“Get Christianity out of government and society”

“Can you have truth without knowing why? Yes! Can you have knowledge? No!”; J.P. Moreland

Recently I have been reading how secularism is “attacking”Christians in the USA. How you are forced to conform to the dictates of an immoral legislature and even how your right to free speech should be monitored and punished if it does not conform with the immoral agenda. To this we can add, the supposed right of an individual not to be offended by others’ views. Here I bring some points that may help us now and in the near future persecution of the children of God.

I. The anti-Christian sentiment:
A- Immoral desires: The world does not want to look at morality in a traditional way. Like the Bible says; “they even invent new ways to sin”, societies of today want to convince the world that their aberrant and perverted ways are normal and should be accepted. The nature of man is sinful and natures’ desires, by enlarge, in human beings are immoral and against God.
B- No accountability for ones actions (societal schizophrenia) : The world in which we live hates to have to give an account for their undoing’s. Most of society wants to blame someone or something else for their behavior, ideas and troubles. Having an ultimate being that judges you is intolerable by most people, after all “they didn’t ask to be born”. Most people want to convince themselves they are the sum total of moral law, that outside themselves no one has the right to say they are wrong.

II. The religious pluralistic society:
A-Comparative Religion (“they all are the same”) Take all the mayor religions they all say they have the truth ; their adepts sincerely believe they are the “chosen ones” and they all want to convert you:
1-Islam wants you to convert: They want the whole world to be Muslim.
2-Christianity wants you to convert: They want you to have “eternal life”(communion with God).
3- Hinduism wants you to convert: They want you to not waste lives in the progress of soul.
4-Judaism wants you to convert: If you do the way for the Messiah to come is enhanced.
5- Buddhism wants you to convert: They want to free you from the bondage of creed.

Religious pluralism has rendered all religions the same thus invalidating their claims to the truth. Secularism has in fact delegated the religious idea as a private irrelevant pursuit. They in fact, want to do away with al traces of religious sentiment when dealing with secular life, government, business, and authority.

3. But are all religions the same? The adherents to this idea will say that no matter what the belief says, in its entirety and in the end, all preach the same thing. And this is when we as Christians have to say no; We do no believe the same, we in fact have the truth, and if we do, they (the rest of the world) doesn’t have it; what they do have is falsehood!

How do we support such a statement? Lets take a 6th person, whom the five adherents of the mayor religions will try to convince they have the truth! Can this be achieved?
1-Only if the religion makes logical sense. If its view of reality can be well established. If they can have the best argument, such as the “Case for Christ”, “The Case for the Resurrection” and what I called the case for logic; the why God must exist, why Christ is God and why the Resurrection (and redemption) is necessarily true.
If we as Christians can give the best argument for why our God is the true one, we can just leave it at that in a hostile world full of ignorance, they wont have a retort other than not wanting to believe, but we know that this is exactly what we face; most of humanity will reject Christ!

4- The right to choose a creed (religion and its view on things) against popular mores and secular legislatures. What are we to do when legislature tromps your religious freedom?
1-The self defense posture:
a) Non involvement in a secular life style (the right to be private).
i.You can practice your beliefs privately; examples:
1-Do not become an ordained minister or chaplain in order not to be forced to perform unbiblical marriages.
2- Do not become a service oriented business person, because sooner or later you will have to sell your product to benefit the ceremonies and lifestyles of persons that follow un-Christian practices.
3- Do not belong to an incorporated church (see: https://www.facebook.com/notes/tio-papo/important-definition/10204878397432069 )
1-Do not have an official “minister” or pastor.
4-Do not choose teaching as a career, for you will be forced to teach sinful tolerance; condoning same sex marriages as normal and acceptable, and teach the freedom towards sexual orientation.

III- The freedom of religion:
A-No one can actually forced you to not believe what you want (In my mind I am free).
The state will never force you to change your religion. But when in public, will persecute your right to your personal opinion or religious opinion while you conduct a secular public activity. They will do this according to the “law of the land” (their infernal legislatures that have changed our Constitution).

B. The need to be extremely general, globally acknowledged and philosophical trained in logic and argumentation: Be always prepared to give reasons that are logical and make sense philosophically for your views ;reasons that conform to the reality of the whole human race and not from a single minded agenda.
This will be effective in the pre-private church that is to come. We can’t really stop this onslaught of attacks. But be assured to know that this is a spiritual battle; the war of ideas. And by engaging in this battle with the proper weapons we can win souls to Christ in the midst or a hostile world that loves evil and darkness instead of godly pursuits and light.

IV- The catacomb church:
Eventually we will be forced to go underground, just like those brethren of ours in the beginning of our Christian era. Ours will be a life of private beliefs system much like those in the beginning. They suffered physical harm and death. We will face legal and livelihood attacks that will force us to not pursue a religious life in the public arena.

