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Author Topic: Pretense: The Church as Student Organization  (Read 51199 times)
anon2
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« Reply #60 on: August 25, 2009, 08:50:33 am »

a guest named anon posted this quotation: *I know this is an old thread, but I just recently came across this web site.  In response to the initial poster's comments: There were Purdue students who were part of Harvest House from the very beginning -- even before a name was decided on. In the early years the outreach was almost exclusively to students -- and there were certainly more than "2-6" students involved. The group met at Ray's home in the beginning years -- not on campus -- even though it had status as a campus group. Ray and Ken moved to W. Lafayette to start a ministry to/for students.  How does that equal pretense as a student organization?*

the comment that purdue students were part of harvest house even before it had a name is factually mistaken since on day one of the church plant no one had been recruited from the university by the team of singles, young couples and the moore's who had just moved into the area

actually there were rarely if ever more than 6 *active* enrolled students at any time, though some graduates and dropouts continued to be members and *appeared* to be students

the group did meet at the moore's place initially because they had not yet gotten student organization status because the university required both student officers and faculty advisors to be in the group to qualify, and that took some time, but as soon as they technically qualfied they immediately moved into the student union on campus for sunday meetings

harvest house was never run by students as a legit student organization because it was always run by the elders and at every meeting the whole trinity bible fellowship church was always present and dominated by moore and then also by wooten, and that is the deception




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anon2
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« Reply #61 on: August 25, 2009, 10:41:15 am »

a big *my bad* and a big *i'm sorry*

i am corrected and chastened. one of the married gals that moved to purdue to plant the church transferred her attendance from her college to purdue at the time of the move.  so right from the start there was a college *kid* at trinity or was it harvest house or was it -----
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lone gone
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« Reply #62 on: August 25, 2009, 03:38:30 pm »

The purpose of this thread was to illustrate that GC was deceptive when it moved whole churches into a university town already complete with elders/pastors to run them, denied they were churches in their advertising literature, called themselves student organizations instead of churches to get free acess to university resources, and then met on campus as student organizations even though the elders/pastors ran the worship and the church.

If that narrow range of qualifications for the question were met in every instance where GC started a new church in a city, then I would allow that GC was deceptive. Since that narrow range was only met in a  very few instances and was not the only way that a mission church of the GC operated, then to accuse them in a broad sense of being liars and deceivers is bogus logic.

Ryken asserts that there are many narratives in the Bible, like Rahab, where many of the characters’ actions are left un-assessed and unstated as to their moral quality.  Therefore, the only way to know if any given action is right or wrong is to compare it to excellent standards of morality, like the 10 Commandments.

No, the only way to know if a given action is right or wrong is to know the motives for the action. Sometimes those motive are made plain in Scripture, sometimes they are not. Acts without motives are useless as examples of anything. Judging an act without knowing the motive can lead to err, and sin.

A generally righteous character, like David, can do both good and bad things at exactly the same time in the same story.  Often the focus of the story is not on the bad things, but on the actions of faith that moved the story/history forward.

God is not limited by human motives. God can make good out of bad in spite of the motives of a person. To generalize and call a man righteous in spite of his equally good and bad actions is Bogus logic. David was totally depraved in many of his acts and without the grace,long suffering and ultimately the repentance granted by God he would have been condemned.  His wicked actions resulted in multiplied troubles. Yet God chose to use this man, his story , his faith and even his lack of faith and ultimately his offspring to bring His Salvation to light.

God has used, can use and will continue to use some of GC's actions to further His will in spite of whether those actions are righteous or not.
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ANobody
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« Reply #63 on: August 25, 2009, 05:10:08 pm »

Quote from: lone gone
The purpose of this thread was to illustrate that GC was deceptive when it moved whole churches into a university town already complete with elders/pastors to run them, denied they were churches in their advertising literature, called themselves student organizations instead of churches to get free acess to university resources, and then met on campus as student organizations even though the elders/pastors ran the worship and the church.

If that narrow range of qualifications for the question were met in every instance where GC started a new church in a city, then I would allow that GC was deceptive. Since that narrow range was only met in a  very few instances and was not the only way that a mission church of the GC operated, then to accuse them in a broad sense of being liars and deceivers is bogus logic.

Very well then.  To be very specific with the letter of the charge: The purpose of this thread was to illustrate that the GC churches that moved in whole churches into a university town with already complete sets of elders/pastors to run them were deceptive when they denied they were churches in their advertising literature, called themselves student organizations instead of churches to get free acess to university resources, and then met on campus as student organizations even though the elders/pastors ran the worship and the church. 

Moreover, GC national leadership was equally culpable for either encouraging this deception, defending this deception, or for not rebuking the elders that perpetrated this deception.

The fact that God uses a sinner to get something good done does not exhonerate the sinner of his sins.  Pharaoh was still a sinner for not releasing the Jews when the prophet of God told him to release them, even though mighty miracles that showed God's glory resulted from his insubordination, he was still a sinner and should have repented.

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ANobody
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« Reply #64 on: August 25, 2009, 05:22:15 pm »

Quote from: The first post of this thread.
In another thread, which is giving advice to a mother whose son is suffering academically so that he may dedicate more time to serving in GC, it was noted that GC has a long history of deception.  In the past, in some university towns, the entire GC church pretended to be a student organization so as to gain access to the university resources (buildings, meeting rooms, utilities, etc.).  This is not to say that some of the church members were not students, but the ENTIRE church would deceptively pretend it was a student organization so that the church could literally have services on campus. 

