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Introduction

This message board is for one-on-one discussions and interviews. Anyone can read them but you need to be part of the one-on-one to post.
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Nick_A
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Introduction

Post by Nick_A » August 29th, 2009, 9:56 pm

Hi All
"The first duty of love is to listen." -- Paul Tillich
My path stresses the value of being able to put oneself into the position of another. We build so many inner walls that it is a very difficult thing to do. I know this from experience. I remember once completely underestimating another on my path simply from prejudgment. It was a sobering experience.

If I am drawn philosophically to understanding the meaning and purpose of human life on earth, listening is a skill necessary for me to become better at. Otherwise the heart of philosophy which provides experiential "meaning" is built on imagination which cannot lead to wisdom.

Simone Weil wrote: "Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity." Attentive opening of our psych to receive the impressions of another without prejudgment is required to put oneself into the position of another. Otherwise we first color the experience with our own defenses and/or imagined self importance.

What better way on the Internet to put oneself into the position of another then inviting another to express themselves while paying attention so as to try to put myself into their position. Rather then debate, these interviews are attempts to further the understanding by creating through questioning the means that help another to express themselves leading to a more detailed and better discussions .

Hopefully members will find some ideas brought by the one interviewed worth discussing. It can be done on another board while this one is to clarify the beliefs of the one being interviewed.

If philosophy is the love of wisdom that some are drawn to, what better way to further our understanding then in seeking to understand the process: our attraction to what provides "meaning." The essential purpose of interviews will be to understand the need for "meaning" in another without criticism for the sake of bettering the interviewer's understanding. If someone else profits, so much the better.
"For when two beings who are not friends are near each other there is no meeting, and when friends are far apart there is no separation." Simone Weil
Perhaps the distance between the two lessens the more we can put ourselves into the position of another.

The first interview will be with Lilly who I know as a Fundamentalist from another site. So rather then define Lilly as a Fundamentalist, I seek to know Lilly as as person and what attracts her to Fundamentalism

I am more attracted to esoteric Christianity which doesn't prevent me from accepting that certain ideas are fundamentally important. So I'll try to get to know Lilly and her atraction to fundamentalism.
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

Nick_A
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Joined: April 19th, 2009, 11:45 pm

Post by Nick_A » August 29th, 2009, 9:59 pm

Hi Lilly and welcome to Online Philosophy Club. We'll get the tea pot going and then perhaps I can learn a bit about you and Fundamentalism.

I know you as a Fundamentalist so I'd first like to ask you to explain what Fundamentalism means to you. I don't know how old you are but regardless, did you grow up with your path or did you discover it? I discovered mine in my thirties for example.

What was its initial attraction for you?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Lilly
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Post by Lilly » August 30th, 2009, 4:40 pm

Nick_A wrote:Hi Lilly and welcome to Online Philosophy Club. We'll get the tea pot going and then perhaps I can learn a bit about you and Fundamentalism.

I know you as a Fundamentalist so I'd first like to ask you to explain what Fundamentalism means to you. I don't know how old you are but regardless, did you grow up with your path or did you discover it? I discovered mine in my thirties for example.

What was its initial attraction for you?
Hi!

Fundamentalism has come to mean different things in the last few years, so I'm glad you asked what my fundamentalism means to me. I'm a Christian fundamentalist in the sense that I believe the basic teachings of Jesus and his Apostles as they are presented in the Bible. I don't pick and choose scripture or leave any of it out, but see the entire Bible as a teaching about God, his creation of man and the universe, his purpose for us, and what he has planned for the future.

I was raised in a more liberal setting in the Methodist Church where my family attended faithfully every Christmas and Easter. So we were not very religious, but I do remember my father exhibiting to me through the way he lived his life the Christian morals he had learned from his family. He was a very honest man, and one who went out of his way to be kind and helpful to other people.

I was not taught, however, a lot about Jesus and who he was. I was not taught the fundamental meaning of Christianity.

In my twenties a friend told me about "being saved," or "receiving Jesus as Lord and Savior." I told him not to worry, I was a Methodist so I was all set as far as that was concerned. He persisted and frankly started to make me angry. I walked away.

Later, however, when I was alone in my home, I felt as though God was bringing me to a place where I had to choose. Did I believe in God? If I did, wouldn't it be foolish of me not to believe what he says? After thinking about it for a moment, I knew I couldn't not believe in God. So I asked him to tell me what he wanted from me, and asked him to teach me who Jesus was.

I've been learning ever sense, praying for God to teaching me and studying the bible, not just reading it. It surprises me a lot of the time. It isn't what I ever expected, so I'm learning a very different world view than what I had before.

