20 March 2007

Conversion story

I've been reading some new blogs these last few days, and the ones I like I have been adding to my blogroll. Be sure to check them out. Today I read an excellent post over at the Historical Christian Blog. These lines were amongst my favourites:
I also realized that if I really, really trust Christ, then I must trust his words that he founded the Church, and the gates of hell would not prevail against it – and so they never have. To say that the Catholic Church failed and some ordinary man had to come along and re-found Christianity is to say that Christ failed. That is the implication in what Protestants say – and Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and any number of other groups who claim to have “found” the truth that was “lost.” But Christ could not have failed – and he does keep his promises, and always has. I trust that. And history bears it out, if you study the history of the faith in the first 1500 years of Christianity. It did not die out, and there have always been men and women of very great faith in Christ, in every era.

I realized, in the end, that if I really believe that Christ is in control, then he also is in control of the Catholic Church, knows what he is doing there, and always has. Appearances to the contrary at different times in history, including our own present time, are due to a combination of human weakness and sin, and interference from the evil realm. These are prophesied in the bible, and the answer always given in the bible is to keep one’s eyes on Christ and remain as one, growing in knowledge of him. The bible does not give leaving and founding one’s own church as an option during difficult times – to do so is a direct contradiction of scripture. On the contrary, we are to stay put, keep our eyes on Christ, and refuse to get caught up in division and controversy. Our job is not to run the church or run away from the church, but to love the Church and each other in the Church, and Christ above all, as one, and stay put in the Church.

Check out the whole post here

10 comments:

Jeanette said...

Interesting post. I happen to be a Baptist, but I come from Catholic roots. I was a first-generation born Baptist.

It occurs to me that even during the time of the disciples and apostles doctrine was not all the same, but very similar.

I don't have a problem with that so long as a person believes in the Immaculate Conception, Virgin Birth, perfect life of the unblemished Lamb of God, suffering and crucifixion of that Lamb who is the only begotten Son of the only God who created everything we know and don't know, died, was buried and rose again on the third day. He showed Himself to His followers for 40 days and promised a Comforter (the Holy Spirit). He ascended into Heaven, where He lives today intercessing on our behalf to the Father.

The promised Comforter came on the Day of Pentacost and is also the Restraining One Who holds back Satan at this time.

I don't fully comprehend the Trinity except I know it is God in 3 Persons or personalities. All in agreement with one another.

Does it matter what church I attend as long as I believe what is necessary to believe in order to get to Heaven? I believe I must confess my sins and ask Jesus to be my personal Savior, to live in my heart and soul, and for me to be ever mindful that He knows everything I do or say.

Somehow I doubt that is too different from the Catholic belief except we believe in baptism when one is at the age of consent. We say it doesn't get you into or keep you out of Heaven, but then as soon as one professing Christ as his Savior we want to dip 'em. :)

Interesting post.

Jay3gsm said...

I am still traveling my journey into Catholicism. Maybe one day I will write my conversion story, but in a sentence I grew up with no faith, and eventually heard God calling me. So I have a lot to learn, still, and I am enjoying the learning process. If I had known it wa so much fun, I'd have listened up years ago!

From the comments you made, it would seem that your point of view is not that different to those of a Catholic, from my uneducated stance here. But surely there must be differences somewhere? I guess maybe in certain sacraments, or beliefs? Here I show my lack of real knowledge of other faiths (I'm still trying to learn mine, fully) but do Baptists take communion? Do they believe it to be the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ? What about something like divorce? Can a Baptist divorce & remarry?

There's still a lot for me to learn, for sure.

Jeanette said...

We take communion but not the way Catholics do. Ours is not at every service and is tomorrow night in our church, actually.

If I'm right we believe it is the body and blood of Christ, but then since we don't believe in drinking (you'll find a lot of Baptists in the liquor stores though :) ) we use grape juice instead of wine.

I suppose somewhere along the line some tight-butt decided that little drop of wine would turn us all into winos. :)

The only Biblical reason for divorce is adultery and if it can be proven the person who was the victim can be remarried with the blessings of the church and we believe God.

However, if a deacon, minister or other leader in the church is divorced he can no longer hold that position.

I once knew a man whose wife left him for another man. He was a deacon and a wonderful Christian man, but because he was divorced he was no longer a deacon in his church. He accepted it.

You heard and heeded the call of the Holy Spirit and that's what matters.

Heaven will be made up of all sorts of Christian denominations.

The problem is man eventually departed from what Jesus actually taught and now we have a general consensus of what it takes to attain Eternal Life but we take differing paths.

We'll be neighbors in Heaven, though. I'm convinced of that. :)

Jeanette said...

I should also add Jews will be in Heaven as they are converted now and will be converted in huge numbers during the Great Tribulation.

