Thursday, 19 June 2014

Uprooted Baptists their new idea of baptism

End 1970ies it looked like the Southern Baptitst Union was going to bring too many changes the followers of the original Anabaptists and Baptists could not accept.

From the 1980 onwards lots of disturbance was felt and in the 1990ies many Baptists became very disturbed by the image the public was getting from the Baptist they could see on the small television screen.  The screen at that time still might have been small but the impact was big.

The trinitarian Baptist gained more and more terrain in Europe and wanted to have theri American way of thinking imposed on us Europeans. For many years I resisted to leave the Baptists, because I wanted to honour those who had lost their life for our faith in the Only One God. At the end I only could follow thousands of my brothers and sisters by leaving the changes in the Baptist community for what they had become, with fear for what they still might become.

Our fear was totally founded. those who left the community had sound reasons, because the church gliding to main protestant church-denominations who believed in a three-une God and would if they were not carefull soon be taken over by other false teachings of those churches.

Today those Baptists are closer to the other protestant and Catholic denominations where it is not necessary to have a sound mind to decide to follow Jesus.

Once a church takes over the Trintiy to get more power and find more people to join them everything can happen to continue in the pagan traditions and to go further away from biblical teachings.

The Southern Baptists could see their churches following their union rules growing in amount. Like many other churches they do have to face the problem not many people are interested in God. Though they do know people do like a lot traditions and festivals. Feast for children having their first year in the lower school or for becoming of age are very popular. A special day for celebrating the by is also very much liked by people.
The Baptist Church also is aware of such events which could attract more people in their church. Like all other churches they saw their number of baptisms going way down.  Converts, new members, and the Millennial generation are unwilling today to commit themselves or to feel bounded by one or the other church denomination. To be baptised as an adult in front of others does not appeal to them. Certainly not going under water in front of so many people, at their age.

It is incredible but it seems that one demographic of Baptists is getting baptised in greater and greater numbers. Normally the rule for baptism was that the person should really know what he or she was choosing for. He should be of age. But the contemporary Baptists do not seem to find that important any more. For them children five and under can also be baptised.

By Lutherans and other protestants such child baptisms also can be found more frequently. In a few years perhaps we shall see also a 'first communion' and a 'holy or second communion' like in the Catholic church, where people, though they do not go to mass regularly, can have a celebration for their kids where they can treat it with many presents and give a great feast for many guests, showing off with bouncy castles, electronic games, firework and exuberant meals for 60, 80- 150 guests, like mini-weddings and their sons and daughters dressed like little princes and princesses or brides.
Credobaptist traditions like the SBC usually baptize children at the “age of accountability” or “age of reason.” The Baptist Faith and Message asserts that children are not morally accountable until they are “capable of moral action.” Based on the coming-of-age celebration in Jewish culture (bar mitzvahs for boys and bat mitzvahs for girls), some place the age of accountability around ages 12 and 13. However, since children develop at different rates, there is latitude on pinpointing personal spiritual maturity. Still, Southern Baptist churches have traditionally said children cannot make a legitimate profession of faith until preadolescence. Thus, baptism is typically reserved for prepubescents on up. . .
Alvin Reid, evangelism professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and task force member, said he suspects the main reason for the increase is
 “well-meaning parents so want their children to follow Jesus that pastors have been pressured and have not taught well biblical conversion and discipleship.”
National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Sav...
National Baptist Evangelical Life and Soul Saving Assembly of the U.S.A. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inculturation today calling for a different attitude

This January the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church told the press he is aware of the fact that the problem of formation today is not easy to deal with:
“Daily culture is much richer and conflictual than that which we experienced in our day, years ago. Ourculture was simpler and more ordered.
Inculturation today calls for a different attitude. For example: problems are not solved simply by forbidding doing this or that.
Dialog as well as confrontation are needed.
To avoid problems, in some houses of formation, young people grit their teeth, try not to make mistakes, follow the rules smiling a lot, just waiting for the day when they are told: ‘Good. You have finished formation.’
In Rio the Pope identified already clericalism as one of the causes of the
 “lack of maturity and Christian freedom” in the People of God.
It follows that:
 “If the seminary is too large, it ought to be divided into smaller communities with formators who are equipped really to accompany those in their charge.
Dialogue must be serious, without fear, sincere. It is important to recall that the language of young people information today is different from that in the past: we are living through an epochal change. Formation is a work of art, not a police action. We must form their hearts. Otherwise we are creating little monsters. And then these little monsters mold the People of God.”
The Pope then insisted on the fact that formation should not be oriented only toward personal growth but also in view of its final goal: the People of God.
It is important to think about the people to whom these persons will be sent while forming hem:
“We must always think of the faithful, of the faithful People of God. Persons must be formed who are witness of the resurrection of Jesus. The formator should keep in mind that the person in formation will be called to care for the People of God.
We always must think of the People of God in all of this. Just think of religious who have hearts that are as sour as vinegar: they are not made for the people. In the end we must not form administrators, managers, but fathers, brothers, travelling companions. ”
Finally, Pope Francis wanted to highlight a further risk:
 “accepting a young man in a seminary who has been asked to leave a religious institute because of problems with formation and for serious reasons is a huge problem.
The pope was not just speaking about people who recognize that they are sinners:
 we are all sinners, but we are not all corrupt.
Sinners are accepted, but not people who are corrupt.”
Nobody can escape temptation except God Who can not be temted. Jesus was tempted more than once but did not go into the temptation and managed to stay clear of sin.

