Friday, October 07, 2005

Not Everyone Deserves An Answer

In the quiet of the morning, just after I awaken, I like to lay in my bed praying and listening to the lead of the Holy Spirit. I often get ideas for what to post next on this blog. Whether it is because of certain events of the past day or a chance encounter with a person at the grocery store; the next morning is when the scripture verses that I am being led to share typically come pouring into my mind. This morning, that didn't happen. Something different did.

Yesterday morning, I had a great phone conversation with my new friend and sister in Christ, Susan Smith. She is a fabulous person who is on fire for the Lord Jesus. She is involved with a ministry called, "Bridges for Peace" located in the Holy Land of Jerusalem. We met while blogging on the internet. Our comments shared between each other here and our conversations on the phone have truly been a blessing for both of us.

During our talk yesterday, she told me, "Christine, you never give up do you." I asked her what she meant by that. She mentioned (paraphrased here) that I have the good intention of continuing to share the gospel of Christ through my posts here, but that certain people are just never going to listen.

She probably didn't even know how prophetic that comment would become for me. At the time, I didn't even realize how important it was for me to hear that.

I thought a lot about her words of wisdom throughout the day. I thought of the people who come here to challenge what is being shared in my blog posts. I thought about the scripture that tells us to "give an answer to everyone for the hope that is in you." I thought about how Susan often has told me that sometimes being silent is best.

In previous posts at this blog, I have mentioned and written about Christian apologist Greg Koukl. He was the man who debated with Deepak Chopra on the "Faith Under Fire" show. You can read a bit about that encounter in my post called, "Hostility Towards Christian Faith".

I remember sharing a bit about Greg in my phone conversation with Susan. I mentioned a few details about his ministry and that he has a great website.

This morning, I opened the mail which had been sitting on the counter since yesterday afternoon. The first piece I chose to open was a newsletter from Greg Koukl's "Stand to Reason" ministry. The message of that newsletter was precisely what my friend Susan had been telling me!

I thought, wow! This is my blog message for the day.

Here is Greg's message:

*******

Dear Christine,

Not everyone deserves an answer.

I know this sounds odd, coming from me. Characteristically, an ambassador is on the ready, alert for chances to represent Christ, not backing away from a challenge or an opportunity. It's part of STR's Ambassadors Creed.

Sometimes, though, the wisest course of action may be to step away and bow out graciously. Not every challenge merits a response.

Jesus warned, "Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine" (Matthew 7;6). Case in point, Jesus was amazingly tight-lipped before Pilate (John 19:9). At times He was also very evasive with religious leaders intent on tricking Him (Matthew 21:27).

Knowing when to step back requires the ability to separate the hogs and the dogs from the lost sheep looking for a shepherd.

But how do we know when someone's crossed the line, when a moment of truth is about to become a mountain of trouble? When do we have an obligation to speak, and when should we save our pearls for another time?

Part of the answer can be found in Jesus' next words: "...lest they trample [the pearls] under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces."

You should not be generous with the truth when you encounter someone who shows utter contempt for the precious gift being offered him. He will simply trample it in the mud and then viciously turn on you.

If you sense someone pawing the turf and readying for a charge, it may be time to leave. Don't waste your efforts with people like this. There's plenty of ripe fruit waiting to be harvested. Save your energy for more productive encounters.

When I was a young Christian, the wife of my mentor gave me some solid advice from John 10. In this chapter Jesus uses a "figure of speech" (verse 6) to describe the work of the Holy Spirit drawing someone to Christ. "My sheep hear My voice," Jesus said. "I know them, and they follow Me, and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish" (John 10:27-28).

This has very practical application for evangelism.

"When I share my faith, " Kathy told me, "I pay attention to how the 'sheep' respond. Most will keep on eating grass. But once in a while you'll notice that some lift their heads. There is a moment of recognition as they 'hear' the Shepherd's 'voice.' "

Kathy understood that it was Jesus' job to change the heart. Since she was confident the Holy Spirit was going before her, she was simply looking for the people who were looking for her, so to speak. She was looking for those already hungry for the Gospel. She left the rest alone.

Of course, there are times when we find ourselves in a Jeremiah situation, being faithful to speak the truth even though it falls on deaf ears. But those occasions are not the rule. Usually, wisdom dictates we ration our efforts.