But like in those ancient times we will be spreading the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth to the ones open to it, those that Christ will call “my sheep” the ones that “hear Him” and respond. We have to realize that our savior already told us it is not the majority who will be saved, but a minority and to reach them we don’t have to be up-ground and making noise, we can indeed be publically witnessing while privately protecting ourselves from the onslaught persecution in the near future. This may mean that the public church as you know it today will be a thing of the past and instead of great numbers gathering at one location we may have to go back to meet behind closed doors and encrypt our language.

A one on one spiritual battle to those that God will bring to us to witness to, being fully prepared to do so. This means that our faith has to be well defined and it must compete in the intellectual arena better that the alternate falsehood of the world. We may indeed have to get closer to God and ask for, and be under, the guidance of spiritual discernment to recognize God’s sheep in need of spiritual help. Having this tool will protect us against the under covered evil doers who want to erase Christ from the face of the earth.

We have our work cut out for us and we as the organized church is ill prepared for the task. A recent poll found out that only 19% of all Christians who go to church regularly read their Bibles every day and some 18% never read it! But as The Bible seems to convey, we can take 50% of the membership of the church and know they wont make it with us in eternity.
The remnant will never be removed from earth, we as a minority still need to prepare ourselves for the task to come. We need to gather around us, brothers and sisters who are not worldly and who have a thirst for knowledge because they are the true free seekers, the true chosen church of Christ.

Pray every day, at least an hour. Fast whenever you can (make room in your life for the pursuit of spiritual training). Read your Bible every day, and study it with an interest for learning God’s message for the church. Learn how to understand God’s will on earth through good theological avenues and be engaged and interested in always answering the ones that need answers; and to those mockers, be ready to shut their ramblings with the truth,which you and I know is Christ!

“You shall know the truth and the Truth shall set you free”

Blessings,
Tio Papo

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The Power of an Individual Choice!

Long time ago, well about 40 years ago, a child made a decision dealing with his future. He recognized the poor conditions in where he was born, siblings no better than him, sometimes not enough to eat and very much to say for entertainment. He was one of five, all in the same environment, all from the same parents living in poor neighborhoods and not planning much for a future.

This child knew from when he was five years old, he didn’t want to have an uncertain future and he decided his best answer was through education. As life would dictate he lived in one of the poorest countries in latin america, Honduras his parents were missionaries there. It served him to see first hand what extreme poverty was all about. He knew some of the members attending Sunday’s service meal was their only meal that week, people actually working seven days a week all year around and going hungry. This experience taught him compassion to such a level of existential empathy, he would choose his career accordingly. After the family returned to the US he applied himself to study and getting good grades. He was accepted into the university and paid for his own education. Midway while considering a career in business he attended a seminary on the subject. After the lecture he asked the presenter, an 80 year old retire professor in business, what advised he had for him. The wise professor asked him just one question:”Would cheating the little guy bother you?” This child now a man sincerely answered; “Yes it would bother me greatly!” ; then the professor gave him the verdict; “Then, son, a career in business is not for you” … This man understood what the old professor meant, his existential empathy was too real to him he had lived it as a child he had seen it as an adolescent. He changed his mayor to one of helping the world!

This child is my brother, by baby brother, the youngest of five who is now the sub-director of the EPA in his state. His individual choice to not be poor guided by the values his parents first and then life itself taught him, changed the traditional generational influence of being content with what life has given you, to a more challenging intention to achieve grater goals in life and be of greater service to humanity.

Like this child we too find ourselves in theological poor environment. Our family talks and behaves very simply in ignorance of the achievable truths available to us from an infinite in wisdom source, Christ. Our family-our church still despite of good intentions poor in the basic knowledge to operate in the world we live and we are no better than the generation before in helping others. Oh yes, we have great programs,conferences,entertainment and such. But our gospel we can’t share,m we don’t know how and God forbid someone with some education asking us a question…we usually say “well let me get back to you on that”, and we never do. Yes we have memorize the scriptures, but to what end? Are we to use verses with someone that knows for sure (thought they won’t tell you) the Bible is not “the Word of God”? How can we get out of this spiritual poverty environment?

This story of my baby brother should parallel what you need to do; educate yourself in a greater manner than your previous generation! But it requires you go out of the immediate familiar environment, to “the university”. This place of higher spiritual education where is it, how can you find it? Is it your local church? Maybe, but if you find yourself poor spiritually (not is not how you feel, rater is what you know) then you are still within that family that perpetrates poverty (ignorance). Where do yo go?

All I can say is that it is out there, not within the four walls of the building you call church which only entertains you for a couple of hours a week. If what you get from church is just a feeling , like when you go see a good movie, then it is just that, entertainment! It is not an educational environment, not a university and you are just stuck in your family forever, never to be able to have a progressive spiritual environment conducive to a greater commission of the will of God on earth.

