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Mithrae
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 9:28 am  Do Christians despise God? Reply with quote

A post from another thread which on reflection might be an interesting topic in its own right:
Realworldjack wrote:
Other than things like attending Church, etc., again you would be correct [that "Christians live lives much like unbelievers do"]. So then, other than that, what would give you the impression that the lives of Christians would be any different, and how would this have anything at all to do with Christianity being true, or false?


You mean... what would give that impression, besides virtually all of the NT insisting that Christians should be starkly distinguished from the world? Indeed that the world would hate Jesus' followers just as it hated him?
    John 15:16 You did not choose me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in my name he may give to you. 17 This I command you, that you love one another. 18 If the world hates you, you know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they kept my word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for my name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent me.

    1 John 3:10 By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. . . . 16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.


There is so much poverty and need in the world, while most people in countries like Australia and the US have more wealth than we reasonably know what to do with. How can any Christian claim that the love of God abides in them if they're spending money on houses, cars or a fancy sound system for the building they attend once or twice a week? Jesus not only told his followers to sell their possessions and give to the poor, he even emphasized this as a truly fundamental aspect of the kingdom of God; that retaining treasures on earth or working for money was akin to blinding yourself entirely:
    Luke 12:29 And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30 For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

    Matthew 6:19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. [You cannot work for God if you're working for money.] 25 For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?


According to Jesus' standards, by dividing up their time and spending far more effort working for money than serving God, refusing to trust in him for their daily bread but instead retaining earthly treasures year by year, most Christians are showing that they despise God despite professing him as another master.

Does that have anything to do with Christianity being true or false? Why would anyone imagine it to be true, if even the folk professing to be followers of Christ ignore his teachings? Certainly that hypocrisy and the comfortable irrelevancy of churchianity was one of major reasons why I walked away from "the faith" altogether. Jesus preached a deeply compelling but incredibly difficult message. It may be that Christians' determined efforts to bury and ignore that message do not invalidate it; perhaps even that the ongoing availability of that message despite seventeen-plus centuries of church efforts to subvert and undermine it is a testament to its power. But at least superficially the fact that Christianity as widely practiced looks like little more than a social club, the fact that not even Christians follow Christ, is a constant advertisement implying that there's nothing much to see there.




So was Jesus wrong in his stark dichotomy? Is it possible to spend so much time working for money and retaining earthly treasures, and not actually hate God as Jesus said?

Or does the refusal of most Christians to follow Jesus' teachings in this area have exactly the effect that he said it would: "If your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" Do most Christians inwardly despise God, perhaps without even realizing the depth of that darkness?
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 71: Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:59 am
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Mithrae wrote:
The point is that the gospels frequently make a point of how gradual the apostles' growth into faith and discipleship was; even after years in Jesus' company, Peter still denied him. It's like arguing that since the disciples didn't have the Lord's Supper at the start, that mustn't have been an ordinance of Jesus either. Mark describes only a single Sabbath between Jesus calling Peter and Andrew and the visit to their home. But with that said, JW has raised a valid point about the contrasting chronology presented in John; it may indeed have been months after they'd first laid eyes on Jesus... though still obviously before they were chosen as apostles and before they'd even met some of the twelve.
I don’t disagree with the basic premise that it took time for the disciples to mature in their faith. But also Peter seemed to have the capacity to change relatively quickly. You mention Peter’s three time denial of Christ not long before his crucifixion. But not long after Jesus’ death Peter had changed from a coward afraid to even associate himself with Jesus to preaching Jesus. So I don’t see why we couldn’t expect Peter to have sold/abandoned his house within a few days/weeks of meeting Jesus if that was what was required. Peter was so taken with the first impression Jesus made that Peter and Andrew, “Immediately they left their nets and followed Him” (1:18). There seems to be the implication that at that moment the decision was made to completely follow Jesus; everything that needed to be left was left so to speak.

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No, they do not say that it was owned by Peter. The original source, Mark (likely the interpretor of Peter himself) says that it was the house of Peter and Andrew, which implies a family home (further suggested by his mother-in-law being there) and contradicts any notion that it was a house Peter had bought or built for his own wife and children. And just in case there's any confusion, saying that Mark was the interpretor of Peter does not mean or even imply that Mark was under Peter's private ownership either; just that he's the interpretor associated with Peter.
Of course Peter (and Andrew’s) home was a family home. What else would it be since Peter was married? It comes as no surprise that we might find Peter’s sick mother-in-law in his home presumably being cared for by her daughter (Peter’s wife). So how does it being a family home contradict it being Peter’s home? That seems to be some horrible logic.