One such example was Trinity Bible Fellowship (the name of the GCI church) in West Lafayette during the 1970's-1980's.  The entire church (which only ever had 2 to 6 active Purude students at any given time) claimed to be the student organization called Harvest House Foundation.  The senior elder of Trinity named both the church and the student organization, even before there were any students attending.  His stated strategy was to recruit some students so that he could locate the church in the Student Union for Sunday services.  The senior elder was the defacto ruling head of both Trinity and Harvest House.

Once students were recruited into Trinity, they were made the student officers of Harvest House, reporting to the senior elder, and became the instruments by which the church was able to begin meeting on compus for Sunday services, Bible studies, etc.  But at no time did the church (Trinity Bible Fellowship) ever think the student organization (Harvest House Foundation) was independent.  Virtually all the members of Trinity thought they were also members of Harvest House.  Sound too outrageous to be true?

Attached are the actual photocopies of the student organization brochure used on the Purdue campus.  Notice that the "student officers" are not listed as contacts, but rather the two Trinity church elders are: E. Ray Moore and Ken Wooten.  They were not even students!  Further notice that the entire church (Trinity) is pictured in the group photograph, and only one student is shown in the small group photograph.  This was really a brochure for the church, NOT for the student organization, regardless of what the brochure states. 

GCI is a denomination with a colorful history of documentable deception.  Very sad.
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Anon
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« Reply #65 on: August 25, 2009, 07:30:56 pm »

In reply to Anon 2, I am not factually mistaken as to when the group was named.  I was in the Moore's basement with a small group of students when Ray discussed possible names -- he was considering International Harvest, which wasn't well received -- Harvest House was chosen instead. After we became a student organization, we continued to meet exclusively at the Moore's for two years. 

Perhaps things changed in later years, but at least for the first few years, the outreach was almost exclusively to students.  That's why I don't have a problem with it being called a student organization, even if student's didn't run it. 

From what I can tell, Purdue was different from other GCI groups.  Students stayed in school and got their degrees.  People dated who they wanted without imput from the elders.  Students went home to their families in the summer.  After the Ohio group came for an outreach effort at Purdue, several Purdue students questioned why all thes OSU girls were dropping out of school to clean houses.  Ray gave an explanation but never suggested that that would be a good model for our group to follow.
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DrSam
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« Reply #66 on: August 25, 2009, 08:00:14 pm »

LongGone,

I appreciate your side of experiencing tolerance on the ISU campus. I'm sure that was true for some. I don't share that view about some departments and administrators of ISU. It was no secret that the ISU student paper which was background run by Journalism Dept professors was very anti-Christian. There were constant articles to that effect and backroom strategy meetings on how to go after the Christians and hang them (metaphorically). That is why the Life Herald was created to counteract this barrage of trashing Christians. If I remember correctly there were also some profs from the philosophy dept. Officially, ISU on paper was "tolerant" but in actuality that was a questionable thing. Also, students recorded professors who would trash Christianity and any Natural Sciences or Engineering student who believed in the Genesis direct fiat view of creation.

I remember when Journalism professors would come to the Bible Studies in order to find any pretext to trash the group either through administrative channels or through the student paper or the Des Moines register.

I think many Christians here and many throughout churches are totally naive to how evil evil can be. Christians are very naive to the wolves looking to eat them up and then we spill our guts to these predators that have absolutely no mercy. We spill our guts to them because they know how to use scripture against us and know that we have erroneously guilty consciences based on false theology.

I have been with journalists of big newspapers who would be sweet as syrup and receive off the record information (as per agreed) and then lie through their teeth and totally stick it to you with the motive of destroying you and the Christian message. I believe most Christians are extremely naive and have never encountered or have little experience encountering the jaws of the devil (metaphorical). Evil is very dark and Christians are typically, in my experience, quite stupid... as much as I love them in Christ and am one with them in Christ. That's why they are called "sheep" right?

I think a lot of the theology espoused among some here is very "Black or White" when I can think of some significant scriptural passages that contest their views making it not so. I don't care to go into them because it is a waste of time. Their mind is made up, indictments have been made, and I'm not recruiting for any cause other than to love God. They have their slot in the vineyard of God and I have mine. Mine has more to do with swimming with sharks. That's my expertise and gifting. Theirs probably does not require that. I respect their place and don't expect God to give them any grace or light on those matters. I'm Okay with that.


Situational ethics is always a hard subject to debate.  Here are my thoughts:

This thread has already suffered from "reductio (or argumentum) ad Nazium" which is defined thusly: As a online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1

Hidden motives are all around us.... even within our churches. I have personaly seen Gd fearing Christian churches humiliated and brought to shame by hidden things brought to light, such as financial misdealings, sexual sin, overbearing Leadership to name a few.  We have to beware of our own hidden motives. I am most wary of the ones that are hidden to ourselves, that we are blind to, the log in our own eyes.  

Why hide our true identities here on this forum? Isn't that a form of lying and deception?  

Lastly, I disagree that Iowa State University was a godless and God hating institution that was seeking to inhibit the free expression of opinions. Everyone was welcome to express themselves in a civil manner, Christians included. Iowa State University was Moo U, an agricultural/ engineering school, 75% male, and largely un-interested in controversy. "Live and let live , just don't push anything in my face" was the prevailing attitude. There was as much adverse reaction to Transcendental Meditation and Hari Krishna devotees as there was to strident rabble rousing rhetoric by street preachers. I attended there before I joined  ISU Bible Study as well as after I left Ames Fellowship Church. It wasn't that bad.


« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 08:04:16 pm by DrSam » Logged
DrSam
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« Reply #67 on: August 25, 2009, 08:30:01 pm »

If someone wants to keep some things secret or silent, most of the time simply saying nothing at all is not a lie.  When they open the mouth and wag the tongue to intentionally mislead people, or to deny the truth, that is lying and deception.  Peter was not a liar as long as he kept his mouth closed, but when he opened it to deny he was a disciple of Jesus, he sinned by lying.

When this thread got to the point of having a GC leader state that GC's lying and deception in evangelism were approved by God because it was taught in the story of Rahab, I thought that was a breakthrough.  Finally we understand why they thought they could do that kind of evil and still sleep at night.  

Naturally that kind of misuse of Scripture is the very reason why GC went astray with regard to deception and mistreatment of people.  GC leaders simply do not know how to teach and preach the Word because they cannot understand it.  If a leader cannot understand the Word, they cannot live the Word.

Anybody,
I appreciate your love for Jesus. I love Him too. First, let me say, I am not a GC leader. You have that wrong as you have many other statements wrong.

Second, I provided you a few passages where if you were to look at them with honesty as you would with an equation you could not ignore that there is something there about God in approving Rahab, or Joshua, or other examples. I find the hermeneutical approach that you quote from as full of good intentions to honor God but quite "existential" and "ideally lofty" that does a total leap of faith into the darkness of nothingness. This is very typical of many theologians that have a position that excludes many things because their assumptions of what is correct. I am amazed at all the presuppositions we take on and therefore the conclusions we blindly accept just because a long line of "orthodox theologs" have said so. We cite the traditions of the church. We cite the traditions of the church fathers and the fathers of the fathers, etc. but we have never quite gone in there unencumbered by any biases and meet with God to see if this is so.

Quote
Leland Ryken wrote about interpreting Old Testament narrative (How to Read the Bible as Literature).  He said if the text did not state outright that a character’s actions were good or evil, then the only way to know if what they did was right or wrong was to “place it into the context of [explicit] moral commands elsewhere in the Bible.”

Ryken asserts that there are many narratives in the Bible, like Rahab, where many of the characters’ actions are left un-assessed and unstated as to their moral quality.  Therefore, the only way to know if any given action is right or wrong is to compare it to excellent standards of morality, like the 10 Commandments.

This is a good example because it shows the arbitrariness of a theologian choosing one portion of the narrative as "valid" but then another not valid. I'm sure the ResearchPersona on this forum can dump-truck his computer concordance on this in order to show us all the light... his light and opinion imposed on scripture. Guys, I'm sure Ryken (assuming he's a guy) is a good brother but I insist there is an arbitrariness in his choosing what is valid as we all do the same.

Quote
A generally righteous character, like David, can do both good and bad things at exactly the same time in the same story.  Often the focus of the story is not on the bad things, but on the actions of faith that moved the story/history forward.  

So who decides what part of David's life is for us? There are teachings from the bad things and there are teachings from the good things. When you then see that God puts His imprimatur on that man as you see with Rahab, you then have to wrestle with what part is God praising. We will get different theological positions from the debate. If you take a position that is not cool with accepted dogma then you get trashed and called "heretic" and even "evil" as some on this forum have done. How sad, that they do not know Romans 8 and miss how people who are different from "ME" can still love Jesus. That's intolerance. Christians shooting each other in the same trenches. The enemy rejoices. Grin
« Last Edit: August 26, 2009, 04:28:25 am by DrSam » Logged
anon2
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« Reply #68 on: August 26, 2009, 01:12:09 am »

well anon we must know each other very well and yet we don't even know each others names, how amusing is that?

as to the timeline, i don't believe we acheived student org status for some years cause we didn't have enough students or faculty advisors, so of course we met off campus for some time

no one liked harvest house either when ray *discussed* his decision with us.  we all said it sounded like a cult but ray would not change his mind.  in hind sight, couldn't have been a more appropriate turn of circumstances after all

about the dating thing, you know i am not going to mention real names here, but there were a few relationships between some of the kids that ray and ken badly messed up by interfering with *the elders' counsel* which drove one poor gal quite literally toward madness.  they only felt free to interfere in the lives of those who were core members, they left the noncore kids alone to do whatever they wanted.

the idea that ray and ken did not give dating input is very amusing cause i remember not only their counseling but at one point they even gave out written socializing guidelines to all of us

it is true that *most* of the real students went home for the summer.  course there were so very few real students that it doesn't mean much to say that.  the summer group was mostly the founding church members, the kids who lived in town anyway, and a couple a folks from the community that joined the church or *student org*.  but since real students made up a tiny minority of the church/student org it barely made a diff when school let out for summer

just from your comments anon i would guess we had real different experiences at harvest house or trinity bible fellowship or whatever
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ANobody
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« Reply #69 on: August 26, 2009, 08:32:25 am »

Quote from: DrSam
First, let me say, I am not a GC leader. You have that wrong

Whether you are or are not a present GC leader is less important to this particular discussion than whether you doggedly support what GC practiced and practices.  Your comments virtually read like a PR man for all they did and all they were.  So, frankly, your heart, mind, and attitudes are still with GC whether you choose to recognize that about yourself or not.

Quote from: DrSam
Second, I provided you a few passages where if you were to look at them with honesty as you would with an equation you could not ignore that there is something there about God in approving Rahab, or Joshua, or other examples.