Like my brother I was lucky in wanting to learn about my career to take in my spiritual life. I went to a higher education by reading and taking advantage of free theology lessons in the 90s. The interest from the power of deciding I wanted to learn brought to me books…yes books…then 7 different versions of the Bible…then lessons and books in the basics of theological studies, exegesis and hermeneutics. And since my greatest interest was my decision to know Christ, I started to spend time communicating with him. You may know how, praying, intensively, privately, and lengthy-one hour minimum. You see my church family preaches two out of the three requirements to progress to a higher knowledge of God; reading the bible and praying. But if you ask the average church goer honestly to tell you how much they pray and read the Bible, you’d be surprise…it is almost non-existence in our chur-family lives. This thought they preach it, the leaders and the church do not teach it, let alone practice.

So it goes that if we are to take the example of that child who made a powerful decision and then stuck to it we need to separate ourselves (spiritually) from our church-family. We need to find a different environment one that promotes not only theological education but one that promotes having an actual relationship with Christ rather than a virtual one! You cannot vicariously have a relationship with Christ, it takes an individual contact from a “The Power of an Individual Choice”.

God bless you!

Tio Papo

Holiness For Youth

Holiness

I- Holiness: What is it?
a. Something Saints practice!
i. What is a saint?
1-One who practices holiness!
b. Something holy = something good, perfect, devoid of evil!
i. Something not sinful!
c. Sin
i. What is not good, benevolent, virtuous.
ii. Distance from the good,God
iii. Absence of good, benevolence, God.

II- What does it mean to be a Christian?
a. Definition: A Christian is someone who follows the teachings of Jesus
of Nazareth.

III- Jesus’s teachings:
a. Love your God with everything you have!
i. Mind, body and behavior (what you do with your body)
b. Love your neighbor, as you would like him to love you,(even if he doesn’t!)
i. The good Samaritan parable – Luke10:30
ii. To give help to those in need,sick or in jail.`
1. Ignoring ii above has dire consequences:
a. “I never knew you” Matthew7:23
b. Matthew 25: 41- 46 “Because you didn’t help”.
c. To stay away from sin- to be holy. To stay away from a sinful
lifestyle.
i. “Go and sin no more” John 8:11
ii. “…stop sinning or something even worse may happen to
you” John 5:14

IV- Holiness: To stay away from sin.
a. Sins
i. Not believing in God (believing other gods or something else)
ii. Murder
iii. Stealing
iv. Lying
v. Lust (lasciviousness)
1. Causing others to lust after you!
vi. Adultery
vii. Fornication
viii. False testimony
ix. Greed
x. Envy
xi. Drunkenness
xii. Omitting to help (Mat 7:23; Matt 25:41-46)
xiii. Judging others

V- Sins that concern our Christian youth.
a. Lying,
i. Cheating on exams
ii. To friends
iii. To parents
iv. Exaggerating events, embellishment,plagiarism
b. Lust
i. Undo desire for success,things or people
ii. Behaving in such a manner that others desire you in an unholy manner.
1. This could be wanting admiration, a following, wanting to be popular.
2. Dressing inappropriately,gesturing and sensual walking, dancing
(dancing is primarily a sexual ritual)
3. Flirting
4. You should not tempt anyone to sin Mathew 18:7
c. Fornication
i. Having sexual relations outside marriage, like with your
boyfriend/girlfriend a person you met at a party,
the quarterback of your school’s team, a perfect stranger.
d. Adultery
i. Having sexual relation with someone that is married to someone else,
like a teacher, a friend etc., or having sex with a single
or married person while you are married.

VI- How can we maintain holiness?
a. # 1-Prayer
i. What is prayer? -You talk to God!
ii. How much should we pray? How many minutes have you guys prayed this
week?
1. Matthew 6: 5-9 (instructions on how)
2. Mathew 6: 9-13 “The Lords Prayer”
3. Luke 11:1-13 (Format and insistence-1stTesa 5:17;never stop praying)
4. How much do we need to pray?
a. Jesus’ example:
i. One hour- Mathew 26:40
ii. Mathew 14: 23 (alone in the hills)
iii. Mark 1:35 (isolated place)
iv. Mark 6:46 (praying in seclusion)
v. Luke 6:12 (all night)
vi. Luke 9:18 (praying alone)
vii. Luke 5:16 (withdrew to the wilderness)
iii. Prayer strengthen us so we can resist temptation: Mathew 26: 41
b. #2-Struggling not to sin.
i. Running away from temptation
1. Not attending popular activities of known sinful practices, like dances,
parties, bars etc.
c. #3- Guarding our hearts, eyes and senses Proverb 4:23
i. Eyes – Movies R rated and above (full of sins of others)
1. There is a warning in the Bible against liking the sins of others.
a. Romans 1: 32 (encouraging* others to do evil)
i. * = Rejoice, enjoying, liking, approve
ii. Have delight = extreme enjoying
iii. Have pleasure in (the sins ofothers) KJV
iv. “Applaud those who sin” – Complete Jewish Bible
v. The handing out prices to sinners –The Message Bible-
b. 1st Timothy 5:22 (do not share others sins)
ii. Senses – Music that is obscene or that moves to overly sexual
gesticulations, Remember dancing is a sexual ritual!
iii. Heart – Refers to our total consciousness, what we do with our
desires, how we express them and why – what is our real
motive to act and behave the way we do?
1. God will judge everyone’s secret life: Romans 2:16