Jay3gsm said...

That's really interesting. I try to make a point of understanding the main different Christian religions, if I have an opinion I want it to be based on fact, not just my understanding or what I heard in passing.

Are there any resources you can suggest that present the facts as Baptists believe them?

Jeanette said...

Sorry I took so long to get back. I suppose you could look at the Apostles' Creed and do a Google Search for Baptists, but there are many different kinds of Baptists. Some believe in pre-destination and are reformed Baptist.

I grew up in a Conservative Baptist church but am in the South now and it's Southern Baptist.

Google Southern Baptist and I'm sure you'll find a home page that will answer your questions.

Each church is autonomous though. We do not take direction from a central source unless it's the Holy Spirit or one of the other Two Members of the Trinity.

Jeanette said...

Jay, I have attempted 3 times to send an answer to your email to me and each time it bounces back. Will you send another email and give me the address that will work please? The Gmail address didn't work and neither did the address you have listed on this page.

Thanks,
Jeanette

Jeanette said...

Jay,

Since I was unable to email my answer to you, I'm going to put it in the comments.

Hi,



We do have our central beliefs which are the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of the Only God.



We are taught from the Bible that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, preached for 3 years, was beaten and crucified to carry the sins of the world on His shoulders, was buried and resurrected. After 40 days He ascended into Heaven and sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter He promised us, on the Day of Pentecost, when the disciples spoke in their own tongue but people of all languages understood them in their own language.



We do not believe in speaking in tongues. That’s the Pentecostal and Church of God people.



We believe in full-immersion baptism on people who have reached the age of accountability and it is from their free will after accepting Jesus as their Savior that they partake in this sacrament. We do not believe baptism gets us into Heaven, but cannot become a member of the church or partake in communion or the Last Supper unless we have been baptized.



My neighbor died 4 weeks ago tomorrow. I asked her if she knew Jesus and she said yes. I asked her if she loved Jesus and she said yes. I was trying to see if she needed salvation. At the funeral I learned she accepted Jesus as her Savior only 6 days before she died. You probably now ask if I believe in Death Bed conversions, and the answer is yes as long as the person understands and means it.



Our pastors study the Scriptures just as you priests, bishops and Pope do. They study the Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew translations and refer to their references so they can tell us what each word means in the context of the sentence.



If the pastors are truly of God the Holy Spirit will show them what needs to be said, and the same thing can be said for the priests, bishops and all the way up to the Pope.



We believe since Jesus is the Intercessor for us and is our “lawyer” in Heaven that He is the only one to whom we can pray. We get to the Father through the Son. Jesus said there is no other way to the Father.



We study the Scriptures and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us in what we are reading so we will understand what it is God wants us to know.



Some things God didn’t want anyone to know until the End Times, that time before Jesus returns and the dead in Christ will rise first and we who are alive and remain (believers, i.e. born again) will be caught up with them to be with Jesus forevermore.



The last half of the Book of Daniel and the complete Book of Revelation are two books God didn’t want anyone to know until the time of the end. We in this generation are beginning to understand what these prophecies at this moment mean.



I don’t think you are trying to criticize my faith at all, but do realize it won’t be all Baptists or all Catholics in Heaven. Jesus provided us the basics and man made the changes shortly after the original disciples and apostles were gone, based upon their interpretation of what the Words of Jesus were.



I, on the other hand, love the ceremony in the Catholic church, but I don’t fully accept the practices so I am most comfortable in my own church.



The point is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever (that’s us) believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”



Jesus said I am the way the truth and the light. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.



Study your Bible and make sure you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. Repent of your sins. (You can directly do that with Him, or if you prefer to confess to a priest do that) Repent means turn away. You will never be sinless in this world but you must strive to be as much like Jesus as you can.



You are on a wonderful and exciting venture, and you and I will meet in Heaven one day as Brother and Sister. By your faith and mine (we are redeemed) we are already brother and sister.



I hope this helps.



In God’s Love,

Jeanette

Jay3gsm said...

jeanette

Thanks for your reply. It's a shame email is not working properly, you are one of the first people I've met that is happy to discuss faith in such an open way. I was surprised how defensive people can be.

If we ever get the chance to continue the discussion via email I would really appreciate that.

Anonymous said...

