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ajchurney

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About ajchurney

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    Male
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    Middlebury, IN
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    Scripture study, teaching and preaching the Word, Guitar and singing, modern worship music, our 11 chidren and 6 grandchildren!
  1. ajchurney

    Sacred Secrets

    Hey everyone! I think it helpful to remember that the 12 were Jewish by culture, and of diverse backgrounds (though top-heavy on fisherman!), yet one thing they had in common was that much of what Jesus taught them was flying over their heads!! Jesus assured them that what they did not understand at the time, they certainly would later. After receiving the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the teachings of the Christ both came to their remembrance, and were clearly understood, to the point that several of these original disciples wrote doctrinal and instructional letters expounding on the things they heard and saw in Jesus. The carnal mind can only understand a very limited scope of spiritual reality. Several members have already posted the appropriate scrips. This truth is easily applied to us today, in that we can be of a religious background, and even hear good and accurate teachings, yet fail to truly understand the spiritual realities behind the words until we receive the Holy Spirit and He begins to renew our minds. Christianity is essentially and intrinsically relational with the Spirit of God and not based on mere knowledge of doctrines and religious ideas. The parable of the sower describes 4 different types of ground, symbolizing 4 states of human hearts. Only the "good and noble" heart receives the Word with understanding AND produces fruit! It is interesting that Jesus said that there is only one who is good, and that is God alone. This tells me that only the heart indwelled with God's Spirit is "good" and able to produce Spiritual fruit unto God. As far as "secrets", prophecies tend to have a certain sort of coded language of symbols and typologies that can be hard to understand until you search the Scriptures for the roots and origins of these things. Yet, the mystery of them is meant for us to search out the understanding. Obviously, when the prophesy is still a future event, there is by nature a certain degree of mystery there as to the exact details of its fulfillment. Whatever doctrinal things seem like a secret to any of us who are born-anew and filled with the Spirit, I believe that this is only a matter of maturity and studying the issue out in prayer and submission to Christ. If we are double-minded and confused, it is only because we are carnal, immature, and thinking with our fleshly mind. Everything that can be known "has now been revealed to us" in Christ, and "we have the mind of Christ". The Holy Spirit is the revealer and teacher and guide into ALL TRUTH. If I truly have the Holy Spirit, then I have all access to the "hidden things" in Christ, praise God!! Whatever things that are hidden and secret, it is to those who are blind and deaf in their unregenerate state, as has also been pointed out by other posts. Bless all, I miss being involved lately, but have been busy in other ministry, Andy
  2. ajchurney

    is it by force?

    An unfortunate truth to consider on this topic is that we all know that the scriptural ideal and example is to gather together often and regularly. This is what the early church did. I believe that there are only 2 core reasons we do not conform to this. The first is that the church assemblies themselves are often not very spiritually alive and vibrant. People do not want to go to these kind of church meetings because they are either devoid of the life of God and the Holy Spirit, or the life and excitement that is there is completely human in origin, just a bunch of hype and religious activity. This is sad but true, and it is hard to bear for someone who is seeking the real Jesus and real fellowship with other people seeking the same. The second reason is that there is something wrong with the individual who makes excuses not to fellowship at an assembly where real, Spirit-led and Spirit-empowered Christianity is being practiced. The problem here is often offenses and hurts. Otherwise, the issue is likely that this person is not very committed or in love with Christ. There are always rare exceptions to what I am presenting (Home-bound persons, for instance), but these 2 core reasons probably cover 95% of all of the issues. "On fire" people are drawn to each other and understand the powerful dynamic of fellowship. If one is not burning with passion for the Lord, that is the first issue to find the solution for!! Blessings, Andy
  3. ajchurney

    The role of the RCC in protecting God's word

    It bears some similarity to how the Lord used the Scribes of Israel, even when the religious establishment was quite corrupt, to preserve the Tenach. It seems that much of the preservation work occurred in the monasteries, where men were set apart from much (but certainly not all) of the common abuses and terrors of the RCC. Scribal work before the advent of the printing press was laborious, tedious, and exacting. It really is amazing how the Lord orchestrates such a thing, even with very much imperfect men and movements of men.
  4. ajchurney

