Saturday, October 27, 2012

Scripture Connections

I spend a lot of time "in the Bible."  I read it, read about it, think about it, doodle about it.
I love making notes about connections I see in it - connections between OT and NT, between promises or prophecies and fulfilment, etc.

So I thought I would share a few of these with you.
They are about God's will, pleasure, promise, oath, and work to save all people.

The first is below, and I'll add the others as comments to this post over the course of the weekend.

God's Will - to save all people
God wills all people to be saved and come to recognise the truth.
[ 1 Timothy 2 : 4 ]

God declares the end from the beginning, and from long ago what is not yet done, saying, "My plans will stand, and I will do all my will."
[ Isaiah 46 : 10 ]

Blessings, Barry

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Paradox of Mainstream Christianity

The paradox of mainstream christianity is its view of God - the God of love, forgiveness, mercy and grace - whom it claims to represent.

It's interesting, no, downright embarrassing, to compare the Biblical view of God with the one portrayed by mainstream christianity.

Over the next few days, I'll give some examples of how this paradox works itself out.  I'll add them as comments to this post.

Here's the first to get the ball rolling ....

Jesus told us to love our enemies and do good to them. 
In this way, he said, we would be showing that we were children of God, who is equally kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
He then instructed us to be merciful, just as God is merciful.
[ Luke 6 : 27 - 36 ]

This is the Bible's picture of God as described by Jesus, the person most qualified to know his father's character and behaviour.

Why then does mainstream christianity teach that God will torment his enemies forever in a place called hell or in a lake of fire, if Jesus said God is the model of kindness and mercy we should follow?

Blessings, Barry

Subtle Bible Translations

Many Bible translators have been making their translations fit the teachings of mainstream christianity for a long time.

Most of us are aware that words like 'hell' and 'eternal' that appear regularly in the most popular (and therefore the most influential) English translations have little or no relation to the underlying words in the original languages of the Bible.

But just recently, two new translations have become even more accommodating to mainstream teachings, and in more subtle ways.

The International Standard Version (ISV) is already available on the web in electronic format and will be on the market in print editions before the end of the year.
Have a look at 1 Timothy 4: 10.  Properly translated  this verse says

That is why we labour and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Saviour of all people, and especially of those who believe.
Now let's see what the new ISV says
To this end we work hard and struggle, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, that is, of those who believe.
The meaning of "especially" has been changed to mean "exclusively."

The new NIV (2011 edition) has a subtlety all of its own.  It's 1984 version translated Titus 2: 11 as

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
which is pretty close to a literal translation.  But have a look at the new edition (the only edition you can now purchase)
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.
What was to be 'brought' to all men is now only going to be 'offered' to all men.
Subtle, eh?

It's no wonder we have to spend some time in the strictly literal translations if we're going to properly understand God and his plans.

Blessings, Barry

Who We Are

Sorry I have been out of action for much of the past few months - and I'm afraid the rest of the year could be much the same.
So I thought I would touch base with you very special, chosen people.

One of my favourite passages, 2 Corinthians 5 : 19 - 20, reminds us that

WE ARE Christ's ambassadors or personal representatives whose task is to encourage others to be reconciled to God, the One who is already reconciled to them.

God was in Jesus Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not counting people's sins against them.  And the message of this reconciliation has been given to us.  We are therefore Christ's personal representatives, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

WE ARE to encourage those who follow through on this to "revere God and serve him faithfully with integrity, considering the great thing he has done for them," as Samuel did to the people of Israel.

WE ARE co-rulers with Christ in his kingdom, his ambassadors in a foreign country, following his directions from above.

WE ARE very blessed people, no matter what our current assignment or circumstances, and privileged to have been chosen to serve the King of the Kings during the remaining ages.

WOW !!!
Reflecting on who WE ARE really blows me away.

Blessings, Barry