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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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atpollard

Salutations

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Been visiting a more general (as in 'we hate the god of scripture) religious forum over the last year.

Tired of the same old pseudo-discussions on the historicity of Jesus or why god wants babies to burn in hell forever (and therefore must not exist).

So I have come to visit and see if it is possible to have a conversation from the assumption that God exists and Jesus is not the first created thing.

 

I found an on-line quiz that says my personal beliefs are a 100% match to "Reformed Baptist" (whatever that is) ... but I have to admit that what Calvin wrote makes a lot of sense to me.

 

Let's see, background:

Converted from atheism to Christianity at a Catholic Charasmatic Fellowship, but was never really able to embrace the whole praying to Mary thing, so Roman Catholic Mass and I didn't last long. (But I have nothing bad to say about my Catholic brothers and sisters ... we just see some of the details different).

 

Mentored in Bible precepts by an African Missionary to the US while attending Church of God of Anderson Indianna.

 

Studied in an adult Bible Study under a graduate of Moody while attending an Evangelical Free Church.

 

Attended a Southern Baptist church for a while. Hour long sermons seemed too long to concentrate, but I liked studying the Trinity and the Southern Baptist Faith and Message.

 

I currently attend a non-denominational Petacostal Church with a pastor raised in a Moravian Church.

(Although I am about as far from manifesting traditional 'charismata' as a person can be and still be born again.)

 

I guess that I come to Christianity believing that deep down, we are no darn good (on our own), that God's arm is not short (He can handle any situation), and in the words of Corrie ten Boom "God does as he pleases, and he does it right well."

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Staff

Welcome atpollard to Christforums!

 

Hope you find the forum a pleasant place to visit each day as your daily routine. As far your "religion" forum experience I'm sure you'll find this site quite different.

 

God bless,

William

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Greetings. Your background seems so random.

 

I certainly didn't plan it out. :)

Looking back, God seems to have had a plan.

 

I have been able to study scripture with some very solid Bible Teachers, and pass on reformed theology to other men who would never have heard it (including a converted Muslim).

 

So, yeah, a long strange road, but I have no complaints.

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I found an on-line quiz that says my personal beliefs are a 100% match to "Reformed Baptist" (whatever that is) ... but I have to admit that what Calvin wrote makes a lot of sense to me.

 

The Baptist church is traditionally Calvinist/Reformed. But, the modern Baptist church has mostly strayed from its own tradition. Still, I'd guess a third of Baptist preachers are Calvinists. Also, the Baptist church was and is anti-Pentecostal, even if there are exceptions.

 

If I didn't have a nearby conservative oldline church to go to, I'd go to a Reformed Baptist church.

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It has been interesting attending both a Southern Baptist Church and a Pentacostal Church.

 

At the Baptist Church, my greatest compliment is that they take the study of both scripture and doctrine very serious. It was fun talking and studying the bible. My only criticism is that I got the impression that it was possible to be completely orthodox and accepted and a respected member ... and completely unsaved, a total stranger to the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit.

 

At the Pentacostal Church, I was reminded of a phrase that someone once used to describe theology in the typical American church ... an inch deep and a mile wide. Yet they know how to love.

 

So I have a conundrum. To be the thirty-something member of the Baptist Church gifted by the Spirit with a passion for God's word, soaking up ... frankly, angry doctrine. Or to attend a Pentacostal Church where I can praise God with unfettered passion and be of service to other men desperate to learn God's word.

 

For the current season, I am of service. Ironically, while I am not particularly drawn to ecumenicalism, I suspect that the Baptists and Pentacostals would be better off if God forced them to learn to get along. They have much that they could teach each other.

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I suspect that the Baptists and Pentacostals would be better off if God forced them to learn to get along.

I once heard a preacher say that the ideal Christian would be someone with the head of a Baptist, the heart of a Pentecostal, and the feet of a Jehovah's Witness.

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Staff

Atpollard,

 

If you don't mind me asking where do you live? I am in California. I also see that you have already two bars in your reputation under your name. Congrats, I really enjoy your questions, and responses while engaged with you.

 

God bless,

William

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I live in Florida, north of Tampa and on the Gulf Coast from Orlando.

 

Thanks (for the congratulations).

I have been enjoying the conversations as well.

It is a strange feeling to be the 'liberal' christian in the room after 30 years as 'that mean Calvinist'. ;)

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It is a strange feeling to be the 'liberal' christian in the room after 30 years as 'that mean Calvinist'. ;)

 

Ha!, they call that "mean Calvinist" Cage Stage.

 

God bless,

William

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Ha!, they call that "mean Calvinist" Cage Stage

 

God bless,

William

 

I never had to work that hard to be labeled a 'mean Calvinist'.

I just had to have a conversation that goes something like this:

 

THEM: Your a Calvinist?

ME: Yeah, I guess that I am. What he wrote agrees with my personal experiences.

 

THEM: So you believe in T.U.L.I.P? You think that people are Totally Depraved.

ME: Well, as long as you understand that 'total' means that sin has impacted every part of your life, and not that every person is a psychopath, then yeah, I believe that. Frankly, before God started to clean me up, I was not safe to be around. So, yeah, I believe that without God there is no good in us.

 

(This will usually require my repeating the answer several times because they just can't believe that I really believe that atheists are not somehow moral people deep down, or the person who doesn't beat his wife has somehow demonstrated some divine spark of perfection.)

 

Then we get to repeat this with the fact that Jesus death didn't take away the sins of everyone paving the way for some variation on universal salvation, or a post death 'one more chance'. When I affirm that Jesus death has enough 'juice' to take away every sin in the world, but it was only applied to the saved ... which will lead us into the fact that God chose the elect before the foundation of the world, which rubs all of their good works to earn God's favor the wrong way.

 

Ultimately, it my unwillingness to look beyond scripture and just open my mind to more options on how to approach a LOVING God (they always place extra emphasis on God's Love) that makes me "mean".

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