The Fork in the Road: Dialogue with Hank: Answering Questions

Hank asked,

1. Believe that Mary the mother of Jesus was sinless, equating her to that of Jesus. They pray directly to her. 2. They believe in another mediator other than Jesus, that a person’s sins are forgiven when a priest forgives them.
3. They worship a man (the pope).
4. etc.

Okay –

1) Are such teachings sinful (against any rules)?
2) Does the grace of God forgive them nonetheless?
(assuming they believe they are pleasing to God).
3) How do you know for sure?

Hank, This site is not about proving the errors of other denominations. We have enough errors within the Restoration Movement to keep us all busy for quite some time. But I’m going to answer your questions this one time just to demonstrate how I think the scriptures deal with questions such as these.

1. I do think it’s wrong to teach that Mary was sinless. Only Jesus was.

I also think it’s wrong to pray to Mary, to saints, or others who are dead, because the practice tends to create a separation between the Christian and God that the scriptures do not intend.

However, the Catholics point out that James wrote,

(James 5:16)  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

As the saints were particularly righteous, their prayers on our behalf would be particularly powerful and effective. It’s not a stupid argument.

I mean, we go forward at church to invoke the prayers of the congregation on our behalf. The question is whether dead Christians can be prevailed on in this way the same as living Christians, and I think not (and it would take a while to cover that ground).

I think the practice is error, but not nearly as indefensible as some wish to claim. (More on this topic below.)

2. They do not believe that a priest forgives anyone. They believe that God forgives when the priests says so – rather as we believe God forgives when we administer baptism. They consider the confessional a sacrament in this sense. And they are wrong. God forgave when Jesus died on the cross and we received that forgiveness once for all when we were baptized.

Of course, the idea that we are damned post-baptism until we confess, repent, ask for forgiveness is also error.

3. They do not worship the Pope, and it’s not a fair criticism at all.

Now, with regard to your follow up questions —

1) Are such teachings sinful? Yes, it’s sinful to teach that sins damns until specifically repented of, confessed, and forgiveness requested. And, yes, it’s sin to teach that the Catholics worship the Pope. And, yes, it’s sin to teach that Catholic priests forgive sin.

Oh, you mean the Catholics’ errors? Yes, their errors are sinful, too.

Of course, it’s kind of harsh to say that it’s “sin” to teach that Catholics worship the Pope. It is, after all, likely an honest mistake. But then, shouldn’t a minister of the gospel be held to a high standard of research before he makes such a public accusation? But then maybe he was relying on information from a trusted source. And it’s nearly certain that his mistake was unintentional.

And if we grant to each other the benefit of the doubt regarding how hard hearted someone is when he makes an honest mistake, we must do the same for others — so long as we’re speaking of believers who are trying submit to Jesus as Lord so far as we can tell.

2) Does grace cover these particular errors?

Well, of all of these, the toughest one is the doctrine that sins damn until specifically confessed, repented of, and forgiveness is prayed for – because this leads to legalism and even the idea that faith and penitence are not enough to keep one saved. This doctrine gives birth to justification by works – because sin is not covered until no longer committed!

So it doesn’t so much damn as lead to a legalism that can be a false gospel and damn. It’s very wrong and deadly dangerous.

Oh, but regarding Catholics, well, the test is first whether, despite these particular errors (I’m not considering every single doctrine I might disagree with), they have faith in Jesus – and they unquestionably do.

And whether they submit to Jesus as Lord – and they do.

But does praying to Mary or the saints constitute idolatry, which would violate faith in Jesus? No, not necessarily. But I know of cases where the veneration of Mary – or even a saint – has perverted into idolatry. It happens. And that can certainly jeopardize one’s soul.

And that’s another problem with praying to God via a “saint.” There’s a natural human tendency to believe that it’s the saint who grants prayers and who loves us even more than God. That’s not the official doctrine, but it’s the belief of some. And idolatry contradicts faith.

3) How do I know for sure? Well, let’s be clear on the question being asked. I’ve not been asked whether the entire membership of the Catholic Church is damned. Nor have I been asked whether a particular Catholic person is damned. I’ve been asked whether certain erroneous views necessarily damn.

And I find my guidance in the Holy Bible. And I know for sure that God doesn’t damn for every sin or every error, because the scriptures plainly teach so.

