Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pentecost reflection: Issues about unity and disunity

I wrote the following sometime ago. Nevertheless, I read it today and still think it is relevant, especially as today is being celebrated as Pentecost by the Jews.

It is the season of Pentecost, and as such I pause to reflect and celebrate in my spirit and my mind the coming of the Holy Spirit to the early church. Rather than joy though I feel sadness for the state of churches today and even my own state of being on the fringes or sidelines.

A friend once asked me a question:

Question: What factors should decide what church you go to? Should it be that they have assembly on Sabbath or does the other beliefs they have matter as well?

My Answer:
For me, no church body is perfect. It matters not which fellowship I attend (as long as they hold Jesus as Messiah to be the core of the gospel). My beliefs will not be changed by the congregation that I attend, unless G-d convicts me otherwise.

I am basically a loner now when it comes to spiritual matters. My religious faith is patchwork. A piece of this group, plus a piece of another group.

I have no zeal for any church organisation now. I am weary of "organised" religious groups. I just want fellowship and outreach mission work with a fellowship.

I still go to church because it is commanded and despite the fact that these church organisations are not perfect, G-d still have to use them as his sole agent for preserving the elements of truth. Plus, I can always learn from the reading or hearing of the scriptures. You never know what scripture shall be read at any church setting. Scripture reading is the only thing that preserves truth.

Question: My friend then asked: God commands "sacred assembly"; what sort of assembly would count as not "sacred" for Sabbath? What decides that?

Answer: To which I replied, Sacred assembly does not mean church as we know it today. It is a gathering of people to hear the word of G-d so that they can learn G-d's purpose for them and be able to do and fulfill his will.

I know where I differ from many Sabbatarian groups and other non-Sabbatarian Christian groups. I am a Protestant, to say the least, waiting for the continuity of the reformation, knowing that truth and the reformation is progressive and does not stop. So there is no package of truth that is it, and nothing more. As long as the move is back to the biblical and religious heritage of the entire Bible.

Part of my difficulty in sharing my beliefs is the fact that my doctrines are not set in stone. I am open to hearing alternative perspectives and considering it, if a clear Bible logic is seen. There are many areas of uncertainty in my own faith.

For instance, I know I am suspicious of Trinity, but I am not convinced about Oneness, and still not certain about a Binity. The stuff I'm not sure of, I don't even speak about them much.

I am growing, and tomorrow, I may find that what I believe is false, and I'd just move on. So I am not going to say that I have the truth and that others need to see what I see. Most Sabbath groups are like that.

I believe that people must walk according to the conviction that they have.

For me, Amstrong groups like United Church of God (UCG) have a wrong outlook on current prophetic events, coming from the error that Britain and America are part of Israel. To me, that is error that is not yet corrected. It is based on speculation. I would rather believe the conspiracy theorists about the global financial bankers that influencing the world politically; I can't preach Amstrong's prophetic understanding.

Yet a prophetic gift/spirit is the mark of the last day remnant, and without preaching prophecy, you are only preaching part of the Bible. However even the use of the term remnant is questionable, as it may pertain to Jews who believe in Jesus/Yeshua/Yahshuah and not to Christians.

For SDAs with Ellen G. White, her beliefs came at a time when Israel did not even exist as a state. Thus she too made an error in substituting the Church for Israel. So SDA's prophetic outlook is also dubious.

I believe that to be the true remnant of G-d, you got to have correct understanding of prophetic events and history. The Jews were good at keeping their genealogy. So must we as redeemed Gentiles, ensure that we know the roots of our faith and can use the scriptures as a compass to show us where the world is headed.

They (the Jews) understand their roots. Genealogy for me means the study of one's ancestors. Jews know where they are coming from. They know their history. Genealogy was so important, that in the Bible, it is recorded. Which shows me that we as the redeemed Gentiles must also be able to trace our historical roots - the roots of Christianity. For Christianity, was not originally intended to be a separate religion from Judaism. Gentile Christians are to be grafted into the Jewish olive tree (Read Romans 11 for more on this subject). We are to become one (Jew and Gentile) (Galations 3:28).

When Jesus said other sheep I have (John 10:16), he was talking to Jews. He wanted to extend the access to G-d and the purpose of G-d to people outside of the circumcision. G-d told Abraham through his seed - JESUS - the entire world would be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

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