Faith and reason: what is the relationship?

Recent posts have given rise to polemics from people of different persuasions. Sometimes the comments became personal and sometimes they were patronizing. The debate should get a decent airing. Faith and reason has been a battleground for centuries. It has manifested itself again in the comments on recent posts. There have been many attempts to resolve the tension between faith and reason. Different positions have been taken. The Reformers have theirs and so have the Roman Catholics. The discussion of this issue draws from theology and philosophy for insights and perspectives. Further readings in this issue may spur more discussion and enlighten readers about this issue. Wikipedia has a simplified introduction to the kind of possible positions at hand and has this to say:

Beliefs held “by faith” may be seen existing in a number of relationships to rationality:

Faith as underlying rationality: In this view, all human knowledge and reason is seen as dependent on faith: faith in our senses, faith in our reason, faith in our memories, and faith in the accounts of events we receive from others. Accordingly, faith is seen as essential to and inseparable from rationality. According to Rene Descartes, rationality is built first upon the realization of the absolute truth “I think therefore I am”, which requires no faith. All other rationalizations are built outward from this realization, and are subject to falsification at any time with the arrival of new evidence.
Faith as addressing issues beyond the scope of rationality: In this view, faith is seen as covering issues that science and rationality are inherently incapable of addressing, but that are nevertheless entirely real. Accordingly, faith is seen as complementing rationality, by providing answers to questions that would otherwise be unanswerable.
Faith as contradicting rationality: In this view, faith is seen as those views that one holds despite evidence and reason to the contrary. Accordingly, faith is seen as pernicious with respect to rationality, as it interferes with our ability to think, and inversely rationality is seen as the enemy of faith by interfering with our beliefs.
Faith and reason as essential together: This is the papal view that faith without reason leads to superstition, while reason without faith leads to nihilism and relativism.

Do read the full article on Faith and Rationality in Wikipedia. For something meatier and more philosophical go read this article from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy titled:  Faith and Reason.

What do you think is the relationship between faith and reason?

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74 Comments »

 
  • Ben says:

    I probably subscribe to all these views at one point or another, but I would like to think that I follow the first view the most. I would like to think that I am still grounded in rationality and logic rather than superstition.

    However, I accept that I am not God (obviously) so I don’t understand everything nor are my senses infallible. For example, we take for granted that a brick wall is solid, but the underlying reality in physics is that the brick wall is actually orders of magnitude more empty space than not. The point is, we can be fooled and we are fooled every single day. Even smart people and top scientists aren’t spared.

    A God, by our definition, cannot be fooled and has a complete understanding of reality. And if such a God actually exists, which then is more rational: Having more faith in what He promises or having more faith in our limited senses and understanding of reality? I suppose this reasoning is why I can sometimes justify suspending my belief in my senses or conventional wisdom and simply go by God’s word instead.

  • Wendy Lam says:

    I am only express a personal opinion based on my personal faith journey.

    My God has a choice of making himself seen and physical….this would have made it easier for his followers. “Yup, yesterday God came to my house and told me I have to tackle this tough issue this way…oh, he visited that town and healed all ? All converted ? Great !”

    Conversions would be easier, all the world will know him sooner. By seeing, by touching and physically experiencing him – rationally – who wouldnt welcome him into their lives ?

    But he chose to do it in ways that touch the hearts first…nevermind the mind. Jesus could have stayed on earth but he chose to send the invisible Holy Spirit. He touches our hearts first, then creates a new spirit and then change our minds (repentance)….always heart first.

    Pastor Kenny Gan’s testimony is one such example as with the thousands who cannot even explain why they heeded the altar call…they just felt touched and warmed and compelled to say Yes.

    As a practical person with a hardened cityfolk heart, my journey took longer than others to come to a same plane before God. My mind was a hindrance. If the mind dominates, then the living waters which comes forth from the belly seems a trickle. If the heart dominates, that flow seems strong and powerful.

    I doubt anyone can to rationalize God’s answer to life problems practically….. all the bible studies in the world can at best produce a model answer but it might be out of context.

    Try putting the parable of the rogue manager in today’s context in wallstreet….wah, government will send the manager to jail faster than he can say ROGUE….still confounds me…but I think God is telling me in adversity, to do all I can to survive and live….as father, he wants us to do all we can to 活着. I am not going to want to commit a crime but this parable toughened me mentally and spiritually, during very bad patches in my life, to grit my teeth and so my best to just LIVE.

    God says in the new covenant, he writes his commandments into our hearts…he didnt say mind or brains.

    So I am convinced, for my own Christian walk to get brighter and brighter unto the perfect day, I have to be continually renewed – starting in my spirit – allowing my heart to be malleable – regardless of my mind.

    • Non-Pentecostal says:

      HEB.8:10-11/JER.31:33-34 = “33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
      …….34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

      JOHN.14:26 & 16:8 = “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” &
      ….”And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
      _ _ _ _ _ _ _

      Most newly converted Gentile Christians r not very well versed with the laws/commandments/Word of God.(cf: Jewish Christians) They need to read about a certain law/Word of God b4 the Holy Spirit can write it on their hearts and re*minds them about it later.

      As they go thru life, they will encounter many complex/difficult situations at various stages of their lives when they will hv to refer to the law/Word of God/Bible for spiritual guidance. Eg, should he/she tithe.? Should he/she engage in pre-marital sex.? Should he/she love his/her office enemies.? Can he/she consult the horoscope.? Can he/she drink coffee, tea or alcohol.? What to say on their death bed.? Etc. It is a learning process or spiritual growth.
      ….In fact, this is the process by which the HS helps the believers to keep the laws/Word of God, thereby avoiding the curse/punishment of God. Jesus Christ aka the Word wants His people to be blessed by God and not to be cursed by God for lack of knowledge(HOSEA.4:6).

