Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Common Legalist Arguments - Part V

In my last post in this series, Common Legalist Arguments - Part IV, I went over where and how the Bible tells us the Old Covenant law was annulled. We saw that even though the Bible never uses the phrase "the law was done away with", it indeed shows that the Old Covenant was removed as a whole, along with the law and the priesthood that were part of it, when Jesus died. A New Covenant is now brought in; one that is not merely a modification of the Old.
This time, I would like to address another approach that legalists use to attempt to validate theit law keeping - attempting to prove the law predated Sinai, and therefore it is binding on Christians today.

ARGUMENT #5
"The 10 Commandments predated both Sinai and creation."

For starters, even the Jews, to whom the law was given, do not believe that the law predated Sinai. I would refer the reader to the Noachain laws (aka Noahide laws, Noachide laws - from Noach, ie Noah). Are we to believe that 3,000+ years of Jewish scholarship is somehow wrong about their own law? If so, how can they be called upon as an authority on other things?
It is a puzzle to me how the COGs can call upon the authority of the Jews when it suits them (for example claiming the Jews have kept the weekly Sabbath on the correct day), then turn right around and dismiss them when it suits them (for example claiming the Jews don't know when to keep Pentacost). RedFox at LivingArmstrongism has a remarkable article on this! That sort of reasoning from the COGs is not scholarship, it's hard and fast ideology. It's predetermining what you want to believe, then forcing all possible information to fit that notion after the fact.

(MARK 2: 27) And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath"

So, the Sabbath was made; it was not from eternity. We also know that it was made for man, so it was made sometime after man was made.
For the people who say the 10 Commandments are the timeless precepts of God written down, how can you say this for the Sabbath? It simply cannot be. Not only does the Bible disagree, but common sense does as well. Think about it. God is timeless, the Sabbath is a day. With God a day is like an era of time and an era of time like a day. What good does any day have with God? None! As for the angels in heaven, they are always in God's presence and it is always holy. There is no "time" there, but God's presence makes holy so it is always holy. There is no distinction in Heaven. So we can see clearly that the Sabbath does not predate mankind.

Let's take that idea to its logical conclusion. Revelation 21: 22-26 and 22: 5 lead me (in my limited understanding of prophecy) to believe that in God's dwelling place there will be no night dividing the day. If there is no division of days, then there is no need for a weekly Sabbath. And if not, then not only does the Sabbath have a beginning but it has an end. If the Sabbath has a beginning and an end, then it is not eternal. Argument of timelessness disproved.

Many will at this point admit a pre-creation Sabbath isn't something they can prove, they just believe it to be so. In other words, it's pure un-biblical speculation and conjecture! No man's personal opinion is a sure foundation on which to base doctrine. I have nothing against speculation, but keep it in its place and do not base doctrine on speculation. If this notion of an eternal Sabbath influences your understanding of the New Covenant, I suggest that perhaps it is past time to reconsider the wisdom of this notion.

The argument now becomes "The 10 Commandments predate Sinai."

If that were so, why is it that God had to teach the Sabbath to the Israelites? Why is it that not a single mention of the word Sabbath or anything resembling Sabbath observance appears before the Exodus?

(NEH. 9: 14) You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, and commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, by the hand of Moses Your servant.

The Bible's own words say "by the hand of Moses" - and not before!

(HEB. 7: 11) 11 Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law)...

The old law and the Levitical priesthood are two parts of a whole. They need each other. The law was given under the Levitical priesthood. And when the Levitical Priesthood was replaced by Christ, the law was annulled.

(HEB. 7: 12) For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law.

Those who are not aware must know that this argument about predating Sinai is supposed to demonstrate that if the 10 Commandments predated Sinai then they are not technically part of the Old Covenant and are therefore still binding today; thus contradicting both Exodus. 34: 28; and Deuteronomy. 4: 13.
Well then, what of circumcision which was given to Abraham? Or animal sacrifice which we DO see in Genesis several times (even when we do not see the Sabbath once)? Are those still binding as well? Or what of concubinage, practiced by righteous (by faith not law) Abraham as well as Jacob? Is that valid as well? It seems odd to me that men who were supposedly fully aware of the 10 Commandments not only never mentioned the Sabbath but flagrantly violated the prohibition against adultery. And not only that, but while HWA taught that no one must go to war, Abraham did. Does that validate warfare? I point out over and again how HWA's teachings do not mesh with the Bible (or even with themselves).
So, the Sabbath which we don't see prior to the Exodus is binding and valid, but circumcision, animal sacrifice, concubinage, and warfare which we do see are not valid or binding?? Perhaps this argument of his isn't so effective an avenue after all!

