"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Don't Confuse a 501-C3 Non-Profit with His Church

For years I've been trying to explain to people that Christ's Church isn't a religious institution.

An institution of religion is established by religious leaders for religious rituals.

When Americans "go to church," we wrongly think that the building we enter is "the church."

We also wrongly say that we are "attending church."
But you can't attend His Church if you are His Church.
What every follower of Jesus is doing on Sunday is attending a local non-profit religious institution that conducts religious and social services.

You are Christ's Church.

That's why any pastor who tells you he is God's representative on earth, with spiritual authority over you, is practicing fraudulent authority and has confused the 501-C3 non-profit he leads with Christ Church.

Christ alone has spiritual authority over His people, and every Christian is called to minister to others according to the gifts He has given each of us.
Christ's Church has no building, needs no budget, and possesses no boundaries, local or global.  
But we've grown comfortable with a social custom in the United States of calling the religious rituals we attend on Sunday "church." The buildings and the leaders of those religious non-profits (including me) are actually part of 501-C3 religious non-profits that are registered with the secretary of state. Your local "church" is vested with "tax-exempt" status by the state and falls under the state guidelines under which it is registered.

Therefore, the state can rightfully order the closure of all 501-C3 non-profits, remove its tax-exempt status, and otherwise jail non-compliant leaders of any non-profit that refuses to abide by state law. Not one person who draws a salary from a religious non-profit should complain.

Any religious institution that has received tax-free money signed up for that benefit with the state.

The Babylon Bee
Photo: The Babylon Bee

An anonymous insider of religious institutions has been "poking fun" of American churches for a long time. He's called The Babylon Bee.

This week he wrote an article entitled "Nations Churches Provide Fog Machines for Families Worshiping at Home."

I laughed out loud when I saw the picture.

I knew what The Bee was doing. He was poking fun at churches who use "fog machines," by pointing out when the church buildings are closed, Christ's people will have to read Scripture, sing songs, and pray in their homes without the aid of fog machines.

Well, of course!

But I think the Babylon Bee has made the same mistake everyone else makes.

The Babylon Bee is confusing the 501-C3 non-profits with Christ's Church. 

Emmanuel Enid (Oklahoma) is the 501-C3 non-profit that I lead. Members of Christ's Church support the non-profit called Emmanuel Enid and the staff of this non-profit seeks to empower members of Christ's Church to minister.

The non-profit called Emmanuel Enid uses a fog machine. In fact, Emmanuel Enid uses two of them. In a moment I'll tell you why, but be patient with me.

I've taught the people who attend corporate gatherings at Emmanuel Enid to never confuse what we do as a non-profit with Christ's Church.

Christ's people -  men and women - are to minister to others as Christ gifts us. Christ alone is our authority.

Emmanuel Enid is a non-profit that exists to helps Christ's Church to fulfill our call of ministering to others.

Our non-profit staff does work that is difficult for others in Christ's Church to do because members of Christ's Church hold other full-time jobs. However, our non-profit expects its staff to not only do the work of ministry, but they are to train and empower all members of Christ's Church to be ministers, Every Christian is a minister and a shepherd, and there's a world out there full of lost sheep. 

Any separation of Christ's Church into "clergy" and "laypeople" is following the unbiblical practice of confusing Christ's Church with the religious institution (non-profit) that clergymen lead.

This past week, those who draw a paycheck (staff) from our local non-profit (Emmanuel Enid) have been working from before dawn until very late at night, preparing Christ's Church in Enid to move out into the streets, following CDC guidelines of separation and contact, delivering food, medicine, and personal hygiene products to the elderly.

We'll not have a choir this Sunday. We'll not have Children's Church on Sunday. We'll not have any Youth Events. We'll not have any Small Groups in the building this Sunday either.

But we will broadcast some great worship and teaching to your home and ask you to join in! We will also give extensive updates on what Emmanuel Enid is doing during this global pandemic and how you are needed to help us reach out to our community.

We've established a phone bank hotline that anyone can call beginning Monday (580) 548-1678 with requests for assistance for themselves or a loved one. A host of volunteers with EMT badges (Emergency Management Team) will be going out of our buildings to assist people who live in our city.

I've received at least half a dozen emails from our members, and they've informed me that they are already walking their neighborhoods, checking on people.

Christ's Church is His Church at all times, whether or not anybody can enter a non-profit building.

Fog Machines

Why would a religious non-profit like Emmanuel Enid use fog machines?

A good question with an easy answer.

For nearly 20 years we have broadcast our corporate gatherings to the homebound, the physically disabled, and others who watch from home. Some who watch us regularly have been burned by religious institutions and are recovering from their wounds at home.

We use fog machines because they enhance the lighting of digital broadcasts.

Fog machines give a much better visual presentation on digital receptors, including televisions, I-Phones, computer monitors, I-Pads, and tablets.

We only use "fog machines" for one of our three services (REFUGE) because the other two corporate worship services are attended by predominately senior citizens, and they don't like "the smoke in the room." It looks like a dozen Winston Churchills are puffing on cigars doing the worship service.

So we accommodate our senior adults and only use the two fog machines during our 11:15 REFUGE service. Which service do you think we typically broadcast via digital medium?

That's right, the one with fog.  There's a Kingdom reason for using fog machines. The electronic broadcast is sharper, clearer, and significantly more enhanced with fog and lights. It's a more professional broadcast.

I understand some followers of Jesus don't understand why fog machines may be necessary. But like the old saying goes, "Never criticize the way another man walks until you've walked a mile in his shoes."

The following two "snips" were taken the same Sunday, February 23, 2020, from two separate LIVE broadcast services at Emmanuel Enid, one with fog, the other without. Which one do you think we archived and used electronically for future broadcasts on television and independent websites?

Service without fog


Broadcast Service with Fog

Sunday, March 22, 2020

The state of Oklahoma has closed the religious 501-C3 non-profit called Emmanuel Enid for corporate worship gatherings until further notice.

Our non-profit staff will enter the building this Sunday to operate cameras, sound equipment, switchers, lights, and our worship leaders and I will give some encouraging words from songs and Scripture, as well as updates on how we will be ministering to the city of Enid in the coming weeks. My encouragement from Scripture is entitled "Personal Blessings from a Global Pandemic."

Emmanuel Enid has never confused our non-profit with Christ's Church.

Christ's Church - you, His people - don't need a fog machine in your living rooms.

But this non-profit will use two of them as we empower Christ's Church to minister to others through this global pandemic.

If you would like to join us online, we will be broadcasting two different worship services, one at 9:00 am on Sunday (Bridge) and one at 11:15 am on Sunday (Refuge). You may watch on Emmanuel's YouTube channel, Emmanuel's Facebook page, or at Emmanuel Enid LIVE.

Since nobody will be in the room except the production staff,  Winston Churchill will be smoking his cigars in both.

Monday, March 23, 2020.

We also will be broadcasting LIVE from our HUB at 10:00 am Monday as we send out our Emergency Management Teams to assist senior adults and others throughout our community. If you'd like to volunteer for one of our EMT teams as a volunteer or be available to work our phone bank (open at 8:30 am Monday and open every day), please email us at:
 ENDCOVID19@EMMANUELENID.ORG
Hope to see you on the computer screen from your living room tomorrow morning at 9:00 or 11:15 am!

It's a great time to be alive and to be Christ's Church in a world in need of Light.

77 comments:

Mercy and Truth said...

Great post with great insight. Thank you Pastor Burleson for your heart, soul, mind, and spirit to serve the Everlasting One ! May God continue to bless you in all of your endeavors. Linda Mardis

Christiane said...

"This past week, those who draw a paycheck (staff) from our local non-profit (Emmanuel Enid) have been working from before dawn until very late at night, preparing Christ's Church in Enid to move out into the streets, following CDC guidelines of separation and contact, delivering food, medicine, and personal hygiene products to the elderly."

THIS IS 'The Church Militant', serving in the world selflessly out of a loving-kindness like that of Our God

God Bless these good people for their service. And keep them safe from harm.

It is said that during the Black Plague in Europe in the Middle Ages, almost 90% of all clergy perished while serving the sick and the dying. The tradition of 'going out into the streets' is an old one in the Church. And your people, Wade, are now going to be joining that tradition, but hopefully without the losses of the old times, God forbid.
I will pray for this good work and for the safety of all servants who 'go forth' in the Name of Christ to help those who are at risk.

"I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."
(Psalm 27:13) AMEN, AMEN, AMEN

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Are you sure you’re not Baptists? :)

Wade Burleson said...

Thank you Mercy and Truth!

Christiane, AMEN!

Rex, laughing, as usual!

Stay safe friends!

Christiane said...