      Ideally, God would hv preferred all His people to be Jewish Christians, who r already steeped in the laws/Word of God from childhood, eg Paul n Peter = less striving by the Spirit of God to cleanse/purify/sanctify them(GEN.6:3).
      ….But humans r born with evil hearts/flesh. Bc JC did not “save” them from Roman occupation and gave them back their kingdom on earth(Israel), most of the Jews rejected Jesus as their Christ. So, the gospel of salvation was then opened up to the Gentiles thru apostle Paul.

      Complications arise when “dirty, wild n untame” Gentile adults become newly converted Christians. Eg Chinese tradition uses surnames which caused Chinese families to value their sons more than their daughters. Hence, a Chinese Christian parent may “sin” against his/her daughter bc of this tradition.
      ….Jewish naming tradition does not hv this sinful tendency, eg Joshua, son of Nun.(similar to Muslim names)

  • lyn says:

    At last Jouneyman’s favorite topic…

    Faith and reason are at opposite ends of the spectrum, I think.

    Who cares about reason when you can have faith though?

    Supposing there is great scientist, a man of reason, bound to a wheelchair forever, who presumes himself a genius. He can understand and (formulate) the black hole, time travel, the big bang and whatever other rubbish like that and can’t do an iota for his own condition, what is the point?

    Then, the other hand, you have the weak, the stupid, the inflicted, the underdogs. Teach them about Jesus, they run with it and before you know it, their cancers are healed, their mutes start talking, their paralyzed walking…This is enough.

    No need to reason. How to reason? Where got relationship?

    :)

    • Ben says:

      Actually I don’t think faith and reason are opposites. In fact, faith and true unclouded reason are complementary. Many believers like myself think that it is very reasonable not only to believe in the existence of God because of all the evidence that points to Him, but it is also very reasonable to have faith in Him.

      So, the ability for Man to reason out things is good. After all, a “sound mind” is a gift from God and He is the source of all wisdom. But the danger here is an over-reliance on limited human understanding to explain everything, whereas it takes a humble heart to say “okay I don’t understand what this is or why this is happening but I still trust you God because you are trustworthy”. That is faith.

      That being said, every person and circumstance is different. Some people (often too smart for their own good) require more supporting reasons to believe in God rather than flying spaghetti monsters, while others are blessed with child-like faith and can trust God without needing to understand at all.

      • lyn says:

        I say this because every time I reason things out, I lose faith.

        I live by faith not by sight (reason).

        Sound mind is the opposite of fear. You shall not have the spirit of fear but of power, of love and of sound mind. Fear comes when you start reasoning. Fear of poverty, fear of death, fear of sickness etc.

        Example: If I spend this much, I’ll not have enough for my old age, If I love eating nasi lemak (coconut rice), I’ll get heart attack, for sure.

        It is reasonable, sure, but most times a faith killer.

        It is mostly semantics yet it is true to have faith, most times you have to shut reason out or else your fear will take over and faith is gone.

        That is why women often have more faith, they are often unreasonable…

        :)

        • lyn says:

          You can have reason, yes, there is a God, God loves me, Jesus died for my sins.

          And then you disbelieve healing, prosperity or miracles etc. because it is unreasonable (Joshua commanded the sun to stand still-anyone?)

          You pick and choose the Bible verses according to your own reason..

          Half way here, half way there…and before you know it, you’re Journeyman..

          sorry :) JM

        • Ben says:

          Yes, conventional human wisdom without God in the picture can be a big hindrance to faith. That’s why I said only true unclouded reason is complementary to faith. But even though faith is more important to God (because it is impossible to please Him without faith), that is not to say having a rational mind is necessarily “evil” or anti-faith. Even our pastor sometimes jokes about us not forgetting to “bring our brains to church” when we listen to his sermons.

          In fact in the example you gave, if we believe that Jesus paid for all our sin debt and we are now accepted before our Father as sons and are truly righteous before Him, then isn’t it perfectly reasonable to believe that our prayers avail much? And since no curses can legally take hold now that we are without blemish, (or conversely since we legally qualify for all blessings based on our perfect standing in Christ), isn’t healing and prosperity also within our blood-bought rights? For me, that makes a lot of sense and the bible confirms as much. I think that could be an example of faith and reason working hand in hand.

          When I meditate on what Jesus did, and how it was planned for since the beginning of creation, sometimes I not only grasp in my head but also really feel in my heart that God truly deserves praise for the way He made everything unfold so wonderfully. As a programmer, I can appreciate the elegance of His solution to the problem of sin. In one single act, He showed us His great self-sacrificial love for us, cleared our sin-debt and made us all sons and joint-heirs together with Christ (ie, this is a greater status then before Adam fell).

          • lyn says:

            Reason is itself subjective. What is reasonable to you may not be reasonable to others.

            If I were to tell non believers that my God parted the sea (making a wall water on both sides of them) for a group of people to go through but covered the other group to destroy them.

            or that God appeared as a pillar of cloud and fire to a chosen people.

            or that bread rained down from heaven for them.

            or that the sun was commanded to stand still by a man.

            or that a group of men were put into a lion’s den and were not harmed whilst the lions devoured others.

            or that a group of 3 men were thrown into a fiery furnace and 4 men was seen inside it and the face of the fourth shone like the face of God and they were not burnt.

            or that some men did not die but were brought up to heaven by God.

            or that dead people were brought to life.

            or that man struggled with God and lived.

            or that a boy could use a slingshot to kill a giant.

            or that God struck dead a man for trying to stop the ark of the covenant from falling over.

            or that God talk to people.

            or that God was born into the world as a man.

            or that water could turn into wine.

            or that a man could walk on water.

            or that one man hanging on the cross could save the whole world’s sins.

            or that that dead man resurrected on the 3rd day and appeared to many.

            or that by His stripes we are healed.

            or that the handkerchief of a man can heal diseases.

            or that the Spirit of God made a chosen group of people it’s temple.

