#1: Methodist/Weslyian Church
This is surprising. As a moderate Calvinist, I expected to be closest to the PCA (since my own denomination, the Evangelical Free Church, isn't included in most lists). I guess my moderation - that is, I'm not strongly predestinationist - outweighs my staunch support for the preservation of the saints. Generally, I strongly agree with Calvin, but I waiver on suggesting God has picked who will be condemned. I do believe in irresistible grace though, so I'm kind of inbetween. I guess I feel that there is some free will in our choice concerning receiving Jesus, but God already knows who wouldn't be able to resist His grace versus those who are too closed to receive it. Moreover, I believe that God could use irrestible grace to make anyone believe in Him (afterall in Him, all things are possible), but that He desires us to come to faith in Him, rather than forcing us to.
That said, I should again emphasize that I DO believe God knows everything that will happen (and everything in every other context as well), and that He does predestin “big picture stuff.” In essence, then, I am a predestinationist, because to influence the big picture stuff, you must influence the smaller stuff too.
#2: Presbyterian Church in America/Orthodox Presbyterian Church
In real life, I'd be a Presbyterian if I wasn't congregational on church government… I would have thought this would have been my #1.
#3: Reformed Churches
Not surprising. My church was in the UCC, which has its heritage in the Evangelical and Reformed Church… and then when my church ended its ties with the UCC (for the obvious reasons), it joined the EFCA, which also has Reformed ties. It also makes sense in that I'm a Calvinist and have the PCA in #2.
#4: Southern Baptist
Yeah, this makes sense too. Part of my family is baptist (Am. Bap. though), the EFCA has many similarities to the SBC, and they are one of the few large denominations willing to stand against the plague of liberalism that all the other mainlines are suffering from.
#5: Assemblies of God
Okay, I admit it, I have charismatic leanings (although I find it ironic that that this is right below SBC). I am completely against the idea that you must exhibit a special effects gift to be “saved,” and I also think that most “gifts” that occur during church (tongues, holy laughter, etc.) are really counterfeits that people do under pressure to be “holy.” All that said, I do think that the Holy Spirit may still choose to do miraculous things in the present age.
Anyway, back to the A of G, I suspect that the fact that its HQ is only 200 or so miles from here might mean its influence is stronger than it would be otherwise on me.
#6: Presbyterian Church USA
Again not suprising…
#7: Free Will Baptist
#8: Mennonite Brethren
#9: Reformed Baptist
#10: Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
#11: Orthodox Quakerism
#12: Church of Christ
#13: Evangelical Lutheran Church
#14: Episcopal/Anglican Church
#15: Seventh-Day Adventist
#16: International Church of Christ
#17: United Pentecostal Church
#18: Eastern Orthodox Church
#19: Roman Catholic Church
Somehow I would have thought that I had more in common with the RCC than with the International Church of Christ neo-cult. Huh.
#20: Jehovah's Witness
#22: Liberal Quakerism
#23: Unity Church
#24: Unitarian Universalism
None of these are surprising, though I feel that I can grasp most Mormon doctrines better than Watchtower ones. I guess my stance against Polytheism kills that one though…
The class is about witnessing to those that are members of the other world religions. Nothing to startling there. What is startling is that the missionary who is speaking at our church is a missionary in the sense of the word we normally think of - that is, he has traveled to a different country to do missions. Only this time, we didn't send him somewhere, he came to us from somewhere.
It's weird. A country that was (and still is) the largest supporter of missionaries in the world, needs missionaries sent to it. It seems the ABF leader is from Kenya where approximately 80% of the population is Christian… more than we have here in the U.S. Sadly, some surveys indicate that fewer than 30% of Americans have Evangelical Christian beliefs.
It seems that what secularizing forces haven't done, the mainline denominations have done for them. The decay in our major denominations, has in effect, snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory. A country decidedly Christian by choice, is loosing that Christianity through the very churches that brought it here. How sad.
There isn't much we can do, but if nothing else, we should pray about it. This is a clear and present danger - but with the power of prayer, all things are still possible.
I stand mired in this sin
sights fixed on that mornful mount
I see you there, dying for me
I see you there, dying for me
I stand on the mount, how can I see you
as struggle in my sinfulness
As the thunder shakes the sky that day
I can't help but wonder how
How can I live, as I see you die?
How can I live, as you give your life for me?
Lord, you are the one, the only one
Yet you lived on this earth to die for me
And all I can ask is
how can I live when you died for me
All praise to the LORD God almighty, for He is the truth, for he is the first and the last. Thank-you Father for your faithfulness to your children throughout all of history, thank-you for your faithfulness with me.