Catholic to the back-bone, REX RAY, but had a Southern Baptist grandmother, of blessed memory, so am a 'hybrid' of sorts. :)

the way I see it, the closer folks get to focusing on Christ, the less the 'divisions' seem to matter to them, and although those 'divisions' are important to people, I don't think they trip up the Holy Spirit any, as it is known that He goes where He will go

I can and do respect that people see things differently, but if Wade writes that the people of Enid Baptist Church are 'going out into the streets' to aid those who are at risk to the virus, then I have to say, 'that sounds like the Church of old, when those who ministered went out to help the people who were sick and dying' and I see 'divisions' falling away in that 'witness' to Christ, yes. So who's to say 'I am for Peter', or 'I am for Paul', in a world where the people witness to Jesus Christ Kyrios by rolling up their sleeves and putting their own selves out there to serve those in need in His Name? It doesn't get much better than that, REX RAY. There is a kind of 'witness' that has no 'labels' or 'boundaries' or 'divisions' but points to Christ in its selfless service of giving in time of need. That's the real thing. Yep. You bet. All over this country, people are acting out their faith in Christ in witness to Him by doing what needs to be done in a difficult time at their own expense and sometimes at their own risk, call it 'Baptist' or 'catholic' or just call it a humane 'response' to stand up for what is right and good in a much as is possible to do it.
Those 'divisions' in the Church only go so deep. When our shared troubles go deeper than our divisions, we become united in how we cope with those troubles at a deeper level of faith and trust in God. Not a bad thing, this. For the community, or the Church, or the Nation.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

“Catholic to the back-bone”, but ‘hybrid’.”

Now that attracts me like a fish seeing a worm, or a dog seeing a cat. :)

“Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.” (Matthew 16:18 NLT)

Some believe Christ’s Church was built upon Peter. If that were so, it didn’t last long because five verses later Jesus calls Peter Satan: “Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me…” (Matthew 16:23 NLT)

Jesus built his church on the answer Peter gave to Jesus:
“…You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16 NLT)

What were the keys that Jesus gave to Peter?

“I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 NLT)

The “keys” was the Gospel. Whoever rejects the Gospel on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whoever accepts the Gospel on earth will be permitted in heaven.

It’s late so I’ll say as Wade does: more coming.

RB Kuter said...

I was thinking that it would be good to return to the days of the drive-in, double-feature, movie theaters for evening entertainment and to re-invent the "curbside", drive-up ordering, restaurants that Rex Ray used to go to all the time!

AND the drive-in theaters used for entertainment on Saturday evenings could be used for Wade's church services on Sunday mornings!! You know, that's the way Robert Schuller started the huge church he led that eventually became known as the "Crystal Cathedral"!

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christiane said...

a quieter 'cathedral'

https://youtu.be/yvjiFIlZ85c?list=RDCMUCxdLs9ybv0xJapLrg1EMJHw

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

You probably believe Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way; he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (KJ)
But is this true? ‘Train up a child in the way; he should NOT go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’

I believe the ROOTS of Baptists and Catholicism is shown at the First Church Council in deciding how Gentiles could be saved.

“Some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees [trained how NOT to go; Christiane] stood up and insisted, the Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the Law of Moses.” (Acts 15:5 NLT)

Peter argued against their thinking.

“So, why are you CHALLENGING God by BURDENING the Gentiles with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? WE BELIEVE THAT WE ARE ALL SAVED THE SAME WAY, BY THE UNDERSERVED GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS.” (Acts 15:10-11 NLT)

Next verse:

“Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done had done through them among the Gentiles.”

The Christian Pharisees were convinced. The debated was over; lets go home! But no, James speaks and confuses being saved by the underserved Grace of the Lord Jesus.

“When they [Barnabas and Paul] had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. (Acts 15:13 NLT)

“And so my JUDGMENT is…” [who made him the judge?] we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood.” (Acts 15:19-20 NLT)

Did his requirements change ‘underserved Grace’ to ‘DERSERVED Grace’?

Where Peter said to BURDEN the Gentiles would be CHALLENGING God, James states: “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater BURDEN on you that these few requirements:” (Acts 15:28 NLT)

Christiane, IF we believe what James says, then we’d haft to believe the Holy Spirit disagrees with God. Am I wrong about this?

Hey, RB Kuter,
I liked those drive-in theaters. ‘Daylight saving time’ put them out of business.

Christiane said...

Hey there, REX RAY

I have to say that I don't quite understand what you wrote there about St. James, but in my Church, the Holy Spirit IS God, as we are 'trinitarian'.

It is difficult for me to consider the Holy Spirit 'outside' of the Holy Trinity, so that is why I cannot understand what you wrote about a possible disagreement.

If it helps you, this verse can focus you a bit better on Christ as the 'Revealer of God':

"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
(2 Corinthians 11:3)

This advice speaks about keeping our minds focused ON CHRIST.
I would not worry about St. James or St. Peter OR St. Paul and any misunderstandings about sacred Scripture, as long as we are drawn to 'the simplicity that is in Christ', I think we can stop worrying.

For some reason, people get caught up in the 'latest' interesting theologies and theories out there, but that verse in 2 Corinthians 11:3 guides us back to Our Lord.

There is something to be said about that old Irish hymn from centuries ago, this:
https://youtu.be/ihJAJA4ibEs

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

James missed the ‘three years of college’ with his Brother, because he was a scoffer:

“and Jesus brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles! You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!” For even his brothers didn’t believe in him.” (John 7:3-4 NLT)

I believe James would never have become a believer, if Jesus hadn’t appeared to him after Calvary:

“Then he was seen by James and later the apostles.” (1 Corinthians 15:7 NLT)

So, what ‘education’ did James have that he put a BURDEN on the Gentiles? His ‘education’ was shown by his reasons:

After James list three food laws and sexual immorality that Gentiles are to abstain from, he explains why in the next verse:

“For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.” (Acts 15:21 NLT) His reasoning was TRADITION.

https://www.catholic.com/tract/scripture-and-tradition

This link shows Catholics believe tradition has a place alongside the Bible, but Jesus said:

“And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition…” (Mark 7:13 NLT)

Looks to me like this Scripture applies directly to James’ traditions.

James still believed and followed the Laws of Moses as shown:

“The next day Paul went with us to meet with James [pastor] and all the elders of the Jerusalem church…You know dear brother [Paul], how many thousands of Jews [church members] have also believed, and they all follow the law of Moses very seriously.” (Acts 21:18-20 NLT)

Unknown said...

The only fog machine in the true Church is produced by the hardened heart that has not received Jesus. We, as followers of Christ, are the Church. We go to the building on Sunday morning to be with other fellow Christ followers in fellowship and to support and encourage each other in their Walk with Christ.

Rex Ray said...

Hey! Wade,

I forgot the point of your post in ‘discussing’ with Christiane how Catholicism and Baptists got started.

What do we do with this Scripture: “Let us not neglect our meeting together…but encourage one another…”? (Hebrews 10:25 NLT)

I believe the devil is happy about this.

Unknown,
THANKS, I don’t believe anyone could have said it better.

Christiane said...

Hey out there REX RAY,

One other reason I probably am misunderstanding something of what you are writing is because there are more than one 'James' in the New Testament. So it might take me some time to sort out which 'James' is which in each circumstance in accordance with how these men are spoken of in what you write here and in passages of sacred Scripture.

For some reason, the Book of St. James got into bad repute even with Luther who thought it should thrown out of the New Testament entirely. But the King James Bible, when written, included it none-the-less. I'm sure there is a great story to be written someday about the controversies over the Book of St. James when all the dust has settled, and if the Lord tarries.

So take one incident or Scripture that concerns you about St. James and isolate it and I will try to examine it from my perspective and figure out which 'James' it is, and let you know what I am aware of according to my own resources. Happy to do this, if it makes you happy also. Always good to try to understand one another if we can.

I hope you are well and are staying 'at home' with Judy and 'sheltering in place' for a season, as things are worse with this virus now and I am fearful for my medical people in my family who are exposed and for their children also. I hope the President will act to bring the powers of the government fully into fighting for the protection of our medical people who now are in need of protective gear in order to continue doing their jobs safely.
So I pray to that end that he acts quickly to convert industries into needed production of masks and gowns, and all related protective gear, and also for the construction of ventilators to help people to breathe. Please pray for our medical people.

You take care. And stay put. It's not easy, but we will get through this, I hope. And maybe our country will no longer be so divided as before? I pray for that also.

Christiane said...

For WADE, who understands the existence of the Body of Christ better than most:
here is something I wrote for another blog that fits in with that which is 'beyond human divisions':


Wow. A journey into what addresses our fears as we enter into the midst of PANDEMIC where so much is danger and so much is unseen and we do not know how to go forward.

So we ‘ask’, and trust for a response to come, like children we trust; and there is something pure and honest about this faith when ‘smugness’ and hubris fall down before the unknown danger and we are in need of help from our Creator once more.

The Book of Isaiah is opened and there we find these words:

““ AND THINE EARS SHALL HEAR A WORD BEHIND THEE, SAYING,
‘THIS IS THE WAY,
WALK IN IT,
WHEN YE TURN TO THE RIGHT,
AND WHEN YE TURN TO THE LEFT.’ ”
(Isaiah 30:21)

so when the ground of our land trembles beneath our feet and the volcanic mountains explode and the forces that formed our world are again seen,
can we still sing the hymn of a dying Christian from Iceland who wrote 800 years ago calling out to his Creator God with these words:
“May softly come unto me Thy mercy. So I call on Thee, for You have created me.”

https://youtu.be/e4dT8FJ2GE0

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

I thought my first words identified what James in the Bible I was referring to:

“James missed the ‘three years of college’ with his Brother, because he was a scoffer” and referenced John 7:3-4.

I’ve been criticized for telling about my brother too much, but the book of James didn’t have that problem as his Book refers to God 61 times and to his brother 5 times. He preached ‘WORKS’ saves man:

“So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free.” (James 2:12 NLT)

The law doesn’t set us free; obeying John 3:16 does.

