Christians used to be sure of what they believed...

by THE GLADIATOR 68 Replies latest jw friends

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I agree with this thread or what I could see. My Flash Player is not working properly. I must resolve to focus on larger issues and not get caught in discussing how many angels can stand on a pin. What is the wording of the saying? Allowing myself to be triggered does no one any good.

    Jesus could have produced a document, larger than all the virtual memory now available, with clear, concise details. Clearly, Jesus was not histrionic concerning Christology or other topics. He was mute on white shirts and oral sex. Rather than theologians, we had fishermen.

    I am presently reading a biography of St. Augustine of Hippo, the only one my library had.Baptism was the burning issue in his day. The points we discuss/fight over were fought over by early Christians. Peter, James, and Paul were not united in every belief and act. When I was young, all was clear. My college prof said it was no accident that certain forms of Christian survived and others were declared heretical. Social and political forces were at play. My guts tell me that the apostles must have argued over Christology and knowledge during Jesus' ministry.

    I never want a blinding light on the road to Damascus. Too much drama.

    Also, I highly recommend Augustine's Confessions for reading material. He lived a worldly life prior to conversion. Confessions is an easy read. I had great trouble with City of God years ago.

  • AGuest

    Greetings, dear Glad... and peace to you! I hadn't seen this thread previously, so I apologize for the late response (I only came across it while looking for something referenced in another thread). Since it apparently is with some reference to me, I would like to respond, if you will indulge me - thank you!

    There are many reasons that those who call themselves "christians" are no longer "sure" of what they believe. The primary one, however, is that they don't REALLY possess the promised holy spirit, by means of which they are led by the Holy Spirit... so they don't know what it is, how it works, or who it comes FROM. Sure, a whole lot of folks believe that just CALLING oneself a "christian" makes it so. If such ones would only look to the very things they themselves teach... and tell others to look to... they would KNOW that this is not the case. That is cannot BE the case. They would also know that it is the voice of the Fine Shepherd that they're supposed to listen to... and follow... not that of "strangers."

    Another reason is that rather than following ONLY the Lamb, and having no other "leader" or "teacher" than him... they follow those who "seat themselves in the seat of Moses"... blind guides who don't know that they are naked, blind, miserable, and pitiable THEMSELVES. They put their faith and trust in these... rather than in the Spirit of the TRUTH... and so, as prophesied, they are not only being misled... but LOVING it.

    Another reason? They lack faith. They BELIEVE they have faith... but faith as men describe it; not faith as is granted from Christ. They don't really know what faith... as GOD gives it, through Christ... IS. Thus, as Christ said, "When the Son of Man arrives, will he REALLY find faith in the earth?"

    Yet another reason? Many "christians" love the glory of MEN... as well as FEAR men... and what men think of them... more than they love the glory of God... or fear God (and I mean, in the sense of disappointing)... or care what the Most Holy One of Israel thinks of them. So, they are MORE than ready and able to say what is agreeable to MEN... rather than what is TRUE. It is easier... and more desirable... for them to say, "Well, Rabbi So-and-So said," or "The Reverend Doctor Such-and-So said," or "Professor So-and-Such of the Such-and-So University of This-and-That said,"... RATHER than "My LORD said..." or "the Holy Spirit said to ME...".

    This is because of the HUGE amount of ridicule that can result... when one DOES openly profess that it is Christ, the Holy Spirit, who spoke to them. It's "controversial" and, well... we can't be controversial, can we? No, we need the world to ACCEPT us. Don't we??

    What makes me different? Why do I hear? The truth is that I am no different from anyone else here, with one exception: faith... and love as a result of that faith. I KNOW who it is that is speaking to me... and I don't really care what the atheists, agnostics, non-believers... or even other so-called believers... believe. It doesn't MATTER. I am NOT afraid to tell the TRUTH... even if it ticks others off, even makes them speak abusively of and to me. They have the problem, not me. And their problem is rooted in a kind of jealousy... which says, "Why is Christ speaking to YOU, and not ME? What makes YOU so special? Surely, if God/Christ were going to speak to ANYONE... it would be to ME."

    Unfortunately, few recognize the utter haughtiness and arrogance in such thinking. They don't get the FOLLY in asking that of ME... of even THINKING it: the Most Holy One of Israel shows mercy to whomever HE wishes to show it. Some here make statements regarding ones having not really left the WTBTS. Well, this issue is CERTAINLY indicative of it, because I almost meet with as much chagrin, anger, and hatred HERE... as I did THERE ("Who are YOU to profess to be anointed!?")

