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Thread: The New Christianity?

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    The New Christianity?

    A good friend of mine, an ordained minister and sort of "general" leader in his denomination posted this on his FB page in response to some discussion (actually questions from someone from within his denomination) re. his support of homosexual marriage:

    I see no clear teaching in Scripture regarding homosexuality. Deuteronomy? Pick and choose which 'law' one wishes to emphasize. Most are blatantly ignored by all, even the most fundamental religionists. New Testament - nothing too specific unless you want to stretch Paul a bit. I don't quite side with John Shelby Spong's assessment of Paul, but I do think he protesteth too much in a number of areas, once one figures out which of the letters are likely truly Pauline. You are having difficulty accepting that I don't see Scripture as a bunch of threats, rules and facts. I find the truth in the book, but not necessarily factual accounts. It's hard for me to embrace a 'magical' God or even a supernatural Jesus. I appreciate Dr. martin Luther King's phrase regarding Jesus. He called him extremely God conscious - and to that I say YES! Once again, I am comfortable with you embracing your beliefs and understanding but don't expect me to embrace them, too.

    Is this the "new" Christianity?

    And, if it is, what do we have to offer that is of any real help to seekers and what would be some possible reasons such a Christian has any compulsion to share this "good news" or to sacrifice for its distribution? Having recently lived for 2.5 years in a "new age" community, I find that his description fits nearly perfectly with new age generalities.

    Friend,

    Wes

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    No, but it's one of the post modern approaches. Starts with a lot of truth, and clearly exposes the traditional hypocrisy when it comes to the law. As to facts, how many do we need, apart from Jesus' death and resurrection (I presume that's not up for discussion)? Does Job have to be real? Jonah? Adam and Eve? King David? Which facts really matter in the sense that our entire faith would collapse without them? And is the Bible all about rules and threats? Or about a relationship?

    I think what we have to offer is thinking through what actually matters. Therefore, I still very much like Greg Boyd's "The Benefit of the Doubt". That seems to me to be the way forward.
    Last edited by Hans Deventer; August 26th, 2015 at 02:52 AM.

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Just read this article, it may come a long way in describing what's going on.

    http://www.bedlammag.com/defending-m...-christianity/
    Thanks Mike Steeves - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Hans,

    During my "wake time" in the middle of the night last night and some of my first thoughts this morning, I couldn't help but think of the paragraph from this good man.

    My impression is that in his paragraph we read of someone who is declaring his rejection of the Christian faith.

    While I know these are complicated times due to the fact that people are asking important questions and researching things that were previously off limits, it seems we must surely ask some questions about what is essential to our faith and what is not.

    I have said for many years that I would be more than happy to lop off the Old Testament in regards to what is essential for Christians. My conviction (though I try to read the entire Bible every year) is that we are "new covenant" people. The old has gone. The new has come. But we seem to have evolved into a movement that is, indeed, new covenant, but we are unwilling to cut our OT umbilical cord. Please do not hear (read) me saying that the OT is not a part of our history. It is. But, by every definition I am aware of the OT is Old Covenant. And, we are not Old Covenant people. Why do we insist on "Holy Bible" instead of "New Testament (covenant)"? What essential teaching (besides history) would we lose if we abandoned the Old Testament/Covenant?

    The main reason I posted his paragraph was because I see a new "Christianity" emerging and this man well articulates the new belief system. Since my roots are pretty much agrarian it is rather natural for me to say that this new Christianity is neutered to the point that God has no magic, the Scriptures are hollow and Christ is best described as super conscious of God.

    I "think" Jesus' death and resurrection IS up for discussion in his new Christianity and "I think" that is the crux of the issue going forward.

    A "problem" I see for us is how to, in light of our commitment to the death and resurrection of Christ, present a meaningful theological package (not the best description) while discounting (or, bringing fresh integrity to, or, having the courage to eliminate known pieces of the Book ((last 1/2 of Mark 16 & the woman taken in adultery)).) Am I making sense? If we narrow Christianity down to Christ's death and resurrection, how much of the rest of the (NT) teachings become "I think" and "maybe," rather than "thus saith the Lord." It does seem to me that lowering or discounting the Book (NT) ushers in the probability that any meaningful belief system is on the same level as Christianity in the eyes of the world. This paragraph is not an example of my best writing! LOL!

