Whistling Pines’ Barbie God: Between But and Rather

Whistling Pines’ Barbie God: Between But and Rather

This blog is part two of two blogs inspired by a sermon called “Barbie God” by Pastor Scott Wiens.  Here is the link to the first blog.  Usually, when I quote verbal or written messages by people who believe in eternal torment, these people accuse me of taking their words out of context.  Since I will quote from “Barbie God” throughout this blog, I encourage you to click here and listen to the message in its entirety.  That way you can be a fair judge of whether I have taken Scott’s words out of context.

Today’s religious system is the modern-day version of the Pharisaical system.  

In his message, Scott notes a classic confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees (religious leaders) and points out that there are two major sections in their discussion: Jesus talking about the Father and Jesus’s identity as it relates to the Father.

The scriptures are Matthew 7:21-23 and John 8:37-59:

[Jesus said,] “Not every one who is saying to me ‘Lord, lord,’ shall come into the reign of the heavens; but he who is doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, lord, have we not in thy name prophesied? and in thy name cast out demons? and in thy name done many mighty things?’ and then I will acknowledge to them, that – I never knew you, depart from me ye who are working lawlessness.”

[Jesus said,] “I have known that ye are seed of Abraham, but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you; I – that which I have seen with my Father do speak, and ye, therefore, that which ye have seen with your father – ye do.”

[The Pharisees] answered and said to him, “Our father is Abraham.”

Jesus saith to them, “If children of Abraham ye were, the works of Abraham ye were doing; and now, ye seek to kill me – a man who hath spoken to you the truth I heard from God; this Abraham did not; ye do the works of your father.”

They said, therefore, to him, “We of whoredom have not been born; one Father we have – God.”

 Jesus then said to them, “If God were your father, ye were loving me, for I came forth from God, and am come; for neither have I come of myself, but He sent me; wherefore do ye not know my speech? because ye are not able to hear my word. Ye are of a father – the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do; he was a man-slayer from the beginning, and in the truth he hath not stood, because there is no truth in him; when one may speak the falsehood, of his own he speaketh, because he is a liar – also his father. And because I say the truth, ye do not believe me. Who of you doth convict me of sin? and if I speak truth, wherefore do ye not believe me? he who is of God, the sayings of God he doth hear; because of this ye do not hear, because of God ye are not.”

The Jews, therefore, answered and said to him, “Do we not say well, that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a demon?”

 Jesus answered, “I have not a demon, but I honour my Father, and ye dishonour me; and I do not seek my own glory; there is who is seeking and is judging; verily, verily, I say to you, if any one may keep my word, death he may not see – to the age.”

The Jews, therefore, said to him, “Now we have known that thou hast a demon; Abraham did die, and the prophets, and thou dost say, If any one may keep my word, he shall not taste of death – to the age! Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who died? and the prophets died; whom dost thou make thyself?”

Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing; it is my Father who is glorifying me, of whom ye say that He is your God; and ye have not known Him, and I have known Him, and if I say that I have not known Him, I shall be like you – speaking falsely; but I have known Him, and His word I keep; Abraham, your father, was glad that he might see my day; and he saw, and did rejoice.”

The Jews, therefore, said unto him, “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and Abraham hast thou seen?”

Jesus said to them, “Verily, verily, I say to you, Before Abraham’s coming – I am.”

They took up, therefore, stones that they may cast at him, but Jesus hid himself, and went forth out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

After reading through the scriptures, Scott says:

So, what’s the main problem here?… The Pharisees had in their minds a concept of Who God was.  The God that Jesus was introducing them to didn’t fit that mold.  Face it.  Think about it.  The God that they knew was the strict, stern God from the Old Testament that came out of the law… Yet the Pharisees had done something through the “obedience” to the law, they had turned this obedience into rigid religion, and therefore, they had shaped and fashioned a god who was truly not the God that Jesus knew… So there was the communication breakdown… And it made me think, how many of us have a warped sense of who God is?  How many of us have consciously or unconsciously created… our own Barbie god?  A god that we have dressed up according to our preferences, a god that we have formed and shaped and accessorized so he’s pleasing to our eyes, yet indeed, it isn’t the God  that Jesus introduces us to… How you view God is the most important thing in your life.  And I think it’s up to us to ask the tough questions about how we view God… How do I view God?  What do I base this belief on?  Is my view of Who God is correct?  How can I tell if it’s correct or not?  How does my view of God impact my relationship and how does my view of God impact my life?  If we are truly seeking the Lord, these questions should not scare us.  Yet in the back of our minds, sometimes when we read this and go, “I don’t know if I want to know that,” as Christians we run the risk of doing exactly what the Pharisees did.  We can create our own Barbie god and accessorize him as he is most palatable to us.