There is an exception to this principle, however.

I've learned from radio that sometimes my real audience is not the one I'm talking to, but the one listening in, eavesdropping on the conversation. This happens all the time. A word spoken to a hardened heart bounces off and hits a soft one. Lee Strobel call this "ricochet evangelism."

The enterprise is rarely smooth and tidy, though. When you encounter abuse, don't take it personally. It's not about you; it's about Christ. When you falter, don't get discouraged. It's a process. I get caught flat-footed, too. It's a chance to learn for the next time around.

The principle? Make the best of the opportunities you have, then trust the Holy Spirit to be the witnessing partner who makes the difference. You do your part, then let God do His.

And I have every confidence your trust in the Lord and your faithfulness as an ambassador will continue, because you're not one of those who kept on "eating grass." Instead, you "lifted your head" from the crowd to be counted among God's own.

(end of letter)

*******
Thank you Susan. Thank you Greg. I needed to hear that.

My blog exists for the sheep.

My blog exists for those who are willing to "lift up their heads" instead of those who would only keep on "eating grass".

My blog exists for "ricochet evangelism" (loved that analogy).

My blog exists to help "guard the treasure" that Christ has entrusted to us (2 Timothy 1:14).

Christine

28 comments:

Clandestine said...

So are you telling us you're not interested in having us read anymore?

If you are saying that, just say it.

Christinewjc said...

Of course not. That post ministered to me, personally, and I wanted to share it with whomever may also need to hear its message and/or wants to read it.

Thomas said...

"My blog exists for the sheep." Well, I gets that's my cue to bow out. Power to the sheeple!

Christinewjc said...

So, Thomas, are you saying you are one who is content with "eating grass"?

Christinewjc said...

Clandestine,

I noticed that you had this to say in a previous blog post response to Apologia Christi:

"We're never going to agree on this, as I'm sure you'll never change your mind, and I know for sure I'll never change mine. But it always helps to understand each other's perspective even if we don't agree. Don't you think?"

Couldn't my recent post be considered as an example of what reasons there are for why minds often cannot easily be changed?

Doesn't it reiterate what you have stated here?

Though we are obviously on opposite sides of the issue at hand, could it demonstrate how we most likely have arrived at our own personal views?

Clandestine said...

heehee - "power to the sheeple"

Christine, I think we're misunderstanding what you wrote because it sure seemed to mean that you are not interested in having people who don't already agree with you read what you're writing...

Clandestine said...

I wrote that before I read your comment, sorry...

The post seems to me to be telling Christian people when not to "waste their breath." I don't see how it demonstrates how anyone arrives at their views, just when and when not to bother sharing your beliefs with others...perhaps I'm misunderstanding, or perhaps we're taking this differently? I don't know...but I don't see how your questions to me can be answered in the context of this post. I'm not being hostile - I really don't see the relation...

mamalicious said...

I didn't see the relation either and was actually confused (I get confused a lot, so it could just be me). I guess I read your post (Christine) as saying you were encouraged to just let it lie...and quit "wasting your breath" as Clandy said. I'm not sure how your question about arriving at our different viewpoints relates to your original post. Again, I might just be confused.

I think it's worth noting that I truly believe we're all coming at this with good intentions. I don't think Clandy or Thomas or you are coming at this with the hope of "fighting" or arguing...again, I just wish we could understand one another. I think one of our issues is that we're trying to meet you in the middle, but you won't even think about coming our way. Would even saying you understand any of what we say (or accept it) mean defeat? I'm asking honestly and earnestly here...

Oh, and thanks for the welcome back. I've been too long absent.

Christinewjc said...

Hi all,

Yes. People can often be misunderstood.

That's a fact.

Mamalicious said: " I think it's worth noting that I truly believe we're all coming at this with good intentions."

That is a really good point and I'm glad that you see things in that way. I plan to expand on that idea as it relates to sharing the gospel with non-believers.

I would love to clarify my post and points right now, but I am leaving to take my best friend out to breakfast this morning for an early birthday celebration.

I'll be sure to come back and post later today. Thanks for sticking around and being patient with me to reply!

