The advantage of being a christian?

Cartoon

No doubt we could make all sorts of comments, positive or negative, but sometimes it is good just to laugh (ruefully).

Cartoon: ASBO Jesus

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14 thoughts on “The advantage of being a christian?

  1. portal001 says:

    thats a interesting cartoon, sometimes I question whether I attend church and involve myself in Christian fellowship because its easier than an alternative.

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  2. portal001 says:

    yes thats true, it depends on how you look at it I guess.

    Its easier in the sense to attend church if you enjoy a close community that you have been involved in for years, and like many communities developed friendships over years. friends that you see every weekend, church can encourage a routine of seeing people more often. It is easier in this sense to continue this, rather than seeking an alternative and risk losing such close and valued friendships and community.

    Although, it could also be said that sometimes I have I’ve had an aversion to the Christian faith in the past because I’m uncomfortable about witnessing this faith to others, as well as uncomfortable with accepting its teachings – given what these teachings also perscribe as consequences, depending on your understanding of them of course.

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  3. unkleE says:

    I took the liberty of editing your comment to correct the selling you picked up.

    Yes. losing a community of friends would be difficult, though hopefully you wouldn’t lose all your friends if you left.

    My aversion hasn’t ever been to the christian faith but to versions of it. I have been part of 5 different (very different!) denominations, and I’ve found real problems in all of them, unfortunately. It may be that I am picky, but I think it really is true that they all make compromises and get some of the basic things wrong. Leaving vs staying then becomes a balance between truth and friendship, which may not be all that different to what you are saying.

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  4. portal001 says:

    Thanks, my posts tend to have a few typos, just spotted another one 🙂

    Yeah, I think one thing that would help is just more experience in living a Christian life. Learning what that involves, no compromise being a big thing. I tend to overthink things I think 🙂 and because of that I become quite self absorbed, but Jesus teachings point to being less self absorbed and focused on serving others instead.

    Hope your going well, cheers

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  5. unkleE says:

    I think churches often make things too complicated and formulaic. Following Jesus should be relatively simple, even if it takes great commitment.

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  6. Marc says:

    UnkleE,
    I have enjoyed visiting your blog. You mentioned being involved in five different faith groups in your many years as a Christian, yet I get the sense that you are currently not a member of any congregation. What are your thoughts about the Heavenly Church and it’s relationship to the many groups of Christians who claim to be the earthly manifestation of the Church began by Jesus Christ and His Apostles?

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  7. unkleE says:

    Hi Marc, thanks for the positive comment.

    I am actually part of a conventional church at the moment. I don’t believe the way most churches operate is always very helpful, Biblical or Holy Spirit-led, but it is where christians are and where there are opportunities to help people and make change, so that is where we believe God has put us at the moment.

    The word church (ekklesia) really only means an assembly of people, so I don’t have any strong views about the question you raise. I believe there will be a gathering, or assembly, of people in heaven, and we have it on Jesus’ authority that there will be some surprises for us there. God obviously knew in advance that we christians on earth would be very much less than perfect, and so would our churches, but I think he can cope with that.

    Some christian groups, and some people who call themselves christians, seem even further of the track than the rest of us, and we should want to see that situation improved. But God is both forgiving (and so doesn’t reject us if we get things wrong) but also at work through the Spirit to make things better.

    Does that answer your question? What do you think?

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  8. Marc says:

    Thanks for your response Eric.

    I actually found the cartoon and message about sin, death, forgiveness, and the church very profound. Finding our way to the Heavenly Church is forgiveness and eternal life, while the way of sin is eternal death. In the early Church it was said that one could not have God as their Father, if they did not have the Church as their Mother.

    The more ancient Christian tradition believed that the Heavenly Church began with the Harrowing of Hades when Jesus entered the spiritual realm after His death on the Cross. He then preached the Gospel there causing most to repent and believe. Those that believed ascended to the Heavenly Church as they experienced the first resurrection of their spirits/souls. Since Pentecost in AD. 33 the more ancient Christian tradition believes that baptized living members of the Church remain in communion with the saints who have reposed to the Church in Heaven.

    Given that so many Christian traditions today no longer believe in what the early Church did, what are your thoughts about the boundaries of the Church on earth? Does Matthew 16:18 only concern the Church in Heaven, or does it also concern some vestige of the Apostolic Church on earth?

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  9. unkleE says:

    Hi Marc, I think you place greater importance on the idea of “the church” than I do. Like I said, “the Greek word used (ekklesia) means a gathering of people, and I don’t feel we need to give any more importance to it than that. The word can be used to describe any group of christians, from a dozen meeting in a home to everyone who ever believed, and I think we can replace “church” in most contexts with “God’s people” or “a group of God’s people” and leave it at that..

    So, personally, I don’t see any reason to try to strictly define different types of church (“Heavenly Church”, “Apostolic Church”, etc), nor to try to carefully define exactly which type of church Jesus refers to in Matthew 16:18. But I certainly think Jesus is building his people (= his church) on earth, in fact that’s the only place it can be built.

    Do you mind my asking why this is important to you?

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  10. Marc says:

    Hi Eric,

    Most “groups of God’s people” to use your frame of reference, claim to base their doctrine and worship practices upon the Holy Scriptures..They all claim to be “Bible believing,” yet there are often very sharp differences among the Christian denominations and sects regarding doctrine and worship practices. Although the Scriptures claim to be inspired of God, the same Scripture affirm that it is the Church, not the Scriptures alone, that is “the pillar and ground of the truth,” 1 Timothy 3:16. In light of this, knowing were the Church exists is important to a seeker of truth. To claim the all who profess to be Christian are members of God’s Church, makes a mockery of the affirmation that the Church is the pillar and ground of the truth.

    Given that the Church on earth does have limits, and many harmful beliefs of Christians outside of the Church are in error, it is actually a blessing that the Church can indeed be found outside of the earthly life. If, as you claim, the Church can only be built on earth, then the prospects for eternal life for most of humanity would be very poor. I take great comfort from the teaching of the early Church regarding the Harrowing of Hades, because it affirms that everyone will hear the true Gospel and be given the opportunity to repent, to be reconciled, and to experience eternal life in the Heavenly Church.

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  11. unkleE says:

    Hi Marc, thanks for that explanation. I understand what you are saying though I see things differently. I cannot see that meaning in 1 Tim 3:16, and I don’t think it is the church that should interpret the scriptures, but the Holy Spirit.

    I say the church can only be built on earth, but of course we continue to exist in the age to come.

    I think my main area of disagreement is the sense of certainty and systematic understanding apparent in your comments – I think now we only see “as through a dark glass”, and have to live in uncertainty, but Spirit-inspired faith.

    What has led you to this sense of certain, systematised knowledge?

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  12. Marc says:

    Eric,

    You can’t have a sense of certainty and systematic understanding unless you connect with the early Church of the Apostles who knew our Lord.

    You are correct in your understanding that the Holy
    Spirit, the spirit of truth, must factor into our understanding.

    We must have a criteria of truth beyond “sola scriptura.” The history of the Church gives us that criteria.

    It is true that until we enter the illumination of the spiritual realm upon on our repose, we lack full understanding. In the death of the body we gain illumination of truth; purification of our souls, or destruction of our lives because of our lack of repentance.

    When we encounter God in the spiritual realm we are all illuminated with truth, however we must decide to engage the truth through repentance and move on to purification, or suffer the effects of consummation and annihilation.

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  13. unkleE says:

    Hi Marc, I made a comment but it seems to have disappeared. Since it’s my own blog, that is a bit of a worry.

    I think you are moving beyond what I feel we can know and what is central to my faith, but thanks for your comments.

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