Where will they go after their exodus?

The last few years we have seen an exodus from organized religion as people became increasingly aware of their freedom in Christ. There remains an opposition as many clergy stomp their feet and pound their pulpits to demand that “god” commands people to go to church (and don’t forget that tithe check). Their long held tradition of mandatory church attendance can be traced back to the days of the mixture of politics and religion in the old world. Over the ages we have seen battles to exercise our freedoms and establish our true equality in the human race, yet some churches refuse to allow the Constitution to have any precedence in their organizations. In many churches today, women are not viewed as equals nor are they encouraged to be free independent women within their tradition.

Is it any wonder that traditional religions want to reinforce their ways in a world of ongoing growth and modernization? The Amish are adamant about preserving their religious culture and today’s Traditional Christianity seeks to do the same. It certainly is their freedom to do so, however we are not obligated to agree with their traditions nor adhere to them. The beauty of being free in Christ is that we have a choice in how, where, when, and how often we worship. Regardless of which verses some people twist in order to keep their women silenced and under foot, Christ seemed to think very fondly of women and never rebuked the women disciples from teaching or being an influence in their culture.

We live in a time where women are following the guidance of the Spirit to be ministers in today’s churches and more men are finding peace about sharing the pulpit with their female counterparts. As I read about the accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I am reminded of the turmoil that came with the fight for freedom and equality among the races. Is it going to be any different for women seeking equality in the churches? Will we be able to function as the Spirit guides us without opposition coming from Traditional Christianity? While the desire for equality among the genders continues, I’m afraid we won’t be able to see a solid break through without an onslaught of accusations of heresy and rebellion.

I shake my head in disbelief that a religion like Traditional Christianity would push so hard to continue in such opposition to freedom for all. They resist women, gays, and in some neighborhoods they still have prejudices for the poor and those of other races. I don’t foresee this ending any time soon, but thankfully we do have freedom to depart from such prejudiced gatherings and begin our own. The battle for abiding by the Law versus living a life of grace in Christ is ongoing and we were told clearly that they would always be at war. Those of us who have left Institutional and Traditional Christianity find the opposition to be disheartening to say the least. Some argue against those who say Jesus came to free us from religion. They insist that Jesus came to make religion perfect and that we are required to continue in it. If that were so then why aren’t we all converting to the Jewish faith? If Jesus came to perfect what was already in place, to continue as a follower of Jesus the Jewish Rabbi, then we most certainly would be attending a synagogue rather than a church.

Author and Public Speaker, Frank Viola, paved the way for inquiry into the traditions with his book, ‘Pagan Christianity’. We read books like Rob Bell’s, ‘Love Wins’ and Julie Ferwerda’s book, ‘Raising Hell’ in 2011 which sparked an insurgence of freedom fighters who braved deeper inquisition into what has been commonly called, Orthodox. As those in traditional Christianity continue their arguments with one another over gays, which version of the bible is most accurate, and if women should teach men, lets not fail to keep the momentum of freedom going so those who leave the nest in search of freedom can find a community of people who are not getting caught up in the fray. Lets be ready to receive those who are in exodus and help them be free from the fighting and walk with them in the path of peace and grace.

Where will they go after their exodus? where can they gather with people who have suffered the same as they have? Who will they find camaraderie with in their journey to freedom? Some may want the utmost break from Christianity all together, but some may want to continue in faith with others who are free. Who will be available for fellowship with them?

Power and Grace by tww, on Pix-O-Sphere
photo credit Tom

The Heretics

There has been some humorous teasing going on around Facebook about the word ‘heretic’ and in many churches the word ‘heretic’ is used in a way that does not fit the context in which they are using it. Some endearingly accept the label of heretic as a confirmation that they’re headed in the right direction. Some claim to be a Christian heretic while others shake their heads wondering how a Christian can be a  heretic and still claim to be a Christian. What I have found in the Greek about this topic is quite eye opening.