    Sex scandals in the Church

    All sin begins with thinking about it, as the battlefield of Christianity for the individual is in the mind. In Rom 12:1-2, we are given the way of the Spirit and life, and this is to continually submit ourselves to God as a true offering, and resist and refuse to be conformed to the things of the world, but be transformed by the renewing process of the Spirit. Our culture is saturated with overt sexuality, so if one does not guard the "gates" of the senses from this sexual frenzy, one will be conformed to it, instead of being transformed into the image of Christ, thinking with the mind of Christ and not the mind of perversion. I also agree with several of the posts that one must be particularly sensitive and guarded to these truths as a leader. Satanic tempters will always prefer the "bigger" target, as taking out the leader usually, if not always, has a domino effect of discouragement and disillusionment in the followers of the fallen leader. I believe it is wise to guard against tempting thoughts first, and tempting situations as well, as Shiloh wrote of.
  5. I am also thin and have a ridiculous metabolism. However, I think that the Holy Spirit, not some rule of law, speaks to us (even the skinny ones!) about when enough is enough and we are being overly indulgent and strengthening our fleshly nature instead of keeping it in subjection as Paul instructed. When I fast, I don't do it to lose weight (in fact I am more concerned that I WILL lose weight!) but simply to draw near to to the Lord and discipline the fleshly longings. BTW MorningGlory, you are probably tempting some people to jealousy with your metabolism LOL!
  6. Moderation is always good, especially when it comes to anything of questionable nature. We are to be led by the Spirit, in true knowledge of the Word. The Word prohibits drunkenness, not moderate drinking. The Word prohibits gluttony, but not reasonable eating. The Word prohibits sex outside marriage, but not inside marriage. There are boundaries from sinful activity and limits to excesses (which become sinful also). Ultimately, IMHO the Law was insufficient to answer every question of excess, as well as insufficient to empower one to obey it, so God made a new covenant and better way, the Law of the Spirit of Lifein Christ Jesus!! The only way to walk worthy of our calling in Christ is to walk by the Spirit, in abiding in a close relationship with Him. As far as addiction, I would say that addiction is very much relevant to this topic. A strong, nearly uncontrollable urge to overindulge in anything, or to indulge in anything inherently sinful is certainly not the Holy Spirit's leading or empowerment, and is likely demonic, and certainly fleshly (as in driven by the sinful fallen nature).
  7. ajchurney

    is it by force?

    I agree with Shiloh. May I add that if a Christian is sick, they should be obeying scripture and calling for the Elders to come and annoint and pray for them, and the scripture indicates that the Lord WILL raise them up AND forgive them of any sins that might be involved. I think that is an awesome instruction and promise! In the book of Hebrews, we are told not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together AND even the MORE SO as we see "the day" approaching (the return of Christ). We all like to talk about how Christ is coming back soon, but very few of us strive to meet together more often than what the early church was! The problem is that the last days are busy, filled with "knowledge" and "running to and fro". These are "perilous times" according to Paul, and IMHO, its because of all the distractions and busyness that abounds. If we are too busy to be in much fellowship with other genuine Christians, then we should ask ourselves what all we are busy with that is more important than giving heed to the scriptures and what they say about it. The world knows that we are Jesus' disciples by how we love one another! If I love my television or video games or hobbies or making excessive money more than I love other Christians, I do not have Jesus' priorities straight! Let us strive to put every weight and hindrance aside in this matter and lovingly fellowship together as never before!! In Him, Andy PS- Innocent, I believe absolutely that we should also worship AND fellowship in our homes!!
  8. Are you saying, that if my perspective is correct, God is incapable of orchestrating events and influencing individuals so that in the end His prophecies are fulfilled? Would this be impossible for Him? Is dealing with billions of humans to taxing for Him? God did it with Pharaoh. God can hardened peoples hearts, influence decision, put thoughts in our mind, control circumstances, introduce new events, place people in authority, as long as God does not meddle with the decisions that affect ones eternal destiny, He can do what He wants. That is true Sovereignty. It is no problem for God to choose a Roman soldier with a penchant for gambling and promote Him to Captain, and arrange that His unit to be on watch the day of the crucifixion and place the thought in his mind to gamble for Jesus' garments. I hope you see how dangerous you are getting with your hypothetical. For God to "place the thought in his mind to gamble..." is basically painting God as one who tempts to sin, as long as it justifies the end, which violates the very principles you stated to Nebula in the last post. Even in your reply here, you are hedging your bets by allowing for God to put thoughts in the mind and influence decisions, as long as they do not "affect ones eternal destiny". Do you mean sin of any kind here?? God tempts no one, for certain. This is my whole point here, that your viewpoint has to have God guiding and manipulating the thoughts and actions of mostly sinful people in their sin-filled lives, yet never influence them in any way to actually sin in any specific way, lest He be tempting them. I just do not see how this works without God being a total puppet master and hyper-sovereign. Another difficulty I have is that you have no problem with omnipresence in a now time frame, in which God is personally knowing and interacting with billions of people at the same time continuously (this is true and mind-boggling, beyond our comprehension how God can keep all that straight in His consciousness at once), all the while holding all the molecules together in the universe, and maintaining all the forces of physics and interaction of matter and energy. This is accepted,. as entirely possible and normal for God, but timelessness is completely and utterly incomprehensible and impossible for Him. Placing God in a time frame, with Him subject to time and trapped in time (its not His invention or creation and He is actually subject to the movement of time....) carries its own set of limitations upon God and inherent problems, doesn't it?? In at least some sense, this makes Time a force and reality that is above and beyond even God, a context to which God is subject to it. I assume this poses no issue to you. We seem at an impass because we see eternity (timeless) completely differently. You see this as restricting and trapping God, but I see it as the only scenario where God is truly sovereign and NOT trapped in time and its verities. I respect your viewpoint, and obviously you have put much thought in it. I feel that God has helped me understand eternity (as far as I can at this point) by revelation and illumination, and have received prophetic words in the subject. This is comforting for me, but I obviously would not expect that to influence your understanding, as you have to hear from the Teacher yourself and not from me. Whatever we are both TRULY hearing from Holy Spirit would have to agree, so either one or both of our spiritual ears needs tuning here, but it is always good to dig deep and keep on asking, seeking, and knocking. Bless you brother, and I pray your book brings glory to Christ, Andy
  9. ajchurney