Perhaps some of the new and regular commentators who visit this blog will join in the discussion and share some of their points of view here today.

Christinewjc said...

OK, where were we.

I think it might help to point out that in the previous post, Apologia Christi had some very important and valid questions which went unanswered by Clandestine in her reply. These are the three that I am referring to (and, I am including the background info for clarification on the question):

Apologia Christi said: "I've yet to see scientific evidence to refute the overwhelming scientific evidence showing the full humanity of the unborn from the point of conception. One only needs to point to the scientific Law of Biogenesis and any standard embryology textbook to understand and realize that you and I were once product of sperm and egg fertilization. Did you not have value then as you do now?"

This last question was sidestepped and thus left unanswered.

Next question that was not answered:

Apologia Christi said: "Differences in humans based on their size, level of development, environment, or degree of dependency are all irrelevant to dismissing the full humanity of the unborn. If they are not human, what are they?
Again, last question was left unanswered.

The final question:

Apologia Christi said: "At issue is the status of the unborn: Are they human beings? If so, we should legally protect them the way we would any other group that is unjustly harmed."

It is obvious to me that Clandestine chose not to answer the specific questions. Instead, she shared her own viewpoint about a woman's rights on abortion.

With this in mind, we could look at my "Not Everyone Deserves An Answer" post and see that such a thing is often a reality within conversations of people who disagree on an issue. They tend to "talk past" each other and ignore the critical points being made by the other person.

How does this relate to Jesus' point about "do not cast your pearls before swine"? Jesus was telling us that some people are not going to hear his gospel message of salvation. Some will outright reject it, some will ignore it, some will call it 'mythology', some will demean and bash it, some will twist it, some will attempt to refute it, some will just blatantly deny its truth.

Jesus was telling his followers that we need to discern those who genuinely want to "lift up their heads", take notice of what is being said and NOT share verses and the gospel with those who are known only for being present to banter the topic.

Thomas has already admitted to me (in a post from the past) that he likes to come to this blog to banter here. One can admire his honesty. I know where he is coming from and can choose whether or not I should respond to his posts.

Notice how quickly he chose to flee from the conversation after reading this particular post. I think I know why.

He most likely thinks that his intellect (which, admittedly I see as keen)is far superior to the knowledge of God (because he is atheist) and His Word. The Bible says that the message of the gospel is 'foolishness to those who are perishing'.

If someone is of the opinion that Jesus Christ is (or was) a myth, they are not going to take anything I, or any other Christian would say, seriously.

Having observed Thomas' reactions to my posts for quite a while now, I can say with a certain degree of confidence that he rejects Christ's call for repentance and belief in Him. He showed his contempt for believers when he mocked those who are called 'sheep' of the Good Shepherd. However, in Christian thought, ALL people are considered 'sheep'; it's just that some sheep are currently lost while others have already been found.

It is at one's death and/or when Christ returns where the separation of the "sheep" and the "goats" occurs. This will be based upon each person's individual decision in answering Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I am?"

Now, let's go back to my question posed to Clandestine:

"Couldn't my recent post be considered as an example of what reasons there are for why minds often cannot easily be changed?"

This was in reply to her post reply to Apologia Christi that said:

"We're never going to agree on this, as I'm sure you'll never change your mind, and I know for sure I'll never change mine. But it always helps to understand each other's perspective even if we don't agree. Don't you think?"

I think that Jesus knew that some people would never change their minds about Him, either. He was telling his followers to do all that they can, but realize that some may have the same attitude towards Him that Clandestine happens to have about the abortion issue. She stated that she would NEVER change her mind.

Notice that she attempts to be tolerant when she stated: "But it always helps to understand each other's perspective even if we don't agree. Don't you think?"

This works on some issues, but not on the issue of Jesus Christ and the question he gives us, "Who do you say that I am?" We either choose Him, or we don't. There is no tolerance, no inbetween, no relativistic answer allowed.

The great Christian apologist C.S. Lewis once said that we do not have the option of declaring that Jesus is 'just another prophet' or, 'just a good teacher' or 'a good man who once walked the earth and was unfortunately crucified'. None of those options are open. You either side with the crowd that might claim Jesus was a liar and/or lunatic; or, He is Lord and God. (See Lewis' classic book "Mere Christianity"...great book!)

