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Berserk last won the day on September 9

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  • Location Colville, WA, USA

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  1. So far, I've learned 3 devastating truths from replies to this thread: (1) Fundamentalists here whose piety is incapable of producing comparable miracles to those posted and to be posted in this thread use irrelevant slander to try to rationalize away their comparable spiritual ineptness; (2) Fundamentalists here resort to the desperate expedient of grotesquely generalizing from the worst exemplars of Christian spirituality (e. g. Todd Bentley). That error illustrates the essence of religious bigotry. You wouldn't like it if I drew inferences about your spirituality from the ravings of Westside Baptist Church, now would you? Kindly season your penchant for bluster with a modicum of intellectual rigor and intellectual integrity. (3) Fundamentalists here are so trapped in their myopic thought Ghettos that it never occurs to them to address the biblical models presented in the OP. I am immediately forced to wonder whether this site reflects typical cultic hostility to reasoned challenges from better educated outsiders.
  2. No, I'm afraid that raging faith is rare. Here is the testimony of an acquaintance. Ron's wife was afflicted with congestive heart failure so badly that her legs were swollen oak tree trunks. Never have I heard or even read of prayer healing advanced congestive heart failure or advanced diabetes. One day he became enraged by her anxious suffering. So he anointed her with oil and angrily cursed her congestive heart failure in Jesus' name and she was instantly healed! He cited 2 Gospel precedents for his approach: (1) Jesus taught us to directly and authoritative address the disease ("this mountain") in prayer. (2) Jesus angrily cursed the barren fig tree and used this cursing as an object lesson on how effective faith works (Mark 11:12-14, 20-24). Now I find this method instructive because, when I pray for the sick, I never address the physical condition directly and I never curse a body condition (a) because I'm afraid my curse will just direct negative energy into that body part and (b) because I have always understood Jesus' cursing of the fig tree as no more than a parable for the coming judgment against Israel through Roman destruction of Jerusalem. But there is something about the energy and focused passion of rage that makes it an effective vehicle for the creation of empowering faith. In my next planned post, I will discuss how the most effective Christian faith healer of the 20th century channeled ;his rage to perform breath-takingly miraculous healing.
  3. RAGING FAITH: A NEGLECTED SECRET TO MIRACLE-WORKING FAITH I will first offer 4 biblical examples of raging faith in action and then give examples of modern healings achieved through raging faith: (1) In 2 Kings 5 The Syrian General Naaman learns about the healing power wielded by the prophet Elisha and pays him a visit with his soldiers. Elisha enrages Naaman (a) by sending a messenger out to speak with him rather than pay him the courtesy of a face-to-face conversation; (b) by commanding him to immerse himself 7 times in the muddy Jordan, when much cleaning Syrian rivers could have nicely served that purpose: "He turned and went away in a rage (2 Kings 5:12)." Elisha has deliberately provoked Naaman into raging faith that humbles him until, with his servant's encouragement, he complies with the immersions and is gloriously healed. (1) A hungry Jesus is angered by a barren fig tree that he hoped could provide him with food, and so, He curses it and its leaves quickly wither. Jesus uses this curse in 2 ways: (a) as a type of Israel which will soon fall under judgment in the form of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem; (b) as a type of mountain-moving faith that can perform miracles. (3) Jesus is enraged by the inability of His disciples to muster the requisite faith to heal the epileptic boy in Mark 9:14-29: "You faithless generation! How much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me (9:19)." Jesus then helps the boy's Dad transform his anger into healing faith. (4) In Mark 3:1-6 Jesus transforms His anger over Jewish objections to healing on the Sabbath into a powerful faith that heals the man with the withered hand. Please chime in with your own testimonies to the power of raging faith.
  4. (1) Do you care about the means by which you are saved? "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins (Ephesians 1:7)." If the Shroud is authentic, then it is stained by the redemptive blood of Jesus. Wouldn't that fact make the Shroud indescribably precious to true Christians who supremely values Christ's atoning death? (2) Do you care about the salvation of the lost? Many skeptics dismiss the New Testament witness to Christ's resurrection as as full of inconsistencies and legendary details. Yet they are more intrigued by the case for the Shroud's authenticity. An irreligious Jew, Barry Schwortz, was part of the scientific team that investigated the Shroud's date. He had not interest or respect for the New Testament, by came to faith in God through the evidence of the Shroud's authenticity. Would you rather be right about your apologetic priorities or see unbelievers saved in part through evidence from the Shroud? For these 2 reasons alone, Christians should be very interested in the case for the Shroud's authenticity. Yet no one on this site seems willing to watch the posted Shroud video. I suspect that this indifference alone will cause me to desert the site. Have you heard of the Sudarium of Oviedo, the alleged face cloth that wrapped Jesus' body? It has the same rare blood type AB as the stains on the Shroud and its pattern neatly corresponds to the blood stain spatter pattern on the Shroud. This sudarium was brought from Jerusalem in the 6th century AD. So both the Shroud and this face cloth once wrapped the same corpse! For the details, watch this mesmerizing videoL authenticity+sudarium+oviedo+youtube - Bing video WWW.BING.COM New test dates Shroud of Turin to era of Christ WWW.USATODAY.COM New scientific tests on the Shroud of Turin, which was on display Saturday in a special TV appearance introduced by the Pope, dates the...
