Chris, I just want to point out a few things to you. Let me preface by saying I'm the one who challenged your use of the Bible. Not Buzz. Wether or not he agrees with me I don't know but don't confuse the two of us as the same or hold him accountable for what I write.
1) One of the most Difficult lessons the Lord has taught me is HE is right and WE are wrong
"He is right and We are wrong" you said. We Christians love to say stuff like that but what does it really mean? That is like saying never say never. It should be said "he is right and we must follow". If we are always wrong then why are we even having this debate? If you are talking about denying the flesh then yes we must, but denying doesn't mean ignoring. If you don't look at your symptoms you'll never be able to find out what is wrong, and if no one is willing to talk to you about them you'll never now how to be cured.
I was trying to state that We are all proud and think we know much when we know very little.
The only concrete example we have of Gods will is the Scriptures, anything opposing them is not of God.
2) And the only resource we have to discern which spirit we listen to is the Scriptures.
And this is a big one... and kind of of the subject. About the scriptures. I must start by saying I believe the Bible contains the Word of God. Having said that, the only real evidence to when it first appeared as the Bible is the date the "church" was formed because they were the first to put together the books of the current Bible
Faith does not require evidence.
(Much easier to control a religion if there is a play by play rule book incidentally). Funny thing about the control assertation I hear many try and weave about the scriptures, is that if one actually reads them, the alleged control that many hype as the churches doing is non existent according to the scriptures.
Another interesting thing is that the dead sea scrolls were found to contain far more then just what is currently in the Bible. The group we call the Bible didn't even exist at the time all the books were written.
I also recall that the vast majority of the text that duplicate what we received, are exactingly close, demonstrating the care to preserve the word as God originally breathed it.
Whom then decided what was valid and what wasn't? Could God have orchestrated it all? Sure, I'm not saying the scriptures aren't the word of God, I am just trying to illustrate how foolish it is to site it as your only reference/fail safe.
If you have no rule book then you have no rules. God is not the author of confusion
Don't you think God speaks to us through more than just the Bible? And don't you think God uses the imperfect to accomplish his will? Look at David, look at Solomon, Abraham, etc. etc. All flawed, but all used in a huge way.
Yes and that's why WE test the Spirit to see if its Genuinely of God and lines up with the scriptures.
Therefore couldn't the Bible be imperfect?
I personally have faith that it is.
You don't have to think it is to admit there is the slightest possibility.
You mean like Satan suggested to Eve in the Garden?
And if the book itself is not couldn't our understanding of it be flawed?
Its not like we don't all have access to it to read it for ourselves. I have stated to rebuke me scripturally if you feel I am twisting them to say what I wish, instead of them bending me to his will.
Take for instance the debate between the old and new testament. Many believe the rules changed once Christ died for us (and indeed they did). But some say it's as true today as the time it was written about. I hope you don't think that you are unclean and could go to hell if you were to die while your wife was having her period. Sound crazy? It's in the Bible (Leviticus 15:19-32), and we could play this little game all day long.
I am not playing a Game. And it is not that difficult to read.
Think about this... The Bible never says that it is the infallible word of God... How could it, it didn't exist yet. Go ahead and say that God knew it would be brought together so he went ahead and told John to put it in there, and you could be right, but your strongest example, the scripture you reference from Rev., isn't talking about the Bible at all. It's talking about the vision... the book of Revelations itself. Whom ever really wrote the book put that in there so people would take great care not to alter parts of his vision. Prophecy is all but useless if it isn't exactly translated.
As I quoted for Buzz its by no means the only example, but it is one of the more to the point. I used to go around and dispute and question it myself, until God Showed me the error of my ways, not to mention running across that verse, and it begging the question, is all of the criticism, and doubt and alternate theories, Are they worth Risking the punishment that the scriptures warn us of, or is that really the Word of God, and something we should fearfully hold as holy, and be terrified of the consequences of not taking it seriously.
Then there is the fact that Christians disagree on translation. Do you know Zondervan? Do you respect that name? If you do then you may be surprised to learn that they acknowledge there is a debate among Christians about wether or not The prophecy of Revelations has already happen or not. If that is news to you then that may be a sign that you are a bit too sheltered at this stage in your walk with the Lord.
I am aware of them, and their "revisions" yet if one believes the scriptures they know God does not change.
I'm not trying to "disprove the Bible", I'm just bringing to light that there are things surrounding it that are still open to debate. And should not be your only resource for reasoning.
Why said I am reasoning? as for them being my only resource, they are sufficient.