Surely Peter and Andrew, being brothers, could have built and/or owned a home together. And surely if they owned the home together it could be referred to as Peter and Andrew’s home or Peter’s home. Either reference would be true, the former providing more detail than the latter. Further notice that Peter is mentioned first by Mark giving priority to Peter. It’s Peter and Andrew’s home according to Mark. Not Andrew and Peter’s home. That’s a subtle but important detail which suggests Peter was indeed the patriach.

All your arguments here are highly speculative. The bottom line is all three synoptic Gospels affirm it was the home of Peter (Mark adding Andrew). It’s a little ironic because you’ve accused me of trying to use “implausible guesswork as a basis for 'interpreting' other passages which on face value are pretty clear in their meaning.” Yet, here, when the text is explicit that it was Peter’s home you are reaching for “guesswork” to maintain it wasn’t Peter’s. Tongue

A further point about Peter’s house.

In Mark 1:29 we see Jesus entering the house of Peter and Andrew in Capernaum. Then Jesus went preaching though out all Galilee (Mark 1:39). Then Jesus, again, entered Capernaum and it was heard he was “in a house” (Mark 2:1). Later in chapter 9 Jesus once again returns to Capernaum and is in “the house” (Mark 9:33). There’s a definite article in the Greek at Mark 9:33 - “τῇ οἰκίᾳ.” Whom else’s house could this likely be if not the aforementioned house of Peter (and Andrew)? What other house in Capernaum could simply be referred to as “the house”?

Moreover, there are numerous references to “the house of X” throughout the NT. For example...

”So, when he had considered this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together praying.” – Acts 12:12

So who’s house is this? Well, it’s Mary’s house. It’s not John Mark’s house even though the prominent figure here is John Mark. The writers were careful to state who’s house it was.

Lastly, this whole argument on whether Peter actually owned the home in question or merely lived there with his extended family is something of a Red Herring. Even if I were to grant Peter did not actually own this house that doesn’t address the salient underlying point that Peter was clearly not homeless. And that’s what you are actually arguing for it seems. That Christians are to be homeless.

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I'm sorry, but you're directly contradicting the text there. It explicitly says that when Silas and Timothy arrived he began devoting himself completely to the word and testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ, which caused their rejection and his move to Justus' house. Saying there was no change is simply not true. I realy wasn't expecting that, so I didn't mention the obvious of verse 4; the passage doesn't say exactly what Paul was reasoning with the Greeks and Jews before that. It may be simply Luke softening the criticism of his mentor, as you suggested, or some general/groundwork discussion: Reasoning about resurrection as a general concept with the Greeks, for example, since that had been a sticking point at Athens, and with the Jews similarly general discussion of what the Messiah should be and do.
I’m not contradicting the text at all. I’m showing your statement to be false. You said Paul went to Corinth, “where he found companionship with Aquila and Priscilla and settled into a comfortable niche for a while – in particular, without testifying to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ.” This is false. The text explicitly says Paul came to Corinth, met Aquila and Priscilla, lived and worked with them, and ”And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.”(Acts 18:4).

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Regardless, as far as the text is concerned it is a FACT that by going ahead alone, without the accountability and encouragement of similarly committed partners, Paul was deviating from the model given by Jesus;
That’s not particularly noteworthy. It wasn’t like Paul was unaccustomed to going it alone. From the start Paul’s conversion, unlike the disciples, occurred without the accountability and encouragement of similarly committed partners. Paul went alone into Syria and Cilicia (Galatians 1:21). He also went alone to Caesarea then to Antioch (Acts 18:21-22) and then all over the region of Galatia (23). Even Barnabas was sent to alone to Antioch (Acts 11:22).

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it is a FACT that his dedication waned, dropping from daily evangelism to Sabbaths only;
Hold on. How are you getting this as a fact? The text says nothing at all about Paul’s dedication waning. Paul’s custom was to go into the synagogue to reason with the Jews on the Sabbath.

”Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” - Acts 17:1-3 (cf. Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 14:1;18:19; 19:8)

So the trend was to preach on Sabbaths. Preaching daily (Acts 17:17) was the exception it seems, not the rule. Or just an additional detail. So Acts 18 where Paul preaches on the Sabbaths is consistent with his custom. There is no waning of his dedication here.

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and it is a FACT that when Silas and Timothy rejoined him he began devoting himself completely to the word and testifying that Jesus was the Christ.
But don’t mistake Paul’s pressing in the Spirit as necessarily caused by the arrival of Silas and Timothy. It’s certainly a possibility that Silas and Timothy arrival brought encouragement to Paul and needed practical support which would allow Paul to devote more time to evangelism and the word. But I see no reason to think this was a case of Paul waning in his dedication and Silas and Timothy giving Paul a spiritual butt kicking on their arrival.

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Hence it is essentially a fact that his actions in the middle there are - if anything - a case study in what not to do.
Paul’s initial actions in Corinth before his buddies arrived are consistent with the Paul we see throughout Acts. You are imagining a case study of what not to do that doesn’t exist.

To lock this down, in Paul’s farewell speech he says...

"I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak.” –Acts 20:33-35

Paul, according to Luke, said he worked to provide for his needs and the needs of others. How, then, could Acts 18 be Luke's case of what not to do, when Paul said working to support himself and others in need is what one must do?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 72: Mon Feb 11, 2019 12:51 pm
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Mithrae wrote:
If you believed that God is unable or unwilling to provide for those who obey Jesus' commands then, yes, it would certainly seem absurd wouldn't it.
I fear you may be missing the point here. The picture you are painting of what Jesus expects is one that Jesus himself didn’t embody. It makes Jesus out to be a big fat hypocrite.

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But who said anything about abandoning responsibilities as a husband and father? Paul said that Peter and the other apostles took their wives along with them, and the gospels likewise mention a group of women who followed Jesus around. If you're talking about Luke 14:26 then parents, spouses and children may well object to a believer wanting to obey Jesus - perhaps vehemently, emotionally, claiming that it's irresponsible, abandonment, even hateful behaviour - and in that tough choice between Jesus and family, Jesus said that one would have to harden one's heart to even those most beloved people. But as far as I'm aware he never said to leave them behind if they were willing to come. According to Matthew he did suggest that being single would make things easier for his followers (19:10-12); which is difficult to explain under the assumptions of conventional Christianity, but makes perfect sense if he meant what he said in all those other passages about giving up possessions and working only for God.
Ah, I think we may be making some progress now. Here you seem to be arguing along similar lines to what I’ve been arguing. That is, a contextual tempering of universal commands. A tempering with reasonableness. You are arguing, here in regards to Peter, that the early Christians were reasonable in their compliance with Jesus’ commands; that they understood there was a context. Peter didn’t leave his wife even though Jesus said “whoever does not forsake all can’t be my disciple” and “if anyone does not hate his wife he cannot be my disciple.” One would ask one’s wife to join along, perhaps as Peter might have done. And if one’s wife was unable or refused to join? Well, one would have no choice but to leave one’s wife behind and return for her later. If one left without intending to return one would be effectively divorcing one’s wife making her an adulterous by Jesus’ own standard (Matthew 5:32). Context. Reasonableness.

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As near as I can tell, the purpose or main reasons for these commands are:
> Living by faith, trusting in God's provision rather than our own efforts
> Free time to spread the good news of the kingdom of God, rather than working for money
> Freedom from worldly attachments (treasure on earth), and consequently resilience in the face of persecution
> Relief from anxiety and stress over finding work, pursuing a career, or any material or financial losses
> Expressing true love, by helping the poor materially with more than just spare change
All well and good. But notice every point you make here, perhaps with the exception of “free time to spread the good news,” are all fundamentally issues of the heart. They aren’t addressed simply by removing material things from one’s life as though one is free to serve God only if one doesn’t own a house or have a job etc. If one’s heart is not towards serving God it makes no difference whether one is wealthy or poor. Removing the temptation or distraction from one’s sight doesn’t at all deal with the underlying temptation. It’s a heart issue, not a material issue. It always has been and always will be. Jesus knew this.

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With that said, there's arguably two different models presented more or less clearly in the NT; the example and teachings of John the Baptist, Jesus and the twelve, and the example of the early Jerusalem church.

