July 28, 2008 § 4 Comments
I’m curious, I know many of you have an eclectic and varied taste in reading and I was wondering if anyone else out there besides myself had read Malachi Martin’s Hostage to the Devil. This little bit of non-fiction has always presented a bit of a paradox to me. I find it invaluable reading for anyone interested in demonology, spiritual warfare, or the paranormal, yet it is such a … difficult read.
Difficult in that it is most profoundly disturbing. Basically the book chronicles 5 real life case studies of demonization (better known as “demon possession” but I take issue with the term, since that is not an accurate translation of what Scripture says.) The writer, Malachi Martin, is (was?) a former Jesuit priest who meticulously studied these occurances based on the very precise records kept by the Roman Catholic church for the exorcisms they perform. Apparently, they keep immaculate records of personal histories, including notes and written records, and also are in the habit of taping the actual exorcisms themselves with audio and video. So the “vignettes” Martin gives of each of these is very detailed.
The problem I have in recommending the book for anyone who might be interested is that the descriptions of the exorcisms themselves are so… brutal, and defiling.
I came away from this book at once admiring the RC church for at least having the integrity and courage to continue an invaluable ministry that was ordained by Christ Himself, and yet also feeling such repugnance and anger with them for how very badly they have gone about it. In one of the final case studies, the priest performing the exorcism was so brutally scarred– emotionally, psychologically and PHYSICALLY– that he immediately went into early retirement.
It just makes me question… I mean, spiritual warfare is real. Very real. Demons are out there, and they want to kill you. But the Church (as they are on so many issues) is mixed up, torn, and in many cases, in egregious error. Either they go to the extreme of ignoring this important ministry outright, or the pendulum swings the other way and people end up getting unnecessarily hurt or even killed.
It’s just one more ministry I would like to see properly restored from the proper perspective; with wisdom, discernment and love, with a healthy understanding of the Power and Authority in which it works.
July 16, 2007 § 6 Comments
Hello folks! I have created a community for those individuals interested in Church history, and how it impacts us today. It is called earlychurch. I want to invite all of you to join, and if you do, to also post this invite into your own journal to your Christian filter (should you have such a thing!)
The focus of this group is to study the writings of our earliest brethren from the first couple of centuries– the pre-Nicene writings of such as Tertullian, Justin, Irenaeus, Clement and the like. The purpose of our discussions is to explore how their writings might inform our understanding of Scripture. It is important that they not supersede Scripture, but be used as a tool to better understand how those of the first two or three centuries lived the faith that was handed down to them by the Apostles, and see how (and if) we measure up in our faith today.
Some sites to visit for more information of what the earliest believers actually believed and practiced are Scroll Publishing, which also has links to local churches that are attempting to get back to this primitive faith and practice; The Guide to Early Church Documents; The Works of Tertullian; Earlychurch.com; and a link to the first 10 volumes of the Ante-Nicene Writings.
Some other sites of interest are: Blueprint for a Revolution by Reed Merino, Nonresistance.org which has writings from Christians and non-Christians about the peace witness. Tread carefully, many of the writings are still wed to the world.
I do not expect that everyone will agree with what they will find in the early writings, nor are all of the writings in perfect accord with Scripture. But overwhelmingly, the farther back one goes in examining them, the closer to a literal understanding of Christ’s words, and those of His Apostles, one finds. It is my hope that a dialogue may be opened to explore where we are today, how we got here, whether we could be in a better place, and how that might be accomplished. I’m praying for open hearts and open minds.
My desire is to promote unity in the Body of Christ, and my hope is that we may grow in ever greater surrender to our Lord and Master through a deeper understanding of what His expectations of us may be, that our love for Him and one another may grow and that our joy may be made full.
Please join me for discussion!