    Predestination vs free choice

    Pharoah was used by God. He was not predestined to do what he did. God hardened Pharoah's heart AFTER Pharoah hardened his own heart ... Perhaps the idea of "He gave them over" in Rom 1 brings light here. Both are true, so both are written. OK, but God stepping aside by withdrawing His grace -- or simply leaving sinners to their own devices -- is much more passive an act than actually hardening someone's heart, regardless of who does what first. Exodus 7:3 But I shall harden his heart, and shall multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt ... Exodus 14:4 And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and he will pursue them, and I will get glory over Pharaoh and all his host, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD ... Then there's Exodus 9:16 and Romans 9:17 where God both raises up Pharaoh and hardens his heart for His glory. See "Why did God harden Pharaoh’s heart?" http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aiia/aiia-pharaoh.html I do not have a problem with that God facilitates and uses the decisions and inclinations of hearts for His own glory. As has been said in the thread, it is crystal clear that God's general will is "for NONE to perish, but for ALL to come to repentance". To me, this strictly rules out the possibility of God Specifically forcing a man into rebellion, like a puppet master. However, God knows all things, including the future, and the true motivations and desires of every heart, therefore He is not unjust to use this foreknowledge to His advantage and glorification in the earth. It is a delicate balance to be completely loving and merciful, yet completely just in judgement at the same time, but I completely believe that God is perfectly both. I believe that God justly rules over the "clay" in love. I also believe that it is true that since all have sinned, all are justly condemned, and it is strictly by mercy and grace that a way of forgiveness has been made for us, and offered to all men. From this perspective, it is amazing that anyone is saved, not that many are condemned. The current permissive spiritual atmosphere rather overplays grace rather than to keep a balance with the facts of what we all really deserve. I do not want to be guilty of interpolating a humanistic idea of "fairness" upon the Almighty!! The thread should be making us all think and pray a little harder.
  10. ajchurney