            These (to name few) are all pretty hard to swallow, you know. They’ll think I’m a looney.

            However, since He is the one who chooses us before the creation of the world, our faith has made these events reasonable for us.

            Christianity is a faith.

            Anyhow, God’s ways are upside down. The last be first, the weak are strong. The King was born in a manger. There’s no reasoning away God’s ways.

            Also, Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death

            My prayer always is “Lord, show me your ways, teach me your paths” Psalm 25:4.

            Although the Lord died to prosper and to heal, this does not happen to every Christian, you know. That’s why people like Journeyman stick to their guns with regards to healing and prosperity. It is reasonable to assume that the Lord has paid for all Christians and we all have the same gifts.

            However, we need faith. IF something needs faith, that means it is not natural anymore and it becomes supernatural. To step out of this world of reason and to step into the world of the Bible and all these miracles.

            Faith, Ben, to you, have become reason and the lines have blurred for you. That’s good.

      • Journeyman says:

        During SARS epidemic in Singapore – a pastor died because he got infected and so did some doctors. Faith and circumstances sometimes combine with fatal consequences. When such deaths by can be prevented by available knowledge and technology, is personally frustrating and seems such a futile waste of a precious gift.

        Am always amazed when professors of faith become very ill, they often seek the expertise of the best doctors and use the latest technologies and drugs to effect a cure. Often wondered why such fervent believers just rely on prayers and faith healers – believe some churches even have healing clinics. If God is going to heal, why waste money seeking medical help or confirmation. Seems contradictory to processed Faith.

        In the end everyone has their own unique cognizance of how God interacts with us and determine our behavior and lifestyle.

        • lyn says:

          Not every pastor is a ‘professor of faith’.

          When I’m ill, I’ll go see a doctor to see what’s wrong with me. And then once I know, I’ll start confessing and praying. No problem with that. I’ll even take medicine to aid my healing. Sometimes, I’ll not see a doctor, just lay hands on the area that bothers me and then pray. Depends on the situation. There is no law.

          I know God always provides for me but there needs to be a breadwinner in my household. If it were not my husband, it would have to be me. Once I have a job, I pray for favour, for success and maximum profit. God will prosper me.

          I know my God takes care of my kids. However, I do send them for the best education and give them the best food and vitamins so that they grow up healthy. However, their health and bright future are still in the hands of the Father.

          I know God is my path and is my light but I still switch on the light in the dark..

          What is your point?

          • Journeyman says:

            Seems to me you using hedging your faith when u consult a doctor – also illogical if God has already redeemed us if our sins, why do do we to keep repeating, u mean His forgiveness is only given when it is confessed – publicly or privately in a cupboard? Tot it is the covenent of the finished work and we can stride forth into the bright future – the ultimate price has been paid on our behalf.

            Wud be interested in yr view of the “abundant life,” promised – what does this mean to u?

          • lyn says:

            Abundant life? why, Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Bottega, Harry Winston, Rolex, “True Religion” (sorry, Lord) jeans and the latest, biggest smart tv in my living room, of course…what else? :)

            Nolah, nolah (’nolah’ means ‘no way’ in malaysian english). Just joking :) .

            Anyways, after going through everything in life, I’d have to say it’s the satisfaction in my heart with all my haves and despite all my lacks.

            Also,

            It’s the excitement in discovering the living God.

            It’s the anticipation of seeing how far I can go and what I can achieve with having great faith.

            It’s the ambition to become great before Him.

            It’s the fire that burns in my heart to see His promises come true in my life.

            It’s the satisfaction of seeing miracles after miracles that He has shown me.

            It’s Him keeping me on my toes with challenges to love and to serve Him and His people.

            It’s His song, His joy and His peace that wouldn’t leave me.

            It’s the joy of writing on this blog :) (thank you, blogpastor)

            It’s the nice warm cup of coffee I smell and drink in the morning.

            It’s the toothless smiles of my six and nine year olds..

            Yeah, things like that.

            That’s abundant life..what about yours?

    • Journeyman says:

      Have been both amazed and astounded by your child like naive faith. Since I do have a definitive answer and my meta stable Faith model keeps incrementally evolving and morphing from a Schrodringer Cat paradox without a resolving singularity, hence this acceptance is on Faith and not a proven rationality. The evolution and morphing of the faith model can be accommodated by the Ecc quote of ” a season for everything in life” – since the seasons change, so wud my perspective and my reality.

      Wud be interesting to ask NCC members who r sharing the perspective on this blog, the Peter question – will you still hold the same Faith model in20 yrs time – if u r 30-40 now, pls reflect when u r 50-60 n share w the new readers – by Faith assuming Blogpastor will continue to be a resource and blessings 20years hence – maybe also contemplate what NCC might look like – a major lifestyle hub? Mega spiritual Center, a religiou media empire, first properity training center, an exclusive New Testament church focused on gifts of unmerited grace and prosperity- all of the above or just another milestone along the evolutionary path???

  • Stephen Yong says:

    Thanks for your articles. I don’t know what the relationship between faith and reason is but here is an experience that has more than inspired me.

    Many years ago, I met this single Christian mother – her only son was 12 yrs old. Very nice family and I was invited to the home with other friends for a pot-luck dinner. It was a home – full of love and care.

    She had a great joy and love for God. She worked part-time off & on and had only enough money to make ends meet, including rent, for only one month sometimes two.

    Often, she would have a shortfall if she did not get enough work.

    By all reason, she should worry. She did not have savings. If she could not pay the rent, her family would be forced to leave without any place to live.

    But she was very happy and did not worry. She said to me something like “I don’t know how it happens, but God has always covered the shortfall — I know He is taking care of us. So I don’t worry”.

