Monday, January 1, 2018

Ask, Seek, Knock Carefully in the Churches of God


If you wish to see the good, the bad and the ugly side of people of faith, just question what you can plainly read on the Bible or how churches arrive at the conclusions they do about how you ought to live and how much to give.
As a pastor soaking in Christianity and the Bible for three decades. I heard, read and studied all the plain and simple truth in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I can tell you the truth is neither plain nor simple and I rather liked Paul's description of it all as being "the present truth." At least calling truth something that is currently understood gives some wiggle room for those times which shall come to grow a bit in the grace and knowledge that most Christians think they are open minded enough to really do.
Most I know grow neither in grace, unless they attach a few dozen laws that you must keep to be one of the good people, nor knowledge which seems to scare the bejesus out of them when they really run up against it.
For example:
The story of Annias and Sapphira in Acts 5 is not a story about Peter killing two church members for not coughing up all the money they had "pledged" to the church. The Romans would not miss that crime.  It is a spoof that the readers of Luke and Paul's community would understand of the buffoon Peter who, like the two church members who said they would give something to the church and didn't, said he'd never leave Jesus and fled. Peter who said he'd do one thing and did another is now punishing a couple who said they'd do one thing and did another. It was hilarious and a poke at Peter the Pathetic according to Luke and Paul. It was a message to just not follow Peter from Paul and Luke.
John mentions Peter three times in his Gospel and each time sandwiches (technically called "Intercalation") Peter stories between two comments about Judas. The point is not missed on the original audience.  Judas betrayed, Peter denied. No difference.  Don't follow Peter.
 (Side note: A really fascinating possibility is that the 21st chapter of John is the Missing ending of the pro-Peter Gospel of Mark. Someone needed to damp down John's actual dislike for Peter, in John,  so added Mark's real ending (John 21) to show Peter was forgiven.  Original John ended with Chapter 20. It was noticed that Mark has no good ending, no Jesus, no Resurrection, just scared women running and telling no one anything...well except "Mark" evidently, and John had two endings.  So they asked about that.  
Some wonder if Bar-Abbas  (Son of the Father) was really a person being given freedom when in reality the Romans never did this at Passover, or was it a Title for Jesus , just as "King of the Jews" was.  Was Pilate testing the crowd...yes...as to their loyalty to Rome?  Was he simply asking if this Jesus is their King or their religious leader?  "King of the Jews" or "Son of the Father", which Barabbas means.  In older versions of Mark Barabbas has the first name of "Jesus" thus being "Jesus, Son of the Father"  These are titles not two men.  The fate of the crowd depended on the answer evidently as this one man Jesus was toast no matter and was crucified as "King of the Jews" with the crowd assuring Pilate they had no King but Caesar.  Good answer .....  Or just an amazing coincidence that these were two literal men.  One named Jesus King of the Jews and one named Jesus Son of God.  Uh huh....
At any rate, to question the story is to run great risk of abuse at the hands of the faithful who need the stories to be literally true as they learned in Sunday School and that all the characters of the New Testament Church loved each other in Jesus and got along famously in the faith. That is very far from reality, but don't question it.

I can't tell you how many, while not near as many as those who appreciate the inquiry, take the time to write and remind me I will change my mind when I am frying in the fires of Hell in the judgment. No one has bothered to answer one question posed, but they just know I should go to hell for asking it. Some who write are subtle in their warnings to me. Some sound like a human form of God who will warn me to "gird up my loins" (my loins are just fine) and get ready to answer, but that's where it ends. I guess they feel God himself is about to break out upon me for asking questions about the faith. So far so good. Some talk to me like I imagine Moses talked to the Children of Israel when he was really angry at them in God's name. Some are not so subtle as one reminded me that "Dennis, words can get you killed." Well the history of religion that does not appreciate questions proves that!
Is it wrong to notice the inconsistencies, errors, goofs, bad science, poor examples, contradictions, animosities, politic and real history of the Bible? Depends who you ask. Those who believe that none of those things exist in the Holy Book would shout "yes!" In my view, the answer is "no it is not."
Why is it OK and even something one should demand of their honest selves? Because ideas have consequences. Because the stories and ideas expressed in the texts are used to control people in various life circumstances. Because some use the mythologies of the Bible to make up literally real laws that effect women and children, and generally not in a good way. Because many are kept in fear, guilt and life long shame being reminded way too often that they, as a human, are worthless without divine intervention. Being born right the first time, as I have said in the past, is a truth that is kept far from their consciousness.
It is always right to ask questions about that which seems like it deserves to have a question asked. If you can't imagine Joshua raising his hands and stopping the earth from rotating (which is what stopping the sun actually is)  without planet wide consequences...just ask your Pastor how can that be. Of course be ready to hear, "with God all things are possible," which is not what you asked.

