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Female Clergy
My son's three dogs follow him around the house in Tennessee. He calls them his apostles.
Hmm--are his dogs dyslexic?
I feel that there is a difference between men and women, not the same mentally or emotionally. However that difference may be less so in any given man or woman. Additionally I believe each individual responds to a male or female innately as well as through experience. Therefore it is my opinion that even though one gender or the other is by divine design better for a certain role in the "church", I prefer a male priest has the sole purpose of consistent leadership of a flock/congregation, and a female has the nurturing of the flock as her natural role as she does nursing an infant. The multitasking abilities of the female psyche make her suited for ongoing planning, visiting, and gathering duties. The male then is freed up for the leading decisionmaking and outreach, as well as the performance of rites of passages. Not that gender defines it, but that psyche demands it. Obviously there are both genders of people suited for the tasks at hand. Choosing one instead of the other, where practical, in most cases would by my opinion that male priests and female deacons or community service leaders make sense. As in marriage, it is a partnership, not a competition. Roles may be reversed in a given situation, and that should not interfere with the mission itself. Clear as mud, innit?

Daddy was an Episcopalian priest and so that certainly influences my opnion.
If you want to maintain traditional church doctrine, don't let them be clergy.

Some traditional stuff is invalid. Here's an example.

The church starts out and develops certain theological ideas over time. Before Augustine, it was largely held that Jesus' work was universal in nature, not limited to believers only.

Post Augustine, the westerners changed and said essentially this, "all the hellfire/eternal fire/eternal punishment" passages are now to be taken literally. The Orthodox never agreed with that and don't today. It's metaphor to them.

Tradition over here is as follows:

1) God is sovereign , just, righteous, omniscient and virtue love.

2) If you don't believe in Jesus, He is going to blowtorch your ass eternally.

The 2 do not fit. That tradition is insanely illogical.

The eastern Orthodox view is this:

1) Same as above

2) It is not God's will that any human perish

3) God will accomplish all His good pleasure

4) Jesus said, "I came to seek and to save that which was lost"

5) #2,3,4 are among the bible quotes leading the Orthodox to conclude that when God wraps up this episode in history, all humanity/creation will benefit from Christ's work.

One tradition is not right. We just have to pick and choose how we view these things.
Palladin, aren't some Christian denominations backing off of the blowtorch rhetoric? By the way sinners (aka goats) will get blowtorched too: Matthew 25, 31-46. I used to hear such rhetoric when I was a kid, but not so much recently.
Jefferson: I place economy among the first and important virtues, and public debt as the greatest of dangers. To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our choice between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. If we can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them, they will be happy.
I believe that it God who has the authority, and it is the church's duty to acknowledge whomever God has called to occupy any position of his choosing. Elevating tradition above God is elevating man above God. Since man is a creature, this amounts to elevating the creature over the Creator. In the Bible, creature and beast are synonyms. So if we choose to revere the creature over the Creator, we are in fact worshiping the Beast, and are mostly certainly preparing ourselves to receive the Mark of the Beast. All Christians need to remember that the church is not our righteousness, Christ alone is our Righteousness. As the Apostle Peter said, "We should obey God rather than man."
(04-17-2014, 11:54 PM)Ron Lambert Wrote: I believe that it God who has the authority, and it is the church's duty

Churches are a man made construct.

God Is!

Pretty building, guy with a pointy hat, crowds of those saying they are holier than a doughnut has no effect.

God is where ever I am. I am never alone.

(That said; there is still value in fellowship and Christian education.)
(04-18-2014, 12:07 AM)Paul In Sweden Wrote: (That said; there is still value in fellowship and Christian education.)


I just know my church(non denominational) has re-examined the issue and I read lots of theology blogs that are. At work, I talk to younger believers raised in SBC assemblies and I challenge them with stuff like above and some other stuff( just read the parable of the prodigal son and see "The Father" there or Christ praying for His murderers and how different that picture is from the blowtorch theory).

