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    What matters to God

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    Rickster

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    What matters to God

    Post  Rickster on August 20th 2010, 4:28 am

    I was in a debate with a Christian who didn't believe in a rapture and said it was unbiblical and the Left Behind series was brought up and I said wasn't the most important thing is people were coming to Christ through those series? and he said Do you think God wants people to come to him through false doctrine (sp) now I think as long as we say Jesus is God, born of a virgin, died for our sins and rose again 3 days later thats all that matters. I don't I'd ever find someone who agree's with me 100% but as long as you believe in Jesus as your Lord we can disagree on the small stuff like is it a sin to play the lottery or pre trib or post trib rapture theory.
    Am I wrong to think that? What do you think?

    Paeter
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    Re: What matters to God

    Post  Paeter on August 20th 2010, 12:05 pm

    Rickster wrote:I was in a debate with a Christian who didn't believe in a rapture and said it was unbiblical and the Left Behind series was brought up and I said wasn't the most important thing is people were coming to Christ through those series? and he said Do you think God wants people to come to him through false doctrine (sp) now I think as long as we say Jesus is God, born of a virgin, died for our sins and rose again 3 days later thats all that matters. I don't I'd ever find someone who agree's with me 100% but as long as you believe in Jesus as your Lord we can disagree on the small stuff like is it a sin to play the lottery or pre trib or post trib rapture theory.
    Am I wrong to think that? What do you think?

    I agree. God wants believers to be unified with him and unified with each other. (Rom. 15:5, Eph. 4:3, Col. 3:14) Doctrine not related to salvation is not worth ending friendship over.

    That said, we shouldn't use unity as a reason to avoid continued discussion of these areas of disagreement.

    We are commanded to value and seek out truth and to worship God with as true an understanding of him as possible. (Prov. 23:23, Prov. 25:2, John 4:23-24, 2 Tim. 2:15)

    But this is not a quest we are meant to take on by ourselves. (Prov. 27:17, 1 Cor. 12:21 and context)


    God wants us to avoid foolish arguing, but wants us to continue teaching and learning from each other. (2 Tim. 2:23-25)

    I'm convinced that if disagreement causes conflict then the problem is in how we are handling discussion, not with the fact that we disagree.



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    UKSteve

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    Re: What matters to God

    Post  UKSteve on August 22nd 2010, 5:26 pm

    Rickster wrote:I was in a debate with a Christian who didn't believe in a rapture and said it was unbiblical and the Left Behind series was brought up and I said wasn't the most important thing is people were coming to Christ through those series? and he said Do you think God wants people to come to him through false doctrine
    The problem with this argument is that Left Behind et al are stories, and like any good science fiction stories they extrapolate from what we already know, in this case what the Bible says about the end times. Whether they extrapolated correctly or not we will have to wait and see, but in the meantime I would have to agree* that people coming to Christ through reading these books is more important than the particular view of theology they are written from. Sticky topics like eschatology are interesting to debate, but as Paeter said, not worth falling out over. I mean, it's not the end of the world, is it?


    *Declaring my vested interest as a writer of Christian fiction here; I can't hope to fully describe God in a couple of hundred pages of fiction, but if I can highlight one or two aspects of His character, and maybe get people to think about those a little more, I have done my job well.

    Nathan James Norman
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    Re: What matters to God

    Post  Nathan James Norman on August 22nd 2010, 8:42 pm

    Amen to Paeter and UK Steve . . .

    It would be one thing if the Left Behind series (which I haven't read) proposed an entirely new view on eschatology. The reality is, though, that Left Behind's view of the end can be supported by scripture. Conversely, I'm sure the person you were debating equally held to a historical view on the end that is also defensible with scripture.

    In cases like this, I think "doctrinal humility" is called for. Do your researches, have strong convictions, but at the end of the day realize that topics like this have been debated by better minds than ours . . . and still no definitive conclusion is found.

    Similarly topics include "was Jesus not able to sin, or able to sin," and "is God present in Hell."

    Do the research. Hold to convictions. But with these fringe-issues, have doctrinal humility.