Actually, if memory serves, you alluded to such passages but did not share the specific ones.  In fact, I have already stated that God approved of the faith of Rahab, Joshua, and David.  Their faith was favorable.  My point was that their faith does not in some mysterious way give us the right to imitate their sins.  Or do you think it does?

Quote from: DrSam
I find the hermeneutical approach that you quote from as full of good intentions to honor God but quite "existential" and "ideally lofty" that does a total leap of faith into the darkness of nothingness.

And yet you have quoted or developed NO alternative hermeneutical approach yourself.  Nor have you shown in what ways the hermeneutics of Ryken, Fee, and Stuart are flawed or defective, you simply shout that they are.  Shouting that someone is wrong does not explain in what way they are wrong.  Therefore, I find your above comment meaningless at best and hypocritical at worst, for you have done what you are asserting is improper, that is, you have not provided a good and sound hermeneutic method while accusing others of not providing good ones.

Quote from: DrSam
This is very typical of many theologians that have a position that excludes many things because their assumptions of what is correct. I am amazed at all the presuppositions we take on and therefore the conclusions we blindly accept just because a long line of "orthodox theologs" have said so. We cite the traditions of the church. We cite the traditions of the church fathers and the fathers of the fathers, etc. but we have never quite gone in there unencumbered by any biases and meet with God to see if this is so.

What a wonderful summation of all that is wrong with GC and the GC leadership!  As you have just done they too eschew good hard study of the Bible and avoid the use of disciplined approaches.  Instead, as you advocate here, GC prefers to read the Scriptures without guidance so that whatever they think they see in a text of Scripture becomes the meaning of Scripture to them alone.

The most fundamental rule of hermeneutics is: What did the original author intend the text to mean to his original audience?

Never should we approach the Bible and initially assume that whatever it means to me is what it really means, as your above quote implies should be done.


Quote from: DrSam
Quote
Leland Ryken wrote about interpreting Old Testament narrative (How to Read the Bible as Literature).  He said if the text did not state outright that a character’s actions were good or evil, then the only way to know if what they did was right or wrong was to “place it into the context of [explicit] moral commands elsewhere in the Bible.”

Ryken asserts that there are many narratives in the Bible, like Rahab, where many of the characters’ actions are left un-assessed and unstated as to their moral quality.  Therefore, the only way to know if any given action is right or wrong is to compare it to excellent standards of morality, like the 10 Commandments.
This is a good example because it shows the arbitrariness of a theologian choosing one portion of the narrative as "valid" but then another not valid.

I keep reading and re-reading your comment to Ryken's hermeneutic principle, and keep wondering if you actually understood what he said?  

Ryken does not here "invalidate" any passage of Scripture as your unkind judgmental accusation toward him asserts.  Ryken provides a principle of hermeneutics (i.e. a principle by which to interpret) passages of Scripture where a person's actions are not explained as being right or wrong.

My problem is less that you make fun of Ryken.  No, my real problem is that you never bother to offer a hermeneutic principle by which to evalute the rightness or wrongness of a person's action in a Bible narrative when the text itself does not offer up that explicit judgment.  What is your principle for making that determination?  Do you personally think that every time a person's actions are described in the Bible but not explicitly called good or bad that they are good by default?

Quote from: DrSam
Guys, I'm sure Ryken (assuming he's a guy) is a good brother but I insist there is an arbitrariness in his choosing what is valid as we all do the same.

Yes, Leland Ryken is male and a well known Bible scholar among conservatives and evangelicals.  You can "insist" all day and night long that "there is arbitrariness" in his hermeneutic principles, but you have not demonstrated this.  Worse, you have not offered any such competing principles of your own.  

You tear down others like an expert with your words, but you offer nothing constructive to edify the saints.

Quote from: DrSam
So who decides what part of David's life is for us?

If you had understood Ryken, Fee, and Stuart's principles from this and other posts you would know that answer.  

Here it is again.  Compare each of their actions (which are left morally unassessed by the biblical narratives) to the moral standards of the Law of Moses or the moral commands of Christ.  I would suggest cross checking their actions against the 10 Commandments first.  If the action checks out as moral, that is a good start in deciding if you want to emulate what they did.  If the action keeps coming up as questionable or decidedly immoral, do not emulate that particular behavior.

You have confused these two ideas:  1) all that is written in the Scriptures are there for us to learn from (a good principle),  and 2) the idea that "learning" means we must imitate everything that is written about others in the Bible (a false principle).  

We "learn" from both the good and bad examples of others in the Bible.  That learning does not mean we are obligated to repeat the bad examples, rather to note them and avoid doing the same ourselves.

This entire forum is a type of doing just that.  This forum exists to evaluate the good and bad practices of GC and expose the bad to light so that others may learn from them and avoid having to suffer because of them.  Just because we have exposed those practices to the light does not mean we would want anyone emulating them.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2009, 08:41:46 am by ANobody » Logged
lone gone
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« Reply #70 on: August 26, 2009, 09:36:22 am »

Compare each of their actions (which are left morally unassessed by the biblical narratives) to the moral standards of the Law of Moses or the moral commands of Christ.  I would suggest cross checking their actions against the 10 Commandments first.  If the action checks out as moral, that is a good start in deciding if you want to emulate what they did.  If the action keeps coming up as questionable or decidedly immoral, do not emulate that particular behavior.

This sounds like legalism to me.

How about the moral standards of 1 Corinthians 13?  That addresses the motive behind many moral or spiritual actions quite well. A simple emulation of the 10 commandments or Christ's sermons will not get you into heaven. Simple Good Behavior is not what God desires. 
Without the Holy Spirit assisting us in the way we do something ( agape love) then all our "righteous deeds" are nothing but filthy rags.

