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Archive for May, 2011

That of God in Everyone!

Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He was teaching in their synagogues, and everyone praised him.
He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:14-21

Jesus begins his ministry by telling us what his purpose is. His purpose is to bring freedom to everyone. Jesus did not limit his love to the best people in society. Jesus did not care about ethnicity, age, gender, social status, or anything else. He loved us all the same he made no exceptions. Jesus came to rescue something that is very valuable to him which is humanity. Jesus came to rescue a part of him. Quakers have the phrase “that of God in everyone” Which I have always tied to the creation of the Earth.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness…So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them Genesis 1:26-27

So yes even the prostitudes have that of God, the Samaritan woman too, the tax collector, the Roman centurion, the Jewish teacher of the law, the leppers, and even Saul the church persecuter. We will be looking a few examples of the ministry of Jesus.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 8:3-11

This woman was caught in adultery she deserved to die by law in Exodus 20:14 we find that the law said “You shall not commit adultery” but Jesus saw that this woman was valuable to him and Jesus in his great love decided to give a chance. Regardless of the crime that this woman had commited Jesus saw that in her was that of God. Another criminal that Jesus loved was the thief on the cross, eventhough the world had condemned him Jesus did not.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:39-43

Again another person that broke the law. One of the ten commandments is “You shall not steal.” Regardless of his crime and although the world had condemned him Jesus did not. Jesus loved this man that was created by him in his image, there was that of God in him aswell. The last example we will be looking at is about a man that in our human eyes was worst than any of the two examples that we examined. He delighted in the killing of the early Christians. This man was Saul of Tarsus, the early Christians were afraid of him. Saul of Tarsus hated Christians. He made it his goal to capture, then bring Christians to public trial and execution. Saul was present when the first Christian martyr (named Stephen) was killed by an angry mob.

At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul approved of their killing him.On that day a great persecution broke out against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

Acts 7:57-8:1

Later on we see that Saul himself testify of him persecuting the church.

I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.

Acts 22:4-5

But no human being is so bad, so criminal that Jesus can not rescue her or him.

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.
“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”
The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus.For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.

Acts 9:1-9

Jesus appeared to Saul later Paul. If Paul who was a terorizer pharisee persecutor of the early church and The Light Jesus literally overcame him. Then Osama bin Laden the man that many of us were afraid of, the man that harmed our nation, the man responsible for many deaths around the world. He also qualified for the inmense love of Jesus. For that reason we can not celebrate his assasination although he was responsible for many more deaths just like Saul was. Yet he was another person that had that of God in him and we killed him. No darkness is more powerful than The Light.

Jesus said:

“While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.” John 9:5

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5

As Christians our duty is to go out into the world and let them know that they are precious in Jesus’ eyes. It does not matter how unworthy and criminal their actions have been. There is one that has come to recuperate the precious treasure that had been lost and that one is Jesus. This is the foundation of Quakerism, George Fox said:

Now the Lord God opened to me by his invisible power that every man was enlightened by the divine light of Christ and I saw it shine through all and that they that believed in it came out of condemnation to the light of life and became the children of it … that the manifestation of the Spirit of God was given to every man to profit withal.

George Fox

Quakers did not discover anything new, they were just going back to foundation of Christianity that had been forgotten. John Woolman also spoke of this:

Our gracious Creator cares and provides for all his creatures. His tender mercies are over all his works, and so far as his love influences our minds, so far we become interested in his workmanship and feel a desire to take hold of every opportunity to lessen the distresses of the afflicted and increase the happiness of the creation.

John Woolman

Jesus is ready to answer that of God in everyone.

