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MM, I thought this article looked right up your alley. Gospel Heroics

quote:
In 1988, on the eve of a revolution few believed would come in our lifetimes, 15 brave men and women came together in East Germany to sing American gospel music along with a few pop and jazz/Latin numbers. They christened themselves the Jena Jubilee Singers and approached the music with fervor despite the fact that associating oneself with anything related to America or organized religion could be and often was considered subversion by their communist rulers*

"I cannot tell you too much about this time because I am from the other part of Germany and would not have been allowed to visit them that easily," choir member Birgit Meyer said in a recent email interview from Germany. "I can imagine that a choir singing American songs had a very hard time. But they were fascinated by that music, especially because it was something new."

In many communist countries there was a strong underground market for Western music if for no other reason than the state's attempts at engineering catchy socialist ditties were such abysmal failures on an aesthetic level.

Nevertheless, the Jena Jubilee Singers made it through the tough times. Today the group boasts more than 50 members and is considered part of a wider gospel and spiritual music scene that has popped up throughout the reunited Germany.

And whereas the idea of coming to America was once strictly verboten, in an example of how far we've come these last 17 years, the group is now preparing for its first-ever tour of the United States. The singers are calling the tour "Project USA 2005: Back to the Roots" and dates are being announced as they are booked here.
-----

*This is still true on many college campuses in the West.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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"Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important."
- C. S. Lewis
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This excerpted letter written to the editor of the local newspaper in my area should be shared. It expresses Donna's love and beliefs for God. Blessings to Donna.

My God is love, not vengeful and oppressive.

Gladis B. raises some good questions in her letter to the editor.

Many people have wondered how can I love a God who burns people in Hell for eternity?. Would a truly loving father do that to his children? Why does Jesus say Lazarus and Jairus' daughter are sleeping, when they are dead?. It is because the dead are asleep, and not burning in Hell or watching us from Heaven.

Ecclesiastes 9:5 says, "For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing." If we are already in Heaven or Hell, why is there a resurrection of the dead? Yes, there is a Hell, but it is at the end of the world when all evil is burned up.

The death of Jesus on the cross was Heaven's greatest gift to save. When any law is broken, there is a consequence. When Adam and Eve sinned, the consequence was death. God required justice, justice required payment, and God became the payment.

Jesus said He and the Father are One. If Jesus was just another human, then God would be no better than a heathen, sacrificing a victim, to appease an angry god. But Christ's death is not the wrath of God, it is the penalty of sin, and Christ as God paid the price.

Satan's greatest deception is representing God as vengeful and oppressive, and unfortunately, religion has caused a lot of misery in this world. But that is not the religion of the God I serve, because my God is love.
Donna G.
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I once met an atheist who told me he asked a Christian why he should believe in a dead Jew.

The Christian got up and danced and said, "Christ is not dead. Because he lives, he lives within my heart. That is why I believe". The atheist told me that was the best answer he had ever heard from a Christian.

I believe in Christ because I have experienced him. I have felt his love. Without Christ I have nothing and I am nothing. Who will love me when I am dead? Maybe my family. Who will love me after my family is dead? Only Christ.

Even for those who have not directly experienced him should cling to the hope. Hope is all we have short of love.

Religion is changing. I fear one day Christians may once again have to go secretive and draw a fish in the sand.
 
Posts: 470 | Location: Greensboro, NC | Registered: 05 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I find the whole story of Christ completely breath taking. One can get angry and resent God when reading the Old Testament. But what can one say of a God who took on human form and suffered all the pain that it is to be human? There are so many messages in there. One message could be interpreted that God has done it all. He knows what it is like to be human. That is a God I can love and respect.
 
Posts: 470 | Location: Greensboro, NC | Registered: 05 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Amen to your post above, Eric!

So good to have you back. Smiler
 
Posts: 7539 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 09 August 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Faith and a Time of Agnosticism
by Ronald Rolheiser

quote:
The gods are receding, as any look around the Western world will tell you. But Heidegger has something else in mind too, namely, the reason the gods are receding is that we don't have the same fears our ancestors once had. Belief in God, he feels, is predicated on a certain fear and astonishment. Former generations, much more than we, felt their vulnerability, mortality, and helplessness in the face of energies and forces beyond them. Because of that, they looked for a power outside of themselves, God, to help them. Fear, among other things, made them believe in God.

�More positively, though, this vulnerability brought with it the capacity to be astonished. Before a universe that holds so many mysteries - thunder, lightning, the stars, the changing seasons, the process of conception, and the simple inexplicable fact that the sun rises and sets every day - there is cause for healthy astonishment, for holy fear, and there is the constant reminder of our littleness and the fact that life cannot be taken for granted.

