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Featured What happened to Christianity?

Discussion in 'Seekers Circle' started by Gerry, Apr 4, 2019.

  1. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Member

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    I have experienced the same as you do with regard to the more Bible knowledge you gain the less you have in common with the regular church Christian.

    The group I was in was steeped in man made doctrines. Jesus only gave a couple of mandatory things to follow and the rest was up for interpretation. What my group did was take open ended principles, such as humility, and expanded them so much into specific understandings and doctrines based on the conscience of flawed men that at times it contradicted even what Jesus did. So in the case of humility wearing T-shirts with slogans or wearing tight pants was frowned upon and discouraged. Men were not allowed to wear beards, and they wouldn't get "privileges" in the congregation if they did. If Jesus was alive today and wearing a beard, like I think all of Gods male people did in the bible (maybe besides Moses and Joseph at certain points in their lives), he would be seen as bad association and not a spiritually strong individual. One couldn't get organ transplants at one point because of doctrine, which led to people dying. This doctrine was changed because they eventually saw it as a non biblical teaching.

    The Pharisaic man made doctrines of these types of groups cause a lot of grief and suffering. They place a burden on men which are too burdensome to carry.
     
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  2. Diana Montgomery

    Diana Montgomery God is Love

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  3. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    You sound just like me. So I wonder what have you done in your spiritual journey? As far as, interacting with the human race?
     
  4. Diana Montgomery

    Diana Montgomery God is Love

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    I just don't specify my beliefs. I tell others that I believe in God and prayer. I don't go to churches and don't discuss Christianity with Christians who aren't Christians, the ones who don't know that Jesus cared about love more than anything else.
     
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  5. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Member

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    Well, I used to preach most weekends promoting my faith. But that has stopped now. I used to help the congregation function properly. In the group i belonged faith was expressed through labour.

    Most of my spiritual journey was self reflective and research based though.

    Since leaving the group this year I have placed what I understand spirituality to be on hold, since I have more of a psychological and creative outlook to the reality of spirituality these days. I am actually looking into the harmful affects of spirituality when cults use spirituality to abuse others. So I am hoping to somehow use that info to help others.

    What about you?
     
  6. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    @Gerry, if I may, I would like to address these points from the other perspective. Just to give some balance.

    It was said....

    "The group I was in was steeped in man made doctrines. Jesus only gave a couple of mandatory things to follow and the rest was up for interpretation. What my group did was take open ended principles, such as humility, and expanded them so much into specific understandings and doctrines based on the conscience of flawed men that at times it contradicted even what Jesus did."

    This is complete nonsense. We all have a conscience for a reason and its exercise has to be based on sound Bible principles. The Jews had a strict written code that basically needed no actions of conscience because everything was clearly set out in God's law. If you broke the Law, you received a penalty. The law of the land in most western nations is based, for the most part, on the laws of the Bible. Those principles are sound. We understand the reason for them. Only those bent on breaking the law will complain about them.

    Christians were released from the "curse" of the Law because Christ came to end it and introduce a new covenant with two monumental principles that would govern a Christian's life.....'love for God' in the most complete way achievable in our imperfect flesh, and to 'love our neighbor as ourselves'. That left a lot of scope for conscience, and as we all know, one person's conscience works differently to another's. One will justify behaviors that another would shun. So what was needed? Jesus said that if we love God more than we love ourselves, we will always do what is pleasing to him, not just ourselves. There has to be guidelines....not laws, but principles that will guide the conscience in the right way...especially for young ones or spiritually immature people.

    "So in the case of humility wearing T-shirts with slogans or wearing tight pants was frowned upon and discouraged."

    No one has to mention that the slogans on T-shirts can be offensive at times and they can also promote things that the Bible condemns. The way we dress says a lot about us, especially when we are representing our God, even in a work project at the kingdom Hall. We don't want to give the wrong impression.

    Tight clothing can be sexually provocative, so again we would dress for God, not our personal preference which may be in imitation the world that we were told NOT to imitate. So again its about providing guidelines so that those in our brotherhood do not give offense or the wrong message to others.

    "Men were not allowed to wear beards, and they wouldn't get "privileges" in the congregation if they did. If Jesus was alive today and wearing a beard, like I think all of Gods male people did in the bible (maybe besides Moses and Joseph at certain points in their lives), he would be seen as bad association and not a spiritually strong individual."

    There are quite a few brothers in our congregations with beards. As long as they are neatly trimmed there is no problem. Fashions come and go....and we have a policy where it is encouraged NOT to follow fashion just for the sake of it, especially if it is extreme. When we go out in our preaching work, we don't want people distracted or stumbled by the way we look...we want them to hear the message. The messenger should not be drawing attention to themselves by how they dress or how they wear their hair.