The Bible reveals who Jesus Christ is. He is the way, the truth and the life. The Bible shows us the difference between good and evil, truth and lies, death and life, sin and holiness, justice and mercy, love and hate, salvation and separation from God.

Within the Ten Commandments from God, it is revealed that we are not to murder. Now, either abortion is murder or it isn't. There can be no inbetween.

The Bible reveals that there is absolute truth. Relativism is made up by man. When Pilate was face to face with Jesus before the crucifixion happened, Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" Jesus stayed silent. The Truth was standing right in front of Pilate, but he refused to see Him as the truth.

We each have the same choice. We are all like Pilate in that we all have to answer the question, 'what is truth?"

So, where do you go to discover absolute truth?

As the analogy in the original blog post stated, we have the ultimate choice to either be one of those who keep on "eating grass" ; or, choose to be one who "lifts their head" from the crowd to be counted among God's own.

Stephen said...

The Holy Spirit must be speaking so strongly to so many today. Something is happening, it is big - and it seems to be the same message.

Susan Smith has a lot of godly insight and wisdom.

Christine, time and time again I have wanted to reply to the arrogant activists and "tares." Yet I have learned some very important things.

1. There are people who are "reprobates" whom God has "given over" to their sin - whatever it may be. We may not know who they are, but Jesus said we'll know them by their fruit (no pun intended.)

2. Arguing is not what I believe we have been called to do - and I don't care how immature, how ugly and how sick and perverted some so-called "adults" may be.

The phones ring off the hook with people looking for help daily - REAL help. I won't waste my time in the flesh or in anger at people who don't want to hear the Truth. I've got more imprtant things of the Lord to tend to: ministering to those who are seeking help.

3. Finally, Hal Lindsey gave a beautiful picture of sharing Christ when I was with him in MN last weekend.

I found out the event was even larger than I thought: 4,000+ people attended.

Hal shared the scripture about Christ - and how HIS sheep will hear HIS voice.

He gave the compelling example of shepherds in Israel who would NOT mark their sheeps, but bring them into town to buy food.

All of the shepherds put ALL of the sheep together in the same holding pens.

When it was time to leave - and hundreds of sheep were gathered all together, the shepherd would make a distinct, musical sound or call.

INSTANTLY - all around the pen - one by one - ears would go up and sheep's heads began to look where the sound was coming from.

Immediately, ALL of the shepherd's own sheep came moved to the gate and came to him - while the others did not budge.

"My sheep hear my voice - and all that the Father hath given me will come, and NO man can pluck them out of my hands."

We've got the craziest of crazies on our blogs - and some even the most wicked and vile imaginable.

Yet if they are one of HIS sheep - at some point, their ears WILL go up.

MOST WON'T.

"Straight is the gate that leadeth to life, and FEW there be that find it."

Yes, we can preach the Gospel - and we should. If there are those interested, you'll know. Otherwise - "shake the dust from your sandals." "Don't cast your pearls before swine."

Jesus' own words -- and they think WE are "intolerant?"

I've learned my lesson a long time ago with many of them, and the discussion is over. That was their choice and decision.

Yes, without many words. Susan is wise. So is Ray Comfort. So are many others.

"Remember, if they hate YOU --- they hated ME first." That's what Jesus said.

Keep up the great work here - and Susan, where were you sister all of our lives??

Susan Smith said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Susan Smith said...

Stephen & Irene:

To answer your question: More than 20 years of my 56 years of life were spent wallowing in a pit of lesbianism and alcohol abuse. My deliverance began in 1985 when God delivered me from homosexual acts. He delivered me from the identity in 1988. Years later he delivered me from alcohol abuse and after that from a 40+ year addiction to tobacco. It was 14 years after I stopped believing God made me "gay" when I first gave my testimony in public here in Jerusalem in 2002 to the staff of my organization.

It took years for God to prepare me for His good purpose. He is faithful even when we are not. Praise His Name. (ss)

3:20 AM

Clandestine said...

If you don't want me to talk to you, again, just tell me. I don't understand your attack or why you are taking everything I said out of context.

Besides, in that last post, I only responded because you said you wanted me to! So which is it? I was waiting to respond to your follow-up questions on the other post because you had said you would have some. Then, I could have answered christi's questions, too.