    That is faith.

  • Journeyman says:

    Personal experience is a dynamic tension between rationality and faith. Believe they are two sides of the same coin – current working model approximates the yin yang philosophy of interdependence. Interesting the Pope has similar position except the irrational demand for chastity and asexual behavior is causing aberrant sexual behavior. The destruction of this dynamic equilibrium causes a failure of a gracious civil society as promised to followers of JC.

  • Stephen Yong says:

    So here is another story – just last week I went to KL and met a woman who went for a prayer retreat in Korea, hosted by a very large church in Korea.

    The senior pastor of the church said his church was a miracle. A number of years ago, he had a small one building church and he prayed to God for direction.

    He said God told him to be prepared to grow drastically.

    The pastor got worried because he had a one building church on a small piece of land. But there was a primary school nearby.

    The pastor thought something like ‘OK we must work with God with what we have’. So the pastor took to walking around the school everyday to pray for the school.

    After a year of walking around the school every day, he got sudden news that the school would close down and was for sale. And the rest, he said, is history!

    That is faith.

    • lyn says:

      Thanks for the testimonies…very encouraging :)

      • Stephen Yong says:

        Thanks – I am very inspired every time I remember these stories. I keep them close to heart because I often forget his Grace.

        Here is another one that happened a few years ago.

        Just north of Singapore is the sleepy town of Batu Pahat. My grandmother when she was alive, used to live there and we used to visit her all the time.

        The church there is really growing and there was this one church that needed money to buy a huge piece of land that had gone on sale that would be just right for the church. The growing congregation could not afford the land.

        In the midst of this, suddenly, one of the elders got a call from a friend for help. The friend wanted him to sell a large palm oil estate quickly and the elder could keep a portion as a commission fee. The elder who was well connected, made the sale in a week – the commission was exactly what the church wanted at the right time!

        The elder said something like “I immediately gave the commission money to the church. I knew that this was God’s money in answer to prayer. It was a very big sum, but I knew the longer I kept it, the harder it would be to part with it. So I gave it all to the church right away.”

        The church got the land.

        That is faith.

        • journeyman says:

          @Stephan Yong
          what about the guy who was asked not resist being tortured or crucified?
          or the irrational guy who was promised 24 virgins if he strapped and detonated a bomb vest and all those that had to die in that process
          since our lives are based on comparative diametrics ie without evil, there will be no need for good – cannot push back knowledge to regain innocence – like Milton lements we have lost Paradise and have to fend the best we can.
          Like the BP church story – this Godly altruism is amazing, hopeful it was an unconditional gift.

  • Bolivian Beat says:

    Reason has two connected parts which are not in proportion. The first is larger and refers more to the natural order of creation which provides coherency and logic. Reason is an objective reality which one discovers.

    The second part is lesser and refers to a person’s natural endowment or capacity to understand this natural order (scientific laws, moral laws etc) if he or she is to function as a human being. A person therefore uses this God given natural endowment to grasp and understand the mechanics of the large reality of Reason if he or she is live.

    Reason, the larger objective reality guides the mental process of a person be it from cooking an egg to going to the moon. Reason dictates that frying an egg requires only a few minutes. Frying an egg for 10 minutes will burn the egg – the laws of reason have been violated. The word Logos probably comes close to this understanding of Reason as a larger objective reality which governs and orders humanity and the natural process.

    Faith is a gift from above which helps us to believe and grow in God’s fullest revelation in Christ. This faith does NOT help us to understand the mechanics of going to the moon. There are therefore lines of demarcation between faith and reason in terms of scientific empirical fact. This demarcation is not designed to place reason above faith but to help reason to find its proper place in the universe.

    The interface however between Faith and Reason in terms of Morality is tricky. For example Faith in God from special revelation (the Bible) assumes monogamous marriage between a man and woman. For a long time Reason, seen in terms of the larger natural order of creation, confirmed this understanding of Faith. The massive changes since the enlightenment gave Reason a sense of autonomy it never had. For instance people now equate faith exclusively with personal belief and Reason exclusively with the human capacity to rationalise/conceptualise experiences and knowledge. Therefore same sex marriage is considered as part of the human fabric in accordance with the autonomy of reason. It is now the norm to pit faith aganist reason according to the logical processes of the 21st century person.

    I take the more traditional view which sees Reason and Faith as complementary in all matters except for theology where the source of faith is biblical special revelation. Reason helps us to concieve of a benevolent God but Reason cannot make us have faith in such a God. We need revelation to show us the benevolence of God in Christ. A scientist believes in Christ because of this special revelation and it helps him to see the natural order of things as part of God’s creation. This same faith however CANNOT explain the mechanics of scientific laws which will help him to go to the moon. The inherent nature of reason in the mental processes of the scientist helps him to figure how to use natural scientific laws to help him go to the moon.

    Reason complementes faith in the sense that one needs the mechanics of reason to aesthetically create. A congregation may have the faith that God is leading them to build a 20 million dollar sanctuary. The same congregation will need the counsel of an architect to come up with the blueprint of such a sanctuary. Such a blueprint will take into the account of aesthetics and function within a given budget. Reason is the source of such a blueprint.

    Lastly, Reason and Faith are both gifts from God. We have been given the capacity to exercise powers of logic and coherence as we discover the laws of the universe (Reason – Logos)in our capacity as being made in the image of God. This is God’s general gift to mankind. Humanity is nothing but an empty void without the divine gift of Reason.

    The gift however to know His Son as our Saviour in the power of the Spirit requires the bestowal of biblical faith. This is where special revelation is required – something which is beyond the scope of Reason.

    • Ben says:

      Yes, it does seem like “faith” to a lot of people is defined as some abstract mystical and irrational belief in some nebulous concept or entity.

      To me, “faith” is pretty simple to define. It just means “trust”.