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Conversations with Oneness Pentecostals

For the past few months I have been exploring and having conversations with Oneness Pentecostals. I just do not understand where they come from in many of their arguments. They believe they are the only group that is going to heaven and God only limits himself to deal with them and no one else. As anyone can see this attitude is not an attitude that the real people of God can have. They are always very busy trying to convince that only they are right. From what I have research I am not the only that gets this impression of them. They are various points that I do not understand where they are coming from: here they are…

They will call the Catholic Church the Great Whore of Babylon found in the book of Revelation chapter 17 and will always argue how the rest of the Protestants are just like the Catholic Church. It is just ironic that the ones that employed the use of this term when refering to the Catholic Church were Martin Luther (1483-1546), John Calvin (1509–1564) and John Knox (1510–1572) all of them were trinitarian. On the Babylonian Captivity of the Chuch Martin Luther harshly condemns the papacy. Oneness Pentecostals will gladly say Amen to all of these reformers allegations against the Catholic Church but will condemn them in the end because they are trinitarian.

“Secondly, I would remark upon this divine Word, “Let Us Make,”–that it appertains to the mystery and confirmation of our faith: by which, we believe that there is ONE GOD, from all eternity and THREE distinct Persons in ONE Divinity or divine Essence,– the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The Jews, indeed, attempt, in various ways, to elude this passage…I would demand, secondly, what the creation of man had to do with angels or angels with it?…Wherefore, God speaks here of Makers or Creators. This expression therefore could not design, or imply, angels….Wherefore, most assuredly, the Holy Trinity is here intended of God…For all the THREE Persons here concur, and speak unitedly, when they say, ‘Let Us make.'”
Martin Luther

These argument against the Catholic Church is not originally theirs and they will condemn the reformers that shaped this concept.

They will often say that they are very different from the Catholic Church and that they never had anything to do with them but two early popes had the same false doctrine (Zephyrinus and Callistus) as they do. They can trace back their history to these two early popes.

Another thing is that on the surface they seem to be so fundamentalist. For example they want to take the story of the creation in Genesis literally and they want to take most of the New Testament in the literal sense specially when it come to water baptism in Acts 2:38. But they are not really fundamentalist, a hardcore fundamentalist Christian will never admit that the bible has errors. Their argument will often be that trinitarians twisted the bible yet they want to condemn the world with a bible that they believe has errors. Their arguments can sound liberal, honestly I never expected that a Oneness Pentecostal would say that the bible was adulterated because they seemed so fundamentalist. They will say Amen to the allegations of a trinitarian where there are errors but will condemn the same trinitarian for biblically trying to explain the doctrine of the trinity. On the surface they seem fundamentalist but on a closer examination they will argue that the bible has errors and parts that are not inspired just like any liberal would, yet they want to condemn the world with a bible which they accept to have mistakes. They pick and choose the side that is convenient to them.

Supposedly they are Arminian but when speaking to them they will often say things that really sounds like the doctrine of the predestination. They will argue that God chooses whom to seal with the Holy Spirit. It is not our choice to receive the Holy Spirit it is God’s will on whom will receive it. If according to them God chooses whom to give the seal of the Holy Spirit and receiving the seal according to scripture is the guarantee of what is to come (salvation) then we could say that they are not Arminian and in fact they are Calvinist. But in trying to push their own agenda they loose their Arminian doctrine. Again they pick and choose sides when is convenient.

set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. 2 Corinthians 1:22

They will also say things that they do not need Holidays to celebrate that for them everyday is a celebration. This sound very much like a Quaker ideal, Quakers did not celebrate holidays because they thought that everyday should be devoted to God. Although primitive Quakers did not celebrate for different reasons that Oneness Pentecostals don’t celebrate. Quakers did not celebrate because they thought that the church had become to dependent and replaced the spiritual reality with holidays and rituals. Unfortunatly Oneness Pentecostals do depend on the ritual of water baptism for salvation with the specific formula in Acts 2:38 as opposed to the formula in Matthew 28:19. They do not celebrate holidays because of its suppose pagan origin, and will side with many liberal arguments about mainstream Christians being just like pagans but they won’t agree when these same liberals make allegations of Jesus being a pagan. Again they only take sides when its convenient to push their religious agenda.