You try to question any of the Christian assumptions and you get the holy tirade of idealism shoved down your throat. Christians claim that "Heaven" is eternal, perfect, and permanent. Gosh, that sounds good but is it any more real than fairy land? Is Santa Clause real? I cannot listen to Christian beliefs without being offended completely. They insist that I believe in pure fantasy, mythology and imaginary perfection and insist that I surrender to this fantasy and give all my life and money and everything to it. If I don't I am condemned to hell where I will burn forever in suffering... So what if a man named Jesus might have said that he is the one and only way to the perfect palace in the sky. What better sales pitch is there than that??? You can have heaven or hell. Which is it??? Eternal suffering or eternal bliss??? And there's only one way to the bliss and a perfect great ultimately wonderful awesome amazing stupendous future and that is to be a Christian... The alternative is burning and suffering and endless horror...
When presented in this way, and you actually believe this is the way it really is, what choice is there but to be a Christian? Somewhere every Christian got sold on this idea and there's countless Christian sales people selling more and more people on this thing. And it is loaded and loaded with more and more pitches that try to convince people of the "truth". So, when someone says "Jesus said "I am the way truth and the life, no one comes to the father, but by me"" what can I say? Here is what I have to say to those who relish in the idea of being saved and living forever in the eternal bliss of heaven while the rest of humanity is going to suffer the rest of eternity suffering in hell:
1. As far as I am concerned it is just hearsay. There is absolutely no way of knowing if Jesus actually said that.
2. Even if Jesus actually said it I don't think that it is true. It sounds too much like the ultimate sales pitch of all time and I don't go for it.
3. I don't have any way of knowing if there is a Father, God or a heaven. It may all be imaginary. Human beings have an amazing ability to imagine things. Most people with such far fetched beliefs are labled insane.
4. It sounds pretty metaphoric. The New testament is full of Jesus' parables and metaphors. Maybe he just means that you need to listen to wise people when they talk or you won't know anything.
5. I can really see how this could have been mistranslated and changed through time to help with the Christian leader's conversions. Boy-oh-boy, Christians do like to throw this quote at you again and again and again and again and again to try to convert you.
6. Christianity has a lot of good values but show me one religion that doesn't. They are all meant to lead people to greater good and to God. I don't think that Christians are the only one's to be given a key to heaven. I actually see many fallacies with many Christians. The Mafia is made up of Catholics. There is no reason for me to believe that Christ is the only way to heaven or God (if there is such a place or ultimate higher power).
7. I don't believe in anyone who would let someone kill him to show that he is right. It is pretty insane to insist that you are the way and the truth and the only way to God to the point where people would kill you for it and then you let them kill you after torturing you. I have seen more crazy people that are doing no different following in Jesus' footsteps to force others in this belief... There are those who have even gone to the extent of killing others not to mention all the believers who let their own life end by being marters like Jesus was. People have to be more flexible and stop demanding that they are right...
8. People hear these detrimental words and proclaim anyone who doesn't believe them as a hieratic and a blasphemer. The whole idea of blasphemy because you don't believe what someone says disgusts me. All of the Christian guilt inducing, fear inspiring, hate producing, better than thou thinking, Hippocratic judgementalism, I could go on and on... The separatist society that Christianity has produced by this single line from the New Testament believing that Christians are heaven-bound and everyone else is going to hell is disturbing. Christianity has created a huge rift in humanity. Perhaps as much if not more than Islam. I don't condone this religion which proclaims to be the only way no mater what good it has brought to the world.
9. Don't force me into your beliefs with this idea that it is the only way out of hell into heaven. It stops here with me... I have no intention of propagating this monster of an idealism.

There are many who are not ready to believe this quote:

Thomas Jefferson

"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear." 1787 letter to his nephew

"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."

"Religions are all alike - founded upon fables and mythologies."

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance of which their civil as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes" Letter to von Humboldt, 1813

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

"In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own" Letter to H. Spafford, 1814

James Madison:

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution."

"In no instance have . . . the churches been guardians of the liberties of the people."

John Adams:

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

"The government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." Treaty of Tripoly, article 11

"Let the human mind loose. It must be loose. It will be loose. Superstition and dogmatism cannot confine it."

"But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed."

"The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles." letter to Thomas Jefferson, June 20, 1815

"God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world." "this awful blashpemy" that he refers to is the myth of the Incarnation of Christ, from Ira D. Cardi

Abraham Lincoln

"The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma." Joseph Lewis quoting Lincoln in a 1924 speech in New York

"My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them." Lincoln in a letter to Judge J.S. Wakefield, after the death of Willie Lincoln

Mark Twain:

"Faith is believing something you know ain't true."

"'In God We Trust.' I don't believe it would sound any better if it were true."

"It ain't the parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand."

"Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of."

"[The Bible is] a mass of fables and traditions, mere mythology." Mark Twain and the Bible

"Man is a marvelous curiosity ... he thinks he is the Creator's pet ... he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to him and thinks He listens. Isn't it a quaint idea." Letters from the Earth

"[The Bible] has noble poetry in it... and some good morals and a wealth of obscenity, and upwards of a thousand lies."