But I never know for sure the state of someone else’s heart. Not for sure. I mean, claiming Catholics worship the Pope may be an honest mistake that results from placing too much trust on an unreliable source. Or it may indicate a deliberate effort to slander a believer in Jesus in conscious rebellion against God. But I very seriously doubt it. But even with a polygraph, I could never know for sure when the test is one of hard-heartedness, as Hebrews plainly teaches. Some doctrines some people teach inherently damn, but most doctrines are about the state of one’s heart and not subject to “for sure” conclusions.

Now, notice a few things —

1. We cannot presume malicious intent on the part of others for the sake of winning an argument. Yes, if the Catholics are all intentionally violating God’s will just to have their traditions, they are in serious jeopardy for their souls. But we’d be idiots to believe such a claim.

2. God judges individuals, not denominations. God draws the line between the church and the world by faith in Jesus and submission to him as Lord. We try to draw lines based on Yellow Pages listings and doctrinal error – all the while tolerating equally great error in our own camp.

3. I’ve not been asked to decide the eternal fate of any person or any denomination – only to opine as to whether certain errors necessarily take someone out of grace. And that’s all I’ve done.

4. There’s a considerable variety of belief under the Catholic tent. Not all Catholics pray to Mary. Not all Catholics even honor the Pope (yes, really).

The whole enterprise of finding “marks” of the church in order to damn entire denominations is quite sinful – indeed, violates the book of Galatians – the whole book. Therefore, I’m not interested in using the comments section here to work through every perceived error of every denomination. It won’t happen.

Besides, there’s a natural human tendency to feel superior to the other denomination when we talk about their errors – and that would violate lots of scriptures. Therefore, any conversation along these lines will include confession of our own errors as we go.

And so, while we’re on the subject, we progressives do have a tendency to look down our noses a bit at the conservatives. As vital as it is to escape legalism, it’s not enough. We have a host of other problems to sort through – such as how to live this better theology – because, you see, the progressive theology is actually a harder one to put into effect.

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21 Responses

  1. In trying to prove the point that progressives refuse to say specifically when and where false teachings and/or practices are sinful and whether or not said errors are potentially damning, Jay was asked about the following Catholic teachings/practices:

    1. Believing that Mary the mother of Jesus was sinless, equating her to that of Jesus. They pray directly to her.
    2. Believing in another mediator other than Jesus, that a person’s sins are forgiven when a priest forgives them.
    3. And their worshipping of a man (the pope).

    He was then asked these questions:

    “1) Are such teachings sinful (against any rules)?
    2) Does the grace of God forgive them nonetheless?
    (assuming they believe they are pleasing to God).
    3) How do you know for sure?”

    His response is simply astounding:

    1. Regarding their sin of considering Mary sinless and worthy of being prayed to…Jay actually defends the belief and practice and concludes thusly — “I think the practice is error, but not nearly as indefensible as some wish to claim.”
    2. Reagarding their “believing in another mediator other than Jesus, that a person’s sins are forgiven when a priest forgives them,” Jay not only denies the claim altogether, but he then accuses the one who makes the claim to be the one guilty of sin. Hear Jay — “They do not believe that a priest forgives anyone.”

    However, Roman Catholic authority Ludwig Ott tells us on the basis of John 20:23 that, “the (Catholic) Church has received from Christ the power of remitting sins committed after baptism.” See N. Geisler “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals” p.218. While Jay might have asked a Catholic of their personal belief, the fact of the matter is that the official teaching of the Catholic church has been that priests do in fact have the power to forgive sins. And it was the ones who actually believe that traditional Catholic teaching that I was asking about.

    3. Regarding the claim that they worship a man (the pope), Jay again denied the claim altogether. He says — “They do not worship the Pope, and it’s not a fair criticism at all.”
    He even attempts to turn the tables by suggesting, “…it’s sin to teach that the Catholics worship the Pope. And, yes, it’s sin to teach that Catholic priests forgive sin.”

    However, and again, Jay is mistaken.

    I am sure that many are surprised to hear him state as much when it is common knowledge that the traditional teaching of the Catholic church is that the pope is infallible. That he is referred to as the “Vicar of Christ” (acts for and in the place of Christ). Popes, cardinals and archbishops are all typically addressed as, “Your Excellency.” And, according to the Second Vatican Council, “…whoever listens to them (popes, cardinals, and archbishops) is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent Christ.”
    (Much, much, more can be cited from the Catholic church itself wherein it can be seen that they do infact consider the pope worthy of reverence and worship. And that their priests do in fact have the power to forgive sins).