If you can't picture penguins and polar bears ambling down to the middle east to get on the Ark, just ask your Pastor about that. If you wonder where dinosaurs or Homo Erectus fit in, just ask your Pastor. The answer might be ill informed, but it's OK to ask.
If you notice that Paul never quotes Jesus, yet gets to write most of the NT heavy meaning of Jesus, just ask. If you notice that Paul thinks Peter, James and John, the disciples of Jesus don't seem to have anything Paul needs (Galatians 1-2) to learn from them and he learns nothing from them, and think that's kinda strange...just ask. If you notice the Birth or Resurrection of stories as written in the Gospels don't match very well and seem contradictory, just ask. If you say "they seem to be contradictory," be prepared to have the word "seem" jumped upon, but you still have the right to ask. I'm not saying you'll get a good or correct answer. You might, but probably not. But you have the right to ask. And you certainly have the right to notice the many problems in the Bible if you know the Bible well enough to notice in the first place.
One thing is for sure. If you are a genuine seeker and you truly notice that the Bible has some real problems with what we truly know today about many topics and even within itself in the form of many contradictions and editing done by one to correct the problems of the other, it's OK to ask. A real seeker cannot not notice what they notice. You can't go back to the lame apologetics that many offer to explain away the problem as if there is no problem. You can't unsee what you do see. You can't unring a bell. Oh..you also have the right to expect not to be penalized for asking in the first place. Just don't count on it.


31 comments:

Anonymous said...

The tough guys need to gird up their own loins and tell their church leaders and neo-con progressive legacy media liars to shove it.

set the captives free said...

If a 'child' can't ask a difficult or challenging question of a parent, teacher, minister, I call that tyranny.

"Just do what I say, don't you *ever* question me." Does anybody else see that requires putting curiosity and wonder out of the equation. Memorize everything we tell you and do it. It seems to say we are to put the brain/mind in park or neutral and leave it there. If there are no answers, if there are no reasonable doubts or differences, how and over what issues did Jacob/Israel "prevail" when "wrestling with the angel" that ended with Jacob/Israel getting a permanent limp forever after from having his hip put out of joint? Oops, I asked-ed a question. Some kids are always expecting that WHAM from out of nowhere for asking a simple question. I call that abuse. Wouldn't most of these so-called christian's define it as abuse if human parents do that to their children? Yet, they condone/command it in their practices.

How do you grow in grace and knowledge if question are forbidden? Does grace and knowledge only come from the mouth of the minister/teacher? or by instantaneous fiat? If by the latter, then why are we told we must have teachers and instruction?

Don't think, don't reason, don't doubt (EVER), don't have questions about anything but the Teddy bear brain fluff stuff, just do.

We are Borg. Not!@

Anonymous said...

I work with about 65 people in my department and I work 10 hours a day, 4 days a week at the same place since 1997 and I rarely, if ever, here the slightest mention of politics or religion. I don't know what fucking part of the country your in, but here in Louisiana, Nobody actually gives a shit if a person is a Christian or not because here we have RESPECT for others political views and religious ideology.

True Bread said...

I can relate Dennis....

After meeting Pack for the first time, when he jumped to the GCG, I asked him about Josephus' comments on the Passover...his response was "Todd, this might not be the church for you.." My family was right there with me when he said that. I never went back. That one encounter eventually led to me starting True Bread.

I also watched my good friend from WCG toss his bibles into the trash after having enough of Meredith. I never understood how he could blame the Creator for a human's actions...

Byker Bob said...

Todd, how many times did we all hear "God's Church" or "God's Ministers"? How many times were we all admonished in sermons that we were to take every word the Armstrongite ministers spoke as if the words had been spoken directly to us by Jesus Christ?

That type of programming can be very difficult to switch off when leaving! Sometimes it takes months or years for it to finally sink in that God had nothing to do with cretins such as Pack or Meredith. That someone would blame God or throw their Bible away demonstrates why there is especially harsh punishment waiting for false teachers and false prophets!

