FIRST-TRUMP#top..........Sound the alarm in Zion..... ...........................

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. A Priest sounds the alarm on a shofar

 

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HERETIC!

(Part 1)

1there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2Peter 2:)


Today I was looking up some references on the web and I came across a website I found rather interesting. The writer had made some very good points, points that I agree with (which of course makes the writer wise in my eyes. I would put a smily-face icon here if I thought it appropriate). When I find such a website I investigate the ideology of the writer, which usually means checking out their articles of faith or their church affiliation. I find by knowing what church a person belongs to I can pretty well tell almost everything they believe since it is very rare (if ever) that a person believes anything different than what their church teaches them to believe. And this is understandable because of the reasons I'm presenting in this story.


11When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1Cor 13:)


When I was a child I did very childish things, and I must confess, I was not very charitable toward those who thought it their place to criticize or rebuke me. I remember falling into the common pattern of : "You're a ....(fill in the blank)...." "I am not, you are." "No, you are." "Well, if I am, you're a bigger one, so there!"

You know the rest of the story. If you've been around preschoolers you've seen plenty of this. Or if you've spent any time on the web searching through the Christian websites or forums you've seen it as well. But with "adults" the accusations become more severe as well as more sophisticated. I'm amazed at how educated babies can be these days.

1I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. (2Tim 4:)


I believe it's important for us to point out what others are doing wrong, at least this is so with those in the Church. Those outside the Church, the unredeemed, I do not feel it our job to correct because they are not in the "family." God will deal with them. However, although I believe it's our job to point out sins in another Christian's life, I do not feel it is our job to condemn and point the finger. That's my own opinion, and I see it is not a very popular opinion since there are so many people on the web at the ready to point and condemn.

1Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity. (1Tim 5:)


I am a relatively new Christian, so there are many "fathers" (or at least elder then me Christian-wise) writing for the web. And in my church there are many elder than me as well. I do not agree with very much that is preached in my church, nor do I agree with but very little I read on the web. However, in spite of my not agreeing with them, I still count them "brothers and sisters" in the Lord, and I hope they do the same with me.


17Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Heb 13:)


There's not much I can do as far as "obeying" those who write for the web. But I can learn from them what little I find agrees with what I read in the Bible. If I find one sentence out of everything they write that edifies me, then I count the effort worthwhile.


13But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 14And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. (2Thes 3:)


I believe in "admonishing." Much of my website is about admonishing and instructing anyone who will listen as to what I find the Bible to be telling me I must do. I find that much of what I see in the Bible contradicts what I hear from the pulpits and what I read in commentaries written by theologians. And, because I feel those who have seen fit to preach and to write their views are wrong and leading others astray, I write, sometimes harshly, my contradictions. However, I try to attack the wrong I see, not the person. I make it a point to not use names, only doctrines I find in error. And I find a lot of error in a lot of denominations. But to my knowledge, I have never pointed a finger at any individual, although I have no doubt there are people who feel a finger pointed at them just as I do when the preacher preaches on my own unresolved weaknesses.


37Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (Luke 6:)


I'm finding that not everyone believes what Jesus said and they feel it their call of God to point out the "error" of others who do not fully agree with them, and to condemn them to hell for their misguided ways. I find the term "heretic" bandied about as if it were a shuttlecock at a badminton game. "You're a heretic" one would say. "No I'm not, you are" responds the other. This will go on for a while, then they will continue throwing Scriptures at one another seeing who can drown the other in doctrinal rhetoric.

I should think if anyone is looking for a reason not to become a Christian, all they would have to do is click on to a Christian web site and read the 'letters' section, or visit a Christian forum and read the nasty things that are said about each other and about those not in their denomination. Then, for a little more peace and quiet, watch a "Terminator" movie or a boxing match.


1Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 3And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Mat 7:)


I have some big logs that I have to remove from my eyes. I really don't have the time to spend looking under jots and tittles to find ways to correct others who disagree with me. By what I see on the web however, not everyone has the same problems I do. There are a lot of people out there who have it all together and they are gratuitously sharing their perfection and their spare time correcting the areas of the Church they disagree with (sounds like I'm talking about myself here, doesn't it?). I must declare however, the way they talk to (and about) those they choose to condemn, I would hate to draw them as my judge when my time comes for judgement, in spite of their apparent self-proclaimed perfection.