    Friend,

    Wes
    Thanks Larry Parsons - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Just read this article, it may come a long way in describing what's going on.

    http://www.bedlammag.com/defending-m...-christianity/
    Thanks for posting this.

    I think I would describe myself as a "conservative progressive."

    It seems our (or, maybe, MY) problem revolves around the issue of "What/Who is essential?" In the meantime what do we (I) do with what that meant in the past? I find this to be the most disconcerting and confusing part of emerging into a new age with credibility.

    Friend,

    Wes

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    Senior Member Dan Henderson's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    The key problem with "lopping off" the old testament is that the New Testament cannot be understood without the context of the Old Testament.

    What meaning does new covenant have if one does not understand that which it replaced?
    Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. - Gilbert K. Chesterson
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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Wes,

    I wouldn't necessarily disagree with everything he says (although certainly some) what troubles me most from that paragraph is what seems like an individualized faith. He short changes the value of the church and historic tradition - when we forget those, we really are veering into dangerous space. I think it's perfectly fine to think critically (and ahistorically) about the law and Paul - but we need to be guided by the Church.
    ...just my $.02.
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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith;301952

    [B
    I see no clear teaching in Scripture regarding homosexuality. Deuteronomy? Pick and choose which 'law' one wishes to emphasize. Most are blatantly ignored by all, even the most fundamental religionists. New Testament - nothing too specific unless you want to stretch Paul a bit. I don't quite side with John Shelby Spong's assessment of Paul, but I do think he protesteth too much in a number of areas, once one figures out which of the letters are likely truly Pauline. You are having difficulty accepting that I don't see Scripture as a bunch of threats, rules and facts. I find the truth in the book, but not necessarily factual accounts. It's hard for me to embrace a 'magical' God or even a supernatural Jesus. I appreciate Dr. martin Luther King's phrase regarding Jesus. He called him extremely God conscious - and to that I say YES! Once again, I am comfortable with you embracing your beliefs and understanding but don't expect me to embrace them, too.[/B]
    I am very much in agreeance with this. It would be fun to discuss the finer points with the author, but as an intellectual exercise to fine tune the statements rather than in argument against.

    I particularly like his last statement.

    I refuse to have my relationship with God driven by the literal scribblings of a bunch of post-Neolithic goatherders and other such characters. They did the best they could, given the limitations of their understanding of the physical universe, to describe their own experiences and relationship with God, and I'm sure he loves 'em for it. The development of our relationship with God did not come to a shuddering halt with the writings of those guys. They had no science and their technology was sketchy at best. Today, our science and technology can be used to either deny the existence of God, or to expose the infinite complexity and magnificence of his creation(s). I choose to take the latter view. Taking the literal biblical view blinds us to God's true magnificence and power.

    As to homosexuality and gay marriage, I'd like to know a) who decided which biblical abominations we can safely ignore, and b) what are the standards for cherry-picking biblical verses we can use to further our own prejudices and narrow beliefs.
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Scott View Post
    Wes,

    I wouldn't necessarily disagree with everything he says (although certainly some) what troubles me most from that paragraph is what seems like an individualized faith. He short changes the value of the church and historic tradition - when we forget those, we really are veering into dangerous space. I think it's perfectly fine to think critically (and ahistorically) about the law and Paul - but we need to be guided by the Church.
    Should we also think critically about the Church, or is it off-limits?
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis
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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Cox View Post
    Should we also think critically about the Church, or is it off-limits?
    Absolutely - and there's a pretty long tradition of the Church aiding in that process. I guess what I mean is simply that we're communal by nature. Christians don't exist individually. If we're not keeping in mind that we have to live together, then we're not doing any good getting our theology "right." It's got to be done within the context of the Church.
    ...just my $.02.

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    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    The part of his quote I definitely can't get on board with:
    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    It's hard for me to embrace a 'magical' God or even a supernatural Jesus.
    He seems to be discounting the supernatural entirely. But I don't think we can jettison "a supernatural Jesus" without leaving Christianity behind. We either follow a risen Savior, or we don't. He either defeated sin & death, or he didn't.

    The rest of it could make for fruitful discussion. But that part goes way beyond where I'm willing to go.

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    The part of his quote I definitely can't get on board with:

    He seems to be discounting the supernatural entirely. But I don't think we can jettison "a supernatural Jesus" without leaving Christianity behind. We either follow a risen Savior, or we don't. He either defeated sin & death, or he didn't.