Up until this point in the sermon, I agree with almost everything Scott says.  The Pharisees do have the wrong idea of Who God is.  That’s why they don’t recognize Jesus Christ as the Messiah.  Eugene Peterson explains this phenomena beautifully:

Imagine yourself moving into a house with a huge picture window overlooking a lake with a grand view of mountains beyond. Snow-capped mountains, beautiful mountains. You have a ringside seat, before all of this beauty, the cloud formations, the wild storms, the entire spectrum of sun- illuminated colors, and the rocks and the trees and the wildflowers and the water. At first you’re just captivated by this view. You sit and you stand and you look and admire; you catch your breath. Several times a day you interrupt your work and stand before this window to take in the majesty and the beauty. And then one day you notice some bird droppings on the glass, and you get a bucket of water and a towel and you clean it. A couple of days later, a rainstorm leaves the window streaked and the bucket comes out again. One day some visitors with a tribe of small dirty-fingered children come, and the moment they leave you notice there are smudge marks all over the window. They’re hardly out of the door before you have the bucket out again. You’re so proud of that window, and it’s such a large window. But it’s incredible how many different ways foreign objects can attach themselves to that window, obscuring the vision, distracting from the vision. Keeping that window clean now becomes compulsive neurosis. You accumulate ladders and buckets and squeegees. You construct scaffolding outside and one inside; you have to get to all the difficult corners and heights. You end up having the cleanest window in North America, but it’s now been years since you’ve looked through it. You’ve become a Pharisee.

A.W. Tozer writes, “The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is and substitutes for the true God one made after its own likeness.”  The Pharisees are rebuked by Jesus Christ on a regular basis.  In fact, they seem to be the only ones who stir up His anger.  Jesus applies ideas in Isaiah 29* to the religious leaders: “in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”  The heart of Pharisaical doctrine is that they were “confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else” (Luke 18:9). The Pharisees’ view of God was that God counted them as righteous.  In their eyes, they, the Pharisees, were the only ones who were seriously pursuing God in the right way.  Because of this, they felt like they had the right to point out the sins of others.

I imagine that Scott will continue in the same line of reasoning throughout the sermon, that he will explain how the Pharisee’s view of Who God is differs from Jesus’s view of Who God is, and that he will bring all these ideas together as he answers the questions he proposes.  I expect that that those answers will be based on Who JESUS says God is, not based on Who PEOPLE say God is.  Unfortunately, Scott devotes most of his sermon to the the latter and barely touches on the former.  By the time he’s done, his message is stained by the modern Pharisaical system.  Scott begins by explaining two competing views of God:

1. “ultra-justice-Barbie-God”

2. “sloppy-agape-Barbie-God”

There are many other views of God, as well.  A God that is truly ultra-justice (with no love, grace, or mercy) would either destroy everyone or would never have created us in the first place.  A God that is truly sloppy-love (with no justice or judgment) would allow His Kingdom to be overcome by evil and darkness. Neither view is accurate.  So there’s no way that trying to find a happy middle or the right mixture of the two views will result in an accurate view of God.  Just like the old saying goes, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”  At one point, Scott suggests that if you are humble enough, you can experience both views.  I reject this idea.  Instead of getting bogged down in semantics and petty arguments, it would be more productive for me (to do the “hold on to what is good” part of our responsibility as believers to “test everything; hold on to what is good”) to run with the ideas that ring true and discard the rest, concerning the two views Scott names.  Specifically, I agree with the suggestions Scott gives later on in his sermon:

…admit that you didn’t have it figured out. […] Ask for God to reveal His true self to you.  How many times have you done that?  I mean, literally said, “God, reveal to me Who You are, show me Who You are, show me truth…”  I don’t just sit here holding on to my suitcase, saying, “I’m comfortable, right here.”  Immerse yourself in God’s Word.”