Nick_A
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Post by Nick_A » August 30th, 2009, 5:12 pm

Lilly, would you say that this time of choice was more an emotional or an intellectual experience? I guess I'm asking if the sense of truth in the experience was more a unique emotional experience or an intellectual revelation that has begun to allow you to separate the truth from the lie as the Bioble has opened to you. Do you relate your experience to what Jesus described as needing new eyes to see and ears to hear

Could you elaborate on what you mean by the "fundamental meaning of Christianity?" Does this fundamental meaning transcend the normal beliefs of various sects? Philosophically, do you relate it to wisdom as described in the Bible? Wisdom is speaking:

(Proverbs 8:22-33)
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water...
When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth... when he gave the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment; when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him...
Now therefore harken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
Wisdom must contain logic to be wise and if proverbs is correct, this knowledge existed from the beginning. Do your experiences suggest that the fundamental meaning of Christianity can translate into wisdom both emtionally and through reason?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Lilly
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Post by Lilly » August 31st, 2009, 1:21 pm

Nick_A wrote:Lilly, would you say that this time of choice was more an emotional or an intellectual experience?
I would say it was emotional, intellectual and spiritual. In my view, God communicated with me and I responded. Since I believe God is separate and distinct from his creation, I believe we need God's guidance and revelation to teach us his will and his ways. It isn't something that's innate within us. As a Christian I don't look within, I look outside myself to God.
Do you relate your experience to what Jesus described as needing new eyes to see and ears to hear
Jesus explained how some people see, but they don't really see. They hear, but they don't really hear. He was saying people don't understand the things of God because they must be revealed to you by God. However, in order for them to be revealed, you must accept what he has said. Whoever believes God on what he has already said will be given more knowledge. Whoever rejects what God says, even the knowledge he has will be taken away. This is Matthew 13:11-17.
Could you elaborate on what you mean by the "fundamental meaning of Christianity?" Does this fundamental meaning transcend the normal beliefs of various sects?
No, I think it's the normal, or orthodox, understanding of Christianity. I simply mean that Christianity is about Christ--God's Anointed One. It is about God sending his anointed to reconcile man to himself so that he may fulfill the will of God. Loving others, doing good works, being a moral person as the Bible defines morality are all a result of knowing Christ. My view from growing up in a more liberal church was that they kept the moral teachings of loving your neighbor and doing good works, but the part about the death and resurrection of Jesus for our sins was put more and more in the background. In my experience growing up, Jesus became a good teacher rather than my Savior. That was the part that was missing for me and what I call fundamental to the Christian faith.
Philosophically, do you relate it to wisdom as described in the Bible? Wisdom is speaking:

(Proverbs 8:22-33)
The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.
When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water...
When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth... when he gave the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment; when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him...
Now therefore harken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.
Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.
Wisdom must contain logic to be wise and if proverbs is correct, this knowledge existed from the beginning. Do your experiences suggest that the fundamental meaning of Christianity can translate into wisdom both emtionally and through reason?
In my view the wisdom of the Proverb is God's wisdom. God's wisdom is personified and tells us to listen and hear the instruction of God to be wise. Don't refuse God when he speaks. This is not the logic of man, for man apart from God doesn't have God's wisdom. Man has his own wisdom and God tells us that man's ways are not his ways. To be wise, man must listen to his Creator rather than his own reasoning. The prophet speaks to God's people when they don't listen to him and he tells them,
"'Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.' Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, 'Who sees us? Who will know?' You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'He did not make me'? Can the pot say of the potter, 'He knows nothing.'? Isaiah 29:14-16
Once more for me it comes down to looking outside myself to the One who created me. He is the One who teaches me the knowledge and wisdom that is beyond what I can understand on my own.

Nick_A
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Post by Nick_A » August 31st, 2009, 6:50 pm

Hi Lilly

Is your belief open to the idea that though God is distinct and separate from creation, God is also within the Son as well as Man?

John 14
9Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
I've come to understand this logically by considering a log in a pond and me as a log. The log is in a large body of water but the water is also within the log. Jesus said that the kingdom is within. So even though we are less then a speck within creation and a God beyond our conception, the source is still within the speck. Does fundamentalism deny this possibility?

Since this is an interview, don't worry about negativity even though you've probably suffered much ridicule over this question. You wrote:
I believe we need God's guidance and revelation to teach us his will and his ways.
How do we know what is God's guidance and what is self deception? Jesus said that the influence of false prophets is so powerful that it could almost effect the elect. For the typical believer it is easy to be mislead. So when John suggests to "Test the Spirits," what does this mean to you as a fundamentalist?

You suggest we have to be told how to act since this knowledge is not innate. Paul describes himself as the wretched man in Romans 7 and this hypocrisy can only be reconciled through what Jesus brought. This implies that Christianity is more then how to act but in the change of what we ARE through "re-birth. So my question for you is how you as a fundamentalist appreciates Christian re-birth? Is the "wretched Man" for you reborn by the experience of metanoia or is re-birth the potential of metanoia for the wretched man: the change of what we ARE?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Lilly
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Post by Lilly » September 1st, 2009, 4:46 pm

Nick_A wrote:Hi Lilly

Is your belief open to the idea that though God is distinct and separate from creation, God is also within the Son as well as Man?