    The rest of it could make for fruitful discussion. But that part goes way beyond where I'm willing to go.
    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    It's hard for me to embrace a 'magical' God or even a supernatural Jesus.

    I am being over-sensitive here, but just to be clear...that quotation is from a friend of mine. I am in full agreement with Rich's response!

    Friend,

    Wes
    Thanks Greg Crofford - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Greg Crofford's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    What a fascinating discussion! It occurs to me, however, that the original quote from Wes' friend would be largely incomprehensible to 95% of our African Nazarenes. If Christianity is not supernatural, then what's the point? Jesus is Christus Victor, the One who - in power unmatched by any other Being - has overcome sin, death, and the devil. Hebrews 2:14-15 is amazing, and strangely neglected:

    "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he also shared the same things in the same way. He did this to destroy the one who has the power over death - the devil - by dying. He set free those who were held in slavery their entire lives by their fear of death." - Common English Bible

    Philip Jenkins has written about the "New Christendom" that has emerged in the Global South. While I definitely see some theological inaccuracy as well as excesses in the neo-Pentecostalism that is growing quickly in Africa and elsewhere - esp. the nature of tongues and the so-called prosperity gospel - the reason neo-Pentecostalism is so attractive is because it approximates the very nature of Christ's powerful ministry on earth as displayed in the Gospels, addressing the full gamut of human need, including both physical and spiritual deliverance.

    Any denomination that overtly or even quietly adopts an anti-supernatural way of thinking is a denomination that has written its own obituary. It has relegated itself to irrelevancy. As the French proverb puts it: "Le chien aboie, la caravane passe" - "The dog barks while the parade passes it by."

    Say what you might about our doctrine of entire sanctification, it reflects a supernaturalist worldview, for we believe that only an all-powerful, Triune God -as revealed in the Old and New Testaments - is capable of the greatest miracle of all, namely, transforming the human heart. Give me that kind of faith, and - as John Wesley said when he wished for 100 godly and fully-committed Methodists - we'll storm the gates of Hell.
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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    The part of his quote I definitely can't get on board with:

    He seems to be discounting the supernatural entirely. But I don't think we can jettison "a supernatural Jesus" without leaving Christianity behind. We either follow a risen Savior, or we don't. He either defeated sin & death, or he didn't.

    The rest of it could make for fruitful discussion. But that part goes way beyond where I'm willing to go.
    My view exactly, Rich. But that idea doesn't seem to have a lot to do with post modernity or a New Christianity. It's kind of a pity all the focus goes there, so we now can easily dismiss all the rest he has to say for obviously, to quote Wes, "we read of someone who is declaring his rejection of the Christian faith. " Goodbye and don't let the door hit you.

    My suggestion is, forget about what he writes about the supernatural, that's just his personal view and for all I know, has little if anything to do with a New Christianity. The interesting stuff is in the rest and we would not do well to simply put that aside.

    Alternatively, watch this for an idea. Unfortunately, the gay issue was the reason for the video, which is NOT what I want to bring up, but when you look through that it tells something of how these people see their faith.

    https://vimeo.com/109153388
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    Senior Member Dan Henderson's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Once a personal view is introduced into a teaching/preaching situation, it is no longer a personal view. The teacher/preacher becomes accountable on a different level. Those of us who presume to teach/preach in God's name do not have the luxury of personal opinions.

    The context of rejecting the supernatural must be considered along with the parts you think are sound. Truth must be 100% to be considered truth. A lie can be any combination of truth and untruth.

    Much like God's prophets versus a 1-900 psychic. In the first case, the prophecies of God's prophets are always 100% correct. That is the minimum success rate. Anything less and they are not God's prophet.
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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Maybe he meant not-supernatural in the extreme, but I took it to mean like mind-reading or fortune telling the way scripture sometimes portrays Jesus. I think it's pretty acceptable to believe Jesus did not possess the whole scope of universal knowledge, but was limited by his humanity in that respect.

    Now we can even go farther, if we want, to say Jesus is Lord and Son of God, but not believe in his deity. Certainly many Christians did for hundreds of years until Nicaea chased them off (many Christians still do - I spoke with a coptic orthodox priest who's Christology, while utilizing different terms that the traditional west, is really not contrary to scripture in any way).