Here’s the thing.  The suggestions above are true and right and good for many reasons.  But Scott’s suggestions are also church-speak for ideas that are contrary to the way Jesus taught us how to know God.  On the surface, the suggestions mean one thing, but dig a little deeper, and the suggestions are really just lip-service.  To say, “admit that you don’t have it figured out” is one thing.  To actually DO this, is another.  To ask God to “reveal His true self” is one thing, to believe God when He does, is another.  To claim, “I don’t just sit here holding on to my suitcase, saying, ‘I’m comfortable, right here'” is easy.  To actually let go of the suitcase and venture out of that comfort zone is not so easy.  What does it mean, to immerse yourself in God’s Word?  Does it mean reading a set of verses over and over until you hear God speak to you?  How can you be sure that it is God speaking and not Tradition?  What is God’s Word?  Is it the Bible?  As you read on, I will answer these questions.

First, the only way that we are really going to understand Who God is and what God does is if God reveals Himself to us.  Sure, being humble is necessary.  Our asking and really meaning it when we ask is part of the process.  However, just as grants repentance and the faith of Christ for salvation – the humility, sincerity, and desire for truth that we need to have in order to gain even an elementary understanding of Who He is are gifts from God given to people who did nothing to earn or deserve them.  If we should find that we possess a change of mind about God (repentance), or we possess the faith of Christ, or humility, or sincerity, or the desire for truth, our hearts should be filled with gratitude toward God, because He is the One Who gave us these qualities.  But if we attribute these qualities to ourselves, as if we have somehow conjured them up by sheer will or human decision (Phi. 1:29, Gal. 2:8) then, as Peterson writes, “You end up having the cleanest window in North America, but it’s now been years since you’ve looked through it. You’ve become a Pharisee.” The Pharisees perverts the law by making himself out to be better than everyone else, because he makes a decision to keep the law.  Modern Pharisees pervert grace by making themselves out to be better than everyone else, because they made the decision to open the gift wrap and receive the free gift of salvation.

Perhaps this situation could also be likened to Peterson’s window – we, humanity, are all sitting in the dark in a house in the mountains.  One day, God installs windows.  Suddenly the rooms are flooded with light, and some of us turn our heads and see the mountains. But we find a way to pervert even this.  We say that the reason we see the mountains is that we made the decision to turn our heads and look out the window.  We think that everyone else could see, if they made the decision to do so, but they don’t make that decision.  We forget that God gave us eyes to see the light, and that the only reason we turned our heads and saw the mountains was because the urge to do so was irresistible.  This mentality is demonstrated in Scott’s altar call at the end of the sermon.  :

If you have not yet made the decision to experience God, for, I mean, the decision to really experience God, where you don’t know Jesus Christ, and you want to know Him, you [say], “What [Scott] said today,” what God told you today, [you] said, “That’s the God I want to know, Scott.”  If you haven’t made that decision, I really would love for you to come up.  And you want to make that decision.  We can pray you, pray with you, and we can help you make that decision today.  For the rest of us, I’m going to lead us in a prayer… “Heavenly Father, we are humbled that you revealed yourself to me and to everyone here.  We’re humbled to know that the great and powerful and mighty God of the universe has chosen to have a relationship with us.  We’re humbled by that, Father, and Lord, we live in a fallen world… “

Second, what does it look like, to “admit that you don’t have it figured out”?  I must dig through my old journals to answer this question.

[About an hour later…]

Okay.  I just got digging through my journals to find an example of “admit that you don’t have it figured out,” and I realized that this is going to be more than just a two blog series!  This is just too important to try to fit into two blogs.  For now, here is a journal excerpt from June 2008.  Keep in mind that at the time, I had just completed a two year study on church history, and I was convinced that as believers, we were missing something very, very important in our understanding of Who God is and what God does.  But, I had not yet discovered what it was that we were missing.  Also keep in mind that I was still very much a part of the broken system of institutional church.  This journal entry is a written prayer addressed to God:

When John the Baptist asked, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.  Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”  He goes on to say, “Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he…”  What does that mean for me, God?  “From the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.”  …Lord, I want all you have for me.  I have tasted the sweetness of hearing Your voice, and I want more.  I want You to speak to me, show me, tell me, like You did for Isaiah and Jeremiah.  I want to hear Your words clearly, see the whole picture, understand with an understanding that can only come from You.  Let me borrow the very words of my Savior as a prayer of praise to You – “I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.”  Jesus said, “No one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”  Jesus has chosen to reveal the Father to me.  So I pray, almighty God, in the power of Your Spirit and the name of Jesus, to know my God, to hear His voice, to be used in a mind blowing way during the next 30-40 years until I die… You to told us to ask you to “send workers into His harvest field.”  I am asking.  Show me.  Tell me.  Where is the crop?  Where is the sickle?  God, You said to me, through Your Son, Jesus Christ, in your word, “The knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of Heaven has been given to you, but not to them.  Whoever has will be given more…” I have been given and believing You and what You said, I expect to be given more, not because of me or any thing I did to deserve it, but because of You and the fact that You said it.  You do not lie.  So, I give You glory by expecting more.  What if I have been appointed only a certain mount of revelation?  Can I ask for more?  I believe I can, based on the story of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15.  “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the Master’s table.”  I believe one crumb in answered prayer from You is enough to feed me for a lifetime.  So give me my crumb!  “Woman, you have great faith.  Your request is granted.”  This is what Jesus said.  Do I lack faith?  Then I ask for more faith.  Jesus said, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”   Lord, I believe for more faith, and I ask for more faith.  I believe You will reveal yourself to me in a very big way.  I believe my life and the lives of those around me who see Your light will be turned upside down.  I believe You will allow me to be a part of Your worldwide revival of the body of Christ.  Let me see it, Lord.  What are you doing?  How are you doing it?  What is my part?  Speak to me.  “Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to Heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.”  Fill me with Your Spirit.  Let me see Your glory on display in the lives of those around me and in my life.  You promised the abundant life.  It has been amazing so far, but I know there’s more.  Send your angels to rescue the religiously imprisoned people.  Bind up Satan and have at it.  I am so ready for You to pour out Your Spirit in this world.  I try to explain this, but no one seems to understand.  Open their eyes!  Paul and Barnabas spoke boldly for You…  Do this for me.  Let me speak boldly, and let the words you give me to speak be backed by the power of Your Spirit.  Just as your word spread throughout the known world to the lost, let your word go out to the religiously imprisoned people.  Bring the church to a perfectly functioning state!  Bring healing in your wings… Help us to be ready.  It’s time for a miracle of Biblical proportions in the hearts, minds, and spirits of believers all around the world.  Let us unite in the name of Jesus and the power of Your Spirit, to do the work the Father has prepared us to do since the beginning of time.  You told Daniel, “the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end… those who are wise will understand.”  Lord, give me wisdom so that I can understand.

God waited three months to answer this prayer.  That’s why I decided to lengthen this blog series.  Let me put this into perspective.  I am not tooting my own horn here, saying, “Oh look at me, and how great I was at admitting I didn’t have it all figured out.”  The best way that I know how to relate an idea to someone is to give a real-life example.  It just so happens that I knew that there was a real-life example recorded in my journal from 2008 in my closet.  It was convenient, accessible, and personal.  So I used it.  I know very well that there are other people who probably were better at this “admit that you don’t have it figured out” thing than me, but they aren’t here writing this blog.  So there you have it.

Notice that Jesus pointed to what He does as an answer to John’s question.  That hasn’t changed.  We can know God the Father, because He has put Himself on display for us in flesh and blood – Jesus Christ, the image of God.  If we want to know the Father, we don’t go about knowing the Father by hoping to find the right balance between two inaccurate ideas of Who the Father is, we find out by looking at Jesus Christ, the Word of God.  If we think God is ultra-justice or sloppy-agape, we look at Jesus Christ, the Word of God.  We ask for a crumb.  We see ourselves as no more and no less than anyone else to whom God has chosen to reveal Himself.  We recognize that if we have faith, it is because God gives faith.  The wise and learned teach terrible things about the Father, and children have enough sense to ask hard questions about what they hear – are we willing to reevaluate our views with the hearts of a children, or are we just too high and mighty for such nonsense?  If someone had asked me what “the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end… those who are wise will understand” means in June 2006, I would have had an answer for them.  And that answer would have been wrong.  Why?  Because God had not revealed Himself to me at that point.  Sure, I was a believer – I was “saved” (if we must keep misusing that word) – I was “born of the Spirit”, but I barely knew my spiritual Father.  I had spent a lifetime being taught in a Pharisaical system being taught wrong ideas about my Father.  It took two years of studying the system to become convinced that this “Father” was NOT MY FATHER.  But I did not yet have accurate knowledge to replace the inaccurate knowledge.  There needs to be an UNLEARNING before there can be a learning.  There is no such thing as admitting you don’t have it all figured out, if in the very next breath, you have it figured out.  Scott prays:

We ask that You would clear our minds and hearts and that no more, Father, would we dress up a God that is not even close to You and Who You are, but rather, we would stand before the God Who reveals Himself to us.

There are two very important words in Scott’s prayer, “but” and “rather.”  Those two words are terribly important.  They are easy to say.  They work together as a nice, smooth, quick transition from error to truth.  I contend that this is the place where Jesus was crucified – between “but” and “rather”.  It the place where everything we think we already know about God is stripped naked and nailed to a cross.  It is a place of humiliation.  It is also the place where we, too, must be crucified, if we are to understand Who God is.

Comments
  • Stephen Helbig August 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    In the New Testament the principal Greek word for “know” is GINOSKO. “Ginosko” has to do with complete understanding of a matter, in both the objective and subjective senses. Objective “knowing” is gained by carefully acquiring all of the pertinent facts about a person or thing. It is the basis of “scientific inquiry”. Subjective “knowing” is gained through personal experience with the reality which lies behind the facts. Complete understanding is based upon full knowledge gained by both methods. For example, I know (objectively) that a hot stove can burn my hand However, I cannot fully “know” in the biblical sense of GINOSKO, until that most unfortunate moment when I might actually strike my hand against the stove. This experience provides me with subjective knowledge of the matter! In like manner only those who have lost sons in war truly “know” what such an experience is, just as one must give birth to a child to “know” about childbirth in the fullest sense. This is also how it is in KNOWING GOD. One must have a personal encounter, a participation in His life, if he is to truly “know” the Lord!
    Alice’s last paragraph and summation is the key To Eternal “ZOE ~ LIFE” (“GOD LIFE”), and the “Knowing” of understanding our God.
    Quoting Alice ~ It is also the place where we, too, must be crucified, if we are to understand Who God is.

  • Lanny A. Eichert August 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Alice, because of the creation of grasses and trees that require photosynthesis for life on the third day, YOU ironically have your “Barbie God” that defies the literal Scriptures.

    • admin August 15, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      I don’t understand what you are saying.

    • Lanny A. Eichert August 16, 2012 at 12:07 am

      Alice, didn’t you read my August 15, 2012 at 12:34 pm under your 12th August 2012 blog?

      And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. {Genesis 1: 12 & 13}

      Since God created photosynthesis dependent plant life such as grasses and trees on the third day, the sun which is necessary for photosynthesis had to appear twenty-four hours later as stated on day four or else plant life would have died if the creation days were anything longer than twenty-four hour solar days. I hope you know which came first, the chicken or the egg? On day three the grasses and the trees had been created with all the benefits of a full day’s sunlight so that they would survive the coming of their first evening. So because of the events of days three and four all the seven days are twenty-four hour solar days by necessity. Remember God said each day was “good” and that also means His chronology is perfectly good.

      Your disputations creates your own “Barbie God” in order to deny eternal torment, because you continue to imagine figurative meanings for words God wants you to know are literally exactly what He means; and you imagine literal meanings for words God wants you to understand idiomatically. You have not learned how sensibly God words His message to us, because you have an agenda contrary to His, making you blind to His meanings. So your “Barbie God” is supposedly an all loving all saving god who has miserably failed to be loving by saving more people than he damns to the extra horrific suffering it will cost those he delayed to save.