Speaking of Abraham, let's ask the Bible when the law was given:

(GAL. 3: 16-17) 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. 17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect.

So, according to Paul, the law came 430 years after Abraham, not 2,000+ years before him.
In addition it is not that law that we are under (GAL. 3: 23-25) but the promise by God to Abraham and Christ -- which promise we participate in upon becoming one body with Christ in the Holy Spirit (I COR. 10: 16-17; GAL 3: 26-29).

No doubt someone is out there itching to let us all know that the Sabbath is mentioned in Genesis when God rested on the seventh day of creation. Well, He rested, that much is sure - but that rest was never called "Sabbath". It was a rest that was never entered into by man, including those to whom the Sabbath was given, until Christ died and was resurrected; Hebrews 3 & 4 goes into great depth about that. The weekly Sabbath may not have been from creation but one of the things the Sabbath does is hearkens back to creation.

(EXO. 20: 11) For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
(EXO. 31: 17) It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.

But those verses only tell you why that particular day of the week was chosen for the children of Israel, not why there is a Sabbath Commandment. In other words, they give you the when. For the why, we go to Deuteronomy.

(DEU. 5: 15) And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.

THIS verse tells you WHY there is a Sabbath command. It looks back to the Exodus.
Also, this verse gives a vital clue that the 10 Commandments are not the perfect codification of God's nature, but are exactly what Paul said they were, SHADOWS! Jesus said the greatest commandments were not even of the 10. And those pointed to a greater principle yet -- love! I ask, if not the 10 Commandments, then what is the exact representation of God's nature?

(COL. 1: 15) He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
(II COR. 4: 4) ...Christ, who is the image of God...
(COL. 2: 9) For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily

Christ is the reality. He is the representation of God's nature. It is not to anything else that we should look, least of all demonstrably false prophets, wolves who peddle Christ, and proud men who set themselves and their "ministry" up as your path to salvation.
And what do we see in the word about Jesus Christ?

(MATT. 17: 1-8) 1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. 4 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. 7 But Jesus came and touched them and said, “Arise, and do not be afraid.” 8 When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

Why do I quote these verses? Well, you may not have had these verses explained to you in quite this way before (and why would you; these verses were always read as part of a prescribed manner of prophetic interpretation as taught by HWA), but in tradition Moses represents the law and Elijah represents the prophets. Here we have a vision of Jesus being glorified greatly beyond the law and the prophets. Our Lord speaks with them, and the scene is covered up by a cloud. From that cloud comes a powerful and commanding voice from the Father who says, "This is My beloved Son... Hear Him!" Not, "Hear the law". Not, "Hear the prophets". But hear Christ! When the cloud dissipated, there was Jesus standing alone; the law and the prophets gone. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets!
Now, pay close attention to what Jesus said next:

(MATT. 17: 9) Now as they came down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, “Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”

Tell no one until after His resurrection. Why wait? And why do I mention this? Because certainly there are many who are saying "If we are to follow Jesus' example, and Jesus kept the Sabbath, then we are to keep the Sabbath." In this they demonstrate logical thinking, but not an understanding of the Gospel. You see, as discussed in previous posts in this topic, we learned that Jesus was born under the law in order to redeem those who were under the law (GAL. 4: 4-5). But that Old Covenant, it's priesthood, it's condemnation, could not be annulled for us until His death. Jesus Christ may have been Lord over the Sabbath even while He lived as a man, but those under the law had no such right. When He died, being a primary party to the Old Covenant, that covenant was annulled. Now a New Covenant has come in, based on the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! This is why Jesus commanded the three not to tell a soul until after He died - it wasn't time yet (JOHN 14: 25-26; 16: 12-13).
No, it wasn't time yet. Jesus had more to teach them once they were able to accept it. These things came as a shock to the Jewish Apostles but were confirmed through miracles at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. In fact, let's look at that. What do we see at first?