      For example, I have faith that my fiancee will be punctual for her appointments. Is this faith founded on reason? Of course! Because I know her very well and her track record is to be (nearly) consistently punctual. To doubt otherwise is in fact irrational.

      In the same way, our faith in God is simply our trust in God. Is this faith founded on reason? Of course! Because IF we know Him, we would see that He is always faithful to whatever He promises and that being less than perfectly trustworthy is simply not in His nature. To doubt is to be even more irrational than my earlier example.

      The only problem here is that we need to know Him and His character, in almost the same way that we know our close friends and their characters, to have faith. And that takes revelation from God, as you said. If we do not know Him or even doubt that He actually exists, then of course such faith can only be construed as being completely irrational and misplaced at best.

      • lyn says:

        Sorry, Ben, not to chase you down or anything like that but I like the fact that for you faith is as easy as waiting for your fiancee to appear.

        You obviously have not been called to the doctor’s office to be told that you have stage 3 cancer and at most 6 months to live.

        ‘To doubt is to be even more irrational than my earlier example?’ Really?

        Believe me, the ONLY thing you’ll feel is doubt and fear (reason). Your whole world would seem to have come crashing down. Faith is then only to grovel and to bawl at the feet of the God of Heaven. That is why Jesus keep reminding us ‘don’t worry, don’t be afraid’ (faith-a step into the Bible) over 300 times. If it’s so easy, why does this need to be so?

        And by the way the topic is ‘faith and reason’, not ‘irrationality and reason’.

        • lyn says:

          1 Corinthians lays out clearly the wisdom of the world vs wisdom of God..

          To further illustrate faith and reason is Matthew 14:28

          28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
          (FAITH)

          29 “Come,” he said.

          Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water (FAITH, wisdom of the WORLD calls it FOLLY or FOOLISHNESS) and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind (REASON), he was afraid (fear as a result of reason) and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” (GROVELING)

          31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” (To PETER, who was IN FRONT of Him, walk with Him, saw all His earlier miracles) he said, “why did you doubt?” (I presume we are no better than Peter)…

          However, I feel your faith/ trust is rock solid, Ben. This is rare. Perhaps it’s time for you to test and see whether you can walk on water..

        • Ben says:

          Hi Lyn. Thanks for saying that my faith is rock solid, but I’m afraid it’s just completely untrue. Please don’t take the things I said as things that I always practice myself. I was only trying to put my theory across that to actually believe what God says despite contrary circumstances is actually the truly reasonable thing to do from a purely logical perspective, rather than being the unreasonable thing.

          But as you mentioned, it’s easy to say these things and to know theoretically the “right thing” to do, but to really believe that Jesus bore our diseases and carried our pains when the doctor says that I have stage 3 cancer is of course a completely different matter altogether. Or not even to that extent since “minor things” like believing God for provision is already a great challenge for me. I harbor no illusions about that and can only pray that I have the courage and revelation to trust Him in such a life-threatening predicament.

          • lyn says:

            No worries, Ben. We all have our challenges. Mine is the area of my children. My younger child is extremely bad at math (my husband’s genes although he insists it’s mine) :)

            This week I was called by the teacher to see her about her math. She wrote to me on Tuesday night. Panicking, I wrote back to say ‘ok I’ll go in to see her Wednesday (next day) morning’. That evening whilst praying I heard the Lord saying to me ‘delay going’. So, I wrote back to the teacher that I’l only go next Friday morning. I’m praying for the Lord to change the circumstances for me in one week! I’ve started fasting and praying for this matter everyday day until next Friday. I KNOW something mega is going to happen :)

            Since yesterday I’ve asked her to confess God’s words loudly in the morning…

            The Lord is with me I shall have success in math..
            I have the mind of Christ for math..
            The power of God is upon me for math..
            I have the understanding of God for math..etc. etc..

            With men, this is impossible, with God all things are possible..
            The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous woman avails much..
            Don’t worry, don’t be afraid..only believe
            I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me..

            All things to the glory of God…

            Anyways, please pray for me if if any of you have the heart to. Her name is Elizabeth.. the cutest toothless 6 year old you’d ever see…

            Thank you
            :)

            Yeah, don’t take bad news lying down..

          • Ben says:

            Hi Lyn,

            You know, a long time ago in primary school and early secondary my math was also atrocious. For a long time, I thought I would be a humanities and arts person. I thought that was the area that I could excel in because I was just so hopeless in math and the sciences. There was once in Sec 1 or 2 where I scored 11 out of 100 in a maths exam. That didn’t help my confidence in that subject very much as you might guess.

            Who would have thought that starting in Sec 4 to University, things completely turned opposite. I didn’t study especially hard at all, but something in my brain clicked during that time, and math suddenly became a breeze. Who would have thought that I’d eventually end up as a software engineer specializing in 3D graphics technology (very math heavy profession) and still passionate about my work.

            So just want to encourage you: Don’t worry too much about your child’s academic performance now. It frankly matters very little in the big scheme of things. Still very young and a long long way to go. Even if her math is not very good today, who knows what she’ll be like 10 or 20 years down the road? She could end up as a math professor for all you know.

            We trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding because God directs our paths. And we know that His paths drip with abundance.

            God bless you and your child.

          • lyn says:

            Thanks Ben, yes, that’s very encouraging. Hoping to nip the problem in the bud. I used to throw my textbook to the walls out of frustration. Hoping to avoid throwing my kids’ books next.

            @NP

            You write so much, why don’t you write a book. Maybe the title should be

            “The New Christians: Non-Pentecostal, Non-Miracles, Non-Faith just Obey the Law of Moses”

            I’m sure it’ll hit the top 10 Bestseller’s list and life-changing for the readers.

            Tsk, tsk.

            So pitiful.