"In religion and politics people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing." Autobiography of Mark Twain by Samuel Clemens

Albert Einstein:

"During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution, human fantasy created gods in man's own image who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate influence, the phenomenal world... The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old conception of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes... In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vase power in the hands of priests." Albert Einstein, reported in Science, Philosophy and Religion: A Symposium, edited by L. Bryson and

Sigmund Freud:

"The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life."

"The idea of God was not a lie but a device of the unconscious which needed to be decoded by psychology. A personal god was nothing more than an exalted father-figure: desire for such a deity sprang from infantile yearnings for a powerful, protective father, for justice and fairness and for life to go on forever. God is simply a projection of these desires, feared and worshipped by human beings out of an abiding sense of helplessness. Religion belonged to the infancy of the human race; it had been a necessary stage in the transition from childhood to maturity. It had promoted ethical values which were essential to society. Now that humanity had come of age, however, it should be left behind." A History of God

Thomas Edison:

"I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious ideas of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God."

"I do not believe that any type of religion should ever be introduced into the public schools of the United States."

"So far as religion of the day is concerned, it is a damned fake... Religion is all bunk."

Gene Roddenberry:

"I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will--and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain."

"We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes."

Carl Sagan:

When asked how he would explain a "genuine mystical experience," Sagan responded: "Your question presupposes the existence of a genuine mystical experience and I'm not sure what that is. People have vivid hallucinations. How do you distinguish between altered states of consciousness?"

"It is said that men may not be the dreams of the Gods, but rather that the Gods are the dreams of men."

"Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."

Galileo Galilei:

"...nothing physical which sense-experience sets before our eyes, or which necessary demonstrations prove to us, ought to be called into question (much less condemned) upon the testimony of biblical passages." as quoted in Blind Watchers of the Sky, p. 101

Jesse "the body" Ventura:

"Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business." Quoted from an interview with Playboy magazine

Arther Clarke:

"Religion is a byproduct of fear," he says. "For much of human history, it may have been a necessary evil, but why was it more evil than necessary? Isn't killing people in the name of God a pretty good definition of insanity?"

Stephen King:

"The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance...logic can be happily tossed out the window."

Benjamin Franklin:

"The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." Poor Richard's Almanack, 1758

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."

"He (the Rev. Mr. Whitefield) used, indeed, sometimes to pray for my conversion, but never had the satisfaction of believing that his prayers were heard." Franklin's Autobiography

“Some volumes against Deism fell into my hands. They were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle’s Lecture. It happened that they produced on me an effect precisely the reverse of what was intended by the writers; for the arguments of the Deists, which were cited in order to be refuted, appealed to me much more forcibly than the refutation itself. In a word, I soon became a thorough Deist.”

Voltaire:

"Of all religions the Christian is without doubt the one which should inspire tolerance most, although up to now the Christians have been the most intolerant of all men." Harry Elmer Barnes, An Intellectual and Cultural History of the Western World (1937) p. 766, quoted

"Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd and bloody religion that has ever infected the world." James A. Haught in "Honest Minds, Past and Present" Talks for History of Freethought conference Sept

"Men who believe absurdities will commit atrocities."

Robert G. Ingersoll:

"The good part of Christmas is not always Christian -- it is generally Pagan; that is to say, human, natural."

"Christianity did not come with tidings of great joy, but with a message of eternal grief. It came with the threat of everlasting torture on its lips. It meant war on earth and perdition hereafter." A CHRISTMAS SERMON. 1891

"Secularism is a religion, a religion that is understood. It has no mysteries, no mumblings, no priests, no ceremonies, no falsehoods, no miracles, and no persecutions." SECULARISM

"One of the foundation stones of our faith is the Old Testament. If that book is not true, if its authors were unaided men, if it contains blunders and falsehoods, then that stone crumbles to dust...The Old Testament must be thrown aside. It is no longer a foundation. It has crumbled." The Foundations of Faith

"An honest god is the noblest work of man. ... God has always resembled his creators. He hated and loved what they hated and loved and he was invariably found on the side of those in power."

"As people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers"

Bertrand Russell:

"Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing -- fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand." Why I Am Not A Christian

Oscar Wilde:

"When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything equal to it."

Ayn Rand:

"God... a being whose only definition is that he is beyond man's power to conceive."

"Religion is a primitive form of philosophy, [the] attempt to offer a comprehensive view of reality." The Objectivist Feb 1966 WMail Issue #5

Thomas Paine:

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of....Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and of my own part, I disbelieve them all." From The Age of Reason, pp. 89

"All natural institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit." The Age of Reason

"Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is no more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifiying to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory to itself than this thing called Christianity." Age of Reason

"Why do I gotta be the one who tells the kids there's no Santa Clause?" - "McCord" played by Steve Buscemi in "The Island"