Jump to content
Kingdom of Adventistan

What is our church doing about this?


olger

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 419
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • John317

    62

  • cardw

    53

  • Shane

    52

  • Woody

    45

Top Posters In This Topic

Quote:
For example, Cardinal Bellarmine wrote that in his day, (16th c.) "almost an infinite number" of heretics had been put to death by the church. The faith of Jesus worked for them. Thus, it would not be accurate to dismiss the Christian religion as succesfully practiced by those hundreds of millions of people, as 'imaginary' or some sort of mind game--or, as Marx famously (or infamously) put it, 'an opiate for the masses.'

And guess who was killing all those heretics? The Christian Church. With this reasoning I could say that Hitler convinced 20 million Germans to die for his cause. It must have worked. The reason Christianity has been so effective is that there is the threat of eternal torture or death if you don't comply. That's the bottom line. Now if you want to ignore certain passages and make complex arguments you can tease out a nicer form of Christian belief, but that's seems rather a convoluted way to find truth.

Now lets look at Pastors. You would think that they would represent the high mark of Christianity working. This is a collection of data made by Shiloh Place Ministries on Pastors...

Quote:
• 1,500 pastors leave the ministry permanently each month in America.

• 4,000 new churches start each year in America.

• 7,000 churches close each year in America.

• 50% of pastors' marriages end in divorce.

• 70% of pastors continually battle depression.

• 80% of pastors and 85% of their spouses feel discouraged in their roles.

• 95% of pastors do not regularly pray with their spouses.

• 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor.

• 50% of pastors are so discouraged they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way to make a living.

• 80% of pastors spend under 15 minutes a day in prayer.

• 70% of pastors only study God's Word when preparing a message.

• Nearly 40% of pastors have had an extra-marital sexual affair since entering ministry.

• 80% of seminary graduates who enter ministry will leave the ministry within the first five years.

• 80% of pastors' wives feel their husbands are overworked.

• 80% of the adult children of pastors sought professional help for depression.

• 90% of pastors said their training was inadequate for ministry.

• 85% of pastors report that their biggest problem is dealing with abstinent elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors.

• 90% of pastors said the hardest thing about ministry is uncooperative people.

• 70% of pastors are grossly underpaid.

• 80% of pastors' wives feel unappreciated by the congregation.

• 90% of pastors said ministry was completely different from what they thought it would be.

• Only 70% of pastors felt called of God into ministry when they began.

• Only 50% of pastors felt called of God into ministry three years later.

• 80% of pastors' wives feel pressured to be someone they are not and do things they are not called to do in the church.

• Over 50% of pastors' wives feel that their husbands entering ministry was the most destructive thing to ever happen to their families.

Not a pretty picture...

Quote:
These statements of yours tend to corroborate my perception of your situation. Evidently there were other, psychological factors, which could be attributed to education, parental influences, various species of perfectionism, etc., which may have affected your understanding and practice of Christianity.

Again, why does it have to be something wrong with me? Maybe it has something to do with Christianity itself. No one seems willing to explore that.

Quote:
I wonder if if might not be a good idea to get a fresh start, from the ground up, and re-build your understanding of Biblical Christianity?

Tried that too. I found out that you don't need to waste time making Christianity work. Its better to just do what works.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder whether there'd be value in starting a new thread in which you could tell us something about the faith you have now and how you've come to that, Richard. In many ways I'm in the same boat. I'm being told here repeatedly that the Bible is 'all or nothing', and yet there are parts of the Bible that are offensive enough (and I'm not talking about 'the offense of the gospel') to make me lean toward 'nothing'. But I don't want to go there, either. Is there something that can be salvaged as a faith that is Christian in essence but seeks the underlying truths of the gospel past some of what certainly seems like humans seeking Divine sanction for their own power and prejudice in the Bible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
I wonder whether there'd be value in starting a new thread in which you could tell us something about the faith you have now and how you've come to that, Richard. In many ways I'm in the same boat. I'm being told here repeatedly that the Bible is 'all or nothing', and yet there are parts of the Bible that are offensive enough (and I'm not talking about 'the offense of the gospel') to make me lean toward 'nothing'. But I don't want to go there, either. Is there something that can be salvaged as a faith that is Christian in essence but seeks the underlying truths of the gospel past some of what certainly seems like humans seeking Divine sanction for their own power and prejudice in the Bible.