VII- Conclusion: Holiness in our Christianity is a way of life, one that according to our Scriptures is apart from the rest of humanity. “We are in the world, but we are not of it” (John 15:19). We are called to be different in belief, learning and behavior.

Christ said it first, the many will be lost, the few will be saved. “Wide is the road to destruction and many go through it, narrow is the gate to salvation and few ever find it” (Matthew 7:13). We can’t admire how other people think, behave or act, because primarily they are under the influence of evil and will not be saved!

The advantage of a holy life is that we can ensure the real good life, there are no pleasures that humans can have that a Christian can’t. If we maintain our lives as far from sin as possible, God has promised us an abundant life, full of happiness and the pleasures of the bodies he created us with.
Notes: http://www.gotquestions.org/flirting.html

Galatians 6:19-21 [The first sin is sexual immorality]

Tio Papo
Approved by Dr. David Morton, DD
ARDELLA Baptist Church, Lakeland Florida

En Español—>Santidad

Why heaven cannot be another dimension:

A few days ago I was intellectually struck down by a comment a DD professor made in his university theology lesson (Phoenix University has free university video lessons we can access). I felt so down, this guy in a short comment seemed to destroy most of my theological findings in the better part of 7 years! How can that be possible? How can I be so wrong, so far off from good theological conclusions?

His comment was in the text we read when Jesus told his disciples He was going to go to His Father’s house where there were many mansions where he was going to prepare a place for them. The professor alluded somewhat sarcastically to the location of heaven when Christ ascended into “heaven”. “Of course the disciples saw Jesus ascending into the clouds, but did Jesus take a left after pluto into heaven?” Then he added; “Many mansions is just, other dimensions”…What? But it could be possible… Then I thought: “Oh man, I have to rethink my entire position on this now”!

This is the trouble some of us go through when we set out to study more and more of our teachings, our theology. And frankly it is a fear that is validated by the many interpretations of the Bible and what it must say within our vast theological world. But if we have done our basic work in the principles of the Christian faith, and have used one of those “earthly things” Jesus say we have to (John 3:12) in order to “believe” the heavenly things, then we ought to not be afraid of what we find in the pursuit of strengthening our faith. One of those things I use (a lot) is logic, a branch of Philosophy, common linguistic sense, which is not an easy discipline, but one that nevertheless has proven time and time again to be the best one for me to use in the endeavor to know more about my savior Jesus of Nazareth, my Christ! Here is my answer!

Heaven is a place, created, correct? Every thing that has been created has to be in time and space-created a time ago/ in a place, location. Everything that we know exists (except God) exists within time and space, what we understand as the four dimensions of time and space, the universe. Then heaven is in our universe, where else! But that place in the universe we call heaven doesn’t have to be near us, it could be a distant planet or galaxy. Why do I think this must be so?

Lucifer, thrown into our realm: If there was another universe or another dimension Lucifer existed as an angel when he was thrown to “earth” (our time space continuum) why was he thrown to our universe-realm-dimension? If there was a possibility of existing outside time space, Lucifer would be there in another “dimension”, “realm”. The fact that he is in the universe makes for the impossibility of created beings dwelling outside time/space. He didn’t have to be thrown into my universe to mess it all up!

Enoch and Elijah: They were taken to heaven (not ascended, like Jesus) and as creatures on a four dimensional matrix, heaven has to be a place they can be taken to.

Why there are not other dimensions possible: If heaven was “another dimension” same question about Lucifer applies. If Angels are in a different dimension and get to ours, then is possible by God transporting them to ours from time to time, and that is true, but I think Heaven is a distant galaxy, because God can also easily tele transport them to earth (Phillip was transported to another town). That angels and demons can travel from distant areas of our universe to earth is possible by the fore mentioned God power, or they could have access to the bending of space or traveling faster than light since they are mostly spiritual beings.

