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Re: Belief for fear of hell

Postby Anti War » Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:48 am

> Just because God doesn't empower us to jump over buildings with a single bound or heal amputees doesn't mean our trust in Christ makes no sense.

Here is the deal. IF there is an Almighty and all Good God that exists and who wants to (and who promised!) to answer prayers, and yet, we find none of the building jumping or amputee healing power, then we must reasonably conclude that we have been deceived.

Look at the 1 Kings story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. The test of God's existence is that God must do tricks. Jesus made a promise that anyone who believes in him will do tricks. If there are no tricks, then the Bible is just a story book, without real power behind it.
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Re: Belief for fear of hell

Postby jimwalton » Mon Sep 10, 2018 10:00 am

That's a logical fallacy. God can choose to act as He wishes, and he can choose to empower us in certain ways and not others (we can't breathe underwater, either). It's a false conclusion to reason that if God exists, we should be able to run faster than a bullet, breathe under water, and regrow limbs. Your premises don't support your conclusions. Because we cannot do such things doesn't mean we have been deceived or that God doesn't exist.

> Look at the 1 Kings story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. The test of God's existence is that God must do tricks.

Another logical fallacy. The test of God's existence is logical cases showing the plausibility of his existence (cosmological, teleological, ontological, etc.), the evidences of God in nature (order, regularity, beauty, purpose, etc.), the evidences of God in life (prayer, life change, etc.), and the evidences of God in my experience (character change, inner strength, peace, and such.) There is no logic and no biblical justification to support your statement that "The test of God's existence is that God must do tricks."

> Jesus made a promise that anyone who believes in him will do tricks.

????? Where does he say this?

> If there are no tricks, then the Bible is just a story book, without real power behind it.

Therefore your conclusion doesn't follow. It's a non sequitur. Your premises don't hold, your chain of logic is flawed, and your conclusion doesn't follow.

Here's the real deal. If Almighty God exists and is all good, He is also sovereign and can run the world according to the principles and laws consistent with his character. The Bible shows us that God chooses to run the world on principles of wisdom, not on the retribution principle, guaranteed answers to prayer, or the ability to do tricks.
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Re: Belief for fear of hell

Postby Anti War » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:58 am

That's a logical fallacy. God can choose to act as He wishes, and he can choose to empower us in certain ways and not others (we can't breathe underwater, either)
Again, Jesus promised that nothing will be impossible to those who believe, even with tiniest of faiths (Matt. 17:20). He even said you'll be able to move the mountains. Even if his promise is hyperbole, you should still have greater abilities with his help vs without his help. Think of it this way. If I said that by believing in me, nothing will be impossible to you, at what point would you conclude that my promise is worthless? It's the same with Jesus' promises.

> ????? Where does he say this? (my note: where did Jesus promise believers in him will do tricks)

John 14:12 Jesus promises that everyone who believes in him will do the works that he does and even greater works. In the context of miracles, that Jesus says point to him being one with the Father (God).

But I'm guessing there will be another excuse, which actually proves my point. All of Jesus' promises that apply to here and now are worthless.

> Here's the real deal. If Almighty God exists and is all good, He is also sovereign and can run the world according to the principles and laws consistent with his character.

Look, I am only using Jesus' promises as recorded in the Bible. You are right. A sovereign being is able to do as he wishes. However, this being made some promises that now require this being to perform. He was not required to make a promise in Matt. 17:20, 21, but he did, so now, he is required to be bound by it! Is he required to save everyone who believes in him? Then he is required to do tricks as promised too.
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Re: Belief for fear of hell

Postby jimwalton » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:46 am

> Again, Jesus promised that nothing will be impossible to those who believe, even with tiniest of faiths (Matt. 17:20).

Certainly you understand things like literary genres (hyperbole, simile, metaphor, parable, etc.) and also understand that people speak in figures of speech, right? Look at John 16.25, where Jesus tells them that he teaches using figures of speech. It's right there in black and white. So, Jesus said, "It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven." When we understand what Jesus is saying, we take that as a figure of speech, not literally. When he says you're supposed to hate your parents, while in other places endorsing the command to honor your father and your mother, it doesn't take too much brains to figure out that the "hate" sentence is a figure of speech to describe something he's teaching. So also with Matthew 17.20. C'mon. This doesn't take a Ph.D. Nowhere does the Bible teach that we are in charge of God, that God is our slave to do our bidding, and therefore we'll get whatever we ask for. These are figures of speech, not a promise. He is teaching them about the nature of faith, not about their personal power. No one is going to say a prayer and have Mt. Everest shift a mile or so. It's not what Jesus is saying. Moving mountains is proverbial for overcoming great difficulties. Mustard seeds are proverbial of smallness, as we would say, "as small as a mouse." It's a figure of speech. Like electricity, it’s not the size of the connection that matters, but the quality of it. Even the smallest connection, properly set, will make electricity flow with power, and a large one, corroded, will stop it cold. Jesus is speaking figuratively, and also parabolically. The "mountain" is our obstacles. "Removing mountains" was a Jewish figure of speech for that which was incomparably difficult.