In verses 1-5, Paul and Barnabas both could not persuade the Jewish converts that the laws of Moses were not binding on Gentile converts (much like they cannot convince the COGs today). Paul and Barnabas agreed to bring the matter up with the other Apostles and Elders in Jerusalem. When they arrived in Jerusalem there were more Jewish converts professing the need for Gentiles to be Jews in order to be Christians, and another debate arose. Peter stood and spoke to the crowd (v. 6-11). He made this statement:

(ACTS 15: 10) Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

It is not in obedience to God that men attempt to resurrect the Old Covenant, which no man could bear, but in testing God!
Paul and Barnabas then declared the many miracles worked among the Gentiles by the Spirit of God - working in people who had no tradition of the Old Covenant (v. 12)! This was amazing thing! James then stood and reminded the people how God took Israel from among the Gentiles and raised them up, and now He had turned to reunite them with the Gentiles again (v. 13-18). Their conclusion?

(ACTS 15: 24) Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” — to whom we gave no such commandment

Whether you see this as saying those men were not sent, or you see this as saying the message they carried was never commanded, it ends the same way - the Gentiles were never told to keep the Old Covenant in order to be Christians. This conclusion was spoken and agreed upon (v. 19-21), then written in a letter (v. 23-29), then it was again confirmed later on (ACTS 21: 25).

To answer the question from earlier - are circumcision and animal sacrifice which preceded Sinai still binding - the answer is NO! The argument that because something precedes Sinai it is binding on us today is false! What we see is that the Sabbath is never mentioned prior to the Exodus, it was given by the hand of Moses under the Levitical Priesthood, it pointed to God's creation rest that no man entered into until after Christ's resurrection, and it is no longer binding on us because it was fulfilled by Jesus Christ who is the reality that had cast the shadow.
Why is this so hard to accept? We all know that Jesus fulfilled the law, yet HWA in effect taught that He did not fulfill the Sabbath. What sense does that make? Our faith, salvation, hope, life, and whatever else good thing there may be are all wrapped up in Christ and NOT in Moses or the Old Covenant. This is a New Covenant in Jesus. He is our Sabbath rest!

The Sabbath is NOT the thing towards which we should look, but rather it is merely a shadow - the substance, the reality is Christ Jesus! He is the Head over all things, even the Sabbath (MATT. 12: 8; MARK 2: 23; LUKE 6: 5). He fulfilled the law and the prophets - as He said He would. It is the right of Christ, the reality and fulfillment, towards whom the law and prophets pointed and about whom they spoke, to replace the Sabbath day as well.

(COL. 2: 10) and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

The creation rest remains for us to enter into, as we see in Hebrews 3 & 4. The anonymous author of Hebrews tells us when we should rest:

(HEB. 3: 13) but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
(HEB. 4: 6-7) 6 Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, 7 again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”

THIS is the day that the Lord has made (PSA 118: 24). Today! Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Therefore, Paul says this:

(COL. 2: 16-17) 16 So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, 17 which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ.

Loved deeply and greatly sought after by God, please do not test Him by making an idol of false prophets and their misguided teachings (COL. 2: 21), by setting aside the glory of the Gospel for the law that was removed because it made nothing perfect, or by setting aside the New Covenant that Christ died to bring you for the annulled Old Covenant. No one is saying, "throw away the distinction between good and evil." Rather, open your heart to Christ and see how this is all about Him. His Spirit will guide you and teach you and confirm these things to you.

If there is anything that really is timeless, love is it. To love is our commandment that we must keep (JOHN 13: 34; 15: 12, 17; ROM. 13: 8; I JOHN 3: 11, 23; 2 JOHN 1: 5).

[Also see Part I, Part II, Part III, & Part IV]

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.
Acts 17:11
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19 comments:

Luc said...

Great observation, Elijah and Moses representing the law and the prophets, and the significance of Jesus left standing alone.

"Hear Him!" Not, "Hear the law". Not, "Hear the prophets". But hear Christ! When the cloud dissipated, there was Jesus standing alone; the law and the prophets gone. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the law and the prophets!"

I'm always pleased to see another analogy or type representation worked into biblical events ceremonies etc.

xHWA said...

I think that when we hear Christ, we hear both the law and the prophets as they were intended to be heard. The veil is lifted in Christ.

redfox712 said...

xHWA,

Your last few articles have been very fascinating and good to read. They are much more theologically technical than I could now produce. Thank you very much for your efforts.

By the way, thanks for the link. I am glad you liked it.

xHWA said...

RedFox,

I did like it. Very much! And you're very welcome!

I consider myself theologically mediocre. There are people that put me to shame.
I very much appreciate Luc and Seeker because we each fill in things that the other needs. And that extends even to you and to other blogs like Don't Drink the Flavor Aid and such. We each have a perspective to give and a story to tell.