    As you said, Greg, God has the power to change lives and remake the world - and God worked through Jesus. Our systematics lead us to make the deity claim we do, in the way we do (and I don't have a problem with it), but, say, the coptic view, is also defensible from scripture - it's just not defensible from western tradition.

    As I wrote not too long ago - I think we're moving into an age where systematics isn't relevant. The notion that our faith needs to work out logically or be completely consistent from one "ology" to the next just isn't something people care about as deeply. I do believe we may have to be more comfortable with a fluid discussion of such things going forward.

    I keep going back to that first Christian creed - Jesus Christ is Lord. We created divisions by trying to explain that more thoroughly, when the only real evidence of our belief should be our love for one another.

    I'm personally more inclined to believe in a less-supernatural Jesus (although probably not a non-supernatural Jesus) - which gives me some sympathy for, at least that part of the statement.
    ...just my $.02.
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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    The part of his quote I definitely can't get on board with:

    He seems to be discounting the supernatural entirely. But I don't think we can jettison "a supernatural Jesus" without leaving Christianity behind. We either follow a risen Savior, or we don't. He either defeated sin & death, or he didn't.

    The rest of it could make for fruitful discussion. But that part goes way beyond where I'm willing to go.
    Webster defines 'supernatural' thusly:

    1. : of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil. a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature.

    How do you define 'supernatural?'

    If you accept God as real, and Jesus as real, and the Holy Spirit as real, then they would seem to be part of the natural order of things, and therefore, do not 'transcend the laws of nature.'

    How I define the term is directly related to my view of God, et al. For example, I don't see the Trinity or components thereof as 'supernatural.' I see them as real as the wind blowing gently over the cornfields down the street, like the breath of God wafting over and through our lives.

    I just can't explain them scientifically.

    I guess that puts me in the same league as those post-Neolithic goatherders. So it's easy for me to get on board with that fellow's view.
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    Senior Member Greg Crofford's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    The key problem with "lopping off" the old testament is that the New Testament cannot be understood without the context of the Old Testament.

    What meaning does new covenant have if one does not understand that which it replaced?
    We need not repeat the ancient heresy of Marcionism by excluding the OT from the canon. I like what Morris Wiegelt said: "I can't get past the fact that Jesus considered the OT authoritative."
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    Senior Member Billy Cox's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Crofford View Post
    Philip Jenkins has written about the "New Christendom" that has emerged in the Global South. While I definitely see some theological inaccuracy as well as excesses in the neo-Pentecostalism that is growing quickly in Africa and elsewhere - esp. the nature of tongues and the so-called prosperity gospel - the reason neo-Pentecostalism is so attractive is because it approximates the very nature of Christ's powerful ministry on earth as displayed in the Gospels, addressing the full gamut of human need, including both physical and spiritual deliverance.
    As a casual observer, I am under the impression that neo-Pentecostalism and the prosperity gospel are both growing quickly in Africa because those two belief systems mesh well with established animistic worldviews and beliefs.

    It is only small leap from the belief that my daughter recovered from illness because I paid money to a witch doctor, to the belief that my daughter recovered from illness because I gave all of my money to a traveling preacher.
    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us wthout end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
    - C.S. Lewis

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    Senior Member Greg Farra's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Crofford View Post
    What a fascinating discussion! It occurs to me, however, that the original quote from Wes' friend would be largely incomprehensible to 95% of our African Nazarenes. If Christianity is not supernatural, then what's the point? Jesus is Christus Victor, the One who - in power unmatched by any other Being - has overcome sin, death, and the devil. Hebrews 2:14-15 is amazing, and strangely neglected:

    "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he also shared the same things in the same way. He did this to destroy the one who has the power over death - the devil - by dying. He set free those who were held in slavery their entire lives by their fear of death." - Common English Bible



    Philip Jenkins has written about the "New Christendom" that has emerged in the Global South. While I definitely see some theological inaccuracy as well as excesses in the neo-Pentecostalism that is growing quickly in Africa and elsewhere - esp. the nature of tongues and the so-called prosperity gospel - the reason neo-Pentecostalism is so attractive is because it approximates the very nature of Christ's powerful ministry on earth as displayed in the Gospels, addressing the full gamut of human need, including both physical and spiritual deliverance.