John 14
9Jesus answered: "Don't you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'? 10Don't you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.
In my view there's a difference between Jesus and the rest of mankind. The Bible teaches that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. He was with God, was God and came forth from God. We are taught that Jesus is the image of the invisible God who presents God to us. Mankind, on the other hand, is God's creation. He made us, but he did not beget us as he did Jesus. This is why I see Jesus as the Way to God. Through Jesus I can know God and be reconciled to him.
I've come to understand this logically by considering a log in a pond and me as a log. The log is in a large body of water but the water is also within the log.
I know many people hold this belief. There are three ways in which we can view creation. In my view, God made this world ex nihilo--out of nothing. Although God sustains creation, he is not creation. The second view is that creation is made ex materia--out of preexisting eternal material. God recycled. The third view is that creation is ex deo--out of the being of God. If you hold the third view, then I suppose we would all be a part of God and he a part of us. That's not the view I hold.
Jesus said that the kingdom is within. So even though we are less then a speck within creation and a God beyond our conception, the source is still within the speck. Does fundamentalism deny this possibility?
First let's look at Jesus' saying, "Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, 'The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, "Here it is," or "There is is," because the kingdom of God is within you.'"

First, Jesus is talking about the kingdom of God, not God. A kingdom is a realm in which one thing is dominate. In this case it is the realm of God; it is where God rules. The realm of God's rule is already among us, but we are not all ruled by God. To enter the kingdom of God, you must submit yourself to God's rule. You must obey his commands. Today man can enter the kingdom of God through Christ.

A day is coming, however, when the kingdom of God will come and rule the earth. This is why we pray the Lord's prayer and say, "...your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Today God's kingdom is among us and we can enter in. In the day to come the kingdom will rule over the earth and God will rule this world. All who don't belong to him and submit to him will be cast out.
I believe we need God's guidance and revelation to teach us his will and his ways.
How do we know what is God's guidance and what is self deception? Jesus said that the influence of false prophets is so powerful that it could almost effect the elect. For the typical believer it is easy to be mislead. So when John suggests to "Test the Spirits," what does this mean to you as a fundamentalist?
To me it means that I must do my part in study and prayer to understand the things of God, but most importantly I must trust God to keep me on the right path. We are likened to sheep. Sheep easily lose their way. That's why we need a shepherd and Christ is our Shepherd. We are to keep our eyes on him so that we don't get drawn into error. It is dependent on his faithfulness to us.
You suggest we have to be told how to act since this knowledge is not innate. Paul describes himself as the wretched man in Romans 7 and this hypocrisy can only be reconciled through what Jesus brought. This implies that Christianity is more then how to act but in the change of what we ARE through "re-birth. So my question for you is how you as a fundamentalist appreciates Christian re-birth? Is the "wretched Man" for you reborn by the experience of metanoia or is re-birth the potential of metanoia for the wretched man: the change of what we ARE?
The rebirth is about becoming the sons of God. In the Christian sense a son is to honor and obey his father, love him and emulate him. We see this in the words of Jesus when he says, "But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked." Luke 6:35

We become the sons of God when we receive Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, and he gives us his Spirit to lead us in the way we should go. We are exhorted to live by the Spirit to overcome the sinful nature of Paul's "wretched man." Paul explains in Romans 8, "The mind of the sinful man is death; but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace..."

So we come to God as we are. We receive Christ by faith and he makes us in to what we should be. We are conformed to his image of a son of God through the Spirit so that we can live for God; honor and obey him. When the kingdom comes we will not be cast out.

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Post by Nick_A » September 1st, 2009, 8:40 pm

This post will require a shot of Brandy in my tea. Feel free to join me. :)

What have you learned that suggests the world to be ruled by God? From what I've read, the Lord's Prayer is not for the World but rather for individuals capable of appreciating it.

Jesus as well as Socrates assert that the World must hate the message of world blindness. If the message does not arise in the world but rather from above, is the world saved in your beliefs or just those in the world but not of it? How does your fundamentalism appreciate this extraordinary biblical passage?
6"I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."


You wrote:

To me it means that I must do my part in study and prayer to understand the things of God, but most importantly I must trust God to keep me on the right path. We are likened to sheep. Sheep easily lose their way. That's why we need a shepherd and Christ is our Shepherd. We are to keep our eyes on him so that we don't get drawn into error. It is dependent on his faithfulness to us.


This is what is so difficult to understand. Muslim extremists will say the same thing and sincerely believe they are serving the will of Allah during acts of terrorism. IMO it is just devolving spiritual meaning into secular meaning for political gain.

Simone Weil as usual expresses profound understanding in her beautiful laconic fashion:

In what concerns divine things, belief is not appropriate. Only certainty will do. Anything less than certainty is unworthy of God. Simone Weil

“Denial of St Peter. To say to Christ: ‘I will never deny you’ was to deny him already, for it was to suppose the source of faithfulness to be in himself and not in grace…. Peter did not deny Christ when he broke his promise, but when he made it.” Simone Weil


It seems then that we have this tendency to confuse divine things with secular goals. Do you believe our quality of faith adequate to be capable of opening to the help that enables distinguishing the wheat from the tares within?