I see what I do as putting out posts that give another side of the theological argument that HWA (and his ministers ever since) never allowed us to see or consider. The good thing about that is it frees you up to put out posts that I need to see, posts about PCG and LCG. And you do that VERY well, BTW! You point out the hidden errors and dig up the buried past for us to see what it is we are/were steeped in. I think what you do is very much needed. So, I thank you for your efforts!

xHWA said...

I was hoping to see Questeruk's comments on this post. I hope I haven't driven you off - which, believe me, is NOT my intent!

If you're still reading, I want you to know that I'm proud of you for that. Not that I can teach you anything, but that you are certainly praying and studying and asking questions. VERY commendable.

I hope that we can agree on two things:
1) we see Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Savior and we confess as much before men
2) that my whole point it not about the law per se but about condemnation. If you really do not fall for the poison of Armstrong, which is setting yourself above others because of the law, then you and I are already in agreement.

I've stated several times that my point is to get people to stop all the judgment and condemnation. Of others and of their selves. It may indeed be a fabulous thing to rest for a day out of the week. Maybe even a good choice to do that on Saturday. But set yourself above others because you do so, and all you've done is turned into a legalist. That's really all my point is in everything I say both here and on my former blog.

God bless you in your studies and pursuit of Him!

Michael Goldwater said...

Well, the law isn't the "Jews" law if it was delivered pre Sinai.
There are some indications that it was as that the sabbath is mentioned in Genesis. Pharoah and the other king obviously knew that taking Sarah was adultery.
If there was no law from God then the flood was certainly just a terrible temper tantrum on his part.
We know that Sodom and Gemorrah predated Sinai and their ways were condemned.

And it still does not explain why Paul said "God forbid" about the law being nullified.
He still kept it. He observed the feasts , and so did Jesus , thus setting an example.
Until Christ comes again all but the ceremonial law is in effect and why is that so horrendous?
Certainly it is kept isn't it?
Does anyone advocate murder or bearing false witness? How about adultery.
Even with the law written in the heart of one who has the holy spirit, they are still in the flesh and still keeping law.

The veil that was lifted was the separation of man from God. Christ now being the high priest who enters in daily for our sakes.

xHWA said...

Michael Goldwater

With all due respect, friend, I've gotta disagree with you. It would seem apparent that you didn't actually read what I wrote.

In which version of the Bible do you see the word "Sabbath" in Genesis?

Are you seriously attempting to say the Pharaoh knew the 10 Commandments? Then please explain why apparently Abraham and Jacob did not.

You are mistaken that those in the New Covenant are keeping the Old Covenant law. There is a new law in the New Covenant to go with the new priesthood, which the law and the prophets will both attest to, and we who keep the royal law of faith are keeping the righteous requirements of the old law, not the letter! There's a subtle but incredibly important degree of difference.

"Until Christ comes again all but the ceremonial law is in effect and why is that so horrendous?"

Because it's demonstrably untrue for one thing. And because you don't appear to understand the scope of what you're claiming for another.
(GAL. 5: 2-4) 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. 3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Show me which verse(s) you're referencing to make your claims that the other laws are in effect. I've already written 4 studies to make my claim, which you appear not to have read at all.

If you claim to keep the law, then I ask you why do you not even attempt to keep the whole law, as you are indebted to do? There are hundreds of laws. If we, for sake of argument, artificially create an entity called "the ceremonial law" (a phrase I can't find in my Bibles anywhere at all), and then remove these "ceremonial" items, you are still left with more laws than you could possibly keep.
For example, do you travel not once but three times in the year to the "place where the Lord shall place His name", as outlined in several places but most notably Deuteronomy 16? No. Of course not. Or do you disregard false prophets like Herbert Armstrong, Ron Weinland, Gerald Flurry, et al, as you are commended in Deuteronomy 28? Most do not. Have you identified the sanctuary cities near you? Or have you forgiven debts on the Jubilee Year? Or have you blown trumpets on the Day of Atonement? Do you tithe of the field, flock, and orchard as you are commanded, or do you tithe of cash which is not mentioned in the Bible as being titheable? The list goes on....

And as far as the "Jesus kept the Sabbath, so that means we should too" argument - think about that for a moment. Jesus paid the temple tax, do you? He had few possessions, lived off the generosity of others, and walked the countryside preaching, is that what we should do? He went to "church" in a synagogue as the Jews do, are we Jewish now too? Jesus did not go to the Gentiles (except on 2 occasions they came to Him), should we also do likewise? He had no wife... I'm not even going there. I'm certain you get the point.