4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? (1Cor 5:)


We're told that we should bring to their attention a fault we find in our brother or sister. We're to do it out of love, and for their sake, not for our glory. Is holding a different opinion than we hold considered a "sin" in the eyes of God? I don't really see how it could be since there are thousands of different opinions. And from what I read in the Bible, God (and Jesus) are more concerned with what we do than how we interpret the Word. We can have all our doctrines as straight as a ruler, and go straight to hell if we don't do what we know to do. This is what Jesus told the Pharisees (Mat 23:1-5) and the fine example of a Christian at his Judgement (Mat 7:21-27). He also had a word for those who like to bandy His Words about and use them to condemn others (Mat 12:34-37).

Jesus Himself was a "heretic," one who openly disagreed with the established religion of His day, so I can't see Him condemning us for doing as He did Himself.


17Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. 18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. (1Cor 11:)

1And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 2I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1Cor 3:)


First of all, merely belonging to a denomination and holding to their doctrine makes a person carnal, not Spiritual, and sets them at a distance from the Lord and His will for us. Therefore, anyone who fits this description is in no position to be calling the kettle black. Secondly, from what I've seen, the accusations that have been thrown at one another have little or nothing to do with what Jesus established for His Church, but rather are merely matters of opinion as to how a particular doctrine should be interpreted. The Christian life is one that is to be lived, not merely discussed. Our purpose as a Christian is to overcome our nature, not to give in to it. Yet these things are not even discussed, having been relegated to a place behind the fig leaf of doctrinal warfare.

The primary accusers I find are those of the Fundamental and the Evangelical churches. I think it would behoove any Protestant to contemplate that the very name and objective of their church is that of division, not Christian unity. Whatever church a person belong to is one separated from the main denomination that existed for over a thousand years, and very likely smaller divisions from that primary body of separationists. The reason for the separation in the first place is a disagreement with the doctrines of the church they broke from, which should cause them to show some respect for those who disagree with their point of view.

Imagine if there was no one to disagree with and analyze the common view of the day 500 years ago. What would be the situation today? Of course we would all be bowing to the Pope and hanging on to his every word. Disagreement is what causes growth. Edison disagreed with the naysayers, as did the Wright Brothers and every other person who did anything of worth in this world. Gentle correction (and even not so gentle) is needed if a person is to mature. We should all welcome criticism, whether warranted or not. If the criticism is wrong, at least the possibility has been considered. If it hadn't been for the one who brought the possibility of error to light the potential problem would have never been placed under the magnifying glass of investigation.

For myself, and I'm sure for many others of you, no matter what I choose to do in this life it is going to be wrong, condemned, too much, or not enough in someone's eyes. And I find that those who are most at the ready to point out how I should have done more, or differently, or not at all, have never even attempted the endeavor themselves. While I am trying to pull the log out of one of my eyes, someone who doesn't even see the log in their own eye is instructing me on how to best remove the log I haven't yet come to from the other eye. I guess this is human nature. But wouldn't it be nice if we somehow resisted that nature?

13For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Gal 5:)


It's one thing to point out what we find to be a fault in another person, especially someone who is openly broadcasting their views on the web or any other way. But once point has been made (in love) it's not our responsibility to force or coerce that person to preach what we believe to be true. We do not live under a dictatorship yet. Why then should we each feel we are to be dictators over others who are doing as they see their calling to be? If I feel differently about someone or their view, I should think my best recourse to counter the wrong I see is to express my view as that other person is expressing their view. And how better to express my view and convince others that my view is correct than to live my life in such a way that others can see the benefit of that view? Certainly, as I read the accusations and the childish finger-pointing on the web, I tend to look at and criticize the one doing the pointing, finding myself being lenient toward the one placed under pressure to defend himself. Perhaps it's the "bully syndrome" I resent, feeling sorry for the underdog under attack.


1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2Peter 2:)


It seems to me this is what the person who is doing the accusing has in mind to accomplish. I think they see themselves as putting down a heresy in their efforts to condemn the one stating their opinion. However, we again run into the problem of: Just what is heresy? Remember, while you (or whoever) are condemning someone you disagree with, and calling them a heretic, they are calling you a heretic for disagreeing with them. And holding the most popular view is not an indication that it is the right view as has been demonstrated by Jesus Himself. His was by far the minority, but that did not invalidate His viewpoint. Again, when Protestantism saw its birth, it was certainly not the majority view.