“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you.” (James 2:13 NLT)

This is saying pleasing God depends on our works. Did James not know?

“…All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6 KJ)

So, I’m with Luther in removing James’ Book from the Bible.

Christiane said...

Hey there, REX RAY

I have to smile because I was wondering about the capital 'B' in 'Brother'. :) We have different beliefs about Our Lord having half-brothers, so the thought didn't occur that the capital "B" was one of reverence to Our Lord as a half-brother to James. It would have been easier for me to recognize if I remembered that many Protestant people take the word 'brother' literally in sacred Scripture and do not see Mary as we Catholics view her.

How simply misunderstandings begin. And how they can be mended if people take the time to try.

so now, I go to the verses John 7:3-4 and I find mention of the Apostles Our Lord chose. And there we have two 'James's' if they were both present at that time together:

A. St. James, the son of Zebedee, the 'James' who was martyred in the Book of Acts
B. St. James, the son of Alphaeus, sometimes called 'the brother of Jesus', some have said
it is this James, called 'James the Less' who wrote the Book of James,
but that has been questioned by more modern scholars

Which James are you referring to? My GUESS would be 'James the Less', but I'll let you affirm it or correct me.
(more later on this)


Post script: as to James the Less, there is this historical note:

"Mary, mother of James the Less and Joseph, wife of Alphaeus was the sister of Mary the mother of the Lord, whom John names of Cleophas, either from her father or from the family of the clan, or for some other reason.[5]

(Papias of Hierapolis, who lived circa 70–163 AD, in the surviving fragments of his work Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord relates that Mary, wife of Alphaeus is mother of James the Less)


REX RAY, this will be a fun project, but I have to tell you that many references indicate something called 'ambiguous Jameses' so there may be confusion and errors but we might be able to sort something out that addresses your concerns, and I'm willing to try to do this.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Yes, there are several “James” in the Bible.

“Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee…” (Mark 10:35) They were Apostles.
“James the son of Alpheus was an Apostles.
“James the Less” in Mark 15:40, Mark 16:1, and Matthew 27:56.

Did Jesus have brothers and SISTERS?

“The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us…” (Mark 6:2-3 NLT)

“He returned to Nazareth, his hometown. When he taught there in the synagogue, everyone was amazed and said, “Where does he get the wisdom and power to do miracles?” Then they scoffed, “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers---James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. All his sisters live right her among us. Where did he learn all these things?” (Matthew 13:54-56 NLT)

Christiane, did you notice these Scriptures do NOT refer to the brothers and sisters of Jesus as half-brothers and half-sisters?

The easy way to know who wrote the Book of James is ask Wikipedia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epistle_of_James

“The epistle is traditionally attributed to James the brother of Jesus (James the Just).”

Rex Ray said...

AH, CHRISTIANE,

As you said, “This will be a fun project”, and I hope we can show our different views on THINGS which will be the opposite such as Catholic views vs. Baptist views as shown in the Bible and other sources.

https://www.catholic.com/tract/mary-ever-virgin

The link above states Mary was a virgin all her life. (Never had sex with her husband who had children from a previous marriage.)

The Bible contradicts this link:

“…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins…When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. BUT HE DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH HER UNTIL AFTER HER SON WAS BORN. And Joseph named him Jesus.” (Matthew 1:20-25 NLT)

“She gave birth to her first son.” (Luke 2:7 NLT)

“As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers stood outside…” (Matthew 12:46 NLT)

“Then Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see him…” (Mark 3:31 NLT)

Well Christiane, that’s it for now.

Christiane said...

Hey there, REX RAY

I was thinking that 'the project' was addressing your concerns about St.James, but I'm still not certain as to WHICH 'James' you had concerns about, so I await a solid confirmation to continue my 'research' and sharing what I can find for you that might help.

As for 'differences', I leave that to those who proselytize and I have found that it is better to 'point to Christ' than to dwell on those things that are the man-made attempts to divide what cannot be divided: the Body of Christ itself

I do acknowledge that 'differences' are important and need to be respected, but these differences only go so deep and there is something that our man-made differences cannot divide, and there is where we find Christ the Incarnated One Who took our whole humanity to Himself in order that He might heal it. If there is any real unity among Christian people, it will be found in Him, the Crucified One, the Risen Lord, the Lord of Life.
And I am very open to the power of this Christ to save in a way that goes far beyond all the man-made limits that some have tried to put on that power.

Now, REX RAY, which 'James' is your 'James' who troubles you in the sacred Scriptures? We will take a look at this person and see what is to be found that brings some light on your worries.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Good reply.

The James I’m talking about is the one I believe Paul was ‘praying for’ in his last prayer in the Bible. It was the same prayer he heard Stephen say:

“…Lord, lay not this sin to their charge…: (Acts 7:60 KJ)

Paul said:

“At my first answer no man stood with me…I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16 KJ)

I believe the same crime hand been done by James.

Skipping details, when Paul took the advice below, he was never free again.

[James] “Here’s what we want you to do…go with them to the Temple...” (Acts 21:23 NLT)

Christiane, I believe you know Jewish Leaders were in the Temple. Paul tells: “Five different times the Jewish leaders gave thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned…” (2 Corinthians 11:24-25 NLT)

Christiane, do you know this James was the brother of Jesus and Pastor of the Jerusalem Church and was known as “The Just”.

One word from him at Paul’s trial, and Paul would be free, but James did not stand for Paul and was absent.

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,

I found something but it may be inconclusive, but it does propose some kind of understanding of who YOUR 'James' may be, this:

"On the whole, although there is no full evidence for the identity of James (2), the son of Alpheus, and James (3), the brother of the Lord, and James (4), the son of Mary of Clopas, the view that one and the same person is described in the New Testament in these three different ways, is by far the most probable. There is, at any rate, very good ground (Galatians 1:19, 2:9, 2:12) for believing that the Apostle James, the son of Alpheus is the same person as James, the brother of the Lord, the well-known Bishop of Jerusalem of the Acts. As to the nature of the relationship which the name "brother of the Lord" is intended to express, see BRETHREN OF THE LORD."

Here's the SOURCE: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08280a.htm

Now, REX RAY, the 'source' is difficult to read, but the only good thing about its difficulty is that IF you click on the verse references, the bible verses will come up in their chapters,
so that saves time (and patience) and helps with lapses of concentration to which we older folks are sometimes prone.

The 'quote' is under the section: "THE IDENTITY OF JAMES"

Warning: it's conjecture, but interesting and is followed by another section that tells why it makes 'sense',
but in my mind, it seems a bit like 'assuming' and that is not particularly 'scholarly', but an effort is made to at least point out HOW it makes sense by 'connecting the dots'. (?)

What do you think of the quote? I wouldn't be at all surprised if you disagreed with it, but there is some explanation at least for how they came up with this viewpoint.

My own opinion? too many 'Jameses' so it remains somewhat ambiguous. I view it with interest but could remain impartial because of the ambiguity. At least we know that James the Less was not the same James who was martyred in the Book of Acts. That, at least, seems clear.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Thanks for the link. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08280a.htm

Galatians 1:19, 2:9, and 2:12 is the James I was referring to that was ‘Pastor’ of the Jerusalem Church.

Historians have written much about this James; the brother of Jesus. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs written in 1500 states James the brother of Jesus was raised a Nazirite who prayed daily in the Holy Place for the sins of the people. His hair was never cut, never had ‘strong drink’ etc. His knees became ‘hard’ like a camel from praying. He was known as “The Just”.

“Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.” (Numbers 6:27 NLT)

Christiane, I’ll use my imagination in thinking when Joseph knew his wife’s baby would be the Lord’s son, he wanted to dedicate his first born to the Lord by him being a Nazirite.

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,

I will continue to look into the identity of this "James" and I will share anything I find that is something you might be interested in, of course.

As to St. Joseph, the foster father of Our Lord, I think he thought to put Mary 'away' quietly when he found out she was expecting a baby, but the angels spoke to him.

In my view, I see Mary in the way of the Catholic faith and of the Orthodox faith (the Eastern Christians), and I have a devotion to her as Our Lord's blessed mother which is NOT 'idolatry' goodness no; but more that I call her 'blessed'.

If it helps any, speak with a rabbi about the way the words 'brothers' is seen in the Hebrew as sometimes meaning included in one's clan or wider family. I believe the idea that Mary had many children herself is not shared by all Christian people, but seems specific to fundamentalist-evangelicals who may tend to evaluate only certain parts of the sacred Scriptures in a completely literal way, and reject other parts of these Scriptures as not to be treated literally.

When some Christians spoke of the Bible as being 'inerrant', they reserved for themselves the power of deciding what was to be taken as literal and what was not;
but I never understood WHO got to make the final decisions,
when Our Lord was removed as the 'lens' through which all of sacred Scripture is to be read, by Paige Patterson, and his people, in the 2K BF&M. I've heard all the 'excuses', but none of them came close to making sense to me.

Stay sheltered at home if you can. It is said that the virus is coming now into more rural areas and people may be unaware that they are 'at risk' in places that have until now, been safe. Take care. You have my prayers as does Judy, as does Wade and all the good people in Enid.
We are sheltering here. The virus has come to our community. We are praying for the innocent to be spared.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Yes, Paige Patterson and his clan used “inerrancy” of the Bible as a ‘smoke-screen’ to hijack the SBC.