    While Jay may have found a Catholic here and there who denies worshipping the pope, and/or that their priests do not actually forgive sins, it simply cannot be denied that in harmony with the official teaching of the Catholic church, many faithful Catholics do in fact worship the pope and believe as much. Of course, it was THEM that I was talking about.

    Notice that Jay does all of this defending and even denying of the sinful teachings and practices of the Catholic church, all in order to keep from having to ever imply that such teachings and practices could mean that the ones guilty may in fact have “crossed the line” and be lost (regardless of honest they may actually be).

    And as pointed out, he instead focuses his attention on the one merely asking about the sins — rather than the ones actually comitting them.

    Seems now even clearer to me that the progressives would rather defend the error, rather than the truth.

  2. God forgave when Jesus died on the cross and we received that forgiveness once for all when we were baptized.

    Of course, the idea that we are damned post-baptism until we confess, repent, ask for forgiveness is also error.

    What makes you so sure about that, Jay?

    Yes, Jesus died once and for all – His sacrifiece covers all sins of the world. But John says it in a conditial sentene: “If we confess our sins – he will forgive us” (1John 2:9) He says this to Christians. So forgiveness is linked to repentence not to the sacrifice itself. There is enough grace to cover ALL sins; but we have to RECEIVE it the way grace is OFFERED: I think the “scrament” of confession is a corruption of a Biblical teaching; but the biblical teaching is very important.

    And at the end of his letter (also a 5:16 address as in James) he is speaking about sin unto death, for which we shall mot pray, and about other sins: If we see someone sinning we hall pray for him and thus we will give him life.

    Not to mention how often our Lord Jesus said: If we don’t forgive, we won’t be forgiven either.

    So baptism isn’t forgiving ALL sins, but only those PRIOR to our baptism. Afterwards we have to confess our sins and to repent in order to be forgiven as often as sin “happens” in our life.

    If we die with unforgiven (unconfessed) sins, I don’t know for sure what God will say; but I know for sure that I want to avoid such a confrontation.

    Alexander

  3. Jay

    Good explanation. My youngest son became catholic and even considered the priesthood, but at the last minute became alarmed at all the sexual abuse being committed by some priests. He know attends with us,

    I know something about the catholic church and you have explained it reasonably well.

    Hank as usual is off the wall and Alexander I guess does not believe in 1 John 1 Walking in the light. or continual sanctification.

    You are wrong no matter what. They have vendetta out on you as do most conservatives. I know many conservatives who are loving. These guys are contentious and hate mongers. I would bet the sixe of their congregation is less than 100.

    Thanks Jay

    Bob

  4. Hank as usual is off the wall and Alexander I guess does not believe in 1 John 1 Walking in the light. or continual sanctification.

    I do believe in continuing sanctification, but I cannot simply agree to the statement, if we don’t confess sins after baptism, we’ll be saved anyway. Maybe that’s not how Jay would put, but if I read his statement from the other direction, that’s the result. (At least in my ears)And that’s not scriptural.

    The problem has it’s roots in the “once for all” thinking: We’re saved by “faith only” since we asked CHrist into our hearts (once for all) or by faith and baptism (once for all), because Christ died once for all.

    But actually salvation is to be understood as a PROCESS, not as a one-time-event. It includes repentence, faith and baptism; but holiness, obedience, fruit and good works are also essential to salvation. And the sins we commit on the way we are instructed to repent from and to confess.

    All of this is a salvation issue; but – as I understand it – not in the sense of competing a list, but in the sense of striving for perfection. It’s the attitude that counts, not a completed list. We are saved by faith, and faith includes and develops this attitude. We are saved by grace, and grace enables us to live that way and forgives us.

    These guys are contentious and hate mongers. I would bet the sixe of their congregation is less than 100.

    I don’t know whether you include me in this or not. A written discussion normally tends to become more focussed on arguments, and thus we easily get a distorted picture of one another.

    (Our church in Vienna/Austria numbers about 60 adults, which is fairly typical [even large] for a European CoC; so the numbers don’t say much about our faith; but you may pray for us …)

    Alexander

  5. Alexander

    I knew a preacher who said “When my time comes I hope I have the time to pull off the road and confess my sin”.

    You may not have the time, but even when you continue to walk in the light of the truth your mind wanders and it is possible for you to sin. Many times I do just that but to remember each little detail would be impossible.

    The scripture that says “pray without ceasing” may be a good solution. But then the Holy Spirit in you prays for your sins.

    If we aren’t sanctified continually we are in trouble.