            :)

    • Journeyman says:

      An elegant model, like all assumptions, is it real?

      Does it accommodate current available knowledge of biology and the newly emerging neurosciences. Some questions –

      where does these activity centers reside?
      If it is in the brain, is there a particular region.
      Where is the mind – part of the brain, whole or in another part of the body?
      How is the mind connected to this functional centers?
      Is the soul also in the mind? In the heart?

      More interesting have been attempts by Michael A. Persinger (born June 26, 1945), a cognitive neuroscience researcher and university professor with over 200 peer-reviewed publications. He has worked at Laurentian University, located in Sudbury, Ontario, since 1971. He is primarily notable for his experimental work in the field of neurotheology, work which has been increasingly criticized in recent years.[1][2][3][4][5][6]neuroscience researcher at Laurentian University, Ontario, has attempted to create a “God Helmet” using weak electromagnet fields to induce a “spiritual” (amoral) experience. His associates nevertheless commercialized the God Helmet and made a small fortune but attempts to repeat his failed by another group failed – even science has it’s fair share of quakes. The love of money, power does corrupt – the more there is, the more irresistible. We cud all become like Golam in the Lord of the Rings. Current work by Princeton and Harvard group suggest there are some merits, so it is in my archive under interesting but unproven.

  • Journeyman says:

    Have no beef about being prosperous, loving or gracious, just cannot understand how going listening to a gifted
    And charismatic speaker wud magically bestow these desirables after attempting to willing part with more than you are comfortable with or prudently can afford. When God name is used for crass commercialism. When beliefs are manipulated towards enslaving instead of freedom and truth. We sud not be ideologues but empiricist, looking at data and deciding for ourselves what an abundant life of fulfillment looks like. I wud suggest that rituals and a child naivety and trust will not bring a life of abundance to most and will be extremely rare – just like striking a lottery in Singapore except we so not even know of any winners thru official announcements except thru word of mouth.

    My only exhortation is do think and act wisely – input life is a precious gift – nobody can promise anything, only God and God is God.

    God NEVER needs any money but Man does – for many varied reasons. If you are happy contributing to k-pop clothes and Ferrari and all the nice material luxuries, it is your hard earned cash!!

    • Ben says:

      I only agree in the sense that we should be careful about our motivations for giving. Giving money or time or whatever else without a sense of what God has already given us is not recommended. In other words, we give freely because we have been given and we know God will take very good care of us. How can He not? It is also a general rule in the entire bible that you reap in kind what you sow in kind. The means by which it happens I do not know.

      But then I read your remark about “k-pop clothes and Ferrari” and then I just shrug my shoulders. Do these things offend your sensibilities? Is your idea of a “holy” pastor someone who is as poor as a church mouse? Maybe he should only wear jeans and ill-fitting shirts rather than flashy suits? Or maybe his income level can only be at maximum middle-income or maybe constantly trying to make ends meet, and he can only live in HDB flat and not a condo? No expensive holidays too!

      Want I want to ask is: how much money is too much for pastors to have??? A pastor cannot be wealthy but people like you and me can? If you don’t see the obvious double standard here, then what else can be said?

      I wish we’d all get over our silly hang-ups with (others’) money or look past our stifling religious prejudices. I wish people can see that being wealthy is not equivalent to loving money, and those who are not are still capable of being very greedy.

      If God allows His pastors like Blogpastor or Joseph Prince to enjoy some wealth as a result of their ministry and their work benefiting so many, then so be it. Let it rest.

    • lyn says:

      Journeyman, Journeyman, without you there’ll be nothing to reply to, really. :)

      Pastor Prince always says this with regards to people who questions all that he has. And I quote

      John 3:27
      John replied, “No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven”

      I think we are all the same. We want money, fame, fast cars, supermodel girlfriends? Ask God. Stop looking at other people’s success with envy.

      People say, want money? Chase money.

      God says want money? Chase God.

      Matthew 6:33
      But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

      People say, save for a rainy day.

      God says, give away to the church, to the people, I’ll make your storehouse full, I’ll make you rich.

      People say, do money grow on trees?

      God says my Son died on the tree, so you’ll be rich, so yes, money do grow on trees.

      If only we could believe Him…

      Testimony: Years ago, I would walk around my apartment with a little cd player, going everywhere with it, listening to message after message of great faith pastors (US and Singapore).

      Every country I visit, I’d get Christian cds, dvds, books etc.

      Now, this little cd player would often get wet because when I take it to the shower stall with me, water would seep in, be broken and I’d go get a new one.

      I was hungry and I all I wanted was to know God.

      One year, my husband who was a lawyer with an American firm ‘negotiated’ with his firm (a divine negotiation, I’d call it) where he’d pay the deposit to a house and instead of the firm paying the rental on the house, they’d pay for the house in full and be done with it. The house would be under our name, of course.

      The firm said yes, ok..(!).

      Having only to pay for the deposit, my husband had a lot of money to splurge on the house’s interior design.

      One of it was to put a Bose sound system attached to the ceiling of the entire house and…wait for it.. the BATHROOM! One touch of a button and the voice of the pastors would boom into my shower!

      My husband didn’t really know that I was listening to all these cds. It’s not like it’s one of those romantic movies where the husband knew exactly what the wife’s heart desire is and got it for her.
      He was just too busy. People don’t give you a house for nothing, if you know what I mean.

      God’s gift to me. Me, my house and my Bose speakers..

      Chase God, man, chase God…stop looking at others..chase God.

  • Journeyman says:

    No issues with anybody wanting to be wealthy – like chairty, government, religious organizations should not equate paying their vested pastoral or administrative staff with market salaries used in commercial world.

    Making money I using Gods name is a no go for me. Have a couple of lawyers and private bankers who are very wealthy but they do not take any stipend – one does but donated whole amount to a trust fund for welfare of members – he pays quite a substantial amount of tax for this privilage. Like all things there is no one system for all circumstances. Some mega churches have issued bonds to fund outreach programs – prudence is always an issue.