BB

Anonymous said...

@True Bread. What did Jospephus say about the passover?

Anonymous said...

Meredith was a trained boxer. They all suffer brain damage from the many blows to the head. I wonder if that explains his boring repetitive sermons. How did a non intellectual like Rod get a doctorate while a intellectual like Dennis didn't?

Anonymous said...

BB
And not only were the ministers words to be regarded as God speaking, but they kept telling us the (repetitive) obvious which we were expected to pretend to be profound truths. Every child-like comment was profound.

Anonymous said...

It perplexes me that millions of people never question what they believe. Its seems that generation after generation automaticly pass on the same beliefs with-0ut questioning the validity of those beliefs. For those who are "strong in the faith", what harm will it do to question everything you believe? Its a win-win. If what you believe is the bedrock truth your beliefs will be validated. If what you believe is error you will have the benefit of riding yourself of what may have been harmful beliefs.

Anonymous said...

3.33 AM
I watch the YouTube Jehovah witnesses dissident videos. I do it because it's representative of the many Christian denominations that are run along abusive cult lines.
Watching these videos, it's typically (but not always) members who have been in the organization for 20-30 years who begin to question and reject their false teachings.
It takes most people that long to develop the maturity and independence to begin to think for themselves.

So these deceivers have a enormous natural advantage exploiting peoples youthful immaturity. Sadly I see no solution. It takes a life time to mature.
So the JWs and the David Packs of the world run riot.

Allen C. Dexter said...

You're so right, 3:33. It does take a lifetime to mature. Not surprising, since we start out totally ignorant and get really cocky in our teen age and early adulthood.

Near_Earth_Object said...

Dennis:

There are two themes running through your post. One has to do with the problematical scriptures of the Bible and other has to do with raising questions within the structure of an authoritarian cult.

The latter, first. Armstrongist leadership painted themselves as seekers of the truth but they were not. They were simply defenders of the status quo. In the "1984" organizational configuration of the WCG, the ministry was the thought police. Other purposes were collateral and given little attention. Policemen are generally unreceptive to having their authority question. And any question of any sort might be interpreted that way.

I asked a local elder (a gigantic authority) in a congregation back in the Midwest a small and innocuous question and before I knew it he was standing toe-to-toe with me before a crowd at Sabbath services shouting in my face. Really a weird guy. He went on to have a career in Grace Communion International and recently retired. He had a serious anger management problem - to the point that I would think he could not function as a minister. Other ministers might have reacted differently but along the same philosophical lines. Lay members had no right to question anything. They were supposed to support anything a minister said with little agreeing yelps of joy. There was no freedom to discuss. This is a part of cult pathology.

Regarding the problematic scriptures in the Bible: the first question you must ask is "What do you think the Bible is?" If you think it should be like a technical manual written to explain how a piece of instrumentation works, that is not what the Bible is. The inspiration behind the Bible is not a product of automatic writing through human instruments. Yet Biblical literalism would require this. And Biblical literalism is easily shot down at the detailed granularity level, as you have demonstrated.

Dr. Peter Enns has addressed this issue extensively and I am in agreement with him.
He observes that the Bible is "incarnational." In simple terms, the Bible is smudged with the fingerprints of fallible humanity. The only thing I know that God wrote directly were the 10 commandments on Sinai.

But this does not invalidate the broad principles conveyed by the Bible. Even though in the OT we find broad principles that cause us to wonder. So the census in Judges is wrong - who cares? Moreover the Bible, in my personal view, is a punitive document. It was not God's preferred mode of communication. It came about as a result of human misbehavior.

So now that you have cataloged many of its discrepancies, maybe you are being led to ask if you are comparing it to the right model.

Anonymous said...

Neo wrote:

The only thing I know that God wrote directly were the 10 commandments on Sinai.

By your own logic, you can't really know that God wrote the 10 commandments in the form we have them. If there were an 11th commandment, "Thou shalt not amass more wealth than you need," then you can be certain that wealth-seeking scribes and Levites saw that it was expunged. On the other hand, "Honor your father and mother" may have been added to God's Nine Commandments by a scribe with family issues that made this principle a higher priority than honoring your children or siblings or co-workers, etc.