This leads to a question you've probably been faced with before. I don't have to tell you that proselytizing is now a dirty word for many. Yet at the same time the unique nature of Christian love is to awaken a searching person to metanoia. As the song Amazing Grace goes: "Was blind but now I see." It is very unfortunate IMO in modern tiomes that so few distinguish between the two

Jesus of course had this love and it was experienced by the apostles. A person doesn't drop everything to follow Jesus because of a sales pitch. They were awakened to the experience of metanoia through the experience of the energy of divine love that moved through Jesus.

So the energy expressed through Christian love to whatever degree of purity can only be given by one who has it to some extent. I know by experience that many preaching do not have it and are just on an ego trip.

Have you considered this great question of Christian love compared to proselytizing? Where Christian Love is essential for the awakening of those in the world but not of it, proselytizing just supports egotism in the world creating slavery rather then the freedom offered through Christian love.

Does your fundamentalism appreciate this distinction?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Lilly
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Post by Lilly » September 2nd, 2009, 5:09 pm

Nick_A wrote:What have you learned that suggests the world to be ruled by God? From what I've read, the Lord's Prayer is not for the World but rather for individuals capable of appreciating it.

Jesus as well as Socrates assert that the World must hate the message of world blindness. If the message does not arise in the world but rather from above, is the world saved in your beliefs or just those in the world but not of it?
The world means the entire aggregate of sinful mankind. John describes it like this, "For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world."

Jesus came to save the world, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." John 3:17

So yes, it seems contradictory but is not. Jesus didn't come to make sure the world remains a sinful place, so in that sense he came to save man out of the sinful world. He came to make man righteous. Those who he saves out of the sinful world and makes righteous will inherit the world and rule it with righteousness thus delivering it from sin and decay. This is the restoration of all things that God has promised. It is the restoration of God's creation from man's sinfulness. Paul sums it up well when he writes, "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God."

The world will be saved, but those in the world who choose to remain in sin and reject God's Anointed will be cast out. The world will be restored and brought under the rule of the kingdom of God.

"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." Revelation 11:15
How does your fundamentalism appreciate this extraordinary biblical passage?

6"I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13"I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Here Jesus is praying for his disciples. He is moving to the next stage where his disciples will be left in a sinful world without him and prays for the Father to protect them from the sinfulness of man. Jesus' disciples have been given the gospel message to take to the world and to call out men from all nations to follow God's Anointed.
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
Here Jesus prays for those among the nations that will believe in him as a result of the preaching of the apostles. They too will live in a world hostile to the message of Christ, and Jesus prays the Father will protect them and bring them into the unity of the faith.

When Jesus returns to take possession of the earth, those who followed him during the time of his rejection on earth will rule with him and receive their inheritance. In the Beatitudes Jesus list the things that those who trust in him will receive. They will inherit the earth--the world.

You wrote:
To me it means that I must do my part in study and prayer to understand the things of God, but most importantly I must trust God to keep me on the right path. We are likened to sheep. Sheep easily lose their way. That's why we need a shepherd and Christ is our Shepherd. We are to keep our eyes on him so that we don't get drawn into error. It is dependent on his faithfulness to us.


This is what is so difficult to understand. Muslim extremists will say the same thing and sincerely believe they are serving the will of Allah during acts of terrorism. IMO it is just devolving spiritual meaning into secular meaning for political gain.
Um... I don't see a connection at all. I'm not a Muslim terrorist. I don't follow the Prophet Mohammed nor trust in his teaching. My faith is in Jesus and his teaching. He never told me to be a terrorist. He told me to love my neighbor, to do good to my enemy. He told me to live at peace with all men as much as it is in my power to do so. This is the teaching I look to for guidance. How is that anything like Islam or terrorism? The difference between me and a Muslim terrorist is that I follow Christ, they follow Mohammed and the fundamental teachings of these two men are as different as night and day.
Simone Weil as usual expresses profound understanding in her beautiful laconic fashion:

In what concerns divine things, belief is not appropriate. Only certainty will do. Anything less than certainty is unworthy of God. Simone Weil
I disagree with her statement. There is no certainty in the things of God. We are not even certain that God exists. There is no proof. He has not made himself known to us through certainty. My belief tells me that we can only know God through Spirit. We can only know God through faith, believing that he is and that he rewards those who seek him. If you're looking for certainty, you will never find it because all you have is belief.
“Denial of St Peter. To say to Christ: ‘I will never deny you’ was to deny him already, for it was to suppose the source of faithfulness to be in himself and not in grace…. Peter did not deny Christ when he broke his promise, but when he made it.” Simone Weil
Peter was certain that he would not deny Christ. Isn't that what Simone Weil wants? Certainty? Well, Peter was certain. The problem was that Peter didn't have the ability to carry out his desire to remain faithful. That's the wretched man. She is right to say that Peter should have trusted in God's grace, and isn't that what I said about the time you compared me to a Muslim terrorist? "...most importantly I must trust God to keep me on the right path."
It seems then that we have this tendency to confuse divine things with secular goals. Do you believe our quality of faith adequate to be capable of opening to the help that enables distinguishing the wheat from the tares within?
I believe when a person comes to Jesus by faith, he is given the Holy Spirit to lead him in the ways of God and to convict him when he falls into the ways of the sinful world. We must trust God to keep us on the right path. If we trust ourselves, as Peter trusted himself, we will fail.
Have you considered this great question of Christian love compared to proselytizing? Where Christian Love is essential for the awakening of those in the world but not of it, proselytizing just supports egotism in the world creating slavery rather then the freedom offered through Christian love.