    Pastors sud be paid a stipend that will enable them to live comfortably whilst they are doing God’s business. Once they go commercial, sky’s the limit as far as I am concerned. Understand Rick Warren has reimbursed his church for all his previous stipend and has become “honorary senior pastor” – and does not draw any more salaries. This creats a moral high ground allowing visionary leadership. There is no double standard but it is odious to me to use The Lord for crass commercialization presume u might hold a different view to me ?

    • Ben says:

      Of course everyone feels the same way you do about using the “Lord for crass commercialization” as you put it. But I’m just baffled by your accusations, as if such a thing is actually true, when I’ve been attending NCC regularly for 5-6 years (and you haven’t) and I’ve never had that impression at all nor have I ever known such a thing as you say.

      What do you mean by “go commercial” anyway? Like using church funds for investments and all that? Personally I don’t see anything wrong as long as such affairs are conducted with integrity befitting sons of God, to the benefit of the church at large rather than for personal gain. I don’t see it as being any different from just stashing the funds in a fixed deposit account really.

      • Journeyman says:

        Actually was remembering my impressions of Robert Schuller and the “Crystal Cathedral” when first visited LA in around the 1990s – they were the pioneers – worship led by full choir and symphony orchestra – the worship was opulent extravagance – range of goods sold ranged for usual cd, books, blessed 22K brackets, crucifixes to holy oil and water. For
        Me the crassness comes when proceeds of these goes into other accounts except that used for Gods work. Sadly it was reported that the Church had been placed into Chapter 11 with the senior pastor suing the church for IP n copyright title conversion.

        Donation, tithes, love offering or sales transaction cud be paid via ATMs and credit cards.

        I believe most of the large local churches have variants, perhaps without the range but it will only be a matter of time before we match and exceed. Guess it is a matter of time before an anointed pastor will ask his flock to pay forward by taking a loan, then an equally innovative management will sell CEOs against the expected cash flow, everybody will grow ever richer – like the wonderful journey of Pi

        You have not seen this in NCC at all – bravo for resisting this trend.

  • Bolivian Beat says:

    In a congregational setting the perks and the salary of a pastor are set to the income level of the board members. Normally board members reflect the status of the congregation and would draw an income close to the average member of the pew.

    A Pastor’s lifestyle should not be characterised by an ostentatious display of wealth. This is not an easy issue because in certain communities and social classes an “ostentatious display of wealth is a “need”. Pastor’s should be accountable to one another in matters like this. The Spirit speaks to us through our peers and our critics.

    The idea of keeping the pastor poor in order to make them more spiritual is silly and unbiblical. The levites owned private property within system set up by Joshua and took a share of the people’s sacrifices. Their standard of living was more or less pegged to the living standard of those whom they served. And Paul under the influence of temple worship/maintenance used similar “temple” language in his 1st letter to the Corinthians to justify paid salaries for full time pastors/workers.

    • Ben says:

      True. Great insight into biblical practice as well.

      I agree generally about your comment on flaunting wealth. But I would go further to suggest that what should irk us really shouldn’t be about how rich or how well dressed or what car and what house a person has, because that’s just personal taste or envy or religious reasoning if you think about it. After all, if everyone were equally wealthy and well dressed then there wouldn’t be anymore hurt feelings.

      What should irk us is a person clearly basing personal value on the amount of money he has, regardless of how poor or wealthy the person is. And if we want to be frank, this means 99% of us.

      • Non-Pentecostal says:

        MATT.19:23-24 = 23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
        …….24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

        MATT.24:42-51 = 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.
        ….43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

        45 “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season?
        ….46 Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47 Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.
        ….48 But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, 51 and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
        _ _ _ _ _ _ _

        It is very difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven/God. Hence, it is not right or wise for a pastor to live like a CEO of a worldly mega-company, esp at the expense of the ordinary lay members and for a pastor to join the drunken worldly system in making revelry(GAL.5:21).

        Pastors hv the very important task of constantly n vigilantly guarding God’s property and people from being robbed by the thief(who wanna steal salvation and blessings from God) and feed spiritual food/milk to the members.

        • Ben says:

          See, the difficulty with that interpretation is the question: “What is rich”? Or rather, “What is your definition of rich”?

          Would you say King David or Solomon was rich in their day? Would you say middle-income earners in Singapore are rich? What about middle-income earners in India?

          Then if King David or Solomon was rich in their day, would you say that we in modern times are probably richer then them? After all, for all their wealth, they can only look in wonder at all our modern conveniences like iPhones and cars and internet and flush toilets etc etc. Things which we take completely for granted.

          So again the question is: What is rich and where is the dividing line so that I may know where not to cross?

          • Journeyman says:

            Concepts of wealth changes with time – current comtemprory is about the ability to ” financialize” – to make money from money – traditionally you make money by producing goods or services – the ultra wealthy these days issue debt – every time u do so u ” generate” wealth – it is now a massive casino – derivities are ust bets on any market index/ direction made with “credit” (money u do not have – the more u issue, the higher the leverage – the world economy now is a financial one – governments are obsessed by finance and GDP – wealth now belong to people who understand finance. The gap between the haves and have nots – 1% served by the rest of us 99% – the real economy has disappeared and is loke thesml lump of sugar that makes a large candy floss! When u make a fix/cash deposit with bank – u are actually “loaning” to the bank as it pays u a small interest – abt 0.3 to 1.0 % – when the bank defaults – you lose your cash – so pla understand rationally – you are assuming the bank won’t- wrong most western banks are insolvent as the have less than 3% capital eg PIGS – Portugal Ireland Greece Spain – methinks what happen to Japan will slowly spread to the rest and the population is happily unaware how dire the situation is. Wealth in modern terms is owning without paying eg leasing – look at number of mega yachts and private jets.