Here's the problem, though. If the Bible isn't a reliable ultimate authority, that leaves the human ministry as that authority. That's what Catholicism and Orthodoxy teach. In this manner, Armstrongism is closer to Catholicism than to Protestantism, as HWA was always the ultimate authority, no matter what individuals thought they had or hadn't understood from their Bibles.

Miller Jones said...

Well said NEO!
Anonymous 1/2/2018 @ 12:13, What about God as the ultimate authority? What if all of us (including the so-called ministry) are growing in grace and knowledge? What if each one of us is responsible for our relationship with the Divine?

Near_Earth_Object said...

Anon 12:13

Reading the Bible does require faith. Reading a technical manual does not require faith - it requires only appropriate knowledge. I believe that God conserved those parts of the writing he wished to be transmitted. I cannot prove that.

The Bible is a reliable ultimate authority at the level of principle. Genesis 1 has some cosmological events out of sequence. I would not use it as an explanation for how the Big Bang operated. But, at the level of principle, it is clear that the Bible asserts that Adonai created the universe ex nihilo.

But if you are sorting through tribal census numbers you may find discrepancies - mostly due to viewing the same thing in different ways.

If everyone were to admit that the Bible is wearing a crust of human involvement, issues of who has ultimate authority would not enter the picture.

Baker's Dozen said...

Anon at 4:10 PM, I think for the most part that this article is directed at the ACOG cults.

Anonymous said...

"Noah's flood" was a localized flooding and not the whole entire planet. Every culture on earth has a flood story interwoven in their mythology. ALL myths, legends & folklore has some elements of truth. A southern Baptist preacher I live next door to is the one who brought the flood story not being a global flood to my attention.

DennisCDiehl said...

Who really wrote what in the Bible has always been the question. Fundamentalists believe Moses wrote the first five books. Many scholars and even rabbis believe there was no real Moses and that the Pentateuch was written by competing priests attempting to give their small cultic people a huge pedigree. Israel Finkelstein, a mover and shaker in the world of Middle Eastern archaeology and author of The Bible Unearthed reviewed with me personally one after noon at Megiddo just why there was no Moses, No Abraham, No Solomon in all his glory and probably no Davidic Kingdom as outlined in the Bible. Again, he noted, "we exaggerate" and the theme of giving themselves a huge pedigree. The Pentateuch was written by exiled Priests in the sixth century BC.

Liberal mainline scholars have traditionally subscribed to the Documentary Hypothesis which argues that Genesis as well as Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers are composed of multiple sources but edited together to form a single work sometime during the Babylonian exile. These sources have been called JEDP. J for Yahwish. E for Elohist. D for Deutronomist, and P for Priestly. Others, of course contest this.

Just as today, there were competing theologies and perspectives with charges flying back and forth about whose lying and whose telling the truth. Many OT Books are written by multiple authors...Isaiah being a good example.

New Testament authorship is well handled in Bart Ehrman's "Forged" and "Misquoting Jesus".
In many cases we simply do no know who wrote what. The Gospels were by neither eyewitnesses nor the authors whose names were later affixed. They were originally anonymous. They contradict each other and in some instances clean up the mistakes of earlier authors. For example, Mark being written first , only has the account of Mary and Jesus brothers coming to get him "because they thought he was insane." This had to go and is never spoken of again in Luke, Matthew or John.

About half the books attributed to Paul were pseudopigraphy (Forged) in his name. A common practice of the day.

True Bread said...

BB...

They deserve what they will receive, as the Messiah said..."Verily I say unto you, you have your reward."

I agree 100%....thanks.

True Bread said...

6:20

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@True Bread. What did Jospephus say about the passover?

Anon, Josephus makes it clear that the children of Israel were killing the lambs on the 14th of Nisan on the LUNAR calendar, which is diametrically opposed to LCG, etc dogma on the their "passover" observations (a type of a mass), and totally destroys the teachings on the postponements which were revealed by Hillel II in about 325 AD....reference: Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews,chapter 10, paragraph 5.

Anonymous said...

@True Bread. Thank you for your response. Does that mean that World Wide and all its offshoots are not keeping Passover on the correct date?

True Bread said...

5:20

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@True Bread. Thank you for your response. Does that mean that World Wide and all its offshoots are not keeping Passover on the correct date?

