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I will not deal with people who intentionally refuse to follow the topic I started.

No problem~but it was Stromcrow who started his post with these words:

Quick show of hands: how many futurists believe they will escape bodily death because of the rapture?  If you think you will avoid the pain of death, think again.

All this is to say that preterists don't have as much trouble with the resurrection as futurists do

So who first intentionally refuse to follow the thread. 

  If you see no difficulties with your paradigm, this is not the place for you.

Then it is not for me.  Here is why, and then I am finish:  I believe that the scriptures alone are our only source of truth. Daniel 10:31 I believe that truth is hidden there in, not outside of the scriptures.  I believe that the scriptures alone will interpret themselves for us, by comparing scriptures with scriptures.  The scriptures defines its meaning of words, not Webster.  I believe if a regenerate child of God never heard of 70 A.D. it would never affect his understanding God's truth that is recorded and hidden within the scriptures~none whatsoever!   To understand God's truth, all that is needed is a regenerate spirit that is capable of learning, (the Holy Spirit living within a person)  faith, prayer, and a elder of the faith guiding their regenerated spirit~no outside source, or extra-biblical means can give any light, or understanding upon God's truth.  Truth is Divinely given to the elect on the behalf of Jesus Christ, and more so, as they apply themselves diligently to the things of God, and not of this world.     

Theology Forum / Re: Church Autonomy: The spectrum.
« Last post by e.r.m. on Today at 09:44:43 AM »
I think it's hard to get back to the model of 1st century Christianity simply because we don't live in the 1st Century.
It's true there were things like the special offering to Jerusalem but money and letters took a long time to get back and forth.
I have read some scholars who seem to think that the "bishop" was a simple overseer, but probably closest to a head pastor and certainly not these grand political figures that could council a king on what wars to engage in or refrain from.  I don't see any characters like that in the 1st Century church. 
Paul addresses bishops plural in his letter to the Macedonian city of Philippi but it's not clear at that point if there was more than one house church or several were qualified at the level of an overseer.

We've seen in these culture of the pastor churches like Crystal Cathedral what happens when a strong and popular head-pastor quits and the assembly loses direction and falls apart.  That's not a biblical model for the Church, same thing when the Church falls apart after "pastor" gets into a scandal but all those churches have other problems to go along with their leadership model.  I would suggest that if something happens to a "head pastor" and things get confusing and direction is lost it wasn't a biblical church model.

I do know of independent churches that join some association only for the purpose of providing mission funds, something very hard for a small assembly to do.  Sometimes associations also provide things like publishing resources and leadership training but as the list goes on it starts turning into a virtual denomination.

In my current community there are several large old-line denominational churches, I'm pretty sure they have their mortgages paid off but were expanding onto their properties before over-all church growth started to wane.
One has a large Gymnasium and another has a large dining hall and kitchen even providing a "free kitchen" to the homeless and less fortunate once a week.  They all share resources and expenses for shared functions and community out-reach.
Their youth groups sometimes do things together but obviously the Calvinists don't want the liberals teaching their kids doctrine.  Then again if one goes to the church that's supposed to be "reformed" it seems like going to a Rick Warren satellite church so I don't know exactly what's going on there.
I agree we can't be exactly like the NT church due to 21st century demands and laws.
There are a lot of aspects of the 1st century church that we can look at, but. I"d like to focus on interdependence and autonomy.
I agree with you about associations, they can be thorny. Other models are conventions and hierarchies. The 1st century church wasn't so formal or official or distant.  The first century church seemed to to be more like a family than an organization.
Theology Forum / Changing Masters in Romans 6
« Last post by soterion on Today at 09:43:24 AM »
One of the concepts that has always intrigued me in scripture is that of voluntary servitude. We read about such in the Old Testament, in Exodus 21:5-6 and Deuteronomy 15:12-17. It is alien to most of us, perhaps all of us, to willingly give ourselves as slaves to somebody else. Certainly our jobs can feel like servitude at times, just having to work to pay bills and take care of the family can feel like some form of a slavery system. However, such is not the same as willingly giving up our freedoms to serve another until the end of this life.

Scripture describes another kind of voluntary slavery besides that of a man or woman serving another person. In Romans chapter 6, Paul describes a type of slavery, a type that I suspect most people are not aware of (with the exception of you good folks on this site, and others who know the word of God). In fact, I understand Paul to say that all people are slaves to one of two masters. This fact escapes many because there is no apparent giving up of certain basic freedoms, no apparent supplications to somebody who claims mastery over them, no apparent punishments for disobedience, etc. Since this slavery is not of a physical nature, such as what most think of when they contemplate slavery, most such people see themselves as free with regard to their lives and the consequences of their actions.

For this study, the key verses in Romans 6 are 11 and 22:
"So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus."

"But now, freed from sin and enslaved to God, you have your benefit leading to sanctification, and the end is eternal life."

Paul specifies the two masters as sin and God. In John 8:34 Jesus said that everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. This committing of sin that Jesus is talking about is the ongoing practice of sin. This is what Paul means in Romans 6:2 as living in sin, or being alive to sin. It should automatically follow that if a person is alive to sin, and thus is a slave to sin, he is not alive to God and a slave of His. The principle found in Matthew 6:24 is true here. A person cannot serve both sin and God.