I have yet to run into a single person who strongly objects once they think about it a little. The "eternal hellfire" thing is a metaphor and I can prove it is textually. Back in Genesis, God is quoted judging Sodom with, "I will punish you with an unquenchable fire". Well, there is no literal fire still burning, it's the "effect" that is eternal. Fire is a metaphor for God and His judgment on evil, "our God is a consuming fire", etc. He consumes evil, He doesn't consume His creation, IMO. He saves us from evil eventually.
As a Seventh-day Adventist, I reject utterly, as does my church, the doctrine of eternal torment in everlasting hellfire as totally non-Biblical. The responsible way to study out any topic in Scripture is to line up all the texts that speak about the topic--in this case, the punishment of the wicked, and the state of the dead, allowing the clear passages to clarify the one or two that may be obscure because of using idiomatic figures of speech. When you do this, the only conclusion possible is that there is no consciousness in death (the reward of the faithful is resurrection from the dead), and the wicked are not punished forever, but in the end are burned up and annihilated as if they had never been. Satan himself will suffer this fate (see Ezekiel 28:19). There will not be some corner of the universe where wickedness continues, as souls given to evil continue to suffer and blaspheme God (a sin) forever. Sin will be brought to an utter and complete end. The only way to have eternal life is to live in the favor of God, who alone is the Source of all life. Apart from God there is no life.

By the way, as for "unquenchable fire," obviously if the wicked could quench it, they would! Representative is this passage in Malachi, chapter four verses 1-3 (NKJV):

Quote:"For behold, the day is coming, Burning like an oven, And all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up," Says the Lord of hosts, "That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name The Sun of Righteousness shall arise With healing in His wings; And you shall go out And grow fat like stall-fed calves. You shall trample the wicked, For they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet On the day that I do this," Says the Lord of hosts.

And of course there is the promise given in Revelation 21:4, 5 (NKJV):

Quote:And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Then He who sat on the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."

If there is no pain, then there is no ever-burning hell.

"It will be as if you were never born".

Does that have to mean (A)the person or angel ceases to exist or can it mean (B)they are so changed by the beatific vision that the evil entity they were is consumed by fire?

Reason I now lean to (B) is:

exhibit A- Paul. He was according to him the most evil of men. Saw Christ resurrected and was converted immediately into the Apostle. Who thinks of Paul as a murderer now?

B - James C- Thomas D- Jude, 3 more cases of believing after seeing Christ resurrected.

That doesn't seem proper if all creation is not afforded the same opportunity.

Then I consider ideas Paul expressed like "God will be all in all". Ta panta in ta panta.

What does ta panata leave out? Just stuff like that.

"If I am lifted up, I will draw ta panta men to Me". Who is left out?

Then go with Revelation 1:7 and Philippians 2, who doesn't believe? Everyone believes at least upon seeing, like Paul. This whole end game thing isn't as clear as I used to believe.

"It is not God's will that any human perish" "I will accomplish all My good pleasure".


"I came to seek and to save that which was lost". The universe? Did He partially fail?

Not bad questions I don't think.
Palladin, I am sure that God gives everyone every possible chance to repent and be saved. Lucifer in Heaven was given many chances to repent and forsake his dalliance with sinful doubt of God's goodness. There were probably several occasions when he was brought to the point of conviction, and almost repented. But then pride would rise up in him, and he would refuse to give in. Finally he reached the point where his decision was absolutely final, and there was no sense in making any further appeals to him. The Apostle Paul speaks of those "whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron." (1 Timothy 4:2; NIV) For those who have reached this point, no more repentance is possible, for only the Holy Spirit can enable anyone to repent, and the time comes when the Holy Spirit has been "grieved away." Thus Paul admonished " not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Ephesians 4:30; NKJV.) This is why Jesus said that "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" is the only unforgiveable sin (see Matthew 12:31). Once anyone has dissed the work of the Holy Spirit as the work of Satan, or has called the work of Satanic spiritualism the work of the Holy Spirit, there is no other agency by which God can reach the soul.

When Satan and his followers in Heaven reached the point of open rebellion, and precipitated war in Heaven, they sealed their fate and seared their consciences and cut themselves off from the Holy Spirit forever. Wicked humans also will reach this point on earth when they issue a universal death decree to kill all those faithful to God. This is when human probation closes forever, when the last soul has been brought to the point of final decision by this means.