January 2, 2018 at 5:20 PM

I'm pretty sure I answered that per my last comment...however I don't come here to convert people on Gary's blog....matter of fact I don't care what you or anyone else believes...I've been down that road and ain't going there again. Don't follow me around or send me your money, but you are more than welcome to watch my videos.

besides, I really only come here to read Connie's comments...



Todd

Yes and No to HWA said...

A couple of observations, nothing new, on the calendar/s:

"... unless all indications are deceitful, they did not in the time of Jesus Christ possess as yet any fixed calendar, but on the basis of a purely empirical observation, on each occasion they began a new month with the appearing of the new moon, and likewise on the basis of each repeated observation intercalulated a month in the spring of every third and second years, in accordance with the rule that the Passover under all circumstances must fall after the vernal equinox.

"The system of intercalation was not fixed even in the second century after Christ...

"... in the age of the Mishna, in the second Christian century ... the whole legislation rests on the presupposition that the new month, without previous reckoning, was begun each time upon the new moon becoming visible. So soon as the appearance of the new moon was proved by credible witnesses before the competent court at Jerusalem and later at Jamnia, the new moon was solemnized, and all the rites had been observed, messengers were sent in order to notify the opening of the new month...

"Since naturally, it was known pretty accurately when the appearing of the new moon was to be expected, every effort would be made so as to fix the date when ever possible upon the right day...

"If one therefore towards the close of the year noticed that the Passover would fall before the vernal equinox, the intercalation of a month before Nisan would have to be resorted to...

"And yet, primitive as this calendar was, it had this great advantage, that serious and persistent inaccuracies, such as in the course of the year inevitably crept into a calendar calculated upon an incorrect basis was avoided. - The very complicated later Jewish calendar, calculated upon the nineteen years' cycle, is said to have been introduced by the patriarch Hillel in the fourth century after Christ. Although this is not witnessed to with absolute certainty, it is not improbable..." (Emil Schurer, A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, First Division, Vol. 2, pp.366-72).

"The present Hebrew calendar is the product of evolution, including a Babylonian influence. Until the Tannaitic period (approximately 10-220 CE) the calendar employed a new crescent moon, with an additional month normally added every two or three years to correct for the difference between twelve lunar months and the solar year. When to add it was based on observation of natural agriculture-related events. Through the Amoraic period (200-500 CE) and into the Geonic period, this system was gradually displaced by the mathematical rules used today. The principles and rules were fully codified by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah in the 12th century. Maimonides' work also replaced counting "years since the destruction of the Temple" with the modern creation-era Anno Mundi" (Wikipedia, Hebrew Calendar).

"Cf. Bruce, "while John times his passion narrative with references to the official temple date of the Passover, our Lord and his disciples, following (it may be) another calendar, observing the festival earlier" (p.279). So also I. H. Marshall, "Our conclusion, then, is that Jesus held a Passover meal earlier than the official Jewish date, and that he was able to do so as the result of calendar differences among the Jews" (Last Supper and Lord's Supper [Exter, 1980], p.75" (Leon Morris, The Gospel According to John, Revised, NICNT, p.695).

Anonymous said...

The bible is the infallible inspired word of God. That the holy spirit on occasion 'speaks' a scripture into a Christians mind in answer to a prayer request, is proof of this.

Anonymous said...

@True Bread. I was just asking. I was not trying to be rude. I am a former member of restored church of god and i am having a hard time trying to decide what i am going to do with the rest of my life now

True Bread said...

5:08

Anonymous Anonymous said...

@True Bread. I was just asking. I was not trying to be rude. I am a former member of restored church of god and i am having a hard time trying to decide what i am going to do with the rest of my life now


No worries....glad to hear you finally had the sense to get away from Pack, as I once had to do. If you just did leave that group it will take you some time to decompress...just a bit of advice...hang out here at Banned and know you are among friends, most of whom have gone through similar circumstances, and can write very eloquently about their experiences, (eg BB and nck). Also, the Painful Truth and Ambassador Report are worth the time to check out. The most important suggestion I can make is to not blame the Creator for the existence of a madman like Pack. It took me many years to pick my bible up again when I left the GCG. Don't let that whackjob affect your spiritual life.

True Bread said...

Yes and No to HWA said...

A couple of observations, nothing new, on the calendar/s:


Yes and no, thanks for the input. You shed some new light on the topic for me. As far as I know, the intercalations are mostly used due to winter weather still in the land and it not being fully Spring. The month can only have either 29 or 30 days, so even if the crescent is not seen for a few months, we knows that a new month will begin after the 30th day, so I am comfortable that this system is very reliable.