    Facial hair for men can become extreme so, to avoid those issues we again have guidelines. Mature people understand them and do not see them as 'cramping their style'. Our dress and grooming should reflect respect for the one we represent. It should be modest and show soundness of mind. We should dress for him not the world. (1 John 2:15-17) A quick look at the way people dress for church theses days speaks volumes about their lack of respect for God.

    "One couldn't get organ transplants at one point because of doctrine, which led to people dying. This doctrine was changed because they eventually saw it as a non biblical teaching."

    That is not true either. Organ transplants in the early days would routinely be accompanied by blood transfusions, which we reject, not only on scriptural grounds but also because it has been determined that blood transfusions are not as "life saving" as the medical profession once thought. (More about that later if you are interested.)

    If an organ transplant does not involve blood transfusions, as they do now, then it is up to the conscience of the patient. Early transplants also had serious rejection issues which they have also dealt with successfully.
    There is no hard and fast rule in these sorts of conscience issues.

    "The Pharisaic man made doctrines of these types of groups cause a lot of grief and suffering. They place a burden on men which are too burdensome to carry."

    There are no "man made doctrines"....there are recommendations based on sound Bible principles that apply to all and only those who don't like conforming to God's standards will chafe under them. If you chafe, it says a lot about you. If you leave because you want more freedom to do as you wish, then that says even more. How on earth can upholding Bible principles be burdensome? (1 John 5:2-4)

    No servant of God was ever free to give in to imperfect flesh without guidelines....not in the ancient past and not now. God does not change his standards to suit the whims of sinful humans. Those looking for excuses to indulge their own desires will not stay among Jehovah's people....he will show them the door....but the funny thing is, they walk out thinking that its their own idea....

    There are always two sides to every story.
     
  7. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Member

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    Hi Deeje,

    I just checked the organisations reasoning on why not to have organ transplants in the past. I have two sources.

    They started off being OK with organ transplants:

    Questions From Readers
    ● Is there anything in the Bible against giving one’s eyes (after death) to be transplanted to some living person?—L. C., United States.
    The question of placing one’s body or parts of one’s body at the disposal of men of science or doctors at one’s death for purposes of scientific experimentation or replacement in others is frowned upon by certain religious bodies. However, it does not seem that any Scriptural principle or law is involved. It therefore is something that each individual must decide for himself. If he is satisfied in his own mind and conscience that this is a proper thing to do, then he can make such provision, and no one else should criticize him for doing so. On the other hand, no one should be criticized for refusing to enter into any such agreement.

    They changed their stance in Watchtower 1967 Nov 15 pp.702-704:

    (Excerpt}

    "Humans were allowed by God to eat animal flesh and to sustain their human lives by taking the lives of animals, though they were not permitted to eat blood. Did this include eating human flesh, sustaining one’s life by means of the body or part of the body of another human, alive or dead? No! That would be cannibalism, a practice abhorrent to all civilized people. Jehovah clearly made a distinction between the lives of animals and the lives of humans, mankind being created in God’s image, with his qualities. (Gen. 1:27) This distinction is evident in His next words. God proceeded to show that man’s life is sacred and is not to be taken at will, as may be done with the animals to be used for food. To show disrespect for the sanctity of human life would make one liable to have his own life taken.—Gen. 9:5, 6.
    When there is a diseased or defective organ, the usual way health is restored is by taking in nutrients. The body uses the food eaten to repair or heal the organ, gradually replacing the cells. When men of science conclude that this normal process will no longer work and they suggest removing the organ and replacing it directly with an organ from another human, this is simply a shortcut. Those who submit to such operations are thus living off the flesh of another human. That is cannibalistic. However, in allowing man to eat animal flesh Jehovah God did not grant permission for humans to try to perpetuate their lives by cannibalistically taking into their bodies human flesh, whether chewed or in the form of whole organs or body parts taken from others."

    Organ transplants were not allowed because the organisation considered it cannibalism as the above shows. The blood transfusion reason is just another factor which is briefly mentioned in the article.

    In Watchtower 1980 Mar 15 p 31, organ transplants were then said to be a conscience issue.

    Also, regarding blood transfusions, it is interesting that they had no problem with organ transplants in 1961 even though blood transfusions would be involved.

    What we actually see with the organ transplant example is not "New Light" but being indecisive on an issue. And Witnesses would have been disfellowshipped based on this flip flop doctrine.
     
  8. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Member

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    OK, so I was going to give a paragraph by paragraph reply but since they all follow a general principle of thought, I will reply to all in one.

    Please tell me how different is the organisations enforcing of principles different from the Pharisees? I would like to get your viewpoint on that. Since they also expanded principles and made doctrine out of them.

    My biggest problem about when you say that you guys follow Bible principles is how open to interpretation and enforcement those principles are. All doctrine that has now been abrogated due to New Light was said to be based on sound Bible principles. Once just has to read the history of the organisation's doctrine to see that. My reply on the organ transplant issue is a case in point. So which interpretation of Bible principles was the correct interpretation? And how do you know that what you believe now about the principles is true?