So, I don't know what to say - you asked me to respond and then told me you don't want me to. If you could just give me a flat-out answer, we'd all be a little less confused, I'd say. I am also not really sure why you posted that one here as mamalicious and I were hoping you'd clarify your post and follow-up questions.

I am confused as to where you want this conversation to go - or if you want it to continue at all. I'll go answer christi's questions on the other post, I guess, where you had asked for my opinion....

By the way, my point with the 'we won't agree on this' business was about abortion specifically, and I went on to say that we all have to live on the planet together, and if we understand each other better, perhaps we can do a better job at that, too...

mamalicious said...

Wow - I guess I feel, yet again, like the conversation has come to a halt. Hi Stephen and Irene, I've missed our conversation. I hope you are both well.

Should we continue, everyone?

Christinewjc said...

Hi Mamalicious & all,

I should have let all of you know that my kids are home from college for the weekend. We have been quite busy, and when we've just been hanging out, they hog the computer! I don't mind of course. I'm so happy when they come home to visit!

I'll be back on regularly again on Monday. Hope you enjoyed your weekend!
Christine

Christinewjc said...

Clandestine,

O.K. Since it appears that my last post didn't explain or clear things up, I will try to approach it in a slightly different way.

You said: "If you don't want me to talk to you, again, just tell me. I don't understand your attack or why you are taking everything I said out of context."

I was attempting to explain why what I share (as well as what the other Christians who post at this blog often share here) seems to either get ignored or it falls on deaf ears when people with a different worldview read it.

A simple example is what just occurred.

What you perceived as an 'attack', I see as instruction of Biblical Christian beliefs vs. secular humanistic views. They clash. Period.

Could you please tell me where I took things 'out of context'?

Understanding each other isn't always possible where spiritual matters are concerned.

As an example, we could talk all day about the conversation between Chopra and Koukl, however, the end result of that encounter demonstrated that those who want to "embrace their uncertainty" would most likely always disagree with the absolute truth shared from the Bible. There really can be no compromise between these two views.

I attempted to draw an analogy between the truth of Biblical Christian faith and the truth about the fact that science demonstrates that an unborn baby is human at conception (shared by Apologia Christi), thus, we can conclude that killing it through the act of abortion is murder.

In both cases (the Chopra/Koukl example and the abortion example), only one side can be true.

Embracing uncertainty cannot be considered as true at the same time that the absolute truth of the Bible can be considered as true.

Killing a baby in the womb cannot be considered as murder while also being considered as 'not murder' at the same time.

By the same token, Biblical Christianity cannot be viewed as absolute truth and non-truth at the same time.

Someone's views about these, as well as other moral dilemmas has to be incorrect.

You (and your friends) think it is my views on these issues that are incorrect.

I (and other Christians, specifically Bible-believing, born-again Christians) think it is your views on these issues that are incorrect.

Christians rely on the truth of God's Word to reach their consensus and conclusions on matters such as these. I am not sure what you base your 'truth' on.

Like you said a while back, we will probably never agree unless one of us 'changes our mind'.

I do agree that discussing these issues may help us to realize why we believe differently, but 'understanding' can only go so far. It reaches a certain point where, in order to really 'understand' (according to certain definitions of that word), there would have to be compromise. That isn't possible when it comes to certain matters of faith. To do so, would require moral relativism; a position which I view as untenable. To use the words of a great book that I have read on the subject, it would be like "planting your feet in mid-air".

If, for example, you are using the definition of the word understanding to mean 'a mutual agreement', then that is the wrong word to use.

Even if you are trying to get to the point of an additional definition of that word such as 'a state of cooperation between people'; I don't think that the topic of abortion between pro-life and pro-abortion/choice people could meet that requirement.

If you are referring to the definition of the term 'understanding' as meaning either 1. comprehension, personal interpretation, or 2. knowledge of or familiarity with a particular thing, then that could possibly be achieved. However, neither one of those definitions ultimately satisfies or solves the problem of disagreement on the issue(s). Thus, understanding can only go so far when it comes to such issues as these and many, many more.

Clandestine said...

My main question, that you still haven't answered, is whether or not you want this conversation to continue.

