Christian Doctrine: I Did Not Make It, It Is Making Me

 

“Do you see my bookshelves over there?” All heads would turn toward the thousands of books surrounding them in my classroom. “Do you think that’s real wood?” I would offer. “It feels like vinyl,” one would say, hands close enough to touch. “But it looks like real wood!” another would say.

I would then show them the back edge of an extra shelf; exposed particle board greeted their gaze. “Now the advertisement says,” I continued, “I can pick from cherry or walnut grains. But in all honesty, I’m simply buying a thin veneer of plastic, covering pressed wood.” My bookshelf illustration was about to bring home the truth. “This is exactly what false teaching is like,” I concluded, “It looks right, at first glance, but upon further inspection, it is shown to be wrong. Heresy depends on attracting our attention, then leading us astray.”

The word “heresy” comes from the Greek word meaning “to choose.” Any move toward heresy, toward falsehood, is choosing to step away from biblical teaching. As Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.” And there is the issue. What we believe, creates how we live. I think the Christian singer Rich Mullins said it best:

And I believe what I believe, is what makes me what I am / I did not make it, no it is making me / It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.

God’s truth is no veneer, no human invention. Yes, my bookshelves are still fake wood. But Christian Truth, the teaching of Scripture, makes us who we are, helping us keep a close watch on our life and doctrine. We embody God’s Truth for all to see.

For Truth in Two, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, president of the Comenius Institute, personally allowing God’s Truth to make me what I am.

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Published in Religion & Philosophy
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  1. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Speaking of books, I heard a story on the news yesterday that due to the shortages of wood pulp, to make paper and paper goods, there are now shortages again. That includes new books, so publishers are hitting the skids. Back orders piling up.  Another reason they are pushing to go digital. Then they can control what is published.  A real book that you can hold or give as a gift may become much more special.

    • #1
  2. Mark Eckel Coolidge
    Mark Eckel
    @MarkEckel

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Speaking of books, I heard a story on the news yesterday that due to the shortages of wood pulp, to make paper and paper goods, there are now shortages again. That includes new books, so publishers are hitting the skids. Back orders piling up. Another reason they are pushing to go digital. Then they can control what is published. A real book that you can hold or give as a gift may become much more special.

    I’m not sure that I really “like” this comment ;) but it is another reason to be troubled.

    If it’s not too much trouble, I would really appreciate the link if you can dig it up.

    Gratitude in advance.

    • #2
  3. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Interesting.  I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video.  How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations?  There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity.   From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them?  And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes?  Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy?  Just some interesting questions that came to me.  I don’t know if they are answerable.  

    • #3
  4. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.”  I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.   

    • #4
  5. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Mark Eckel:

    As Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely.” … What we believe, creates how we live. I think the Christian singer Rich Mullins said it best:

    And I believe what I believe, is what makes me what I am / I did not make it, no it is making me / It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.

     

    I can agree with Paul’s words, Mark’s words, and Rich’s words.  And I miss hearing new words from Paul and Rich, but they both left treasure troves of thought, Paul’s a bit more reliable, but Rich was one of a kind.  I discovered this past year, there are recordings of live sessions where he talks, plays the piano, and sings.  

    • #5
  6. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity.  Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will.  Some only support adult baptism.  Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit.  Some insist you have to speak in tongues.  Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary.  What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    • #6
  7. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity. Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will. Some only support adult baptism. Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Some insist you have to speak in tongues. Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    Jesus Christ was born, crucified, died, buried, and rose on the third day.  And each individual gets to decide.   It’s even more simple than this, but this elaborates to a point of understanding.  

    • #7
  8. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity. Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will. Some only support adult baptism. Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Some insist you have to speak in tongues. Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    Biblically, the Root is Jesus Christ himself.

    • #8
  9. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity. Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will. Some only support adult baptism. Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Some insist you have to speak in tongues. Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    Jesus Christ was born, crucified, died, buried, and rose on the third day. And each individual gets to decide. It’s even more simple than this, but this elaborates to a point of understanding.

    The question concerned heresy. So as long as you believe in that, nothing else is heresy?  

    • #9
  10. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity. Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will. Some only support adult baptism. Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Some insist you have to speak in tongues. Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    Biblically, the Root is Jesus Christ himself.

    Muslims believe in concept of Christ. So do Mormons. Are their versions of Jesus heretical?

    • #10
  11. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity. Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will. Some only support adult baptism. Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Some insist you have to speak in tongues. Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    Jesus Christ was born, crucified, died, buried, and rose on the third day. And each individual gets to decide. It’s even more simple than this, but this elaborates to a point of understanding.

    The question concerned heresy. So as long as you believe in that, nothing else is heresy?

    If one truly believes, I’m not sure anything else matters.  But here is where the thinking goes one way or another and where one person or group can say, I think this way and you should too or I do this and you should too. 

    Heresy is probably not the best choice of words if the aim is to address Christianity as a whole and your thoughts and question highlight this.  Pointing to a relatively contemporary source as saying it best is, well, better. 

    And I believe what I believe, is what makes me what I am / I did not make it, no it is making me / It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.

    • #11
  12. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Manny (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity. Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will. Some only support adult baptism. Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Some insist you have to speak in tongues. Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    Biblically, the Root is Jesus Christ himself.

    Muslims believe in concept of Christ. So do Mormons. Are their versions of Jesus heretical?

    Frankly, I don’t think any sect of Christianity has a perfect dogma or doctrine.  And functionally, none models it either.  Interestingly, here on Ricochet is where I got most of the final impetus to see Christians as Christians apart from their sect or doctrinal beliefs.  In fact I more and more come to believe that believing on Jesus’ name alone can and does confer salvation, as a condition or the heart.  Furthermore, I’ve always been curious about those who lived without the knowledge of even the name of Christ, but whom God says will be judged according to their consciences and naturally doing what is right.

    Also, the Bible says that Scripture is not a matter for personal interpretation, and it may be argued that a believer will be led by the Holy Spirit into the one correct interpretation of the Bible and the accurate understanding of God and our relationship with Him, but that belief seems to more often cause schism rather than unity of the body.  And anyway, who am I to judge another man’s servant?

    And a confirmation of this, if you will, came from reading a book (a short book, which I’m still reading) which chronicles those who suffered for decades under communism, and how the author seems to indicate that those who are willing to die, and perhaps more powerfully willing to live in torture rather than recant, to live for Christ alone, apart from arguments over doctrine, come from all sects of Christianity, from Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran and Baptist, etc.

    The Bible seems to teach that if you believe in anything beyond the name of Jesus, it must be that He was the Son of God, and rose from the dead.

    • #12
  13. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Mark Eckel (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    Speaking of books, I heard a story on the news yesterday that due to the shortages of wood pulp, to make paper and paper goods, there are now shortages again. That includes new books, so publishers are hitting the skids. Back orders piling up. Another reason they are pushing to go digital. Then they can control what is published. A real book that you can hold or give as a gift may become much more special.

    I’m not sure that I really “like” this comment ;) but it is another reason to be troubled.

    If it’s not too much trouble, I would really appreciate the link if you can dig it up.

    Gratitude in advance.

    Yes – here it is:

    https://www.npr.org/2021/10/04/1043145212/supply-chain-issues-are-slowing-the-production-of-books-ahead-of-the-holidays

     

    • #13
  14. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Manny (View Comment):
    There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity.   From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them?

    Not necessarily heretical. Just wrong sometimes.

    Heresy is more than just error.

    I think the Nicene Creed is a very good line for identifying the difference.

    • #14
  15. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity. Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will. Some only support adult baptism. Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Some insist you have to speak in tongues. Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    Jesus Christ was born, crucified, died, buried, and rose on the third day. And each individual gets to decide. It’s even more simple than this, but this elaborates to a point of understanding.

    The question concerned heresy. So as long as you believe in that, nothing else is heresy?

    No. Denying Trinity and Incarnation also count. The Nicene Creed is a good summary.

    • #15
  16. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Manny (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity. Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will. Some only support adult baptism. Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Some insist you have to speak in tongues. Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    Biblically, the Root is Jesus Christ himself.

    Muslims believe in concept of Christ. So do Mormons. Are their versions of Jesus heretical?

    Yes, to the final question, in my view.  They believe in someone that they call Jesus Christ, who bears no similarity to the Jesus described in the Scriptures.

    On the nested comment about Calvinism, I don’t think that you are correct about the Calvinist view.  If you’re interested, R.C. Sprole has a pretty good series about it on YouTube (here).  You may not end up agreeing, but it might give you a better understanding of the Calvinist view. 

    The underlying question, about heresy, is a difficult one.  There is a huge chasm between Catholicism and Protestantism, which is usually ignored in public.  Debating it is contentious (which wouldn’t generally stop me) and unlikely to be effective (which does generally stop me).

    We could quote many verses.  I could quote Romans 10:9: “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  I don’t think that it answers the question fully.  What does it mean to confess?  What conception of Jesus do you have?  What does it mean that He is “Lord”?

    I can quote Paul about salvation through faith alone, and not by works, so that no one can boast.  And someone else can quote James about faith without works being dead.

    • #16
  17. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    If one truly believes, I’m not sure anything else matters.  But here is where the thinking goes one way or another and where one person or group can say, I think this way and you should too or I do this and you should too. 

    Heresy is probably not the best choice of words if the aim is to address Christianity as a whole and your thoughts and question highlight this. 

    The question is about how we know what exactly is Christianity as a whole, isn’t it? You have to just believe in what Christians just believe in, not in, e.g., Krishna.

    • #17
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Furthermore, I’ve always been curious about those who lived without the knowledge of even the name of Christ, but whom God says will be judged according to their consciences and naturally doing what is right.

    I’ve cut out this snippet to address this single issue.  I appreciated the rest of your comment.

    I think that it’s quite clear that, in Christian teaching, those who rely on their own righteousness fall short, and are condemned.  The later part of Hebrews addresses those who died before the coming of Christ, and it does indicate that there was some sort of forward-looking faith that God finds sufficient.  This is mostly from Hebrews 11, the “hall of faith” chapter, but it includes some of the preceding and subsequent material.

    • #18
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Flicker (View Comment):
    The Bible seems to teach that if you believe in anything beyond the name of Jesus, it must be that He was the Son of God, and rose from the dead.

    And, at a minimum, don’t deny the Trinity and the Incarnation.

    Michael Witmer’s Don’t Stop Believing has a GREAT chart of this stuff.

    Things you must believe. (Gospel.)

    Things you must not deny. (Trinity, Incarnation.)

    Things you should believe but may, if inadvisably, deny. (Free will, biblical inerrancy.)

    • #19
  20. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    If one truly believes, I’m not sure anything else matters. But here is where the thinking goes one way or another and where one person or group can say, I think this way and you should too or I do this and you should too.

    Heresy is probably not the best choice of words if the aim is to address Christianity as a whole and your thoughts and question highlight this.

    The question is about how we know what exactly is Christianity as a whole, isn’t it? You have to just believe in what Christians just believe in, not in, e.g., Krishna.

    I’m guessing it would be for @saintaugustine and probably Saint Augustine as well.  I would have to refresh my reading of the latter to confirm.  My comment that you are responding to cannot stand alone, but then it wasn’t alone.  

     

    • #20
  21. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    If one truly believes, I’m not sure anything else matters. But here is where the thinking goes one way or another and where one person or group can say, I think this way and you should too or I do this and you should too.

    Heresy is probably not the best choice of words if the aim is to address Christianity as a whole and your thoughts and question highlight this.

    The question is about how we know what exactly is Christianity as a whole, isn’t it? You have to just believe in what Christians just believe in, not in, e.g., Krishna.

    I’m guessing it would be for @ saintaugustine and probably Saint Augustine as well. I would have to refresh my reading of the latter to confirm. My comment that you are responding to cannot stand alone, but then it wasn’t alone.

    What’s the antecedent to “it” there?

    • #21
  22. Lawst N. Thawt Coolidge
    Lawst N. Thawt
    @LawstNThawt

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    If one truly believes, I’m not sure anything else matters. But here is where the thinking goes one way or another and where one person or group can say, I think this way and you should too or I do this and you should too.

    Heresy is probably not the best choice of words if the aim is to address Christianity as a whole and your thoughts and question highlight this.

    The question is about how we know what exactly is Christianity as a whole, isn’t it? You have to just believe in what Christians just believe in, not in, e.g., Krishna.

    I’m guessing it would be for @ saintaugustine and probably Saint Augustine as well. I would have to refresh my reading of the latter to confirm. My comment that you are responding to cannot stand alone, but then it wasn’t alone.

    What’s the antecedent to “it” there?

    “The question is about how we know what exactly is Christianity as a whole.”   I may not have understood where you were going with the thought.  I took it as a question, my guessing was in response to, Isn’t the question about how we know what exactly is Christianity as a whole?  And phrased this way, I’m not even sure I understand the question.  Which is fine.  I think we’re somewhere in the neighborhood of compatible spiritual realities. 

     

    • #22
  23. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Furthermore, I’ve always been curious about those who lived without the knowledge of even the name of Christ, but whom God says will be judged according to their consciences and naturally doing what is right.

    I’ve cut out this snippet to address this single issue. I appreciated the rest of your comment.

    I think that it’s quite clear that, in Christian teaching, those who rely on their own righteousness fall short, and are condemned. The later part of Hebrews addresses those who died before the coming of Christ, and it does indicate that there was some sort of forward-looking faith that God finds sufficient. This is mostly from Hebrews 11, the “hall of faith” chapter, but it includes some of the preceding and subsequent material.

    Jesus also says that those who didn’t know will receive less punishment.  But he also says some will say in ignorance, When did we give you water?  And he will say, When you gave it to that one who was thirsty.  

    Can a man who never heard of God or Christ look up and say, heart-felt, God forgive me?  I don’t know.  It is Jesus who weights the heart.

    • #23
  24. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    Flicker (View Comment):

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Furthermore, I’ve always been curious about those who lived without the knowledge of even the name of Christ, but whom God says will be judged according to their consciences and naturally doing what is right.

    I’ve cut out this snippet to address this single issue. I appreciated the rest of your comment.

    I think that it’s quite clear that, in Christian teaching, those who rely on their own righteousness fall short, and are condemned. The later part of Hebrews addresses those who died before the coming of Christ, and it does indicate that there was some sort of forward-looking faith that God finds sufficient. This is mostly from Hebrews 11, the “hall of faith” chapter, but it includes some of the preceding and subsequent material.

    Jesus also says that those who didn’t know will receive less punishment. But he also says some will say in ignorance, When did we give you water? And he will say, When you gave it to that one who was thirsty.

    Can a man who never heard of God or Christ look up and say, heart-felt, God forgive me? I don’t know. It is Jesus who weights the heart.

    I have always looked at it this way.

    It is keeping with God’s character not to hold one to account to what they do not know concerning His Revelation. He knows your heart. He is Omniscience. He knows what you would do with that knowledge if you had it. I believe His Grace and Mercy covers these souls.  

    • #24
  25. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):
    The Bible seems to teach that if you believe in anything beyond the name of Jesus, it must be that He was the Son of God, and rose from the dead.

    And, at a minimum, don’t deny the Trinity and the Incarnation.

    Michael Witmer’s Don’t Stop Believing has a GREAT chart of this stuff.

    Things you must believe. (Gospel.)

    Things you must not deny. (Trinity, Incarnation.)

    Things you should believe but may, if inadvisably, deny. (Free will, biblical inerrancy.)

    I believe the bible, exactly.  Along with this is an examination of Scripture what is commonly taught. Beyond that I follow Scripture to determine what to think.  And I meditate on what the Scripture means.  And Scripture variously says, Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, believe that He rose from the dead, believe on Him whom He has sent, and believe on His name.  Beyond that I’m not going to make hard and fast rules for what specific knowledge or what is required to be believed to be saved.  There often is more to God’s ways than is apparent.

    One of my favorite verses is when Jesus says to the Sadducees, You don’t know the Scriptures or the Power of God; God is not the God of the dead but of the living.

    • #25
  26. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Flicker (View Comment):

    One of my favorite verses is when Jesus says to the Sadducees, You don’t know the Scriptures or the Power of God; God is not the God of the dead but of the living.

    Didn’t believe in the resurrection, and so they were sad, you see.

    I know, I know.  An old joke, and a dumb one, too.

    • #26
  27. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Flicker (View Comment):

    One of my favorite verses is when Jesus says to the Sadducees, You don’t know the Scriptures or the Power of God; God is not the God of the dead but of the living.

    Didn’t believe in the resurrection, and so they were sad, you see.

    I know, I know. An old joke, and a dumb one, too.

    Yes, but it did make me chuckle.

    • #27
  28. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Lawst N. Thawt (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):

    Interesting. I’m curious as this thought popped up on me as I watched the video. How does one distinguish heresy between Christian denominations? There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them? And isn’t the act of “choosing” one of them just fitting one’s perspective to the theology one likes? Making one in essence the arbiter of heresy? Just some interesting questions that came to me. I don’t know if they are answerable.

    John Wesley in a sermon titled, The character of a Methodist is talking about the differences in various beliefs and states, “But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of christianity, we think and let think.” I think this concept can be extended to include “which do not strike at the base of belief in the one true God”.

    Oh, unitarians don’t believe in the Trinity. Calvinists believe everyone is predestined, and therefore no free will. Some only support adult baptism. Others believe in a Confirmation, replicating the descent of the Holy Spirit. Some insist you have to speak in tongues. Catholics believe in the Immaculate Conception of Mary. What’s the “root of Christianity” and who gets to decide?

    Jesus Christ was born, crucified, died, buried, and rose on the third day. And each individual gets to decide. It’s even more simple than this, but this elaborates to a point of understanding.

    The question concerned heresy. So as long as you believe in that, nothing else is heresy?

    If one truly believes, I’m not sure anything else matters. But here is where the thinking goes one way or another and where one person or group can say, I think this way and you should too or I do this and you should too.

    Heresy is probably not the best choice of words if the aim is to address Christianity as a whole and your thoughts and question highlight this. Pointing to a relatively contemporary source as saying it best is, well, better.

    And I believe what I believe, is what makes me what I am / I did not make it, no it is making me / It is the very truth of God and not the invention of any man.

    I agree with that.  And I agree with St. Augustine (the person on Ricochet, not the saint!) who puts the Nicaean Creed as a marker for orthodoxy.  I was more trying to understand where Mr. Eckel was coming from with his post and his claim- mind you he brought up heresy – falling into heresy.

    • #28
  29. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Flicker (View Comment):
    Furthermore, I’ve always been curious about those who lived without the knowledge of even the name of Christ, but whom God says will be judged according to their consciences and naturally doing what is right.

    I agree with your statement, the entire thing, but I wanted to highlight that part of your statement.  “God judging “doing what is right,” well in some Protestant denominations that would be considered heresy.  That would be “earning” salvation rather than faith alone.  In those Protestant circles, believe it or not, I have seen all sorts of attacks on Mother Teresa for doing good.  

    • #29
  30. Manny Member
    Manny
    @Manny

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Manny (View Comment):
    There are some very significant differences between different traditions of Christianity. From the point of view of any one of them, are the others heretical, or at least that one element of the faith that discriminates them?

    Not necessarily heretical. Just wrong sometimes.

    Heresy is more than just error.

    I think the Nicene Creed is a very good line for identifying the difference.

    I agree.  That would contain the bulk of Christians.  Not all though.

    • #30