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Ken Anderson

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Ken Anderson last won the day on June 15 2016

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  1. I am not familiar with the rules of every denomination, but I was baptized as an infant in what is now part of an Evangelical Covenant denomination. Later, through Bible study, I was (and am) persuaded that I needed to be baptized as a believer in Christ, and was baptized in a Grace Brethren Church, and still identify as a Mennonite. However, while living in areas where there were no Mennonite churches, I have been a member of a Church of Christ (non-instrumental), a Southern Baptist church, and an American Baptist church, and re-baptism was not required. While I do hold that believer's baptism is the correct order of things, I think that it would unreasonable for any denomination to require someone who was already baptized as an adult to be re-baptized, although I suppose some may do so because they don't recognize the validity of these other denominations. If so, I do not share in that, as I am sure that there are true Christians within the larger Christian church, which is not restricted to the Mennonites, the Baptists, or any other denomination. Still, I suppose it's a matter of degree, as there are some religious bodies that consider themselves to be Christian that I don't think God will recognize as such. That's not for me to decide, however.
  2. I believe that the Jehovah's Witnesses are wrong theologically; so wrong, in fact, that I fear their differences are salvational. Yet, I have met with the Jehovah's Witnesses several times, have worked with Jehovah's Witnesses, and have known Jehovah's Witnesses personally, and I don't know that I have come across a more dedicated, sincere group of people than they are. I don't know about their leadership or founders, but rank and file Jehovah's Witnesses are good people who are living their faith in ways that few Christians are willing to do. I do respect that. I respect their dedication, and their willingness to dedicate such a large portion of their lives to what they believe to be right. There is a lot to respect there, and I wish that more Christians were willing to live their faith as the Jehovah's Witnesses do. Yet they are very wrong, in my opinion, and I am afraid that sincerity and dedication are not enough.
  3. That depends on what you mean by respect. Of course, I respect anyone's right to have another religion or to believe whatever they want. But if I believe that there is only one God, and only one path to salvation, as I do, then it wouldn't make sense for me to respect other religions that are wrong. If I am completely certain that two plus two equals five, and you believe that it equals six, I might be able to still respect you as a person but I won't respect your mathematical skills. It's much the same when it comes to religion, I think. I can still respect someone as a person, even if they believe in a religion that I believe to be wrong, but I cannot respect their choice of a religion or respect their opinion when it comes to religious questions. That does not mean that I have to treat them with disrespect or condemnation. Although I may be quite certain that they will be condemned unless they reconsider their beliefs, condemnation is not my task, and a condemning spirit will simply make me less effective as a witness. After all, you don't reach someone by telling them that they are stupid or that they are going to hell because they still have time to change the path that they are on, and my wish would be that they would do just that, and my hope would be that I might be able to help them along the way. Perhaps you are referring to those who do not respect anyone's religion, or religion in general, as there are many of those around. While it seems to me that a true atheist wouldn't care whether or not I believe in God, there are nevertheless many whom I describe as evangelical atheists, these people people who feel compelled to win others over the atheism. I grew up in a Christian home so even before I became a Christian, I was not an atheist, so I don't know for sure, but I can't imagine why an atheist would feel threatened by religion. It bothers me when someone does not believe because I know that the future for them won't be good, and that pains me, but why would an atheist care whether or not I believe in God? If there is no heaven, then I'm no going there whether I believe in it or not, and if there is no hell, I'm not going there either. But if there is a God, and there is a Satan, and there is a heaven, and there is a hell, then they are going to be there whether or not you believe in them or not. No, I don't understand that.