If something checks out as moral that is not a start to deciding whether to do it.... that should be the conclusion that you should do it.
If it is questionable, that is not an imperative NOT to behave that way.... it is an imperative to keep seeking more information.

Only if it is decidedly immoral, with bad motives, can you decide not to behave that way.

 Be careful what you teach.
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« Reply #71 on: August 26, 2009, 09:58:36 am »

ANobody,

Like I said, in your book you have indicted me no matter what I say or have said. No amount of discourse or presentation of my thinking is going to convince you otherwise. It is a waste of time to engage you with your mind made up.

You keep on saying that I am a PR agent for GC. That totally demonstrates your ignorance of my statements on this forum, what I am or not with GC. Contrary to your wishes, I am not with GC, don't work for them, don't desire to go back, do see their great dysfunctions, yet I can see the good and the bad in them. You cannot either, just like Pile & Co. You seem hellbent to ALSO have heads on a platter just like Larry admitted he did. I can see the good and bad in Larry Pile, his cohorts, and you. I don't think you can do the same. I have no loyalty either to former GCers or to GC. Both have good and bad.

You trash me as posing to be a theological expert, but what are you? (For your information, I have never posed as one. I seriously doubt anyone on this forum can qualify truly as one). You sit in judgment of me and my views. That looks like you consider yourself superior because you consider yourself at wielding the sword of hermeneutics better than I can. You don't know what I have or have not studied. I state my opinion as you do. You want to shame me and my position. I don't care to shame you because I think that demonstrates immaturity and lack of love. Perhaps my position of non-loyalty to your side or to GC pisses you and others off and so you guys are trying to trash me anyway you can. You guys are stuck in some stuffy boxes with "black or white" thinking.

You can say all you want in trashing other views about scripture and call them heretical because you impose your presuppositions on those passages. We all do. Yes, you do that! Your views might be more "cool" so you can be proud of yourself since your views are in vogue with lots of Christians as you quote your authorized gurus. I don't get my jollies from that.

Like I've said before, there are some on these forums that just want to trash those who have hurt them. They still do not know what healing looks like. I once saw a movie where a hurt person killed the abuser. That was not good enough. The hurt person started to pump bullets and mangle the body beyond recognition. Enough
!
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« Reply #72 on: August 26, 2009, 10:06:21 am »

Long Gone,  I like the way you think.

I would like to add that not only is it legalism but it is simplistic. The 10 Commandments are like an abridgment to all the Law of Moses. In those laws we see many shades of application in how the law is put into practice in daily living.

A legalistic process of decision-making tends to:

1. Create "Black or White" perfectionist thinking.

2. Create arrogant practitioners... extreme narcissists. You can see them on this forum with their pomposity.

3. Tends to attract individuals who are insecure and need the rules to tell them they are Okay and therefore lets them Lord it over others as superiors.

4. Tends to condemn anyone who does not look like the practitioners of of the Law. It creates abusive people with no heart.


Compare each of their actions (which are left morally unassessed by the biblical narratives) to the moral standards of the Law of Moses or the moral commands of Christ.  I would suggest cross checking their actions against the 10 Commandments first.  If the action checks out as moral, that is a good start in deciding if you want to emulate what they did.  If the action keeps coming up as questionable or decidedly immoral, do not emulate that particular behavior.

This sounds like legalism to me.

How about the moral standards of 1 Corinthians 13?  That addresses the motive behind many moral or spiritual actions quite well. A simple emulation of the 10 commandments or Christ's sermons will not get you into heaven. Simple Good Behavior is not what God desires. 
Without the Holy Spirit assisting us in the way we do something ( agape love) then all our "righteous deeds" are nothing but filthy rags.

If something checks out as moral that is not a start to deciding whether to do it.... that should be the conclusion that you should do it.
If it is questionable, that is not an imperative NOT to behave that way.... it is an imperative to keep seeking more information.

Only if it is decidedly immoral, with bad motives, can you decide not to behave that way.

 Be careful what you teach.
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« Reply #73 on: August 26, 2009, 03:12:54 pm »

Quote from: anobody
Compare each of their actions (which are left morally unassessed by the biblical narratives) to the moral standards of the Law of Moses or the moral commands of Christ.  I would suggest cross checking their actions against the 10 Commandments first.  If the action checks out as moral, that is a good start in deciding if you want to emulate what they did.  If the action keeps coming up as questionable or decidedly immoral, do not emulate that particular behavior.

You have confused these two ideas:  1) all that is written in the Scriptures are there for us to learn from (a good principle),  and 2) the idea that "learning" means we must imitate everything that is written about others in the Bible (a false principle). 

We "learn" from both the good and bad examples of others in the Bible.  That learning does not mean we are obligated to repeat the bad examples, rather to note them and avoid doing the same ourselves.

That, my friend anobody, is a God-honoring way to reverently approach interpreting the deeds of the patriarchs in the Old Testament narratives.  It treats the Scriptures with respect and gives the Holy Spirit proper place as the genuine originator of the text.  Kudos for being so clear, concise, and disciplined in your approach to reading and understanding Scripture.
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lone gone
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« Reply #74 on: August 27, 2009, 08:07:51 am »



This verse was part of my daily devotion this morning:

Galatians 2:16-21

      "... knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain." ( bold is my emphasis )

Taking the actions of humans,( whether in the old testament narratives or the new testament  narratives or letters) and then judging them to be right or not and worthy of immitation, can easily lead to legalism.   Look not only on actions, but also on faith.  It is Christ in us, not merely our imitating Christ's physical actions, that saves us.