HERESY - G139 - hairesis From G138; properly a choice, that is, (specifically) a party or (abstractly) disunion. ("heresy" is the Greek word itself.): sect.


If you're a Decorate, you're a "Heretic" to a Republican. If you're a Fundamentalist, you're a Heretic to a Pentecostalist. There's no way in this world not to be a heretic to a vast majority of the rest of the world.

The dictionary says about heresy: "An opinion contrary to the generally accepted beliefs in any field." And it says this about a sect: "A group of people with religious or other beliefs that differ from those most generally accepted." Considering this, what happens if a Christian was to move to a country that is predominately Muslim or Hindu? Or more to the direction being taken by this country, if the nation became Humanistic and you wanted to remain Christian? And, as is the case in many countries, what do you think will happen to the heretical Christian? Consider what happened to "Heretics" in the dark ages when it was illegal to be a Protestant, that is, anything other than Catholic. Isn't this opinion-bashing I see on the web essentially the same thing as what the Catholic church was doing to the Heretic of their time? They were just trying to make everyone conform to their long-held opinions. Were they right in doing as they did? In their mind they were.


4And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. (Acts 15:)


The Pharisees were a "sect." Why were they a sect? Weren't they the all-in-all of their day? No, they weren't. Even though they acted like they were, and were willing to kill anyone who disagreed with them, they were just another of several political and religious parties. There were the Sadducee, the Zealots, the Herodians, and the Essenes that we know of for sure. I suspect there were other sects as well, and that there were blends of the ones mentioned. For instance, Scribes or Zealots might belong to the Pharisees or the Sadducees as will as to their own sect. That's for a historian buff to work out I suppose.


4My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 5Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. (Acts 26:)


The religion of the Jews was Judaism (as we call it today). Paul grew up as a Pharisee. He belonged to that sect.


4Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. 5For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, and a mover of sedition among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes: 6Who also hath gone about to profane the temple: whom we took, and would have judged according to our law. (Acts 24:)


Now Paul belonged to a "sect" called the Nazarenes. And did you notice what Paul was accused of? He was accused of "sedition." Just what does sedition mean? My dictionary says it means to: "Make people rebel against government or authority." That's a strong accusation to make. Was it true? Yes, in a way it was. Because in their mind not being a part of their belief system was being against them. Isn't that what those who deride others who don't agree with them are doing? I remember as a kid in school there were those who would make fun of me if I didn't smoke like they did or wear the cloths they did. It was their way of shaming me into doing what they were doing. Sound familiar?


17Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, 18And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. (Acts 5:)


Now we have another sect getting into the act.. And as you can see, the High Priest was a Sadducee rather than a Pharisee, although he had power with both parties by nature of his position. And notice, since those "Heretic" didn't agree with them, the powers that be were going to lock them up. Again, what would have happened if those who are Protestants were to say to a Bishop of the Catholic church what they say to those of their own denomination when Martyrs were losing their head for speaking out against the church of the day?


13Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. 14But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: 15And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (Acts 24:)


Again, being a Christian meant being a Heretic. Yet being a Heretic is what will bring Paul, and all other "Heretics" eternal life, while those who where were not Heretics will be condemned.


21And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came showed or spake any harm of thee. 22But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against. (Acts 28:)


The heretical sect Paul belonged to was "spoken against" everywhere. Being spoken against and being opposed was Paul's claim to fame, and his path to redemption. If we desire to follow Christ, to do God's will, we must be a Heretic. Following the common way is to follow the road to oblivion. We see this in the parable of the broad and the narrow way.


10Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Mat 5:)


We read this:


41And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. 42And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. (Acts 5:)


When we accuse and condemn those we disagree with, we're not only condemning ourself, but we are giving that person a blessing. Whether or not we agree with their doctrine, and their doctrine may be as faulty as a bucket used for target practice, by the fact they're being persecuted for the name of Christ, they are being blessed. And when we point our finger at someone, we draw attention to that person, and away from ourself. The likelihood is far stronger that more people will follow (and hear of) the person being accused then they will follow the accuser. This is demonstrated by the fact that Christianity flourished under persecution, and is withering away (except in name only) here where it is accepted. How will it look at a person's Judgement when it turns out that many people will have turned to that which that person had tried to point away from, who would have never known of the Heretical view, had the pointer not make him popular? Look at the history of Mormonism for a good example popularizing the unpopular.

16Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17These things I COMMAND you, that ye love one another. 18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. (John 15:)

43Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Mat 5:)


Contrary to what I've said earlier, there are those who have taken a gentle and an understanding approach to those who seem in error on the web. I find such people refreshing. They, rather than make blanket or unfounded accusations, point out areas where they disagree, and give credit for those points they do agree with. I have yet to find anyone, no matter how lenient, see beyond their Fundamental doctrines however. They either relegate the person to hell (even if they don't say so in so many words), or they turn a blind eye to anything but what they have been taught. We will all be judged according to our own decisions, and what we do with those decisions. Even if a person is dead-on as to their doctrine, and we follow them in every step; if we aren't following by way of the Holy Spirit, we're lost.


34Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: (Mat 23:)

1These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. 2They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. 3And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. (John 16:)

1Let brotherly love continue. 2Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Heb 13:)


Some people think of themselves as having a special anointing on them, and it comes through in what they write. However, regardless of what that person so condemned may think of himself, it's possible that they have some truth we need to know, and we lose if we throw out the baby with the wash water. Balaam was a renegade prophet of God. He attempted to, and finally succeeded in diminishing the effectiveness of the Israelites. But when we read his words in the book of Numbers we find some very interesting information.


48Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. 50And I seek not mine own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth. (John 8:)


The Jewish leaders were trying the verbal attack method. We know it didn't work. In fact we have these statements to show that their little gimmick backfired and they caused more people to believe than might have if they had kept their mouth shut:


25Then said some of them of Jerusalem, Is not this he, whom they seek to kill? 26But, lo, he speaketh boldly, and they say nothing unto him. Do the rulers know indeed that this is the very Christ? 27Howbeit we know this man whence he is: but when Christ cometh, no man knoweth whence he is. (John 7:)


Like the Pharisees and the rulers, the people expected their Messiah to come another way than what He did. But the ruler's resistance to Jesus caused the people to give Him more credibility than He might have otherwise been given.

Here the people say the rulers said nothing to Jesus. We know that isn't true; but what is true is that the more they said to Jesus, the less what they said made sense, and the more opportunity it gave Jesus to prove Himself. We see this in the beginning of Jesus' ministry when they sent one person after another to attack Him and try to find a weak spot. But all their attempts did was to make them look foolish, and to give Jesus more credibility and attention. This same thing is what I see on the comment sections of the websites and the forums. The more I read that says something negative about that person so spoken against, the more I see a possibility of that person so attacked being right that I would have missed had it not been brought to the forefront, especially since the negative comment did nothing more than open the door for the person to present his view on higher ground.


30Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come. 31And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done? 32The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him; and the Pharisees and the chief priests sent officers to take him. (John 7:)

1And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. (Acts 8:)

19Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. (Acts 11:)

18And many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their deeds. 19Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. 20So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. (Acts 19:)

40And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. 41Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers..... 47Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:)


I don't know if anyone reading this piece remembers the riots of the 60's where college kids rebelled against the war and everything else they could think of at the time. One of the most impressive things about these riots (actually they were usually "sit-ins" or something to that effect), is that the more the police or the National Guard pursued these students, the more determined they became, and the more colleges took up the banner (spreading even to the faculty in some cases). Students would place flowers in the barrel of the rifles held by the police, and other such shows of calm disrespect were prevalent. The intention of the government was to scare the students into compliance. But the more students they would arrest and put in jail the more students stood up and took the place of their fallen comrade, waiting (and even hoping) to be arrested as well. Suffering became a badge of honor. And this is not something reserved for the college students. We see this same attitude all through history.


10And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Mat 3:)


There are two things we should notice about this passage of Scripture, and one of those things has two applications worth our particular consideration. The first part is that we need to make sure our own tree is well planted on fertile soil and producing fruit suited for the barns of the Lord. The second thing we see is that Jesus has a fan in His hand. A fan is used for two things besides keeping cool on a hot day. A fan is used to blow the chaff from the seed when tossed into the air. I'm pretty sure this is what John was talking about here. However John also talked about a fire, a fire all of us want very much to avoid. Fires are spread by fanning. We see this at a barbecue and when trying to start a fire place. We've been looking at how persecution, fanned by the persecution the Jewish rulers, has spread Christianity to all parts of the world. And we've seen that even right there in Jerusalem the people, although under the threat of death, were not discouraged, but rather grew in number and in faith.


51Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Luke 12:)


This division we see in the Church is not an accident, nor is it something that has gotten out of the Lord's hands. We seem to believe that God can create this marvelous universe, but He can't stop His people from splintering into a thousand different groups, all arguing against one another. This division is part of the master plan God laid out from the beginning. It's not our part to complain about this division, nor to condemn those who have seen fit for the time being (it's very likely that you've switched denominations a time or two, I certainly have) to see things differently than do you or I. God created the division, and He created (and is using) the fan that's causing the flames of discontent to spread all over the world. It's not in the spreading of the flames that we must be concerned, but rather what we're going to do with the spark we hold in our own hot little hand.

Although God created division in His Church, He does not want us to take part in the division, at least not in our heart. Division and the egotism that goes with the division creates confusion and conflict. God wants His people to come to Him to learn the truth and what He wants us to do, not to the churches. In this way He separates the His sheep from the goats. The goats listen to doctrine, to the dictates of the churches; the Lord's sheep listen to Him through the Holy Spirit. Those taking part in denominationalism and the accusations cast by these denominations are not hearing from God because they do not have within them the Holy Spirit. Someday they might, but not while their ears are tuned to doctrine.

God created two trees, one we are to eat of freely, the other we are to avoid. God created the trees, but His so doing does not mean He desires us to partake of the trees. He gives us choice. Those who make the right choice experience God's peace and His love. Those who make the wrong choice experience His wrath and His judgement.


11And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. 12But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized [Take note, this is a baptized believer we're looking at, not a skeptic or a heretic], he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done..... 17Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. 18And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, 19Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. 20But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. 21Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. (Acts 8:)

13Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. 14And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. 15And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? 16And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. 17And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also. (Acts 19:)


There's one thing I noticed about those who like to condemn the condemners and others who do not follow their way of believing. They, the one criticizing one who criticizes or who believes differently, may be very well read, be very eloquent in their speech, and be capable of presenting their view in a considerate and effective manner. However, many brainless (seemingly) and uncouth people will jump on their bandwagon, agreeing with what has been said, and cause the entire purpose to have been either compromised or sank altogether. Eventually what has been offered for consideration has been drowned in garbled rhetoric, and would have been better left unsaid altogether. We are known by those we associate with, and by those who say they associate with us. If our "comrades" (even if we have never seen or heard of them, and disagree with them altogether) are rude and uncouth, we are seen as being the same. We've heard of the "Ugly American." We know such a person, even very many such people, exist. And we know they are the ones who other nations look to when they judge us. Yet they do not represent me in any way, and I should hope they don't represent you either.

Consider this: The web commentor that you disagree with and that you write your comments to, publishes what you write. He also publishes other letters who are backing you up. They're not necessarily backing you up, because if you make a statement they disagree with they'll be down your throat as fast as they have chosen to stand at your heels. These letters that seemingly support your view are slavish and poorly written, placing you in a group of ne'er-do-wells. Meanwhile, the letters that person you are trying to negate presents letters that are well written, enlightened, and considerate, and that support his view. This causes you, as well as your view, to look foolish and unfounded. What you have tried to accomplish has turned around and bit you on the tush.

Few, if any of us are able to stand in the place of Jesus, or even the Apostles, and resist the slings and arrows tossed our way by the Pharisees of this world. I for one would hope to not even try. I know I'd end up looking like a dummy, or better still, end up proving myself the dummy I suppose myself to be.


45Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him. 46But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done. 47Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. 48If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. (John 11:)


Those who people look to, are prone to attack by those who fear they will lose their place in society to that person. Of course not everyone has this same reason for attacking those in the limelight or who disagree with them, but it's a possibility that each of us must take under consideration.

