Instead of Two-Faced, the Church Must be “TrueFaced” — The Cure

What if God isn’t Who you think he is & neither are you? What if taking God’s side against our sinfulness and placing trust in Jesus Christ to reconcile us to God is the Way to knowing God’s unconditional love? What if that reconciled relationship with God means you have a new identity in Jesus… that the old self is gone in God’s eyes and that you are a completely new creation? What if real joy comes from believing you already have perfect standing with God through Jesus? What if the Christian Life is not about trying to be perfect or manage your sin habits BUT learning to receive God’s love and learning to love others with that God-like love? What if true holiness is about having nothing hidden… and (due to trusting safe friends) not being afraid to tell how you really are. What if true holiness is not trying to sin less but partaking in the Nature of God? With Horizon Christian Fellowship Morgan County, you will find safe friends. You can be who you are right now, as we (together) partake in God’s Nature.

_______________________

OTHER RESOURCES:

TrueFace YouTube

Why Christians Aren’t “Perfect”

Religion vs. Relationship

Deeper Walk International | Course 1: “Foundations” (free video series)

“Repentance” by Deeper Walk

Mental Health Resource Roundup

4 Restorative Books for The Wounded & Weary Christian

A Proposed Consesus on Articulating Sanctification

Colossians: Jesus is Better than Special Knowledge, Part 5

Colossians: Jesus is Better than Special Knowledge, Part 1

Colossians: Jesus is Better than Special Knowledge, Part 2

Colossians: Jesus is Better than Special Knowledge, Part 3

Colossians: Jesus is Better than Special Knowledge, Part 4

So far in this perusal of the Letter to the Colossians, Lamb’s Harbinger has taken a look at Chapter 1 through Chapter 2, verse 15. This part 5 will continue with the next paragraphs.

Chapter 2, verse 15 of the Letter to the Colossians ended the Apostle Paul’s proclamation of the absolute triumph and the supremacy of Jesus Christ over all sins, all humans and all spiritual beings. It stands to reason that Paul will now give the Colossian believers another charge to keep:

2:16-23

Since Jesus Christ is supremely triumphant over all sin and humanity and all spiritual beings, then the Law of Moses (Old Covenant) which gives sin its power to condemn (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:56) has also been fulfilled in Christ.

FOR THIS REASON, no believer in Jesus Christ should allow Judaizers to pass judgement on him or her, regarding Old Covenant religious dietary restrictions, or with regard to observing Old Covenant religious festivals or calendar events… OR celebrating worship on a Saturday (Shabbat) vs. a Sunday.

All of the Old Covenant (Testament) observances and rituals and calendar days were (prophetic) shadows of things to come. BUT the real substance of their prophetic importance belongs to CHRIST.

So, Paul further urges the Colossian believers [and us] who are being tempted to go back into Jewish ritualism. The challenge is to “let no one label you as “disqualified,” as the result of their insisting on:

  • Asceticism: severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons
  • Worship of Angels
    • Going on in detail about visions (modern example: Mormons & Joseph Smith)
    • Being puffed up beyond sound reason by his sensuous mind (a.k.a. one’s emotions, feelings, sensory perceptions; ex. “burning in the bosom”)
    • NOT holding fast to the Head — Jesus Christ
      • from Whom the whole body… grows with a growth that is from God…
      • as a result of being nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments

Then, haling back to verse 8 of Chapter 2, Paul continues by challenging those who are being drawn back into Greco pagan thought (Gnosticism):

Since you died with Christ to the elemental spirits of the world (referring to pagan thought of the worlds order; Gnosticism), WHY—as if you were still alive to the world—do you submit to regulations that are according to man-made teachings, 

such as:

  • Do not handle (certain material objects), Do not taste (certain foods), Do not touch (as in good marital, sexual relationship)
    • referring to things that are all temporal (as apposed to eternal).

Then, Paul levels a death blow to legalism and gnosticism.

These [man-made regulations] indeed have an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism, BUT they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.  (Colossians 2:23)

Simply put: even though man-made religious rules seem pious and wise, THEY DON’T DO ANYTHING TO CURE YOUR SINFUL IMPULSES. Asceticism and Special Knowledge cannot stop you from giving in to the flesh.

The implication is better than one could imagine. Jesus is better than special knowledge and asceticism. Unlike gnosticism and legalism,

THE GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST CAN CURE YOUR SINFUL DESIRES

Life Together in Christ

Lifepointe

(mp3 download)

Jan 18, 2015  33:24 | Pastor Woody Cumbie, Lifepointe Church (streamed audio)

There is an almost uniquely American epidemic called “loneliness.” Many are lonely despite being popular or in a crowd or even in a large family. Loneliness is a heart level malady. But God has a design for His family that draws people into community with deep connections that reach even to the heart. Hear the call to God’s people to do life together in Christ.