Today, of course, we have few of these fears. We have faith in medicine, rationality, science, and in what we, humanity, can do for ourselves. As for astonishment before the power of nature? The weather channel has demythologized that.

Much of this, in fact, is good in terms of God and faith. Fear is not a good motive for religion, but rather the antithesis of true religion (whose task it is to cast out fear). Mature faith must take its roots in love and gratitude, not fear. Thus, freedom from false fear holds a rich potential for a maturer faith and religion.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Brad,
You might have to define fear for me here. If we had less fear, from my perspective, we wouldn't have so much poverty, addiction, greed, war, sefishness, crime,disease and criticism on the planet. Everyone would be totally acting as agents of God, totally enthused and acting out of their inner Love, Joy and Peace, if you go by the "Fear is the absence of Love" defintion and agree that God is Love. (In fact I think this is what dattaswammi is trying to say and knows within himself on some level) But our fears are still very much alive and well with us, they just keep changing form, and are getting more sophisticated, making them harder to identify, and much more lethal in the process. Roll Eyes
 
Posts: 197 | Location: Austin,Texas | Registered: 18 March 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Fear is something else I struggle with. I have never feared God - although I sense I should Wink
My experience of God has been of a compassionate and loving Father.
This may be because of fear, illness and pain in my life and I think that the Holy Spirit gives me what I need.
Fear of God and His judgement has kept me on the 'right track' (as far as I can!!). For example depression has led me to think all sorts of terrible things - and fear of 'Hell' as taught by the RC church has kept me alive then!
The God of the OT appears a very scary being to me, and I can't tell anyone how glad I am he sent Jesus!

FrancesB
 
Posts: 59 | Location: UK | Registered: 23 November 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You might have to define fear for me here. If we had less fear, from my perspective, we wouldn't have so much poverty, addiction, greed, war, sefishness, crime,disease and criticism on the planet. Everyone would be totally acting as agents of God, totally enthused and acting out of their inner Love, Joy and Peace, if you go by the "Fear is the absence of Love" defintion and agree that God is Love.

Pauline, I've heard it said that the true opposite of love is indifference. I'd Google to find the exact quote, but I don't real care to do that. Big Grin I guess I would define fear as that unpleasant emotion and body state that exists in the face of a perceived threat. That threat can be perceived as a threat to our mind, bodies, or souls, either directly or indirectly, in the present or in the perceived future. And it certainly seems to be an unassailable truth that the surer we are of Ultimates, the less fear we have. That's because we may no longer consider a threat to our life and limb to be a true threat. We may know somehow that this is not an ultimate threat. And so I agree. If we had less fear we would have less war, crime, disease, poverty, criticism, and addiction.

I have never feared God - although I sense I should

FrancesB: I told Phil one time, either online or off, I forget, that I got a big jolt of that "fear of god" stuff once. I never understood that concept before then, not even remotely. It seemed counterintuitive and at odds with any concept of a loving god. But it's not a bad fear. Just imagine what a baby or small child would feel it he could suddenly come to the realization of just how dependent he was on his parents. But kids usually don't. They just take that support system for granted as long as it's working well. But if given a quick glimpse "into the works" of creation, if given a backstage pass, so to speak, even if only in an impression that lasts an instant (which is what it was for me), you'll suddenly get a case of wobbly knees, for sure.

For example depression has led me to think all sorts of terrible things - and fear of 'Hell' as taught by the RC church has kept me alive then!

Well, I don't believe in hell. That is just logically way beyond any concept I can have of an all-loving god. I seriously doubt that an all-loving god is going to send anyone to an eternity of pain. That's not what love is or does. I couldn't do that so it seems rather impossible to imagine an all-loving god doing that. But there can be no doubt that we are children of sorts, and so a little fear of this type could be a good thing in certain circumstances I suppose. But I think it is inevitable that if we depend on fear for motivation that we are playing with fire. I think that fear can just so easily get unconsciously passed down the line. If we fear hell then we're going to probably pass on some negativity some way, some how, to others in our lives � or it will show up in other ways such as judgmentalism, intolerance and such, although such criticism may be unfounded given that YOU are such a sweet person, FrancesB. Smiler
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
given that YOU are such a sweet person, FrancesB
Thank you - I don't feel very sweet at times! Particularly when I'm trying to explain how to balance equations to 26 12 year olds! (Although its great when just one of them says, 'Oh, I get it!') I get a tiny glimpse of what Jesus meant when he talked about how the shepherd goes off looking for the one lost sheep, and how much rejoicing there is over one returning! It certainly helps me teaching that age group!! Teaching has been great for developing my patience and perseverence too. God knows what he's doing when he puts us places!
Frances
 
Posts: 59 | Location: UK | Registered: 23 November 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I get a tiny glimpse of what Jesus meant when he talked about how the shepherd goes off looking for the one lost sheep, and how much rejoicing there is over one returning!