    Predestination vs free choice

    Perhaps the idea of "He gave them over" in Rom 1 brings light here. Both are true, so both are written.
  11. 1) How can we say that there is no time with God? Just because He is eternal doesn't mean that there is no succession of time, and I'm not even talking OUR time. There was a point in GOD'S time when He was all alone. You have to agree with me on that. Today God is not alone and forever will not be alone because He has accommodated to bringing us into existence. Is that not a past, present and future for God? God is simply not in a virtual now where everything is happening at once. Christ is not on the cross now. That is past in our time and God's time. 2) Exactly and to make these prophesies sure is for GOD a PIECE OF CAKE. 3) If God's plan is to create a New Jerusalem, then it is already in His mind what it will look like, dimensions and all, so it is no problem to display that for John. 4) This is quite a stretch. I had a vision once in my car just before getting out and going into church. In the vision, somehow I knew I was sitting in my car yet what I was seeing before me was not the dashboard but a big screen like at the movie theater as if I had been transported into a movie theater. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future These plans are already conceived in God's mind but we are not there yet. However God could easily splash them on a screen if He wanted to share them with somebody. respectful rebuttals: 1)Your response here is not in response to my points, but only to restate your own. You have told others that they need to try to see things from your point of view. I have always understood time from a human perspective, and frankly that is all you are doing, and then projecting a completely human experiencial view upon God. It is obvious that you are very intelligent, but God is a Spirit, and His thoughts and ways are NOT ours, but our way is the only way you are trying to understand an infinite God. Nebula's post on this point is very good and worth your serious consideration. 2)Shockingly insufficient answer to my points. You make no effort to explain HOW God can so accurately predict future events involving the interaction of miilions upon millions of freewill agents who have not yet even been born. How can God predict the futures of completely unborn people for thousands of years, with billions upon billions of freewill decisions made that affect everythng from births and deaths to marriages and wars and on and on. Remember that your perspective is that the future does not exist at all yet, so even God has NO IDEA of what is going to happen except for the best informed guesses that can be made concerning all of those freewill decisions....unless freewill is a complete illusion and God is the great puppet master pulling the strings. You do not seem like a hyper-sovereignty proponent, but I fail to see how your theory does not force one into that rubric. You need to explain your "piece of cake" much better, perhaps give the recipe, brother! 3)The entirety of Revelation seems to be a time-travel experience for John and not a mere open vision. I realize that this is theoretical, as is most of this conversation, but you need to answer sufficiently to point #2 first, as this was another point in support of that. The reason Revelation is so compelling is the scope and details of it. Also the same for Daniel. One would surely be forced into a position of God CAUSING too many wicked and sinful things to happen in order to present such prophesies as 100% accurate. Remember that you are the one proposing that God cannot know the future as it is not knowable, except that He manipulates it or makes REALLY good predictions based upon His exceeding present and past knowledge. 4)This is only a stretch from your perspective. Remember that you are the one exhorting people to be open minded and try to see things from the perspective of the other viewpoint. I find it to be no stretch whatsoever for God to show a person a vision as you described OR to take that person "in the spirit" and literally show them what is to come by, in some way, taking their consciousness into the future. Why, this would surely be a "piece of cake" for an Almighty and Eternal God! In this case, it is you who are being narrow and closed minded, not I. The crux of the issue is that you dismiss this perspective (timeless eternal nature) on the basis of logical, natural thinking, and a pretty narrow interpretation of pertinent scriptures. You also seem to assume that most who would not agree with your position are Calvinists, which is also not a fair assessment. I am no Calvinist at all, and Calvin IMHO was more a fatalist and preached predetermination, hyper-sovereign doctrines. I am against all of that. I believe that God can be eternal as proposed, and still be Holy, omniscient, omnipresent, and maintain a genuine freewill in mankind. You have shown me nothing whatsoever that proves your position better than mine. In fact, I believe your position has a fatal flaw in that you cannot aptly explain 100% accurate prophecy in your rubric without going hyper-sovereign
  12. ajchurney

    Predestination vs free choice

    Very simple. Notice what is says we were chosen to be: We were chosen to be holy and blame.ess before Him in love AND we are predestined to the adoption as sons. This is talking about what God chosen, before the foundation of the world, that Christians should be come. it is not saying that God chose who would become Christians. The word "predestine" means "to set off beforehand" and refers to what God has predestined for believers. The word "adoption" can be kind of confusing if we don’t understand what it meant in the first century. It means, “to set as an adult.” Paul is using, as an illustration, the Roman practice of adopting a son and then not only bequeathing him all of his possessions, but giving him his civil status as a adult citizen; Thus God takes a believing sinner, regenerates him, and by means of this makes him His “born” child. Then He takes this child and places him in a legal position as an adult son. We thus become joint-heirs with Christ, having been raised to a civil status as adult sons, in which we become heirs of God, inheriting jointly with Christ all that He possesses as an heir of God the Father by virtue of His Sonship and work on the Cross. Simply put, before the foundation of the world, God already the plan of salvation figured out. And in that plan, He chose for Christians to be holy and blameless before Him in love and in doing so He predestined (chose beforehand) us to the adoption as sons. Could David have lost salvation ? Bro, since David is dead and in Glory, what difference does the question make? If David had not repented, he would not have turned out to be the David we now know in scripture and his faith would have been insufficient and failed, but it did not. And now his present and future have become our past and so it is finished and done.
  13. ajchurney