The Oneness Pentecostals will often claim anti-trinitarian historical figures such as Sabellious as a prove that they always existed but in the end they will condemn him and others because they did not fulfilled the Oneness requirements of salvation which are water baptism in the Name of Jesus and speaking in tongues as a sign of the Holy Spirit.

It is very sad that this group will only take sides when its convenient to them but they do not have an identity of their own. These are only observations of having conversations with them. I hope that the readers could take their time and do more research on this group, that their only agenda is to be anti-trinitarian. There is alot of biblical evidence exposed by many trusted scholars (that they trust when convenient) that shows their false teachings.

Are we God? Does America trust God?

Like everyone else I am procesing the news that Osama bin Laden is dead. There are different opinions out there some are celebrating, some are doubtful that he is dead wanting to see the death certificate, others feel relieved and others don’t have an opinion. One thing everyone knows is that Osama deserved to be punished. He executed evil plans and was responsible for the death of thousands of people around the world. There was no question or doubt that he was evil, it was clear that he was evil. According to the bible we are ALL evil not just Osama is evil we are all evil.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. John 3:19

The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:5

The only one that is not evil and is good is God:

The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him Nahum 1:7

They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. Psalm 145:7

Unfortunatly many of us believe that we are God and want to do God’s part but none of us are free from evil.

When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Matthew 7:1

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Romans 2:1

By seeking revenge and killing we are demonstrating that we either don’t trust that God is righteous or that we think He needs help in the revenge. The bible often told us that revenge and justice belongs to God and not us.

In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety.This is the name by which he will be called:The Lord Our Righteousness. Jeremiah 23:5

The LORD is righteous; He has cut in two the cords of the wicked. Psalm 129:4

Righteous are You, O LORD, And upright are Your judgments. Psalm 119:137

“O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.” Ezra 9:15

“However, You are just in all that has come upon us; For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly. Nehemiah 9:33

Therefore the LORD has kept the calamity in store and brought it on us; for the LORD our God is righteous with respect to all His deeds which He has done, but we have not obeyed His voice. Daniel 9:14

As surely as the LORD lives,” he said, “the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish 1 Samuel 26:10

Therefore, this is what the LORD says: “See, I will defend your cause and avenge you; I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry. Jeremiah 51:36

May he judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice. Psalm 72:2

Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. Romans 12:19

‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’ Deuteronomy 32:35

O LORD, God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth! Psalm 94:1

For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” Hebrews 10:30

‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you. Proverbs 20:22

Do not say, “I’ll do to him as he has done to me; I’ll pay that man back for what he did.” Proverbs 24:29

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. Romans 12:17

Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. 2 Timothy 4:14

We need to learn to trust God if he has promised justice he is the one that will punish our enemies it is not our duty.

(and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

Not trusting God to be God can have consequences.

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him. Proverbs 24:17-18

Because I trust that God is a righteous God and revenge is His and not mine, I trusted that God himself would strike Osama and do justice. Unfortunatly America does not trust God.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

The eyes of the arrogant man will be humbled and the pride of men brought low; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day. Isaiah 2:11

The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day Isaiah 2:17

Now, O LORD our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O LORD, are God.”
Isaiah 37:20

Today America demonstrated that we do not trust God. I will close with the words of Micah Bales: Vengeance of our own denies the power of God’s justice.

Who To Believe?

Knock! knock! knock! Its the Jehovah Witness at your door to tell you that the bible you have been reading is not the correct bible and that the New World Translation Bible its the correct one. That the King James Version and the American Standard Version that you are probably using and until the 1960’s they used is not correct.

One of the members of a Unitarian Universalist Church that belongs to the Jesus seminar tells you that not all of the bible has been inspired and that Jesus words have been corrupted. He will usually quote John Dominic Crossan or Marcus J. Borg who are most interested in discovering the historical Jesus rather than Jesus the Friend. Or another member of the same church will tell you that the bible has the same authority as the Quran, Vedas, generally other sacred text. Another will tell you that any sacred texts have no authority.