As for debate, and resources, the scriptures point only at Christ, I cannot say the same about any other "resource"
I grew up Christian, I went to a private Christian school, I went to church 3 times a week, I've read the Bible continually, I've felt the Holy Spirit, and I've heard your point of view many many times. Darn near every time it leads to periods of disillusionment. In what exactly?
See I have not always been, I was brought to church on occasion, but I was Not informed about it properly.
Imagine my surprise when I actually began reading it for myself, and then realizing that I had personally witnessed many of the things it speaks about . As for my point of view, and your hearing it, I am not so sure you have because I haven't heard it, I have read it in the scriptures, but not seen or heard too many that believe them like I do.
Once you find the Christian world isn't this perfect little bubble of truth, you are in danger of throwing it all away. I don't look to the world, I look to Christ.
I have not had that struggle because I have always tempered what the church gave me with prayer, the Bible, and my God given experiences. For my money it's best to take things with a grain of salt, to challenge preconceived ideas and to live your life actively in prayer.
I only challenge them when they contradict the scriptures.
To be clear I was born a pagan(heathen)gentile, and raised up in it most of my whole life.
The spirit, and the Word have shown me the truth, that this world, this place, will not last.
But it is a place.
Do read the Bible, It's the most direct line to God outside of prayer, but don't throw everything else out without a second thought.
The scriptures tell us to test all things, I am doing that, are you?
It seams foolish to say "I don't dispute the Bible because the Bible told me not to"... I'm sure many religious text say the same thing. Joseph Smith certainly used that line, and the Koran, etc. But I'm not here to dispute the Bible. I'm just saying all this because you seam so determined to prove it's the only reference we have available to us.
We are told to not rely on our own understanding, when I said I was wrong and Gos is right, that's just one more thing He is right about, that without his word for discernment, we are blind. And we rely on ourselves.
3) As for "responsibly using magic" would you also apply that reasoning to a responsible use of premarital sex? What about blasphemy?
You ask if I could "responsibly" use extramarital sex as well. Absolutely...in fiction. And isn't that what we are talking about here? You can learn a lesson through fiction and hopefully not have to learn it again first hand in real life. Isn't that the idea of a morality tale? Blasphemy I would not do because writing the Lords name in vain is the same as speaking it. But I could allude to it to make a point.
Again I am not talking about totally banning any example of sin whatsoever. What I am talking about is taking a sin, any sin witchcraft, or fornication, and picking it up, and dusting it off, and trying to present it as something it is not, Good.
4) You need to ask yourselves, does it edify God? If it does not, and by extension does not edify the lost to God, and help them Grow in Christ, then do you really want to argue that it is something you should be doing? much less defending?
We don't edify God, God edifies us... I should have said Glorify there, and edify each other ,and the weak, and lost.
If we follow his will.
Once again we defend the right to use magic as a tool to educate Christians and non Christians about God, what is of him and what is not. We would never defend real magic. Magic is never harmless.
So are you saying you do not present it in a flattering fashion or light?
Like I stated I am not against explaining how it is a snare to some, and not of God.
But I am against, making it cute and fuzzy, and presenting it as something cool, benign, or acceptable to God.
5) How can anyone share the Gospel of Christ, without the Gospel?
We'll that's easy, The real Gospel aint' a book. We have a personal relationship with him and the true gospel is more than the written page. The Bible is certainly where it comes from, but it also transcends into countless works of fiction etc. Once we know the truth we carry it around like a light. Don't you think that someone without a Bible on had can win over someone to the Lord? I may not always be able to regurgitate scripture word for word but I can certainly give the gist of it and pray that God would direct and use my words (As I do before I start any of these posts). The goal all the while is to usher people back to the Bible (the source) whether it be in a direct or indirect manor and then ultimately to prayer and the man himself.
You just made my argument for me , you know that don't you? I Am only saying that the bible is the only way we have to verify that what we speak, and do to share the Good news is in line with Gods will. If we deviate so that we are contradicting it, we are not in line with his will.
6)Once you remove Jesus Christ from it to make it more palatable to the non believers, you also remove the very one they desperately NEED to get to know.
When on earth did any of us say we want to take Christ out of anything? You see this is the danger I speak of. If A is true, then B must be true, and if B is true then C must follow and so on. This is your argument in a nut shel but it's full of holes and preconceived ideas.
You mean like the judgement you have just made of me, based on your own preconceived ideas ,and experience?
All we really know first hand is that A is true. If A is God exists than that is the only all or nothing question, but B and C can be sticky customers. Obviously your B and C differ from mine.