August 25, 2006 § 10 Comments
So, yeah, I was a tad emotional in last night’s post as judetherat gently pointed out. I suppose every time i start to post on the issue of doctrine and Christianity today, I become overwhelmed by the hugeness of the issue, and end up becoming frustrated and emotionally distraught. I suppose I need to break things down into smaller issues, and go at them one at a time, only they all seems so inter-connected to me. And of course, once someone starts pointing out problems, they are called upon to offer solutions or explanations or to defend one’s POV.
It’s difficult for me, because this is probably the issue about which I am most passionate, and yet have the most difficulty expressing in any effective manner. The Dissolution and Drifting of the Church from what she is suppose to be. I think that most folks would agree with me that the church of today doesn’t look a whole lot like what she did in the first century. And i think that most folks would agree that with so many denominations, someone has to be wrong about something.
Lately, I have felt like the little dutch boy, trying to plug holes in an increasingly leaky dyke. Everytime i see a doctrine that has gone awry or hear a teaching that is blatant heresy, my instinct is to correct it. But those are merely the symptoms of the bigger problem. A failure to actually trust and submit to this Man Jesus.
Christians today look almost identical to the world. It is easy to call oneself a Christian today, because it no longer requires the commitment it once did. A commitment to actual obedience and a life changed. Anyone can say “I am born again” and then it is never questioned whether they are “saved.” “Once saved always saved, now pass me a cold one, the game’s almost on.” People go about their daily lives, never changed by Christ, never moved by His Spirit, never dying to self, never knowing the transforming love of the God Who created them.
The fact is, Jesus asks for all of ourselves– our heart mind soul and strength. We are called to turn our whole being over to Him. We are called to obey Him. Obedience means we need to know His commands, and the promises are only subject to actual obedience. So many just want the promises but not the work that actually goes into it.
But if we agree that all the denominations out there can’t all be right, who is? How about everybody is; and isn’t. It’s like all these folks out there are holding pieces of the puzzle, but the puzzle pieces are covered in all manner of crap. It is on each of us to actually uncover those pieces– the ones that fit scripture– and put them all together, and actually come together as Christ’s holy bride. When we are all united in love of God and love for our neighbors, and not fighting amongst ourselves over stupid doctrine– because we are subject to Christ alone, and not to traditions of men.
When will we learn that what Jesus means when He tells us to love one another is so much bigger than we have allowed ourselves to understand?
July 22, 2006 § 1 Comment
I thought I would just throw our study conclusions out there for y’all’s perusal. Let me know what you think.
July 22, 2006 § Leave a comment
Matt and i have been involved in a bible study for some time now, and we just started our new topic this week– God’s Love. Basically, the structure of our study is to ask a question, and with that question in mind, go through the NT book by book pulling out all relevant verses. Then we discuss those verses, and the context, and at the end of the study draw our conclusions based on everything we have found. It’s a loooog process. I’ve been part of this group for about 3 years now, and we have only completed two studies so far. Our first study asked the question “What was Jesus and His Apostles’ attitude towards scripture?” We pulled out any scripturee in which they quoted or fulfilled something, and analyzed whether they took a literal, figurative or hyperbolic interpretation of it. Basically, however Jesus and His Apostles approach scripture is the standard by which we should approach it. It was very interesting indeed! We came to the conclusion that Jesus was very careful to follow the OT scripture exactly, and allowed it to dictate His behavior and choices– following the Law and also fulfilling prophecy. The Apostles were already acknowledging the inspired NT writings as scripture.
Our second study asked the question, “What is the Christian’s relationship to the OT Scriptures?” That was mind blowing, because it dealt with the Law, and the fact that it is now done away with, and we live by a new Law under Christ. We are not to dip back into the OT Law for justification– we are no longer bound by any of it.
So our new topic is God’s love. What is the nature of His love, and how does He expect us to live in that love?
This Thursday, we began studying the book of Matthew, and it is interesting indeed. We looked at how Jesus’ compassion always prompted Him to action (9:35-38, 14:14-20, 15:32-37, 20:33-34) and He equated loving one’s enemies with being perfect(5:43-48.) It also showed God’s desire for us to show this love to others, or else risk punishment (18:23-35 and 25:31-46)