  5. dhroud+of+turn+new+evidence+youtube - Bing video WWW.BING.COM This video is a composite of several videos. Please watch the first 4, down to Barry Schwortz's testimony to how his role as a member of the scientific team investigating the Shroud transformed him from an unbelieving Jew to a Jew who found God through this research.
  6. My adult ambivalence to Pentecostalism and the gifts of the Spirit need to understood is perhaps best understood in terms of its roots in 3 early childhood experiences: (1) I was born with congenital glaucoma in my right eye. My distraught parents were impressed by a famous faith healer named William Branham, who held healing crusades around North America. What set him apart was his clairvoyance. Before he laid hands on people, he accurately described one of their recent past experiences in awesome detail and he did the same for my parents. Mom and Dad were poor, but they spent their savings on a trip to Elgin, Illinois to bring me to a Branham crusade there. When I (age 3) finally made it onto the stage, Branham looked at my introductory note that said, "blind in the right eye," and shouted, "This boy is blind!" He then laid hands on my eyes and waved them in front of me. When I blinked, he yelled, "This little boy has been cured of blindness!" The huge crowd went wild but my parents were sick. Of course I blinked because I could see out of my good eye. This fraud devastated and disillusioned my parents. All this attention to getting me healed made me feel like they regretted my birth and ultimately created a deep desire in me to justify being born! It also sowed the seeds of a lifelong determination to discover whether miracles and divine healing were ever real and whether the Bible was trustworthy. God used those events to shape my calling in life. The seeds created by this traumatic period of my life eventually blossomed into a paradoxcal blend of deep skepticism and a passionate quest to experience (2) By the time I was 6 I had learned to hate church. There was no children's church or Sunday school for my age and Church bored me because I couldn't relate to much of the 1 1/2 hour services, especially the sermons. So I squirmed and protested in our pew and made myself a nuisance to my parents. My parents were weekly attenders, but one Sunday they stayed home for reasons I never understood. I suspect the nightmare of dealing with my hissyfits was part of the reason! I was so glad to escape church that sunny and clear July morning! God was the furthest thing from my mind. To celebrate I zoomed up and down the sidewalk to the ends of our block on my little tricycle. Then I noticed the big new blue Chevy with huge tailfins parked behind the Jewish shoe store salesman's building. Evidently he had just waxed and polished it and it just glistened as it reflected the brilliant sunlight. To me it was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen; so I constantly road back to it to stare in wonder. Once, when I returned, I had my first life-changing God moment. For some strange reason, my attention was directed to a patch of blue near the sun. As I gazed at it, wave after wave of liquid love surged through my being. Suddenly I became acutely aware of the presence of a God who loved me and I just basked in that love! I told my parents about my experience, but they didn't seem very interested. That all changed a few days later when neighbors came over to tell my parents how impressed they were that I was excitedly sharing my embryonic new faith with my little playmates. I knew little about God and the Bible and I have always wondered what I was saying about God and my experience to my little playmates. This experience didn't make me want to sit through church, though. Now Dad sang in the choir and my parents now let me sit by myself. This was fortunate because it allowed me to I sneak out of church to buy lifesavers at the little grocery store across the street from the church. As I ate them, I browsed the comic books on the store shelves. The owner eventually got annoyed by my regular presence and shooed me out his store. So I ate my lifesavers outside and began to meditate on the meaning of my life. (3) At age 11, I realized that I should be baptized to please my parents and obey the Gospel. I had to attend a few preparatory catechetical classes and I was the only child among about 11 adult male candidates. The classes appalled me because the lecturer used poorly explained jargon like justification, propitiation, and sanctification which produceded excruciation in the mind of this young boy who couldn't grasp the meaning of these big words. Quoting Colossians 2:11 , the lecturer informed us that we needed to be "circumcised in spirit." That might have been helpful if I knew what physical circumcision was and if he explained this jargon. I would be the last of the 12 to be baptized by immersion in a large tank behind the platform before a crowd of about 1,400 people. I was petrified because I learned I was expected to share a personal testimony in front of that huge crowd and because, blush, the bottom of my baptismal robe seemed to float up, exposing my nakedness! All the men gave a formulaic personal testimony that I can recite even today. Then I nervously waded out to the pastor and he asked me, "Donny, would you like to share a word for the Lord Jesus?" I shook my head in the negative. So the pastor continued, "OK, let me ask you some faith questions." I felt publicly humiliated as the only one not to share a testimony and at that point I just wanted to get this ordeal over with to please my parents. But after the pastor dunked me, something amazing happened as I emerged from the water. I suddenly had a vision of Jesus, smiling at me, radiating love and conveying the feeling that He found my predicament rather amusing. I sensed His empathy for my confusion over all the poorly explained catechetical jargon and my groundless fear about my nakedness being exposed by the floating bottom of my robe. And years later when I became a theology professor, I reflected that Jesus must have found it amusing that a motormouth like me would be utterly tongue-tied at my youthful baptism. My first and only vision in my life transformed an unpleasant baptismal ordeal into one of the most sacred and treasured memories of my life!