I suspect much of the attacks I see come from people who surf the web looking for something said about their favorite doctrine, theologian, preacher or church. When they see someone who disagrees with them, that automatically waves the red cape before the raging bull. I suspect those who feel it their job to attack others by name receive a great deal of response. One such person I found who receives a lot of attacks, according to what he said on his website in response to a negative letter, has less hits than does my own, yet he receives emails from about 2% of his readers. That's a lot of letters!!! Yet it seems as if his replies (and very long ones at that) are to those who oppose him. I would think he would let them go with a thank you, and concentrate on his studies, his followers, and his writing. But that's me. I receive virtually no response whatever to my writings, yet according to my counter, I receive many thousands of hits a month, and that for going on 5 years. What makes the difference? Is my writing not controversial? Of course that's not the case since my writing is controversial no matter who is looking at it. There is no way of posting something without it being controversial, even if one is talking about the weather.

I suspect no one comments on what I write because I'm not defending or attacking any specific group, person or religion. So their "name" does not appear on the search browser as something to either look to, or to refrain from. Even though I make strong statements, and those statements are not what anyone wants to hear, they are outside the walls of the city so-to-speak. If I claimed to be a Fundamentalist, and I disagreed with even one tenet of the Fundamental faith, I would have Fundamentalists down my throat. If I claimed to be a Mormon, a Catholic, or a JW, I would again be castigated if I strayed even an inch from the tenets of that denomination. That is the dictatorship one must live under if one expects to be part of any given denomination or religion. It's a slavery regime that, as I see it, Jesus came to free us from, yet we place back on ourselves and on each other.

One other reason many (if not most) websites receive comments of all kinds is because they have an open comment section. Almost all the comments I've seen (there are exceptions, those being where comments are carefully screened and monitored) are just people wanting their name or words published all over the web. My blogs received a some of these until I closed my comment section down.

Jesus taught differently than did the people of His day. Even though He taught, lived and demonstrated what the Church of His day were supposedly preaching, He was attacked and eventually killed by those He came to save and to teach. Had Jesus not claimed to have been a Jew, and kept His teaching outside the city of Jerusalem (which He had to do in order to teach at all during most of His ministry), He could have said anything He wanted to and few would have cared. Today it is hardly any different in this country. A person can be anything they want to be, teach and practice anything they want to practice or teach - except that of Christianity. We can preach denominational doctrine in the churches (not in public), as long as what we want to preach or teach agrees precisely with that church believes in. Disagree on any small point, and there is great dissension, regardless of how godly a life the one speaking is living, or how clearly it aligns with Scripture.


Ratings. How many of you in the reading audience are familiar with the rating system? Those who are, please raise your hand. Very good, then I'll assume the rest of you are not. Allow me to give you a brief rundown on how the rating system works, and how it works against you when you try to undo what someone is doing you feel should be left alone.

Have you ever wondered why TV stations (and magazines, and news papers, and whatever) try so hard to get you to watch their program rather than one offered on another station at the same time? What difference does it make if ten thousand people or ten million people are watching a particular program? It takes just as much to produce the show, and to present the show whether anyone is watching it or not, isn't that so? So why bother we might ask.

Skipping to newspapers; it used to be that newspapers were essentially free for the asking, and they were just that in some areas and in at some times. In fact you see stands where they offer you a free paper merely for the lifting of the lid (if that). How can a newspaper afford to give away their newspapers week after week without going broke? Because the company doesn't make money from the sale of the paper, they lose money with every paper they give away. I'm sure you already knew that.

The media, which ever media source you wish to consider, makes their money through advertising. To them, the publisher of the paper, the only important part of the paper is the part you very likely use under your bird cage, that is the advertisement section. The publisher of the magazine knows this, therefore they spatter their ads all through the paper so you can't miss them.

TV (and radio) used to have their ads blended seamlessly into the program and it became part of the entertainment. However, with the advent of reruns, the one paying for the program to go on the air, the advertiser (sponsor), might be different than the one that originally paid for the program. Because of this the producers, the station, left out the commercial and stiuck in an unrelated sponsor (advertiser). Over time the programs became shorter, and the commercials increased. Eventually there was more commercial than there was program, which left a lot of viewers searching for an alternatives program.

Some stations decided that it might be wise to not have any commercials during the program and combined all the commercials between the programs. But that didn't work because we, the viewers, used that long commercial period to take a nap or to mow the lawn.

Do you remember the great hubbub that was made over VCR's? The TV stations resented the fact that now a person could see their show, and fast forward through the commercials. Remember folks, it's the commercials that's paying for the program that you see on the air. No sponsor, no program. Sponsors, the ones paying for the program, have total control over what goes on and what does not go on the air.