Does your fundamentalism appreciate this distinction?
We are to love because we are Christians, but that's not the gospel message that Christ sent to the world. The gospel message is that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son to die for our sins so we could be freed from sin and death. Anyone who puts their trust in him will receive eternal life.

To proselytize is to try to convert someone to your way of thinking whether it's about faith, doctrine, a cause, or what have you. We are all trying to convince each other to believe as we do. I find no fault in that because I think what I believe is the truth. I'm sure you do too. So we try to convince each other to believe the way we do because we think it's the best way. If I didn't think my belief was the best one, I would change my belief.

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Post by Nick_A » September 2nd, 2009, 11:18 pm

Hi Lilly

Please remember that this is an interview rather then a debate. When I ask these questions, don't take them as a challenge but rather as an invitation for clarification. My purpose is neither to agree or disagree but to understand your beliefs.

The Internet is good for stereotyping and fundamentalism on many sites has an unfavorable connotation for many. You are showing that a Fundamentalist can be a nice thoughtful person with good intentions.
Here Jesus is praying for his disciples. He is moving to the next stage where his disciples will be left in a sinful world without him and prays for the Father to protect them from the sinfulness of man. Jesus' disciples have been given the gospel message to take to the world and to call out men from all nations to follow God's Anointed.
Do you take this to mean just reciting scripture as sufficient or also having acquired a certain inner growth that allows scripture to live?
I've always liked this passage by Meister Eckhart
People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works.
From this perspective it seems that an emphasis must be placed on what we ARE which gives the Christian value to what we do.

Does your fundamentalism agree with Meister Eckhart here?
Um... I don't see a connection at all. I'm not a Muslim terrorist. I don't follow the Prophet Mohammed nor trust in his teaching. My faith is in Jesus and his teaching. He never told me to be a terrorist. He told me to love my neighbor, to do good to my enemy. He told me to live at peace with all men as much as it is in my power to do so. This is the teaching I look to for guidance. How is that anything like Islam or terrorism? The difference between me and a Muslim terrorist is that I follow Christ, they follow Mohammed and the fundamental teachings of these two men are as different as night and day.
You misunderstood the question. I didn't mean to imply that you would side with terrorists. I was only questioning the value of faith. It seems that as it is normally understood, it can be double edged.

Those that supported the Spanish Inquisition for example would say that they had faith. I'm not arguing faith here though after the Interview it would make a great topic for a forum discussion.

But you must admit that Jesus said we have little faith if any at all. The apostles who believed asked to have their faith increased. Jesus said the Centurion had great faith. It seems as though that there is something underneath this concept of faith that may be underestimated. I'm only asking now if as a fundamentalist, do you believe you have acquired either the faith of the centurion or what the apostles asked for more of? It raises the interesting question of the difference between faith IN Jesus and the faith OF Jesus which is a worthwhile discussion later. Now we are just painting a general picture of what you are as a good human being and a fundamentalist.

The natural question now is how Fundamentalism has benefited and affected your life and your relations with others?
I disagree with her statement. There is no certainty in the things of God. We are not even certain that God exists. There is no proof. He has not made himself known to us through certainty. My belief tells me that we can only know God through Spirit. We can only know God through faith, believing that he is and that he rewards those who seek him. If you're looking for certainty, you will never find it because all you have is belief.


But isn't this why the Christian seeks the direct experience of gnosis? Did Paul experience Jesus and in modern times, did Simone Weil experience a connection which she explains in this letter to Father Perrin. She knew she was dying and he wanted to know her better. This letter he released is now considered her spiritual autobiography. In it she wrote:

http://www.rivertext.com/weil3c..html
There was a young English Catholic there from whom I gained my first idea of the supernatural power of the sacraments because of the truly angelic radiance with which he seemed to be clothed after going to communion. Chance -- for I always prefer saying chance rather than Providence -- made of him a messenger to me. For he told me of the existence of those English poets of the seventeenth century who are named metaphysical. In reading them later on, I discovered the poem of which I read you what is unfortunately a very inadequate translation. It is called "Love". I learned it by heart. Often, at the culminating point of a violent headache, I make myself say it over, concentrating all my attention upon it and clinging with all my soul to the tenderness it enshrines. I used to think I was merely reciting it as a beautiful poem, but without my knowing it the recitation had the virtue of a prayer. It was during one of these recitations that, as I told you, Christ himself came down and took possession of me.

In my arguments about the insolubility of the problem of God I had never foreseen the possibility of that, of a real contact, person to person, here below, between a human being and God I had vaguely heard tell of things of this kind, but I had never believed in them. In the Fioretti the accounts of apparitions rather put me off if anything, like the miracles in the Gospel. Moreover, in this sudden possession of me by Christ, neither my senses nor my imagination had any part; I only felt in the midst of my suffering the presence of a love, like that which one can read in the smile on a beloved face.