    Bob

  6. It just may be that Alexander does not know what “confess” means in 1 John 1:9. The idea is not a sort of mechanical “saying” of ever sin and asking forgiveness. The meaning is that Christians “agree” with God about sin. To say the same thing God says about them. Every believer is constantly having sins cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

    The truth is and not often mentioned in our fellowship, that our sins are not being cournted against us, they are counted to Christ. This truth does not promote lawlesness but devotion instead.

    Royce

  7. (Attn: The following is a repeat of the first comment above. I am re-posting it because the first submission was hidden from the “recent comments” bar. Since it was concerning me, I wanted my response to be visible on the home page. Please read and/or disregard as deemed neccessary. Thanks).

    In trying to prove the point that progressives refuse to say specifically when and where false teachings and/or practices are sinful and whether or not said errors are potentially damning, Jay was asked about the following Catholic teachings/practices:

    1. Believing that Mary the mother of Jesus was sinless, equating her to that of Jesus. They pray directly to her.
    2. Believing in another mediator other than Jesus, that a person’s sins are forgiven when a priest forgives them.
    3. And their worshipping of a man (the pope).

    He was then asked these questions:

    “1) Are such teachings sinful (against any rules)?
    2) Does the grace of God forgive them nonetheless?
    (assuming they believe they are pleasing to God).
    3) How do you know for sure?”

    His response is simply astounding:

    1. Regarding their sin of considering Mary sinless and worthy of being prayed to…Jay actually defends the belief and practice and concludes thusly — “I think the practice is error, but not nearly as indefensible as some wish to claim.”
    2. Reagarding their “believing in another mediator other than Jesus, that a person’s sins are forgiven when a priest forgives them,” Jay not only denies the claim altogether, but he then accuses the one who makes the claim to be the one guilty of sin. Hear Jay — “They do not believe that a priest forgives anyone.”

    However, Roman Catholic authority Ludwig Ott tells us on the basis of John 20:23 that, “the (Catholic) Church has received from Christ the power of remitting sins committed after baptism.” See N. Geisler “Roman Catholics and Evangelicals” p.218. While Jay might have asked a Catholic of their personal belief, the fact of the matter is that the official teaching of the Catholic church has been that priests do in fact have the power to forgive sins. And it was the ones who actually believe that traditional Catholic teaching that I was asking about.

    3. Regarding the claim that they worship a man (the pope), Jay again denied the claim altogether. He says — “They do not worship the Pope, and it’s not a fair criticism at all.”
    He even attempts to turn the tables by suggesting, “…it’s sin to teach that the Catholics worship the Pope. And, yes, it’s sin to teach that Catholic priests forgive sin.”

    However, and again, Jay is mistaken.

    I am sure that many are surprised to hear him state as much when it is common knowledge that the traditional teaching of the Catholic church is that the pope is infallible. That he is referred to as the “Vicar of Christ” (acts for and in the place of Christ). Popes, cardinals and archbishops are all typically addressed as, “Your Excellency.” And, according to the Second Vatican Council, “…whoever listens to them (popes, cardinals, and archbishops) is listening to Christ and whoever despises them despises Christ and him who sent Christ.”
    (Much, much, more can be cited from the Catholic church itself wherein it can be seen that they do infact consider the pope worthy of reverence and worship. And that their priests do in fact have the power to forgive sins).

    While Jay may have found a Catholic here and there who denies worshipping the pope, and/or that their priests do not actually forgive sins, it simply cannot be denied that in harmony with the official teaching of the Catholic church, many faithful Catholics do in fact worship the pope and believe as much. Of course, it was THEM that I was talking about.

    Notice that Jay does all of this defending and even denying of the sinful teachings and practices of the Catholic church, all in order to keep from having to ever imply that such teachings and practices could mean that the ones guilty may in fact have “crossed the line” and be lost (regardless of honest they may actually be).

    And as pointed out, he instead focuses his attention on the one merely asking about the sins — rather than the ones actually comitting them.

    Seems now even clearer to me that the progressives would rather defend the error, rather than the truth.

  8. Royce

    As usual you completely clarify a difficult concept.

    For that reason I am continual embarrassed about my sinful conduct. He truly bore it all,

    Thank you Brother

    Bob

  9. It just may be that Alexander does not know what “confess” means in 1 John 1:9. The idea is not a sort of mechanical “saying” of ever sin and asking forgiveness. The meaning is that Christians “agree” with God about sin. To say the same thing God says about them. Every believer is constantly having sins cleansed by the blood of Jesus.

