Website owner:  James Miller

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To really understand Christian churches it is important to observe what is being omitted, neglected

Sometimes what is missing is more important to understanding a thing than what is present. Sometimes what a person doesn’t say is more important to understanding him than what he says. If there is something that is being left out, it may be that it is deliberately left out for some reason or another. For years I was unhappy with the Baptist churches I attended but I didn’t understand fully why. In looking for some church I could get excited about, I attended churches of several different denominations but I couldn’t find one I was completely happy with. Now I think I do see clearly why I was not comfortable with any of the churches I attended. It has to do not so much with what the preacher said, but what he didn’t say. What would you expect to be the main focus of the sermons of a Christian minister? Wouldn’t it be the teachings of Jesus, the teachings of Christianity on how a Christian ought to live? Teachings such as the importance of humility, chastity, moral purity, honesty, justness, love of neighbor, peacefulness, forgiveness, patience, etc.? Wouldn’t you expect the sermons to emphasize the practice of Christianity? Well, this is the part that was missing. But why would it be missing? I knew why it was missing. It was their doctrine that one is saved by faith and not by works. If they were to preach the importance of obedience to Jesus by following his teachings, they would, in their minds, be preaching salvation by good works instead of faith. They would be guilty of doctrinal error. So their sermons were all highly doctrinal, highly obtuse and obscure, and highly boring. What the ministers were doing was preaching the version of Christianity they had been raised to believe; the version that the theological seminary they had attended had taught them. They had been indoctrinated in the seminary into a particular dogma and they were passing that dogma on. They had been indoctrinated into spiritual error and they were passing that spiritual error on. If you got caught up in the game of examining their assertions for error, you might have difficulty in trying to confute their arguments. However, the real problem was not what they said but what they didn’t say, the things they never talked about. What was left out was a clue to their mind and theology and the clue to their error.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Eph 2:8-9

Conservative Protestants have the above passage so firmly implanted in their mind through constant repetition that they are not able to see the entire matter with good perspective. They are not able to see both sides of the issue. Their minds have been put into a harness by a dogma and that dogma has robbed them of mental maneuverability — the capacity for perspective and good common sense. Good common sense says that real Christianity must necessarily be about practice; that the practice is basic and essential. And there is indeed a very large body of scripture that does indeed say that it is about practice, about following Jesus, about doing as he taught. We have here a good example of how a strongly held dogma can suppress common sense, how it can make people blind to the obvious. A strongly held dogma (religious dogma, political dogma, etc.) will suppress any idea that contradicts it, even ideas that are obviously true.

In looking at Christianity in general, looking at the tendencies of all the denominations, it seems to me that all the denominations teach a Christianity of rote practice and ritual and none really emphasize the real practice of Christianity. Whether we are talking about Catholic or Protestant, I think they are silent on the real heart of the teachings of Christianity. Yes, they do teach some of the teachings of Christianity. Selected ones. Such as those on the importance of church attendance, tithing and proselytizing (i.e. “witnessing”). Things that have the practical effect of increasing the size of the church. They just don’t teach the real essence of Christianity. Doesn’t this seem odd? Looking at things now, from a distance, it seems extremely odd to me. Why would it be? Well, man is a very sinful and devious creature. Maybe these ministers don’t really believe in the real Christianity. Maybe they don’t practice the real Christianity themselves and don’t wish to preach what they themselves don’t practice.

It seems to me that simple common sense says that the focus of the sermons of a Christian minister should be on the teachings of Jesus, the teachings of the Bible on how we are to conduct ourselves in this life, the practice of Christianity. And if we go to a Christian church and find that the focus of the sermons is on something else (such as doctrine and abstract, obscure theory) it should be a big red flag for us. We live in a world filled with sham and falsehood. And this world is full of handsome, smooth-tongued preachers selling an apostate, snake-oil message and millions upon millions of naive, foolish people are being ensnared by them. People want to be entertained and the ministers provide them entertainment. People want a simple, easy formula for going to heaven and the various denominations give them one (be they Protestant or Catholic).

A central thrust of real Christianity is the importance of moral purity. Where in this day and age do you find denominations that emphasize that?

All of this spiritual error comes from the tendency of people to follow others, to look to others for truth, instead of looking to the Bible itself for truth. In the seminaries they look to religious thinkers of the past (such as John Calvin) for an interpretation of the Bible and an understanding of Christianity instead of just reading the Bible and figuring out for themselves what it means. It is something all the denominations are guilty of. That is why they get so far from true Christianity and truth. Ministers are taught in the school they attended how to preach, what to preach, and how to run a church so as to maximize attendance and they all just do as they were taught. They have all been trained and they just do as they were trained.

Sept 2016

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