Heaven: A place where sin cannot dwell: True, and God can quarantine it from sin as He will hell (lake of fire) once He eradicates the fallen state of the universe in general. So it is very plausible that heaven and hell are in our universe!

To me I find no better explanation precisely because Lucifer was thrown here where I exists. Ok,I haven’t explained this, but here it goes:

If God punished Lucifer for rebelling and throws him somewhere, and if there were other dimensions and or universes he could exist, God would have sent him there instead of the one universe and or dimension I was to be created in. This argument goes along the character of God, he cannot create sin or any thing with the purpose to sin. Free will does not work here since 2/3 of the angels did not rebel. So we didn’t have to have the influence of Satan for us to have free will, God when he creates beings he creates them already with free will, the ability to choose, weather to align with Him or distancing from Him; angels are an example, for one of them chose differently!

Conclusion: There are no “other anywhere’s” where sentient beings can exist other than in the three spatial dimensions and the one of time. Invisibility, or materializations (angels can appear, disappear, go through walls-maybe) doesn’t not prove other dimensions or other universes.

God bless you,

Tio Papo
PS. The atheists who for decades were denying a first cause just got a cosmic wrench thrown into their hopes that string theory could prove the theory of multiverses and thus our universe popping into existence from nothing: The proof they expected from all their predictions of the string theory was an evidence from a particular particle decay they theorized as necessary from the string theory. The Hadron collider performed the test and no such decay was found. Some physicists are saying now they should be looking elsewhere. This is for us good news, since their famous “fact” is again just a theory, just a “philosophy”, but one which has no basis on the essences of this discipline, the love of wisdom!

Signs, wonders and “special supernatural evidences”!

Some time ago I was listening to some very impacting testimonies from the Middle East! How God is revealing himself to people with actually no interest whatsoever in becoming Christians in that region of the planet.

One of the most striking testimonies was of a woman in Iraq who converted from Islam to Christianity. Her husband a devout Muslim vouch to kill her if she did not recant her belief. She didn’t and one morning the husband woke up with a burning ache in his right thigh, when he went to se the name “Jesus” had been carved into his flesh like a tattoo. He wanted to go and pull his skin out so that his name would not be in his thigh, the next morning he felt the same sensation and to his surprise the words “loves you” were now carved into his skin. At this he “had” no choice but to consider his wife’s conversion and accompanied her to the next service with fear that if he was seen he could be arrested and killed. He gave his life to Christ and is recently serving for the cause of Christ in his town.

This one is one of many testimonies one hears from far away lands of how God is operating in the supernatural to bring people to his feet. This is wonderful news to us here who see that part of the world as a lost cause due to the persecution an the almost total rejection of the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth. One could even draw a conclusion that after all, God will bring whomever He wills, no matter what the person believes or is doing, that if God wants it, no body will be able to reject the truth because ; Hey God can after all, carve his name on your thigh…!

Did this testimony really happen? I wasn’t there, you weren’t either! How do we know that this written account actually happened? We don’t , we will never know! But why do we believe it? Because it could have happened, it rings true, and we would like it to be true! But that doesn’t make it true, does it? And suppose it is true, what are the implications of this supernatural experience?

For one, it seems to invalidate the persons God given free will, for after all he had no interest in believing his wife! I have argued here in many posts that we are free to choose because we have to weight the validity of the options presented to us and then exercise our God given free will in choosing one. Obviously in order to choose, the options have to be competitive so as to you reason which one has more validity. If one of the options is so strong as to not providing any reasonable doubt then you are not choosing freely, you are choosing cohesively and I just don’t think that this is the intent of John 3:16. If option A is so overwhelmingly stronger than option B, your instinct not, your reason, is the one determining your action to choose, then you are determined in your decision and not freely choosing by fully understanding (believing) the truth!

Testimonies like this one bring a sense of power to us and we rejoice with “what God is doing” in other lands, but the implications if not studied are contradictory. Lets take a Biblical example: The call to the disciples to follow Jesus:

Why were these twelve called and not others? What was so special about them? You could say, “well God had to choose someone anyway”! But why these twelve? They were content in working and providing for their families fishing for a living like many others, what made them targets for the call? Here many don’t really like what I say; that God knew these twelve really had a thirst for knowledge , that these twelve had in them, the burning desire to know the truth and that the other thousands of fishermen did not! Many objet to this, because I have accuse them of lacking that thirst for knowledge and they reject the idea that God will reveal himself to yo only if you desire to know him in your heart and not if you don’t. So many object to learning, to study, just because they can’t comprehend the need for this pre-qualification to salvation. They are sadly mistaking that God arbitrarily will supernaturally reveal himself to you if you are to believe; well that is determinism , not free will! Some of my brothers go that route, I do not, and I have explained why in my book “What I Wish Christian Would Tell You”. God does not arbitrarily choose to reveal himself to you-you have to desire him at some level in your conscience. Hebrews 11:6 tells it: You need to desire to know God by being interested (wanting to know) He exist prior to come close to Him! God can not, will not invalidate your free will, for “you are condemned to be free”, and that means you have to freely choose him, rather than not!