I am open to do this. What ideas do you have for the name of the thread?

Maybe, "If I'm not a Christian and I don't want to believe in nothing, what am I?"

or "I just can't buy all of Christianity, but there are parts I like."

or something like that

You pick the title and post in Town Hall and I'll share my 2 cents.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
Quote:
The reason Christianity has been so effective is that there is the threat of eternal torture or death if you don't comply.

Absolutely, unequivocally not true of the Christianity I know about.

Unless you are a universalist and believe everyone will be saved, the bottom line is there will be death for those who don't agree, unless there is some neutral option I don't know about.

Plus it is not accurate to judge an entire religion by one person's subjective, positive experience.

Quote:
It is not an easy job--but then again, all but one of Jesus' closest followers were martyred. Jesus said, 'Take up the cross and follow Me.' At the same time, the statistics you cite do appear to be focusing on negatives. NOt a balanced picture, necessarily, nor taking into account all relevant factors.

I believe many people who have positive Christian experiences would have positive experiences no matter what ethical path they followed. You might note that having even one of some of those problems would be a deal killer. And many problems are well over 50 percent. And this is among the most elite of Christians, the leadership.

Quote:
At this point, it would seem appropriate to take a close look at your understanding and experience of same. Could you itemize? Make a list of the elements of Christianity as you understand them.

Maybe we can take this to another thread as Bravus suggested. One thing I would like to note. I am far more interested in how these look in real life. I noted that you cut off the last part of my statement where I stated, "Its better to just do what works." This is the complete statement that reflects my reasoning in a more accurate manner.

Quote:
Tried that too. I found out that you don't need to waste time making Christianity work. Its better to just do what works.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually I have given many online Bible Studies online and the number one lesson that gets more attention than any other is the one on hell not being a place of everlasting torture and the other is on the state of the dead. People are so relieved to learn the truth about both subjects and have written me many an email about that fact.

Link to post
Share on other sites

... there are parts of the Bible that are offensive enough (and I'm not talking about 'the offense of the gospel') to make me lean toward 'nothing'.

I am interested in knowing what parts of the Bible you find offensive. I have no doubt that God intended us to be revolted by some parts of the Bible. It is not generally a very nice picture that it paints of us.

To take a modern example in today's story telling: It is well known by people who study the stories of the Catholic American writer, Flannery O'Connor, that she intended her readers to be "shocked" at the things she wrote. She felt she had to write some very grotesque things in order to alter the consciousness of people who have become insensitive to evil. I'd like to suggest that this is what God does in much of the Bible. We're not supposed to like it. On the contrary, we're supposed to be revolted by much of it, and to say, HOW COULD THEY? HOW COULD I? HOW CAN I?

Regards,

"John 3: 17"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
But before I give you the answer I arrived at, let me please ask you a couple of related questions: The Bible says that it is wrong for a man to sleep with a woman he is not married to. It also says it is wrong for a woman to have sex with an animal. What is wrong with these things? What is so harmful about any of these practices?

Well, I would say that many people have survived these activities with no apparent harm. And it would depend on how you see the consciousness of animals.

The only harm I see coming from these activities is shame and disease. And as far as I can tell shame is based on one's beliefs around sex. I would say that if you think its wrong then don't do it. And in practical terms the risk of disease would require a weighing of the risk versus benefit. And in that case it becomes a matter of poor choices, not morality. Because morality implies some greater harm beyond the results of cause and effect.

To me, the function of ethics is to reduce suffering. We have brains, so it seems that there ought to be a multitude of approaches to this. In terms of homosexuality I think it becomes an individual solution. I think we all need intimacy and each person is going to find connections in different ways.