The sheer immensity of the Bible that you must disregard to make the claims that you do is mind-boggling. I would suggest that, rather than preach how others should be keeping the law, you yourself should begin keeping it. If you wish to fulfill Paul's anaolgy to Ishmael, then that's your own business. Of course I'm being facetious.
What I truly suggest and pray God for is that you accept the grace of Jesus Christ who died and annulled the Old Covenant that you might have life, and just enter the New Covenant!
God bless you and hasten you into His grace!

Seeker Of Truth said...

I would like to add something to Jesus observing Old Covenant:

That contract was in effect until Jesus died. Michael, I'm sure you remember the analogy Paul used, of the wife who does not commit adultery if she marries another after her husband dies. He said this in an attempt to make it clear that once Jesus had died, they were no longer subject to the previous contract... that Husband had died, and they were now engaged to be married, (so to speak, as the wedding doesn't take place until after His return), to a Risen Jesus... a brand spankin' new contract, a better contract, a contract that was so much more glorious than the previous one (whose glory was fading).

That is why Jesus kept the OC, it was in effect until the moment of His death.

If you haven't read xHWA's 5 (at this point) part series on the "Common legalist Arguments", I would highly recommend it. It is well researched and written.

God bless you in your quest for God's truth.

xHWA said...

is it 5?
Why, I'll be.

Michael Goldwater said...

I never said I keep any law.So you are also not reading me.
I read what you wrote, but out of habit referred to the day of creation as "sabbath".
It was a a day of rest for God in Genesis. He rested on that day, the 7th day.

Every nation on earth realizes that murder , adultery , lying , stealing etc are wrong.
There are demonstrations of them in the bible.
Pharoah realizing it was wrong to have Sarah.
Joesph's trouble with another man's wife.
Even Cain knew it was wrong to kill.
I believe Abraham did know basic commandments.
In his day it was illegal to murder, steal and etc.

Do the righteous requirement of the law and not the letter allow a person to steal?
I am trying to understand here.

Bill said...

Goldwater mentions a few things that I would like to comment on.

That Pharaoh knew what adultery was does not prove or even offer evidence that "the" law preceded Sinai. Societies and cultures produced laws that defined what was acceptable or unacceptable in a culture, and it would be quite a stretch to assume any culture would legalize murder, or make no laws regarding such an act.

In Romans, Paul wrote about the Gentiles who did not have "the" law and who were a law unto themselves.

"And it still does not explain why Paul said "God forbid" about the law being nullified.
He still kept it. He observed the feasts , and so did Jesus , thus setting an example."

The context from Paul is about that which is in the law that was established; righteousness through faith and not the legalities of the law. And if the argument regarding Jesus and Paul being an example regarding the things they did, then we better start marching all over the levant preaching the gospel, and going into Synagogues on sabbaths in order to preach to Jews. No, that argument doesn't hold water.

"Even with the law written in the heart of one who has the holy spirit, they are still in the flesh and still keeping law."

Romans 8:8  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

The "fleshly" man of sin is buried in baptism and now dead. The Christian is a new creation.

xHWA said...

"Every nation on earth realizes that murder , adultery , lying , stealing etc are wrong"

I agree with the gist of what your saying. Actually, that is an idea I reference when legalists tell me the 10 Commandments existed pre-Sinai. So, I'm glad you mentioned it.

"Do the righteous requirement of the law and not the letter allow a person to steal?
I am trying to understand here."

Literally, no (EPH. 4: 28).
But to help you understand why not, let me put it this way. The Old Covenant law commanded you not to steal but could not change your heart. The external influence of law was the focus. The spirit of the law as we see things in the New Covenant will change a person's heart. Would a faithful person with a repentant heart steal? No. Jesus' goodness is the focus.

So, is a law necessary to tell a person with a loving, repentant, humble, charitable, faithful heart - inspired and lead by God's Spirit - that theft is wrong? No.

So, same general ends, different means altogether. One is by faith unto life, the other by law unto bondage.

xHWA said...

"I never said I keep any law.So you are also not reading me."

My apologies if I came across as rude. That certainly was not my intent. But, in my defense, how can I read what you never said?

Purple Hymnal said...

"The spirit of the law as we see things in the New Covenant will change a person's heart."

I'm sorry, but I have to call BS on this. My proof? The three Christians in the past week who have attacked me on AW. In the past WEEK.

What was that about a tree and its fruits?? They make Christianity look like a disease-ridden, maggot-infested tree, rife with poisoned fruit.