    But why ME? The TRUTH is that if folks spent as much time asking themselves... and LISTENING... as to why NOT them... as they do to "why Shelby"... they would KNOW the answer. Because it lies with each one of us, NOT with the other guy. But if there IS a "why Shelby", it is simply and solely due to mercy, which has been granted me... because I not only know he is speaking to me... but am not afraid to be chided, ridiculed, expelled, persecuted, whatever by others... so that I openly PROFESS it. I am not ashamed of him in front of men. Because I love him. So, I don't CARE what the naysayers think of me: it is the truth; and such ones cannot give me life. Thus, not DENY him... simply to appease those who can't wrap their heads around what I am experiencing. The deficiency is theirs, not mine.

    But I have come to know that the greatest reason I have been shown mercy, is because of MY love for THEM... resulting from THEIR love for ME. Which I get that many here don't get, but perhaps the following account will help explain, because it is MY account, in every sense:

    "When one of the Pharisees invited [Jesus] to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that [Jesus] was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

    "[Jesus] answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

    “Tell me, teacher,” he said.

    “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

    "Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

    “You have judged correctly,” [Jesus] said.

    "Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

    "Then [Jesus] said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

    "The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

    "[Jesus] said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

    This woman was forgiven much... because she loved much. In return, she loved much... because she was forgiven much. And so she put HER faith in the One who so loved HER... and forgave her. I have done nothing but the same. Again, if the Holy One of Israel is not speaking to you... has not called you... has not chosen you... that is between him and YOU. Not ME and you and him. Nor it is about me... but you.

    I hope this helps and, again, I bid you peace!

    Your servant and a slave of Christ,



    "And their problem is rooted in a kind of jealousy... which says, "Why is Christ speaking to YOU, and not ME? What makes YOU so special? Surely, if God/Christ were going to speak to ANYONE... it would be to ME."

    Unfortunately, few recognize the utter haughtiness and arrogance in such thinking."

    Thanks for your reply Shelby. I think you have rumbled me - I am jealous. Why have I not been chosen? I would like Christ to speak to me. Even though I don't believe he exists, I would still like to believe that I can hear him speaking to me.

    Alas I am destined to wander though life alone, wondering what I am doing on this god forsaken planet. But you tell me it's not god forsaken, it is me that is forsaken. I realize that this is because I lack faith. Nor am I big on the love thing.

    Like many others here, I have not made a choice as to whether to believe or not. It is simply that b elief eludes me. As the bible says, 'faith is not the possession of all people.'

    Peace & may your gods go with you

  • tec

    Gladiator, I think you understand love and kindness very well... and if you forget once in a while, you've got an awesome wife to remind you ;)

    Not all people have faith; that is true. Nor is it our job (or ability) to judge anyone for their lack of faith, weakness of faith, or strength of faith. (the first two smak of arrogance, and the last of, yes, jealousy) You are honest in who you are and what makes you tick (as long as you, yourself, knows), and I love that about you. Since I believe in Christ, and He can see through to the truth of us, there is little point in hiding who we are, though most of us do even from ourselves; myself included. Because its often uncomfortable to face certain parts of who we are. I'm speaking generally here, not to you.

    I know about Christ. I think most of us start out that way, and perhaps remain there. But I also feel that I know Christ, some, through his teachings (verbal and deed teachings) and the spirit behind them. I am also getting to know Him through the spirit that teaches me love, patience, forgiveness. I am still learning to listen, and so I lack a lot of confidence I suppose, to make a bold statement on 'hearing'. But I have received gifts of the spirit... peace when I ask for peace; mildness when I ask for mildness; even answers and understanding to difficult questions when I ask for them.

    Since not all 'christians' know Christ personally, there are bound to be differences in beliefs, arguments, slandering, insults, even wars and murder and torture as the history of christianity has shown us. But again, and as PSac would say... these are cases of too little Christ in their lives; not too much. Some don't know the Christ they claim to know and follow at all. Its difficult to sort through, I know, but it shouldn't be suprising. We were all warned that it would happen, and so it did. Which is why the only way that anyone can know the truth about Christ is to go to Christ themselves. Barring that, do good to others, be kind and forgiving and helpful and let love for others guide you. "Love covers over a multitude of sins."

    I've been trying to get through all of this without going into specifics (because I am not a judge of anyone), but I think I have to say one thing.

    Shelby has been told that her lord is a demon. I think that love dictates she speak the truth about that, and defend Him (as most of us would for those we love). Not only love for Him, but also love for those who might be turned away in fear because someone used the 'demon' word. Now I might sometimes be more gentle than Shelby when it comes to my tone on here... but I can tell you honestly that I believe Shelby loves more deeply than I do. Truly. Because she truly knows and loves her lord, and so she truly loves all those whom He loves.

    Please forgive the rambling nature of this post, my friend.