Everything or Nothing | Freedom of Religion

To anyone who has read what I’ve written before on matters which concern separation of church and state or the negative consequences of the Enlightenment, this article will be no surprise. Due to history, my pacifism and Anabaptist theology, I do not see socio-polticial conservatism as Christianity. My beliefs do not require others to share my faith and views. I do not believe a Judeo-Christian theonomy is the goal or even the responsibility of the Church. Yet, I do see it is the responsibility of Christians to pray for all who are in authority. So far as is morally possible, it is the duty of the Christian to follow the laws of society.

These things being duly stated and in holding to a separation between church and state, a.k.a. freedom of religion, I call US governments (local and federal) to be consistent. Either no religion should be allowed in governmental institutions & standardized medicine, or all religions should be allowed fair representation.

Christianity has not been allowed a fair representation in US society, when one considers the following:

I am not so naive as to think governmental officials are oblivious to the so-called religion-free “science” behind agendas like Goldie Hawn’s or Claudia Wang’s “meditation” in schools. As Candy Brown writes,

“I started asking, ‘Who is involved with this? Why is it becoming mainstream?'” she said. “I was surprised by how little scientific evidence supports claims that CAM is safe and effective. For many of the most popular CAM therapies, there is an absence of rigorous scientific research showing that CAM is more effective than conventional medicine, non-religious exercise and relaxation, a healthy diet, Christian prayer practices, or a simple placebo. And there is evidence that CAM can be dangerous.”

One explanation for CAM’s acceptance, she said, is that some practitioners have been less than transparent, or even deceptive, in their marketing. They have played down the religious meanings of practices and exaggerated the scientific evidence of benefits.

Of course, even momentary practical thought would indicate government cannot possibly accommodate all religions, whether in schools, medical practice or otherwise. This was a tenet the founding fathers of the U.S.A. foresaw, as much as I might disagree with their own religious views. On the other hand, and perhaps differing from my fellow biblicist evangelical Christians, I do not believe Christianity should be given a place above other religions in state education or standardized health. I believe it should be allowed a fair and equal representation. No one religion should be given place before another when it comes to governmental involvement; but no one religion should be discriminated either.

At the same time, it is delusion to think that any institution (governmental or not) can be free from religious influences. The truth is our American society accommodates the will of the people, as represented through elected officials and individual votes. That means each individual’s religious beliefs are given power at the voting boxes. The laws of the land reflect its people’s beliefs in our country. Is that not sufficient? Perhaps it is not sufficient in a day of corruption at every level and when only the rich can run for elected office. Therefore, Christians need to re-learn how to navigate a society where Christian values are not the majority; and that, while some standards of morality will always be legislated, Christ’s kingdom isn’t something which can be expunged from or passed into law. But, individual Christian’s influences can and should be felt in private and public life.

Other nations do things differently. For example, in America, parents still have the right to educate their children themselves, or by whatever legitimate standard they choose. This is a great freedom. But, in Germany, that is not the case. State schools are mandatory… and one had better believe that the atheistic philosophies, naturalism, scientism and one-world agenda of “leaders” are behind that system. Again, one cannot prevent spiritual and philosophical influences upon institutions and governments. He must learn how to live within them yet not be “of” them.

A Solution

If US government is to be consistent, then it must give no weight to one religion above another. Philosophically speaking, this cannot possibly be done. On the theoretical level, it can be said. But, separation of church and state is obviously easier said than done. The best solution is “freedom of religion.” If an individual wishes to express religion in the educational context, in medical choices or in business, then ideally that should be allowed within reason (i.e. not overtly disruptive, subversive of or harmful to others). What is needed along side of truth in advertising and truth in lending is “truth in beliefs” disclosures within educational and health practices. Let the individual decide in matters of faith. At courthouses, let the law be the only thing represented. In schools and medicine, if a faith group wishes to be represented for its “benefits” to the followers of that faith, then those faith groups should be forthcoming and transparent about who they are and what they do. When these requirements are met, then let the parents and their children decide on participation.

_______________

UPDATE:

paper.li/Yoganomics/1317436371

……………………………….

OTHER RESOURCES:

Balancing God and Government: Same-Sex Marriage

Book Recommendation: “Great Evangelical Recession”

Break Not, Quench Not: Reconciling God’s Mercy & Justice

The Consolidation of the Covenant Community

Constantine the Puppet

Christians and Moral Ethics – An Open Letter

Like Lamb’s to the Slaughter and The Beautiful Side of Evil by Johanna Michaelson

Machetes, “Enough” and a Free Gospel

Out with the Old (Atheism); In with the New

Sexual Identity & Equality

The Kingdom of Heaven and Its Keys

The Other Master

What if the Houston 5 are in the Wrong?