  4. In that context, that makes sense, @Bobby Cole, and I agree. My wife and I had moved for a short time to another town near where she had found work. We hadn't found a church there yet so we just picked a Baptist church to attend for the first time on Easter Sunday. It was a big beautiful church, with manicured lawns, but there were fewer than twenty people there on Easter Sunday, and at least one other couple there was attending for the first time too. The pastor seemed like a nice enough guy. He wasn't Billy Graham behind the pulpit, but he did a pretty fair job delivering the message, and there was nothing doctrinally wrong with it that I had picked up on. I didn't get why where were so few people there for an Easter Sunday service. I prefer small churches, but this was a small church in a huge building and it didn't seem right. We found another church to attend the following week, and didn't go back to that one. Later, we learned that the pastor had had an affair with a married woman in the congregation. If that's the way he lives, it doesn't matter what he says from behind the pulpit. In your case, you weren't being fed. Worse, the pastor was seemingly choosing to "feed" people who weren't in attendance rather than those who were, and I can understand that this wouldn't be a good fit. Although I have been a member of a large church at one time, I prefer small churches, probably for the same reason that I prefer small towns. I grew in a town where I was related to nearly everyone I knew, so it's just a matter of personal comfort level. In a small church, with a little effort I can learn everyone's names in a short amount of time, and it's easier to get involved in things. The downside is that small churches generally don't have dynamic speakers behind the pulpit. It's a give and take, I suppose. I have friends who attend churches that are pastored by people whose names are on the books and the study bibles, and I am sure there's a lot to be gained listening to these men speak Sunday after Sunday. But I have lunch with my pastor after church most weeks, I can discuss things with him even when I'm not necessarily agreeing, and I can get him to come out to my land and help me clear trees and move gravel around.
  5. I'm not sure that I'd agree to that extent. There are many "Christian" churches that seem to exist for the purpose of serving something other than the God that I believe in, and I fear that a Christian's spiritual welfare could be threatened in some of these churches, at least unless they had a very strong foundation before going in. The harm in some of these churches, and I'm thinking particularly of the "accepting and affirming" churches here, is that they accept sin and affirm sinfulness as being okay with God, resulting in people who may have the desire to serve God, but a faulty idea of what that means. Many of us are probably wrong about some things in our life but when we're being taught the wrong from behind the pulpit, we might consider it to be right. That said, I don't believe that it's necessary or even desirable for a Christian to refuse to attend church unless everything about that church matches up to their own understandings. As an example, I am a Mennonite who hasn't lived near enough to a Mennonite church to be able to attend regularly in many years, yet I see only a benefit of fellowshipping with Christians who are not Mennonites, as compared to not being able to fellowship with Christians in my neighborhood at all. I attended a Church of Christ, non-instrumental church for many years. On many issues, including all of the salvational issues, I have no quarrel with the Church of Christ, non-instrumental, except that I see no harm in using instrumental music during the worship service. Although the prohibition of instrumental music in the worship service is a defining point for that non-denomination, and I disagree with that, I also see no harm in a cappella singing, so I can easily set that issue aside. I have attended a Southern Baptist church and was even a deacon in an American Baptist church, both of which match up pretty well with my understanding of the Scriptures, so long as I don't make an issue of the assurance of salvation. The Book of James can be a touchy subject, as I learned when I chose James as the subject of a Wednesday night Bible study. Yet, I can see no harm in fellowshipping with my brother and sister Christians in the Baptist churches. I am currently attending a small non-denominational church whose theology seems to be Adventist in nature, although the pastor comes from a Baptist background and denies being Adventist. While I don't believe everything that I hear from behind the pulpit, I don't feel as if I am being encouraged to sin, and I have been enjoying the discussions during fellowship times.
  6. I accept the Biblical principle that places spanking within the tool box that a parent can draw from. I was never spanked as a child, nor do I recall ever seeing any of my brothers spanked when I was growing up. Of course, I was perfect so there would have been no reason for anyone to spank me, but surely my brothers must have deserved it. Seriously, maybe it was a Swedish thing, as my parents came here from Sweden. They were both very good at playing my conscience in their favor, so it's not we were an overly unruly household. Spanking was just never a part of it. I have no children that were born to me, but I adopted a seven year-old and have had dozens of foster children. My son, of course, was quite capable of communication so I never saw a reason to spank him if it had occurred to me, and of course spanking a foster child in California wouldn't be a wise thing to do. So while I accept that spanking is certainly a tool that a Christian parent can turn to, it shouldn't be the first choice, and I don't believe that every child is in need of it. Perhaps as babies, it might be a good communication tool to use along with the word "no," in order to teach the baby the meaning of the word, but there I'd be talking about a light tap, not corporal punishment as most people might think of it. Certainly, a slap on the bottom is better than allowing a child to place his hand on a hot burner. The latter might be an effective way of teaching consequences but I trust that most parents don't want to go there. I don't know, I have never raised a baby. To answer the question, yes I do believe that spanking is an acceptable communication tool that a parent can turn to if it seems necessary.