    Lots of love, and I wish you peace,


  • AGuest

    First, thank you, dear Tams (the greatest of love and peace to you!)... for your unfailing love and support. I realize that some would prefer I speak a little more "gently"... and would that I could and still remain genuine. In that light, I (and I am sure many others) are SO glad you are here... to "temper" things. Thus, your calm "hand"... only compliments my heavy "foot". Yet, the Body benefits from both, yes? So, again, thank you!

    Dear, dear Gladiator... the greatest of love and peace to you, as well... and I would like to respond:

    Thanks for your reply Shelby.

    You are quite welcome, dear one!

    I think you have rumbled me - I am jealous.

    Yes, I know... but I am NOT saying that with a smirk, not at all. I am saying that because I understand, truly. And one thing I have learned from my Lord is that it is almost always better to say what it TRUE... tempered with love and mildness... than what is RIGHT (according to public policy). In this case, the "right" thing to say would be, "Oh, I'm sorry I made you feel that way, dear Glad." But that wouldn't have been the absolute truth. The truth would be that I know I rumbled you (and not only you)... that I'm NOT sorry I did so... and that you are jealous... albeit I don't consider you a BAD person because of it. It's NATURAL. Unfortunately, we live in a world (and perhaps a time) where saying the truth about certain things brings great gasps and chagrin ("No, you DIDN'T say that!"). But it is what IS "natural" that we're sometimes supposed to "conquer." This particular thing... this particular jealousy... is one of them.

    Why have I not been chosen?

    I would venture to say it's because you haven't answered the call, dear one. I mean, the Spirit and the Bride say to ALL, "Come!". Not all hear, however, or respond. I mean, you can't get cast in the movie if you don't respond to the casting CALL... can you? Or perhaps you're like those actors who believe they're SO good... that the "studio" must come after THEM. ?? And why not? I can't answer that other than to say, if the studio hasn't called you (or you BELIEVE it hasn't)... perhaps it's upon YOU to make the call, now.

    I would like Christ to speak to me.

    He does speak to you, dear one. His voice is to the sons of man. ALL of us.

    Even though I don't believe he exists, I would still like to believe that I can hear him speaking to me.

    Okay, I'm gonna ask you to re-read that statement, if you would. Because you've contradicted yourself, dear one. Either you believe he exists... AND speaks... AND you CAN hear him (once your ears have been opened and you have learned to LISTEN)... or he doesn't exist... doesn't speak... and so you can't hear him (because he doesn't exist/speak). You can't have it both ways... because the first negates the TOOL that is USED to hear: faith. If you don't believe he exists... how can you say you have faith?

    Alas I am destined to wander though life alone,

    If you so choose that destiny, yes. But it is your CHOICE. The thing is, most look to Christ to follow THEM ("If he exists, if he's truly there, he wouldn't leave me but be with me wherever I go!"). It's the other way around, dear one: we're supposed to follow HIM... wherever HE goes. WE are not supposed to leave HIM. In RETURN... he promises to be with US.

    wondering what I am doing on this god forsaken planet.

    But that is how YOU want it, dear one, not how it has to be! That is the choice YOU are making! Because you have no faith in the OTHER choices (i.e., "This is my Son, the Beloved - listen to HIM!"... "My sheep hear MY voice"... etc.).

    But you tell me it's not god forsaken

    Which is true: the planet has not been forsaken, nor have all on it been, either.

    it is me that is forsaken.

    No, dear Glad... the Most Holy One of Israel has not forsaken YOU - YOU have forsaken HIM. You're looking at it backward. Most likely because the WTBTS turned out to not be who they said... and you thought... they were. In which case, they were the end of the line for you. Your "search" ended with them. But it was you who stopped searching... you who stopped groping. Which is exactly what that organization exists for: it serves its "master"... the one who WANTS you to curse God and die. The one who said you WOULD. You and every other person on this planet of mature age has the ability to answer for himself/herself as to whether their love of their own skin is more important than their love of God. It is a personal challenge... and no one can answer it for anyone else (except their children).

    I realize that this is because I lack faith.

    So, now, I'm confused: if you KNOW what the "problem" is... why not CHANGE it? As the one man implored: "Help me out where I NEED faith!" Faith is a fruit of God's spirit... which spirit is NEVER withheld from those asking. Why not ASK for this fruit?

    Nor am I big on the love thing.

    Dear Tammy's loving remarks aside, I am directed to say to you that only YOU know the truth of this. We also live in a world where feigned modesty, honesty, genuiness, love, faith, etc., is the norm. People have a "form" of godly devotion, but prove false to its power. Although there are those here who would disagree, I have stated on many occasions that I am NOT "nice." This is the TRUTH... and I know it is because I know myself. If, then, you say you're NOT big on the love thing, I have to take YOUR word for it... because I believe you know yourself and I do not perceive you as someone who feigns modesty. I think you're being honest.