I feel that too many people lose sight of this.  We yearn to be justified by our actions.Christ saves us in spite of our actions.

David knew this..... he acted wickedly, and repented to God for his actions.  He knew he was not justified by his repentance, but by God's mercy.
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ANobody
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« Reply #75 on: August 27, 2009, 09:15:27 am »

Quote from: long gone
Galatians 2:16-21

      "... knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain."

That is a wonderful passage of Scripture.  No one should ever argue that salvation is by works.  This part of the thread was never about salvation by works or salvation by faith.  It was about how to interpret Old Testament narrative and whether the lies of Rahab justified GCI lying to university officials. 

The question being discussed was whether a Bible character's deeds should automatically assumed to be always good unless the narrator says, "these were bad things to do," or, if the narrator assumed he did not need to point out which deeds were bad because the readers knew enough Scripture to see for themselves that deeds like lying, stealing, cheating, and fraud were obviously sins.

Even believers sin.  Abraham lied to and deceived the king of Egypt while obediently traveling to the land God promised him.  Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it to get water even as they were marching to Zion.  Lack of being able to read and interpret Bible narrative is what leads people to imitate the unbelieving (sinful) deeds of others, like putting out fleeces (the sin of Gideon), praying for something God has already forbidden (the sin of Balam), carrying the ark on an ox cart (the sin of David--trying to serve God by breaking His commandments and assuming good intentions were somehow glorifying to Him).

Quote from: lone gone
Taking the actions of humans,( whether in the old testament narratives or the new testament  narratives or letters) and then judging them to be right or not and worthy of immitation, can easily lead to legalism.

Is it possible that the definition of legalism assumed here is not the one used by Jesus, Paul, and the apostles?  Their definition of legalism was something like: making up one's own rules of morality and applying them to other believers even though those rules of morality are not found in the Scriptures which were available to them to direct their conduct.

Legalism never meant following the commands of God perfectly.  That is not legalism.  Jesus followed the Law perfectly and He was not a legalist, He was perfect.  He expected others to lollow the Law perfectly, and still He was not a legalist.  Even while Jesus followed the Law Himself in every detail He accused the Pharisees of being legalists because they had invented their own laws, like washing hands before gleaning wheat, and tried to apply them to Jesus.  Making up extra-biblical laws is legalism.

Paul later expanded that definition when he said that the Law of Moses could no longer be applied to followers of Christ.  So to try to make Christian believers follow the Old Testament Law today is legalism.  But applying the Law to Old Testament saints is in no way legalism. 

Here I will also note, the 10 Commandments are repeated in the New Testament commands of Christ (except for the Sabbath) so if someone applies the 10 Commandments to a New Testament person it is a valid thing to do without it being legalsim--Jesus did it.

Quote from: lone gone
Look not only on actions, but also on faith.

As I have said repeatedly, imitate genuine faith.  But test every deed recorded in a Bible story to see if such a thing was a righteous deed of faith or an evil deed that violated the Scriptures the person lived by (Old or New Testaments).  Works cannot save, but sins always kill.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?   May it never be! Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? (Romans 6:15-16)

"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. (John 14:15)

For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)
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« Reply #76 on: August 27, 2009, 12:57:24 pm »

Anybody,  you act as if you do not know how online forums or even actual discussions work. Yes we'd like to stay strictly on topic, but sometimes the topic deserves to be broadened to assist everyone's understanding. You yourself have had to expand on your thoughts to make yourself clear. I will do the same.

Is it possible that the definition of legalism assumed here is not the one used by Jesus, Paul, and the apostles?  Their definition of legalism was something like: making up one's own rules of morality and applying them to other believers even though those rules of morality are not found in the Scriptures which were available to them to direct their conduct.

It seems to me that you are inventing something here.... speaking for someone else, putting words in their mouth that you believe they would say. I haven't seen the Savior or Paul or anyone define legalism that way. Please point out what I may be missing.

I am sensitive to this kind of "speaking for someone else" as some of my favorite Reformation theologians sometimes do this... I call it like I see it.

I believe that legalism is not limited to made-up extra biblical rules. Paul in 1 Corintheans is addressing good actions, including faith, and adding this, that any of these without love is not good work. I feel that he was addressing "legalism". Many people conclude that by simply doing a good work that they are obeying God. They do this good work by their own strength, they point to themselves as they do the good work. How mistaken they can be.

Consider Ananias and Sapphira.  This is a lesson in motives.  Works without faith.

James addresses faith without works. I am also mindful of that as I choose my words here.

Regarding GC using Scripture inappropriately,  in the largest sense of the topic we all do this. We all mis-apply God's words, or rightly apply them with a bad motive. Sometimes we even manage to get both the application and the motive correct. That is my point. Sometimes we get it right, but quite often we don't. I'd even posit that we don't get it perfect most of the time.... like 99% of the time

I doubt anyone here is arguing that GC doesn't misapply Scripture. I think the disagreement comes from how some people are pointing out that we all do this, and others are avoiding this by turning the argument back to whether GC did something.  That is circular reasoning that doesn't accomplish much. 

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ANobody
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« Reply #77 on: August 27, 2009, 05:50:28 pm »

Quote from: lone gone
Anybody,  you act as if you do not know how online forums or even actual discussions work.

So opening with an usupported insult about someone else's intelligence IS how an online forum is supposed to work?  Maybe I am better off not knowing...