  7. Most people, regardless of their religious affiliation, recognize that the Pope is an influential world figure, so there is a certain amount of respect there. Non-Catholic Christians may also consider that the Pope can have a significant effect on the world's opinion of Christians in general, since non-Christians often lump all Christians together. There is also the fact that conservative Protestants and Catholics may share some values and are sometimes on the same side in political or social issues, such as gay marriage, abortion, and the place of religion in society. I am not personally familiar with any Protestants who look to the Pope as their spiritual leader, however, and I don't believe that practice is widespread.
  8. Yes, they have. Yet a declination to swear an oath by a man-made creed isn't necessarily the same thing as a denial of the truths that may be contained there. As I said, I don't know of an Anabaptist group that disagrees with the Apostles' Creed. Although some of the larger Anabaptist denominations have become liberal in recent years, this has been true perhaps to a greater extent among the Protestant denominations, and many remain very conservative. You may or may not agree with my opinion that the UCC is a very liberal Protestant denomination, yet they claim to adhere to at least the Nicene Creed, although I'm not sure about the others. Nothing fancy, just the dictionary definition. denomination NOUN 1. a recognized autonomous branch of the Christian Church. I don't see that the Anabaptists are using a standard different from the Protestant churches there. It's difficult to tell what a denomination is supposed to mean in the Protestant churches, given that there are Protestant bodies that claim to be non-denominational, but which function in ways that are not discernibly different from a denomination. I'm thinking here of the churches of Christ, not the UCC, but the ones that include both instrumental and non-instrumental bodies, and the Disciples of Christ. They claim to be non-denominational because they do not have a central governing body administering colleges, children's homes, or organized mission efforts, but that each church is autonomous and self-governing, yet if any of these autonomous congregation chooses to adopt beliefs or practices that differ from the larger body, they may be disassociated. The various Anabaptist fellowships are distinct bodies that are identified by traits, such as a common name, structure, leadership and doctrine. For all practical purposes, they are denominations. Among Protestant and Anabaptist denominations, these individual bodies may or may not consider themselves to be denominations however, as some will choose to refer to their body as a fellowship or simply a church. It has become a trend, I think, among Protestant churches to not associate with any denomination or fellowship, and I agree that this is often because they don't want to be answerable to anyone, and that probably includes God. Among Protestant and Anabaptist church bodies, I don't see any sharp differences as far as church structure. Some Protestant denominations are more similar to some of the Anabaptist denominations than other Protestant bodies, and vice versa. Among both Protestant and Anabaptist bodies, the larger danger is the constant move to the left, and this has placed many of them in danger of being on the wrong side when it comes to judgement, I am afraid.
  9. @William, I am curious as to why you place such importance on man-made creeds. Creeds are concerned with beliefs alone, while Anabaptists give equal importance to behavior, or at least some importance to behavior. It's not that the Anabaptists have rejected the statements contained in these creeds but that the authority of the church should be the Scriptures rather than man-made creeds, just as an American can be a patriot without signing his name to the Pledge of Allegiance. Off hand, I don't know of anything contained in the Apostles' Creed that I would disagree with, or that most Anabaptists would object to, and some Anabaptist groups do attest to the Apostles' Creed. For example, the Brethren in Christ include the Apostles' Creed in their Manual of Doctrine and Government of the Brethren in Christ Church. Since the Anabaptists came about through Bible study, I think that the greatest objection to creeds is that they are intended to stifle discussion and to divide. Indeed, they have been used as an excuse for horrible persecutions. Anabaptists have traditionally objected to swearing oaths, and these creeds may be viewed in that light, as well. On the other hand, as @Nahum has pointed out, the Anabaptists have established Confessions, which serve much the same purpose. You seem to object to the practice of re-baptizing those who had been baptized as infants, but this is a practice that is true also of every Baptist denomination that I am familiar with. This is not considered a re-baptism, however, since neither the Anabaptists or the Baptists consider the baptism as infants to be an actual baptist, but rather a sign of dedication on the part of the parents. By the way, I was raised in a church that practiced infant baptism, but my real baptism was when I was in my twenties. Other than through books, of which I have read several, I am not personally familiar with every Anabaptist group but none that I am familiar with consider that the Anabaptists are the sole proprietors of Christianity, and this includes the Amish. The Amish may not fellowship with