  7. I was born in Winnipeg and raised in a Pentecostal Church for my first 21 years before I moved to the USA to attend Fuller and Princeton Seminaries and to get my doctorate at Harvard in New Testament, Judaism, and Greco-Roman backgrounds. I was a Theology Professor at a Catholic university for 12 years and retired in July, 2015 as a United Methodist pastor. I bemusedly like to describe myself as a walking theological zoo without a cage, who emits middle-of-the road Evangelical vibes. I have what might facetiously be described as a paradoxical love-hate relationship with my Pentecostal past, and yet, that is my primary personal Christian identity. Here are 4 of my odd claims that will kickstart discussion on this thread. (1) I found Pentecostals to be pathetically anti-intellectual, especially about their faith, and yet, my experiences of the gifts of the Spirit have played a far greater role in sustaining my faith in times of crippling intellectual doubt than the best of Christian apologetics. (2) I encourage Christian seekers to find a good non-charismatic evangelical church, and yet, I believe no such church has greater potential to enable seekers to find Christ real than a church that manifests authentic charismatic gifts. (3) In my experience, about 90% of speaking in tongues is "of the flesh," and yet, I believe that the pursuit of the gifts of the Spirit (including tongues) is the most important denominational distinctive. [The Gospel if not a denominational distinctive.] (4) I reject the Pentecostal doctrine that speaking in tongues is THE unique and indispensable sign of Spirit baptism, and yet, I would probably not have remained a Christian without an unbelievably life-changing involuntary experience of tongues at age 16.
  8. The pastor of my first 21 years was a great preacher, but his sermons lacked a sense of humor. So for me his most memorable sermons were 2 that contained unintended bloopers. I was about `10-11 years old at the time. His first blooper occurred in a sermon on John the Baptist. I don't recall the details of that sermon, but at one point he declared, "Then Jordan baptized Jesus in the john.' I couldn't believe my young ears. My pastor just moved on as if he had never misspoken. What made this blooper even funnier to me was the stone-faced reaction of the congregation (about 1,500 present). No one even smiled. I wondered whether anyone else was listening carefully. About a year later, my pastor was preaching on David's troubled relationship with King Saul. What I recall from that sermon is the point where my pastor declared, "And there David stood in the gates of the sanctuary, breathless and pantless." Again, he pressed on, oblivious to what he had just said. Again, I noticed the stone-faced reaction of the large congregation. Now I knew that most congregations hear from a pastor what they expect him to say, not what he actually says. I was appalled, yet amused enough to giggle quietly. Then I noticed a man about 30 rows ahead of me turn around with s wicked grin on his face. I thought to myself, "Phew, at least one man was closely listening." . Years later, a homiletics professor in seminary told us, "To be a good preacher, you must take responsibility, not for what you said, but for what you were heard to say." His advice brought back memories of my pastor's 2 bloopers. NOTE: Truthfully, I started this thread only as a test pilot to see whether I was actually registered for this site. In the future I will stick to wannabe profound threads that expose me for the solemn and witless pedant I really am!
  9. The words of most sermons we loved are quickly forgotten. Below is a quote from a sermon I heard, a quote that I recall word for word after one hearing. I don't necessarily approve of the attitude reflected in this quote, but I give the preacher credit for his unforgettable speaking style and I wonder how my own sermons could have been reworded to make them more memorable. f "I like my religion the way I like my tea--hot, "Cause I'd rather be a fool on fire than a scholar on ice, and it's easier to cool a hot coel than warm up a corpse! Honestly, when I drive by dem liberal churches, I take my hat off out of respect for the dead." I will share other unforgettable words in sermons I heard. I invite you to do the same in this thread.
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