You said, “…Our Lord was removed as the ‘lens’ through which all the sacred Scripture is to be read, by Page Patterson, and his people, in the 2K BF&M.”

That was one of the things removed. I like to paraphrase it: ‘The Bible is to be interpreted through the eyes of Jesus.’

You said, you didn’t understand WHO got to make the final decisions.

As always, the church messengers make all the decisions. They represent the churches they came from. In theory the church decides the issue and tells the messengers how to vote. But in this case, the churches didn’t know what was in the 2000 BF&M, and neither did their messengers.

The 15 friends of Patterson that wrote the 2000 BF&M met behind closed doors. They reported they couldn’t tell what was in it, but said, “You’re going to like it.” So, at the Convention with little time to study the new BF&M it was ‘pushed through in Patterson style’.

The old conventions of Texas and Virginia never accepted the 2000 BF&M but adhere to the 1963 BF&M. Wade says a new BF&M will be written, but at 88 I’m running out of time. It’d be simple for the SBC to reinstate the 1963 BFM until they got a better one. That would strip Patterson the last of his ‘glory’.

New subject.

“Jesus said… “Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Matthew 4:7 KJ)
That’d mean Jesus didn’t have to be ‘part man’ to be tempted.

If part of Jesus was from Mary, that’d make him part man and part God. Right?

I believe Jesus was all God, that the Holy Spirit placed in Mary.

Christiane said...

Good Morning, REX RAY

you wrote, this:
"If part of Jesus was from Mary, that’d make him part man and part God. Right?"

Actually, the 'orthodox' Christian belief is that Our Lord is BOTH fully 'man' and fully 'God' and this mystery is spoken of best, I think, by the Cappadocian Fathers and most clearly expressed by the Church at Chalcedon.

But to help you with 'Who Christ Is' and the idea that 'God became Man and dwelt among us', take a look at this bible verse from 1 Corinthians, chapter 15:

"20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.*
21 For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being;
22 for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.
23 But each in his own order:
Christ the first fruits, then at His coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end,* when He hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after He has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.
25 For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.
26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death."


In my Church, we believe in the Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit:
ONE God, in Three Persons
and we believe in Jesus Christ, born of Mary, both fully Man and fully God.


There was one early Christian belief by a group called the 'Docetists' that Christ was not fully human but only 'appeared' to be human. The Church rejected this teaching.

REX RAY, this is very complex theology indeed, because the teaching that Our Lord is a Person, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. And that Our Lord has two separate natures, one fully human and one fully divine (not half of one and half of the other)

The Cappadocian Fathers wrote a lot about this mystery. And it was clarified also at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D.
Don't worry if it confuses you, it's been the source of much examination by Christian people for two thousand years.

Do you believe in the Apostle's Creed?


Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

You asked if I believed in the Apostle’s Creed. I believe in all of it EXCEPT the Holy Catholic Church and the communion of saints.

Wikipedia says: “the Catechism of the Catholic Church states: "'Since all the faithful form one body, the good of each is communicated to the others....”

Christiane why should the good we do be communicated to others when Jesus said: “…don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:3-4 NLT)

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Yes, Jesus was a man and he was God’s Son. And since God can do anything, he didn’t need Mary’s help to make him a man. (None of Mary’s DNA was in Jesus.)

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

As my Dad would say, “All the potatoes are dug in that field”, so I’ll go back to the James that’s in Acts 21 where Paul’s days are his last days of freedom start.

But first, Paul is warned this will happen:

1. “And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead.” (Acts 20:22-23 NLT)
Acts 21
2. “…These believers prophesied through the Holy Spirit that Paul should not go on to Jerusalem.” (4 NLT)

3. “…a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy…The Holy Spirit declares…be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.” (10-11 NLT)

“The next day Paul went with us to meet with James, and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present.” (18 NLT)

“…Thou seest brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law. (20 KJ)

“But the Jewish believers here in Jerusalem have been told that you are teaching all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to turn their backs on the laws of Moses. They’ve heard that you teach them not to circumcise their children or follow the Jewish customs. What should we do? THEY WILL CERTAINLY HEAR THAT YOU HAVE COME.” (21-22 NLT)

In the days of Moses, a man was stoned to death for gathering firewood for his mother on the Sabbath. Would teaching against the laws of Moses be worse?

Christiane, do you thank James was telling Paul his life is in danger?

The hour is late. I’ll wait for your answer.

Christiane said...

Hey there REX RAY,

well, the passage seems to refer to 'the Nazirite pledge' and in order to comprehend its importance to the Jewish community,
you have to take a look at its significance as a setting aside of a person to be sanctified for a period of time

(see the Book of Numbers, Chapter 6)

here is some information from one of my own sources, this:
"* [6:2–21] Nazirite: from the Hebrew word nazir, meaning “set apart as sacred, dedicated, vowed.” The nazirite vow could be either for a limited period or for life. Those bound by this vow had to abstain from all the products of the grapevine, from cutting or shaving their hair, and from contact with a corpse. They were regarded as men and women of God like the prophets; cf. Am 2:11–12. Examples of lifelong nazirites were Samson (Jgs 13:4–5, 7; 16:17), Samuel (1 Sm 1:11), and John the Baptist (Lk 1:15). At the time of Jesus the practice of taking the nazirite vow for a limited period seems to have been quite common, even among the early Christians; cf. Acts 18:18; 21:23–24, 26.


AND,
if you return to the Book of Acts, Chapter 21, my sources which are commentaries tell me this:

"* [21:17–26] The leaders of the Jewish Christians of Jerusalem inform Paul that the Jews there believe he has encouraged the Jews of the diaspora to abandon the Mosaic law. According to Acts, Paul had no objection to the retention of the law by the Jewish Christians of Jerusalem and left the Jews of the diaspora who accepted Christianity free to follow the same practice.

* [21:23–26] The leaders of the community suggest that Paul, on behalf of four members of the Jerusalem community, make the customary payment for the sacrifices offered at the termination of the Nazirite vow (see Nm 6:1–24) in order to impress favorably the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem with his high regard for the Mosaic law. Since Paul himself had once made this vow (Acts 18:18), his respect for the law would be on public record."

So, if we are assuming that James is among the 'leaders' of the 'community' in Jerusalem, then the advice being given appears to remind Paul of how he might be seen in a better light by the Jews in Jerusalem. . . .

But does this make sense that Paul would need to know this? Paul, as Saul, would have been up on what was 'acceptable' to any Jewish community. And Paul already knew his life was in danger, so James did not 'need' to counsel him about this.

To answer your question,
it does appear that (if we assume James is among the counselors) that he would be showing concern for Paul's safety, yes.
It's just that it is not specified in so many words and the ambiguity remains somewhat.

The resources are from Catholic biblical commentaries for those portions of sacred Scripture which can be accessed by googling the chapters and verses and USCCB, then the Scriptures will come up with the resources connected. (hope this is not too confusing)

Hope all is well. I had a long talk with my brother who spoke volumes about how to avoid the virus, so if it shows up in your town, let me know and I will share some of his tips on protecting yourself and Judy. Be safe.

BTW,
I do not know your sources for your ideas concerning Mary, but I will remain more comfortable with the 'cathodox' traditions of Mary Mater Dei/ known among the Orthodox as the 'Theotokos', or 'Mother of God', a way of affirming that Christ was indeed divine as well as human. (the clarification needed when so many in the early days of the Church had ideas about 'who Christ was' and the Church met to affirm Our Lord's full divinity as well as His full humanity. The titles for Mary were a part of that historical affirmation of 'Who Christ Was' by the Church.


Christiane said...

Post Script:


from this resource, under 'James in the Scriptures':
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08280a.htm


" When St. Paul after his third missionary journey paid a visit to St. James (A.D. 58), the Bishop of Jerusalem and "the elders" "glorified the Lord" and advised the Apostle to take part in the ceremonies of a Nazarite vow, in order to show how false the charge was that he had spoken of the Law as no longer to be regarded. Paul consented to the advice of James and the elders (Acts 21:1 sqq.). The Epistle of St. James reveals a grave, meek, and calm mind, nourished with the Scriptures of the Old Testament, given to prayer, devoted to the poor, resigned in persecution, the type of a just and apostolic man."

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Now that’s what I call a very good answer of “yes” to my question of was James telling Paul his life was in danger.

With the ‘warnings’ given to Paul about going to Jerusalem, why did he go? He’d collected a lot of money (1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8:4 19 20) as a gift to the Christians in Jerusalem. They had run out of money. (My guess is they sold all they had, quit work, and fellowshipped together waiting for the Lord’s return.)

Christiane, I’m warning you; I’m trying to lead you down a road that’s NOT accepted. :)

“When we arrived, the brothers and sisters in Jerusalem welcomed us warmly. [Maybe that’s when they received the money.] The next day Paul went with us to meet with James and all the elders of the Jerusalem church were present.” (Acts 21:17-18 NLT)

This Scripture is important because James and elders had one day to solve problems.

Christiane do you believe the verses below gave Paul the feeling he was among friends who had his best interest at heart?

“…they praised God.” “You know dear brother”, and “What should we do?” (verse 20 and 22)

“What should we do?” wasn’t needed because in the same breath they told their preparation: “Here’s what we want you to do. We have four men here…”

Christiane, would you feel safer going into a lion’s cage with four others than by yourself? And asking Paul to pay for their heads to be shaved would add to the camaraderie.