    This is a really meaningful topic, and I enjoy this one. It is one thing, to say the same about sin (Greek: homologeo, a very precise term) and another to ask for forgiveness and to pray for one another.

    What does it mean, when our Lord teaches us, to ASK for forgiveness (in the Lord’s Prayer)? Especially when He adds: But if you don’t forgive others who trespass against you, you won’t be forgiven either.

    Is cleansing from sin really something that happens constantly without us being really aware of it?

    Let me try it this way: We quite often sin without us being aware of it. And guess what, there were even sin offerings for sins we comitted without being aware of them! But these offerings (and the other ones) were not being offered continually, but if you sinned (or just in case) you had to take a lamb and walk with it to the temple.

    So the act of confessing, repenting and receiving forgiveness is very conscious.

    I knew a preacher who said “When my time comes I hope I have the time to pull off the road and confess my sin”.

    Since he does not know when his time comes, he might as well do it right now …

    But I understand what you mean: What if, in the heat of the day, we are distracted and unaware of sin in our life and the necessity to confess them? What if we die in this state of unconfessed sin?

    I think, we do agree, that we shall not purposely shove our sins under the rug and harden our hearts. But, as I said before: It is not about a complete list, we have to return at judgment day, but about our heart and attitude:

    If we love the Lord, wil will want to walk in His light. And if we walk in His light, our sins will be revealed and we will respond in faith and receive His grace. If we however seek loopholes, if we imagine God will receive us, even though we did not receive our brother in grace, then we will be shocked at judgment day.

    So, what do I do? I try to be as gracious as possible to others and as strict as possible to myself. I judge others the way I want to be judged by my Lord – which means: I want to show as much love and grace to others as I know He has for me. By living this way, I don’t know what to fear. (If you live according to the fear of the Lord, there is nothing to fear.)

    But, on the other hand: I take all these verses of confessing sin and receiving forgiveness by face value. To me these verses (they are numerous) are very clear, and to say (or to imply), we don’t really have to confess our sins after baptism, is misleading.

    Alexander

  10. “1. I do think it’s wrong to teach that Mary was sinless. Only Jesus was.

    I also think it’s wrong to pray to Mary, to saints, or others who are dead, because the practice tends to create a separation between the Christian and God that the scriptures do not intend”

    Hank it sounds like Jay thought it was wrong to me.

  11. Alexander

    You have a good point , If we continue doing the same sin or multiple sins we need to stop and reflect about where this problem is headed. We should talk it over with God and ask for his help in a specific area or ask for help from a brother in Christ to help me be strong.

    Thank you for the thought. It does help to pray without ceasing or to be continually aware of Satan’s presents.

    Alexander, I apologize about the size of you congregation. That was a cheap shot and I am sorry.
    They so very fortunate to have you as their spiritual leader . We will pray for you efforts to teach the Gospel.

    Blessings to you.

    Bob

  12. Todd,

    Here is my point:

    What does he mean by “wrong”? Does he mean by that that it is a sinful practice? If it IS sinful, what about it? Will God overlook (forgive) the sin simply cause the sinners believed it was a God pleasing idea? If so, where would it end?

    1) Believing that their “priests” have the power to forgive them?
    2) Reverencing the pope? Believing HE speaks with the authority of Christ?
    3) Etc.

    If these too are merely “wrong” (as if slightly unwise)?

    Or, do they constitute acts of sin?

    If the latter, how does he, or you, or anybody else KNOW that God might just overlook and forgive such transgressions?

    IS IT POSSIBLE that such beliefs and practices puts the transgressor outside of the light wherein the blood of Chrsit continue cleanses? How do you know for sure?

    Why do progressives refuse to admit that certain beliefs and acts of worship that THEY consider “wrong” are actually against the will of God and sin?

    I will tell you why — because as soon as they do… the will be in the same boat as the conservatives they want to write books about and challenge to debate. That’s why.

  13. Remember, I AM NOT out to get the progressives. I am only here to show that they are not any more consistent than the conservatives they oppose.

    IOW, it is easy to point out where certain groups are wrong (like Todd did with his book)… but to play like you don’t have failures just as big (or even bigger maybe) is exaxctly like throwing rocks from, well — you know.

  14. Hank, how do you understand the doctrine of atonement? You asked:

    “IS IT POSSIBLE that such beliefs and practices puts the transgressor outside of the light wherein the blood of Chrsit continue cleanses? ”

    What beliefs and practices put sinners INSIDE the light wherein the blood of Christ continues to cleanse?

