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Still Alive

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Still Alive last won the day on July 11 2018

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About Still Alive

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    Photography, bass player, clearing my property

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  1. You know you don't have the strength when you assume room temperature.
  2. I've never actually "heard" God. However, I've seen his will play out in my life and as I read and study his word, a certain peace fills me about the things I need to do and am doing. It's hard to put into words, actually.
  3. My three: 1. The level at which I should read, include and consider the extra-biblical books/writing that were "in the heads" of the new testament writers. 2. The significance and daily impact of "by faith, not works". 3. Increasing my faith while unlearning and relearning everything I "thought I knew" about Christianity, thanks to the explosion of information (and misinformation) available on the internet.
  4. I became a Christian in 81. I started attending an AG church where there was a message in tongues followed by an interpretation fairly frequently. It was a church of about 900 members. The frustrating thing was that the messages were all innocuous. That is, they were all stuff that is already in the bible like "be strong, for I am with you..." and stuff like that. There was never anything one could verify, qualify or quantify. Then one day there was one. It was sometime in 1998 and part of the message was that in 2000 all the computers were gonna crash. Except they didn't - and all that that implies. Keep in mind this was after years of "non-verifiable" messages and, finally one that was. And the one that was was baloney. BTW, I was a COBOL programmer at the time focused on code remediation to prevent the catastrophe that, in fact, did not happen. Yes, you're welcome.
  5. I agree. What is also interesting is that some say that since Tongues is the least of the gifts, then it should be more freely given. That sounds more like human reasoning than spiritual discernment.
  6. Looks like I picked the wrong day to stop sniffing glue!
  7. When I accepted Christ I attened an Assembly of God church (I was there for 18 years). They were all over the tongues and prophesy thing. I never did receive that particular gift. I was told by many that my gift was prophesy and teaching, which are kinda the same thing. Kinda. It's too hard to learn another language though I dabble in Koine Greek and Hebrew.
  8. I don't know your church's history, but let me say this: I've been to a lot of churches and many of them just plain need to die. And the believers there will find another church with the vitality, community and solid bible teaching they need.
  9. It starts in genesis 3. We are saved from death. Not death of the body we occupy, but the second death - the death of the person that occupies the body. My experience is that it does the exact opposite. When I debate Christianity with "anti-Christian" people that have significant exposure to the teaching of Christianity, it is imperative to them that the ECT "burn in hell" message is part of it. In fact, if I make the argument that it isn't, they will often vehemently argue that the bible teaches ECT. The reason? It is the foundation on which stands their argument that Christianity is stupid. Take that away and they suddenly have little to discuss. It's almost comical. I actually compare the Turn or Burn message to the Global Warming scam arguments I've heard. The idea is, "What if it's real?! If we do nothing it could destroy us, so we should do something just in case." The problem is that doing something is extremely costly. It is not a zero sum game. Same with the Turn or Burn message. I believe it does terrible harm to the Christian message. Maybe that's why it is not discussed in Acts (or anywhere else in the bible, really). Jesus never mentions it. The only scripture in the entire bible that can be used to support it is in The Revelation of Jesus Christ, and there it is referring to 1 Enoch. And if one's proof text for a major doctrinal belief is in Revelation, I don't think their position is a strong one, to say the least. Frankly, I'd believe Universalism before I'd accept ECT at this point. There are lots of proof texts all over the bible to support it, though also some strong ones that nix it, IMO. Here's the weird part. If I could simply choose which one was the real one, I'd make it Universalism. But I believe the bible supports Annihilationism more. But I hope I'm wrong.
  10. I don't believe death in the bible is always temporary. The Samuel example doesn't speak to all humans that ever lived. And it happened before the GWTJ. i.e. I don't think it speaks to the issue at all. And yes, you have context. And it is interpreted. It is why different bibles sometimes say different things. The word Elohim occurs thousands of times in the bible. Sometimes it is translated God, sometimes Gods, and sometimes demons. All it really means, without context, is someone from the spiritual realm. One of the reasons I simply can't take all of the bible as literal is that some of the things it teaches, from a scientific level, are simply wrong. But it is not a science book so one can cut the writers slack since they were speaking from their world view.