Protestant churches, but they do not consider them to be non-Christian. As a member of a Grace Brethren Church, my pastor would recommend members of the congregation to nearby Protestant colleges, given that there were no GBC colleges nearby. Living far away from the nearest Anabaptist Church, I have been a member of, and even a deacon in an American Baptist Church, and I certainly don't consider the Baptists to be non-Christian. Yes, there are large differences between the various Anabaptist denominations, but this is true of the Protestant denominations as well. Some Anabaptist denominations now consider themselves to be Protestant, while others view the emergence of the Anabaptists as part of the Radical Reformation, which broke off from the Protestant Reformation. As with the Protestants, the Anabaptists have had to deal with questions of same sex marriage and gays in the ministry, and some of them have followed the more liberal path, while others have remained quite conservative. Early statements of faith among Anabaptists have included: The authority of the New Testament for daily living. Adult or believers' baptism. The power of the Holy Spirit. Obedience to the teachings of Christ. The practical fruits of conversion should be evident in Christian living. The church as a covenant community. A refusal to swear oaths. A rejection of violence and military service. The separation of church and state. Social separation of the church from the evil in society. The exclusion of wayward members from communion. Not all Anabaptist denominations adhere to all of these today, but some variation of most of them is common among most Anabaptist denominations, although not necessarily the larger ones.
  10. Ken Anderson


    There is a view that baptism is essential to salvation, and there is Scriptural support for that view. Although not all Christians believe that baptism is essential to salvation, the alternative view is that baptism represents the first act of obedience to God. In a sense then, it is a matter of semantics. If Jesus is truly in your heart, then I would think you would want to follow the example that He gave, and that of the early church, which is that whenever it was physically possible to do so, after a person believed, he was baptized. I grew up in a church that baptized the children of church members as infants, which I do not view as a Biblical baptism. Not knowing any better, however, I became a Christian at the age of thirteen, but it wasn't until I was in my twenties that I came to realize that I needed to be baptized as a believer. Had I died during the years after I asked Christ into my heart and the time that I was baptized, would God have accepted my ignorance as a legitimate excuse? I don't truly know, but I am pleased that I was finally baptized as a believer.
  11. My only problem with praying out loud is that it tends to be done more for the purpose of self-grandiosing public theater than an actual prayer. I have been in churches, including the one in which I grew up, where people would use the King James English in their prayers, when they certainly never spoke in thee's and thou's otherwise. It seems pretentious, and done for the purpose of impressing those around them rather than communicating with God. To think that God wouldn't understand contemporary English is odd enough as it is, but if you wanted to speak in a language that Jesus could understand, perhaps Aramaic would be a better choice. But even when people pray aloud in contemporary English, it seems to be more performance than prayer, and that's true whether it's the pastor leading the congregation in prayer or someone from the congregation speaking out in prayer. It so seldom seems genuine. That said, I have heard public prayers that seemed to be genuine, but perhaps they are just better performed. I suppose I shouldn't feel uncomfortable with it, since I grew up in a church where people would be asked to pray publicly but I have never been able to view it as genuine prayer. Even when I am asked to lead a prayer, I find that I am thinking of things that would be acceptable to the audience rather than to God, and that's certainly not something that I do in personal prayer.
  12. A church that exercises discipline will lose those members who are there so that they can feel good about attending church, network with other church members, and use the church as a social club. However, for a church to live up to its true role, there has to be discipline. That said, a lot of the problems stem from how it is done. The goal should be to keep the members of the body moving in the right direction, and to include rather than exclude, and by that I mean including the member, not the sin. Still, those members who refuse to acknowledge or let go of the sin have to be dealt with in some way or the body as a whole is adversely affected. I have a friend who is a pastor of a Baptist church in Pennsylvania. He is going through a problem right now where one of the church's Sunday School teachers is living with someone she is not married to, and several members of the church have left because he refused to simply turn his back on that. So far, the elders are sticking with him but it's been months, and there is still pressure to allow them to continue in that role. He says that even some of the elders would rather that he just let it go, so as not to cause problems. He isn't suggesting they be excluded from attending church, by the way, but that they not remain in a leadership position.