Mark 6:7 He called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8 He ordered them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; 9 but to wear sandals and not to put on two tunics. 10 He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place. 11 If any place will not welcome you and they refuse to hear you, as you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12 So they went out and proclaimed that all should repent. 13 They cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick and cured them.


That's a pretty clear description of the kind of ministry which Jesus and the twelve engaged in; the clearest (and only complete) description which the gospels saw fit to give us. The authors certainly knew that people would want to know what kind of example Jesus and the twelve had set... and there it is. Of course we might infer from that passage that normally they did take bags, spare clothing, some food, and their communal money bag mentioned by John; but they certainly traveled all around the region, staying with those who would welcome them whether rich or poor, sinners or self-righteous alike. Sometimes they ate the gleanings of the fields left there for the poor (Mark 2:23), Jesus himself said he was homeless (Matthew 8:20), and this picture of his ministry is consistent with the spartan lifestyle of John the Baptist - if anything, Jesus lived in relative luxury compared to his predecessor!
You’ve argued this as the model of “the kind of ministry which Jesus and the twelve engaged in.” But was this the model or was it a unique short episode which deviated from the norm? As you say we can infer that the normal practice was something other than the instructions given otherwise there’s no need to give the specific instructions so late in the Gospel when so much evangelism has already taken place and it’s taken place mainly as a group up to this point. The problem for this “model” theory is that after the instructions given above where the disciples are sent out two by two with very little (and after Mark deviates into the fate of John the Baptist, 6:14-29) Mark then picks up again in verse 30 where the disciples have reconvened for a debriefing with Jesus. From that point on we see Jesus with his disciples once again continuing the ministry as a group. So, rather than being the model of how a follower is to live this short time of Spartan-like ministry seems to be a special exception to the general model of travelling as a very well resourced group with, dare I say it, possessions and money. Why Jesus sent out his disciples for a short time that way is another debate entirely.

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The model from Acts seems somewhat different, though it's also more ambiguous: We could suppose that for the most part the earliest Christians lived similar (albeit less itinerant) lifestyles and Luke simply wasn't very clear on all the details. Or we could suppose that even after Pentecost the apostles were not yet perfect human beings, and it took a spate of severe persecution to rouse them from the relative comfort of sedentary living they'd settled into. Or as yet a third option we could note that Luke was not an apostle, nor known for a close association with any of the twelve, and is known to have fudged the details on some occasions (eg. Luke 21:20-24), and thus question the veracity of his description of early church events some 50-70 years before he wrote. If there is any real discrepancy between the gospel model and the Acts model, the former is both clearer, better confirmed and more authoritative.

But since this might genuinely reflect the apostles' interpretation and application of Jesus' teaching, it's certainly worthy of consideration:

Acts 2:41 So those who welcomed his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand persons were added. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread from house to house and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.

Acts 4:32 Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. 33 With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. 35 They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.


Note that there's no mention of working for money there; if anything, meeting daily in the temple could imply the opposite. Small, low-maintenance local farms to feed themselves? Maybe; the passages are quite ambiguous as to how they handled real estate. Meeting "from house to house" does imply that the community kept hold of some of their properties, while "as many as owned lands or houses sold them" suggests the opposite! One possible resolution is that in the earliest months of chapter 2 they kept their houses, but as they found their footing by chapter 4 they were selling them all. Another possible resolution is that there were enough nascent disciples joining or interested, who hadn't yet sold their houses. Or one of the verses is simply imprecise or misleading. Whatever the case may be, what is clear is that they certainly did forsake private ownership of their properties and possessions, holding all things in common.

Living frugally in community would satisfy/provide some benefit from the five points listed above. Heck, if modern believers kept working for money (despite no evidence the Jerusalem church did so) they could easily give 80 or 90% of communal income to charities, simply by selling some junk to make room for bunk beds, comfortably house 8-12 people in a three bedroom house and practicing freeganism. If giving to the poor were the main focus of it all, that'd probably be even more effective than the gospel model (albeit significantly losing out on the first two points). And if Christians followed the Acts model generally - even if they did keep working for money - and treated the gospel model as a learning, sharing and faith-building exercise which believers should do a few times in their life rather than constantly, it would convey a genuine intention and desire to follow Jesus' teaching as well as possible. The ambiguities and uncertainties in the NT as a whole (if not the gospels themselves) potentially leave a quite a bit of latitude there, perhaps even intentionally so. But it seems that overwhelmingly, Christians don't even try to follow the Acts model, let alone the example and teachings of Jesus himself.
This is all well and good but there’s also no mention of not working for money which is what we would expect if every member of the community just stopped working for money cold turkey. Meeting daily in the temple doesn’t imply they were now all unemployed. It just means they were meeting daily. If they had small local farms to feed themselves, as you suggest, they weren’t relying on God to feed them now were they? What we see here is members of the community selling possessions to meet the needs of others in the community. It’s all God’s anyway.