      • admin August 16, 2012 at 1:53 am

        Yes. I saw that. You are the one who wants to use the word “solar”, not me. It doesn’t matter to me how God kept plants alive without the sun (as we know it). God said “Let there be light.” That’s good enough for me. We have no idea what the universe was like before or while our solar system was being formed. According to Genesis, in the beginning (time) God created the heavens (space) and the earth (matter). And the matter was chaos in empty space and darkness. Just forget it, Lanny. I don’t think me engaging you about origins is such a good idea. If you want your day to be a solar day BEFORE God created a sun, then go ahead. If you think that proves eternal torment, then go ahead. Wow. You amaze me sometimes.

      • Lanny A. Eichert August 16, 2012 at 2:25 am

        Alice, God deliberately put plant life here before He turned on the sunlight so you would NOT misunderstand the twenty-four hour day necessity. You foolishly consistantly refuse God’s words here and everywhere else because you choose to not have a literal perfect Holy Bible. It is insane for you to claim to believe God. You choose to make the words of the Holy Bible mean whatever you choose to fit your end product. You’ve told that fact before. Open your eyes to see what you’ve done.

        • admin August 16, 2012 at 8:28 am

          The sun is when the sun is, and the timing of it has nothing to do with me or my intentions.

        • Lanny A. Eichert August 16, 2012 at 9:01 am

          Alice, the timing has everything to do with your rejection of God’s ORDER of everythings. Adam and Eve were NO different than your mom and dad, and so the grasses and the trees of day three were no different than they are today. You insist on complicating everything to support your own fairy tale when a simple understanding of the literal account is all that’s necessary to KNOW eternal torment is the fate of every unbeliever.

          You accept day three came before day four, so be consistent and accept the Final Judgment comes BEFORE the sentence of the Second Death Lake of Fire. Both are timed events told to us by God. You accept the first but reject the second because it means eternal torment. That’s intentions, Alice.

          • admin August 16, 2012 at 1:16 pm

            I accept that the 24 hour solar day is based on our current understanding of our solar system, which has not always been as it is now.

            • Lanny A. Eichert August 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm

              our current understanding of our solar system, which {understanding} has not always been as it is now.

              Adam and Eve lived twenty-four hour solar days from the moments they were created, dear Alice.

              You are still dodging the chronology that proves your theories all wrong: Final Judgment first, then the Lake of Fire. FINAL judgment means no retrials from the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire is eternal torment. Plain and simple, isn’t it? So believe it if you want to be saved.

              • Lanny A. Eichert August 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

                Alice, to be saved Jesus must stand in judgment in your place. He must substitute Himself for you and bare your sins on the cross. You cannot stand in judgment, not even once at the Great White Throne, if Jesus stands in judgment for you. Those who stand before the GWT in judgment cannot have Jesus stand in judgment for them at a later date. They chose to stand WITHOUT Jesus in their judgment and the GWT is God’s FINAL judging of them. Jesus is Saviour NOW, because He cannot be Saviour later, otherwise final is not final and double jeopardy happens.

                Believe it, Alice, if you wish to be saved.

                • admin August 16, 2012 at 4:44 pm

                  That’s funny, I thought that I would be saved because Jesus is my Savior, and Jesus accomplishes His purposes. I didn’t realize that Jesus said we must have chronology and the nature of judgment all figured out in order to be saved. That means there’s probably only about .01% of the population who won’t end up in hell. That sucks. Good thing you are one of the smart ones who have it all figured out, Lanny.

                  • Lanny A. Eichert August 16, 2012 at 5:08 pm

                    Alice, there are many saviors and many called Jesus, but your Barbie god isn’t going to get you to heaven. Just the opposite, it will get you to hell.

                    • admin August 17, 2012 at 12:24 am

                      And God bless you, too, Lanny. No, seriously. I smile with each comment, knowing that God is going to put your zeal to good use one day.

                  • Lanny A. Eichert August 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

                    Simple chronology makes your fairy tale impossible.

                    Final Judgement THEN the Lake of Fire is FINAL. That equals eternal torment, plain and simple, doesn’t it, Alice?

  • Mary Vanderplas August 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I agree with what you say about the Pharisees, though I think it needs to be noted that the mostly negative portrait of them in the Gospels likely reflects the later situation of conflict of the early church with the synagogue leaders as much as it does the situation in Jesus’ day. As scholars point out, the Pharisees of Jesus’ time were widely respected and were known for the most part for their sincere devotion to the divine law. But it can’t be denied, as you rightly point out, that Jesus had critical things to say where they were concerned, that he saw their self-righteous contempt for “sinners” – among other things – as antithetical to authentic religion.

    I agree that we know God only insofar as he reveals himself to us and that we can’t take credit for the qualities that lead to our knowing him and developing a relationship with him, as though they were self-generated. I don’t agree, though, with your contention that human decision has nothing to do with conversion and the life of faith. While I can appreciate your wanting to foreclose the possibility of our taking credit for our salvation (or of construing salvation as a cooperative project) by placing the emphasis on God’s initiative and action, I don’t think that denying the place of human choice squares with the biblical witness. The Bible makes it clear that the saving gift of God requires a response of faith. While it is God who calls forth and enables the human response, he does not, in my view, compel it. The decision is a real decision on our part. To say this is not to make belief and salvation a cause for self-congratulation; it is not to make faith a work by which we earn God’s favor and have grounds for elevating ourselves above others. It is simply to affirm what the Bible teaches about salvation requiring a response, a response that, in retrospect, we recognize as itself a work of God.

    I think you’re right on to assert that the way to know who God is and what he does is to look at Jesus, the final revelation of God. I agree, too, that if we are serious about wanting to know the truth of God, we must be willing to have our current beliefs and ideas about who he is corrected and changed. I like what you say about our being willing to give up what we think we know in order receive what God wants to teach us, which may well be different from what we have been steeped in and what we hold to be gospel truth. For me, the challenge is to hold doctrines loosely, not to make them into substitutes for God, and to listen with open mind and heart to alternative views that challenge my own understanding. The testimony you shared of God’s acting to answer your heartfelt prayer to know him truly is encouragement to me to seek him with the same spirit of humility and openness.

    • admin August 17, 2012 at 12:28 am

      Yeah, I’ve heard that about the Pharisees. Some people contend that Jesus actually WAS a Pharisee. As with any people-group, there are those who don’t conform to the norm of the group. I’m sure that some of the Pharisees were very likable people, like my friend(?) Pastor Scott.

  • […] next blog (here is the link) will demonstrate how today’s religious system is the modern day version of the Pharisaical […]

    • Stephen Helbig August 16, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Pharisaical ?
      What actually constitutes a pharisaical attitude, temper, or character. if you read Matthew 15:1-14, the works of the Pharisees are well described. Pharisees do not honor the Lord’s commandments, but change them into their own commandments. See Vs.3 But he (Jesus) answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
      The church system we are talking about undermines the spirit of the Bible, and lives according to their own traditions found in the literal letter of the Word of God. “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life”. Those that do not use the Spirit of the Lord when looking to the Bible as their guide, but are led by others who are blind, as is mentioned in verse 14, will fall.
      One of the outstanding attributes of the Pharisees was a confined party fellowship. Those who belonged to the sect of Pharisees were considered the elite. Those who did not were beneath contempt. It does not take a genius to recognize the fact that such is often an attitude within the ranks of the “Pharisaical” church system”. One must ask the question “who am I?”~ “or what makes me so special?” that God so loved ME, and NOT the whole world as His word declares. I too with Alice believe that it is “ONLY” by the gift and grace of our Lord that we are partakers of His Divine nature. He is indeed Savior of the World, ALL in ALL

      Vs.13 But he (Jesus) answered and said, Every plant (note~which comes from a seed), which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Vs.14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

  • Lanny A. Eichert August 16, 2012 at 2:09 am

    Alice, face the facts: your christianity has failed to dominate the world’s population in six thousand years. Of all the people that have lived and died less than one percent were your kind of christian. Your god is a huge failure and will continue to be in the remaining one seventh of earth’s remaining time.

    Now the God of the perfect literal Holy Bible will prove successful in delivering all His enemies, vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, to the eternal lake of fire without remedy, while saving only His vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory. Please notice that vessels of wrath are not re-made into vessels of mercy; instead they are destroyed. {Romans 9: 21 & 22}

    • Lanny A. Eichert August 16, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Alice, the Final Judgment comes BEFORE the sentence of the Second Death Lake of Fire and the two are not the one blended event that you try to make them. The unbeliever cannot get into the Lake of Fire without first being judged at the Great White Throne judgment; and that judgment is FINAL. God has no retrials or mistrials. Therefore the Second Death Lake of Fire is PERMANENT, which translates to eternal torment.