> Even if his promise is hyperbole, you should still have greater abilities with his help vs without his help.

Oh, we certainly do. We do have greater abilities, but when you read the entire New Testament, those abilities are inner qualities, not the ability to do tricks (such as Eph. 3.14-21; Eph. 1.17-20).

> Jn. 14.12

Jesus's "going" is a key theme in John, especially chapters 13-17. What he means by it is his death. His "going" is his greatest work. He says the works they will do will be "because I am going," in other words, he's talking about the work of salvation in them and what they will accomplish because of it. He's not talking about miracles or tricks, but about the power of their local ministry. To see it fulfilled just look at Peter's sermon at Pentecost where 3,000 were saved (something Jesus never did), or Paul's missionary tours bringing thousands of Gentiles to Christ (something Jesus never did). Jesus's words are an invitation to radical faith and to participate in the mighty works of conversion to salvation.

Jesus is giving the gospel. He is advancing the kingdom. He is reclaiming the earth as rightfully his. He has said many times that the work he did was the Father's work, and that he was passing that work on to us. When Jesus gives this promise, he was saying, “I’m giving you a job to do, my Father and I want the gospel to go forth, and I promise you’ll have everything you need to get that job done, and you’ll do an even better job than me.” Jesus ministered for 3 years, and at the end, he had a handful of disciples who half-believed in him. After Jesus went to heaven and the Holy Spirit came down, Peter preaches one sermon and thousands believe. That’s the greater thing God wants us to do. Look at what the Church has accomplished through history: heroism, devotion, gallantry, endurance, and achievement. Christ stamped his nature on billions who have changed the world. Together we will continue to accomplish the work started by Jesus.

> But I'm guessing there will be another excuse, which actually proves my point. All of Jesus' promises that apply to here and now are worthless.

Not at all. Rather, we have to understand what Jesus meant by them, and it's not just a superficial interpretation.

> Is he required to save everyone who believes in him? Then he is required to do tricks as promised too.

Yes, he obligated himself to save everyone who believes in him. It seems that you don't want to take the time or make the effort to understand what Jesus was saying, but only to "name it and claim it," which is not legitimate exegesis. We read the context to understand, we analyze what Jesus said, and we observe what happened.

You may think, "Well, that's how they or anyone would have understood it." That still doesn't make it so. Jesus said "Destroy this temple, and in 3 days I will raise it up again." They were sure he was talking about Herod's temple, but John explains he was talking about his body. They only understood that much later, and not at the time. Jesus preached in John 6 that people should eat his flesh and drink his blood. The people were disgusted because they didn't want to take a bite. It's only later, after his death and resurrection, that they understood. Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again. Nic said, "Back in my mother's womb?" No, just because that's how he understood it doesn't mean that's what Jesus meant. Jesus explains he's talking about being born of the Spirit. The Gospel of John (as well as the other Gospels) is FULL of this stuff: figurative, parabolic speech. It was Jesus's way of speaking, and we have to read it that way. We understand later what he really meant by it. We never see the disciples praying to move a literal mountain. We never see them trying to walk on water. C'mon. We have to interpret carefully and correctly.
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Re: Belief for fear of hell

Postby Anti War » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:18 am

> Yes, he obligated himself to save everyone who believes in him.

But you don't know that he will save you, because his promises that apply to today (such as answer prayer) are not working.

You have every excuse in the book, but the reality is, at the end of the day, Jesus' promises all fail.

Matt. 17:20, nothing will be impossible to you becomes.. lots of things will be impossible to you. In fact, you'll have exact same impossibilities whether you have strong faith, weak faith or no faith at all.

Sounds like a contradiction there.

You write long responses, but are not really answering the question. If I made the same promise that Jesus made, at what point would you call me a liar?

As for John 14:12, he absolutely is talking about miracles and tricks!

Let's look at "context" the word Christians love to use but frequently ignore

John 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

What works was Jesus talking about in John 14:11? It's miracles! The whole Gospel of John is based on miracles proving Jesus is divine!

And the very next thing out Jesus' mouth is: John 14:12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Ok, where are the Christians doing the works Jesus has been doing? Jesus lied, yet another example of it.

Unless you want to redefine the word to mean something very ordinary, something Mohammad or Joseph Smith can do? Well then, Jesus was nothing special then. He is a mere mortal human being without any powers. Either way, bad news for Christianity.
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Re: Belief for fear of hell

Postby jimwalton » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:36 am

> But you don't know that he will save you, because his promises that apply to today (such as answer prayer) are not working.

