what to do … what to do …]


(Robin) #93

Wasn’t it Jesus who “set his face toward Jerusalem”??? Either way, I think this is a great discussion, but a difficult one…No one asks for suffering, or should. But it is the world we live in…Some of it is due to the actions of others, some due to our own actions, and some of it just a consequence of life…We are able, sometimes, to comfort others with the comfort that has comforted us. That can be one reason for suffering. If everything came our way, we would have no understanding or sympathy for those who have not that advantage…

But as to the life a Christian should live “to be Christian” – it is a life lived in recognition of God’s direction and Lordship over everything – good and bad…though the bad is hard to explain. Yes, good deeds and charities are in the mix somewhere. But one can do “good deeds” and be far from God. As Jesus said, only God is good…The rest of us are pale reflections of this in the best of times.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #94

That is huge. It won’t satisfy somebody who wants evil or suffering explained all the way back to its origins … but given the world we live in, I think your observation there nails it.


(Robin) #95

Thanks, Mervin. We could, of course, explain everything “all the way back to its origins” — but we live in the world that we live in…We can help others (sometimes) or they can help us – because of what we have experienced and what we learned from it. Understanding and sympathy seem, at certain times of one’s life, to be in short supply.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #96

I suppose one could answer this with the scripture: “every tongue shall confess and every knee shall bow…” Paul in Romans 14 quoting from Isaiah 45:23. But I suppose those determined to justify eternal punishment in their own minds find ways to qualify such passages. And indeed I don’t try to build up entire creedal systems on a few verses.

Which is why I am fascinated with Jesus’ observation that so few find the road leading to life. Trying to build up end-times doctrines on parables and comparisons is, I think, dangerous. Parables are more like precision surgical instruments to nail one specific point home, and nail it good! If we try to turn them into blunt sledgehammers or ‘multi-use tools’, I think we risk missing the point of the parable entirely. So while it is one thing to be taught that the righteous way is the hard way … the way much less trodden is one thing to accept (and I fully accept that - it’s what Jesus said after all!) But to then extend that to … and those whose feet are on the broad path to destruction will never be led to the righteous way is quite another claim entirely and one that I don’t think we can draw from Jesus’ words here. Maybe other places … but not here.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #97

Another reason your example really resonates with me is that people who are the quickest to learn are often the lousiest teachers. (I know this from being on both sides of that.) The person who had to struggle a bit to get where they are will most easily empathize and also make useful connections for the strugglers coming along behind them because they were once there too. The genius teacher just scratches their head in frustration and wonders why the pupils can’t just “get” the obvious.


(Mitchell W McKain) #98

Yes. I have made it clear many times that although I do not agree with universalism I do not consider it heretical or excluded by Christianity. There is a long tradition of church patriarchs who liked the idea. I don’t buy it, and I would argue against it strenuously, but since I argue most points pretty strongly that is hardly news. And this certainly doesn’t mean that Richard and I don’t have some rather big differences of opinion. Frankly we haven’t discussed the more explosive issues where I agree with the Eastern Orthodox and think Western Christianity went off rails with some really deranged medieval thinking. Those topics would get some real raspberries going.

Oh and the cartoon… LOL


(Shaun) #99

Thank both of you for helping me understand the Christian life better.

And I realise the difference seems to be that you believe a Christian should just live like Christ, let Christ decide what’s right and wrong, and worship and glorify Him, but Mitchell and I don’t think that’s enough, we think we also need to ask what this means for our own life, and by that, we may add some standard for choosing what to follow.

Mitchell please correct me if I misunderstand you.


(Mitchell W McKain) #100

Well I seriously doubt that Richard and bluebird live like a first century Jew, so I think they have to be employing somebody’s interpretation of what that means for their own life (and I don’t think that somebody is in Bible either). So frankly, I think this is about believing in a living God who can speak for Himself and reading the Bible ourselves rather than simply following what some other person(s) dictate(s) is in the Bible and how a Christian should live.

Oh and I see no reason to lump Richard and bluebird together in any way, so please don’t take what I said here to mean anything like that.