Right now, FrancesB, I�m reading "Return of the Prodigal Son" by Henri Nouwen, so your remark strikes gold with me. I�m trying to figure out in my own life how to return to something that might not be a million miles from the type of amazing thing that you are doing in the teaching profession. But I think I understand the concept of patience. And I think I understand the concept of being lead to something. I hope.
 
Posts: 5413 | Location: Washington State | Registered: 21 September 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Why Christianity?I'll answer with questions.Is the Bible apostolic resolution?Is the proof of its witnessing that without doubt there are anti forces witnessed who purposefully withhold crucial information once it's known a source is close to an important revelation?Why do people speculate the book of John that says itself is written from the hand of his aquaintances after he rendered stories?Why did it take nearly 2000 years before Christ was spoken of as an actual historical figure?To sell mega amounts of internationally connected internet computer users technology that supplemented their belief and the access to that information?If you think it misrepresenting saying Christ not considered a historical figure until near 2000 my thesis being that scientists and historians could no longer camoflauge the assimilation of reported witness text and various artifact finds immediately before and after and during his life.Dag Hammadi- Qumrun and Wadi Murabbacat helped solidify that..Modern culture was finally forced to bear witness.How many people can get away with the expressed manifestations of the deepest human truths and its various inspired compulsions without drawing control forces?Those forces because of humanity's purging spirituality with ego and the ultimite preposterous preoccupation with petulence that if not truly existent would not cause theological pundits to use the expression "Spiritual soil".I think the deepest and at least intentionally sincere answer to "Why Christianity"- is the honest exploration of the"Eloi Eloi eli sabacchtani"that Matthew and Mark quote.Additionally identifying current human constituency who seem believing Mary's womb was as said a divine blessing not involved with human activity yet laboring over word semantics that do or do not consider Christ "God's son".The Muslims respect and adhered witness of her womb seems a growing transcendent cause of belief of divine providence.My question is a direct one.Was telepathy during Christ's life any thing resembling the real effective human tool it is today?If so then after you retrospectively and currently sift through the laments of those allowed and suggestively not allowed selective telepathic witness you can begin an understanding of God's seeming true intent of the Jerusalem area being the earth's original spiritual base and its only choice. Human aided dissemination that covered the entire globe.Additionally the seeming obvious priority of Christ's life and its witness and if one believes the story of the earth and our destinies that God chose at least during Christ's life the absolute that it would or could not cause any obvious wars. Thus the frustration of the crowd that God and Son didn't attempt wholesale winning of via intervening combative domination and the vaunted desired leap off the cross that Golgotha wanted and caused the apostles' temporary fear.Human response called "choice" seeming the deepest definition of love and our ultimite reckoning with the earth's self respect or whatever vestiges of it remain before John's spoken of "Apocalypse".What I suggest is the responsible opinion of the Bible's true resolve.That perspective either validates or dismisses any intention of its connection with what is called "Christianity".Take care and God bless. Absolutely no twisted parallels.Absolutely straight forword.Gary V. Giardina.
 
Posts: 39 | Location: Illinois | Registered: 27 March 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow, Gary. That was truly very deep.

You said I lot of wonderful things there. Some things that I would never have pondered on.

Thank you.

Take care.
 
Posts: 470 | Location: Greensboro, NC | Registered: 05 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Gary, you have the gift, Phil has the pulpit. Can you make it next Sunday? Smiler
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Most of the misery and unhappiness in the world is due to the undeniable fact that many do not realize that only by loving, knowing and serving God can man be happy. We are made for God's joy and pleasure. It is knowing that only in Jesus Christ, true God, and true man, can a man and woman find their true identity and purpose in life. The true Christian lives by faith, love, and hope in our Beloved Savior knowing we have eternal life in and through Him. We accept the gift of God, His Beloved son Jesus Christ, who by His death and resurrection now sits in a Living Body on the right hand of Father God.

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God. "Our hearts are restless, O Lord, until they rest in You." (Saint Augustine).

Only in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can we find such true happiness, as a Christian.