Well, that’s as far as I got today as many things came up. So I'll continue later. Goodnight.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

The Birth of Christianity by John Crossan; Copyright 1989 states: James presumed Christian Jews would observe the law while Christian Pagans would not.

“James (brother of Jesus) was under a lifelong Nazarite Vow as Sampson in Judges 13.
“The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoah’s wife and said…you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. So be careful; you must not drink wine…or any forbidden food…his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth…” (Judges 13:3-5 NLT)

Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History edited by Agnes Lawless, Scott Pinzon, and Heather Stroobosscher states:

“James, the brother of the Lord was surnamed the Just by all. He received the government of the church with the apostles. This apostle was consecrated from his mother’s womb. He drank nether wine nor fermented liquors and abstained from animal food. A razor never came upon his head, he never anointed with oil. He alone was allowed to enter the sanctuary. He never wore woolen, but linen garments. He was in the habit of entering the temple alone and was often found upon his bended knees, interceding for the forgiveness of the people…he was called the Just which signifies justice and protection of the people.

The Works of Josephus translated by William Whiston states:

Ananus assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them James the brother of Jesus and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned.

These miseries befell the Jews by way of revenge for James the Just, who was brother of Jesus, on account they had slain him who was a most righteous person.

So, Christiane, that’s some history on the James we’re discussing.

RB Kuter said...

"We use fog machines because they enhance the lighting of digital broadcasts."

Really, Wade? To enhance the visibility of services for the old people?! That really is a stretch. If that’s the true intent, why not simply “TURN UP THE LIGHTS” Or “OPEN THE SHUTTERS”!?!

This stream related to this post is quite dated so I doubt anyone seeing or caring about my response but I just checked in and saw this and felt inclined to respond. Your explanation seems bogus to me and offered as an attempt to avoid addressing some other intent rather than the addition of fog machines being to help the old people.

If giving this explanation is an attempt to avoid addressing some other underlying reason it must be because there is an aspect of the true motive that is a bit embarrassing and perhaps the “Babylon Bee” proposition is more credible than this one of “enhancing the visibility for our old people”. That really is rather humorous.

The fact is that most churches these days are moving toward the “concert” style of venue with the darkened arenas and the spotlights focused on those performers on the stage using the fog-enhanced atmosphere meant to create a certain sensuality and heightened experience for those in attendance. That is indeed the trend in contemporary churches and most do not feel the need to explain it other than that. There’s nothing sinful about establishing that venue if the heart’s intent is where it should be which is to be giving all glory to God rather than those on stage or someone else. If that’s what the audience prefers to enhance their worship experience, fine.

But to me, attempting to explain the motive for having fog machines as being to help the old folks adds credibility to sources like “Babylon Bee” at your expense. It is similar to trying to explain why having a glass of wine with friends is okay because the intent is to enhance your witnessing opportunities with them. Another humorous proposition.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

My goodness, you’re going a long way back on Wade’s posts. Yes, Wade shocked the lady by asking for wine. I bet she thought he’d be one of those that believed ‘lips that taste wine will never taste mine’.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

I’m feeling bad for talking about a friend I love dearly.

Anonymous said...

"If giving this explanation is an attempt to avoid addressing some other underlying reason it must be because there is an aspect of the true motive that is a bit embarrassing and perhaps the “Babylon Bee” proposition is more credible than this one of “enhancing the visibility for our old people”.

Good point, RBK. I like the way you think.

So applying the same reasoning to this Event 201 plandemic - I'd love to get your take on this perspective given in this hugely important podcast since you might have been closer to the truth when you commented this could be a hoax (I'm not denying a certain amount of people worldwide are getting sick, I'm questioning the official explanation as to why, and the resulting world-wide social distancing conditioning to "flatten the curve").

https://www.crrow777radio.com/205-one-flu-over-the-coocoos-nest-free/

Virus definition - Latin for poison or noxious substance

The challenge they bring up:

1) Is there and electron micrograph of the pure and fully characterized virus?
2) What is the name of the primary specialist's peer reviewed paper in which the virus is illustrated and its fully genetic information described?
3)What is the name of the primary publication that provides proof that a particular virus is the sole cause of a particular disease?

Evidently, no one in the scientific community has been able to answer. Interestingly, the entire germ theory that dominates Western Medicine is based on a chemist's (Louis Pasteur) plagiarism.

Ken



Anonymous said...

I'd also highly recommend people to watch this before it is pulled. Again, the little independent thinkers are much more likely to be closer to the truth than any GOV sponsored outlet.

Remember, the snake (Satan) is no longer in the garden, therefore, our deception detectors (or bs detectors) as Americans need to be retuned to history - approx 250 million people were genocided by their own authorities in the 20th century, only the stage is being set to make that number a drop in the bucket, imo and others.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtfqUtW_8AA&app=desktop

Ken

RB Kuter said...

Anonymous,
I try not to be an "over the top" conspiracy theorist, but there are a lot of weird things associated with the way that this Corona Virus has been unveiled and played out that leads some of us to believe there is a LOT of truth not being revealed.

A 2017 USA Today article regarding the neglectful administration at the CDC including a number of boxes of deadly viruses going "missing" and a subsequent associated cover-up. That gives fodder to the idea that there could very well be issues underlying things like this sudden pandemic that could be a huge embarrassment to Government.

One quote in that USA Today article reads:
"The CDC also redacted every word in a lab accident report from December 2013 that apparently involved a dangerous strain of influenza virus. Several CDC staff copied on the email are people who were involved in the agency’s controversial work in 2005 using reverse genetics to reconstruct the 1918 flu pandemic virus, which had killed as many as 50 million people worldwide."

The internet address for that article is: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/01/04/cdc-secret-lab-incidents-select-agents/95972126/

You might find it interesting and eye-opening.

Some extraordinary, suspicious, unprecedented, aspects of this virus are things like:
1.It being addressed as a global pandemic immediately while not having any particular justification or explanation as to why.
2. Special Government committees meeting last February secretly warning those present that a pandemic was coming. This led people like the President of the New York Stock Exchange telling his wife, Georgia Senator Loeffler, to sell stock in companies in which the couple had investments that would be impacted by the pandemic AND to buy into companies that provide "home schooling" books and supplies! This prior to anyone in the general public having any information like this. The Senator and her NYSE President husband made "millions" and their "inside trader" scheme has brought her a LOT of criticism.
3. US Federal, State governments talking about closing churches and businesses prior to anything of consequence happening.
4. The "unnamed" flu season had resulted in hundreds of thousands of American having the flu with about 24,000 deaths with no reaction at all compared to this Corona Virus.
5. Obviously, there were tens of thousands of people infected with this Corona Virus that were not identified as having it until they came out with a special testing kit that could identify that particular virus. Apparently, it was there all along but not "labeled" with its own frightening name so as to create a monster that it has become.

What IF it was made known that the flu virus at the CDC that had "gone missing" was known to be the type that we have seen occur? Then the Government would respond with these strange tactics that we witnessed occurring prior to it wreaking havoc in the world. We would see the US government attempting to lay it all on China, which it may well have originated, but again, perhaps it came from CDC or other sources and made its way to China. None of us will ever know.

The news media of course fuels the panic in order to increase its advertising base. interesting that it turned a mute voice to the flu epidemic in our nation prior to a strain being given a "label", "Corona Virus", even though tens of thousands of Americans were dying from it. That's a VERY sad testimony regarding our press and inhumane but not surprising. It has again undermined its credibility incredulously so as to make it totally unreliable as a source of information.

BUT isn't it GREAT to know we are children of a God who is with us and our security is not based upon the shifting sands of the world, governments, CDC, or the media?!! Praise God our foundation is built upon THE ROCK!

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray said, "I’m feeling bad for talking about a friend I love dearly"

Rex Ray, if you're talking about Wade, I really do love the man too and am so grateful for his blog and work that contributes so much to the church, and particularly, to Southern Baptists.

Now if your referring to the lady to whom you spoke when you wrote, "Yes, Wade shocked the lady by asking for wine. I bet she thought he’d be one of those that believed ‘lips that taste wine will never taste mine’.", I wouldn't know anything about her! Just kidding.

I NEVER doubt Wade's character, his heart for Christ, or his sincerity in seeking to obediently serve his Lord even when it costs him. But we do see things differently some times and when I make reference to my perspective which might be different than his, I truly do want to do so with respect. I pray he will forgive me if ever I fail in that endeavor. He has ALWAYS accepted my sentiments graciously even when I might express my thoughts in a manner that unintentionally could be offensive to some people.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Where was I? James told Paul, “…Thou seest brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law.” (Acts 21:20 KJ)

As kids, when someone said something ‘smart’, we’d say, “Are you bragging or complaining?”

I believe James was bragging: ‘Paul, don’t you see how many you’re up against. You might as well give up preaching the Law of Moses is NOT important.’

Paul wrote: “…so-called Christians there…sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations.” (Galatians 2:4 NLT)

“When Peter came to Antioch…he ate with the with Christians who were not circumcised, but when some friends of James came, Peter wouldn’t eat with the Gentiles anymore. He was afraid of criticism from these people that insisted on the necessity of circumcision. (Galatians 2:11-12 NLT)

Christiane, remember The Birth of Christianity stated: “James presumed Christian Jews would observe the law while Christian Pagans would not.” The people James referred to as “Christian Pagans” were those that accepted the Good News as Paul said:

“…You are being fooled by those that deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone…who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you.” (Galatians 1:6-8 NLT) Wonder if “God’s curse” applied to James?