Further, you are arguing for community ownership here. This is an entirely different argument you are making now. So in this model, although the early Christians would have forsaken “private ownership,” they did not outright forsake “ownership” by selling all their possessions and giving everything to the poor. And that’s what you’ve been arguing for all this time is a forsaking of ownership altogether; a leaving of everything and utter dependence on God to directly meet daily needs. In the communal model ownership (or control), however, merely changes hands from the individual to the community. Or more precisely, in the case of the texts you’ve cited here, ownership/control changed to the hands of the apostles and they distributed the resources as each had need. This is merely group self sufficiency as opposed to individual self sufficiency. This of course raises the question should Christians live communally? But it doesn’t go to support the argument that Christians should sell everything and stop working. The text itself doesn’t support that either. It clearly says they would sell possessions and distribute the proceeds as any had need.

Further we have a practical application of this idea of selling one's possessions.

“Sell your possessions and give alms; provide yourselves with purses in heaven.” - (Luke 12:33)

So what does this mean? Are Christians to sell all we have and give it to the poor? Or some of what we have? Well, if a Christians sells all he has and gives to the poor and quits his job he is, well, effectively now the poor and in need of the money he just gave away.

So it would seem a reasonable application of this command is that we are to sell some of what we have lest we end up in an absurd cycle of trading money back and forth between one another as one becomes rich and the other poor. And this intuitional argument that we should sell some, not all, of our possessions to help the poor is supported by a case example later in Luke:

” Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”” – Luke 19:8-10

In this case example, Zacchaeus gives away half his possessions, not all. A reasonable tempering which is affirmed by Jesus.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 73: Mon Feb 11, 2019 1:11 pm
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[Replying to post 72 by Goose]


I suppose they were exaggerating a bit? Jesus certainly must have been concerning the compensation they were going to receive in the present age. I'm going to assume he was doing the same about the afterlife.

New International Version (NIV)

28 Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”

29 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel 30 will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.

I suppose the only way to reconcile this absurdity is through the community ownership described for the first believers.

Acts 2:42-47 New International Version (NIV)

The Fellowship of the Believers
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

Acts 4:32-37 New International Version (NIV)

The Believers Share Their Possessions
32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.

36 Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), 37 sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.

Interesting that the description matches this prophecy.

Jeremiah 32:39
I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them.

To bad God gave them persecution instead of blessings.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 74: Mon Feb 11, 2019 2:27 pm
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Well, God has certainly given some over to their own depraved minds and ignorance...

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 75: Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:10 pm
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[Replying to post 74 by PinSeeker]

That's easy to state without having to back it up. Could you elaborate or are you content with clucking from the sidelines?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 76: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:05 pm
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"Could you elaborate or are you content with clucking from the sidelines?"

Romans 1 offers all the elaboration necessary.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 77: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:29 pm
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[Replying to post 76 by PinSeeker]

Paul must have been writing about those inside the church in Romans 1


1 Corinthians 5:9-13 New International Version (NIV)

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[a] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 78: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:29 am
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Goose in post #33 wrote:

Quote:
And Matthew 6 is perhaps even clearer and more unambiguous than those two, rivaled only by the parallel passage in Luke 12 (also quoted in the OP) where Jesus unambiguously gives a universal teaching to "Sell your possessions and give to charity." In both of those passages Jesus explicitly tells his followers to trust in God's provision - "do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on" - just as he elsewhere tells them to pray for their daily bread. Working for money is the opposite of the mindset Jesus preached; assuring ourselves of our next week's and month's material wellbeing through our own efforts rather than trusting in God's provision, a life of planning rather than faith, and usually one which requires earthly treasures to maintain especially in the modern day (ie, good clothing, stable residence, bank account, transport, internet). But even more explicitly, Matthew's Jesus says "You cannot serve both God and money," or as I paraphrased in the OP "You cannot work for God if you're working for money"; it's the very next verse after that which says not to worry about acquiring your own food and clothing, leaving no doubt as to Matthew's meaning. It really doesn't get much clearer than that... except perhaps in John 6, where Jesus says "Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you."
I will focus here on the bold because this, it seems to me, the main contention. At least it’s the one I take issue with. This premise that a Christian cannot work for money.

First Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” You’ve taken this to mean, ”You cannot work for God if you're working for money.” But this doesn’t follow at all. The word serve, as I mentioned, is δουλεύω (serve). It has the connotation of being ruled by money. If Matthew had meant you cannot work for money he could have used ἐργάζομαι (work, trade, labor for). I think that once we appreciate how the issue here is being in servitude to money we realize the idea of holding paid employment isn’t the problem.


Let's review this again:
    "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. . . .
    Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."


What is the passage saying? It's saying to serve God rather than wealth, to strive for the kingdom of God rather than striving for your food and clothing; to not even worry about what you'll eat or wear, but trust in God to provide them. Notably, it is saying that Jesus' disciples should be different from 'the Gentiles' in this regard.

It's a pretty fair bet that if you asked a group of billionaires whether they are "ruled by" money, most if not all would adamantly insist that they aren't; that money isn't even really an objective for them. It's not as if they need any more of it, as if another billion is going to make any difference whatsoever to their lives, after all. All they're doing is enjoying the challenge of whatever business it is they're doing so well, with the consequent income being nothing more than a way of keeping score.

But if billionaires aren't "in servitude" to money, who the heck is?

According to the passage everyone who is worried about their food or clothing or next mansion and for whom money is a motive behind their actions - an objective their decisions are in service to - is dividing their loyalties. It seems you're trying to cast the passage as referring to some kind of deep psychological bondage rather than normal everyday behaviour, but Jesus explicitly links his teaching to the most basic and mundane concerns of self-provision we have!

And in fact, when we contemplate taking his teaching seriously we see how deep the 'normal' bondage to working for wealth really is, with even Christians insisting that they need their jobs to survive and provide for their families. As billionaires' example suggests, it's easy to tell ourselves that we're not focused on money while it's comfortably flowing; but try giving it up and odds are we'll learn some very different and difficult lessons about our priorities, how deeply we do worry about tomorrow and rely on our own rather than God's provision.



In a somewhat broader view, it seems there are four general types of obedience other than to God (with forced servitude/slavery representing a fifth):
- To employers, serving the interests of our own prosperity
- To our nation, serving the interests of our collective prosperity
- To sin, serving the interests of our own desires and goals
- To family, serving the interests of their desires and goals

Jesus' teachings addressed each of these four; he obviously taught against sin, he preached a kingdom of God in contrast against loyalty to earthly kingdoms, and he even gave sometimes harsh warnings about keeping family ties in their proper perspective (Matt 19:10-12, Matt 23:9, Mark 3:31-35, Luke 9:59-62, Luke 14:26). In this passage of Matthew 6, and elsewhere such as in John 6, Jesus also taught against servitude to employers or working for the food that perishes. If even family must take a backseat to fellow members of the kingdom of God (Mark 3:31-35), how could we possibly imagine that relationships to mere employers will remain unaffected? If you cannot serve two masters, how can you serve both God and a corporation?


Last edited by Mithrae on Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:09 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 79: Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:54 am
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Re: Do Christians despise God?

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postroad wrote:
Paul must have been writing about those inside the church in Romans 1.

Nope. In Romans 1, he is writing about all people in general.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 80: Tue Feb 12, 2019 9:44 am
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Re: Do Christians despise God?

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[Replying to post 79 by PinSeeker]

One would think the church would be statistically shown to be free of such defects in character if in fact the Spirit was effective in its claimed attributes.

I'm not sure that in practice those statistics bear that out? Which could only mean that they are claiming membership in God's born again in the Spirit assembly while simultaneously slandering the Spirit by their actions. Isn't blasphemy of the Spirit the unforgivable sin?

Surely the very path they hoped would save their eternal souls wouldn't lead them to the wide gates that open into damnation?

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