    Predestination vs free choice

    Could John the Baptise have failed his mission ? Did he have a choice not to preach the gospel of repentance ? Was Pharoh predestined and did he make a choice to repent If God revealed that John would do something, then it is sure, because God can neither lie nor "miss it". Of course John chose every single thing he ever did or said. Just because God knew, and even revealed some of what He knew concerning John does not mean He Predetermined (caused) the choices. Predestination is according to foreknowledge and eternal reality of God. Pharaoh made choices, and God knew what they were going to be and did not force the choice. God created the context and possibilities in which the choices could be made. Is it the way I am explaining it that is hard? If so , I am sorry
  14. ajchurney

    Predestination vs free choice

    As in any doctrinal issue involving time, I believe the answer is bound up in the nature and character of God, in that He is both Eternal and Omniscient, or more acurately, He is omniscient because He is eternal and omnipresent by nature. God created the context of time as much as He did matter and all of the physical laws that govern matter, space and time. The nature of 100% accurate prophecy, fore-ordination, predestination, and other depend upon our understanding of eternality. Since being outside of time (timeless) is beyond our experience altogether, we can only stretch ourselves to comprehend this conceptually, but the idea is simple enough that I believe we can see how this begins to make sense of some biblical conundrums.God's holiness makes Him intrinsically separate from what He creates, hence the existence of freewill and evil, but He is also infinitely above and beyond anything that He creates. His creations reflect Himself, but He has made the universe in such a way that choice is a real and distinct possibility for certain intelligent beings, from which God has ordained that obedience to His revelations is faith in Him and love for Him, whereas rebellion to His revelations is the opposite. Angels had this choice at least at one point, and mankind lives in this reality of choice continually. Hence, I conclude that the title of the thread is actually misleading, in that there is no predestination "vs." freewill, but only a right understanding of how these two biblical realities co-exist and intersect. We have freewill, and God predestines according to our freewill and His eternal foreknowledge. He is Creator, and we are the created, He the potter, and we the clay, yet living clay with real freewill choice. His foreknowledge of our choice does not then make the choice invalid or illusory. It is simply a matter of His vastly superior point of reference in comparison to ours. Eternal blessings in Christ Jesus! Andy
  15. Truth First, I have attempted to read most of the posts in the thread, but it has gotten quite long quickly and I do not have unlimited time! I have a couple issues with the angle you take here, but I will try to address them singularly so that the exchange is more efficient. The largest issue I have with your approach is that you consistently place God within the continuum of time. All of your theory is dependent upon God being bound in time, having no idea what is going to happen in the future, except by his total knowledge of what has already occurred. Your theory of eternality is limited to extension into infinite possibility of time, but not an existence outside of time, or timelessness. One problem I have with this theory is the EXTENT of biblical prophecy. Between Daniel and Revelation, there is enough sweeping prophecy of major future events, with enough specific details that one would have to conclude that if God does not already exist in our future (if He is timeless), them He would have to CAUSE many, many things to happen in order to make prophesies sure. The problem here is that so many of the prophesies include a great deal of evil things and actions of extremely evil spirits and diabolically influenced people. This creates quite a conundrum for God, doesn't it? God is predicting by Divine "best guess" (better than anyone else's, but still a guess if He does not surely know the future), not by 100% sure, eyewitness account by being there (timeless). So. let's start here, if you would please explain your view, especially in light of John's experience in Revelation, where God is not merely telling John what is going to happen, but literally SHOWING him things to come, even things that are long into the future in Heaven, even SHOWING him new Jerusalem descending from heaven and suchlike. John said that he was "in the spirit" during all of the revelation, and would seem that he was literally taken to the events by the Spirit. How can this happen if the future (to us) simply does not exist yet, even to God Himself? PS-The balance and tension between God's sovereignty and essence and that of man's freewill and his essence is extremely high ground that I am not convinced mortal man can entirely comprehend, though we may be able to partly grasp that which we cannot entirely know by experience (God's end). In other words, this is an area where His thoughts and ways are PARTICULARLY higher than ours!! One thing that we must not do is put human limitations on God, or attribute Godly knowledge to ourselves. This does not mean that we should not reach for the highest POSSIBLE understanding, but merely to recognize and be humble about our LIMITATIONS. Blessings, Andy
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