If you doubt the scriptures, or are incorporating something else with them then yes, But otherwise read what I am saying, instead of jumping to conclusions about me. I know you "think" you've heard it before, but If your a Christian, you have just thrown doubt and suspicion, upon Gods word in your opening paragraph. And Were all supposed to be Christians. I mean are you saying you doubt it yourself, or are you playing the devils advocate, and if so why?
I would venture a guess that you have not traveled the world or talked to many Christians outside the US. If you had you might understand how really big a varied our knowledge of God is. There are many language translations of the Bible, and even more interpretations. Are you the only one right just because you say so? Christianity is a thinking man's religion. The minute it stops being that is the minute it dies. The Catholics say they are the one true church. Are you a Catholic?
So you might say "if you question something about the Christian faith then you'll have to question everything about it" and I say Good. That leaves plenty of room for God to work. Some admittedly can not handle this. Their faith is to shallow and rooted in Ritual that it has never truly been tested, but for others God speaks more clearly and they are able to step out in faith to win new territory.
Elaborate a bit more on this you start off sounding one way, then its like question everything. if you question everything, then how are you obeying God, and how do you know your are obeying? If you cant trust anything.
I trust the scriptures, everything else, unless it lines up with the word, is a tradition of men.
7) Allegory and moral lessons aside, the Bible gives us very specific things to do and say in faith, and it might offend some atheist.
Not offending is not my mission, but not driving away is part of my mission. Your mission may be different and just as valid. Praise God that you were able to witness. Stick with what works, but don't admonish others for doing it differently. It all leads to the same place.
Thats what I am trying to discern you almost come off as universal, hence my confusion. Not all roads lead to the same destination
That will have to be the last one. I want to comment on another topic before I run out of time.
I am growing to really appreciate Buzz's point of view. I think he may disagree with some of what I say but I usually agree with what he says. Like he said, debate is a good thing and will help all of us to grow.
I don't feel like its a debate yet, because I don't understand where you are coming from.
Looks like we wrote our posts at the same time but you beat me to it Buzz.
Man, I wrote all that and I should have just gone with little Toot, LOL!
God bless you Buzz!
Your point on premarital sex is astute although I don't know If I understand your view on premarital relations. Are you saying it should be admissible? As you know, just because it isn't officially stated doesn't mean it isn't implied. You are probably arguing, like me, that things not in the Bible are toted as scripture and Visa Versa, but it still makes me take pause.
See Chris, this is an instance where if I relied only on the Bible I couldn't dispute his statement. If he and I disagree on this basic level and I can't overturn his statement with bonafide proof then I will have to rely on more theological means and appeal to his baser instincts and reasoning skills.
At the moment I'm not going to dispute his statement... but I want to and I may down the line when I have something articulate to say.
-- R Jay
I mostly agree with what you are saying (I think) but I was responding to the original posters direct implication of "wizards, and fairies, and charms and potions. And maybe even, as lightly used as it would be, spells" all of which I would call witchcraft, or idolatry, (placing ones faith in an item or charm. )Short is good. I'll be short too.
I, like you, would never use magic without showing it's consequence and aversion to God, or portray gifts of the holy spirit without a distinction from magic (though maybe not immediately sometimes). The difference between you and me is (I think) that I am open to that which you may call magic, but I would call fantasy or make believe. Superman flies, is that magic? I say no. Is the story of Pinocchio evil? I say no. Until God shows me otherwise, I will defend this use of fantasy to convey more important issues and ideas though I will caution others to do it responsibly. .
-- R Jay
What examples of magic do you approve of in fiction?
Any that work dramatically and do not lead the reader to think magick is a viable belief system comparable to Christianity. (I will use "magick" to denote the actual belief practiced by some people and "magic" as a clearly imaginary fictional plot device.)
And your audience is clearly informed of this difference how exactly?
My stance is that if you promote it, what is stopping you from promoting other sins as well?
Nothing. But since we're talking about magic the clearly imaginary fictional plot device, then it is not a sin.
But that's my point, if it is merely a plot device and nothing more, why even use it at all? if it has no value other than to propel the story, why not use an alternative, that is not clearly associated with the occult?
You obviously, feel little responsibility, for the potential to open the floodgates to other writers, many not Christians, to not only use less fictional forms of witchcraft, but also the ADAPTATION of other sins into (clearly imaginary fictional plot devices)
I am concerned also by using the word, but then placing the disclaimer that its imaginary therefore ok, that many can take that as inference that any number of real world analogs, that are not imaginary, are also safe to dabble in, when the Bible tells us they are not. You seem to be equating Christianity to a belief system, and while Yes it is superior in every way to the utter uselessness of witchcraft, You assume that all of your readers will be able to discern this, but how can they discern it when you are seemingly supporting it?
