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Dr. Rich: Saul didn't have much of a choice to refuse what he was told to do--that is if he wanted to see again. Why doesn't God to that to everyone?

Look at what Jonah did. Jonah rejected God call, at least initially. The apostle also could have decided he didn't want God in His life, but God knew Saul's heart and mind, and therefore God knew that Saul sincerely wanted to know truth. That's why God revealed Himself to Saul. God is willing to reveal Himself to anyone who is sincerely seeking Him and willing to obey and submit to Him. He is no respector of persons. He very rarely reveals Himself in as dramatic a way as He did to Saul on the road to Damascus, but He does reveal Himself nonetheless.

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Yes. My point was that Christians are locked into a particular set of choices that they imagine are the only available choices. You guys have done a wonderful job of illustrating my point.

I will admit that the rejection of self-evident truth may seem to present a third alternative, but it does not. The fact remains that people can only accept God's revelation of Himself or reject it. There is no third (fence-straddling) position. Hot or cold.

We must behold AND believe. We must respond to the drawing of Jesus Christ. All are drawn. Few respond. The attempt to interfere with Christ's wooing (by, for instance, insisting that He ORDERED Israelites to rape virgins, repeatedly and over long periods of time,) is not likely to encourage people to respond.

For Jehovah or against Jehovah. These are the choices. Sorry if that is too black and white, but there it is. Choose Him and choose life. Reject Him and reject life.

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We're talking objectively here. It's like you're walking into a library full of books but only one of them is completely true even though all of them claim to be. Your ultimate choices may boil down to believing the true book and believing a false book, but for all practical purposes, you have very many books to choose from.

And you'll have a hard time convincing anyone who doesn't believe in Jehovah that they should believe in Jehovah because Jehovah said to. Just because you believe in Him, that doesn't make it a logical argument. Anyone who listened to Him would already believe in Him.

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Belief in and acceptance of Christ are not primarily matters of logic. Jesus did not say, "He who has a talent for logic or has a high IQ will know I'm speaking the truth."

No. He said, "He who wants to do My Father's will shall know the doctrine, whether it comes from God or not."

He said such things as, "You did not choose me, but I have chosen you."

Also: "My sheep hear my voice."

Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit and the condition of the heart when he explained why people accept him. Faith in God and in the Bible is truly a gift from God, but it's a gift God is willing to give everyone provided they are thirsty for God's truth no matter what it is. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."

"Verily, verily I say to you, unless you become as a little child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of God." See also Mark 10: 15.

He speaks here of the necessity of being trusting and vulnerable as a young child.

Any of this relevent to you?

I'm trying to show why knowing Christ and accepting the Bible as truth is not primarily a question of logic, reason, or intelligence. Even people who are mentally challanged will be saved in God's Kingdom through faith in Christ, while very often the brilliant scholar won't be. I think this is something like Christ's words about the prostitutes and the tax collectors-- the rejects of society in his day-- who would go into the kingdom ahead of the elite.

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Belief in and acceptance of Christ is not primarily a matter of logic. Jesus did not say, "He who has a talent for logic or has a high IQ will know I'm speaking the truth."

No. He said, "He who wants to do the Father's will shall know the doctrine, whether it comes from God or not."

He said such things as, "You did not choose me, but I have chosen you."

Also: "My sheep hear my voice."

Jesus talked about the Holy Spirit and the condition of the heart when he explained why people accept him. Faith in God and in the Bible is truly a gift from God, but it's a gift God is willing to give everyone provided they are thirsty for God's truth no matter what it is. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled."

"Verily, verily I say to you, unless you become as a little child, you shall not enter the Kingdom of God."

He speaks here of the necessity of being trusting and vulnerable as a young child.

Any of this relevent to you?

I'm trying to show why knowing Christ and accepting the Bible as truth is not primarily a question of logic, reason, or intelligence. Even people who are mentally challanged will be saved in God Kingdom through faith in Christ, while very often the brilliant scholar won't be. I think this is something like Christ's words about the prostitutes and the tax collectors-- the rejects of society in his day-- would go into the kingdom ahead of the elite.

thumbsup

pk

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Of course, Jesus was speaking to people who only knew the Jewish religion and were automatically prejudiced against Roman religion. That sort of narrows down the choices to exactly what Jesus said. We live in a pluralistic society now. There are too many choices to just say, "Oh, just have faith!"