  15. Nancy asks,

    “What beliefs and practices put sinners INSIDE the light wherein the blood of Christ continues to cleanse?”

    Faith and obedience puts one inside of Christ.

    Lack of faith and/or disobedience puts one back out again.

    Fortunately (to some extent), God forgives our disobedience. But at the same time, we must be dilliegent in warring against our desires and the false doctrines of men so as to not be considerd by God as no longer walking in the light — ie, “unfaithful.”

    But to sit back and say that considering Mary sinless, praying to her, going to “a priest” to be forgiven, considering a man (the pope) to be in the seat of Christ, etc., are all merely errors that God will certainly forgive, is presumtuous.

    How does one know? These are direct violations of scripture!

    Where would it end? Many Christian churhes have practicing homosexual “pastors.” Is that going to far to still be saved?

    Someone here needs to draw a line somewhere.

    Or, at least. quit playing as if they are in a better position than the conservatives they so often challenge.

  16. Jay

    I have a hypothetical case. I am not trying to be clever or divisive but practical, if thats possible.

    It’s back in the “Dark Ages” 1200AD. A serf brings his family to the catholic church to become Christians. As you know the family was completely illiterate, barely ably to communicate clearly in their own language.

    The Priest administers the sacraments of baptism to all the family, infants included. He then explains the ordinances of the catholic church and they wholeheartedly agree.

    Are they lost?

    Even thought by faith they accepted what they believed to be what God expected of them.
    Even if they could have read the bible, in whatever form was available, they were forbidden to read it. And they would not have understood the Latin or if they could they did not have the time. The work was hard and the hours long. Life was brutal and most of their children died before the age of eight. Mom and dad made it to 40.

    What light did they have available and did they respond to that light the best they could.

    Today we have the word of God and God’s light but look what we have done with it.

    A wise man said the Catholic Church’s authority was diminished with the invention of the printing press. The bible became available to the common man. But tha was a two edged sword. We have taken it and by the word of god divide the church into a waring camp.

    What can we do to be unified?

    Bob

  17. Are certain beliefs wrong? yes. Are certain practices sin? yes. Can you and I know for certain which people God may forgive or not forgive? No. Because you and I cannot know the heart of a man. A man may say he repents but he really doesn’t. He may refuse to obey but then (out of our sight) he repents. He may follow church practice to be accepted in the community and not out of love for God. He may out of love for God commit a sin (think about Saul or in later ages, the Crusades). Our walk with God is not about what we do or don’t do. It is about our relationship with our divine Father which will cause us to want to be kind, loving, humble, obedient, and forgiving. Rebellion against that walk is fatal. But God judges that relationship. I cannot judge another’s relationship with God anymore than I can judge their relationship with a spouse. If they openly abuse, neglect, and are unfaithful to a spouse then their works speak for them. Even then, the spouse may forgive them for reasons that I cannot fathom. (How many times did Hosea forgive his adulterous wife, Gomer? How many times did God forgive Israel?)

    Yes, there is evil, sin, and false teaching in the world. How much can you have and still be my brother? a poor question… how much can I have and still be in a relationship with God? also a poor question. How can I best lead my life to walk according to God’s law of love? that is a better question.

  18. Dan summarizes thusly:

    “Yes, there is evil, sin, and false teaching in the world. How much can you have and still be my brother? a poor question… how much can I have and still be in a relationship with God? also a poor question. How can I best lead my life to walk according to God’s law of love? that is a better question.”

    Here’s the thing with that — while it sure sounds very non-judgmental and loving, it ends up having one “be brothers” with Catholics, Mormons, JW’s, denominations led by practicing homosexuals, etc.”

    Refusing to actually draw a specific line somewhere (in regards to what a person believes and/or practices religiously), leads to chaos. And churches like the one my father in law attends, where he say’s, “At our church, we don’t teach any doctrines.”

    Think about that.

    “You gotta stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.”

  19. Hank, that is precisely why it is important to draw the line where God draws it: the same place it is when you get into the covenant. Faith, Repentance, and trust in Christ alone.

  20. Jay,

    I have not had time to check on your site for a couple of days and only have a quick min this evening. I just noticed the title of this thread and I do not understand why you have my name associated with this thread since I did not ask any of the questions you have quoted. It appears you got me confused with someone else.

  21. Cougan,

    I apologize. I’ve corrected the post. I don’t have any idea why I used your name, as I was well aware that these were Hank’s questions.

    And my apologies to Hank as well.

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