      That is as simple as day three comes before day four in God’s creation account given in seven twenty-four hour days. Chronology mattered to you there because you didn’t want me calling the first three days “solar” without the sun in the sky to so qualify it. Be consistent and know nobody gets tossed into the Lake of Fire without first being judged worthy of it at the FINAL Judgment after which there is NO remedy. Chronology/timing proves eternal torment.

      Chronology/timing proves your all-loving all-saving god does NOT exist and you are proven a false teacher promoting such a nonexistent god, who BTW is totally unsuccessful to date nor ever can be {successful} with the remaining time available. It is the Last Days.

      the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. … And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. {Revelation 20: 12 & 15}

      Stop fighting the Bible, Alice. Believe it and you will have life from the dead. {If you don’t, it is the Lake of Fire for you.}

      Listen to http://www.unshackled.org for true conversion stories.

  • […] This was supposed to be a two-blog series, but it turns out to be longer.  Here are the links for the first blog and the second blog. […]

  • Patrick Strickland August 16, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Hello again

    Seems you covered in this post many things i just barely hinted at in my first post, and said it in a better way then I could. LOL Praise God.

    You know there is one group that was also not covered iin his message thse who are “So spiritually minded they are no earthly good.” The funny thing is when you look at Jesus life… He was nothing but spiritually minded; but we find that he was also nothing but earthly good to all but those in the system who refused him. He raised the dead healed the sick made the lame to walk which was something they could not do, in all of their religious mindness which they mistook for being spiritual. Jesus had a true spirituality that with it he had a preformance that none could match. This infuriated them to the point where they conspired to lie about Him so they could get him killed. But the evil they intended for Him became the very thing that God used to reconcile ALL men to Him.

    So sometime in ages to come they will benefit from what Jesus did for them even though they refused Him as their Messiah. All of us will go through God’s fire All of us will be salted with His fire, and all our works will be tried by fire yet Many shall suffer loss in that day, but all shall retain the foundation they had from before the foundation of the world which is Christ. And we will all be saved (made whole which is the true meaning of the word sozo translated saved) as by fire.

    1Co 3:11-15 CLV For other foundation can no one lay beside that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (12) Now if anyone is building on this foundation gold and silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw, (13) each one’s work will become apparent, for the day will make it evident, for it is being revealed by fire. And the fire, it will be testing each one’s work – what kind it is.” (14) If anyone’s work will be remaining which he builds on it, he will get wages.” (15) If anyone’s work shall be burned up, he will forfeit it, yet he shall be saved, yet thus, as through fire.”

    We were all created in Him before the foundation of the world.

    Here is a literal quote from the greek of Colossians 1 I will first quote the KJV then I will show what the Greek actually says. Comare the difference

    Col 1:14-20 KJV In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (15) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (16) For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: (17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (19) For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; (20) And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

    Col 1:14-20 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (15) Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of ALL CREATION: (16) For IN him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are UPON THE earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all were created THROUGH him, and INTO him: (17) And he is before all, and IN him all consist. (18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn OUT OF the dead; that in all he might have the preeminence. (19) For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; (20) And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, THROUGH him TO RECONCILE ALL INTO himself; THROUGH him, I say, whether they be UPON THE earth, or in heaven.

    Therefore this foundation shall stand firm. We shall all be gathered back into Him before God is done. And the fire of God will burn out of us all that is not according to His building code, All that is not like Christ in our lives. We were all members of His body created and chosen in him before the foundation of the world and we shall all be gathered back into His body when he is done.

    Eph 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together IN ONE ALL IN CHRIST, both which are in heaven, and which are UPON THE earth; even in him:

    Grace and Peace Patrick

  • […] is the fourth blog in this series.  Here are the links for the first blog, the second blog, and the third […]

  • […] in a series to the believers at Whispering Pines.  Here are the links for the first blog, the second blog, the third blog, and the fourth blog.  This blog series is inspired by a sermon called “Barbie […]

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