The answer to this and other “supernatural revelations” is twofold. One is that they never happened , they are just urban legends. The other and one we can justify is: God sees the heart of the individual , He knows your desire for Him in your heart, no matter what religion you happen to find yourself in. If you so desire Him, He will find a way for you to really know him. After all many that profess actually knowing Him, will be casted out when Jesus tells them “I never knew you…” Why? They will understand clearly, completely…they never really wanted to know Christ, to be his friend, they just used his name to get their way in life…

Do you really want to know Christ, really? Do you really desire to know everything there is to be known about Him, really? What is your basis for answering “yes”? If you desire to be friends with someone, is because you desire to know that someone, what is the evidence for that desire, what is it you do with that person?

Do you think it is different than desiring to be friends with Jesus, to get to know Him, better and better? Is that of value to you?

God bless you,

Tio Papo

Omission/ “Do you have a beter answer?” Now would be a good time!

I just took Dr. Phil’s test…I scored 75; someone people “handle with care”, someone people see as vain and self-centered”. Others may admire, wishing they could be more like me,but don’t always trust me, hesitant to become too deeply involved with me. Somewhat seemingly domineering highly confident and coming out as having a chip in his shoulder. The test didn’t surprise me at all!

I have been there, done that. Perhaps a rebel “without a cause” some may say, but I do have a cause; the passion I feel about learning the meaning of life in general and the life as a Christian in particular. For the past six years I have observe how we who are “in the truth” think primarily, for behavior usually follows consciousness, or at least it should. It is surprising how after 27 years absence from Christian circles I find not much progress in knowledge and wisdom. 

Knowledge is:facts, information, and skills (the ability to do something well; expertise)

acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. Here one’s experience is from skills (how to apply or do somethiing), information  (facts provided or learned about something or someone). So when we so superficially talk about knowledge we often fail to really understand what knowledge is.Knowledge has to do with facts in a sequential logical manner that informs the person about reality. It has to do with how things are the way they are and why.
When applying this single word to out Christian understanding, we often fail to realize what we are saying. It is a statement of fact Gd sees us as lacking in knowledge and perishing because of it! This is nothing new and though we often subconsciously realize it, we can’t fix it! The primary cause of this is due to what I call the sin of omission.

Dad used to preach a lot about this and though as a youngster I often though “what’s is he talking about?” I understand his prophetic message, 27 years later manifested. We do omit a basic mandate in us all;seek knowledge (learning, studying). His preaching was right on and he didn’t even realize the scope of this sin. It has actually contaminated all aspects of the church from top down! It disguises it self in knowing “what” but totally ignoring the “why”. One can memorize the entire Bible, yet still be ignorant of the why is the Bible true. Most say “because it is the word of God” and this is just not good enough for this is the sort of “faith” all religion pretty much profess; “It is the truth because of my holy book says it”! By omitting the study of the truth you engage in the omission of pursuig the greatest talent God has given mankind.

The parable of the talents now comes in clear. If you burry (not use) your talent God eventually will take it away. Has this happened already? I would say “Yes! Just look around; How many Christians can successfully defend their faith against a Muslim, Hindu, or Atheist? Not many and the ones you find that can are nowhere near our level of education or social status. This should tell us we ned to do something else other than bury our minds (talent) and how do we do this, how do we not bury it? 

What does the mind do? Would be the first question. It thinks! And what is thinking? “Using thought or rational judgment; intelligent”. So rational, has to do with reason and reason is a process of logic sequences of thought  in analyzes. Therefore the mind thinks, reasons and analyzes items that occur suddenly in it. Where is that mind? We experience it, but it is an openness to the world we experience is no-where and every where to us in an open to the world state, see Heidegger. But we can get an idea, thinking is not merely  “accepting” as the last leg of faith suggests. Way before one can accept anything one must think thoroughly about what one is to believe. Here lies most of today’s “lack of knowledge” in our groups. 

First it is an omission to what knowledge is, then compounds it with a lack of wisdom, for the “love of wisdom” is no where taught today. God has given mankind a mind to use but man has buried it. In the parable the bad manager did not get rid off the talent, no he buried it! We make the mistake in the idea that the simple statements of truth and the logos we so rhetorically teach equals the multiplication of the talent. But in fact this is just burying it! Having the knowledge (the rules written in a book) is not enough, that is just the raw talent God has given you. You need to put it to work, to multiply it. And if the talent is the mind it most be you are going to use it to multiply what it does…thinking, reasoning,analyzing. 

