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The case for the word of God being involved in conversion.

Discussion in 'Biblical Debates' started by e.r.m., Feb 10, 2018.

  1. e.r.m.

    e.r.m. Church of Christ

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    Luke 14:25,28-33 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, [28] For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it ? [29] Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it , all that behold it begin to mock him, [30] Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. [31] Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? [32] Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. [33] So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

    Acts 17:10-11 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. [11] These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

    Romans 10:14-15,17 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? [15] And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! [17] So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.


    As with the following account, although they instructed the Philippian jailer to believe in Jesus, he couldn't until they spoke the word of the Lord to him and he knew in whom he would believe.

    Acts 16:29-34 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, [30] And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? [31] And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. [32] And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. [33] And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. [34] And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

    Acts 8:26-32,35-36 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. [27] And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, [28] Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. [29] Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. [30] And Philip ran thither to him , and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? [31] And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. [32] The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: [35] Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. [36] And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

    Acts 8:5,12 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. [12] But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

    Luke 8:11-15 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. [12] Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. [13] They on the rock are they , which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. [14] And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. [15] But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.


    So many times I hear, like recently when a coworker shared her conversion, how a person "decides to surrender" to Jesus making a sincere, but uninformed, decision based on experience, instead of scripture.

    I quoted passages that include both belief and baptism, but this is not a thread on the particulars of conversion although it may overlap, rather that the Word of God needs to be opened, looked at, and taught prior to deciding to follow Jesus and not just after one has been saved. Many instead subscribe to the idea of "you've been saved, now it's time to 'start' learning the Word of God."' It seems so normal because this practice became a culture over time. But this culture, that so many have adopted and become used to, stands in contradiction to scripture.

    To clarify, I'm not saying one's search "begins" with studying the Bible, although it can, but it should be in there somewhere before deciding to follow Jesus.

    I'm also not saying one should be a theologian before deciding, but some exposure and learning from the word is in order.

    The floor is open. Thank you.
     
    #1 e.r.m., Feb 10, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  2. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Id say reading prior to makes the conversion sound less guinene and more forced as well as self fulfilling. For example, if I read in scripture to stand on my head to praise god, Id feel "obligated" to do it. I may not have the feeling because Im supposed to obey before having conviction.

    While a more guiene approach is when god speaks to your heart first (as the whole OT and Jesus as examples not dictations). When you have him in your heart, when you read scripture it should "make sense." You Want to follow because you already have the conviction. Unlike the former when you need the written text before you are obligated to follow.

    One gets a spiritual conviction (god talks to her). Through Faith Not reading, she believes her experiences come from god. She reads the bible, it confirms her experiences. She reflects her experiences on the bible not the other way around. Personal that way.
     
  3. Grandliseur

    Grandliseur Well-Known Member

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    Some scriptures speak about our faith (Christian of course). It clearly shows that because we have faith, we speak (about things of faith) to others. This is an undeniable cause and effect of faith. Naturally, as some did (the Beroeans) they perused the scriptures to verify what was said. When a person can do this, that is desirable. However, first comes the spoken word, the Gospel of Salvation, the Gospel of Christ. Next, hopefully, comes some basic teachings, which as one apostle defined as foundation teachings. Once the foundation teachings have been given in scripture, the person can proceed at a leisurely pace, studying himself (gender neutral here) or with others

    Baptism is a must, the denomination is not. Here we have then, repentance, dedication, a turning around and away from immoral life styles (if any), and baptism that removes sin, and now a 'living in Christ.'
     
  4. e.r.m.

    e.r.m. Church of Christ

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    Thank you for sharing.
    Is God or Paul wrong then in
    Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. ?

    The word of God need not be read visually, it can be shared by someone with a good memory on scripture, but I don't think the mode of communication is the issue for you. It sounds like you're saying any learning of God's word would make it feel obligatory. If one feels like that, I don't think it's God's word's fault. It talks more than what to "obey", it talks of God's love, grace, of His Son, and how to be saved.

    Is Romans 10:17 wrong?

    Please don't read more energy in my response than is intended. These are sincere questions.
     
  5. e.r.m.

    e.r.m. Church of Christ

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    Sounds good.

    When a person can do this, that is desirable. However, first comes the spoken word, the Gospel of Salvation, the Gospel of Christ.

    This is the prime time to share scriptures.
     
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  6. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    The word of god, that scripture it speaks christ.

    John 5:39 speaks of people going to hebrew scriptures as if they hold eternal life. But the scriptures testify to jesus/the word. God's Word are oral dictations made flesh through christ. Written words near not the point but experience through what christians say is love and compassion from god.

    Edit: Also keep in mind, no pun but you cant hear written scripture. People in the OT heard god's word. People in the NT were around god's word. Anything written is second nature from his voice (oral dictations) and experience (the presence of christ).
     
  7. e.r.m.

    e.r.m. Church of Christ

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    Written words near not the point but experience through what christians say is love and compassion from god.

    I agree with this, especially since we don't have the apostles here with us, or God's voice booming from a cloud atop a mountain.

    1 Timothy 4:16 says Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    Both are important. You are referring to their life and love as well we should. How would we care what they know if we don't know that they care?

    But since both are important on their part to help us be saved, how do you know they're teaching you correctly unless you read (or audiobook) it yourself? Many wonderful and super generous and amazing people teach things that contradict what the Bible says on salvation and other important things. Do you just throw the dice?

    I think it's a culture. I think we are taught and conditioned by church culture in certain belief systems along the lines of "We'll know it for you, don't look too deeply, trust me instead."
     
  8. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    I take a different approach from your last point. When I was in The Church and that culture made me want to learn about scripture, jesus, and god. It did the opposite affect than most testimonies I hear.