Back to Acts 21:22 “What should WE do? They will certainly hear that you have come.”

Paul’s life is in danger but who is “THEY”?

Were “they” lost Jews or church members? (Wonder if this was pasted around? ‘Have you heard? James and the elders are meeting with Paul who preaches against our Laws of Moses! He shouldn’t live!’

Paul was the Christian Gentiles ‘hero’. If he’s murdered by Jewish Christians, James would lose all influence of ever getting them to believe in the Laws of Moses.

More later.

Christiane said...

Hey there REX RAY,

I believe that 'Providence' helped the early Christians to overcome their difficulties, and they certainly faced many troubles within their own communities and with the larger world that persecuted them.

In those early days, the Holy Spirit dwelt strongly among them and guided them, pointing them always to Christ.

I'm not sure of your sources on St. James and St. Paul, but in my current reading, I have uncovered many controversies that speak in DIFFERENT ways, and do not seem to agree on what happened there. The differences on how St. James, and Mary the mother of Our Lord are spoken about in some of today's various denominations seems very different from what the traditions of my own Church hold to. But that is to be expected, I suppose. But as so often happens, when 'divisions' arise, there is a bit of 'overkill' when the 'opposition' is attacked, but I think it would have been better for people to establish their OWN canon, or 'list' of acceptable books of the bible for their own sake, so as to not rely on the 'tradition' from another community, which might have given them more 'integrity' and less trouble with portions of sacred Scripture which were ambiguous or seeming to be in conflict with one another. This is my own opinion, which is not worth much, but to have so many people so troubled over what was meant to be helpful for them seems a shame indeed.

BTW, Jewish people don't believe in 'murdering', I can assure you of this. They consider it a great sin against God.

In the early Church there arose groups who wanted to 'get rid of' the OT, and only have the New Testament for their Scriptures, but the whole Church met and blocked any suggestions that this should be done.

How are you protecting yourself from this terrible virus? I hope you will shelter in place and remain so until 'the coast is clear' and the danger is over. I got sad news about a nurse relative, and it was not a shock, but still hard to hear. So am praying vigil this week for her sake. If you have any need for prayer, I'll include you and your family also in the vigil prayers. Some advice: stay focused on Christ and Him Crucified.
In Christ we find meaning for these times and for all time and for eternity. Take care.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Sorry to hear about your nurse relative. I’m guessing it’s the virus. What’s her age? Judy’s son lives about thirty minutes from New York. I guess you’ve heard that’s about the worst city in the world for this virus.

I’d written what’s below, but now I think I’ll take a ‘time-out’ and maybe pick up our thoughts at some other time unless you’d like to continue.

Wow! That was a fast reply. Did you go to bed late or get up early? :)

“Jewish people don’t believe in murdering; I can assure you of this.”

Jews don’t consider it murder if they believe the person deserves death. For instance: Calvary. Preaching against the Law of Moses for salvation (Paul was guilty), was worse than gathering firewood on Sunday. (Numbers 15:32-36)

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,
she is young, in her thirties, and is sheltering in place (quarantine), and I've been praying for her, so thank you for your comment . . . she is not on a ventilator, so it's not as bad for her as for some, thank God, but that might change . . . so we pray for her, and hope for the best outcome for her and for many on the 'front lines' of this terrible trouble

Please stay sheltered, if possible. Please.

I'm all for continuing our conversation if something troubles you. I may have some additional information that might help. And I'm happy to share what I find.

But remember: keep Our Lord in your heart and mind, first and last, and do not lose focus on 'the simplicity that is in Christ'

Very sad today, but still hopeful. The virus has come to my son's town . . . some people traveled to Oregon and brought in back. He's fine, so far, and sometimes works from 'home' and sometimes goes in to assist in supervision of the office's USCG work. Two days on, two days at home working. He says there's enough food on the shelves still.

Stay close to Our Lord, and I will continue our conversation as to what concerns you, of course. Be safe. The Lord comes near in times of trouble.

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Yes, it troubles me that the oldest “Cold Case” in the world has never ‘officially’ been solved. That Cold Case is who caused the death of Paul? And I’m not talking about the Romans who executed him.

Paul wrote: “…The time of my death is near.” (2 Timothy 4:6 NLT)

Some of the saddest words in the Bible are ten verses later. (No man stood with me)

“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16 KJ)

Christiane, do you recognize Paul’s prayer is the same as the one he heard Stephen pray?

I believe Paul is blaming SOME PEOPLE for not standing for him at his trial by their not testifying in his behalf that would have kept him from being found guilty by Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to Gentiles as prophesied:

“…The Holy Spirit declares…be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.” (Acts 21:11 NLT)

Christiane said...

Hey out there REX RAY,

goodness, you are up late also

I found something that is about what you have just written:

" Paul remained in Crete exactly long enough to found there new churches, the care and organization of which he confided to his fellow-worker Titus (Titus 1:5). He then went to Ephesus, and besought Timothy, who was already there, to remain until his return while he proceeded to Macedonia (1 Timothy 1:3). On this occasion he paid his promised visit to the Philippians (Philippians 2:24), and naturally also saw the Thessalonians. The letter to Titus and the First Epistle to Timothy must date from this period; they seem to have been written about the same time and shortly after the departure from Ephesus. The question is whether they were sent from Macedonia or, which seems more probable, from Corinth. The Apostle instructs Titus to join him at Nicopolis of Epirus where he intends to spend the winter (Titus 3:12). In the following spring he must have carried out his plan to return to Asia (1 Timothy 3:14-15). Here occurred the obscure episode of his arrest, which probably took place at Troas; this would explain his having left with Carpus a cloak and books which he needed (2 Timothy 4:13). He was taken from there to Ephesus, capital of the Province of Asia, where he was deserted by all those on whom he thought he could rely (2 Timothy 1:15). Being sent to Rome for trial he left Trophimus sick at Miletus, and Erastus, another of his companions, remained at Corinth, for what reason is not clear (2 Timothy 4:20). When Paul wrote his Second Epistle to Timothy from Rome he felt that all human hope was lost (4:6); he begs his disciple to rejoin him as quickly as possible, for he is alone with Luke. We do not know if Timothy was able to reach Rome before the death of the Apostle.

Ancient tradition makes it possible to establish the following points:

Paul suffered martyrdom near Rome at a place called Aquae Salviae (now Tre Fontane), somewhat east of the Ostian Way, about two miles from the splendid Basilica of San Paolo fuori le mura which marks his burial place.
The martyrdom took place towards the end of the reign of Nero, in the twelfth year (St. Epiphanius), the thirteenth (Euthalius), or the fourteenth (St. Jerome).
According to the most common opinion, Paul suffered in the same year and on the same day as Peter; several Latin Fathers contend that it was on the same day but not in the same year; the oldest witness, St. Dionysius the Corinthian, says only kata ton auton kairon, which may be translated "at the same time" or "about the same time".
From time immemorial the solemnity of the Apostles Peter and Paul has been celebrated on 29 June, which is the anniversary either of their death or of the translation of their relics."

Here's the SOURCE (look under section 'the Last Years')
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11567b.htm


The Church has from early days celebrated the feasts of St.Peter and St.Paul at the same time on the same day, and this came from what was known from oral tradition handed down through the millennia. They were of course, both 'martyred' under the reign of the Emperor Nero, who was by all accounts a monster. There are some interesting stories about their relics from tradition.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

“Paul didn’t blame just one person as his prayer ended “…their charge.”
Do you have any information who he was referring to?”

I started to paste the above but noticed your link. It was almost a book about Paul. It impressed me as it went into much detail. I copied this below.

“Carpus a cloak and books which he needed (2 Timothy 4:13). He was taken from there to Ephesus, capital of the Province of Asia, where he was deserted by all those on whom he thought he could rely (2 Timothy 1:15). Being sent to Rome for trial he left Trophimus sick at Miletus, and Erastus, another of his companions, remained at Corinth, for what reason is not clear (2 Timothy 4:20). When Paul wrote his Second Epistle to Timothy from Rome he felt that all human hope was lost (4:6)”

Christiane, why do you think this link skipped the most important verse in 2 Timothy?

It mentioned 4:13, skipped 4:16, and mentioned 4:20.

The skipped verse is: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16 KJ)

Paul knew who forsook him. If he had named them instead of saying “all men”, his death would not be a ‘Cold Case’.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

I printed your link. It’s 32 pages in small print. On page 17, it quoted 2 Timothy 4:13 (Paul’s cloak and books), skipped verse 4:16 (“At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.”), then went on to verse 4:20 (“Erastus stayed at Corinth…”)

Christiane, these guys are smart. I believe they know verse 16 incriminates those who forsook Paul at his trial. They skipped that verse and mentioned men from Asia that forsook Paul in Second Timothy 1:15 that states: “As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me…” (NLT)

These guys are Catholic, and I believe they don’t want any ‘bad stuff’ printed against “Saint James” which I intend to ‘prove’.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Correction: Which I will TRY to prove. :)

As previously agreed upon, James told Paul his life is in danger because he’s been ‘preaching’ to Jews not to circumcise their children, and following the laws of Moses was no longer necessary.

