Wednesday, December 10, 2008

ah denominations

Okay, Christianity has a whole lotta denominations and I for one think they have both good and bad. On the whole, most of them don't really teach the Way, which is the gospel Jesus gave His people. They tend to be very legalistic and folks still tend to think that their works will get them to heaven.

But the pros and cons of certain denominations are:

Baptists love the Bible. They like reading it. But they also war against the holy spirit. They are the only denomination who make it a point to say that the holy spirit doesn't work the way he did back in the day. The only denomination to say that God is not the same yesterday, today, and forever and that God pretty much treats his people worst than he did before the days of the apostles. They are the only ones who call certain miraculous work of the holy spirit "sin" and "a work of the devil."

Catholics love, respect, and honor God much more than most other Christians. They are in awe of him. But many are so reverential that they don't really think of him as their Father. Very like Moslems who don't think of God as Father and are insulted at the idea. But unlike the Moslems, Catholics know that God is love. But very like the moslems many catholics do have the submission thing down too too much. In addition, they tend to divide the world into laity and clergy which is not what Christians are supposed to do. That was inherited from Constantine. The gospel states that we all have gifts and we use them when they are necessary. So the priest is not supposed to be all teacher/healer/exorcist/preist etc. This leads to a kind of belittling and rejection of regular folks. Catholics war against evil in the world. There's also the problem of acceptance of stuff that God has called us to challenge. When my good Catholic friend died, she was surrounded by folks NONE of whom said a prayer to God himself. They prayed to the saints or they waited for the priest to pray to the saint. And although many Catholics believe in miracles, they had a theology of acceptance of evil that made them not resist the sickness in a spiritual way. It was hard to get my friend to use the word of God to fight the illness cause she kept saying it was God's will. Yet, at the same time she went to all kinds of doctors. In addition, Catholics have that graven images thing. We simply are NOT supposed to have graven images, period. God allowed images of heavenly things in the creation of the temple but he stopped it short at images of himself. There is also the idea that there is a visible church and that that church is the Catholic church, but Christianity states that it's people who are saved, not denominations. And the Bible says twice that Peter was called to be the prophet to the Jews, not to the gentiles. They have a lot of traditions that make the word of God ineffective. The other thing with Catholics is the way they often wound the feelings of visitors. I can't tell you how many times I've been told by Catholics that non-Catholics aren't really saved. Yes, Christians say it of Catholics too. But there's nothing more annoying than being told you can't take communion because you aren't Catholic, or that you aren't saved because you aren't in The Faith.

Then there are Quakers. Originally, they were a people devoted to a living connection to the holy spirit above all else. But they got totally unmoored from the Bible. Whenever one goes to a Quaker meeting around here, one often meets folks who have never touched their Bible and who totally are more vague ethicists and New Age spiritual types than Christians. They do good and they have a tradition of helping folks but one never knows what religion a Quaker is.

Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, and Episcopalians are pretty much non-Biblical and they go with whatever their leaders say. This can be scary. Catholics go with what the Pope says and the Pope pretty much sticks to Catholic tradition. But mainstream churches tend to be more affected by the world's wisdom and the world's culture. Many of them love Jesus very much but their Jesus is definitely watered down.

Seventh-Day Adventists are good folks but they also tend to think other folks from other denominations aren't saved. Pentecostals, like me, believe in the fiftieth day. In fact, in certain countries, Pentecostals are called fifty-day Christians. This means that we believe we live in the Jubilee of Christ. The Jubilee was the seventh of the seventh week, 49 days, and the day of the Penetecost is the fiftieth day, when all were freed. The fiftieth day is one day past the Sabbath. It is a new day, the day the Lord has made. The Lord's Day. (By the way, Pentecostals belong to all denominations. I, myself, am a Charismatic Episcopalian) Seventh Day Adventists are focused on the Sabbath. They have not entered into the Jubilee Rest of Pentecost.

Mormons consider themselves Christians. Except they believe in many Gods while Christians are monotheists. Their ideas are far from Christianity (and they think they are the only true interpreters of the Bible and the true followers of the faith.) They believe Heavenly Father slept with Mary to create Jesus. They believe the Bible is wrong (even going so far to say that even the Jewish Bible is wrongly preserved.) They believe in many gods and they believe God was born and created and that they themselves will be gods with their own planets one day. This infinite regression of Gods being created by previous Gods who were created by previous God's ad infinitum is a center of Mormon Spirituality. Yet Christians believe God has no beginning and no end. Christians believe that God IS. We don't believe God will be, or that God was. This means that God is as present now with our parents and grandparents when they ARE living on earth as he is with us and our descendants as they ARE living now on earth. God IS. He is over all and from everlasting to everlasting. He doesn't change because he lives in eternity beyond time and space. As Jesus said, Before Abraham was I AM. Anyone who becomes a God now cannot be over the past. But science has proven that the universe is finite. It has a beginning and an end, so there is no endless line of future gods or past gods. Time and space are earth constructs that don't apply in eternity or even beyond earth or the speed of light. For the most part, the Mormon theology of god-hood and spirit father is pretty much identical to the theologies being told to alien abductees by extra-terrestrials in UFO. They also believe in works and don't believe in the sufficiency of Jesus blood or grace.

Jehovah's Witnesses are good people. Very committed to God. But on the other hand, they often remind me of Mormons. Mormons look forward more to being Gods than to loving God eternally. Jehovah's witnesses seem more interested in the future life of a perfect redeemed earth than they are in actually loving God eternally. I suspect Jehovah's witnesses would readily die for the faith. More so than other denominations. But they pretty much deny the power of the blood of Jesus to make us be born again now.

There are other denominations but...those are the main ones.
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