I had never read any mystical works because I had never felt any call to read them. In reading as in other things I have always striven to practice obedience. There is nothing more favorable to intellectual progress, for as far as possible I only read what I am hungry for at the moment when I have an appetite for it, and then I do not read, I eat. God in his mercy had prevented me from reading the mystics, so that it should be evident to me that I had not invented this absolutely unexpected contact.

Yet I still half refused, not my love but my intelligence. For it seemed to me certain, and I still think so today, that one can never wrestle enough with God if one does so out of pure regard for the truth. Christ likes us to prefer truth to him because, before being Christ, he is truth. If one turns aside from him to go toward the truth, one will not go far before falling into his arms............
Would you accept the possibility that Simone had a genuine Christian experience?
To proselytize is to try to convert someone to your way of thinking whether it's about faith, doctrine, a cause, or what have you. We are all trying to convince each other to believe as we do. I find no fault in that because I think what I believe is the truth. I'm sure you do too. So we try to convince each other to believe the way we do because we think it's the best way. If I didn't think my belief was the best one, I would change my belief.
But we're back to the previous question. I am only speaking theoretically here and not referring to you. But is Christianity primarily beliefs or an experience? If it is an experience can it be shared without first experiencing and retaining it? Would you admit the possibility that there is great danger for those that diminish a person new to Christianity by stressing beliefs?
Matthew 18:

5"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Jesus isn't referring to a child in the normal usage but rather as one who is new to what Jesus brought. They are vulnerable to those with beliefs but lacking the substance of understanding. I've often wondered if some people doing exactly this have the slightest awareness of it.

Do you and fundamentalism in general have a similar concern for the damage that can be done to a new one through beliefs?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Lilly
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Post by Lilly » September 3rd, 2009, 5:18 pm

Nick_A wrote:Hi Lilly

Please remember that this is an interview rather then a debate. When I ask these questions, don't take them as a challenge but rather as an invitation for clarification. My purpose is neither to agree or disagree but to understand your beliefs.

The Internet is good for stereotyping and fundamentalism on many sites has an unfavorable connotation for many. You are showing that a Fundamentalist can be a nice thoughtful person with good intentions.
Thank you. I think we are all fundamentalists, it just depends on what fundamentals you believe in. I believe in the fundamental teachings of Jesus as presented in the Bible. I would have to leave the teachings of Christ to kill, condemn, hate or oppress others. I realize many have done just that in the name of God and of Christ, but in my view they left his teachings to do so.
Here Jesus is praying for his disciples. He is moving to the next stage where his disciples will be left in a sinful world without him and prays for the Father to protect them from the sinfulness of man. Jesus' disciples have been given the gospel message to take to the world and to call out men from all nations to follow God's Anointed.
Do you take this to mean just reciting scripture as sufficient or also having acquired a certain inner growth that allows scripture to live?
I don't see anything about reciting scripture, nor do I see anything about inner growth. Jesus is simply asking the Father to watch over his disciples as they accomplish the task they have been given. It is God's will that they do this. It is Jesus who has gathered them and given them a task. It is they who will accomplish the task and God's will shall be done on earth.
I've always liked this passage by Meister Eckhart
People should not worry as much about what they do but rather about what they are. If they and their ways are good, then their deeds are radiant. If you are righteous, then what you do will also be righteous. We should not think that holiness is based on what we do but rather on what we are, for it is not our works which sanctify us but we who sanctify our works.
I don't know the context of these remarks or the author, but the remarks themselves that I read here fall short for me. He is right that if you are righteous in heart, then your deeds will be righteous. What we do is a reflection of who we are. However, in my view no man is righteous. All have sinned and therefore all need a Savior. John writes, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." Since we all sin, and our deeds are a reflection of who we are, then by conclusion we are sinners. Therefore, you need more than to merely work on being righteous. You need to be made righteous, and this is the work God sent his Son to do in us. In my view, we trust God to make us righteous. We cannot do it ourselves. That is our faith.
From this perspective it seems that an emphasis must be placed on what we ARE which gives the Christian value to what we do.
This is why Jesus came. He came to cleanse us from our unrighteousness and make us righteous. Once made righteous, our works will be good. This is God's salvation for mankind.
You misunderstood the question. I didn't mean to imply that you would side with terrorists. I was only questioning the value of faith. It seems that as it is normally understood, it can be double edged.
It would depend on what your faith was in. My faith is in Jesus and his teachings as presented in the Bible. If my faith were in the Catholic Church and the authority of the Popes, then I might be able to justify the Spanish Inquisition. However, as I compare the teachings of Christ to the actions taken during the Spanish Inquisition, I see no basis for such a thing coming from Jesus. To do what they did, they had to leave the teachings of Jesus.
But you must admit that Jesus said we have little faith if any at all. The apostles who believed asked to have their faith increased. Jesus said the Centurion had great faith. It seems as though that there is something underneath this concept of faith that may be underestimated. I'm only asking now if as a fundamentalist, do you believe you have acquired either the faith of the centurion or what the apostles asked for more of?
The faith of the Roman Centurion who commanded a hundred Roman soldiers was to believe that Jesus, a Jew, was the Christ of God who had the power and authority to heal the sick. Jesus' own Jewish apostles, on the other hand, believed Jesus was the Christ but then often doubted that Jesus had the power and authority to do what was required. They doubted. I have faith that Jesus is the Christ, and I'm learning to trust God in his leading of my life.
The natural question now is how Fundamentalism has benefited and affected your life and your relations with others?
I live by the morals laid out by Christ and he empowers me to be able to do it.
But isn't this why the Christian seeks the direct experience of gnosis?
I'm not a gnostic or a mystic. I don't believe I'm a soul trapped in a material world. I don't believe I can do certain things in order to have a direct experience with God. In my mind that's like saying I can control God if I pray harder, or deny myself, or meditate. My goal is to seek God's will for me and obey him. I want to do his will. If he chooses to reveal himself to me I would love that. But it's his choice, not mine. I will trust and believe in him whether I have a direct experience or not.
Would you accept the possibility that Simone had a genuine Christian experience?
That certainly isn't up to me to judge. I'll leave that to God.
I am only speaking theoretically here and not referring to you. But is Christianity primarily beliefs or an experience? If it is an experience can it be shared without first experiencing and retaining it? Would you admit the possibility that there is great danger for those that diminish a person new to Christianity by stressing beliefs?
We become Christians through faith in Jesus as the Christ. Faith = belief = trust. Jesus said, "I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins." Fundamentally Christianity is about faith, or belief, in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins and the empowerment of our spirits so that we can do the will of God from the heart--so that we ARE righteous. Romans 4 teaches us why faith is necessary.
Matthew 18