Come on, drop the insults and just have a dialogue on the topic at hand.  Please?

Quote from: lone gone
Is it possible that the definition of legalism assumed here is not the one used by Jesus, Paul, and the apostles?  Their definition of legalism was something like: making up one's own rules of morality and applying them to other believers even though those rules of morality are not found in the Scriptures which were available to them to direct their conduct.

It seems to me that you are inventing something here

Actually, my definition of legalism is not strictly mine, nor an original invention.  Further, this rather common defition of legalism is derived directly from what Jesus said.  "And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition." (Mark 7:6-9)

So, legalism is being an expert at inventing laws that God never delivered to men.  Worse, legalism is imposing those invented laws on others.

Jesus kept every Law in the Old Testament but was not a legalist.  He expected all the Jews to keep every aspect of the Laws, and still He was not a legalist. "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:19-20)

Quote from: lone gone
I believe that legalism is not limited to made-up extra biblical rules.

You should feel free to believe anything your Holy Spirit-guided conscience compels you to believe.  However, it would be wise to warn others that your definition of "legalism" is far ranging and far broader than the usual definition of "inventing my own extrabiblical laws."  The commandments of Christ which the gospels and the epistles deliver to us are NOT legalism in any sense.

Another form of legalism is trying to use the Law to work your way to heaven, but that form of legalism has nothing whatsoever to do with this discussion since no one has even hinted that keeping any law (the Law of Moses, good works, or made-up laws) can save anyone.

Quote from: lone gone
Paul in 1 Corintheans is addressing good actions, including faith, and adding this, that any of these without love is not good work. I feel that he was addressing "legalism".

"Good deeds" done from a motive to make oneself look good in public instead of from a motive to serve God and help others are indeed not good deeds but selfishness--the point of 1 Corinthians 13:1-4.  Unlike you, I do not believe that Paul would have called being selfhish the same thing as being "legalistic."

Quote from: lone gone
Consider Ananias and Sapphira.  This is a lesson in motives.  Works without faith.

Actually, no, this is wrong.  This is a lesson about selfishness and lying to the Holy Spirit. "But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?'" (Acts 5:3)

===============

Taking this all back to the original point of the post: now we know, thanks to Sam's explanatory posts (having once been a national leader of GCx), GCx deliberately chose to deceive the university officials thinking the Bible gave them authority to lie based on their understanding (misunderstanding) of the story of Rahab.  GCx felt that since Rahab lied to save the lives of the Jews then they assumed that lying for the purpose of facilitating evangelism must also be acceptable today.

Improper exegesis of the narratives of the Old Testament, and the inexperience of GCx leadership to realize their error in exegesis, is one of the early problems with GCx.  It seems unlikely that this error has been fixed in the past 30 years based on testimony from others that the same practices of deception by GCx continue to the present.

« Last Edit: August 27, 2009, 08:32:21 pm by ANobody » Logged
DrSam
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« Reply #78 on: August 27, 2009, 08:10:12 pm »

Quote from: lone gone
Anybody,  you act as if you do not know how online forums or even actual discussions work.

So opening with an usupported insult about someone else's intelligence IS how an online forum is supposed to work?  Maybe I am better off not knowing...

Come on, drop the insults and character assassinations and just have a dialogue on the topic at hand.  Please?

Quote from: lone gone
Is it possible that the definition of legalism assumed here is not the one used by Jesus, Paul, and the apostles?  Their definition of legalism was something like: making up one's own rules of morality and applying them to other believers even though those rules of morality are not found in the Scriptures which were available to them to direct their conduct.

It seems to me that you are inventing something here

Actually, my definition of legalism is not strictly mine, nor an original invention.  Further, this rather common defition of legalism is derived directly from what Jesus said.  "And He said to them, "Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.' "Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men." He was also saying to them, "You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition." (Mark 7:6-9)

So, legalism is being an expert at inventing laws that God never delivered to men.  Worse, legalism is imposing those invented laws on others.

Jesus kept every Law in the Old Testament but was not a legalist.  He expected all the Jews to keep every aspect of the Laws, and still He was not a legalist. "Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. "For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:19-20)

Quote from: lone gone
I believe that legalism is not limited to made-up extra biblical rules.

You should feel free to believe anything your Holy Spirit-guided conscience compels you to believe.  However, it would be wise to warn others that your definition of "legalism" is far ranging and far broader than the usual definition of "inventing my own extrabiblical laws."  The commandments of Christ which the gospels and the epistles deliver to us are NOT legalism in any sense.

Another form of legalism is trying to use the Law to work your way to heaven, but that form of legalism has nothing whatsoever to do with this discussion since no one has even hinted that keeping any law (the Law of Moses, good works, or made-up laws) can save anyone.

Quote from: lone gone
Paul in 1 Corintheans is addressing good actions, including faith, and adding this, that any of these without love is not good work. I feel that he was addressing "legalism".

"Good deeds" done from a motive to make oneself look good in public instead of from a motive to serve God and help others are indeed not good deeds but selfishness--the point of 1 Corinthians 13:1-4.  Unlike you, I do not believe that Paul would have called being selfhish the same thing as being "legalistic."

Quote from: lone gone
Consider Ananias and Sapphira.  This is a lesson in motives.  Works without faith.

Actually, no, this is wrong.  This is a lesson about selfishness and lying to the Holy Spirit. "But Peter said, 'Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?'" (Acts 5:3)

===============

Taking this all back to the original point of the post: now we know, thanks to Sam's explanatory posts (having once been a national leader of GCx), GCx deliberately chose to deceive the university officials thinking the Bible gave them authority to lie based on their understanding (misunderstanding) of the story of Rahab.  GCx felt that since Rahab lied to save the lives of the Jews then they assumed that lying for the purpose of facilitating evangelism must also be acceptable today.