Also, we can see the sun and use it to determine when the day ends and begins. That was the main issue to me when I started using the observable new moon crescent to begin the months.

Dennis Diehl said...

Perhaps someday it will dawn on the COGS that the "Gospel" has absolutely nothing to do with the math or the moon

Yes and No to HWA said...

“Perhaps someday it will dawn on the COGS that the "Gospel" has absolutely nothing to do with the math or the moon”

Hi Dennis, I would disagree that the moon has “absolutely nothing” to do with the Gospel.

Ac 28:31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ…

I do not take 28:31 as a synonymous parallelism and see that there are two aspects to the Gospel; using OT theology that would be teaching about the Messiah and the Messianic Age.

Isa 66:23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.

Teaching about worshipping Jesus Christ on the “new moon” in the Messianic Age would be an aspect of the Gospel, at least for me.

It appears that you are on the same page as HWA in this regard:

“I know of NO ONE in any church or synagogue who completely understands Ezekiel from chapter 40 on—and it is not Gospel teaching for our time, now.” (HWA, see the latest issue of The Journal).

Eze 46:1 Thus saith the Lord GOD; The gate of the inner court that looketh toward the east shall be shut the six working days; but on the sabbath it shall be opened, and in the day of the new moon it shall be opened.
Eze 46:2 And the prince shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate: then he shall go forth; but the gate shall not be shut until the evening.
Eze 46:3 Likewise the people of the land shall worship at the door of this gate before the LORD in the sabbaths and in the new moons.

I disagree with HWA when he says “it is not Gospel teaching for our time”. Some observations:

“The [Millennial] requirements for the day of the new moon are increased vis-a-vis the sabbath [but still maintaining the historical new moon increase over the Sabbath]...

“The addition of a goat as a sin-offering [in the Mosaic Torah] can ... show how differently the experiences of this day [in the Ezekielain Torah] were now orientated” (Walther Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2 - A Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel Chapters 25-48, p.491).

“Even though the eastern gate to the inner court was to be opened on the Sabbath and the new moon, this did not grant general admittance to the inner court on these occasions. On the contrary, the gate regulations clearly reflect and reinforce the stratification of society. However, this ordinance focuses on the [human Davidic] nasi’...” (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-28, NICOT, p.67).

“ “The people of the land,” however, are only permitted to approach to the entrance of the gate (46:3). With eight steps leading up to the gateway and beyond it a corridor almost ninety feet long, it is clear that their view of the activities of the inner court is decidedly limited. In Ezekiel’s program, the laity are being kept a “safe” distance from the holy things” (Iain, M. Duguid, Ezekiel, NIVAC, p.519).

“... the open door would provide at least a token of intimacy each week and month...” (Leslie C. Allen, Ezekiel 20-48, WBC, p.267).

“While this ordinance also assumes the continued relevance of the Decalogue (Exod. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15), here the concern is the sanctity not so much of the day but of the place where Yahweh is to be worshiped” (Daniel I. Block, The Book of Ezekiel Chapters 25-28, NICOT, p.671).

“While all cultic activity on the prince’s part on these special days, and even when he wishes to bring his offering out of turn, takes place in the gate of the inner court which is normally closed and which is opened only for those special occasions, there occurs again and again the reminder that access to the presence of God is never simply open, available every day equally to men on their own initiative, but is a gracious possibility ordained always afresh by the will of God” (Walther Zimmerli, Ezekiel 2, pp.493-94).

Anonymous said...

5.08 AM
When I stopped attending services, I just read the OT and not the NT. The reason was that so much of the NT has been 'hijacked' by the church, with its own self serving interpretation. After several years, I came back to the NT and found that I could see it through my own eyes rather than the churches eyes.
That was my experience. But as always, 'work out your own salvation.'

Anonymous said...

@719pm

When I stopped attending services, I just read the OT and not the NT. The reason was that so much of the NT has been 'hijacked' by the church, with its own self serving interpretation. After several years, I came back to the NT and found that I could see it through my own eyes rather than the churches eyes.
That was my experience. But as always, 'work out your own salvation.'


I think that is a great idea. I want to be completely free of Armstrong. I dont think God was with World Wide or any its off shoots