James said: “What should we do? They will certainly hear you have come.” (Acts 21:22 NLT)

We know it’s Jews that James was referring to, but are they ‘lost Jews’ or church members?

To decide “lost” or “saved”, look at the odds. Would ‘lost Jews’ keep tabs on who was visiting the church, or would thousands of church members (Acts 21:20) hear that Paul had come?

Not only is Paul in trouble, but also James. If his church members believe Paul should die, James would lose all influence to get Gentle churches to follow the law of Moses.

But if Jewish leaders took Paul, James’s church members would not be involved. James could tell ‘Christian pagans’ Paul believed in the Law because he was taking Jewish vows when apprehended. (That’s two birds with one stone.)

Next comment: JEWISH LEADERS FAIL TO RECOGNIZE PAUL

Christiane said...

Hey out there REX RAY,

why would anyone have a problem with St. James?

Rather than turn on a book in sacred Scripture because of the author, I would think it would be better for a denomination to create its own 'canon' (list of books it accepts as 'inspired').

I'm sure people would be 'more comfortable' without what they felt was not 'unholy' to God.
Have you ever sought to find out a faith community that has rejected the Book of St. James?
With all the divisions, there is like more than one out there who have their own 'canon' that is not including this Book. Better their bible have meaning for them, and not be something they don't believe in. Maybe the Southern Baptist have had thoughts of changing the 'canon' also? I haven't heard about it, but things are changing rapidly in the evangelical world now. Not much would surprise me, but I always hope for the best.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

I said on 3-27-20: “I’m warning you; I’m trying to lead you down a road that’s NOT accepted.”

Yes, with Paul’s head shaved the Jewish leaders didn’t recognize him. The vow was for seven days. Six days went by and all was well with Paul.

I believe James was in a panic. He must have told one of the four men that Paul went with: ‘Tell someone that won’t recognize you who Paul is.’

“The seven days were almost ended when some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple and roused a mob against him. [Wonder why they didn’t recognize Paul the first six days?] They grabbed him, yelling, “Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who preaches against our people everywhere and tells everybody to disobey the Jewish laws...” (Acts 21:27-28 NLT)

“As they were trying to kill him, word reached the commander of the Roman regiment that ALL of Jerusalem was in an uproar.” (Acts 21:31 NLT)

One might wonder how many of the thousands in James’s church were there.

“And the crowd followed behind, shouting “kill him, kill him!” (Acts 21:36 NLT)

NEXT COMMENT: PAUL’S FIRST TRIAL BEFORE GOVERNOR FELIX

Christiane said...

Hey REX RAY,

no problem, fire away if it makes you happy, as I don't take offense easily and I don't think St. James needs my defense either. :)

I'm focused on my family being in danger now so I'm not very good company for discussing conspiracy theories,
but as always, if they take your mind off of things and help you get through the day, I'm the last to say don't research and see what can be found.

Please pray for our medical professionals. And for our first-responders.
Bad times these are. You take care. Stay sheltered if you can.

Christiane said...

REX RAY,

found you a link about St. James that is definitely NOT 'Catholic'. Take a look:

https://biblewise.com/bible_study/questions/james-paul.php


Question is:
is it Christian? I have to examine it more closely to see where the author is coming from.

It's always good to check on sources to see what their agendas are. It saves time AND confusion when you know what people are up to. :)

Christiane said...

Post Script:

REX RAY, that link I gave you has this page in it also:

https://biblewise.com/bible_study/books/james.php

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Both of your links are written by Mary Jane Chaigot. She writes a lot why James was chosen to be the pastor of the Jerusalem church on the second link. I believe one word tells why: POLITICS (He was the Lord’s brother.)

THANK YOU, THANK YOU for the first link that’s 2 ½ pages. https://biblewise.com/bible_study/questions/james-paul.php

“Question: Was James, the brother of Jesus responsible for Paul’s arrest at the end of his ministry?”

“When Paul was on trial, there were no Jews in sight who were willing to defend ether him or his ministry. Arguments from silence are never compelling, but this silence is deafening. Where are his supporters? Some scholars go even further in speculating that James and the elders might have set him up. What we do know is that James and the elders suggested this idea. Then faded away…and never appeared on his behalf again.”

And that, Christiane, covers PAUL’S FIRST TRIAL BEFORE GOVERNOR FELIX.

Close to the end of Paul’s life, he wrote: “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge.” (2 Timothy 4:16 KJ)

Christiane, I believe this solves the oldest Cold Case in the world.

Christiane said...

Hey out there, REX RAY

I found a reference that confirms this:
"Despite Paul’s abandonment by his friends in the province of Asia (cf. 2 Tm 1:15–16), the divine assistance brought this first trial to a successful issue, even to the point of making the gospel message known to those who participated in or witnessed the trial (2 Tm 4:16–17)."

It's a Catholic reference. :)
http://www.usccb.org/bible/2timothy/4

As it was for Our Lord, when His Disciples ran and hid during the Crucifixion, so it was for many of his followers after the Resurrection, the Ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the Disciples during Pentecost. . . . . so was St. Paul deserted and eventually was martyred in a later event. But I think there is some triumph in St. Paul's words in this verse:

"17
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion’s mouth."

St. Paul was not abandoned. Not by God.
And the others escaped to be martyred perhaps another day, so they continued in their mission for a time longer.

It is said in my Church that Mary of Clopas also stood at the Cross with Mary, the mother of Our Lord. Do you know who Mary of Clopas' son was? :)

We may see things differently, but if you are at peace about this 'mystery', then I am happy for you and on to the next 'conspiracy'. Your work with conspiracies is fun, as long as it doesn't upset you. Try to keep perspective that most often the people that propose them have some kind of axe to grind and their suggestions may be 'slanted' to serve their purpose. That is why it is wise to 'consider your sources' and also to check a variety of sources and compare them for agendas . . . it takes longer, but you come out with how it is that sometimes people create their own conspiracies to shore up their own way of seeing things. Very human we are. We have to wiser than our own natures if we want to 'see the bigger picture', and it can be more rewarding in the end, IF some ground can be found for the reasons why certain books were chosen for the 'canon' of the sacred Scriptures, and hundreds of other sources were not chosen.

The Holy Spirit goes where He will go. You take care.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

“As you know, everyone from the province of Asia has deserted me; even Phygelus and Hermogenes.” (2 Timothy 1:15 NLT)

This desertion of Paul was a different desertion than when James and the elders deserted Paul at his trial by governor Phelix. I believe the Catholic link is an example of Catholics twisting Scripture trying to protect “Saint James”.

You wrote: “St. Paul was not abandoned. Not by God.” (The way that’s written; only half is true.) (‘St. Paul was not abandoned by God.’) is better. Hope you don’t think I’m being picky.

You wrote: “…His Disciples ran and hid during the Crucifixion…” (gives the impression they all ran and hid.)

“Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother…When Jesus saw his mother standing there besides the disciple he loved, …” (John 19:25-26 NLT)

No, I didn’t know who was the son of Mary of Clopas until I asked Google just now:

“Symeon, the son of Clopas, of whom the Gospel also makes mention; to be worthy of the episcopal throne of that parish. He was a cousin, as they say, of the Savior.”

Take care, old friend.

Christiane said...

Good Morning REX RAY

of COURSE, you're not 'picky' (I'm laughing here), and if you were, that's okay too :)

I've got a treat for you, but it contains two points of view. Take a look and tell me what you think:

https://www.christiandataresources.com/jamescanon.htm

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Yes, your link of seven pages was very interesting in telling the pros and cons of the Book of James.

I like what Paul said, “If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing.” (Galatians 2:21)

God’s First Covenant was the sacrifice of blood of animals. If that had worked, He wouldn’t have made the Second Covenant; the blood of Jesus.

I don’t believe James ever knew the second Covenant, as he wrote:

“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. (James 2:13 NLT)

James is wrong on two points: Our works don’t give us salvation, and Christians are never judged by God because we are his children.

Christiane said...

REX RAY,

I do think 'Christians' are those who are followers of Christ in earnest who 'hear' Him and try to do what He has told us. It DOES MATTER to Our Lord how we treat other people, if you take the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew to heart. Just saying 'Lord, Lord' while treating others poorly doesn't seem to be acceptable to Our Lord in the Holy Gospel of St.Matthew.

I will leave it at that, but I see a connection between the Book of James and parts of St. Matthew's Gospel in how we are asked to care for others selflessly out of love for Christ.

How do you feel about St. Matthew as an Apostle?

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

BTW, Goggle states the word ‘saints’ is in the Bible 67 times. That’s correct in
King James, but I believe the NLT is a better translation that has “believers” instead of “saints”.

Since none of the Bible writers use a capital letter why do Catholics?

Christiane, as far as Matthew goes, I stand on the word of God and put my faith in:

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

That Scripture doesn’t have any requirement how we treat people. In fact, “…all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6 KJ) and Peter said it best:

“We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the UNDESERVED grace of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 15:11 NLT)

James reminds me of a fiction story where four guys grew up as friends. One became an outlaw and his friends had the duty to hang him. The outlaw was sitting on his horse with a rope around his neck that was tied to a tree limb. None of his friends would make his horse move. After the outlaw spurred his horse, his friends said, “He didn’t live right but he died good.”

