Questions for Christians.

I think this thread has been characterized by a minimum of potshots, and for that I’m glad.

And by and large I agree with FoG (for once!) (Of course, it helps that Lauralee passed him the crib notes ;))

And fHg, it’s good to see you over here. Bunch of threads your opinion would be valuable additions to, mostly in this forum.

My responses to the questions:

1. Why do I have to do this publicly?

You don’t. However, the whole idea is one of entering into a life-transforming relationship. “Accepting Jesus” is more like getting married than anything else in everyday life, if you don’t mind mixing a few metaphors.

Given that, your everyday life is going to change. Because part of what you buy into is to be His witness. I hasten to add that that does not mean to go around doing your best J.W./Mormon knocking-on-doors impression --unless that happens to be what you feel called to do, and get confirmation of. That’s among the most useless forms of witnessing I know of – virtually everyone responds by rejecting you and the message you’re trying to bring. But maybe you feel called to speak out against the death penalty, or abortion, or the local gambling club, or whatever strikes you as something that is just plain wrong. Maybe you feel called to sit down with the unwashed and unloveable and show them the human caring that’s missing from their lives. Whatever it is, you need to be doing it in Jesus’s name. And in so doing, you’re of course in fact witnessing for Him.

If you decide to affiliate with a local church that expects some kind of formal, upfront commitment rite, you do it proudly, as someone He has called.

But no, you’re under no obligation vis-a-vis Him to do any particular kind of commitment. You may be so obligated, as regards your neighbors, as His loving friend privileged to let people know that you are. But that’s between you and Him, and secondarily you and them.

2. If only God knows that I love God, do I still get into heaven?

What Lauralee said. Technically yes, practically not really – because you will (presumably) feel it important to let people know. (I say this because in my experience most people who do decide to commit to Jesus do in fact get that sense of needing to make it public.) Besides, part of his instructions are:

**3. If someone Loves God, can that someone do bad things (pay for abortions, swear, fornicate…) and still get into heaven? **

Sure. Happens all the time. The general idea, however, is that you start feeling guilty about doing “bad things” – and that’s the prick of conscience, God working within you to help you fight what might be moving you do act against His will. Let me note that your moral choices are the ones you feel called to by Him, not necessarily what somebody whips open a Bible and quotes verses out of context to prove to you are “bad.”

This repentance is not to be confused for one moment with guilt and self-denial. That would be a disgusting way to work. To take “fornication” from your list as an example, God knows darn well that she is a gorgeous woman and you’d just love to jump her bones – He made her gorgeous and gave you a sex drive, after all – but the idea that you’re enjoying your new life in Him far more than getting your rocks off in a transient pickup with her is the key to this whole principle. And, of course, He smiles on the idea of you and she finding each other the human being you’d like to spend the rest of your lives with, and committing to each other for a lifetime, and then enjoying sex as He intended it to be – the physical celebration of the love you share.

Much like dogsbody said over on the Seven Deadly Sins thread, nothing is specifically wrong; the sins are perversions of God’s good gifts.

Falc, I’m sorry if you think it was over the top, but I stand by my position. I mean, look at how someone I’ve never even heard of addresses me for the first time:

Right. Because it’s not like I or my wife have ever been Christians or anything, so we sure have “zippo understanding of a belief in Christ.” And certainly it doesn’t pay to, you know, know something about someone before you say something that leads to a terminal case of foot-in-mouth disease.

I can’t think of a better word to describe Wildest Bill, FriendofGod, JerseyDiamond, and all their cohorts. People whose minds are completely closed to new information, who obstinately refuse to ever consider evidence contrary to their premises, who are pathologically incapable of learning anything new . . . seems like a perfectly appropriate word to me.



[Alan Greenspan voice]

I cannot abide Irrational Over-Exuberance!

[/Alan Greenspan voice]

Thanks to everyone for answering the questions. I appreciate the time you’ve taken.

Here are some things that stick in my mind:

This is how I am understanding your responses: Becoming a Christian involves loving God, and giving one’s life to God. Whether the “rebirth” occurs publicly (with Baptismal pools or ceremony) or privately is a matter of choice – one should follow his/her heart. Once the person Belongs To God, (s)he will choose to do good works and follow the will of God. If (s)he truly loves God, then (s)he will be able to resist the temptation to sin.

The Christian who truly loves God will be open about this love, but will not make a tremendous public show about how righteous (s)he is. The exceptions are those “witnesses” who feel called to share their faith with others, and to “save” the souls of others. Loudmouth holier-than-thou Christians aren’t really Christians, but they do inspire extreme displeasure in others – who call them “fundies” and “a**holes.”

According to what I’ve read, I don’t truly love God. Why else would I be guiltlessly desire to indulge in fornication? Since I (apparently) don’t love God, I must not be a Real Christian.

I still love Christians, though. I suppose I should keep searching for Truth – just not in church.

Thanks again, to all of you.

Yikes! This isn’t what I meant at all. More like, if (s)he truly loves God, the (s)he will try to resist the temptation to sin. Everyone fails. It’s part of being human. Perfection is not a requirement of Christianity.

This, also, is not my experience. I’ve found that more often than not, the loud variety of Christian is a new Christian. They’ve got this brand new faith, and a real desire to do something with it, but not the learning (and I mean Christian training here) to do it effectively. It’s not in the least bit unusual for them to be called fundies or a**holes, though! :wink:

dlb made an analogy between publically declaring your love for God and publically declaring your love for your girlfriend:

We do have private marriages. It’s called eloping. Not everyone gets married this way, but some do.

Because it feels really nice. :wink:

It also says to all other would-be suitors that your girlfriend is taken, so keep your cotton-pickin’ mitts off 'er. And in a way, the Christian who goes around publically bleating about his/her Christianity in an insistent fashion has the same effect: most everyone else around him/her loses interest in getting involved with this person’s God.

It only takes two to tango. Or horizontal-lambada, for that matter. And if doing the horizontal lambada doesn’t qualify as “girlfriend heaven”, I don’t know what does. :wink: