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December 23rd, 2013
03:29 PM ET

A Christmas apology, and the seeds of hope

Opinion by Rachel Held Evans, Special to CNN

(CNN) - This week we celebrate Christmas, and as a Christian, I want to say I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that this season has become about fights over manger scenes on public property, about complaining when clerks say, “Happy Holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas,” about rampant commercialism and faux persecution.

I’m sorry that Christians in the United States can be so entitled when we’ve long enjoyed majority status, when we can be so blind to our own privilege.

It is ironic, really, because in the church calendar, the seasons of Advent and Christmas call us to reflect upon and celebrate what Christians believe was the most radical act of humility of all time - the incarnation.

The doctrine of the incarnation holds that the God of the universe, in his love for humanity, emptied himself of his power and became human, like us, in the form of Jesus.

The word incarnation literally means “to make into flesh” and refers to the apostle John’s teaching that “(t)he Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14).

“No one has ever seen God,” John explains, but Jesus “has made him known.”

In other words, if you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus -

Jesus, who was born as an oppressed minority in an occupied land,

Jesus who was an immigrant,

Jesus, who surrounded himself with the poor, the sick, the marginalized and the “untouchables,”

Jesus who was criticized by the religious for hanging out with sinners,

Jesus who treated women with dignity and respect,

Jesus who taught his disciples to love their enemies, to give without expecting anything in return, to overcome evil with love,

Jesus who suffered,

Jesus who wept,

Jesus who - while hanging on a Roman cross - said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

Quaker theologian Elton Trueblood put it this way: “The historic Christian doctrine of the divinity of Christ does not simply mean that Jesus is like God. It is far more radical than that. It means that God is like Jesus.”

It means that God suffers, God forgives, God fellowships with the poor, God cares for the sick, God loves His enemies.

Even as a lifelong Christian, I struggle with doubts about God. I struggle to make sense of the violence in the world, the violence in the Bible, the violence in my own heart. I don’t have all the answers.

But even when there’s nothing left to my faith but a little seed of hope, that hope is in the incarnation, in the radical teaching that God loved us enough to become like us, and that when God wanted to show us what he was like, God showed us Jesus.

Rachel Held Evans is the author of "A Year of Biblical Womanhood" and "Evolving in Monkey Town." Evans blogs at rachelheldevans.com, and the views expressed in this column belong to her.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Christmas • Faith • Holidays • Opinion

soundoff (2,872 Responses)
  1. DJ

    "I’m sorry that Christians in the United States can be so ent.itled when we’ve long enjoyed majority status, when we can be so blind to our own privilege."

    What? Can it be that someone is actually admitting that in this country Christians are the majority and the constant complaints of them being "persecuted" are just whiny hot air?

    December 29, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  2. Why not eternity?

    The thread below was really long so I'll repost in a different thread. Saying you personally think being alive eternally would be boring isn't an argument. Boredom is a state of mind.

    December 29, 2013 at 7:39 am |
    • sam stone

      boredom is a state of mind?

      isn't happiness, or bliss also states of mind?

      are you saying we will be without our minds?

      December 29, 2013 at 8:52 am |
      • Saraswati

        True, but the oP's point is still valid. Once we are no longer attached to our current brains, our beliefs based on human mental states would be irrelevant. If a convincing third party source promised a mental state similar to human mental states that would be another subject.

        December 29, 2013 at 10:48 am |
        • sam stone

          isn't that how people describe heaven, by referencing human emotios such as happiness?

          December 29, 2013 at 10:55 am |
        • Saraswati

          Sam, yas, human or human-like emotions. But they have been told by their religion that that will be the emotion in heaven, not that humans will continue with the same human brqins we have now. They are taking the future of joy on faith. IUnless the religion explicity states that is solely a reaction to the external conditions in heaven and that our minds remain the same we don't have a basis for arguing the point. Heaven is, seemingly by definition, a place of joy. It's kind of like arguing you would find MDMA or heroin boring.

          December 30, 2013 at 7:27 am |
  3. BoldGeorge

    I want to comment on what Ms. Evans pointed out (which I agree): "It (the historic Christian doctrine) means that God suffers, God forgives, God fellowships with the poor, God cares for the sick, God loves His enemies."

    What I do not agree with is the points that Ms. Evans did not point out, that God is a God of love and also a God of righteousness, holiness and a God of justice and He will judge the wicked (unrepentant sinner) come Judgment Day. I certainly believe in His incarnation – John 1:14 -wholeheartedly, but I also believe in John 3:3, in that one must be born-again (born of water and the Spirit – v. 5), in other words, be cleansed of all sin by the blood of Christ himself.

    I know this is not a popular message – judgment, sinner and hell – but then again, these were some of Jesus's statements and they weren't popular either. As a amtter of fact, they killed Him for His claims/statements.

    December 28, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • sam stone

      judgement day is a hoax to scare the gullible

      if god knows what we are going to do before we do it, and god cannot be wrong, there is no free will

      if god punishes people who do not have free will, he is a vindictive pr1ck

      December 29, 2013 at 6:38 am |
      • Why not eternity?

        Sam, ever know what someone is going to say ten seconds before they say it? Does it mean you made them say it?

        December 29, 2013 at 7:41 am |
        • sam stone

          no, but i am not omniscient

          if i apparently have two choices, A or B

          and god KNOWS I am going to choose B

          and god, being omniscient, cannot be wrong

          what are the chances that I am going to prove god wrong and choose A?

          December 29, 2013 at 8:49 am |
        • DJ

          Can you please identify where in the Bible God himself claims to know EVERYTHING? Not just a lot more than people know, but EVERYTHING? And I don't mean the passages where someone is simply flattering him, like in Psalms. I mean where God himself is supposed to have told someone he knows EVERYTHING.

          December 29, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • sam stone

          i have none

          December 29, 2013 at 10:44 am |
        • Commenter

          DJ,

          Here are a few citations about this "God" character's omniscience from your book (old and new testament, and some allegedly spoken by this "Lord"):

          http://www.openbible.info/topics/omniscience

          - excerpts:

          1 Chronicles 28:9

          “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

          Jeremiah 29:11

          For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."

          December 29, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
        • Commenter

          p.s.

          Read the rest of them on the site if you like.

          Me, I don't think that any "Lord" spoke to *anyone* – *ever*... any "Lord" that allegedly TOLD Moses to tell the Israelites to cure leprosy with dead dove's blood; to discover unfaithful wives with a drink of magic water; that it was ok to own people as slaves for life (except Hebrew ones [ahem]) and all sorts of other ridiculous things is a sham.

          December 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
        • DJ

          Commenter – Thanks for the link, but none of those verses assert he knows EVERYTHING.

          December 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        NO Sam...you are only getting part ofit. God is OUTSIDE of time and space.....youre looking at God as ifHe were human. You cannot apply this omniscient thing with no free will. Yes, God is all knowing, but that does not negate free will..since God does not make you say it, He merely knows what you will say/do. YOu are still capable of making that choice. Again because God is outside of space and time

        December 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
        • Dandintac

          "God is OUTSIDE of time and space..."

          How can you possibly make such a claim? How can you know this? There is no way you can possibly know something like this. You are making a massive, sweeping claim–without any basis at all. What can such a claim even mean? You don't even know if there IS an "outside of time and space". You quite literally do not know what you are talking about.

          Another massive claim Christians typically make is not only that God is omniscient, but that he is omnipotent as well. Stop and think about what it would mean for any being to be ALL-powerful. It means that anything, in deed EVERYTHING, is by his will. Nothing at all can happen without God's will–so there is no such thing as free will. He has all of it. Every slight thought we have–is through his will. We are nothing but automatons if he is all-powerful. And even if you claim he GRANTS us free will–then is that really free will? Because he still has absolute veto power over anything–even the slightest thought we could have.

          December 29, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          UHHH hello...If God created ALL things..including tiem...then DUH..he is oUTSIDE of time and space...and even his being omnipotent STILL takes context of OUTSIDE of time and space..theu your argument does not work

          December 30, 2013 at 1:55 am |
        • Dandintac

          Kermit–one more thing. There is a huge difference between simply making predictions, and KNOWING everything–including that which has not yet happened. Think about this–EVERYTHING. Making predictions is making a guess based on past experience, and knowing basics about how things work, i.e.–the sun will "rise" tomorrow. I know this because we know the Earth rotates, and has done so millions of times, giving us confidence that it will do so again.

          I can predict with slightly less confidence that I will eat dinner tonight. However, an all-knowing God knows more about that than I do. He knows exactly when, what I will eat, how long it will take to prepare and eat, how quickly I will clean up afterwards, and how easily I will digest the food, and exactly how much nourishment I will gain and how much fat, and how each and every atom will be used–and has always known this for each and every creature in the universe, and what thoughts we will have in our heads as we eat, what we will do afterwards, what we will dream tonight–and on and on.

          This goes way, way beyond mere prediction. This is hard knowledge, and is only possible if it is all predestined–in other words, already determined and designed to be this way. This is what gave rise to the early Protestant doctrine of Predestination. It actually makes sense if you assume an all-powerful, all-knowing God. These Calvinists understood that there could be no free will if this was the case.

          December 29, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
        • Live4Him

          @Dandintac : How can you possibly make such a claim [that God is outside of space and time]? ... You are making a massive, sweeping claim–without any basis at all.

          There is a difference between KNOWING it beyond all doubt and knowing evidence that supports such a claim. Read Genesis 1:1-4. In the beginning, God created matter, energy and time. Assuming this to be true, it doesn't take much to conclude that God is omniscient – since any being that could fathom the beginning and end of all time would likewise know all things. And if he were outside of time, then he would likewise be omnipotent since he would never have time to gain more power.

          @Dandintac : Every slight thought we have–is through his will. We are nothing but automatons if he is all-powerful.

          You're violating a logic principle, the Law of the Excluded Middle or the Law of Non-Contradiction, with this posit. God cannot grant us free will while at the same time deny us free will. It is an either-or situation. Does he have the power to turn us into 'nothing but automatons', absolutely (by denying us free will). However, that does not equate to the presumption that he HAS turned us into 'nothing but automatons'. And the evidence is strong that he has granted us free will.

          December 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
        • Dandintac

          L4H

          But you have no evidence! The Bible is NOT evidence! You have no hard evidence that the Bible's claims are true! And we have good reason to believe they are not. We know that the Earth was not formed in 6 days for example. The book of Genesis tells us that birds come before land animals, and the Earth came before the stars. There are many many examples of things that the Bible says that we KNOW are not true! Given this, the best that can be said about the Bible is that it is just stories. Therefore it cannot be considered as hard evidence for your huge claims.

          Furthermore, the Bible does NOT say that God created time, or matter, or energy. It does not say that God created these things anywhere in the Bible! It says that God created the Earth and the Heavens, and all those things on it. It defines "the Heavens" specifically as "sky" and describes it as a "vault", which we know is not accurate. So you are fastening your own interpretation on these words in such a way as to support your argument–in other words, you are trimming a square peg to fit into a round hole.

          Regarding the law of excluded middle–it is YOU who are committing this fallacy! I don't violate this principle because I'm not the one who claims God exists–you do. On the one hand, you are claiming that God is all-powerful. On the other hand you are claiming we have free will. By insisting that we have free will, you are admitting that God is not all-powerful. If we have will, we have power. If you are powerless, you cannot do anything. So if we have power, then by definition, God cannot be all-powerful. You are trying to have it both ways–God is ALL-powerful, or he is not.

          Free will is not something that can be "granted". If it granted or revoked, then it's not really free will. If you let your robot run on its own, but keep the remote control in your hand ready to hit the "off" switch–that robot does not have free will–even if it has sentience. If God can control us–absolutely at will, and down to our very thoughts, with every atom in the universe at his instant command–we cannot possibly have free will.

          I don't think you have truly wrapped your head around what it would have to mean for a being to accurately be described as "all-powerful". Such a being's will is ABSOLUTE. Nothing at all happens that is not without his desire or at least his acquiescence. There is no free will. If he has absolute power, he has not given anyone free will. If free will can be demonstrated, it is evidence AGAINST an all-powerful God.

          December 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • sam stone

          kermit: if i apparently have two choices, A or B, and god KNOWS before I make my choice that I am going to choose B, what are the chances that I am going to prove god wrong by choosing A?

          hint: none, zero, zilch

          also, your "out of space and time" ruse is a smokescreen for those who cannot deal with logic

          December 30, 2013 at 6:15 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Wrong again...you are still only looking in the context of time and space in the LIMITED perception that youhave..it is nOT a smokescreen..it is your excuse to deny that such a God exists

          December 30, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
        • WASP

          @HIM: "Read Genesis 1:1-4. In the beginning, God created matter, energy and time."

          1) so your god can violate physics now, correct? that's just hilarious, it can violate physics yet can't feed children starving around the world.
          (hint: energy CAN NOT be created NOR destroyed)

          2) energy is what creates matter, not god.

          3) time has no beginning, nor an end; thus doesn't require a "god" to create it either.
          hey L4H, your ignorance is showing.

          December 30, 2013 at 6:45 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Again God CRAETED it all..he is BEYOND them all...and again context..He is NOT inside physuics and is NOT limitrd to laws of physics....plus.....did I say He CREATED energy..God IS energy,,,it comes from Him.....don't assume..ask me..and to YOU it seems time has no beginning...again that's in the PHYSICAL realm..not spiritual...CONTEXT man..CONTEXT

          December 30, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          kermit.
          You have the same perception of the context of time and space as we do, you just choose to dance around that fact and make a special case to create a separate category for your god. You have no way of knowing that.

          December 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • Dandintac

          This is actually to L4H.

          You said: "You're violating a logic principle, the Law of the Excluded Middle or the Law of Non-Contradiction, with this posit. God cannot grant us free will while at the same time deny us free will. It is an either-or situation."

          NO. I am not violating the Law of Excluded Middle, because I'm not the one claiming that God gives us free will! YOU are the one who is doing that. And, you are also the one who claims God is all-powerful. I don't believe God exists at all, but was just using a hypothetical to make a point, but even in my hypothetical, I never said that God gave us free will. YOU say God "gives us free will" but also that he is "all-powerful". It cannot be both. So you are the one who is violating the "Law of Excluded Middle".

          Remember that "all-powerful" or Omnipotence–is an absolute term. If you "grant free will"–you are surrendering power. There is no free will if people have no power over their lives. And at that point, you have given away some of your power over them, and "all-powerful" is no longer an accurate descriptor.

          December 31, 2013 at 12:47 am |
        • sam stone

          You also have limited perception, Kermit

          I cannot disprove God anymore than I can disprove Zeus, or Ra, or any of the other thousands of gods man has created

          December 31, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          youre right..my perception is limited as well..but not like yours..I take in all things to consider..such as I stated before...that God is outside of time and space..y.ou pretty much ignore that..thus your perception is more limited than mine

          December 31, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • Damocles

      Wait, what? You disagree with the points she didn't point out? The hell?

      December 29, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • DJ

      Jesus was speaking to Jews. Are you Jewish?

      December 29, 2013 at 9:49 am |
      • kermit4jc

        Jesus spoke to Jews AND Gentiles. He did not make double standards

        December 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
        • DJ

          Sorry, but there are two different standards. If you're a Jew (a Messianic Jew, let's say), you're still supposed to be following the Law (except for sacrifices of atonement); gentiles don't need to do that.

          December 29, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NOT at all.....Jews in the PAST were held to that..but it was used to show thsat we can NOT obey the law fully! SO yo usay Jews today will disagree..well they are nOT form the past...they are today..and they have chosen to reject God on that

          December 30, 2013 at 2:06 am |
        • Observer

          kermit4jc,

          Of course God made double standards. Look at how slaves were treated when they were alien to the area.

          December 30, 2013 at 1:59 am |
        • kermit4jc

          APPARENTLY youhave cherry picked out of the Bible ..not reading all of the Law...ALL "slaves" were to be treated with RESPECT! ANY of them get injured..they are FREE!! They had rights....too bad you are pathetically trying to insert ANTEBELLUM type slavery into this

          December 30, 2013 at 2:10 am |
        • WASP

          @kermit: "...ALL "slaves" were to be treated with RESPECT! ANY of them get injured..they are FREE!! "

          Leviticus 25:44-46 ESV
          As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. You may make slaves of them, but over your brothers the people of Israel you shall not rule, one over another ruthlessly.

          Exodus 21:20-21 ESV
          “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.

          Ephesians 6:5 ESV
          Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ,

          Colossians 4:1 ESV
          Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

          yeah, not much about freedom from slavery.....................just how to accept that you are owned.

          December 30, 2013 at 7:11 am |
        • kermit4jc

          AGAIN you assume this is like antebellum USA...sorry dude...as for the texts you posted..out of context....the one law about striking the slave is a CASE law...they did NOT have CSI at the tiome...and if you killed someone outright with a ROD, muder CAN be proven..after all..a rod was NOT much of a weapon..to have killed someone outright, would show extreme malice and intentto klill. if the slave died a few days later...it canno tbe shown to be withmurderous intent!! ANd again YOU FAILED to post the Scripture (I can get it another time as Im at work) that says PLAINLY that if a slkave is injured..loses a tooth or eye..he is to GO FREE!!!!! GO figure...you are cherry picking,not using context AT all

          December 30, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
        • DJ

          kermit4jc:
          From Matthew 5:17-19
          "17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

          Sounds like Jesus expected Jews to continue to follow the Law.

          December 30, 2013 at 8:54 am |
        • kermit4jc

          NOT at all..to FULLFILL the law...Jesus is FULLFILLING it in that He is the Sacrifice,.,the whole of the la leads ultimately to SALVATION! use the context please...

          December 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
        • lol??

          Right DJ, servants are still under the law. Sons have graduated. Servants don't share in any inheritance.

          December 30, 2013 at 9:02 am |
        • DJ

          kermit4jc:
          NOT at all..to FULLFILL the law...Jesus is FULLFILLING it in that He is the Sacrifice,.,the whole of the la leads ultimately to SALVATION! use the context please.

          Not sure how posting the exact lines is out of context. And way to zero in on just one word out of all of them... I'd say you're the one with the context problem–did you read the rest of what he said? Jesus was the sacrifice for the atonement of sins, so Jews who believe don't have to do that any more, but they are still obligated for the rest of the law... as Jesus says in Matthew.

          December 30, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          On the contrary..Jesus made it perfectly clear that no one is saved thru the law...remember the story of the rich young ruler who came to Jesus....Jesus toldhim all he had to do....and the man went away sad cause he couldn't do it...and the disciples were astonished.."WHO then CAN be saved?" They asked,.. and Jesus says "With man, THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE, but with God all things are possible." The BIble made it clear in OT...even in Isaiah that God alone is salvation....no man can save himself thru good deeds..for NO man is perfect

          December 30, 2013 at 8:47 pm |
        • DJ

          Don't know if they'll be saved by it, but it's clear in Matthew Jesus said they still need to follow it. And what was the point of making them follow a law for all those years if it wasn't doing anything for them?

          December 30, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
        • Observer

          kermit4jc,

          "Exodus 21:20-21 ESV
          “When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money."

          Which of those ENGLISH words confuse you?

          December 30, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NONE confuse me at all..youre theconfused one...the word "IF" point to this being a CASE law.......you are desperately trying to find fault with the Bible..youhave found none..again the context of the FACT the Bible ALSO teaches that if a slaves loses a tooth or an eye..he is set free....you are totally ignoring that and being dishonest...youre cherry picking

          December 30, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          DJ......they can still follow the laws..to help the society.....but as for Salvation..it wont do a thing. Its good for society to honor your mother and father....to not murder, to not commit adultery etc etc.

          December 30, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
        • Fan2C

          kermit,

          That being set free for injuries was for Hebrew slaves.

          Different stuff applied to foreign slaves:

          "Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. 46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour." -Leviticus 25:44-46

          December 30, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          First..ALL slaves were to be freed at the jubilee..ALL of them..second..the word "forever" does NOT mean without end in the Hebrew...but an indefintate amount of time..etc ....sorry..but apparently you are of the mind that the Bible was originally written by Americans in English.....

          December 30, 2013 at 11:14 pm |
        • Observer

          kermit4jc,
          "First..ALL slaves were to be freed at the jubilee"

          So if you bought one the YEAR BEFORE, he was gone. Sure thing..

          (Lev. 25:46) “You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them SLAVES FOR LIFE"

          Please read a Bible. Wishful thinking doesn't hack it.

          December 30, 2013 at 11:30 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Please read in context..wishful thinking on your part don't hack it (you wish to find fault with Bible so you can deny God)

          December 31, 2013 at 1:55 am |
        • Fan2C

          Kermit,

          The Jubilee applied only to Israelites... not foreign slaves.

          http://tifwe.org/resources/five-myths-about-jubilee/

          December 30, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
        • Observer

          kermit4jc

          "Please read in context..wishful thinking on your part don't hack it (you wish to find fault with Bible so you can deny God)"

          You wish to PRETEND that the words don't say what they do. SLAVES FOR LIFE.

          December 31, 2013 at 2:08 am |
        • DJ

          kermit-

          You also seem to want to pretend that Matthew 5:18-19 do not exist.
          "18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.""

          Seems clear Jesus is saying the Law still needs to be followed "until heaven and earth disappear".

          December 31, 2013 at 9:21 am |
        • kermit4jc

          I don't pretend anything...I use thatverse as well....You are not using context..the LAW exists to show us what sin is..it is useful..and AS I SAID previously..we DO follow law to make better society...I SIAD that the law does not SAVE us from sins!! Neither Paul nor I deny the law one bit..you need to read my posts

          December 31, 2013 at 11:45 am |
        • Andy

          DJ – Give it up. You're right, of course, but no Christian will admit it because other parts of the Bible say different things (gee, how often do we see that?) and they're latching onto the idea they find the most appealing (some people call that cherry picking). I think Paul give Gentiles an out, although I don't know how that works with Gentile believers being spiritual descendants of Abraham; it seems spiritual descendants would still be held to the law, too. I think Messianic Jews more or less agree with what you're saying.

          December 31, 2013 at 10:00 am |
        • kermit4jc

          you show that YOU lack knowledge of what the Bible DOES say....ALL throughout the OT God shows that Gentiles will be saved as well. Again.ALL have sinned and fallen short of glory of God..NO ONE can pay for their sins fully and still makeit to heaven...Jesus alone was sinless and perfect and thus has the capability to pay in full the sins of man

          December 31, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • a la Joseph Smith

          Hey, DJ and Andy, I've been wondering how to start my own cult/denomination, and you just gave me a terrific idea!

          It seems everyone has so far missed this particular interpretation of things, so I'm going to start a cult (I mean denomination) that interprets the Bible to say that since Jesus said the Law should still be observed and Paul says believing Gentiles are spiritual descendants of Abraham, all believers are still supposed to be following the Law. Except for the sacrifices involving atonement for sin, of course.

          So in my cult (excuse me, denomination), which I will be the prophet of so naturally I'll be in charge, we'll follow the Law and condemn all those who don't. Join me! More details to follow!

          December 31, 2013 at 11:03 am |
        • kermit4jc

          HUH? Youre making NO sense

          December 31, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Chris C

          "HUH? Youre making NO sense"

          Like any of the existing religions do? I kind of like JS's idea–sign me up! Don't want to miss out on a chance to get in on the ground floor of a new cult–I mean denomination 😉

          December 31, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
        • Chris C

          Kermit
          ".we DO follow law to make better society..." Just curious: do you keep kosher?

          "I SIAD that the law does not SAVE us from sins!! Then what was ever the point of following the law? Wasn't it to avoid sinful behavior?

          December 31, 2013 at 5:28 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          you understand the REASONING behind keeping kosher..its about presenting oneself at the Temple! It has nothing to do with making society better ..Therte is NO Temple now...sure..we go to church..but we go deeper than OUTSIDE ritual of cleaningness...in fact Jesus spoke of this....he confronted the people who "wash the outside of the cup, but not the inside" The things like Kosher laws are examples for us...to understand we need to present ourselves to God in a clean way...

          December 31, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
        • DJ

          kermit

          "you understand the REASONING behind keeping kosher..its about presenting oneself at the Temple! It has nothing to do with making society better"

          So YOU get to decide which of God's laws are UNNECESSARY? I don't mean impossible, I mean unnecessary. Are you taking the word of some pastor for it, or are you going by what the Bible says? The Matthew passages (5:17-20) are direct in their instruction. You try to explain it away as somehow being out of context, but they are explicit directions that the law needs to be followed. I wonder what you would tell a practicing Jew who keeps kosher? That it's unnecessary because there's no temple? I'm sure they would beg to differ.

          Of course, I'm sure you find some passage in the Bible that you think supports your view. That's the brilliance of Joseph Smith's post–he's pointing out the absurdity of the different cults/denominations latching onto particular verses as the basis of their dogma while disregarding or explaining away other verses that are contradictory and are used by different denominations.

          January 1, 2014 at 8:36 am |
        • kermit4jc

          WHY doesn't anyone ever address CONTEXT? I ben addressing COTEXT all along..I don't decide it..the BIBLE says it///according top CONTEXT....use your brains people

          January 2, 2014 at 11:57 am |
        • Chris C

          kermit4jc: Reposting my earlier question (slightly modified) which you didn't address:

          "I SIAD that the law does not SAVE us from sins!! "

          Then what was the point of God ever creating the law and having his people follow it? Wasn't it to avoid sinful behavior? What happened to Hebrews/Israelites/Jews who died before Jesus finally arrived to "save" everyone? If they had followed the law (as well as possible, since it seemingly was designed to be impossible to follow it perfectly for some reason) did they get to heaven? If not, then what was the point of following the law (or of being a Jew, for that matter)? And if they were getting to heaven already, then Jesus wasn't necessary, it seems.

          January 2, 2014 at 10:32 am |
        • kermit4jc

          The Law was to show that man is incapable of perfection....that man can NOT save himself....AND it was also used as to help society of course. As for those who lived before Jesus..the bIble explaines it clrearly..FAITH....Hebrews chapter 11 refers to those who had faith and ti was credited to them as righteousness...they had FAITH That GOD would send a Messiah...they understood they cannot save themselves..it was prophecied troughout the OT

          January 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • Chris C

          Instead of screaming CONTEXT, how about providing us with what you are considering to be the context? What DJ is quoting seems to be pretty explicit and straightforward.

          January 2, 2014 at 4:02 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          Here is an example of Jesus preaching to and healing the Gentiles. Mark 7 near the end has Jesus IN the Decapolis..a well known Gentile region where he healed people, and he stays there in Mark 8 to feed and PREACH to the 4000..also in John chapter 4 Jesus preaches to Samaritans..who were pretty much considered Gentiles by the Jews...half breeds...in Matthew 8 Jesus heals the daughter of a Gentile..a roman centurion. This are just a FEW examples out of many that are found in the Gospels alone....let alone the OT

          January 2, 2014 at 5:26 pm |
        • Chris C

          kermit – By the way, I'd be interested to know how you manage to make your replies appear after the post you are responding to, instead of at the bottom of all the replies.

          January 2, 2014 at 4:04 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          YOU got me on that..all I been simply doing is hitting reply frommy email (not reply to email..but to the topic...so maybe someone else can figure that out 🙂

          January 2, 2014 at 5:13 pm |
        • Chris C

          kermit

          "they had FAITH That GOD would send a Messiah...they understood they cannot save themselves..it was prophecied troughout the OT"

          Still don't understand what happened to those who dies BEFORE the Messiah came. Fine, they were judged righteous because they had faith–what did that mean for their eternal souls?

          January 3, 2014 at 6:46 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I made it clear..they had faith that God would send the Messiah..one who would save them...threy understood that they cannot save themselves through good deeds as no one can do them perfectly...those who were BEFORE Jesus were of this.....and because they depended on GOD to save them..rather than their good deeds...they would go to spend eternity with God...as those of us who came after Jesus

          January 3, 2014 at 10:45 pm |
        • Chris C

          kermit

          Oh, and what you posted concerning context seems way off topic concerning whether or not Jesus said the law still needs to be followed. And if you provide some other place in the bible where it can be interpreted to say something different, that just means there are two (or more) conflicting passages about the topic (no surprise there).

          January 3, 2014 at 6:50 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          OK...apparently IM getting two threads mixed up.....as for context of the law being followed or not for salvation..I gave it earlier...Matthew 19 where Jesus tells the rich man what he must do to gain salvation...realizing that he cannot do all the things required of him..he went away saddened..and the disciples then say "If THIS man..who is blessed with riches cannot be saved..then WHO CAN? and Jesus' answer is this "With man, this is IMPOSSIBLE, but with God all things are possible" Jesus says here that NO man can do enough to save himself..it is impossible.....only God can save them...not their "good deeds"

          January 3, 2014 at 10:49 pm |
        • Chris C

          kermit –

          I don't think anyone is saying that in Matthew 5 Jesus says the law still needs to be followed specifically for salvation, yet he does explicitly say it needs to be followed... for some unspecified reason.

          January 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          WELl hold on..Matthew 5..if youre referring to verses 17 and the following..Jesus is talking abou thow HE is fulfilling the law by being the perfect sacrifice....his being the sacrifice fulfills everything in the law... and at the same time he is actuallyu saying no one is righteous..who can fulfill it all..only HE can..but that doesn't mean we don't follow the law for good reasons (for good of society, rather than for salvation)

          January 4, 2014 at 7:33 pm |
        • Chris C

          kermit –

          "they had faith that God would send the Messiah..one who would save them.."

          But when were they made aware there would be a Messiah? How about those who came before that?

          January 4, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          ALL the way from the very beginning! Genesis 3 God tells Adam and Eve of one to come from the seed of woman (notice..woman..not man) this is from Gensis 3 verse 15 And I will put enmity
          between you and the woman,
          and between your offspring[a] and hers;
          he will crush[b] your head,
          and you will strike his heel.”

          January 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm |
        • Chris C

          "his being the sacrifice fulfills everything in the law."

          You're still focusing on that one word and ignoring the rest.

          January 4, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          and that one word is..? and ignoring what...?

          January 5, 2014 at 1:51 am |
        • Chris C

          And the rest of the words in those verses cast doubt on your interpretation of "fulfill".

          January 4, 2014 at 9:18 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          How so?

          January 5, 2014 at 1:51 am |
        • Chris C

          kermit –

          Going back to what DJ posted: ""17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.""

          The word you are focusing on is "fulfill", but the rest of it says the law is still supposed to be followed "until heaven and earth disappear". It seems you are interpreting "fulfill" to mean the law isn't required any more, it's just good guidelines, but Jesus is explicit that it does need to be followed–not necessarily for salvation purposes, but for unspecified purposes. Now, if Paul says something different elsewhere, I can't help that.

          January 6, 2014 at 11:28 am |
        • kermit4jc

          Apparently you are skimming my posts....I in no way deny that we are to follow the law...EXCEPT for the sake of SALVATION..The law IS Good....it IS to be followed..for the betterment of society......Jesus hwoever fulfilled it for us for Salvation..so that we are going not by deeds..since we are unable to fulfill the laws perfectly ourselves...but by the payment Jesus made...in fulfilling the law

          January 6, 2014 at 3:42 pm |
  4. Vic

    A technical note for what it's worth: (for everybody's benefit)

    There might be an automatic cleanup service program on the CNN Belief Blog's Server to delete threads that outgrow a preset software limit.

    Also, from own observations, it seems like registered users have at least four nested reply levels whereas unregistered users have only three. That would explain replies popping up in between others.

    December 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
    • Hope and Justice

      Vic... see you around.

      I sure wish CNN had a REAL faith blog for us special people.

      😀

      Instead of this fish bowl full of hooks and lures, not to mention trolls.

      December 28, 2013 at 7:57 pm |
      • Vic

        See you around, bud.

        🙂

        December 28, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
      • Mary Hecht

        There are plenty of religious blogs.
        Find one, Hope.
        You sound rather boorish. Special? No. Dime a dozen? Yes.

        December 28, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
        • Hope and Justice

          I rest my case.

          December 29, 2013 at 12:07 am |
        • Austin

          Brother, I appreciate your comments earlier and I agree with what you have to say. Thanks for the encouragement, talk to you later I hope.

          December 29, 2013 at 12:26 am |
        • sam stone

          dope is not special

          austin is a delusional twit who backs down from a challenge after accepting it

          both cowards

          typical blog christians

          December 29, 2013 at 6:42 am |
      • sam stone

        so, we won't be seeing you around anymore, dope?

        don't let the door hit you when the good lord split you

        December 29, 2013 at 6:40 am |
  5. Lana

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ
    ^

    December 28, 2013 at 7:10 pm |
  6. Phil

    I received Christ as my Lord and Savior long ago and have enjoyed His blessings of peace and assurance of eternal life ever since. I am truly blessed. Receive Christ as Savior, and follow Him as He leads you, and you will know God's forgiveness, and joy, and be blessed as well.

    December 28, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • Reality # 2

      And now for some reality:

      from Professor Crossan's book, "Who is Jesus" co-authored with Richard Watts)

      "Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us."

      "Traditionally, Christians have said, 'See how Christ's passion was foretold by the prophets." Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus' last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God."

      "In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life."

      December 28, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
      • Phil

        "Reality" is it? You are quoting me an opinion of some man? Really? That means nothing to me. And nothing to those who follow God and trust His Word over that of mans ideas. Secondly, you have managed to get it perfectly wrong. Jesus is the suffering servant foretold throughout the Old Covenant, or Old Testamant. Psalm 22, Isaiah 52-43, Zech 12, Daniel 7,9...etc.You may want to read a BIble rather than books of men opposed to God and His work.

        December 29, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
        • AtheistSteve

          The Bible IS a book of man. All books are. You haven't made your case that it is anything other than what it appears. Claims that it is inspired by God are not supported by anything other than your fervent belief that it is. Try again.

          December 30, 2013 at 5:37 am |
        • Reality # 2

          Think about the logic (or lack thereof).

          “I believe the Bible is inspired.” “Why?” “Because it says so.” Would anyone let that logic pass if it came from the followers of any other book
          or person? “I believe x is inspired because x says so.” Fill in the blanks:

          x=Pat Robertson
          x=the ayatollah Sistani
          x=David Koresh
          x=the Koran”
          x=Phil

          more “logic”?

          “I believe there is One God Jehovah because He is revealed in the infallible
          Bible. I believe the Bible is infallible because it is the Word of the One God Jehovah.”

          December 30, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      do you seriously desire ETERNAL life?

      don't you think it would get boring, nothing but praising your slavior FOREVER, with NO chance of getting out of it?

      a hundred years? nothing

      a thousand years? piffle

      a million years? yawn

      a billion years? have not even scratched the surface

      i think eternal life is appealing to those who have never considered ETERNITY

      December 28, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
      • Hope and Justice

        Sam Stone:

        You mock eternity while you are a mere speck of dust surrounded by a universe that is never ending... that we dare to marvel during our short time. Pure vanity on your part to question the vast knowledge that keeps our world turning that you might live to see tomorrow.

        December 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          I don't think hat sam is mocking anything. I think his post shows he has thought more about the concept of "eternity" than you have...by your post.

          December 28, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
        • Hope and Justice

          Captain, obviously you don't have a clue as your friend, Sam, goes far beyond the act of trolling to what some would consider a crime. Dare, if you will, find a building of your own... etc.

          December 28, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
        • tallulah13

          What crime would that be?

          December 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
        • sam stone

          I am not mocking eternity

          I am questioning whether those who seek it understand it

          Speaking of vanity, let's talk about those who believe the creator of the universe wants nothing more than a close personal relationship with you

          December 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
        • sam stone

          What crime am I suggesting people commit, Dope?

          December 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
        • Hope and Justice

          Sam, talk about personal relationships with a troll?

          Don't waste my time!

          Tick-Tock

          December 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
        • tallulah13

          So basically H&J is either a troll or he/she is unable to back up his/her accusation. Which of course, is bearing false witness.

          December 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm |
        • sam stone

          Still got that crucifix up your backside, Dope?

          December 28, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
        • Hope and Justice

          Sam Stone:

          Mere dust... AhhhChooo!

          😀

          December 28, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • sam stone

          dope: jeebus is waiting. got a sidearm?

          December 29, 2013 at 6:44 am |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          @Hope and Justice

          Strange method you've got there. Accuse others of trolling with mockery using trolling and mockery. Perfectly christian of you...at least I've found that many christians display similar behavior.

          December 29, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • kermit4jc

        Actually Sam, that's yu assuming as in time like we have now..and the eternity will be a realm like now. Eternity will be a different realm...there wont be "time" and we will not be merely sitting around doing nothing but worshipping God...we will be LIVING our lives out for eternity...I don't know all what we will do, but nowhere did the Bible say we will be doing nothing but singing praises all day! See sam, I notced a pattern in your posts...you neglect the context...and assume all things are like here on earth

        December 29, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
      • Phil

        Sam, do I desire eternal life? ah, let me think, YES! Why wouldn't you? unless you are afraid of what awaits you beyond the grave. You sound either depressed or without hope or both. I would wager both. What a thing to ask? oy

        December 29, 2013 at 8:11 pm |
      • Dandintac

        And Sam–it's not just eternal life! It's eternal life praising and worshiping this being, who could send you straight to Hell on a whim.

        One would think that God would be absolutely sick and tired of all the praise and worship after the first billion years–assuming their are intelligent aliens who are also subject to this being's authority and thus given space in Heaven to praise and worship God–given that we've only been worshiping him for a few thousand years.

        I have to wonder though. With hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars, the odds are very high that there are many intelligent species scattered around in the universe, although they may not be anywhere close to us. There could even be millions given the vast scale of the universe. Does Jesus have to be born each planet and nailed to a cross, over and over and over again to save each of these alien species from their sins?

        December 29, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          NO..Goid would NOT send you to hell at all!! ONE chooses to REJECrt God and they go on their own..whether they accept that or not. God gave us His son that WHOSOEVER believes in Him shall NOT perish but have everlasting life! On a whim? pathetic..youdont even know half our beliefs or what the Bible says

          December 30, 2013 at 2:07 am |
        • Dandintac

          Kermit,

          Do you believe that people who do not believe in Jesus go to Hell–yes or no?

          If you say no, are ignoring both the Bible in multiple passages, as well as 2000 years of Christian tradition and understanding.

          If you say yes, then please consider this. God is supposed to be all-knowing, so he knows what would convince every skeptic. God is all-powerful, so it would be very easy for him to convince me and every skeptic–very easy. God is all-good, so he would not let anyone go to hell without persuading us. Therefore, either an all-good, all-knowing, all-powerful God does not exist, or Hell doesn't–or at least God does not punish unbelievers in this way.

          We do not "reject" god. We see no reason to believe he exists. We see no hard, verifiable, testable evidence for his existence. We see no more evidence for him than we do for any of the other gods that have been claimed by people over the centuries. You (and other believers over the millennia) have been unable to persuade us with any hard evidence, and god has not done anything either. He could though–easily if he cared to. I can give you a list of things you and God could do that I would find very persuasive.

          January 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          I don't know if my post made it..so I will do it again...YOu DO reject God since the mere fat youreject a God exists..that is in essence rejecting God...no getting around that argument...I reject nothing from the Bible in terms of who goes to heaven ....the BIble made it clear..NO ONE goes to heaven without believing in Jesus..NOTHING in the BIble shows ANYONE going to heaven on their own merits...with the exception of Jesus.

          January 2, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • kermit4jc

          as for saing Godis allpowerful and making youskeptics believe..thats a BLAM~E game right there...you want to make excuses..period..blame God if youre a skeptic..YOU made the choices..YOU face the music friend....don't blame God..but yourself.

          January 2, 2014 at 12:19 pm |
        • igaftr

          kermit
          Since no one has shown any god to exist, and which god if one does, or more if more exist, and which ones...

          It is not rejecting god...I do not "reject" god... I just don't see any evidence of one, so nothing to reject.

          The only way to heaven is through JC.

          The only way to Valhalla is to be killed in glorious battle.

          You can only acheive enlightenment by rejecting desire.

          You will be re-incarnated based on your actions during this life.

          You will have a great view from Mt. Olympus if you please Zeus.

          You can board the space ship that is hiding in the tail of the comet Hale Bopp, if you commit suicide at the right time.

          God will save his chosen people, 144, 000 of them during the "rapture" and all other mud people will be left in the hell on earth that remains.

          MANY different beliefs...none have any evidence whatsoever.

          January 2, 2014 at 12:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      And, if you really do desire eternal life, i ask you sincerely what is keeping you here now?

      Would you not rather be with your savior?

      December 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
      • Austin

        because we honor God by working the fields.

        Sam, when you get to heaven, you check your flesh at the door. and then all your doubts are gone. Do you really want to die? every bad trick that you believe about why God failed will be gone. let go of your doubt my friend. Trust Jesus

        December 28, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
        • sam stone

          I post the address of the James Randi challenge.

          Are you going to take it, or just blather on like every other blog christian coward?

          Time to show the world how special you are

          December 28, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
        • Toph

          Bronze Age voodoo mumbling. Eternal would mean trillions upon trillions of years. Your "faith" is nonsense written by tent dwellers when Earth was younger. Your "god" is gone, like Zeus, Thoth, Thor...let it go. Humans will have to grow up if we wish to expand into the Universe. I dream of a time when the gods of Man are gone and we are old enough not to need new ones.

          December 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
      • sam stone

        working the fields?

        i suppose if got to rationalize your cowardice in some way, that is an acceptable one

        coward

        December 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
      • kermit4jc

        Sam we already ARE with oursavior..He is living within us. His Presence is HERE and NOW. Plus, we have work to do....its notup to us to decide when its time to go..we did not give ourselves life..GOD did. Thus we will wait for GODs timing,..not yours, not ours...Its not all about you or me

        December 29, 2013 at 6:44 pm |
    • Dandintac

      Please define what you mean by "God" and provide some hard, verifiable, testable evidence that this being exists.

      December 28, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
      • Phil

        Dand, that would be the Creator of the heavens and earth. The One who gives you your next breath. If you wish to learn about God I suggest you read a BIble. Don't ask others to difine Him for you. He is quite capable of doing that, and has done so in His Word. He expects us to study that which He has alreayd revealed to us about Himself.

        December 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Phil,

          I HAVE read the Bible! That's part of why I'm an atheist! The Bible should be read critically, but with an open mind (but not so open your brain falls out), and it should be read without someone telling you what to think, and glossing over much of it.

          I found the stories in the Bible to often be illogical, immoral, wildly implausible or more likely impossible. I realized that The Bible is mostly just myth, with a few nuggets of history. I would have described myself as a Biblical Christian before, but not after I read it. Anything good in the Bible is often common sense, such as the Golden Rule, and can be found in many non-Christian societies. No god required.

          So I consider the Bible, if anything, to be evidence AGAINST the god described therein.

          Is that all you have for evidence? This is extremely weak evidence considering the massive claims commonly made by Christians.

          December 29, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
  7. Hope and Justice

    Look back to page 1 and then, please look forward...

    The time is near.

    Bless Yourselves...

    Austin: Holy spirit serves but one purpose and that is to declare His righteousness and to fulfill His promices. Dreams are dreams, we all have them; and while they may be a product of our faith or a peek into the future; true prophecy is one that benefits both God and man. All glory is with Him. Ask for the gift of Holy Spirit and just as a parent loves to give presents to their children, so God gives us what we ask... and so much more!

    December 28, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Austin

      id like to talk to you.
      the holy spirit is a sanctifying spirit that bears the truth of God's word on a persons heart.

      I have never referred to myself as a prophet. there are gifts of knowledge, gifts of wisdom, and to be real and honest, I have experienced spiritual revelation. Did i say i was a prophet? no , but repeated spiritual revelation is a prophetic gift.

      let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

      17“ ‘In the last days, God says,

      I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

      Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

      your young men will see visions,

      your old men will dream dreams.

      18Even on my servants, both men and women,

      I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

      and they will prophesy.

      December 28, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
      • Austin

        my personal testimony is real and true, I have had a supernatural experience. I follow the word of God, I know what it says about dreamers and the like, I know about the error of balaam and accused children.

        nonetheless, my testimony is true, that I have experienced many repeated spiritual miracles of spiritual power. And I have always invested my hope and strength in the bible.

        December 28, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
        • Austin

          Furthermore, the people here who are atheist repeatedly say that any though of spiritual experience is delusional. The fact is, i have 15 to 20 examples of PROOF, in my own life . is this a blessing or a curse to me? who cares. I proclaim the gospel and have plenty of reason to do so, and that is ones personal testimony that the Father of all things spiritual desires.

          Satan is real. Does the bible talk only about what God did? so why not talk about the whole truth as I know it?

          December 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
        • sam stone

          you are a delusional person with delusions of grandeur

          December 28, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
        • sam stone

          jeebus is waiting on you, austin.

          why are you not rushing to meet him?

          do you not have tall buildings where you live?

          step up to (and off for) the savior

          December 28, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
        • Dandintac

          Austin,

          With all due respect, why should your "personal testimony" be of any relevance to everyone else who is looking for some sort of objective evidence? The God claim, I would say, is the biggest claim ever made by man. It is beyond just extraordinary. Yet we don't even have ordinary evidence.

          For such a massive, sweeping claim, and set of claims that inevitably go with it–we must have truly extraordinary evidence. This evidence must be hard, verifiable, repeatable, and we must be able to TEST it. Arguments from ignorance, personal testimony, special pleading, ancient books written by anonymous iron-age authors–none of this cuts it. And any rational person would not accept such "evidence" if this were any other claim! Let's try it. Superman exists! How do I know you ask? Well, I know from "personal testimony". Superman is such a big part of my life now!

          Thanks

          December 29, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
      • Hope and Justice

        Austin:

        What verses in the Bible are you quoting is which book and chapter?

        Respectfully

        December 28, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
        • Austin

          Acts 2:17
          1 Cor 12-14?

          December 28, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
      • Hope and Justice

        Never mind... I found it at Joel 2: 28 – 29.

        So what is your revelation?

        December 28, 2013 at 6:10 pm |
        • Austin

          I agree with what you said about dreams being dreams, but some of them Can Be supernatural. It sounds like you are saved, and so there is nothing that I can add to your salvation. I was stuck in jail for 6 months and i started having supernatural dreams , revealing scripture that I had never read. I had started writing my dreams down in about 2001. and writing dreams down, and then reading them in the bible. the way the Holy Spirit did this was absolutely genious.

          7 of them were centered in scripture, and 3 of them i handed people written out dreams from 30 days before or what ever about specific things that had just happened before my eyes to people who were mocking me. The Lord delivered my faith supernaturally. and only He knows the future,. its been happening to me for ten years.

          this week, i had a dream with 3 pars come true from 2004.

          anyway, the Holy Spirit was reaching out to me, confirming His presence. I was sharing the gospel, with about 100 imates,one at a time, and many hated it and were mocking me. I was sharing my testimony bout the dreams.

          By the time i was out, I had received about 10 revelations, 2 of them, I had dreams written down about something that happened to two people, and when it happened they had been mockers, i said "watch this", and i went and pulled the dream out . and another one, i had thought about something very specific, and the kid i though it about woke up and came up to me and told me he had the exact dream about what i was thinking.

          these are just special personal revelations. God has a plan for me. Spiritual gifts are real and alive.

          December 28, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
        • Hope and Justice

          I believe you. I have dreams that have resulted in me calling the police thousands of miles away to report a crime in great detail before it happens. But, I knew the who what and even where these atrosities are going to happen. I wrote for many years about the power of prayer in finding missing or recovering loved ones who are missing. I was battered and ridiculed so badly, sometimes, I hated my gift and even myself.

          December 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
        • Guest

          If I dream about a dove, is that a supernatural relegation about the HS?

          December 28, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
        • Guest

          Revelation about the HS.

          My kingdom for an edit button.

          December 28, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
        • Hope and Justice

          That's why Jesus warns us not to cast our pearls among swine that they don't trsmple upon them and devour you. We need to find a good place to be because while persecution makes one stronger in the faith, we should not subject ourselves to it.

          December 28, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
        • Hope and Justice

          Guest, maybe.

          December 28, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
        • sam stone

          If you've had these prophetic visions, perhaps you can do what Austin cannot and substantiate them. Or, maybe you can do what Austin will not and take the James Randi challenge. Also, I am not persecuting you, I am ridiculing those who purport to know what god likes or dislikes. Learn the difference

          December 28, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
      • Hope and Justice

        Austin, we both agree we are living in the last days. If you read further in Joel chapter 2 you will see the reason why the holy spirit is poured out. Everyone must know, whether they accept it is not our problem. But the world will hate us and surely that is what we see on these boards. They are gashing their teeth, like demons, upon the sons of God and at God, Himself.