What effort are you making in your work to show the reader that Christ alone is the way of salvation, and that some occult charm, spell, or artifact have not only no good outcome, but should be avoided in real life?
Mentioning it, or demonstrating how it can separate one from God, are not promoting it.
Shifting the goal posts? Up to this point you've been arguing any mention of magic is anti-Christian unless it is to condemn it.
Actually no I have not , you just jumped to conclusions and assumed that. Unless of course you are arguing that taking up the name magic is somehow supposed to make it acceptable ,because it is like a gun or knife and inert except in the hands of the user. Which Yes I disagree with.
I do think we as modern Christians are all to eager to adopt things that we have a predisposition toward, without first testing those things under the light of the scriptures to see if it is in line with Gods word.
Most people frown on Nazis, but the swastika existed before them, but that doesn't make it a Good thing, because the Nazis adopted it as their emblem.
But I see it as hypocritical to use wizards, fairies, charms, potions, and, spells.
In. What. Context? Did our flying unicorn have to visit the wizard to find the magic charm that would free the faries from the evil spell they fell under when they drank the potion? Anybody who reads a story like that and believes it represents reality in any factual way is Seriously Screwed Up in the head.
Yet parents read these stories to their children YOUNG children every day, and so I assume you are expecting a child taught fairy tales to somehow discern the difference between that , and Gods word? Many of which are taught these tales instead of Gods word.
But to turn away from foul language, murder, homosexuality, etc .
Again, in what context? I was in the Army 6 years, I don't have a problem with language that a lot of other people would have. I try to keep my audience in mind when I write, and much more often as not I can find alternatives to the really salty stuff, but I won't hold back if the story demands it.
The story demands it? But who is it that is directing the story?
Case in point, some years ago I wrote a screenplay based on Robert Smalls [Google him] in which white Confederates frequently called Smalls & his fellow slaves the n-word. Because, y'know, that's what they did to slaves back then, in addition to branding them, whipping then, beating them, raping them, and splitting up families by selling them. I would hope I'd never use the n-word in any real life conversation, but the Smalls story pretty much required it.
I doubt you presented that in a flattering light hearted way either. Magic is typically presented as benign and friendly, and all that, unless of course its by the overbearing , like I assume you perceive myself as, who are just fuddy duddy sticks in the mud trying to take all fun away from life.
Murder? As in the unlawful, unsanctioned taking of a human life? Hard call. I can think of any number of fictional dramatic situations that might become morally confused enough for a person to commit or at least contemplate murder. To use murder casually -- the way old serials and B-westerns used to bump off baddies & supporting cast -- is neither good drama nor good morality. To use if effectively, the way it was used in THE UNFORGIVEN, f'r instance, can prompt a lot of thinking & soul-searching in the audience.
Homosexuality? Again, tell me the context. I'd have no more problem writing about a sympathetic gay character than I would about a sympathtic alcoholic, a sympathetic adulterer, or a sympathetic embezzler. Conversely, I could write about an unsympathetic clergyman, an unsympathetic parent, an unsympathetic fireman.
Now who is shifting the goal post. I am not talking about sinners, but the sin itself being repackaged and recycled into allegedly something new. The scriptures warn us about this, that there is nothing new under the sun, and to not call good evil , and evil Good.
Telling a creator what he/she can/can't write about is like denying them the letters "A," "N," "S," and "T" 'cuz you can write "Satan" with 'em.
I me--, -eriou-ly, doe--'- -h-- -ou-d u--erly ridiculou-?
Uhh again, I am not arguing that you can under no circumstnce use the word witchcraft, or anything associated with it, but rather how you are arguing in support of being able to repackage something the Scriptures NEVER ever speak well of, and re brand it as something Good. New and improved, is hardly ever new, or improved. Its like a brothel with a sign that says under new management, but the business itself is the same. That's the problem with harry potter, both the protagonist, and antagonist, use the very same sin, and in doing so render the sin benign, and of no meaning. And yes wizard of oz would fall under the same situation, like the word says there is nothing new under the sun.
Like the old saying goes, "There's enough good in the worst of us, and enough bad in the best of us, that none of us should be judging the rest of us." The only people Christ passed judgment on while He was on Earth were those scribes & Pharisees -- "hypocrits" as He called them -- who claimed to be better than everyone else.