    In that light, that may be something you need to work on. I know I had to. BIG time. All the way to the point of loving... my enemies. Which is NOT natural for me. I NATURALLY want to revile when being reviled and return evil for evil. I have to FIGHT my own nature NOT to do so! I don't fight alone, though: like Tammy stated, I also ask for the fruit of God's holy spirit that can HELP me: love, joy, peace, faith, kindness, mildness, goodness, long-suffering, and self-control. Sometimes I ask for one of these, sometimes two or three. Sometimes... ALL of them. And I've never reached a point where they are all present and "perfected." Won't happen... as long as I am in the flesh. Because it's the flesh... the NATURAL man... that I am... that tries to lead me against these things.

    But there is an even greater love... than love of one's enemies. And it is the love that, for most, has cooled off: the love... of the TRUTH. Which includes the love of knowing what is TRUE (vs. what is false)... as well as the love of Christ, who IS the Truth. Because it really is only by means of him, the Truth... that we can be led "into" the other: ALL truth. The love of the greater number... FOR truth... however, has cooled off. People don't want to hear what is true; they want to hear... what they want to hear. What appeals to THEIR ears... even if it's a lie.

    Like many others here, I have not made a choice as to whether to believe or not.

    See, here is where the "thing" comes in, where we have trouble being honest... WITH OURSELVES. Because, although you may not REALIZE it, may not SEE it... according to your statement above ("Even though I don't believe he exists")... you HAVE made a choice, dear one. Do you SEE that? But there's nothing written in stone to say you can't CHANGE your choice. The Door is still open... and the call still going out. What do YOU do? Simply say, "Here I am! Send ME!" And then... GO.

    It is simply that belief eludes me.

    That, too, is a choice, dear one. Really, it is.

    As the bible says, 'faith is not the possession of all people.'

    Yes. But, it also says that one can ASK for faith... and receive it! However, asking for faith... and then doubting its receipt... is just more LACK of faith...

    Peace & may your gods go with you

    Again, peace to you, as well!

    YOUR servant, always, and a slave of Christ,



    “ Gladiator, I think you understand love and kindness very well... and if you forget once in a while, you've got an awesome wife to remind you ;) ”

    Shush Tammy! If this were to get out, people will start to doubt I’m a gladiator and it is the only illusion I have left.

    Your post is as always kind and sincere. The things we desire and ask for usually manifest. You attribute this to Jesus, whereas I suspect these things come from inside ourselves. In any case, starting out with good motives is a positive way to live and leads to harmony within and with others.

    I understand why Christians argue among themselves. It is the way to arrive at conclusions and consensus. When it’s done in public I can’t help joining in with the entertainment.

    I guess I don’t take these matters so seriously any more. After all I have nothing to lose, no position to defend. What I am looking for I have yet to find.


    Well, as always Shelby, your response is comprehensive, sincere and perceptive. I have just used the word sincere in my last post because Christians do seem to be entirely sincere.

    When I say that ‘I would like Christ to speak to me, even though I don't believe he exists; that I would still like to believe that I can hear him speaking to me. ’

    What I am saying is that I would like to be able to enjoy having such an amazing illusion in my life. My disposition prevents me from enjoying this luxury. It’s not a choice. If I could keep illusion alive I would still be a Jehovah's Witness.

    At the same time, I could be utterly deluded and missing out on the reality of Jesus and his existence. I think this unlikely but to you it is a reality and I wish you well in your spiritual journey. I appreciate the time you take to dissect my often facetious comments and believing that I may be worth saving.

  • AGuest

    Love believes all things... and hopes all things, dear Glad (again, peace to you!). In that light I not only believed you but hoped as you indicated YOU hoped... which is why I responded and as I did. I did not look for any deceit in what you posted, at all but gave you the benefit of the doubt (why wouldn't I?). I am saddened to learn that my candor may have been wasted (or so you suggest) because you were never serious to begin with (or you now wish me to believe). I don't believe that, though... at least not as much as I believe your "revelation" of insinceirty to actually be a little more "rumbling"... and associated chagrin... than you anticipated. C'mon, dear Glad... did you really expect me to be less than honest, candid, and sincere with you? Really? I don't think so. But perhaps you weren't ready for what I did share... and for that, I do sincerely apologize. Again, peace to you! YOUR servant and a slave of Christ, SA

  • moshe

    Most believers are sincere folks. My grandfather was a sincere country church preacher. History is full of religious believers who have been proven later to be sincerely wrong.

  • shepherd

    " Christians used to be sure of what they believed solid in their faith and certain of its foundation cornerstone and what he was called."

    Not sure I agree. Most I have ever met who claim to be 'Christian' don't know Genesis from Revelation. Few had a clue what doctrines their chosen church believed in or what they were supposed to do in their own lives to confirm their faith other than 'do good things'.

    YOUR servant and a slave of Superstitious nonsense.

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