    Any denomination that overtly or even quietly adopts an anti-supernatural way of thinking is a denomination that has written its own obituary. It has relegated itself to irrelevancy. As the French proverb puts it: "Le chien aboie, la caravane passe" - "The dog barks while the parade passes it by."

    Say what you might about our doctrine of entire sanctification, it reflects a supernaturalist worldview, for we believe that only an all-powerful, Triune God -as revealed in the Old and New Testaments - is capable of the greatest miracle of all, namely, transforming the human heart. Give me that kind of faith, and - as John Wesley said when he wished for 100 godly and fully-committed Methodists - we'll storm the gates of Hell.
    Mind if I quote this in a sermon this week?
    Thanks Greg Crofford - "thanks" for this post

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    Senior Member Greg Crofford's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Farra View Post
    Mind if I quote this in a sermon this week?
    No problem, Greg. Glad you found it useful. The Wesley allusion at the end is my paraphrase, thus no quotation marks.
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    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Well, to my knowledge, we never believed in a magical God... Ever.

    I also don't think that "supernatural" is a good way to describe Jesus, regardless of how orthodox one is, nor do I think the literal history of Jesus' supernatural miracles are necessary.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    Well, to my knowledge, we never believed in a magical God... Ever.

    I also don't think that "supernatural" is a good way to describe Jesus, regardless of how orthodox one is, nor do I think the literal history of Jesus' supernatural miracles are necessary.
    What IS necessary, Ben?
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    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Steeves View Post
    Webster defines 'supernatural' thusly:

    1. : of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil. a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature.

    How do you define 'supernatural?'

    If you accept God as real, and Jesus as real, and the Holy Spirit as real, then they would seem to be part of the natural order of things, and therefore, do not 'transcend the laws of nature.'

    How I define the term is directly related to my view of God, et al. For example, I don't see the Trinity or components thereof as 'supernatural.' I see them as real as the wind blowing gently over the cornfields down the street, like the breath of God wafting over and through our lives.

    I just can't explain them scientifically.

    I guess that puts me in the same league as those post-Neolithic goatherders. So it's easy for me to get on board with that fellow's view.
    It sounds to me like you're just redefining "natural" and "supernatural." If "natural" just means "whatever exists or is real," then yes, everything is natural, including God, the spiritual realm, etc. But that ignores the definition you just quoted. Both parts. FWIW, I'm happy with the definition you quoted from Webster.

    When the author of the comment in the original post said he finds it hard to believe in a supernatural Jesus, I took him to mean that he finds it hard to believe that Jesus was more than just a human being. Of course, we (all orthodox Christians) believe Jesus was fully human AND fully divine. That the Father raised him from death and seated him at his own right hand. These are supernatural, not natural. I'd comment further, but clearly there's some disagreement about what the author of that comment actually meant, and he's not here to explain further.

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    But that ignores the definition you just quoted. Both parts.
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich Schmidt View Post
    FWIW, I'm happy with the definition you quoted from Webster.
    I'm not. Which is why I posted it, then more or less explained why it doesn't work for me, at least regarding God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and probably the odd Angel and/or Demon.

    So we are in disagreeance on it, but thank you nonetheless for sharing your viewpoint.

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    Senior Member Dan Henderson's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Steeves View Post
    Yes.



    I'm not. Which is why I posted it, then more or less explained why it *******doesn't work for me*************, at least regarding God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and probably the odd Angel and/or Demon.

    So we are in disagreeance on it, but thank you nonetheless for sharing your viewpoint.

    ********This is the problem with modern/post modern religion in a nutshell. Its not about *****me*****, never was, isn't , and never shall be.
    Without education we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously. - Gilbert K. Chesterson
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    Senior Member Greg Crofford's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    Well, to my knowledge, we never believed in a magical God... Ever.