Jesus isn't referring to a child in the normal usage but rather as one who is new to what Jesus brought. They are vulnerable to those with beliefs but lacking the substance of understanding. I've often wondered if some people doing exactly this have the slightest awareness of it.

Do you and fundamentalism in general have a similar concern for the damage that can be done to a new one through beliefs?
It depends on the beliefs. Let's be honest. Those who believe they can experience God through meditation and prayer, or whatever, have a belief. They just think it's the right belief. I have a belief. I believe that Jesus died for our sins so we can be reconciled to God and live righteously. I think those who believe and teach others that the right way is to seek to experience God may do harm to the vulnerable among us. That is not the right way in my view. Someone else may thing the right way is to seek an experience and my way of faith may harm the weak. We both have a belief. Who's right?

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Post by Nick_A » September 3rd, 2009, 11:53 pm

Hi Lilly

You've been sincere in explaining your beliefs. They raise a lot of good questions including the nature of faith, belief, self deception, and receiving and expressing the spirit.

Do you believe Christian music for example invites expressing the Spirit or an egotistical emotional response? Since my beliefs make me more wary of self deception, my experience with much of modern Christian music has been an emotional expression of egotism and imagination rather then an expression of the Spirit.

What has been your experience with modern Christian music?

I believe that a free society requires acknowledging a need for the help of grace to remain free and grow. What would you say is the role and potential for fundamentalism in an increasingly secular society?

For example, even a period of silent prayer in the beginning of a school day annoys someone. Yet it is psychologically valuable for a student to settle down in this way. Politics denies it so kids suffer.

Regardless of our differences, how do you believe fundamentalism should present itself to an increasingly secular nation that loves nothing better then attacking and ridiculing it?

There are charlatans in Fundamentalism as there are in anything else. Fundamentalism though is often defined by its charlatans. How do you deal with it and how do you believe fundamentalism as a whole should deal with it?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Post by Lilly » September 4th, 2009, 6:23 pm

Nick_A wrote:Do you believe Christian music for example invites expressing the Spirit or an egotistical emotional response? Since my beliefs make me more wary of self deception, my experience with much of modern Christian music has been an emotional expression of egotism and imagination rather then an expression of the Spirit.

What has been your experience with modern Christian music?
I enjoy Christian music very much. We are exhorted in Scripture to sing praises to the Lord. We are told to worship him. I would not criticize another man's worship of God. That's for God alone to judge. Self deception and pride may certainly occur in some people, but how can I judge between that and someone's sincere expression of love towards God. Here are three songs I like. I think the words are good.

