RELIGION 

Religion

First off I want to say that I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is God and that He was born on earth as a man. He died and was brought back to life. His death payed for my failings and His life makes Eternal Life possible for me. I believe that the bible is the inspired word of God. I recognise that only the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic text are inspired. I believe that the Father, Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit are God and each are sentient.  The above statements compromise the core beliefs of my faith.  All comments afterwards are secondary beliefs (i.e. there should be no cause for division if there is disagreement).

Concerning religion itself, I feel obliged to say that the word religion itself is a poor english word. It occasionally refers to faith and other times to manner of worship. What many do not realize is that these two things can be very much opposed to each other. I draw some of my theology from Dispensationalism. I consider myself to be a Recreationist. I also have the belief of Conditional Immortality.

RELIGION - ARTICLES 

Articles
Articles from Nathan Johnson - Speaking in Tounges, Faithless Eternal Life. Nathan has a webpage of other articles called PreceptsTruth.org.

Articles from myself - Authority, Angel - A Word Study, The Sabbath, Tithing is a Sin

RELIGION - RESOURCES 

Bible Study Resources

    Resources Which I Have
  • The Greek English Concordance w/ NIV (pub. Zondervan) - This is helpfull for acurate word study.
  • New Testament TransLine (pub. Zondervan) - This is the best and most literal translation of the New Testament I have seen. It is also easy to follow. I wish for an Old Testament equivalent.
  • God's Word Translation (pub. World Publishing) - A modern easy to read but loose translation.
  • Holman Bible Handbook (pub. Holman Reference) - A quallity bible handbook covering both the bible and christianity as well.
  • The Jewish Study Bible (pub Oxford) - Likely the first Jewish study bible in English.  It is the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) translation.  It is based on the Masoretic Text, which notes refering to other texts.  It is good to see the Jewish perspective on their own scriptures.
  • The Baker Atlas of Christian History (pub. Dowley) - This isn't a collection those little maps in the back of your bible.  This atlas is very thorough and brings things to mind that few would think of.  It covers the Old and New Testament time periods as well as the Early Church and Modern Church time periods.
  • Tanakh (pub. JPS) - This is the Old Testament translated by Jews for Jews.  It is biased toward the Masoretic text.
  • Messianic Christology (pub. Ariel Ministries) - This is an insightfull survey of Old Testament prophecies regarding the first coming of Christ.
  • The Greek New Testament, 4th Ed. (pub. UBS) - I am trying to learn biblical Greek. One of these years I hope to be able to read this fluently.
  • Basics of Biblical Greek (pub. Zondervan) - This is what I am using to learn Greek.  I am using the textbook and the associated workbook.  It is a great set.
  • The Companion Bible (pub. Kregel) - I got this at the urging of my friend Nathan.  It is a study bible with a Dispensational viewpoint.  The typeface is somewhat old and difficult to read.
  • Complete Jewish Bible (pub. JNTP) - This is great bible translated for Messianic (Jesus believing) Jews.  While I am not Jewish the perspective is refreshing.
RELIGION - HISTORY 

My Religious History

Those who know me passively may be surprised to find out that I grew up in a cult. Not one of those cults that makes you drink the kool-aid or anything. Their theology was...well..unique. The name of the cult I grew up in was called the Worldwide Church of God. Some of their teachings included the required observance of the Sabbath and 7 of the 8 Holy Days mentioned in Leviticus 23. The observance of these days were 'modified' for today's culture. Other requiremnets included keeping what most people today would call Kosher. You also couldn't keep common holidays such as Christmas, New Years, Easter, Halloween, or even Valentines Day. The Worldwide Church of God believed that it was the 'One True Church' - not a unique position.

So you may ask, "How did I leave this?" Well I didn't initiate it, the human leader of the cult did. He (along with others with him) began to question some of the basic tenants of his own church's doctrine. This was an incredibly brave, and unsafe move on his part. The ramifications of his actions led to a massive split in the church that went three ways. One group accepted the changes he institued (a basic abandonment of the church's doctrine toward that of orthodox christianity). The other group stuck with the old doctrine, and either went to previous split-off churches or they started their own split-off church. The largest split-off church is called the United Church of God. The third group simply vanished, and no one knows where they went. As for myself, I was living with my parents at the time of The Changes as they are now called. They stuck with the old ways and joined the United Church of God at its formation. I stuck with the same church and changed. The changes made more sense than anything I had ever heard up to that time. Everything seemed to make sense as presented in the bible. I always respected what the bible had to say and knew that the bible knew better than any human. My history has given me a healthy dose of skepticism.  I can see falsehood in the churches much easier now.