The present pope is not afraid to go away from difficult questions concerning the may priest who had young children in their care, but misused their power. Pope Francis I recalled Benedict XVI’s important decision in dealing with cases of abuse:
“this should be a lesson to us to have the courage to approach personal formation as a serious challenge, always keeping in mind the People of God.”
Religious should be witnesses of the humanizing power of the Gospel through a life of brotherhood.
The present pope does know the problems, but he also knows that the bishops are not always acquainted with the charisms and works of religious. Qe also should ask the question if the local headquarters are willing to inform the higher hierarchy of what is going wrong in their coutnry.

The Belgian Jesuit Jan Berchmans (1599 -1621) knew already very well this problem. True to his favorite mottos: Age quod agis (Do what you are doing well) and Maximi facere minima (Do the most with the least), he succeeded in accomplishing ordinary things in an extraordinary way and became the patron saint of community life.

To come to a healthy community everybody should be honest and open to each other. No secrets should go around. Once matter do have to be covered up, like we have seen the last few years, there is not only something going really wrong, but it also
"creates a pressure cooker that will eventually explode. A life without conflicts is not life.”
It becomes high time that 'bishops' and all those who are to take care of the flock need to understand that consecrated persons are not functionaries but gifts that enrich dioceses.
"The involvement of religious communities in dioceses is important. Dialogue between the bishop and religious must be rescued so that, due to a lack of understanding of their charisms, bishops do not view religious simply as useful instruments.” 


From the "Wake up the world" press conference January 2014

Vision blurred by cumulative burden of divisions

"Our vision is often blurred by the cumulative burden of our divisions and our will is not always free of that human ambition which can accompany even our desire to preach the Gospel as the Lord commanded."
said pope Francis I when he recently met the Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome for the second time since they were installed as leaders of their churches last year.

You may wonder if it are ecumenical talks the pope would like to see more, having the denominations growing closer to each other or like I would prefer it to see having the different denominations respecting each other for their own choices and teachings, loving them as being part of the Body of Christ and sharing with them the brotherly love Jesus preached.

Naturally the Roman Catholic Church may not expect the followers of Christ who prefer to the same God of Jesus, the God of Abraham, to "celebrate the Eucharist together and the Eucharist ... like the ‘burning bush’ in which the Trinity humbly dwells and communicates itself". He may think
"this is why the Church has placed the feast of the Body of the Lord after that of the Trinity.”
there are enough real Christians who only want to worship One True God, the Divine Creator of heaven and earth, of Whom no pictures or graven images may be made and certainly may not be bowded down for or prayed in front off.
For the Holy Father the Divine love of the Trinity is the “origin and goal of the universe and of every creature.”
But according to the Torah we do find in the Bereshit (the Genesis) that Jehovah God is the Divine Creator of everything. He alone is the Holy One Who is eternal, having no beginning and no end, no birth and no death.

As long as the pope considers the Trinity acting as a model of the Church where Christians are called to love with the perfect, sacrificial love of Jesus, it would be difficult to get trinitarian Christians to accept that there are also non-trinitarian Christians and also other believers in God who shall be able to be saved by the grace of God and be able to enter the Kingdom of God.

As long as the Catholic Church and several protestant churches keep up that distorted vision of the Trinity as sole possibility for people to come under God, Jews, non-trinitarian Christians and Muslims will find it difficutl to find honesty in the trials of that Church which says it is for unity and for peace between the monotheistic religions and other people living in this world.

Pope Francis also spoke emphatically of the impossibility of hatred for a Christian.
“It is a contradiction to think of Christians who hate. It’s a contradiction!”
Though I can assure you the letters (and other things), I and my church, often get in our mailbox because we are Christians not believing in the Holy Trinity, does not show much of that love.

The pope his saying:
“distinctive of Christianity, as Jesus has told us: ‘By this they will know that you are my disciples: if you love one another.’”
is often forgotten by his flock, though we must say most controversy and hate is brought to us by different protestant denominations.

Lots of Christians should come to open their eyes to see their is much variety in Christendom and that in those different denominations there are certain belief-points which may be far from each other. Unity should be felt under the choice made "Accepting Jesus as the Messiah". The way how to follow him as a master teacher is too different to bring them fast under one 'tag'.

"True love is boundless, but knows its limits in order to meet others, and respect others' freedom. " (Pope Francis I)


Does there have to be a Holy Trinity Mystery

On Journey Towards Easter with subtitle: Discovering the beauty of truth, the writer who is an Englishman, living in Scotland writes that the Trinity is a symbol of the knowable and unknowable.

According to him
 – the One who reveals Himself to us is the same One who can never be fully understood.
would the God Who loves His creation raeally not want His creation to know Him an not want His creation to understand Him?