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Even Jesus offered empirical evidence (in His case, miracles) for his claims, and didn't only say to accept Him because He said so.

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Bravus: The idea that a high IQ *is* a disqualification, though, is nonsense.

Here's my sentence:

"Even people who are mentally challanged will be saved in God Kingdom through faith in Christ, while very often the brilliant scholar won't be."

A high IQ per se is not a disqualification, any more than being rich is a disqualification; yet Jesus said that it is very difficult for rich people to be saved. He wasn't saying rich people are disqualified.

Why is it so hard for the rich to be saved? We know it can't be because God dislikes the rich. Does God dislike people with high IQs? Of course not. God is no respecter of persons. He loves both rich and poor, and the intelligent and the not-so-intelligent. They're all equal in His sight.

So it must be due to the difference in the way those people respond to God.

I think the difference is alluded to in Christ's words, "Truly, truly I say to you, unless you become as a little child, you cannot possibly enter the kingdom of God."

Your thoughts?

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SivartM: Even Jesus offered empirical evidence (in His case, miracles) for his claims, and didn't only say to accept Him because He said so.

He pointed to the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament as the strongest proof that He is who He claims to be. That is still one of the strongest proofs that He is the Messiah.

No other religion (aside from Judeo-Christianity) has these kinds of prophecies which can be proven to have been fulfilled within history. Buddhism, Hinduism and Taoism aren't concerned with history, so the scriptures of those religions don't even attempt to prophesy historical events like the Bible does. The Qur'an has prophecies, but they are based on what we find in the Bible.

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SivartM: Even Jesus offered empirical evidence (in His case, miracles)...

OK, but look how few people were convinced by them and went on to be His disciples. Very few. And even some of those few fell away. Judas saw dozens of real miracles, yet they didn't keep him from helping to have Christ murdered. Therefore, we can say for sure that miracles are not the strongest support for belief and faith.

Are you sure the miracles of Jesus were "empirical evidence"? How are you using the word?

Herod wanted empirical evidence-- experimental and observable proof-- but Jesus chose not to give it to him.

Ever wonder why he didn't? Doubtless a mere human with miracle-working power would have performed a miracle in order to impress the king, but not Jesus. I think Jesus realized that miracles can be a weak foundation for true belief.

Do you feel you need a miracle to believe in Him?

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Yeah, sorry John317, I didn't phrase my comment carefully enough, and I was also kind of launching off from what you wrote, rather than directly responding to it. I was talking about a tendency we see in the church - and reflected here on this site, which is a mirror of the larger church, albeit not a fully representative one - to argue that being unintelligent is somehow *better*. Actually, that's not quite it, since intelligence isn't really something we can do much about: we're stuck with it, whatever we're given. The issue is really about knowledge versus ignorance, and there's a definite tendency in some quarters to treat knowledge as bad or dangerous and ignorance as virtue.

Jesus did say what you said about rich people, but oddly he never said anything about how hard it is for an educated person to make it into the kingdom. On the contrary, the Bible is full of 'study to show thyself approved', 'come, let us reason together' and the commendation to the Bereans for the energetic and critical study. God wants us to learn, he made us with a desire to learn.

Being like a little child means having the faith of a child. It doesn't mean being ignorant like a child, and it means 'child-like', not 'childish'. http://www.goingthewongway.com/263/difference-between-childish-and-child-like/

Knowledge saves us from irrational fears... and protects us from the things we should rationally fear.

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I didn't mean to give the impression that being ignorant is better than being knowledgeable. Nor did I intend to say that God wants people to be unintelligent. I don't know too many people in history who were more intelligent than Moses, bit's interesting that the Bible also refers to him as a man of great humility. And it's obvious that the Apostle Paul was very intelligent and highly educated for his day, but again Paul had to go from being a proud Pharissee to the point where he had to rely on God and on God's people like a little child. It took a traumatic experience to bring this change about. Yet God did it because He knew Saul's sincere and honest heart.

I think that it has to do with the way very educated and intelligent people frequently respond to God. They are often not teachable and humble. Pride in his abilities, his sense of independence, therefore, too often make it difficult for him to submit to God and acknowledge his inability to understand everything God has revealed and the necessity of simply trusting God when he can't explain everything. For that reason Jesus chose mostly simple, uneducated fishermen and common laborers, not the "college graduates" and the Ph.D.'s of his time. I'm not saying all very intelligent people are like that. They're not. Loma Linda where I live is full of some of the most brilliant minds alive, yet many of them trust God with the simple faith of a child and believe implicitly in God's word because it is God's word.