A few members of a Oneness Pentecostal Church will tell you that the bible has over 2,000 errors, although they might seem fundamentalist superficially but on a closer examination they argue the same points that a liberal might argue. The church’s general view will say that the King James Version, Douay-Rheims Bible,
Webster’s Bible Translation, Young’s Literal Translation has a verse added (1 John 5:7) for that reason the New International Version, New Living Translation, English Standard Version, New American Standard Bible, International Standard Version, GOD’S WORD® Translation, American Standard Version, Bible in Basic English, Darby Bible Translation, English Revised Version, Weymouth New Testament World English Bible don’t have it. They will generally say that it was the trinitarians specially the Catholics that adulterated the bible but ironically the New Revised Standard Version does not include the verse in question. Why would they not included in their latest version? If they were the ones that adulterated it. I am no able theologian therefore I am not able to make judgement if the verse is ispired or not. A trinitarian whose opinion is that the verse is not included in the original greek text said this:

the removal of this text does nothing to weaken the evidence for the doctrine of the Trinity, or to modify that doctrine. As it was never used to shape the early belief of the Christian world on the subject, so its rejection, and its removal from the New Testament, will do nothing to modify that doctrine. The doctrine was embraced, and held, and successfully defended without it, and it can and will be so still.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible

Oneness Pentecostals will only agree with this theologian on the part that the verse is not inspired and that is only found in two later manuscript but will disagree with this statement. They expect me to agree on the part that they agree with this scholar but disagree on the part that they disagree with.

Another group the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) also believe that the bible is spurious. Joseph Smith claimed, “Ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” Brigham Young said further, “… many precious things have been rejected in the compilation and translation of the Bible” Even further than this Joseph Smith suposedly had a vision that he was the one chosen to restore the true Church to the world by bringing forth the Book of Mormon.

The Muslims will also say that the bible has many errors and the Koran does not thus superior.

Now there is a common denominator between all these groups they are ANTI-trinitarian. They are often too busy trying to convince the world that the bible is spurious. When I come across people like this I often question a few things for example do I trust a scholar, theologian, a pastor a member of any of this churches to tell me what is inspired and what is not inspired? Do I trust a human being to tell me that the bible has been adulterated? Why would I believe a group over another? After all they all claim to have prove but I am no expert in the subject how can I trust them? What if I would have never crossed paths with these groups would God send me to hell for believing in a bible that was adulterated and given to me? Would God even allow the bible to be adulterated? Wouldn’t the Holy Spirit guide us to see what parts are inspired and which ones are not? It just does not sound correct when I have to trust a human to tell me what parts of the bible are inspired and should trust and which ones are not and should not believe.

Well the bible itself tells us:

You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me
John 5:39

We have to remember that the bible can only be studied with the guidance of the one that inspired it, the Holy Spirit. We should trust the Holy Spirit over any teaching of any man. The bible and the Holy Spirit will never contradict each other.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. John 16:13

the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:17

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

I stand behind the words of the Apologist Robert Barclay:

From the revelations of the Spirit of God to the faithful have come the scriptures of Truth, which contain: (1) a faithful historical account of the behavior of God’s people in various ages and of the many unusual and remarkable acts of God which they experienced, (2) a prophetic account of some things already past, and of others yet to come, (3) a full and adequate account of all of the chief principles of the doctrine of Christ which were spoken, or which were written, by the motions of God’s Spirit at various times in treasured declarations, exhortations, and maxims which were given to certain churches and their pastors.

The Bible is a faithful declaration of the Spirit containing all the chief doctrines of Christianity, and thus can be relied upon as an authority and a check as to whether claimed revelations of the Spirit are true revelations. The Bible can only be truly understood when we are in that Spirit which is its source.