Freebird
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
<Asher>
posted
here's someone who was haunted by his faith...sorry, I'm in a weird mood. Changed my mind. Baudelaire. if you ever want to read him. is a great poet.
 
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I pray that more of humanity will some day soon come to the truth, recognition and realization that we are all Christians. The true Christian knows this and non-Christians hopefully will be enlightened to this truth and join our Christian family as followers of Christ.

Apostle Paul said: "Neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for we are all one in Jesus Christ". All are worthy, equal, and special. God is not a respecter of people. We are all created by God and for God.

Recently at the lab I asked the technician if she saw a difference in the blood drawn of Christians, Buddhists, Hindu's, etc. We know the answer: God's Beloved Son Jesus Christ is in all of God's creations. All things were created in and through "The Word" Jesus Christ. The first born of all creation. The Lord and Giver of Life.

I ask non-Christians aren't you my brother?. Oh no, they say, we come from congealed stardust, we are an accidental by-product of cosmic chemistry, we come from a big bang, an explosion which scattered us into millions of atoms, etc. I tell them we are not something, but someone, beloved children of God.

I earnestly pray that they may seek the Lord with all their hearts.

Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and no one cometh to the Father except through The Son. Amen
Psalm 105
"Seek the Lord and His Strength,
Seek His face evermore.

Christians be at peace among yourselves and let us pray that non-Christians may be one with us as we are all one in and through Christ. Amen
 
Posts: 571 | Location: Oregon | Registered: 20 June 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Why Christianity? Hmm, I guess because I was sorrounded by it and because also I felt it was the right path to God for me, I like the message of Love which came to us from Jesus and I like Jesus too very much, but, I also appreciate the other prophets, but Jesus is special in ways they were not, which doesnt mean they arent any good or cannot be rolemodels and such,we must respect and love all the prophets sent to us by God.
 
Posts: 15 | Location: Sollentuna, Sweden | Registered: 09 March 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The question of salvation is a vexed one. The Christian creeds seem to affirm that Jesus is the only way for anyone to be 'saved.' For most of Christian history this has been the theological understanding of Jesus and the Gospels; he is the 'way, truth and light' and no-one comes to the Father except through the Son.

However, given our vastly improved knowledge of comparative religion, I find this view very hard to hold personally. Historically, Christianity has been confined to a fairly small portion of the world (the Roman Empire and some sections of Asia and Europe) and the vast majority of people in history would never have heard of either Jesus or the Gospel. Does this logically mean all Hindus, Buddhists, Shamans, Muslims, Jews, agnostics, atheists, and others outside of Christ damned? Did God predestine this for the original sin of Adam?

There are a range of theological responses to these questions, and I will outline three I have read. One is called exclusivism, and is defended by some. Jesus really is the true way to salvation but is also the only way to salvation. No-one can be saved and can have eternal life save through by Jesus, and all others who reject him are going to hell or perhaps will be destroyed on judgement day. This view is very popular amoung fundamentalists, pentecostal and charismatic Christian denominations, and amoung evangelicals (from my own experience with evangelical Christians).

A second view is tolerant exclusivism. In this way, all will be eventually saved, but only if they accept the grace of Jesus either in this life or the next. Jesus is still the only true way to God, however God gives those who have died another chance or chances to come to him. More liberal Protestants (i.e. Karl Barth) and Catholics (Karl Rahner) seem to hold this view.

A third view, and this is the one I hold, is it is true Jesus is the truth, way and light, but only for those who follow the Christian faith. I believe there are other pathways to God and a loving God would not condemn the majority of humanity to perdition forever for something beyond their control. I think it is an error to say all religions lead to God, since at least one major world Religion does not aim to create a relationship with a personal God (Buddhism) and offers a fairly non-theistic mystical encounter with the transcendant. Likewise, Sufi mysticism would regard the idea of the Trinity as ridiculous, since this violates the fundamental Islamic doctrine of God's unity (tawhid).

After one studies different religions, you realise all religions have very different concepts of the Absolute and also often divergent paths of reaching it. I think what Christianity should do is accept other ways to salvation exist, but at the same time Christianity should not surrender its unique spiritual core and heritage and still focus on Jesus as he is spelt out in the Bible, the creeds, and in tradition, so what is unique and insightful into the spiritual condition of man is not lost in vague syncretism (as it was in Gnosticism).
 