Understanding does not mean agreeing, I don't think. For example, I understand that Mormon people believe that drinking coffee is against God's will. I don't believe that He cares. So, I UNDERSTAND their beliefs, but I don't agree. But that's fine - as long as the Mormon person doesn't bother me about drinking coffee, it doesn't matter to me at all if they choose not to.

You said -
"Embracing uncertainty cannot be considered as true at the same time that the absolute truth of the Bible can be considered as true."

But I don't think that's true. I don't think any person can ever know the ultimate truth. I mean, really. You believe and have faith that your belief is right. But there is no way to be absolutely certain. I know you BELIEVE you are, and there's no way I can get you to admit that you can't know for sure. But that's true. The only think that is true, then, is that no person can ever know for sure what the ultimate truth is. If you think about it, there are so few things people know for sure. I know my couch is purple. But I can't know for sure that it looks the same to me as it does to you. Think about that - is there anyway we can be sure that what you call purple and what I call purple looks the same to both of us? There's no way.

We know math for certain, right? But anything else?

"Killing a baby in the womb cannot be considered as murder while also being considered as 'not murder' at the same time. "

But it is, isn't it? You call it murder, I don't. So it is considered murdr and not at the same time.

"By the same token, Biblical Christianity cannot be viewed as absolute truth and non-truth at the same time."

And this is the same. And more complicated. Because your Biblical Truth is not the same as everyone else's (which is what I was talking about a couple of posts ago).

The whole point, I think, of talking to people you don't agree with is not to prove them wrong or persuade them to agree. The whole point is to understand each other and find a way we can live with each other and share the planet so we don't end up continuing to destroy one another!

Clandestine said...

P.S. If you are not open to discussion, I'd really appreciate your telling me so I can stop checking the past posts to see if you've responded.

Thanks.

Christinewjc said...

I thought we have been involved in discussion! Isn't that what this is called?

As a visitor to this blog, it is entirely up to you whether or not YOU want to continue. I cannot make that decision for you.

BTW, just for clarity, Jesus said, "Your word is truth" when he was in prayer. He was speaking to God the Father. He was referring to the Word of God in the Bible. Knowing what is truth and what is relativism is easy. I agree with Jesus' words.

Clandestine said...

Christine,

I don't know how to explain. Your post says, "Not everyone deserves an answer." So, it seems to me, you're not interested in having people discuss unless we all agree. But you won't say one way or the other.

So just tell me - do you want me to continue trying to discuss this or not?

Christinewjc said...

Clandestine,

It is clearly stated at the top of my profile that I created this blog for a purpose which is the same purpose as the church I attend. It is dedicated to evangelizing so that people can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ, equipped for ministry, and sent out as soul winners for the Lord.

This particular blog post was more for those who are already saved through faith in Jesus Christ. It targeted their efforts to be "equipped for ministry, and sent out as soul winners for the Lord."

If the post 'spoke' to you and created a desire to know more and, (or maybe even just a curiosity) for you to possibly consider being saved through faith in Jesus Christ, then it also served a purpose for you.

If the post created a desire in you to simply argue against what is being shared (e.g. just to banter), then maybe it would serve no purpose for you.

You see, I can't answer that question. Only you can.

As for my part in conversation here, I agree with what 'Kathy' stated within the article:

"Kathy understood that it was Jesus' job to change the heart. Since she was confident the Holy Spirit was going before her, she was simply looking for the people who were looking for her, so to speak. She was looking for those already hungry for the Gospel. She left the rest alone."

Again, only YOU can know within your own heart whether or not you are 'hungry for the Gospel' Clandestine. And, only Jesus knows for certain whether or not you will choose Him someday and have a change of heart.

Did you read Susan Smith's post in this thread? I would encourage you to read it again. Her testimony is just awesome. I notice that you haven't commented on it at all. Why is that?

It is so important that I am re-posting it right here, right now so that you can read and study it. Look deeply at what she shares, Clandestine, because the Lord worked several miracles in her life.

Susan Smith said:

"More than 20 years of my 56 years of life were spent wallowing in a pit of lesbianism and alcohol abuse. My deliverance began in 1985 when God delivered me from homosexual acts. He delivered me from the identity in 1988. Years later he delivered me from alcohol abuse and after that from a 40+ year addiction to tobacco. It was 14 years after I stopped believing God made me "gay" when I first gave my testimony in public here in Jerusalem in 2002 to the staff of my organization.