        December 28, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
        • sam stone

          Wow, the "last days".....luckily, no one has predicted THAT before, eh?

          Jeebus is coming, look busy, Dope

          December 28, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
        • Andy

          "Austin, we both agree we are living in the last days. "

          You know that people have been saying that because they've "seen the signs" for millennia, right? And I suppose you also think that Jesus is going to reappear right where you happen to be so you can see it happen, right? Sheesh!

          December 29, 2013 at 9:15 am |
        • DJ

          Andy: "And I suppose you also think that Jesus is going to reappear right where you happen to be so you can see it happen, right?"

          He was supposed to have been announced by angels to a few shepherds the first time. Christians swallow that story hook, line, and sinker. Let's see how they manage if the next coming is also "witnessed" by a few shepherds–can you imagine the skepticism over authenticity that would result?

          December 29, 2013 at 9:42 am |
        • Anne

          So you found god in jail?
          Sounds about right...maybe that is why we don't see him miracling around anymore...because he's in jail, or hell, for stealing so many old Human stories and calling them his own in that bibble book.

          Smug delusionists 🙂

          December 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
        • DJ

          It's no surprise there are so many who find Jesus in jail. Christianity makes itself out to be all about forgiveness, so someone who's done something they feel is unforgivable might find some comfort in a religion that preaches forgiveness. Unfortunate, though, that Christianity teaches that EVERYONE needs to be forgiven, and for sins that they didn't even commit (original sin), and that it's impossible to live without sinning and therefore become disgusting to God, and every sin is equally disgusting to God. So this forgiveness aspect just becomes a way to guilt trip people into feeling so relieved that God will forgive them and save them from eternal torment if they only do what's needed (and that depends on which variety of Christianity happens to get your attention). So what at first seems like an admirable aspect of the religion turns out to be a form of cosmic bullying.

          January 1, 2014 at 9:44 am |
        • lol??

          DJ sayz, "...............and for sins that they didn't even commit (original sin), .................."

          I don't think you can afford to pay the fine on original sin. You can't even pay for your own. You can't accuse God of playin' favorites when it comes to sin. Now get busy and pay all your wages. It's all ya got.

          January 1, 2014 at 10:10 am |
        • midwest rail

          " I don't think you can afford to pay..."
          As soon as you typed the first three words you were correct – the drivel that follows is just drivel.

          January 1, 2014 at 10:14 am |
        • lol??

          Well rail, if he's as rich as HE thinks he is maybe I'll just sit back and watch him make the payments.

          January 1, 2014 at 10:18 am |
        • midwest rail

          Do feel free to waste your time.

          January 1, 2014 at 10:22 am |
        • lol??

          Tanks, boss.

          January 1, 2014 at 11:13 am |
  8. Hope and Justice

    Google:

    Ball of fire metropolitan

    Iowa light in sky meteor

    Or, simply, look at video on front page of CNN

    All His ways are just and true...

    December 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      Time to go meet Jeebus, Dope.

      I bet he cannot wait to spray his goodness all over your face

      Take your kneepads

      December 28, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Hope and Justice

      Sam Dust...

      RIP

      😀

      December 28, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
    • Art

      ZEUS hears you my son!! The Elysium fields await! Be strong in the face of the naysayers! I have sent Apollo and Athena to your side, Godspeed my child, see you soon...

      December 29, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  9. Live4Him

    @In Santa we trust : You often do not use the Reply link.

    As is my prerogative.

    <><

    December 28, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Indeed it is. And it is the prerogative of others to believe that the reasons you've given for doing so are pure bunk.

      December 28, 2013 at 3:23 pm |
  10. Live4Him

    @Saraswati : If you want to start a new conversation, don't start it using quotes from other people as you almost always do.

    Still trying to control other people? How intolerant of you.

    December 28, 2013 at 3:11 pm |
    • Guest

      Do shove your sanctimonious condescension straight up your pseudo-pious ass.

      You're an annoying attention ho.

      December 28, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
      • lol??

        Christians are the sanctified bride to the consternation of other chimp ladies.

        December 30, 2013 at 9:27 am |
  11. Hope and Justice

    Prophetic signs of the times will be recognized by those who believe in Him.

    His holy spirit has helped you find the missing. He has shown you miracles to prove His presence... even showering you with His holy light and still many walk in darkness. I am hated for His namesake which is a small price to pay for being part of His ushering.

    God Bless the Children...

    December 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
  12. Reality # 2

    Let us end all the sweet talk about religion by mzh, fred and Austin by coming to grips with the reality of the 21st century:

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    December 28, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  13. Lana

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeedE8vH1FQ
    ..
    .

    December 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    @RB

    Quoting the bible to prove a point is like you being the judge and the jury and all the witnesses at your own trial. There is zero credibility.

    The bible was written by (primitive) people in the same deluded cult as you so OF COURSE they are going to say things to back up your point of view. Likewise, your delusion comes from their deluded writings, so of course you think what they say is true.

    If I quote from a book that I wrote saying that I am the most handsome intelligent man in the world, how much factual credibility would you give it?

    come up with some independently verifiable points from outside your cult and then we will have a great conversation!

    December 28, 2013 at 1:01 am |
    • lol??

      Dog, what happened to your Master?? He died and you ate him?? You're in the wrong hood. Try a science blog where you can show yer tricks. Rumour has it they even have doggie parks. But a word of warning to ya. They have cameras for irresponsible Master catchin'.

      December 28, 2013 at 7:24 am |
      • lol??

        I troll science blogs too. Seeya there. Don't forget to enjoy dog pizza with gravy train sauce.

        December 28, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  15. RB

    Deuteronomy 7:9
    Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

    December 27, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • RB

      Deuteronomy 10:12
      And now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

      December 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
      • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!"

        A priest's daughter who loses her honor by committing
        fornication and thereby dishonors her father also shall
        be burned to death (Lev 21:9).

        December 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
    • RB

      Psalm 145:20
      The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.

      December 27, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
      • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!"

        Anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must
        be put to death, the entire assembly must stone him
        (Lev 24:16).

        December 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • RB

      John 14:21
      He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

      December 27, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
      • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!"

        I will release wild animals that will kill your children and
        destroy your family (Lev 26:21-2).

        December 27, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • RB

      1 John 4:19
      We love him, because he first loved us.

      December 27, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
      • Youtube video - "Context!!!!!"

        And Joshua took all of the cities thereof, and they smote
        them with the edge of the sword and utterly destroyed
        all of the souls that were there within (Josh 10:39-40).

        December 27, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • lol??

          A parent can't let a toddler play in the yard with a pack of wild dog socies runnin' around. That's irresponsible.

          December 28, 2013 at 7:16 am |
        • midwest rail

          caw-caw-caw SOCIES !!! caw-caw-caw COMMIES !!! caw-caw-caw GUBMINT !!!
          mating call of the clinically insane fundie.

          December 28, 2013 at 7:21 am |
        • lol??

          Let me supervise yer kids instead.

          Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

          December 28, 2013 at 11:42 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.