Moving to gas. Recently the area in which I live had an alert, as it looked very much like there was going to be a catastrophe hit us. It was very early in the morning when we received the warning. All the service stations were closed at that time, and everyone wanted desperately to fill their tanks since it's over 50 miles to the next town where there would be any safety (or gas). One philanthropic station got the bright idea of opening up early before any of the other stations could open, and because they were the only game in town, they charged double for the gas they pumped. Of course when the other station opened they had to charge a reasonable fee or else everyone would go to the other stations.

Demand, and lack of supplies, determines what an item sells for. The less there are of a thing, or the more people want it, the more can be charged for it. Paintings that sold for pennies a few decades back now sell for thousands, and even millions of dollars. Original Barbie dolls and ten cent comics now cost in the thousands of dollars, and that because more people want them than there are to go around. If a stash of Barbie dolls, say several thousand of them, was to suddenly materialize, the price of the Barbie doll would drop to pennies. This is true of gold, silver, jewels, and anything else, if there is an abundance of an item, no matter how pretty or useful, the less can be charged for it.

The more people who view a certain TV program, the more a sponsor's commercial is seen, and because more people are exposed to the product, the more the TV station can charge the sponsors to purchase a slot for that popular program.

What does this have to do with websites you wonder? Websites are run the very same way. Those who make money by the number of clicks they send to a sponsor want desperately for you to click on their website, and then to click on to the advertisement they have on their site. I'm sure you've run into those sites that have nothing to offer but a ring-around -the-rosy as you click one link only to be sent to another list of sites. Each time you click on their site, whether by accident or in an earnest search, you are raising their ratings on the search engines such as Google, and therefore causing that useless website to be seen by even more people who would otherwise have missed it.

That website you wish to have people avoid because it's giving information that will possibly lead them to an eternity of hell is actually being blessed by your negative comments and your constant response to them. Let me explain. I will use my own website as an example. If I wanted my website to be seen by more people, therefore my views seen by more people, I would make it very controversial, naming names and such, and presenting information that was just enough off base to cause people to think it possible to sway my opinion (if I'm too far off base, not very many people would bother with me because they couldn't relate to me. Radio commentators are a good example of this tactic). Then I would have a place where people could make comments on my website. And I would want people to vent their hostility toward me on the forums, therefore spreading my fame even farther. Then I would hope that those people so inflamed would write me and cause even more flames to burn. The more reaction I receive, the more famous I become; and the more famous I become, the more people want to see what I have to say; and therefore the more influence I have in this world.

Add to the above the fact that every click raises my ratings on the search engines, meaning that even casual browsers will find my website much quicker, and more likely, than if it had been relegated to the lower end of the ratings.

I might add that if I wanted more clicks on my counter I could easily break up these very long stories into many pages. For instance, this story looks to be about 12 pages in length. If I was to break it into 4 pages of three pages length I would then have four times the number of clicks. Last month there were 26,000 clicks on the counter. If this one page (a very short one for me) were an example of what I did with all stories, that would then make the number grow to over 100,000 clicks. A sizable number by any count. Imagine how much I could charge, and make by advertising on such a site? But of course I don't have advertising of any sort on my site, not even my name to promote.

You may have noticed that some sites have only a few paragraphs on each page. By presenting an item in this way, one short page might end up with 10 clicks, and 10 times the advertisements presented and seen.

Are you getting my drift? Those of you who make the comments about so-'n-so who is making such strange and off-the-wall comments about other people, are in reality providing the spark needed for that person's influence to be spread. And the more it spreads, the more famous he becomes, and the more people will believe him because he has become so popular.

If people hadn't persecuted Joseph Smith as they did, Mormonism would have either died out all together as have many denominations that began around that time, or it may well have remained a small group of people expressing a strange idea. An example of this can be seen in the school shootings of a while back. There was one isolated incident involving a school shooting. The news medial got hold of it and spread the sparks of such an idea all over this nation of ours, and every oddball who didn't have his head on straight decided to do the same thing. When the novelty of such actions wore off, and the news media stopped giving it so much attention, the activity ceased. If the media hadn't made a circus out of the O.J. Simpson trial, it would have been over in a relatively short period time.