    That is what faith is: throwing the dice and letting god do the work. If you are looking scripture to confirm what christ told you, in my personal opinion you put scripture over god. If you look to god and christ first and let tell you what you read from moses, apostles, etc are correct, thats the route Id say is much better to take.

    What would a christian do without his bible?

    Abraham didnt have this question nor did christ. What in the last 2000 years cut off a person hearing god directly to metaphysics and faith. (Thinking out loud)

    If god speaks to you directly, then why go off what the bible says as opposed to what he told you directly?
     
  9. e.r.m.

    e.r.m. Church of Christ

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    I thank you for sharing your point of view. It turns out although related, it's different than the direction of this thread. Your church actually did what I believe is consistent with the first century pattern. I will address it as you have said it and not in relation to the thread.

    Somehow, through whatever experience, or teaching, or upbringing (which I'm saying nothing for or against) has led you to believe that God's word is separate from God. That's what I'm hearing. That's why someone would make statements like
    If you are looking scripture to confirm what christ told you, in my personal opinion you put scripture over god.

    If you look to god and christ first and let tell you what you read from moses, apostles, etc are correct, thats the route Id say is much better to take.


    But since it's actually God's words then there's no contradiction between the two. God does tell us what he wants through both prayer and His word. I once opened up a thread, I think it was on this forum, about what would happen if someone prayed a lot and never looked at (or listened to) the Word of God (I'm not implying you never do, that was just that discussion). Someone gave a very good answer. The person who does so increasingly prays to a god of their own creation and not the real God.

    One may one day actually look at the Bible and be surprised that "God" is different from the one this person has been imagining, the one who agrees with all their preconceived notions and biases as to what God "should" be like. But we can check with the Bible and get to know the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Jesus, and the apostles so we don't drift too far from who He is.

    No matter what connection anyone is convinced they have with God, apart from His word, we do have our biases and we do follow them. Since God gave us His word, He is not against us using it to get to know Him and His will 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, [17] so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
    And since God gave us His words for us to use, I think it would be good for you to soul search as to where this discomfort is coming from. You may feel it's a good idea to leave God's word for absolute last because you can understand God's will completely on your own between you and God, but Jesus himself relied on God's word heavily Matthew 4:1-10, John 12:49-50. The apostles again and again encouraged people to rely on God's word 2 Peter 1:19-21, 1 Timothy 4:16, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Hebrews 4:12, Acts 2:42, etc.

    They didn't think it was a good idea to leave God's word for last, but along with prayer, fellowship, etc.

    I imagine this doesn't agree with your belief system.

    Again, I don't mean this is any mean way. I believe what God has for us is good and His word included. There's nothing to fear and only gain.
     
    #9 e.r.m., Feb 10, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  10. Unveiled Artist

    Unveiled Artist Veteran Member

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    Here is something you may be interested in

    It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. John 6:63

    -The Words christ speaks is from god (god's oral dictations)

    So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

    -the word of christ is god

    Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. Hebrews 2:1

    -mind you heard not read

    Romans 10:17 says faith comes from hearing the word of christ (aka hearing from god-who jesus is speaking for)
    Hmm. I havent had an intimate relationship with physical scripture just the sacraments. Never knew what a god is only the definition of god defined through christ in his sacraments.

    But I honestly dont get it. Why would a christian believe he is bias when god talks to him directly but trust the testimony of the disciples and prophets instead of god himself?

    That reminds me as if you are dating, your best friend says your date is cheating on you, and after a ten year relationship you believe your friend over your girl/boy friend.
     
  11. e.r.m.

    e.r.m. Church of Christ

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    Carlita,

    What do mean by God talks to you directly and a relationship to the sacraments?
     
  12. e.r.m.

    e.r.m. Church of Christ

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    Agreed, they were all heard, and then they put what they heard in writing since they wouldn't be around for thousands of years to tell us physically. The message they speak of is there for us to read and listen to. My Bible app can read it out loud for me, as well as we can hear it read to us from others. Unless you believe you hear from God in the same way the prophets and apostles did. I mean that in all seriousness, not sarcastically.

    Sacraments sounds like some Catholicism in there. The Bible offers more than what Catholics call sacraments. But without knowing more as to your history with sacraments, I will go no further.
    We don't have an intimate relationship with physical scripture, but with the one who wrote them. It's as if a loved one sent you a letter, we don't have a relationship with that letter, we have a relationship with the loved one who sent that letter, but we connect with the loved one through what he/she wrote to us. The loved one is pouring their heart out in that letter and telling you who they are.

    Well here I agree with you. It sounds like this is part of what you've been taught, that the supposed sacraments are all there is. The Bible doesn't even talk of sacraments. The Bible is so much more. From the scriptures you quoted, it's looks like you have done some of your own reading. From what you read, you can see that it's not all about sacraments.

    God spoke through the Holy Spirit in the Bible. We are not perfect as human beings and I can't think of any reason why we would not want to take advantage of that as a source of knowing God and Jesus and his will. I'm suspecting there's something pushing you in that direction. It doesn't happen by itself. Again, it may help me better to understand what you mean by God speaks to you directly. But even then, Godly men who did speak with God directly, like Moses, Jesus, Peter, and Paul did not as a result, withdraw from God's written word, but still relied on it, and encouraged others to do so. Withdrawing from God's word is not a natural result of speaking with God directly. Something's going on.

    One should believe whichever one is telling the truth. But God will not contradict His own word. So we can check ourselves against it.
     
    #12 e.r.m., Feb 10, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  13. e.r.m.

    e.r.m. Church of Christ

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    I invite anyone else to comment on the OP as well. Would like to hear your thoughts.
     
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