Just because Jesus speaks in figurative language sometimes doesn't mean that everything he says is figurative. We have to be smart and careful interpreters. Sometimes he speaks literally and sometimes figuratively, sometimes in hyperbole and sometimes in parable. It's irresponsible interpretation to lump it all together.

> You have every excuse in the book, but the reality is, at the end of the day, Jesus' promises all fail.

As I explained, this is not so. These aren't promises in the sense of guarantees but promises in the sense of proverbs. I gave examples from Jesus's own words.

> Matt. 17:20, nothing will be impossible to you becomes.. lots of things will be impossible to you. In fact, you'll have exact same impossibilities whether you have strong faith, weak faith or no faith at all.

Not the same impossibilities. We still won't be able to jump over tall buildings, make a literal mountain move down the road, breathe underwater, or make limbs grow on amputee victims. But there are many things that will not be impossible to us and that will be completely changed because of our faith: the inner strength we may have in desperate and devastating circumstances, inner peace with God in the middle of terrible times and grief, the right words to say at the right time, the ability to help others in their time of need—as I mentioned that the Bible tells us, inner qualities, not circumstantial power.

> You write long responses, but are not really answering the question.

Au contraire, mon frere, I did answer but you don't accept my answer.

> Jn. 14.12

The disciples did not understand Jesus to have been speaking of his miracles. In the book of Acts (Acts 2), when the Spirit comes upon them, they don't walk through the crowd healing people, jumping over tall buildings, flying, or what have you. Instead, Peter, aware of the Spirit in him, preaches for people to be saved. Then in Acts 3 they heal ONE man, and use the opportunity not to heal others, but to preach some more for people to be saved. When they get arrested in chapter 4, they don't use the occasion to do miracles in front of the Jewish leaders to convince them of their ability to do tricks in Jesus's name, but rather they are filled with the Spirit (Acts 4.8) to preach so that people become saved. And at the end of chapter 4, they don't pray for the ability to do miracles, but rather for boldness to preach (Acts 4.29). They obviously understood Jesus's meaning to be far different from the way you understand Him.

> where are the Christians doing the works Jesus has been doing? Jesus lied, yet another example of it.

Jesus isn't lying. The "works" the disciples do that Jesus has been doing is the preaching of repentance so that people enter the kingdom of God.
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Re: Belief for fear of hell

Postby Anti War » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:45 am

> Just because Jesus speaks in figurative language sometimes doesn't mean that everything he says is figurative. We have to be smart and careful interpreters. Sometimes he speaks literally and sometimes figuratively, sometimes in hyperbole and sometimes in parable. It's irresponsible interpretation to lump it all together.

You are right, in that we have to be smart. However, your are ignoring the text altogether when it comes to Matt. 17:20. Lets acknowledge that 'moving the mountains' is a hyperbole. Ok, but it should still mean that monumental tasks can be achieved with the help of Jesus, that would not be possible to an unbeliever.

So, what are the things that a believer can achieve?

> Jesus isn't lying. The "works" the disciples do that Jesus has been doing is the preaching of repentance so that people enter the kingdom of God.

But these are the same works Muslims and Mormons and every other religion is doing. Which is .. NO works. I think you are lying for Jesus here. Jesus was clearly referring to miracles in John 14:11, and the very next thing he says is a promise that believers in him will do the same and even greater works. Come on, I don't believe for a second you consider a sermon to be miraculous on the par with raising someone from the dead.

But you must lie to cover up for Jesus. I get it.
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Re: Belief for fear of hell

Postby jimwalton » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:29 pm

> However, your are ignoring the text altogether when it comes to Matt. 17:20.

Oh my. I'm not ignoring anything. Please watch for the reckless accusations to try to make your position look better. It's a fallacy called "Argument against the person:" If you can't refute the case, attack the person (argument ad hominem).

First of all, this story, both in Matthew and Luke, follows the Transfiguration, a story loaded heavily with symbolism. Every element in it is not just historical but steeply symbolic. The Transfiguration is followed by this healing story with its teaching, which we therefore know are dripping with symbolism as well.

Secondly, the primary message of the Transfiguration is about Jesus's death, and this healing story is followed by a prophecy about Jesus's death, so this story, as some kind of illustration, is probably about Jesus's death also.

In the context of Matthew 17.20, a man humbly approaches Jesus (Mt. 17.15) begging for healing for his epileptic son (σεληνιάζεται). He is disappointed because the disciples could not heal him—a motif recurring throughout the section: the disciples' lack of faith and their consequent failure at spiritual things. It's constant reminder that the power to do miracles (tricks, in your language) was not their own. Unlike magic that could be learned and practiced, such miracles were from God alone and related to their walk of faith.