    I also don't think that "supernatural" is a good way to describe Jesus, regardless of how orthodox one is, nor do I think the literal history of Jesus' supernatural miracles are necessary.
    I'm not sure how this comment squares with your signature line about Jesus being risen from the dead. Is that not a miracle in itself?
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    Senior Member Benjamin Burch's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Crofford View Post
    I'm not sure how this comment squares with your signature line about Jesus being risen from the dead. Is that not a miracle in itself?
    It's not a miracle Jesus performed, no. It's a miracle God the Father performed.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    A good friend of mine, an ordained minister and sort of "general" leader in his denomination posted this on his FB page in response to some discussion (actually questions from someone from within his denomination) re. his support of homosexual marriage:

    I see no clear teaching in Scripture regarding homosexuality. Deuteronomy? Pick and choose which 'law' one wishes to emphasize. Most are blatantly ignored by all, even the most fundamental religionists. New Testament - nothing too specific unless you want to stretch Paul a bit. I don't quite side with John Shelby Spong's assessment of Paul, but I do think he protesteth too much in a number of areas, once one figures out which of the letters are likely truly Pauline. You are having difficulty accepting that I don't see Scripture as a bunch of threats, rules and facts. I find the truth in the book, but not necessarily factual accounts. It's hard for me to embrace a 'magical' God or even a supernatural Jesus. I appreciate Dr. martin Luther King's phrase regarding Jesus. He called him extremely God conscious - and to that I say YES! Once again, I am comfortable with you embracing your beliefs and understanding but don't expect me to embrace them, too.

    Is this the "new" Christianity?

    And, if it is, what do we have to offer that is of any real help to seekers and what would be some possible reasons such a Christian has any compulsion to share this "good news" or to sacrifice for its distribution? Having recently lived for 2.5 years in a "new age" community, I find that his description fits nearly perfectly with new age generalities.

    Friend,

    Wes
    No, this is not Christianity at all. This is the religion of "God is my lapdog" and I can make him do or think anything I like. The folks in Hans video express this sentiment quite well as they remark that they are Christian and beg to fight with anyone who disagrees. God is their lapdog, while they inhabit this mortal coil, I pray that some of these folks might actually meet and comprehend Him while they have the chance to repent. I shudder to think of what this meeting will look like if made on the other side.

    But it's nothing new, Jesus spoke harshly to religious folk such as these, calling them whitewashed sepulchers full of dead men's bones. He said that their real father is the devil, I concur.

    I'm thankful that as Nazarenes, we accept God and Jesus as they are portrayed by Scripture. We believe that Scripture is God's Holy Word, given to us by plenary inspiration and inerrantly informing us of what is needed for our salvation.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

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    Senior Member Rich Schmidt's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Steeves View Post
    Yes.



    I'm not. Which is why I posted it, then more or less explained why it doesn't work for me, at least regarding God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and probably the odd Angel and/or Demon.

    So we are in disagreeance on it, but thank you nonetheless for sharing your viewpoint.
    So... you're using your own personal definitions of "natural" and "supernatural" then? That must make conversations tricky...

    You and I might agree entirely on the reality but just be using different words for it.

    I am curious... how do you define supernatural? If God and all of spiritual reality is already included in "natural"... what is left to be considered "supernatural"?

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    Senior Member Greg Crofford's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    It's not a miracle Jesus performed, no. It's a miracle God the Father performed.
    True -- God raised Jesus from the dead. I'm with you on that. Your phrase was: "...nor do I think that the literal history of Jesus' supernatural miracles are necessary."

    Two thoughts:

    1) Are not all miracles by definition "supernatural"? So what purpose does the qualifier "supernatural" serve in that sentence?

    2) If a miracle is not literal, then help me understand what it is. When I hear "not literal," what that means to me is "fake" or "fabricated" or "legendary." But I may have misunderstood you, or else you may ascribe a different meaning to the phrase "not literal."

    A Scripture comes to mind:

    "Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know." - Acts 2:22, NIV
    Achiever - Learner -Context - Intellection - Input

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    Senior Member Hans Deventer's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Chabot View Post
    But it's nothing new, Jesus spoke harshly to religious folk such as these, calling them whitewashed sepulchers full of dead men's bones. He said that their real father is the devil, I concur.
    Actually, He spoke that way to judgementalists like you, Jim. This post (and countless ones before) overflow from the very Pharaseeism Jesus condemned in no uncertain terms. He spoke very strongly against those who despised the people "that don't know the law". And thought they did so well themselves. I must keep warning you, the word of the Lord is clear on this. I think you are the one who is being used by the devil.

    He didn't speak that way against sinners. He spoke that way against those who judged them.
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    Senior Member Greg Crofford's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Well, this thread has given me my blog topic for the week:

    http://gregorycrofford.com/2015/08/2...hy-it-matters/
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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Crofford View Post
    True -- God raised Jesus from the dead. I'm with you on that. Your phrase was: "...nor do I think that the literal history of Jesus' supernatural miracles are necessary."