    ProfessorAlan

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    Re: What matters to God

    Post  ProfessorAlan on August 23rd 2010, 9:16 am

    God's grace is such that people can come to Him through imperfect people, imperfect doctrine, etc ... and that's a good thing. "success" in soul-winning does not imply God is pleased with all you do, any more than "failure" in soul-winning implies that God is against you.

    That said, I am not a fan of the Left Behind-style rapture theology.


    WhiteBoy
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    Re: What matters to God

    Post  WhiteBoy on August 23rd 2010, 12:32 pm

    God's grace is such that people can come to Him through imperfect people, imperfect doctrine, etc
    I am SO glad for this! It helps to remember that salvation is all about God, not about us. It's not how good of a "sales job" we do. Yet He chooses to work through us for some reason.

    And I totally agree with the idea of "doctrinal humility" mentioned. There are many doctrines that I have learned new things about and changed my opinion about (some radically). As mentioned nothing that truly affects salvation, but some that help understand more about salvation.

    The most significant example of these for me is the doctrine of election. That is a doctrine that is kinda "behind the scenes footage." The engineer side of me likes to know how things work and it offers some insight into that. But some people just care about *that* it works vs. *how* it works which IMHO is totally sufficient for salvation.


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    Hackmodford
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    Re: What matters to God

    Post  Hackmodford on August 23rd 2010, 3:33 pm

    I'd have to say our hole church agrees that the Left Behind theory is wrong... do we still listen/read/watch... Yes! They're awesome stories even if they did get a detail wrong...

    To me it's so funny how you can believe this since God obviously states that the Christians will know when he is coming, and that all men will see Jesus come. Also if you look closely at where the people are "taken" it's where the ravens will eat their flesh, or something like that...

    I'll have to look it up again and post my thoughts... Wink

    But who cares! As a friend of mine was saying when he was arguing with someone about this... "I"m a christian, you're a christian... no matter how it happens I"ll be there cheers "

    Praise God!


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    Rohelf

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    Re: What matters to God

    Post  Rohelf on August 24th 2010, 11:11 am

    I'm not a fan of the LB series myself, but my gripe with them is more about the way they're written than their stance on the end times. I feel that the characterization is poor and the plot often driven eclusively by "this is what prophecy says must happen," even when it runs counter to "this is what would logically flow from the circumstances that we, the authors, have created."

    It seems to me that on the Big Christian Issues (the diety of Jesus, the Atonement, the Resurrectionn, etc.), God has been clear and even repetitive. There are multiple places in scripture where these issues are cited and even dissected. I think that if it was so very important to our salvation and spiritual health that we understand and believe in, say, a pre-tribulation rapture, that the early church leaders would have been inspired to write more, and more clearly, on the subject. If such things were as vital to Christianity as the BCI's above, don't you think they would have gotten more airtime and analysis? That's not to say that they aren't worth talking about (on the contrary, I think doing so can be a companionable and enlightening activity if done right), but I don't think they ought to become wedge issues.

    To put it another way, as a Tolkien geek, I will gladly debate minutia and mysteries like the origin of Tom Bombadil, whether balrogs have wings, and the fate of the Entwives until the cows come home. Reasonable people can reasonably disagree about these things. If you try to tell me that there was a secret 10th member of the Fellowship or that Sauron wasn't really evil, I will question what book you've been reading (or what substances you've been imbibing while doing so... drunken Wink ), but these things are left much more open, and I find hearing others' theories on them interesting. Now, there are people on the internet who take these marginal issues Very Seriously and would like to exile from fandom any who dare to disagree, but in that I think they have erred. If Tolkien had really wanted to make sure we knew these things, and felt that we couldn't truly understand the story without them, he would have told us in the carefully annotated detail for which he is famous. Cool

    ProfessorAlan

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    Re: What matters to God

    Post  ProfessorAlan on August 24th 2010, 11:27 am

    I figure if the ancient creeds of the church address an issue (Trinity, diety of Christ, the dual natures, resurrection, forgiveness, etc ... ), it's important, a "front burner" issue to me, and the details matter.

    If it's a topic they don't address (end times theology fits here), I take it that the details are not a place to draw a line in the sand.

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