Improper exegesis of the narratives of the Old Testament, and the inexperience of GCx leadership to realize their error in exegesis, is one of the early problems with GCx.  It seems unlikely that this error has been fixed in the past 30 years based on testimony from others that the same practices of deception by GCx continue to the present.

ANobody,

This place feels like it is full of junior high kids. It reminds me of when my son tells me that online games get trashed when junior high kids show up and act like idiots. That's his words. George Carlin shows us the stupidity of wars as being an attempt by men to prove who has the biggest member. This place is no different but transfers that need to the displays of theolgical egoes.

ANObody, say all you want to about whatever scripturally poor (in your opinion) were the actions of getting into the rat-infested infrastructure of a secular university in order to win students to Christ. Rahab is probably laughing at us right now. You construct straw men and reduce the opposite argument basically to only a singular passage. How foolish of you. You know little or nothing about scripture. Neither do I. Be careful of pomposity. It kicks you in the butt when you are not looking.  AnoBody... you know nothing and speak air.

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jaywalker
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« Reply #79 on: August 27, 2009, 09:16:11 pm »


ANobody,

This place feels like it is full of junior high kids. It reminds me of when my son tells me that online games get trashed when junior high kids show up and act like idiots. That's his words. George Carlin shows us the stupidity of wars as being an attempt by men to prove who has the biggest member. This place is no different but transfers that need to the displays of theolgical egoes.

ANObody, say all you want to about whatever scripturally poor (in your opinion) were the actions of getting into the rat-infested infrastructure of a secular university in order to win students to Christ. Rahab is probably laughing at us right now. You construct straw men and reduce the opposite argument basically to only a singular passage. How foolish of you. You know little or nothing about scripture. Neither do I. Be careful of pomposity. It kicks you in the butt when you are not looking.  AnoBody... you know nothing and speak air.[/b]


Let’s see now.  ANobody was holding a civil and serious conversation on how to interpret the Bible, and Dr.Sam breaks into the middle with this response?

Quote from: ”Dr.Sam”
This place feels like it is full of junior high kids. It reminds me of when my son tells me that online games get trashed when junior high kids show up and act like idiots. That's his words. George Carlin shows us the stupidity of wars as being an attempt by men to prove who has the biggest member. This place is no different but transfers that need to the displays of theolgical egoes.

ANObody, say all you want to about whatever scripturally poor (in your opinion) were the actions of getting into the rat-infested infrastructure of a secular university in order to win students to Christ. Rahab is probably laughing at us right now. You construct straw men and reduce the opposite argument basically to only a singular passage. How foolish of you. You know little or nothing about scripture. Neither do I. Be careful of pomposity. It kicks you in the butt when you are not looking.  AnoBody... you know nothing and speak air.

Let’s analyze Dr. Sam's post for edification value, shall we?

“This place feels like it is full of junior high kids.”
  • Purpose of comment = pointless insult.
  • Possible impact on readers = amusement.  
  • Edification value of the comment = 0.

This place is no different [than men trying to prove who has the biggest member] but transfers that need to the displays of theolgical egoes.
  • Purpose of comment = pointless insult.
  • Possible impact on readers = discourage serious discussion of the Bible.
  • Edification value of the comment = 0.

ANObody, say all you want to about whatever scripturally poor (in your opinion) were the actions of getting into the rat-infested infrastructure of a secular university in order to win students to Christ.
  • Purpose of comment = ??
  • Possible impact on readers = confusion-chaos.
  • Edification value of the comment = 0.

Rahab is probably laughing at us right now.
  • Purpose of comment = ? ridicule ?
  • Possible impact on readers = discourage serious discussion of the Bible.
  • Edification value of the comment = 0.

You construct straw men and reduce the opposite argument basically to only a singular passage. How foolish of you.
  • Purpose of comment = personal insult
  • Possible impact on readers = discourage serious discussion of the Bible.
  • Edification value of the comment = 0.

You know little or nothing about scripture.
  • Purpose of comment = flagrant lie posing as personal insult
  • Possible impact on readers = discourage serious discussion of the Bible, invoke anger.
  • Edification value of the comment = 0.

AnoBody... you know nothing and speak air.
  • Purpose of comment = extremely flagrant lie posing as personal insult
  • Possible impact on readers = discourage serious discussion of the Bible, invoke anger.
  • Edification value of the comment = 0.

Overall purpose of Dr. Sam’s post [Reply #78 on: August 29, 2009 at 08:10:12 pm] = launch extreme personal attack on character of poster named ANobody.
  • Degree of interaction with Thread Subject = 0.
  • Degree of interaction with Bible = 0.
  • Overall edification value of post = 0.

Dr. Sam, where are the comments that encourage the study of the Bible?  Where are the words that cause us to understand the Bible better?  Where are the words that cause us to love Christ more?  Where are the words that spur us all on to deeds of love and kindness?  Where?

ANobody, do not let Dr. Sam stop you from studying the Bible or posting.  Heck, he did not even value all those quotes from Bible scholars, so what chance does anyone else have of calling him back to the Bible?

You have called attention to the errors GC* made in misreading the Bible and the resulting errors this caused in their behavior.  For that you will suffer, but you will suffer for the cause of Christ.  That is a privelege.  Keep preachin it bro.
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