It seems to me that your approach to these things gives no no place for God's existence, God's law or a future judgment. Your view is completely human-centered.

Is this an accurate assessment of your viewpoint?

Regards,

"John 3: 17"

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
It seems to me that your approach to these things gives no no place for God's existence, God's law or a future judgment. Your view is completely human-centered.

Its human centered because you can't separate the human from any set of laws. Even you can't separate your humanity from your thinking and reasoning. You talk of the Bible as if it can somehow, through no demonstration of reasonable means, can talk for God. It takes some very creative and convoluted thinking to maintain the idea that the Bible is a God generated book.

Even when people claim they are following the Bible, they have no option but to follow their own interpretation of the Bible. This is, in practice, a human solution. So everybody's views are completely human centered. To claim otherwise is to claim a special understanding of God's mind, which is blasphemous by your own book.

I am responding here and in the new topic labeled "Post-Christianity"

I think most people would prefer we move this dialog to there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
Actually I have given many online Bible Studies online and the number one lesson that gets more attention than any other is the one on hell not being a place of everlasting torture and the other is on the state of the dead. People are so relieved to learn the truth about both subjects and have written me many an email about that fact.

That's certainly an upgrade, but essentially you have to come to an agreement with God or you're dead. And you have to come to an agreement possessing a depraved mind in a world, through no choice of your own, created you with a tendency to desire wrong things. And you have to accept this situation as something given to you by a God who is just.

And you then have to figure out how to explain this to all the people in the world and convince them of the same illogical mess using a book that takes an advanced understanding of various written languages, ancient cultures, apologetics, and conflicting moral systems.

And if you include Ellen White you add a whole other layer of culture, interpretation, apologetics, and mythical story telling to the set of requirements. And after all this, you still have to present the solution to all of life's problems as something so simple a child could accept it.

One simply has to look at all the various debates within Christianity itself to understand that no one really knows what it takes to be saved because its a metaphorical solution that is debated literally and in some cases enforced literally.

I'm responding to this on the Topic within the Town Hall titled "Post-Christianity"

I think most would appreciate it if we moved our dialog there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
85% of pastors report that their biggest problem is dealing with abstinent elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors.

A very interesting comment.

I might rephrase to say: 85% of pastors report that their biggest problem is pastoral staff members who are not sexually active to the level that I desire them to be! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
This is a collection of data made by Shiloh Place Ministries on Pastors...

The first problem I see with these statistics is that they seem to only focus on North America. If we are going to talk about Christianity we must consider it on a world-wide and historical scale. Most Protestants, including most Adventists, would not consider the mid-evil Catholic church which killed the martyrs an example of Biblical Christianity. I think Dave was referring to the martyrs, not the papists, as the Christians.

Secondly, I would be interested in seeing the internal statistics of the study. How many participated in their study? Which denominations were included? Had all the pastors graduated from a seminary? Was being a pastor their vocation or avocation? Were they ordained? Was there a difference in response between pastors of different ages, denominations or geographical locations? Without the internals of a study, the surface statistics may be quite misleading.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
85% of pastors report that their biggest problem is dealing with abstinent elders, deacons, worship leaders, worship teams, board members, and associate pastors.

A very interesting comment.

I might rephrase to say: 85% of pastors report that their biggest problem is pastoral staff members who are not sexually active to the level that I desire them to be! :)

I'm pretty sure, Gregory, that we all realize the reference is to obstinate elders etc. At least that is what I have observed as a mere lay-man. :) Maybe if they were more active in the way you mention they would not be so obstinate! bwink hmmm... it just occurs to me that some of us here are rather obstinate ourselves!! thatsfunny Abstinence leads to stubbornness backtopic

Link to post
Share on other sites

Quote:
That is clear OG. He wants to "witness" to us.

I wanted to let everyone know that I responded to this with a misunderstanding of Redwood's intent. I was mistaken.

Redwood emailed me privately to apologize and I wanted to publicly let him and everyone know that I apologize for my mistake as well.

I appreciate the honesty and grace that Redwood demonstrates.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.




×
×
  • Create New...