How do we know if we are burying our talent? Well, we are talking here about the Christian mind, what you believe and why! You are a Christian, why? You must answer this question logically and reasonably to someone who is non-christian, lets say a Hindu. You need to make a statement that is clear enough for them to realize your reasons for beliefs given the premises where it is found are logical and reasonable. You need to define God, what is it and how do you arrived at the conclusion He exists. Again yo most use reasonable arguments for your statements. Whey is it that you believe a man that lived 2000 years ago who only taught for three years is actually God! What is your reason to believe he is a being, a person. Do you know how to define “being”, “person”. I know we take these for granted and it works in the everyday mundane explanations of what we do; but when it comes to belief it is necessary to defined them, then bring a logical argument whey you thin God is a being and a person,rather that a force or a current of some sort. If you do not know the above you could be burying your talent, you really have not progress in Christian knowledge in 20 years , you just remain a spiritual midget and there is danger if you remain like this!

The danger is illustrated in the parable itself, the one who omitted multiplying his talent was rejected and the talent given to someone else! This would look like in todays times, like a Christian unable to process much theology, one tat can’t witness to most his friends or family because it really doesn’t make any sense what he believes. A person following the rules of the group and getting an emotional high by attending a service or a meeting like someone going to the movies but that whatever they got in the “Sunday theater” is completely gone on Monday. 

“Do you have a better answer?” Now would be a good time to hear it…Do you? Really? The answer to the question of why we are so incapable to answer the world with our youth so that they do not loose their faith in the first year of college? The answer to are you confident in your witnessing? Do you have a better answer to these questions by the Wednesday study preparing you to answer them, Sunday school or 52 sermons per year?
Are you just wasting time, filling space in a social context where just seeing faces satisfies your hunger for true knowledge and wisdom?

You may say; “Well, there is no one teaching me”! And though this is the reality of todays world, the talent is within you not outside of you. It is your mind and you most cultivate it. The system is not going to help you out, it is contaminated by perversion (see Ezequiel 9). You most take the initiative to multiply that talent, how?

Start by trying to answer the basic questions: Why are you a Christian, why do you believe God exists, what is God (definition), why is there a Hell in your belief (does it actually make sense), why is evil in the universe if an all good God created it, why is Christ device, what’s up with God paying for my sins-after al is me who sinned, why is there so many (the majority of humanity) that will not believe at all?   

As my last section I don’t want to only point to faults but it is my sincere wish you do progress in your Christian life. Therefore I will point to where you can find answers to them. 1-You will read your Bible but not just a Bible. No , get the most advanced study-aplication Bible you can find (the NLT for me). Such a Bible has already done a lot of the legwork in exegesis (extraction)  and hermeneutics (interpretation of the extracted universal meaning for all time, all people). You need to understand the text in your contemporary understanding of language, literature. 2-You will pray an hour a day (Christ’s example). Here you most make a schedule of prayer, if you do not have one you are not praying. And you follow Christ’s example, an hour away from the crowds (activities of the day) in isolation with God only. 3-Follow the advice in “Sodom and Gomorrah” under “Making a study plan”. If you can not then used the following resources: Gary Habermas webpage; The Credo House webpage and the Veritas Forum webpage. 4-From these pages and other apologetics resources you will get references to books they use, make a note and purchase them and read them, reading is the best thing you can do for your  Christian knowledge. J.P. Moreland suggest you most be reading (always a book that is slightly above your comprehension and educational level and he has very good recommendations for high school level, AA degrees level, BA,MA and Phds. Follow his advice and start getting interested in your Christian knowledge.

A good practice is to read a book then make a book report for your records, this will increase retention and it is a god practice to start using the knowledge. Also make a report of the sermon you just heard, write it down and see where it helped you, take notes as you get the main points of the sermon and Bible studies. If you have a partner,  talk to them about what you thought the sermon was all about, what you learn new (good luck with that one) and how can it benefit you personally and in your testimony to others. 

All Pacino in “Scent of a Woman” was asked the question: “Why can’t you remember her name?” He answered; “Because it is not important for me”…And here is something for you: If your progress in knowledge and wisdom as a Christian is “not important” , you will soon forget this and other advice towards growing in your faith. In fact you just “forgot” (omitted) to multiply your talent!   

Be courageous enough to ask a question, be diligent in pursuing excellence!

Tio Papo

 

31 years ago, left the faith…same reasons I find today, why?

31 years ago right at the same time of the year I had my greatest disappointment about the meaning of life. You see, I was looking to make sense of my childhood and adolescent years of instructions in the ways of Christianity. I went to the one person I thought could answer my questions those are:

Why is hell forever? Why is Christianity the truth? What evidence do we have? What is the reason behind, creating souls that would be lost in a place called hell? Why is there suffering? And why is this thing called Christianity not working for me?