It took years for God to prepare me for His good purpose. He is faithful even when we are not. Praise His Name. (ss)"

Her deliverance from homosexual behavior, then the identity, and also alcohol abuse was gradual and occured over a period of years, but it happened! I have spoken to her on the phone and she is happier now than she has ever been in her life!

As most born-again Christians would admit, they would NEVER want to go back to the person they once were before Christ came into their lives.

Some people might say, "I can't change." They are correct. When they try to change on their own they often fail. But with God ALL things are possible! Give Jesus a chance. He can make you a new person.

mamalicious said...

Christine;

I get from your most recent message to Clandestine that unless you're a born again Christian or one who is interested in becoming one, maybe you should think twice about visiting your blog. Is that the message?

All I think Clandestine was trying to say is that sometimes we have different ideas of what it means to be a Christian and to believe in God, so there is some confusion as to whom you are inviting to the table for conversation. I think it's clear now and you consider our "banter" to be contrary to the purpose of your blog. I can accept that, but I don't think it's mere "banter." I think we were attempting civil, important conversation that goes to the heart of some important discussions.

Christinewjc said...

Mamalicious,

The one person that I have used as an example of someone who is only here to banter is Thomas. Why did I say that? Because he admitted to me long ago in a previous post that this was his purpose for visiting here. It's kinda like a 'sport' for him, whereas, it is serious business (when sharing God's Word) with me.

Within his more recent post, he admitted to being an atheist, secular humanist etc. etc. Combining these two dialogues, I found that maybe he and I were 'wasting our breath' talking to each other.

If I am wrong about that, and he finds that he is getting something out of our exchanges here, then he is most welcome to come back any time and join in the conversations.

However, notice that HE chose to leave because my post stated that my blog exists for the 'sheep'(among the other reasons stated). Apparently, he didn't like reading that and opted to leave.

He used to pop in occasionally after we had various 'falling out' times on certain posts to each other. If he returns, I still would answer his posts. But I would pick and choose what portions to answer because I could recognize when he was just posting to poke fun at what was being shared. I clearly knew (because of his words) that he wasn't posting because he wanted to know more about Jesus Christ, God and the Bible. Often, his purpose was to argue against everything I was saying. I still answered because there may be many people who visit this blog searching for answers from God's Word and I love to share those answers for their benefit.

I really like Thomas as a person. He is intelligent, articulate, appears to be well read on many interesting subjects and he certainly is entertaining. However, he and I both know where we stand as far as the God of the Bible and Jesus Christ are concerned. For that reason, my posts to him are probably unfruitful FOR him, personally, but perhaps they benefit others who come here and read.

I don't consider every post here that disagrees with me as 'banter'. However, when I perceive someone arguing for arguings sake, then it becomes an unfruitful exchange.

About the born-again Christian comment. Those are Jesus' words, Mamalicious, not mine. He says we must be born again, not me. Here are the verses:

John 3:3 - Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Then, in John 3:7 Jesus states:

John 3:7 - Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

mamalicious said...

Christine, I'm not questioning the concept of "born again." I'm just trying to figure out if the "born agains" are the only ones you want to visit your blog.

I can appreciate not wanting to argue just for the sake of arguing. I grew up with an attorney father, so I can understand how exhausting that is. I do, however, believe that there's growth to be made (on both sides) by engaging in serious, difficult conversation. And being willing to examine some of the toughest issues - this is where real growth occurs, born again Christian or not. Do you agree?

Christinewjc said...

Yes. I can agree with what you said.

I only mentioned the "born again" portion to you because it appeared that you were saying that some Christians don't believe that it is necessary for salvation. You can correct me if I'm wrong about my perception of your post.

I am headed off to my Bible study and errands so I'll be back later to continue the conversation.

Clandestine said...

So, Christine - should I repost all the questions from the comments in the posts that were up before this one or should the conversation continue there?

Christinewjc said...

Whichever would be easier for you is fine with me.

If you choose to repost, perhaps you can gather them up and post them here in this thread.