I have since moved on and not longer attend the Worldwide Church of God.  I currently attend The Rock which meets Friday nights in uptown.

A few years after the changes I found out that my college friend, Nathan, was also a Christian. Over lunch in college we would discuss religion. Nathan is where I learned about Dispensationalism. I don't convert easily, I try to discern everything through the bible. But it seemed almost every argument that Nathan would postulate I could not disprove, as it was clearly stated in the bible. I still try to maintain my own views on things. I don't just hand over my brain to Nathan, eventhough it would be more convienent.

AFTERLIFE 

The After Life

As stated above I believe in Conditional Immortality. Which means that I believe that man and any being of this realm are inherently mortal. When they die they cease to exist. When man or animal die their only trace is as a memory in the mind of God (in the Greek: Hades). When a human becomes saved they obtain eternal life. Eternal in the Greek means flow or continuum. So a person with Eternal Life has life flow. Their body does not degrade. Saved people do die. In death they remain in the memory of God (in the Greek: Hades), waiting to exist, completely unaware. At the apointed time in the future God will raise the dead from Hades. This is when eternal life will be realized. Those who are not saved may at this time be raised to a mortal life. It is not entirely clear from scripture if and how this mortal resurrection will occur.

I do not believe in the traditional Heaven Hell fate. I do not believe that we go to Heaven when we die. Rather, God will establish His kingdom authority on Earth. God is not currently establishing any significant authority on this planet right now. I do not believe that 'bad' people are tormented without end in Hell. I do believe that those who have experienced God and still reject Him will be killed and not even exist in the memory of God. This is partly based on my understanding of the Greek word for eternal, which is aeon. Aeon is a noun and can come to an end and can be plural.

Before our conception we were in a state of non-existance. As God made us we are His creation. If found defective and not performing to the Designer's intention, the design is destroyed. It returns to its original state of non-existance.

A good source of material on the controversial topic of hell is at What The Hell Is Hell.com. I have not read everything there so I can not vouch for all of its content.

DISPENSATIONALISM 

Dispensationalism

Dispensationalism is basically the idea that God works differently with different people at different times. Dispensationalism comes from the biblical term dispensation, which basically means government or form of government. In essence different dispensations are different ways God deals with his people. According to common Dispensational thought we are currently in the Dispensation of Grace, where no matter what we do, good or bad, we are not immediately judged (i.e. no instant karma).

Another major idea in Dispensationalism is that anything pertaining to Israel pertains to Israel exclusively, anything pertaining to believers pertains to believers. The lack of this division has led to what is called covenant theology, where believers are injoined with Israel's promise of a second covenant.

I currently believe that the old covenant in the bible was intended for the nation of Israel and that the new covenant as well is intended for Israel. I am not an Israelite. That said, I still receive grace from Christ. As Acts 28:28 says, I can receive salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

RECREATION 

The Gap Theory

The Gap Theory quite basically is the belief that between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 a large Gap of unmentioned time occured. With this gap the creation account with Adam and Eve becomes the recreation account. So instead of God creating the universe on the first day He terraformed Earth on the first day. Without the Gap Theory you are forced to believe that the Earth is only about 10,000 years old and that dinosaurs lived during human history. Proof that the universe is much older than 10,000 years old is the fact that most of the stars we see at night are known to be millions of light years away. If the universe was made 10,000 years ago, the light from these stars would not have reached us yet, and we wouldn't be able to see them.

CHRISTIAN TOPICS 

Christian Topics

To help me find a doctrine based on sound biblical teaching I have constructed the Christian Topics page. Trust me, it isn't done yet. It is still in the demo stage right now. If you would like to contribute to it please let me know.

BIBLE 

Bible Translation

The translation I prefer is one called God's Word. It is not the only good translation, but I feel that this translation actually makes an excellent attempt to translate meaning without adding too much Christian drivel.  I also find it very easy to find things in it, due to its straight forward layout.

Another great translation I have found is the New Testament TransLine translation.  It may only be the New Testament but it gets into the Greek hardcore.  You can feel what the translators went through as they translated the Greek.  The notes are extensive - very extensive.  The size of the book is about double that of a full bible.  I wait in ernest for an Old Testament TransLine to be produced.  Unfortunately this is currently out of print and used versions are hard to find.

RELIGIOUS LINKS 

Religious Links

  • The SWORD Project
  • SermonAudio.com
  • AudioTreasure.com
  • StudyLight.org
  • Bible Translations
  • Christdot.org
  • ChristianHacker.org
  • ChurchForAll.org




  • References


    Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will listen!
    [Acts 28:28 (NIV)]

    (1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
    (2) Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
    [Genesis 1:1-2 (NIV)]