The god of Love from the start of His creation had the intention to have a good relationship with His creation. Good relations are build on comprehension, understanding each other and on being open for each other. God never had and/or never has the intention to have secrets for the world. For millenniums He wanted to play open card game with the people who inhabited His world. He took care all people could find a Guide in their life and would be able to find the guidebook or manual to make the best of their life.

The writer of the article himself knows:
The knowledge we receive from God about Himself is sure knowledge, by which we cannot be deceived, but it only serves to deepen our appreciation for how far God exceeds our expectations, and is infinitely more than we can or could ever have imagined.
Then he refers to the Old Testament reading for his day he want to celebrate a three-une god,
from Exodus (34:4b-6, 8-9), where we read that:
“4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as Jehovah had commanded him, and took in his hand two tables of stone. 5 And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of Jehovah. 6 And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and truth; 7 keeping lovingkindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear [the guilty], visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation. 8 And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. 9 And he said, If now I have found favor in thy sight, O Lord, let the Lord, I pray thee, go in the midst of us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.” (Exodus 34:4-9 ASV)
He clearly understands that this passage speaks of God coming near to man (Moses in this case) and revealing Himself to us.
 He ‘stood with him there’ and proclaimed His name – that is, His character, ‘a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness’ (v.6), so that His people would know it for sure.
but than he makes a strange twist, mixing tow different persons, of one is not exactly a man because It is a Spirit and the other is a man of flesh, bones and blood.
God desires to come close to us and show us who He is – something shown to an even greater extent in today’s Gospel reading (John 3:16-18).
In that reading you may find:
“16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him. 18 He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16-18 ASV)
clearly everybody should see that the God, Who does not tell lies,  has given His only begotten son to the world, i.e. not Himself.

The author of the article also says
To be saved by God we must first know who He is,
This is a very important issue. We should know exactly who Jesus is and who his Father is, the Only One True God.

Where he gets "the meditations" from he sells out: of His Church.
He does not give a clarification ho his church may be guided by the Spirit and than giving them the revelation that within God there would be a community of persons – Father, Son, Holy Spirit – who exist in an eternal pattern of mutual, self-giving love (which is true) but what he means is that they woudl also be one and the same person (which is not true).

People may not forget that being one in thought or even being equal does not mean being the same.

Lots of people do like mysteries but The God is a god of clarity. Some may like to say that we as human beings need the mystery of God and that in the Christian tradition the word “mystery” refers to something partially revealed, much more of which lies hidden.
We may wonder why so many would like to keep to teachings which are not clearly given in the Holy Scriptures but were imposed by men throughout history. Though beyond the reach or understanding of many of those Christians they keep refusing looking at what the words of the Bible say so clearly.


Find the original article: The Holy Trinity: Mystery, Knowledge, Love

Plus more on the Trinity
Recent Developments In Trinitarian Theology
Recent Developments in Trinitarian Theology explores the major renaissance that Trinitarian theology has undergone in recent 9781451470406bdecades. Remarkably, all the main Christian denominations have participated in this, and contemporary Trinitarian theology is a discussion that often crosses over confessional boundaries.

Church has to grow through witness, not by proselytism

In January pope Francis I spoke about Benedict XVI who said that the Church grows through witness, not by proselytism.
Pope Benedict XVI in Portugal (Photo credit: Catholic Church (England and Wales))

Jesus gave the order to his disciples and to all who wanted to follow him, to go out in the world to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God.  Evry person calling himself a Christian, should know that this should mean to be a follower of Christ, should also follow those teachings and orders of that person.
The witness that can really attract is that associated with attitudes which are uncommon:
the pope said and named them:
generosity, detachment, sacrifice, self-forgetfulness in order to care for others. This is the witness, the “martyrdom” of religious life. It “sounds an alarm” for people.
When people are religious those people should make a life for themselves filled with with thinkings which are not always of this world. Looking at this world, we can not escape living in it but should be careful not to become 'of it'.
 “religious life ought to promote growth in the Church by way of attraction."
continued the pope.
“The Church,” therefore, “ must be attractive. Wake up the world! Be witnesses of a different way of doing things, of acting, of living! It is possible to live differently in this world. We are speaking of an eschatological outlook, of the values of the Kingdom incarnated here, on this earth. It is a question of leaving everything to follow the Lord
The pope did not want to say “radical.”
Evangelical radicalness is not only for religious: it is demanded of all. But religious follow the Lord in a special way, in a prophetic way. It is this witness that I expect of you. Religious should be men and women who are able to wake the world up.”
 Pope Francis has returned in a circular fashion to concepts that he has already touched on, exploring them more deeply. In fact he continued:
“You should be real witnesses of a way of doing and acting differently. But in life it is difficult for everything to be clear, precise, outlined neatly. Life is complicated; it consists of grace and sin. He who does not sin is not human. We all make mistakes and we need to recognize our weakness. A religious who recognizes himself as weak and a sinner does not negate the witness that he is called to give, rather he reinforces it, and this is good for everyone. What I expect of you therefore is to give witness.
The pope wants this special witness from religious people and warns them to look out not to restrict themselves to dogmatic teachings endangering them to go into fundamentalism.

From the "Wake up the world" press conference January 2014