Graffiti

It seems that in every classroom there is the clown. The clown likes to create trouble for the teacher, and at the same time cause the rest of the class to suffer because of the trouble he causes. If he can shoot a spitwad at the teacher, and not get caught himself, and if the entire class has to suffer because of his actions, he is more than satisfied. Dunce caps and corners are designed to make the classroom clown feel conspicuous and ashamed of his actions, therefore cause him to change his ways. For you and me that maneuver works, but for the classroom clown the dunce cap and sitting in front of the room is just what he wants most - attention. The intended punishment becomes incentive for the classroom clown to continue causing trouble. Students know this, but teachers, for some reason, seem to never learn this golden rule. I suspect they haven't learned it because they haven't figured out some other way to deal with the problem. The old adage, if we butt our head against a brick wall often enough and long enough, the headache will go away.

There are WWW clowns as well as classroom clowns (perhaps they're the same people come to think of it). These people like to see their name on the web. They like to see their obtuse comments posted right along with the heated rebuttal to what they've said. They like nothing better than to have all attention drawn away from the topic at hand and directed toward them. We can see this same type of human nature in the behavior of flashers, obscene phone call makers, and hackers. Their purpose is to cause a reaction. The more reaction they get, the more pleased and gratified they become.

How do we deal with people with such a mind set? Do we post their letter along with a dunce cap like the teachers are prone to do? That would do about as much good as throwing a match at a forest fire. No, we ignore the letter and not allow it to be posted. If the letter is ignored, there will be more heated letters to follow, but eventually the person will tire of trying and turn to some other site that will give them what they desire.

I have seen this same activity on my blogs (not my website). I have my blogs set so that if any comment is made on the website I am automatically contacted and can decide whether to allow or to delete the comment. In the beginning I received glowing comments (generic, nothing specific said) and I didn't realize what was happening, so I let the comments be posted on my blog. The comments in themselves were benign, and even complimentary, so their being on my blog poses no problem. Then I noted other such comments being posted on the various blogs (I have 15 of them, duplicates of what you see here, only two years without updates). I traced the comments, and saw that they led to sites used to advertise other things, as I described above. Their objective was to add to their rating, thereby give more credibility to their "service." I saw websites such a Christian website that had left their comments page unattended, and there were over 4,000 comments, mostly the most vulgar stuff you can imagine. I notified the owner of the website of the fact, and he cleared off what was there (eventually), but in a very short time he had 2,000 more such comments because he didn't set his page to be monitored.

There are lots of people out there with lots of different agendas, and very few of them have yours or my interest at heart.

This story has turned into more of a web site tutorial than a study on the why and wherefores of keeping one's comment directed toward where it will do the most good.


My point? If you really want to cause the person you oppose to stop having influence, and you're not just using him to draw attention to yourself, turn the other cheek and let him disappear into the woodwork.


Clarification:

The question might be raised: "What makes you any different than those you speak against who are pointing the finger? Aren't you doing the same?

In fact, yes, I am. And I don't feel good about doing so. There have been many times I wanted to return to the simple little stories I began this website for. But the more I study the Word, the more I see wrong with the teachings of the churches, and the more danger is see ahead for those who blindly follow these teachings.

Of course the point could, and should be posed that those on the web who are condemning others feel the same way about their point of view and their criticisms. It's not the criticisms I'm against. In fact, I believe a big problem we see in the churches is the lack of constructive criticism, and the lack of willingness to receive such criticism. It's the personal attacks, the criticism of the person rather than the specific message I see as wrong and needs to be corrected. My purpose in writing is to have everyone, especially those behind the pulpits, move outside their box of doctrine and seek the truth. By its very nature a doctrine must, and will be wrong in many aspects. Those faulty areas that have to be justified or explained away should be brought to the surface, admitted, and looked into. But because of the very nature of denominationalism, they are not. Who suffers because of this lack? Everyone who listens to and follows the blind teachings of such a doctrinal view suffers.

I want people to see beyond, and to question whatever view they may hold. Even the right views are wrong if they are not questioned to their fullest, and followed to the end.


On part 2 of this story I will discuss some of the specific accusations that are thrown around at the commentors, and at the ones who make comments on the commentor's comment page. What you will find in part two will differ little (if at all) from what I've already said about hard-held beliefs that are used to separate and condemn other members of the Body of Christ.


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