    Two thoughts:

    1) Are not all miracles by definition "supernatural"? So what purpose does the qualifier "supernatural" serve in that sentence?

    2) If a miracle is not literal, then help me understand what it is. When I hear "not literal," what that means to me is "fake" or "fabricated" or "legendary." But I may have misunderstood you, or else you may ascribe a different meaning to the phrase "not literal."

    A Scripture comes to mind:

    "Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know." - Acts 2:22, NIV
    Weekends are insanely buys for me right now as my boss is on holidays. I work another 12 hour shift tomorrow. I should be able to get to this Monday.
    - Ben

    Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death! And to those in the tombs, bestowing life!
    Χριστὸς ἀνέστη ἐκ νεκρῶν, θανάτῳ θάνατον πατήσας! καὶ τοῖς ἐν τοῖς μνήμασι, ζωὴν χαρισάμενος!
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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Benjamin Burch View Post
    Well, to my knowledge, we never believed in a magical God... Ever.

    I also don't think that "supernatural" is a good way to describe Jesus, regardless of how orthodox one is, nor do I think the literal history of Jesus' supernatural miracles are necessary.
    Do you believe Jesus would have the same kind of following if he didn't perform miracles or do you believe Jesus could sell his ideas without the miracles'
    LLP

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Aren't we the New Covenant Christians who has replace the Jews and the Old Testament laws have been fulfill in Christ
    LP

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    Senior Member Jim Chabot's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hans Deventer View Post
    Actually, He spoke that way to judgementalists like you, Jim. This post (and countless ones before) overflow from the very Pharaseeism Jesus condemned in no uncertain terms. He spoke very strongly against those who despised the people "that don't know the law". And thought they did so well themselves. I must keep warning you, the word of the Lord is clear on this. I think you are the one who is being used by the devil.

    He didn't speak that way against sinners. He spoke that way against those who judged them.
    Thanks so much for the personal attack sir.

    All I can say is that if you aren't seeing genuine Christian love, concern and compassion in my posts, then you are quite clueless.

    Please do me a huge favor and add me to your ignore list. It will much better than having you treat me as a fellow human being, as you are with Larry.
    -Jim

    To know and to serve God, of course, is why we're here, a clear truth, that, like the nose on your face, is near at hand and easily discernible but can make you dizzy if you try to focus on it hard. But a little faith will see you through.

    Garrison Keillor

  38. #38
    Host Theology Forum David Graham's Avatar

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    HOST POST

    Okay guys lets cool down, put the perceptions of each other aside and discuss the main topic.

    Thanks!

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    An additional comment re. my being willing to lop off the Old Testament because we are New Covenant folks.

    I agree that we MUST have the OT for history. What I would suggest is that the "Holy Bible" is immensely complicated and intimidating creating an overall sense of being overwhelmed by Christians. SO, make the NT our primary focus.

    In my "Narrated Bible," the OT is over 1300 pages. NT is around 350 pages.

    Friend,

    Wes
    Thanks Emiko Cothran - "thanks" for this post

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    Re: The New Christianity?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wes Smith View Post
    An additional comment re. my being willing to lop off the Old Testament because we are New Covenant folks.

    I agree that we MUST have the OT for history. What I would suggest is that the "Holy Bible" is immensely complicated and intimidating creating an overall sense of being overwhelmed by Christians. SO, make the NT our primary focus.

    In my "Narrated Bible," the OT is over 1300 pages. NT is around 350 pages.

    Friend,

    Wes
    If you're trying to grow a shallow Christian, yes. If you're trying to grow a Christian with depth of understanding for God's love, mercy, and sovereignty in their lives, no. In my opinion, we already have that shallowness in too many Christians today.

    Personally, I wish I knew more about the OT. The majority of sermons I've heard in my life have been from the NT. Whenever I do hear an OT message I glean so much more understanding of God. I recently completed a 6 week Beth Moore Deuteronomy study. I had previously studied very little of that book. I was amazed at the insights this book had on my life. I wished the study were 20 weeks! By ignoring or putting less emphasis on the OT, you are depleting Christians of the depth and in some cases the desire to go deeper with God.
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