Say that "the spirit of the law in the new testament" changed YOUR heart, xHWA (although you seemed to me to be a good sort, even when you were in the church, so really no change there IMO), but don't extend it as a generalization to cover ALL Christians; because plainly, it does not.

Sorry. I just had to get that off my chest.

You guys still think I'm human, even though I don't believe in your religion, right?

:-(

xHWA said...

"You guys still think I'm human, even though I don't believe in your religion, right?"

Well, close to human anyways. :P
Taxonomically speaking, perhaps I could claim you as a new species and have you named after me!
Agalicious ExArmstrongius

Bill said...

""The spirit of the law as we see things in the New Covenant will change a person's heart."

I'm sorry, but I have to call BS on this. My proof? The three Christians in the past week who have attacked me on AW. In the past WEEK."

Right, but maybe for the wrong reason. It is God who changes, or give a person a new heart, aka the heart of flesh that replaces the heart of stone; aka "God's law" aka the Holy Spirit.

No one can change their own heart, and this is part of the proof of the old covenant and those who lived under it.

Now, if you conclude that if three Christians "attack" you, thus demonstrating they are not in possession of said new heart, I put it to you that you are working from your perspective and bias. Paul wrote that those who taught circumcision should go one step further... he also refers to some of what he wrote as crude. Does that mean Paul was not Christian? Or does this mean you are using your own contrived standards to judge others and their spirituality? And are your actions and behavior excused if you do the same things because you claim to be something other than "Christian"? Can you hold "Christians" to one standard while demanding you not be held to the same standard?

Questeruk said...

"xHWA said...
I was hoping to see Questeruk's comments on this post……..

I hope that we can agree on two things:
1) we see Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Savior and we confess as much before men
2) that my whole point it not about the law per se but about condemnation. If you really do not fall for the poison of Armstrong, which is setting yourself above others because of the law, then you and I are already in agreement."


Hi xHWA,

Thanks for your concern. Don’t worry, you’ve not driven me off!

Just been a bit busy, and it’s likely to stay that way for a week or two, so I won’t make a detailed comment at this point.

However I will say that I certainly can agree with your two points, with a couple of comments.

1) we see Jesus Christ as our Lord and personal Savior and we confess as much before men.

Yes indeed – but I do consider that it’s God that does the calling, so I don’t feel a need to push my belief on to others. But certainly I would confirm my belief to anyone that was discussing this subject, or enquiring of me.


2) that my whole point it not about the law per se but about condemnation. If you really do not fall for the poison of Armstrong, which is setting yourself above others because of the law, then you and I are already in agreement.


Yes, I do believe that is your point. (This was something that I hadn’t appreciated in some of our earlier discussions).

For my part, I do not feel in the slightest above others because of the way of life that I lead. I consider that all people are equal human beings, and I also believe that every individual will at some point in their existence come to understand their personal relationship with God.

I completely support your point of getting ‘people to stop all the judgment and condemnation. Of others and of their selves’.

Unfortunately many people, maybe particularly those with a ‘legalist’ bent, not only judge others, but can also mentally ‘beat themselves up’ because of their own failings. Which is rather sad.

xHWA said...

Good to hear from you again, Q,

"Yes indeed – but I do consider that it’s God that does the calling, so I don’t feel a need to push my belief on to others. But certainly I would confirm my belief to anyone that was discussing this subject, or enquiring of me."

Could not agree more.

"Unfortunately many people, maybe particularly those with a ‘legalist’ bent, not only judge others, but can also mentally ‘beat themselves up’ because of their own failings. Which is rather sad."

Now, this truly is a sad thing. I wish these people would accept the level of grace God has gifted them. I mean, they were God's enemy when He forgave them. Perhaps they have sinned so many times and they think they don't deserve forgiveness anymore. Well, I'd hate to tell them, we didn't deserve forgiveness the first time. It isn't any better or worse the thousandth time. He knew our sins before He created us; He knows all our sins -- yet He still forgives us. His grace is sufficient.
America has an estimated $99 Trillion in unfunded liabilities. What if someone just up and forgave every cent? How could anyone feel superior, or beat themselves up?

Knowing God's limitless love and undeserved grace is the key to so much more in Christian life.

Anonymous said...

Purple Hymnal,

If I read and understood correctly, Christian posters attacked your ideas, not you personally.

A personal adhominem attack would be something like saying that your feet smelled, or that you must have used a lot of LSD in attempting to recover from WCG. There is a difference.

I notice that you are Canadian. Did you grow up speaking English or French?