  13. You're confusing free will with omnipotence. If you told me to flap my arms like a bird, I can choose to obey you or not. That's free will. Since I am not a bird, I will not rise up into the air like a bird. But I can decide whether to flap my arms or not. God has created us with free will, but not with the power to do everything that we might will, at least not by our own power. God has decided to save us. That's why Christ came to earth, died on a cross, and rose again on the third day. We can, and many do decide to turn down this gift. If He so desired, God could save us regardless of what we think about the idea but I don't believe that is supported in Scripture. I also believe that God created us with a desire to seek Him, but many choose - of free will - to harden their hearts to this and to reject Him instead. Everyone lives according to standards, and there are many non-Christians who live according to God's standards in many ways, but their deeds do not save them. On the other hand, there are professed Christians who live lives that are barely, if at all, recognizable as God's standards. In such cases, whether we choose to believe that they were never saved at all or that they have walked away from the offer of salvation is really a matter of semantics, and something that God will determine, or has already determined, although we may not know the determination. I am not a Calvinist, and can accept such a belief only in the sense that God is capable of knowing what will occur as if it has already occurred, including whether or not we will accept the gift of salvation. However, I don't accept that this implies a lack of free will. I don't know that I even want to accept the idea of a God who would choose to condemn some to hell, and not others, and I don't find that the Scripture requires such an understanding. I can know how a book will end if I choose to look ahead to the end of it, but this does not imply that I was the one who has chosen its ending. I would guess that you made a choice from among the shirts that were available to you in your wardrobe.
  14. I don't believe that God micromanages our lives. He has given us free will and, with that, comes the freedom of consequences. While God surely does step in from time to time, and miracles do occur, I believe that He does so for His purposes, not ours. If I step out in front of a truck, my life is in the hands of the truck driver. If his reactions are quick enough, I may survive. Otherwise, unless God has some special purpose for me that can't easily be accomplished by another, I will suffer the consequences of having not watched where I was going. Unfortunately, we also suffer the consequences of life, which includes bad things for which we were not responsible in any way, whether it be a careless driver, a serial killer or a simple accident, as well as the consequences of nature, such as storms, earthquakes and disease. Although I'm not convinced that our worst diseases are entirely natural, that's another subject. In most cases, if I get cancer, as I have twice now, my fate is left in the hands of the medical professionals for the most part, although I can contribute to my recovery through a proper diet, etc. Certainly, God could step in if He wanted to and cure me of cancer, and I don't doubt that He has done such things from time to time, but He doesn't make a habit of it. Mostly, God allows things to take their course. We may live a long life free of suffering, or we may live a miserable life that doesn't last very long -- either way, our focus shouldn't be on this life but the next. Even if we were to live to be a hundred, our time here on earth will have been inconsequential as compared to the time we will spend in the next life. God could have made things easier on us by creating us without free will, but He chose not to do so, perhaps because He may as well have been producing a movie as to have created a species whose individuals couldn't do anything but play the part that they were created to play. God created us with free will so that He could have a true relationship with us. Unfortunately, with free will comes the freedom to do a lot of horrible things, whether willfully, out of ignorance, or out of disregard for the consequences on ourselves and others.
  15. The problem is that we no longer live in a Christian society. Yes, I know that there are studies out there that find that divorce rates among Christians are higher than among non-Christians. I don't know if these reports are true or not but, if so, there are two things to consider. Non-Christians today are far less likely to be married when they begin living together, which might reduce the rates of divorce. More significantly, though, most of those who claim to be Christians aren't. Oh, they might have attended a Christian church while they were growing up, and may even attend church as adults, but they are not living Christian lives and have no intention of doing so. I don't know that we should concern ourselves so much over what is going on in society because, as Christians, we are supposed to be in the world, but not of the world. During the time of early church, the congregations that were established by the apostles, Christians were in the minority, and they concerned themselves with the relationships of themselves and other Christians, rather than of society at large. Here in the United States at least, some of us can remember a time when most people lived lives that were based on Christian values, and under laws that were enacted due to the legislation of Christian values. That is falling away, but adherence to Christian values is of no value to the non-Christian, so it is unreasonable of us to expect non-Christians to follow God's laws, and unproductive for the non-Christian. Rather than concerning ourselves over whether society at large values the sacrament of marriage, we should concern ourselves with reaching the people who make up society for the Lord. Only after they have found Christ can we expect them to live as God wants them to live.
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