Kevin Hartwig has another really interesting piece over on the Sakamuyo Network. In it, he notes the over-emphasis of numbers in today's Church. I think he strikes on something that can be expanded to an even larger concept: placing goals ahead of the Gospel and of the Church body.
Too often, it seems, we are so worried about the goal, the means really do seem justified. However, the church should be careful not to alienate or hurt members on the way. At my church, during Stewardship month (November) we often use a plan and sermon series known as We are Family. That's important… we are family, and we shouldn't ignore that fact when working on stuff.
Whether its raising money, or finding new ways to promote the local church, we should insure that our attempts don't tear apart the existing family in an attempt to “adopt” new members. While no one would intentionally do this, it is something that still happens way to often.
Isn't that the way it is with religion as well? As Christians, we must have faith there is a God. We must have faith that Jesus' death was enough to atone for us. However, just like science, our faith also applies reason. It is reasonable to believe abiogenesis is impossible, and evolution is a simply a device for Secular Humanism to displace religion. Natural revelation reveals a beauty in this earth that can only be from divine orgin.
So, the next time someone suggests that science is much more reasonable than religion…. Remind them that all science requires faith, and most scientists need a lot more faith than one needs to accept the Bible. The burdon of proof is on science - whether they admit it or not. Quite frankly, acceptance of God is the only truly scientific response to the evidence we have.
My friend Kevin Hartwig has an insightful piece about judging at his site. I must say he is quite right. I'm certainly guilty of judging… It is so easy to judge, but so hard to “undo” that judgement.
Not to sound like a “date setter,” but I really think we should be watching for continued fulfillment of the book of Revelation in the near future. Why? Well, it all started late last year…. Slashdot.org carried a story about human bio-chips. One poster aptly summed up what this sounded like.
Moving that out of sight out of mind mode, I didn't think about it much more - until last month. It was then that a report surfaced about a pontential nationalization of drivers licenses in the U.S., eventually moving toward a card that could do much more. Combine that with the previous biochip link, and you can clearly see what I am suggesting.
Now, a friend of mine on CS-FSLUG sent in a message suggesting that the third temple of Israel may be being built very soon (he didn't have more information for now). Someone else on the list noted that he had heard that Israel may be stockpiling the needed granite to build the temple as well.
The final piece of my prophecy puzzle come in a blog post today by a Pastor, who coincidentally works at the hosting company I am with. He notes a very interesting parallel between Israel's condition and Bible prophecy. While this isn't something that necessarily only fits now, it does round out things quite well.
In summary, while this could be a lot of rumblings from a storm that ends up going somewhere else, I can't help but think something larger is happening right now. With the increasing push toward globalism, and the means to facilitate it - including technology and the UN, as well as an increasing disregard for the Bible, don't be surprised for something to happen. Soon.
Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia! Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia! Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!
—Charles Wesley, Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Happy Easter! Christ is RISEN!
To the darkest day in A.D. 33
Came the mercy and compassion of eternity
Sent there by a Father with love beyond His tears
Blameless One, the only Son
to bear the guilt of all these years
And as I watch Him struggle up that hill
Without a thought of turning back
I cannot help but wonder What did He die for?
When He died for you and me
Made the sacrifice
So that we could all be free
I believe we will answer each to heaven
For the way we spend a priceless liberty
Look inside and ask the question
What did he die for?
When he died for me
-Twila Paris, What Did He Die For?
Ah, what a great night. Good Friday services are always uplifting in a solemn way, with the promise of Easter just a day away. Pastor Friz did a touching solo of “Where you There?” during the drama only added to the effect of an evening service (I love evening worship services!).
Speaking of drama, that kept things interesting the last two nights. For the second year in a row I was a projectionist for the Maundy Thursday/Good Friday services. This time it was a bit more interesting with two ten foot screens - one operated by me, one by our A/V extrodinaire at church (not knowing if he would want to be mentioned online, I won't say his name here). All this was happening while our four Pastors (including Pastor Emeritus Pollmann) and several congregants participated in the drama The Cry of the Whole Congregation. Great stuff.
Anyway. Enough boring details probably no one outside of St. Paul's cares about.
It's also worth noting - on a technical note, that is - that the K Desktop Environment (KDE) 3 should be out probably April 2nd. I think they'd have it out on Monday, if not for the potential for becoming the aim of jokes beings that Monday is April Fools Day.