James ‘tricked’ Paul that led to his death, but James died because he said his Brother was the Messiah.

Christiane said...

too many 'Jameses' so I got lost again as to your comment

'Saints' is a 'title', a 'recognition' that is formal

like 'Santa' Claus for St. Nicholas,
or the names of many of our cities: San Francisco (St. Francis), Santa Barbara (St. Barbara)

BIG difference in concepts of 'the Holy' between ancient Church and many denominations today,
and I once wrote a story about this and shared it with someone on another blog, how strange something was when I was young, this:

"A 'return' to the 'old ways'? All I know is that in my Catholic family, we had neighbors ask us if we were going to 'midnight Mass' on Christmas Eve and could they come with us. They were not even little 'c' Catholics but every year, they came with us even though it was so 'alien' to their ways and we did not know why other than 'The Story' was told there in words and in music, as 'Proclamation', and somehow this seemed worthwhile to them to see and hear, even though in those days (long ago), part of the high mass was in Latin, and some of the hymns also. Didn't matter. Every year, for a long time, they came with us on that one night, to a liturgical service. A mystery? Or maybe a need for some connection with ancient Church? I don't know. On that night, the Church pointed to the Christ Child and it was done reverently and solemnly. No proselytization went on, no. We didn't do that to people.

Is the 'liturgy' always meant to be prayed in a building or is it a part of something much greater than that? I think it is acceptable to pray the liturgy in the natural world also, and in those places where it can bring its healing words to those who are in need of them. Cathedrals are wonderful, but they also point us to something 'greater', and there is room in this world for healing words to be said and to be sung with reverent voices.

https://youtu.be/yvjiFIlZ85c


My point is that, if people are focused ON CHRIST, then there may be some shared understanding that is meaningful, if only for a moment or a few hours. Our neighbors when I was young were definitely NOT 'C'atholic, but then there was mid-night Mass.
(Maybe it was the music?) I don't know... but they were welcomed and their beliefs were respected by our family as is the way we knew to treat people.

Rex Ray said...

CHISTIANE,

‘Too many ‘Jamesses’…” ?? How many brothers did Jesus have that were named James? :)

Otherwise, great comment!

Christiane said...

Okay, okay, REX RAY,

if it makes you happy, then we go back to St. James the who-ever (whom-ever?)

I'll start by focusing on the Book of St. James and what passage(s) is it that offends some Christian people. Maybe you can help sort this out.

I'm not so sure that verses in the bible contradict one another so much as we fail to see them through the light of Christ The Lamb Who Was Slain who has the power to 'open the scrolls' and show us the true meaning of the written Word.

Soooooo . . . name a verse in the Book of St. James that is troubling to some Christian people and we will talk about it. (Warning, I will probably somewhere in the discussion bring in the famous AND CONTROVERSIAL Chapter 25:21-46 of the Holy Gospel of St. Matthew for comparison/contrast) You, of course can bring any resources to the discussion that you wish, no problem.

So pick a verse from the Book of 'St James' (whoMever he was) and we will have a good look at it

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

I like what Paul said, “…For if keeping the law to make us right with God, then there would be no need for Christ to die.” (Galatians 2:21 NLT)

God’s First Covenant was the sacrifice of blood of animals. If that had worked, He wouldn’t have made the Second Covenant; the blood of Jesus.

I don’t believe James ever knew the second Covenant, as he wrote:

“There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. (James 2:13 NLT)

Christiane, isn’t showing mercy being righteous? But “…All our righteous are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6 KJ)

“For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” (Romans 3:20 NLT)

Christiane said...

Hello out there REX RAY,

I saw your great story on the other post and loved it! Thanks. Your family have had more guardians angels than the usual allotment, for sure! :) The angels must get overtime from being on duty with your family.

No, I think you might be wrong about 'showing mercy' being like 'filthy rags' before God.
I would think 'showing mercy' is much more like this:


"The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings;
It is an attribute to God Himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this:
That in the course of justice none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.. . . "

(Wm Shakespeare)


maybe the difference between some denominations is that the role of the Pharisee in the temple is embraced and the denomination becomes judgmental and exclusive and feels that it is 'okay' to point the finger and, in hubris, look down on 'that other sinner'?

But God Himself gave favor to 'that other sinner' in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican in the Temple because the tax collector (publican) was HUMBLE, and this was his prayer:
"God be merciful to me, a sinner"

I don't think we can compare an act of mercy with 'righteousness'. Not when God Himself blessed the penitent tax collector because of his 'humility'.

What do you think? (the text of the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector is found in the Holy Gospel of St. Luke, chapter 18)


As for more, later. :)

Christiane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Our discussion: is mercy righteous?

You said, “I don’t think we can compare an act of mercy with ‘righteousness’.”

What do you think about these Scriptures?

“But God is so rich in mercy…” (Ephesians 2:4 NLT)

“When God our Savior…saved us not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy…” (Titus 3:5 NLT)

“…Jesus the Son of God…There we will receive his mercy…” (Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT)

“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again…” (1 Peter 1:3 NLT)

Christiane said...

REX RAY,

I meant 'SELF' Righteousness, sorry for confusion (my bad)

I put examples of'SELF' righteousness in capital letters, take a look:

" 9 To some who trusted in their OWN righteousness AND VIEWED OTHERS WITH CONTEMPT, He also told this parable:

10“Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed, ‘God,
I THANK YOU THAT I AM NOT LIKE THE OTHER MEN —swindlers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.
12 I FAST twice a week and PAY TITHES of all that I receive.’

13 But the tax collector stood at a distance, unwilling even to lift up his eyes to heaven. Instead, he beat his breast and said,
‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’…


REX RAY, one is smug and self-assured and contemptuous of the other to whom he points as a sinner, he praises himself and assumes credit for his own superiority (in his eyes), he is meant to represent every person who thinks they themselves are in some superior state and who choose to look down on 'those other sinners'

This is why smug, self-assured people who judge others are often called 'pharisees'.

But the other man is humble and knows he is a sinner (that alone is humility) and he looks down and cries out to God for 'MERCY' which is undeserved but known to save


so this is the result of the two men praying in the temple:
"14 I tell you, this man, rather than the Pharisee, went home justified. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

REX RAY, exalting oneself will not result in 'justification'. The symptoms of self-exaltation are smugness, self-assured before God, praising oneself as acceptable and damning others as 'sinners'

I don't think Our Lord could have said it any other way and been more clear.

Hope this clears up my poor wording.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

I don’t know what “poor wording” you’re talking about.

I thought we disagreed if “showing mercy” was including in being “righteous”.

Isaiah 64:6 states: “All our righteousness is as filthy rags.”

I believe that verse is NOT saying our righteousness is BAD, but compared to God’s righteousness, ours is as filthy rags.

Christiane said...

Hey there REX RAY,

I guess we see the term 'self-righteous' in different ways.

For me, the cure for being self-righteous is 'humility before the Lord' and only in humility, will people ask for God's mercy.
There is a very old writing in my Church that talks about this:


""“For he who endeavours to amend the faults of human weakness ought to bear this very weakness on his own shoulders, let it weigh upon himself, not cast it off.
For we read that the Shepherd in the Gospel (Luke 15:5) carried the weary sheep, and did not cast it off.

And Solomon says: “Be not overmuch righteous;” (Ecclesiastes 7:17) for restraint should temper righteousness.

For how shall he offer himself to you for healing whom you despise, who thinks that he will be an object of contempt, not of compassion, to his physician?

Therefore had the Lord Jesus compassion upon us in order to call us to Himself, not frighten us away. He came in meekness, He came in humility, and so He said:
“Come unto Me, all you that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” (Matthew 11:28)
So, then, the Lord Jesus refreshes, and does not shut out nor cast off, and fitly chose such disciples as should be interpreters of the Lord’s will, as should gather together and not drive away the people of God.

Whence it is clear that they are not to be counted among the disciples of Christ, who think that harsh and proud opinions should be followed rather than such as are gentle and meek;
persons who, while they themselves seek God’s mercy, deny it to others . . .”

St. Ambrose (340-379 A.D.),

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Hey! I think you’re putting words in my mouth when you said, “I see we see the term ‘self-righteous’ in different ways.”

I only mentioned “righteousness” and not ‘self-righteous’. Self-righteous is a man praying on the street to be seen of men, when Jesus said, “When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private…” (Mathew 6:6 NLT)

Would you respond to what I stated before?

(Isaiah 64:6 states: “All our righteousness is as filthy rags.” I believe that verse is NOT saying our righteousness is BAD, but compared to God’s righteousness, ours is as filthy rags.)

Christiane said...

I can agree with you, this, REX RAY, that Our Lord's infinite compassion for all Creation is far above our ways and far above our understanding, yes.

Does that help some?

Got bad news today about a doctor in the family. My nephew's wife who is an oncologist (cancer doctor). I am so sad for her. She was expecting a child and mis-carried. She's the nicest lady and perfect for my crazy nephew, whom I love dearly.

Some days are better than others. Today is not so good for me or my family, no.

You take care. Stay healthy, stay out of trouble.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Sorry for you nephew’s wife, but she will see her child someday, and she’ll know her mother.

Christiane said...

Thank you, REX RAY

I feel so badly for them. Your words are a comfort to me. God Bless!