    The fact the principles are so open to interpretation is the main reason I disagree with imposing these guidelines on others. They also lead to inconsistencies. For instance one cannot celebrate various holidays because of pagan origins. Yet when it comes to marriage, one of the most important institutions to God, one can wear a wedding rig, which is very much steeped in pagan symbolism:

    Wedding ring - Wikipedia

    {Excerpt} "It is commonly believed that the first examples of wedding rings were found in ancient Egypt. Relics dating to 6,000 years ago, including papyrus scrolls, are evidence of the exchange of braided rings of hemp or reeds between spouses. Ancient Egypt considered the circle to be a symbol of eternity, and the ring served to signify the perpetual love of the spouses. This was also the origin of the custom of wearing the wedding ring on the ring finger of the left hand, because the ancient Egyptians believed that this finger enclosed a special vein that was connected directly to the heart,[4] denominated in Latin the "Vena amoris"."

    So yes, many of the doctrines are man made because of inconsistencies, back and forth understanding, and New Light. The implication of "New Light" is that old understandings were not from God, therefore they could only be from man, therefore man made. You are probably following many man mad doctrines now because there will be New Light in the future.

    Upholding bible principles is not burdensome necessarily, but they are if a person doesn't agree with how another interprets them, yet they must follow that interpretation. Expanding principles into laws has a high chance of limiting self expression which can make one depressed. Rules based on principles such as no blood transfusions and no organ transplants have lead to death of family members and children which obviously takes a heavy toll on the family which is a heavy burden. Shunning of family members because they are disfellowshipped also obviously is very burdensome to all involved. So yeah, lots of burdens.

    No servant of God was ever free to give in to imperfect flesh without guidelines....not in the ancient past and not now. God does not change his standards to suit the whims of sinful humans. Those looking for excuses to indulge their own desires will not stay among Jehovah's people....he will show them the door....but the funny thing is, they walk out thinking that its their own idea....

    The patriarchs never had guidelines. Also read Romans 2 about how those without law are a law to themselves. They had no guidelines but because they are made in the image of God they did what was right in many cases. It seems like people have intrinsic morality.

    Well, the Organisation has changed its standards as is evidenced by "New Light". The patriarchs did not have guidelines in many cases but reflected what is mentioned in Romans 2 which is that there are those who are a law to themselves. Also, God has an ultimate goal which will end up with all his followers reaching his ultimate standard. While man is sinful though, he changes the standard that he holds them to. Abraham had a different standard to Israel's Law and that Law is different to Christian standards. If he didn't change his standards for them then all would have to die. Jesus died so that the deficit could be accounted for. Grace and undeserved kindness.

    When you say "looking for excuses to indulge their own desires", I agree with that statement when people contravene explicit rules such as no sexual immorality, stealing etc. But when it comes to explicit interpretation of conscience issues then that is another story.

    "Those looking for excuses to indulge their own desires will not stay among Jehovah's people....he will show them the door....but the funny thing is, they walk out thinking that its their own idea...."

    Reminds me of Romans 1. I left because of disagreement with doctrine not to indulge in sin. In fact I immediately went to a friends reformed church which has a heavy emphasis on morality. I sincerely prayed to God for help and he pointed the direction for me to go.

    Also, I pretty much know for a fact that the Witnesses are a false religion because I study the doctrine, the history of that doctrine, the history of the organisation, I see that they hide information from their followers and that they lie to their followers and others with the use of misquotes etc. Truth stands up for itself, nobody needs to lie for it.

    "There are always two sides to every story'

    I 100% agree. Too bad that the organisation discourages that viewpoint. Which is why they would frown upon you communicating with apostates like me. Which is why you have a black and white view of apostates.
     
  9. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your wonderful response.
    Sorry I am a bit slow in getting back. My granddaughter has been visiting the past week.

    I think your one comment hit the nail on the head for me: “Most of my spiritual journey was self reflective and research based though.”
    The past couple of years, I have been doing far more reading and studying. And then using what I learn, to discover why I have difficulty with other people. By difficulty, I mean when interactions with others don’t seem to go as you expect. I am learning more about what motivates people. When I speak of people, it’s mostly about me. Self examination has been something I try to do always now. I can now see the bad traits and try to eliminate them from my life. That battle is never ending.
    My examination of others has led me to have far more compassion than ever before, especially for those who are the most difficult.
     
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  10. Israel Khan

    Israel Khan Member

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    No problem. I know how Grandparents dote on their Grandchildren :)

    I can relate to what you are saying. I understand people theoretically but that understanding doesn't follow through in real life :D Extremely difficult!

    Self examination is always good. It keeps one humble. Keep it up. Clearly it is making you a better person if you are becoming more compassionate.
     
  11. Gerry

    Gerry Well-Known Member

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    Humility and compassion. We can NEVER have too much.
    :)
     
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