Right away Jesus launches into prophetic rhetoric: "O unbelieving and perverse generation." It's a quotation from Deut. 32.5. Jesus has launched into a prophetic manner of speaking, another clue that he will be speaking in figurative language. Dt. 32.5 is a text about the willful ignorance of people who have seen the evidence, to whom God has revealed Himself, and yet they fail to recognize the truth because of their own choices to ignore or distort the evidence. Jesus is rebuking the multitude, the doubting father, the hostile Pharisees, and his own clueless disciples at the same time. "Generation" tells us his words are for all of them.

With a mere toss-off of words (17.18) Jesus casts out the demon as if it were a gnat on his arm. There is no contest here. His authority is supreme and unchallenged. The disciples wonder why such power is not available to them as His followers, a power He previously delegated to them (Mt 10.8).

Jesus's answer is a bit of a surprise: "Because you have so little faith." Some rabbis were seen as miracle workers, but they didn't expect their disciples to do those same miracles, and certainly not in the rabbi's name.

From there Jesus goes into one of his "verily, verily I say unto you" prophetic statements (ἀμὴν γὰρ λέγω ὑμῖν) designed to reveal his omniscience, authority, and even divinity. Jesus is obviously talking about faith. "This mountain" is probably a reference to the Transfiguration. Peter had wanted to set up booths. But their life of following Jesus would not be a matter of taking this Transfiguration moment with them, as if their exposure to this theophany would carry them through life and get them through all their problems. Instead their faith, even struggling faith, would carry them through their difficulties and would be the means by which the presence of God would move with them. It is faith in Jesus's death and resurrection and the power in it that would be their strength. He is not granting them the ability to do tricks or even magnificent miracles, but rather the gift of faith that would show the presence of God in them.

Being sandwiched by the theme of his crucifixion, being couched in prophetic rhetoric, the theme being faith, and a knowledge that the book of Acts shows us their understanding to be one of preaching for repentance to salvation all tell the same story, giving powerful evidence that Jesus is not here granting the power to do tricks as evidence of God's existence or of the disciples' legitimacy.

> So, what are the things that a believer can achieve?

1. Preaching with power so that people repent and come to God (Acts 2, 3, 4, 5 et al).

2. The body of sin rendered powerless (Rom. 6.6-23)

3. The power to live according to the Spirit (Rom. 8.5-8)

4. The power to be more than conquerors through Jesus who loves us (Rom. 8.37).

5. The power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in us (Eph. 1.19-20).

6. The power to grasp the love of God (Eph. 3.18)

7. The power to know God (Eph. 3.20).

This is a long list, but it gives you the idea. These kinds of things are nothing like the same works Muslims, Mormons, Buddhists, and Hindus are doing—not even close. So for sure I am not "lying for Jesus." Puh-lease.

> John 14:11

I've already explained this. The context is clearly miracles. There's no debating that. Jesus's point is trust/faith/belief (Jn. 14.1), just as in Matthew. "Faith" (not doing tricks) is how the disciples are not to have troubled hearts. They are to trust God and Jesus. Jesus's teaching about his "going" (his death) is for the purpose of encouraging faith in his disciples: a belief in Jesus himself.

When Thomas asks about geography ("I don't know where you're going"), Jesus responds relationally (v. 6) to deepen the disciples' faith (v. 29). He talks about how they can REALLY KNOW him (v. 7ff.). Philip wants a theophany (v. 8), but Jesus won't be distracted: He is the glory of God in the flesh and the source and object of their faith and spiritual relationship with God. The miracles were signs so they would recognize His identity. They are not simply physical phenomena or tricks, but markers of his divinity. Their purpose was to motivate faith.

In Jn. 14.12, the point is still faith. "Anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing," that is, speaking the words of God (14.10), doing the work of God (14.12) and bringing glory to the Father (14.13). We will not be filled with the power to do tricks because of Jesus's death and resurrection (14.12: "...because I go to the Father), but to finish the work of the populating of the Kingdom of God. The Spirit is the one who will enable us in this ministry (Jn. 14.15-31). Abiding in Christ is the means by which people will know God (Jn. 15). The continuing emphasis through the Farewell Discourse (Jn. 14-17) is love for God, obedience to God, and relationship with God, not the doing of miracles.
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Re: Belief for fear of hell

Postby Anti War » Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:16 pm

It's futile talking to you. You have every excuse under the sun why the promises of Jesus don't work for his believers in this life. (however, AFTER you die, voila, it'll ALL be different). Jesus is basically a babbler. He can say anything and everything and believers like you will just follow him.

Anyways, as you were. Enjoy your faith.
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