The one person I admired as to his intelligence and depth in theology (or so I thought) couldn’t answer me those questions and since he didn’t win the arguments, he then attacked me right out, personally. I remembered troubling prophesies about the end of my life and how horrible my existence here before I die was going to be…

He pushed me so far away from Christianity that I ended up in New Age Hinduism…

But I did come back to my first love, it just took me 27 years to do so…and since 2007 I  have been growing in my faith, learning a lot of good things about my newfound ways of thinking about those same things I was thinking 31 years ago but now answered through one thing in particular, the amassed information about Christian theology found today in cyberspace. Yet when I talk to leaders at the same level of the one I once sought 31 years ago, their response today is surprisingly the same…It hurts, it hurts a lot!

You see I write from my heart, sometimes hard criticisms from a perspective of what is reasonably the ideal, and one thing comes back….a “No, you can’t say that”, or “No, though there is value to your ideas, no one in Christendom today is going to be able to see it”! A “you will not fit in todays church”, or even, “if you think like that you are not saved”…it hurts…it really does!

I am a bit opinionated say some, and perhaps, I do get passionate about my reasoning and yet I have to find someone who seriously challenges my reasoning in theology. Most even Christian leaders in my circle are highly uneducated and very obtuse about their beliefs, or better said, way of doing theology. I have written two articles in Spanish about this and will translate them soon. Needlessly said, the leadership seems in today’s church environment to fall within the scope of the temple in Ezekiel 9, which God destroyed, they are so blind to the real truth.

My brother warned me coming to Florida; “That culture there won’t be able to assimilate your progress in theology”. He was referring to the backwards way in which the Hispanic community believes and does church and theology. And we have a phenomenon happening in our community, ministers from other countries are coming here to try and teach 50  -100 year old theology and they have degrees…yes of some type of seminary or other and why is it they are coming here? They are saying, “Because I am tired of living in poverty”…Well that is the gospel of prosperity from a third world perspective. You see if these so called “ministers” could be even at the same level of theology understanding that our graduates here, I could see a fair exchange. But even if they were, why is it that they can’t serve Christ in their countries? The truth is they don’t want to…in other words, their “call”, their “ministry” is not from God, rather is a ministry from financial gain, a better life in the promised land of the USA. They come here to teach ignorant theology and strange and tiresome teachings. Churches without pastors sometimes make the mistake of hiring them and, oh boy, once they can convince the majority of the simpler members, these free loaders are here to stay! They will invoke every rule or past practice of a certain church, will try to convince everyone that this is the way is done in the organizations (and, it is not if the organization has autonomous church governments) and will take groups by surprise with their so called wisdom which the church soon find out it not there but now it is too late and have to either leave or put up with yet another false teacher. False not in the sense of false doctrine, false in the sense that the normal progress of believers in churches pastored by these, will be thwarted!

I was recently engaging one of these “ministers” and yes he has the format of the rhetorical intonation of a speaker, but frankly after two sermons he just tires you out, it seems you are hearing the same exact sermon day after day. This is caused by a lack of true logical ideas, ones that speak to the contemporary life’s of todays citizens, workers, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, …believers! You see they come from a very different world, and don’t have the humility to understand that unless God has actually sent them here they shouldn’t be here! The measure of a ministry is the quality of teaching and growth of the church and if the believer is only going to get the same progress as the “depraved” churches already in trouble,; why do we need these immigrants?

Talking to him was actually more frustrating than talking to home grown ministers, for at least the homey ones can understand where I come from, this one is an alien that will try to shut you up by saying “God sent me, and here I am and you will have to accept it!” He couldn’t reason, didn’t have the patience to reason and told me right out “I don’t want to talk theology any more…” Oh well…!

I have been getting this whole thing too clear now. Not only this incident but by listening to other leaders troubles within leadership colleagues… I am hurt…very hurt of how these so called leaders, so called, “ministers of Christ” actually treat each other. The amount of disrespect amongst them, harsh criticism and discriminations is horrible…Like 31 years ago; I am saying now, “if that is the Christian mind, I don’t want any of it!”

I will not forsake Christ, He is my saviour…as far as church going is concern…no thanks, don’t need this type of aggravation! I find fellow believers here with you in cyberspace, besides this is where I have received all my newfound truth not within the four walls of the depraved ones…All I have found within those four walls didn’t amount to much…interesting isn’t it?

I do find pleasure in small groups discussions, one such a group I had at work and perhaps this is my best environment, but finding like minded persons is not so easy, I just hope I can…and the dream to start from scratch with minds not contaminated by dogma and perverse theology still a dream…perhaps someday….for now Tio Papo ….rests!

Blessings!