Original Word: αἱρετικός, ή, όν

Part of Speech: Adjective

Transliteration: hairetikos

Phonetic Spelling: (hahee-ret-ee-kos’)

Short Definition: factious

Definition: disposed to form sects, sectarian, heretical, factious.

Cognate: 141 hairetikós (an adjective, derived from 138 /hairéomai, “to choose, have a distinctive opinion”) – a factious person, specializing in half-truths and misimpressions “to win others over” to their personal opinion (misguided zeal) – while creating harmful divisions (used only in Tit 3:10).  (hairesis).

Disposed to form sects. That sounds like the various denominations to me. They have formed sects. Half truths and misimpressions. This is taking verses out of context and forming new doctrines where there is none. To reveal where their half truths are, will bring out the name calling label. If you have been labeled a ‘heretic’ by a denominational person, then you are the one who are free and discovering their half truths are just that, half. And the one calling you a heretic, is indeed the real heretic.

In my religious studies of various denominational view points, I have carefully compared the viewpoints of each denomination on the matters they all divide over. What I have found is they each have partial truths mixed with their own opinions. If they could just sit down together in love and with patience and really study TOGETHER, they would find what I believe to be the whole truth on those matters. Instead they divide the people from one another’s view points. They are heretics.

I have been labeled a heretic many times, but I don’t ask people to divide over disagreements, I have been trying to show them where they all have something in common and try to encourage them to really look at each other’s views. They each have a piece to the ‘puzzle’ and they withhold their pieces from one another and push each other away when the topic comes up in conversations.

Using the word ‘heretic’ as a name calling method to scare people away from other believers who are studying..who are being like the Bereans, is divisive. THOSE are the heretics. They want to cut off others who believe differently, they create sects.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with carefully studying the Bible, double checking the Hebrew and Greek and presenting your findings to your fellowship. This is what we all should be doing. Asking tough questions about why some people get a mansion and others get the lake of fire or what the hell is hell anyway are acceptable questions. It is time to grow up, get out of the high chair, no more spoon feeding. Those who insist that we remain in the high chair, refuse to give the meat, and who rebuke you for wanting to grow up, are the real heretics.

Will the real heretics please stand up?

1 Corinthians 11: 17But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions(factions, heretics) among you. And I believe it in part,d 19for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

When these, who seek to divide and create sects, stand up and begin name calling..we will know who they are. They are the heretics.

But they are needed. Paul said it is so that those who are genuine can be revealed. Those who are willing to be like the Bereans, who study and walk by faith. Those who offer the same freedom to others. Those who limit our freedom to be like the Bereans are divisive. When you are studying and walking by faith, being like the Bereans and you are labeled a ‘heretic’ by a sectarian, then you have received a truth telling that you are genuine. The believers will then look for fruit. Are you just stirring the pot just to stir it? Or are you walking your friends through freedom in Christ? If you bear no fruit, then you are no different than those real heretics..you’re just causing more sectarianism.

Discovering truth is not just to cause problems like some class clown does in grade school. Discovering truth is to bring people to freedom.

The recent revealing of Rob Bell’s upcoming book, ‘Love Wins’ has caused quite a stir in the faith community. He presents some of the questions that people have been secretly asking for many years. His introduction video presents topics that Anne Hutchinson brought up many years ago that landed her in prison. We live in a time when we are protected from such treatment for disagreeing with someone’s theology. No matter what Rob Bell’s book reveals about his beliefs, he has shown courage to stand up and present his views in the face of the Christianity community.

When we see disagreements about the interpretation of the Bible, look for the fruit. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: because against such there is no law. {Galatians 5:22-23} When you see people openly disagreeing with Rob Bell, or any other writer, speaker, or blogger, is their fruit among their disagreeing? Any sort of insult, belittling, or accusations are not of the fruit of the spirit. That would be a work of the flesh, a work called strife. {Galatians 5:20}

John 13:35 “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Sisterlisa


Biblical argument for Gays

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