  11. Here's the rub and it comes with two elements: 1. What words are being changed? I only see people changing translations. And because there is not word for word equivalence between English/Hebrew/Greek, then all translations into English are, by definition, also interpretations. So, if someone goes back to the original greek or hebrew and disagrees with what someone else is getting out of the english version, who is changing words? 2. John 3:16 and Romans 6:23 are plain language that supports annihilationism. Yet, a believe in eternal torment in hell will "change the meaning of the words. e.g. "death" isn't really death and "perish" doesn't really mean perish. I've actually heard the phrase, "that's not how the bible defines the word". The problem is that the bible does not define words. Dictionaries do. The bible USES words. If all one is debating from is a particular English translation of the bible, and all they are depending on is what is said in their bible, they are guaranteed to lose a debate with a believer that uses study material on the source material and translation methodologies used to create the English translation. A simple example: neither aeonia, nor aeonian means eternity. They both discuss time in an endefinite length, yet they are used to mean "eternal" or "eternity" in the bible a lot, even for events that were of a very short duration. More precisely they discuss an age. And eternal punishment doesn't mean eternal "suffering". It means the punishment lasts forever. Or is it only for an age? And what is punishment? It can be death - which most see as fairly permanent - or a spanking, or sitting in a corner. It depends on the purpose of the punishment. If it is to teach a lesson and change behavior (the usual reason for intentional punishment), it is kinda pointless for it to never end. If it is simply the result of disobeying a law - like jumping off a cliff and trying to disobey the law of gravity - it will bring swift consequences that are not designed to teach, but simply to apply a result. The result of sin is a miserable life followed by death. Feel free to ingest all the meth you want. You will be punished. For starters, you'll lose your teeth.
  12. I don't accept 1 Enoch as biblical canon either, but it is what John was referring to. Thing is, the writers of the new testament quote second temple writings quite a bit. They read the stuff. They were quite familiar with it and it comes out in the new testament. Regarding the lake of fire in revelation specifically, It is a dream. The whole book of revelation is symbolism from cover to cover. And it restates the old testament (and 1 enoch) a LOT. Just as the rooster crowing in my tag line is not the point of that story. The Lake of fire is not the point in Revelation. It is the outcome. It is where stuff is destroyed. Even death is destroyed "in the lake of fire". My personal take is that when one needs to go to the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to get their foundational scripture for a particular belief, they may want to re-evaluate the veracity of that belief. Especially when it contradicts other scripture about the same subject (Romans 6:23, John 3:16, and Genesis 3, to name but a few). I recommend this article: http://rethinkinghell.com/2015/12/30/a-primer-on-revelation-2010/ An excerpt that, in my opinion, is quite powerful, due to the part I bolded: "Of all the passages used to defend the traditional view of final punishment, one stands out as by far the most difficult for the conditionalist.1 As you might imagine, I don’t consider the challenge to be insurmountable. However, it is a challenge. This is the one passage in the entire Bible that actually says, on its face, that anyone will be tormented for eternity." It contains plenty of footnotes along with it's included content. This is an important issue to me because I believe the hell message severely damages the message of salvation and the "good news". Those that believe the "torture for eternity" message don't just show up to a non-believer as, "you know you are going to die, but Jesus offers a better way." No, their message is "You know you are going to die, but Jesus tells us that it is INFINITELY WORSE THAN THAT and he has a solution." That doesn't sound like good news. It sounds like a sales pitch: Create a need and then solve that need. But the warning from the very beginning (in Genesis) is that we will die, but Grace brings eternal life. That is the simple gospel. And it is VERY good news. But, some will ask, "then why bother since people don't fear death all that much?" God does not call us to him out of fear. He calls us to him out of love. And he brings us to him out of our desire to be with him, not our fear that he's gonna bring down the hammer in a way that is literally unimaginable and also completely contrary to how he dealt with ALL of his human "enemies" in the old and new testaments. It quite literally does not fit the personality of our God, both the Father and the Son. Also, those that are hostile to Christianity LOVE the hell thing. In fact, one time I was debating them and when I brought up the idea that the "burn in hell message is bunk", they spent most of their effort trying, in vain, to prove that that is what the bible teaches. It was critical to their position because once you take that one doctrine away, their argument is reduced from a nuclear bomb go a fizling bottle rocket. And they know it.
  13. One way to spot the "spirit" of legalism is to watch argument styles. It's not universal, but is pretty common. It goes like this: When two people are debating, and one throws out out of context scriptures as "proof" without a willingness to deal with their context, source Hebrew/Greek words, etc., while the other discusses the verses in context and gets into word meanings and their usage in other parts of the bible, how they fit with the personality of God throughout the bible, etc., the former is usually the legalist. When one is unwilling to release their tightly held dogmas even though they cannot support them when debating another person that knows the bible, and they become angry and belligerent, they are usually also a legalist. I see the same thing when debating politics. I actually am focusing on dogmatism above, but that is a trademark of legalists.
  14. I became a believer not to "escape hell". I became a believer because I see His will in creation, and I accept His free gift of Grace that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with anything I do or don't do. But, of course, once I believe, it can't help but affect what I do. If I believe my company will pay me, I show up at work. If I don't, I probably won't show up at work. My actions expose my belief. And if I'm 300 lbs and believe that if I go on a diet I can lose 120 lbs, but I spend my entire life dieting, and going off my diet, and dieting again and, finally, die at 270 lbs, that doesn't mean I didn't believe that if I dieted I would lose the weight. It means it was hard. This is why everyone is not living the life of a monk, yet they are still saved.
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