How does one change masters in this situation? Let's look at this first from Jesus' point of view. Paul describes in Romans 6:3-10 Jesus' death, His burial, and His resurrection. The key concept here is found in verse 10: “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all...” When we talk about the necessity of our dying to sin, we are talking about having to stop living for, and in, sin. Christ had done none of this in His life; He committed no sin. Therefore, He didn't die so He could stop sinning. He died in relation to sin so as to take care of the sin problem for us. He defeated sin so that it could be put to death in us. And, He did this one time for all time. His one death took care of this for all time. Subsequent to this, He was buried and then He was raised from the dead, victorious, not just over sin, but also over death. This is the gospel. John tells us in 1 John 3:8 that this is why Christ came; to destroy the works of the devil. The devil's works are his hold over men because of sin (Hebrews 2:14-15; 1 Corinthians 15:56-57).

Again, how does one change masters in this situation? Let's look at this again, but now from our point of view. In verses 17-18 Paul says that our past obedience to a form, or pattern, of teaching resulted in being set free from sin and becoming slaves of righteousness. The identification of that teaching is found in relation to Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. In verse 5 Paul says that if we have become united together with Him in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection. This, I believe, is the key verse for this concept. I believe the stress is on the union that places us “together with Him.” In being immersed into Christ, we were crucified together with Him (v.6), buried together with Him (v.4), and raise up with Him (v.4). The result of our union with Him in this is our being raised to a new life (v.4), being set free from slavery to sin (v.6), and living together with Christ (v.8).

However, Paul is not dealing just with how the change took place, but with living the new life from now on. Paul is not reaching out to the lost in this context, but rather he is trying to convince the members of the body there in Rome to not contemplate living in sin again. He wants them to live for God and not allow sin back into their lives. While verses 3-10 and 17-18 describe how the change of masters took place, the rest of the chapter deals with after the fact. Paul gave them the details of how they changed masters to remind them why they cannot go back to sin.

In verses 1-2, why can we not keep on sinning? Why should we consider ourselves as dead to sin but alive to God (v.11)? Because we made the commitment from the heart to that form of teaching (verses 3-10, 17-18), because we would otherwise be giving ourselves over to unrighteousness (v.14), because we want to be sanctified from this world and from sin (verses 19 and 22), because we are ashamed of the former things of unrighteousness (v.21), because the life of sin results in death, but giving ourselves to God results in eternal life (v.23).

 In 1 John 3:9 we read, “No one who has been born of God continues to practice sin, because His seed abides in him, and he cannot practice sin.” John is not describing a perfectly sinless existence for the child of God nor is he saying that a child of God could never make a choice during his life to commit sin and even making a practice of it again. He is saying that for the child of God who is presently walking in the light (1 John 1:7) he cannot at the same time live a life of sin. The one who practices sin is of the devil (1 John 3:8) and therefore is not walking in the light. Not living in sin is a choice here just as it is in Romans 6. In verses 13-14 Paul tells the Romans to present their members to God. He tells them to not let sin reign in their bodies so as to obey it. It is a choice we have to make every day.

There are consequences to our choices. Who or what we obey has an eternal impact. All of us are slaves to one or the other. Which ever we are alive to is the one whom we serve. Inasmuch as Christ died to sin, once for all, we who have joined together with Him in the likeness of His death, burial, and resurrection have had sin put to death in us so that we may be slaves to God in righteousness.

Are we still living the sanctified life of one who is a slave of God? Are we still living as those who have the hope of eternal life? Let us heed Paul's warning in Romans 6 and abide in the life God has called us to, the life we have chosen to give ourselves to as slaves. It boils down to who and what we love. If we love sin, we will give ourselves over to it. If we love God, we will give up sin and enslave ourselves to Him. Who do you love?
For the past few months I have been going to church because of my girlfriend Karen. We were really good friends before we started dating. Karen is a very devoted Christian and as her boyfriend I wanted to get to know her faith and become a believer like herself so I went to church. After six weeks, Karen broke up with me as one of the major deciding factor was because she was afraid that I was unable to convert. She was afraid I would pretend to be interested in Christianity until we got married, which at that point I would abruptly leave the church. I tried my very best to reassure her that would definitely not happen but she would not believe me. I don't truly blame her, as I have dated two previous girls before Karen, both of which were both anti religious thus I also became anti religious as well.

After Karen and I broke up, I told her that I would stop going to church as it reminded me of Karen too much. Two weeks after our break-up, I decided to give Christianity another chance. This was not for Karen but for myself. I was seeking peace as I didn't want my heart to ache for Karen anymore. I found this awesome church with excellent people, and surprisingly some of which are my old high school friends that I haven't spoken to in over 10 years! I started to become very interested in the faith and participated actively during bible study sessions, eagerly looking forward to each worship session, deeply praying to God, and read the bible with an open mind. I guess after the first session I was hooked!