(Oh dear, I had to take out my links because I don't have ten posts. :( I'll link to them when I can.)
I believe that a free society requires acknowledging a need for the help of grace to remain free and grow. What would you say is the role and potential for fundamentalism in an increasingly secular society?
As a Christian, I will simply remain a Christian. If secular society makes that difficult for me, then it will be difficult, but I will remain faithful to God with his help.
For example, even a period of silent prayer in the beginning of a school day annoys someone. Yet it is psychologically valuable for a student to settle down in this way. Politics denies it so kids suffer.
If our nation elects representative who outlaw prayer or even a moment of silence in schools, then Christians should obey the law. In this country we have the privilege of taking part in the political process and express our views, but Christianity isn't about politics. It's about Christ, and if we lose the right to express ourselves as citizens, then we lose that right, but we must remain faithful to God. We as Christian Americans have had an easy time of it compared to Christians living in other nations. If that changes, then it changes and we will have to adjust. Whatever the political powers that be decide, Christians will remain Christians at heart.
Regardless of our differences, how do you believe fundamentalism should present itself to an increasingly secular nation that loves nothing better then attacking and ridiculing it?
Christians need to do what Christ taught us to do. Love our enemies, and pray for those who persecute us. Jesus taught his disciples in the Beatitudes, "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven."
There are charlatans in Fundamentalism as there are in anything else. Fundamentalism though is often defined by its charlatans. How do you deal with it and how do you believe fundamentalism as a whole should deal with it?
I think as Christians we simply proclaim the truth. An individual church does have the authority in scripture to deal with those inside the church who are disruptive or blatantly sinful. They can be expelled from the church. But Christians should not judge those outside the church. We haven't been given that authority. God is the judge of all men, not us.

We have been told this would happen. Peter writes, "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."

In other words, it is to be this way, but God will judge and set all things straight in the end. That's our faith. That's what our hope is, but remains unseen at this time.

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Post by Nick_A » September 4th, 2009, 11:15 pm

Hi Lilly
I enjoy Christian music very much. We are exhorted in Scripture to sing praises to the Lord. We are told to worship him. I would not criticize another man's worship of God. That's for God alone to judge. Self deception and pride may certainly occur in some people, but how can I judge between that and someone's sincere expression of love towards God. Here are three songs I like. I think the words are good.
Would you be open to the idea that for some there is primarily the need to receive Christianity while for others as with Christian music, there is a dominant need to express their impressions of Christianity? Is it possible that egoistic expression denies a person the openness to receive the Spirit replacing it with hyper emotional expression?
If our nation elects representative who outlaw prayer or even a moment of silence in schools, then Christians should obey the law. In this country we have the privilege of taking part in the political process and express our views, but Christianity isn't about politics. It's about Christ, and if we lose the right to express ourselves as citizens, then we lose that right, but we must remain faithful to God. We as Christian Americans have had an easy time of it compared to Christians living in other nations. If that changes, then it changes and we will have to adjust. Whatever the political powers that be decide, Christians will remain Christians at heart.
What is your opinion of the Christian conservative movement. It is a political movement. Do you believe it is worth fighting for or is it better just to let be what will be and concentrate on turning the other cheek?
We have been told this would happen. Peter writes, "But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping."


Do you think that a false prophet knows they are a false prophet or do they believe they are genuine? What would you say is the greatest distinction between a real and false prophet?

These are all questions I believe the average person considers. I'm interested in your answers not to define right and wrong but just to give indications of how you expressing fundamentalism would reply if someone asked you next week?
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace

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Post by Lilly » September 7th, 2009, 5:15 pm

Nick_A wrote:Would you be open to the idea that for some there is primarily the need to receive Christianity while for others as with Christian music, there is a dominant need to express their impressions of Christianity?
I have no problem with people expressing their impressions of Christianity. People should be able to be honest about what they think without someone else stifling their speech. I believe in freedom of speech and expression.
Is it possible that egoistic expression denies a person the openness to receive the Spirit replacing it with hyper emotional expression?
In my view, no. That's because I believe we are all self centered at heart as a part of our sinful nature. When we receive Christ he imparts to us the Spirit of God to lead us into righteousness, including convicting us of egotism. In other words, we don't clean ourselves up in order to receive God's Spirit. We receive God's Spirit so he can clean us up. If we are egotistical and emotional, the Spirit will help us with that. For our part we must follow the leading of the Spirit so we don't fulfill the lusts of the flesh. When we follow the leading of God's Spirit to do what is right, we become the sons of God.
What is your opinion of the Christian conservative movement. It is a political movement. Do you believe it is worth fighting for or is it better just to let be what will be and concentrate on turning the other cheek?
There are Christians who are conservative in their view of Christianity--religious conservatives, and there are Christians who are politically conservative. I was a political conservative before I became a Christian. That was mainly because I'm a fiscal conservative and believe smaller government is better along with smaller to no government debt. Since I'm an American citizen I have the right to take part in the political process and do so. Politics and government, however, can only deal with behavior, it can't deal with a person's heart. Christianity deals with peoples' hearts and minds and isn't something that can be legislated. So although I'm not against taking part in the political process of our country, I don't think politics can advance Christianity.
Do you think that a false prophet knows they are a false prophet or do they believe they are genuine? What would you say is the greatest distinction between a real and false prophet?
Good question. I really don't know. May be some do and some don't. For the Christian a false teacher would first and foremost deny Jesus Christ as Lord.

Jesus: "He who does not honor the Son, does not honor the Father who sent him."

Paul: "Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, 'Jesus be cursed.'"

Peter: "[False teachers] will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them."

John: "Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist--he denies the Father and the Son."

Jude: "For certain men whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord."

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