Posts: 32 | Location: Perth, Australia | Registered: 09 March 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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SisterLionHeart,

How good to have you with us! Smiler

I remarked to a woman that the probabilities of the Messianic Prophecies coming true in one man's life
defy human comprehension, and that she could do the research herself if she wished. She stood up, got angry and said that she has done plenty of research
and that the bible was all mistranslated, and hostile to women, and what about the Da Vinci code?

I've been getting these reactions from people for a quarter of a century now, and try not to take it personally, since they have a problem with Jesus, and some of his children (understandably).

They can throw stones all they want to, but I'll just never shut up! Smiler

caritas, mm <*))))><
 
Posts: 2559 | Registered: 14 June 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hello Michael,

Thank you, its nice to be here. Yes, I know what you mean, I have gotten reactions like that from people as well. I dont think the bible is hating towards women, I think all is what you make it, so if you want to see it that way you can, and if you dont want to, you cant, meaning, it depends on what you see and how you understand things from the bible. No, its good one should never shut up Wink

Pax Christi
 
Posts: 15 | Location: Sollentuna, Sweden | Registered: 09 March 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Gregory:
[qb]

A third view, and this is the one I hold, is it is true Jesus is the truth, way and light, but only for those who follow the Christian faith. I believe there are other pathways to God and a loving God would not condemn the majority of humanity to perdition forever for something beyond their control. I think it is an error to say all religions lead to God, since at least one major world Religion does not aim to create a relationship with a personal God (Buddhism) and offers a fairly non-theistic mystical encounter with the transcendant. Likewise, Sufi mysticism would regard the idea of the Trinity as ridiculous, since this violates the fundamental Islamic doctrine of God's unity (tawhid).

After one studies different religions, you realise all religions have very different concepts of the Absolute and also often divergent paths of reaching it. I think what Christianity should do is accept other ways to salvation exist, but at the same time Christianity should not surrender its unique spiritual core and heritage and still focus on Jesus as he is spelt out in the Bible, the creeds, and in tradition, so what is unique and insightful into the spiritual condition of man is not lost in vague syncretism (as it was in Gnosticism). [/qb]
Yep, thats what I think too! Big Grin
 
Posts: 15 | Location: Sollentuna, Sweden | Registered: 09 March 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In the 20th Chapter of the Book of Job, Job describes the honors of the life he once knew.

His life once dripped with wealth and comfort (v. 6).

He sat in the gate of the city where he received respect (vv. 7-9) and where the honorable men hung on his words (vv. 9-11).

He did great works of service for those in need (vv. 12-13). He was a judge among them, and the people came to him to plead the cause of justice (vv. 14-17).

He basked in the glow of success and adulation, and if we read the first chapter of the book properly, he enjoyed completely the wealth that his position brought.

Then it was swept away in the whirlwinds of disaster, and only then did he learn the important lessons of life. Those lessons pierce the core of the frustration that so many of us feel in today's world of acquisition and status, for Job had defined himself in terms of what he had and what he did, and in our modern world we often do the same.


http://www.borntowin.net/guest...y.aspx?who=yea&id=51
 
Posts: 218 | Registered: 03 November 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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SisterLionHeart

Originally posted by Gregory:


�A third view, and this is the one I hold, is it is true Jesus is the truth, way and light, but only for those who follow the Christian faith.�

G> = gill
G> Jesus allways spoke the word and will of the Father, that his father had given to him, which was the truth,the way and the light.
That is, through his teaching and dialog given to those around him and to us during and after his ministery.
Jesus also had a human side.
Don�t you suppose, when some of his disiples were out fishing and he was
Waiting on the bank, that he may have yelled out, � how did you do boys?
Got enough for supper tonight�.

Jesus can also be our brother and friend.
To me he is my brother.

Greg > Only for those who follow the Christian faith?

G> How do you think non Christians become Christians?
In either case the truth,way and light are given to all man.

Do�es that mean all who have never heard the gospel message are
Up the creek.
I hardly think so.
One who is in Christ is judged already and found to be not guilty in judgement.
The others will have to wait untill they croak to be judged and then
According to their deeds.

Greg> I think what Christianity should do is accept other ways to salvation exist, but at the same time Christianity should not surrender its unique spiritual core and heritage and still focus on Jesus as he is spelt out in the Bible.

G> I�ll buy that.
When I was younger and working in the logging camps in the pacific northwest a friend of mine was an Indian chief and medicine man.
Their spiritual religion was much the same as the Lakota.
He told me that he now knew the great spirit is GOD, but they used to
Call him by another name.
He said they were children of the great spirit.

Dos�nt sound to far off from a christian perspective. Smiler
 
Posts: 10 | Location: Florida USA | Registered: 28 November 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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