"He who with sincere and teachable spirit studies God's word, seeking to comprehend its truths, will be brought in touch with its Author; and, except by his own choice, there is no limit to the possibilities of his development." Ed 125

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...Being like a little child means having the faith of a child. It doesn't mean being ignorant like a child, and it means 'child-like', not 'childish'. http://www.goingthewongway.com/263/difference-between-childish-and-child-like/

Yes, you right about this, of course, and I didn't mean to imply that God wants people to be childish. As a former child-care worker, I had lots of experience with boys who were over 6 feet tall yet acted their age of 14 or 15. They had big bodies and looked like an adult but they were so, so childish. By the way, how many times have we seen grown, and highly intelligent, mature, men on the Forum, who show they can be quite childish?

So I do know exactly what you mean all right. :-)

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He pointed to the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament as the strongest proof that He is who He claims to be. That is still one of the strongest proofs that He is the Messiah.

thumbsup I would like to say, although the prophetic Word is perhaps the strongest argument for revealing Jesus and the Father for Who They are when one is attempting to reveal them to another, the strongest evidence to me is the past and ongoing change They have made in my heart, evidenced constantly by me, and sometimes evidenced by people close to me.

I'm somewhat certain there is never evidence some are willing to admit as enough to which to yield their pride. It is easy to make either wealth or intelligence one's god.

Blessings! peace

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LifeHiscost: the strongest evidence to me is the past and ongoing change They have made in my heart, evidenced constantly by me, and sometimes evidenced by people close to me.

This is a great point, I think. Bravus was talking about the importance of experience. Well, our personal experience, as we look back on our life and see how God has led us, is the one piece of evidence that nothing can disprove. At least that's the way it is with me. I know what He has done in my life and it has been ongoing now for over 5 years. I can see also how He was influencing some things in my life during all those waisted years when I wasn't doing His will. I was doing many bad things, but I think the prayers of many Christians kept me from totally rejecting God. I had parents and other church members that I didn't even know about who were praying constantly for me. I have no doubt at all that those prayers made all the difference in the world. I don't know how else to account for the fact that my Catholic friend and I both decided about the same time-- and without discussing it-- that we wanted Christ in our lives and also wanted to join the SDA church. It was a great change, and required us to make a hard decision to leave our friends and stop doing things that up to that point were everything to us.

By the way, the first book of John talks a lot about the security of the Christian being his obedience to God's commandments. As we see God leading us to a life conformed to His will, we will have day by day all the proof we need that Christ is really alive and active in our life.

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Some really great posts John and LHC. I totally agree. Especially the point about, when Jesus said we need to have the faith of a child, and how EGW explains what Jesus meant with this statement. I used to always wonder about that, but the older I've become and can really see it much better. When my daughter was really little and I would ask her to jump to me, that I would catch her! She trusted (had faith) that I would not let her fall. Now with my grandson I see the same thing happening. I think this is the kind of faith that Jesus wants us to have for the our Father in heaven.

pk

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By the way, the first book of John talks a lot about the security of the Christian being his obedience to God's commandments. As we see God leading us to a life conformed to His will, we will have day by day all the proof we need that Christ is really alive and active in our life.

thumbsup

I always appreciate your testimony, John. I've never seen one of your posts that did not reflect the light of Jesus, something I can't always say about my own. It isn't that His light isn't available to all. Just that sometimes neglect and lack of applying the necessary discipline clouds His willing efforts on our behalf.

And I'm highly in concert with you as you have repeated how our Father worked in your life before you made the commitment to Him. Praise God for the accepted promise,

"You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you." John 15:16 NKJV

And I know there are others on this forum with which the same

thing could be said.

Joy!! peace

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Some really great posts John and LHC. I totally agree. Especially the point about, when Jesus said we need to have the faith of a child, and how EGW explains what Jesus meant with this statement. I used to always wonder about that, but the older I've become and can really see it much better. When my daughter was really little and I would ask her to jump to me, that I would catch her! She trusted (had faith) that I would not let her fall. Now with my grandson I see the same thing happening. I think this is the kind of faith that Jesus wants us to have for the our Father in heaven.

pk

thumbsup

Blessings!! peace

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