In the past, I worked a lot with children in various jobs and was also a mentor and leader to them. I haven't done that line of work for many of years but I really did enjoy working with children. I've always told Karen that I did want to get teach and lead the children at church, and I felt like I could make a great positive impact at this church with my leadership skills and energetic personality. Thinking about this gave me hope that perhaps if Karen saw how dedicated to Christianity I was she might take me back so I continued to dedicate myself to Christianity up until the end of the summer.

A few days ago I got in touch with Karen. She has refused to speak to me since our breakup and so she doesn't know what I've been doing throughout my entire summer. We briefly exchanged text messages, and she said that she still does not see a future in our relationship. As much as it hurts, I accepted the fate that there is nothing more I can do to salvage our relationship and it was time to move on. I decided to try my very best to forget about Karen.

Yesterday, I went to my usual Friday bible study class and tomorrow is my usual Sunday worship. I originally intended that I would use these two final sessions to say goodbye to Christianity. Every time I think of anything to do with Christianity, I think of Karen. I feel as those two are attached to one another. Furthermore, I have a lot of questions and require a lot of deep Christian guidance to continue my journey. I am only close to a few people, none of which are Christians except for Karen. I am very private when it comes to deep personal issues such as religion and so it is very difficult for me to even talk to a pastor or strangers regarding my questions.

In my previous two break-ups, I was not emotionally effected very much. I am in my late 20s, my first girlfriend and I lasted 5 years, and my second lasted 6 years. As Karen and I were not dating for very long, I never thought it would hurt as much as it did as every part of my life was effected by the break-up with Karen. As a result, I don't know how to move on with my life. The pain I have felt after Karen broke up with me has been significantly more intense then all the pain my previous two ex's have brought onto me. I have been reading online to see how others deal with break-ups, and one strategy is to forget about your ex by removing the things that remind you of them. Unfortunately, for myself, one of these things is Christianity. Whenever I feel the warm surge of Christianity or the Holy Spirit tugging at my heart, I would be thinking of Karen.

I have the type of personality where once I become attached to someone, it will take a long time for me to become un-attached. In my other two relationships, I think it was easy for me to move on as during the final months we were just friends who happened to have history together instead of lovers. In other words, it just became inevitable for a break-up. In the case with Karen, we both really liked each other but Karen still decided that it would be best if we broke up. I guess perhaps why that is why this break up is hurting me so much.

I know that the obvious solution here would be to detach Christianity and Karen, but it isn't that simple for me. Christianity is one of the most defining features about Karen. Christianity made Karen become the girl who I fell in love with, and it becomes un-imaginable for me to separate Karen and Christianity.

My dilemma here is what should I do? I do enjoy going to church and learning more about Christianity, but at the same time doing so reminds me of Karen. I am trying my best to get over Karen by not thinking about her, but I feel that Christianity is one extremely defining feature about Karen therefore in my mind Christianity and Karen are tied together. Furthermore, I feel that I maybe coming close to the end of my Christian journey as I don't have anyone that I deeply trust that I can speak to in regards to answer my Christian questions except for Karen. I fear that as time progresses my heart will harden from Christ without guidance from church and Karen but at the same time I need to find a way to move on from Karen. What should I do?
Churches of Christ Forum / Re: A dynamic not Doctrine.
« Last post by e.r.m. on Today at 09:13:38 AM »
Thank you. Still rather inconsistent of him.
Your loss is our gain.

How so? How it is your "gain" that you think others might be lost and condemned for eternity? 

PS. Sorry, I just saw that New Creature already asked this.
I don't believe it's necessary to take part in it to be saved.

I believe it is like with eating the Living Bread, and drinking the water the He gives us.

It is the Holy Spirit we need, inside of us.

We need to consume Jesus (and His words!), and be consumed by Him and them.

All us Christians believe it is necessary to partake in Christ's supper to be saved because it is in the Bible and we believe the Bible.

No. All "us Christians" do not.  New Creature explained it perfectly.
General Discussion Forum / Re: Robin Williams
« Last post by MeMyself on Today at 07:35:55 AM »
So many really nice stories are coming out about him...thanks for sharing.  ::smile::
Theology Forum / Re: Saved to the kingdom
« Last post by MeMyself on Today at 07:34:40 AM »
oh my gosh.  He's back...again.
I guess the best place to begin is at the beginning.  For most preterists I know, the death Adam experienced in the Garden was spiritual.  He lost (and all mankind as a result) the relationship he had had with God.  He suffered that death immediately--just as immediately as his eyes being opened.  Christ came and died to restore that life and not to save Man from physical death.   I believe that physical death was part of creation.  Death exists all around us in nature--one creature's death benefits another creature's life.  The soil is nourished from death and decay.  It is the concept that physical death began at the Fall that requires no physical death before the Fall.  I know there are preterists who disagree with me on this.  I am interested in their perspective. 

God created Man from the dust and to the dust He was always intended return.  If Man was intended by God to always exist on the earth (which would have been reality if he had never sinned) while heaven is taught to be so much better, wouldn't that make sin and redemption appear to be a good thing since they opened up the possibility of heaven? 

Do futurists believe that had Man not sinned, he would have never died physically but would have remained forever on the earth.  OR would there have been a time of testing after which he would have been taken to heaven?

What saith you other preterists and you futurists? 
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