In the final sense, we judge ourselves. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word bachan is used 19 times to signify the way God judges from Heaven according to the way humans are tried by test on earth. For example, Psalms 11:4: "The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men." The word for try is bachan. It means, literally, investigative judgment from heaven. Thus Jesus promised those who were faithful to Him in Philadelphia: "Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth." (Revelation 3:10; NKJV)

We should not dread this final judgment, because it is only when the last soul on earth has made his or her final decision for or against God, that Jesus can cease His intercession for humans, set aside His garments as High Priest, and put on His kingly vesture and return to earth in glory and final triumph to take His faithful people out of the world and give them the rewards He has obtained the right to give them.

The final test will be over whom we worship--the creature, or the Creator. Do we trust in our own righteousness, our own attainment through selfish striving; or do we submit to the righteousness of God, which is self-sacrificing love that seeks the good of others? Even the angels who have never fallen, who remained faithful to God when there was war in Heaven, will only be rendered secure through faith in the goodness of God--the faith that God alone is truly righteous, and fit to set the standard for all the universe to follow. Thus even for them, forever righteousness will be by faith in God. As it has been said, angelic perfection failed in Heaven, with Lucifer and his followers; and human perfection failed in Eden, when Adam and Eve had sinless natures and lived in the Garden of God.

This, by the way, is the reason why God does not remove every propensity for sin and scar caused by sin, the first instant that we repent and are converted. It is God's purpose to demonstrate to the watching Universe that it is not nature that matters, but the attitude of faith toward God that makes the final difference. Obviously, if we believe that God alone is righteous, then we will seek to obey His Law as the expression of His character and will for us. Our faith will be tested by whether we will obey Him when human authority threatens us with death if we do so.
Most seem to want to go to Heaven but few are eager or willing to pay the price of admission.
Yes, Paul, that is true. But the truth is that none of us ever could pay the price of admission. That is why Jesus has paid the price of admission for us. We need only accept Him as the new Head of our race, and Lord of our lives, to be granted the new sinless heritage He has created for the human race in Himself. As Isaiah was inspired to declare, "But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags...." (Isaiah 64:6ab; NKJV) Notice he did not say that all our wicked deeds are like filthy rags. He said that all our RIGHTEOUSNESSES are as filthy rags! As Paul declared, "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God--and righteousness and sanctification and redemption--that, as it is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.'" (1 Corinthians 1:30, 31; NKJV) And again in 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV): "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
(04-20-2014, 10:27 AM)Ron Lambert Wrote: Yes, Paul, that is true. But the truth is that none of us ever could pay the price of admission. That is why Jesus has paid the price of admission for us.

...and that is pretty much what Easter is about. Very humbling.

Where I'm at on this is sort of eastern Orthodox theology I realize.

We agree God is omniscient and virtue Love. So, how can both be accurate and any of His creation end up being executed by Him? Why would He give a person a soul and He knows that?

Why would He expect we believers to love our enemy, but, He ends up killing His? That just doesn't fit with me anymore.

(A) "It is not God's Will that any human perish". (B)"I will accomplish all My good pleasure".

How is (B) true and God fails to accomplish (A)? I just can no longer believe the theology of the west, i.e. eternal torment or destruction of any of God's creation because it is not His will.

I think Paul, Thomas, Jude and James got to see Christ resurrected and then they believed and they received credit for it. It cannot be otherwise for all humanity, IMO.

On the day of the parousia, all humanity will see and believe like they did and receive the same credit, IMO. Philippians 2. Carmen Christi.

I know you disagree and I would have probably as recently as 1 year ago. I just can't see the western view anymore, I'm an eastern Orthodox when it comes to this one.
Palladin, you might as well ask how it was that Christ washed the feet of Judas preparatory to the Last Supper, knowing that Judas would betray Him. For that matter, why did Jesus choose Judas to be one of the 12 principle disciples? You could even ask why did God create Lucifer, knowing that he would be the one to invent sin? (The fact that his name suggests that Lucifer was the first angel God created, suggests that God decided to deal with the inevitable problem of sin As Soon As Possible.)

Since God is the Source of all life, there can be no existence apart from Him. So those who choose to cut themselves off from God forever can only cease to exist forever.

In the seeming conflict between free will and divine foreknowledge, we can only observe how God behaves in light of what He has said. He gives everyone a chance to be saved. But He never forces anyone to choose the way that they do. Indeed, it is the enemy, Satan, who has tried to take away our freedom of choice, so that we can only follow the impulses of evil within us. God is the one who in Christ has restored our freedom of choice, and gives us the Holy Spirit to enable us to repent and be converted, and increase in faith in God.

I'm not trying to convince you, just sort of thinking out loud, so don't take this as an argument.

Judas, I'd say Jesus knew he would betray him and that fulfilled some stuff in Isaiah about "they paid him 30 pieces of silver". The question about Lucifer is a better question.

My guess is God loves His creation and freedom of thought and action are a reflection of that virtue love. All animate creation God made eventually would revolt against God, IMO. Yet, He wants animate creation to love& know Him and as I understand it, having the right to choose and say no has to be available for us to also say yes. So, Lucifer is no big deal theologically to me, if it wasn't Lucifer, it would have been angel X and if it weren't Adam, it would have been Mr X.

At the restoration, the bible states God will be all in all, so while we will still be independent people, we will think like God as opposed to how it was before the restoration. Just some thoughts here.
Concerning Jesus fulfilling prophecy, it is interesting to look at the 22nd Psalm. On the Cross, just before the end, Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34)

Some people try to explain away what Jesus said, suggesting He was out of His head or suffering from depression, etc. But a real revelation comes when you notice that these words are the very opening words of the 22nd Psalm. The fact that Jesus repeated these words, indicates that He was reviewing this Psalm in His mind while He was dying on the Cross.

When we read down this Psalm, we see that God inspired David to present the very thoughts that Jesus would have on the Cross, about a thousand years before the event. Notice these verses (NKJV): "But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, 'He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!'.... Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me. They gape at Me with their mouths, Like a raging and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me." (verses 6-8; 12-15) And especially note verses 16-18: "For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots."

None of these things ever happened to David!

Around the end if verse 21, begins a section that must have been encouraging to Jesus. "You have answered Me. I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. You who fear the Lord, praise Him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel! For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from Him; But when He cried to Him, He heard." See how this answers the question cried out in verse one!

The Psalm concludes on a positive note, that must have greatly encouraged Jesus: "All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive. A posterity shall serve Him. It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation, They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born, That He has done this." (verses 29c-31)

I believe Jesus caused David to write the very words that Jesus Himself would most need to remember as He died on the Cross, to assure Himself that His sacrifice would be worth it, that a generation of the Redeemed would benefit from His sacrifice.

And after the 22nd Psalm comes the very familiar 23rd Psalm, "The Shepherd Psalm." It is worth it to read this Psalm again, and realize that it is actually Jesus' own personal Psalm of His victory of faith. This too helped Him on the Cross. Consider the words again in the context of the 22nd Psalm, hearing it with Jesus saying it: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever."

And don't stop there! Continue on to the 24rth Psalm, and you will discover it describes the choirs of angels singing to welcome Jesus into Heaven at His Ascension.

Psalms 22-24 should be taken together as one unit, for they all relate to the conclusion of Christ's earthly life, the climax of His work of Salvation for humanity.

I do not believe that Jesus merely did things in order to fulfill Bible prophecy. In this example from Psalms 22-24, we see that Jesus' foreknowledge enabled Him to cause David to write down the very thoughts He would have on the Cross, the events surrounding it (such as piercing His hands and feet, and casting lots for His garments) and also convey the words of encouragement that He would need to gain this victory of faith despite being human.

To me, Psalms 22-24 is the most impressive, moving, and profound extended passage in all of Scripture. Remember, it was written about a thousand years before the Cross, when crucifixion was not even employed as a method of punishment.

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