            The wealthiest people are financiziers – people who do finiancial engineering aided by compliant government and believed by greedy who want to join. Some will call this Gods will – actually it is just simple unbridled sin – maybe some churches are foolishly embracing wealth as a approval from a provident God.

            Want to be wealthy – formula is simple – creat a believable lie and live way beyond your means – anybody can it including countries – take Greece – it cannot pay back 320B it owes but it has not default because the bankers are throwing more money to prop them up – why because if they did the European banks are kaput and with it the savings of the pension funds in Germany Finland and Holland – the rest are dead broke in Europe – so the ECB is dpi g QE – priniting money

          • lyn says:

            “Maybe some churches are foolishly embracing wealth as a approval from a provident God”

            Journeyman, of all the writers here, wouldn’t you say that Ben is a person who believes that God loves him? He is a member of NCC. He believes that God prospers. Yet, he wrote this in an earlier entry.

            “…Or not even to that extent since “minor things” like believing God for provision is already a great challenge for me”.

            Yet, Ben knows that God approves of him. He knows that God loves him. This is faith, Journeyman. He feels rich, provided for, cared for, loved. He believes in healing although he hasn’t gone through one life threatening situation. This is faith in God.

            He has a good opinion of God. This, to the world is foolishness. This is walking by faith and not by sight.

            So, if this your theory about NCC and its likes, you are in error.

            Anyways, the kind of wealth you’re talking about, yacht and all, is stupid. Or rather, it makes you look stupid.

            Example. A girlfriend of mine came to the country I’m living in from Singapore. When she was in Singapore, she hobnobs with those kinds of people, yacht owner’s wives etc. So when she came to us, she looked really stupid. Hair extensions, false eyelashes, mink coats etc. After a while, she loses them one by one. Thank God because all those things really make her looked super pretentious. Anyways, after knowing her well enough one after another story came out from her (despite her best effort to hide them). It seems that she has inflicted the most in the area of health, marriage and all.

            So see, if you’re a Christian, that lifestyle cannot hold up in your life. One way or another you will fall (I did too, which is too personal to share here). Then the fire will refine us to become who God wants us to be.

            Anyways, cast your eyes away from all those things. Those are stupid. Your life is worth much more than that. It may sound like a poor man’s logic or a cliche but it’s true, nonetheless. That’s why your idol Solomon ended up the way he did. Because he realized he had a stupid life, having everything he ever wanted cf his dad David who was thankful for being kept warm by a young girl till he died and He loved God till the end..

            I’m not implying you get a young girl to keep you warm, you know what I mean..David appreciated his life..and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

          • Non-Pentecostal says:

            @ Ben …….QUOTE: “What is rich?” Or rather, “What is your definition of rich?”
            _ _ _ _ _ _ _

            Maybe, u should also ask Jesus Christ what is His definition of rich when He said, ‘it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven’ at MATT.19:23-24.

            Didn’t I say “to live like a CEO of a worldly mega-company”.?

            I think u r into New Age-ism, where many university students r taught that there is no absolute definitions or terms, ie every thing is relative n subjective. New Age’rs think that there is no absolute right or wrong, eg no definiteness in sin/evil deed. If a New Age’r thinks homosexuality or sexual immorality is right or OK, then it is right or OK to him/her, esp when the New Age’r is a gay/lesbian or sexually immoral. They do not give a hoot to what others, society or the Christian God say. They may believe in a few gods at the same time n choose the best ideas from each.

            This is the New Age’s modern philosophy to circumvent the laws/Word of God n justify all kinds of immorality n lawlessness, eg the poor can steal n rob. The only thing holding back the New Age’rs is the law of the land or the police.
            ….New Age philosophy is a demonic doctrine.

            New Age’rs will even question, ‘What is the Christian God’s definition of sin/evil deed.?’ bc to them, it is their own definition of sin or other gods’ definition of sin that is more important. Self will over-rides the Christian God’s will.

            Pentecostals/Charismatics tend to neglect n place little importance to the laws/Word of God thru their erroneous Radical Grace theology(as defined by NCC’s Ps Joseph Prince). With RG, some of them may think that it is right or OK to intentionally/knowingly commit sins/evil deeds without jeopardizing their salvation.(cf: HEB.10:26-31)

            REV.22:14-15 = 12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”
            ….14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 15 But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.
            ….16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”
            ….17 And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

          • Non-Pentecostal says:

            @ Journeyman …….says: 11/01/2013 at 4:57 am.

            The world financial market is what it is today bc this world or earth is ruled by Satan. Adam’s original sin had bequeathed the dominion over this world/earth to Satan. Hence, the events during Noah’s Ark.

            I think there r Big-Shark manipulators in the Stock Market n other Markets who prey on the small-fishes/investors. Notice that the Stock Market crashes every 10-15 years, the timing of which is determined by these god-like manipulators. They may be the Freemasons or rich men’s Clubs. They make their S$millions by “buy low, sell high”, “pump n dump”, etc.
            ….Why 10-15 years.? Bc foolish people, esp those at the wet market, hv short memory. It is not cunning to crash the Stock Market every 5 years bc most people will still remember the last crash 5 years ago. After 10 years, most people won’t hv vivid memory about the last crash. Can u remember much about events in 2003.?

            Why is it hard for the rich to enter heaven.?
            ….Bc most people in this world system got rich by selling their soul, ie they hv to engage in immoral n unethical behavior in order to become rich n powerful(promoted to high positions), eg Cecilia Sue n Ng Boon Gay, law professor Tey Tsun Hang n Darinne Koh, Singapore Speaker Michael Palmer n Laura Ong, etc. This applies to most rich businessmen, politicians, top executives n professionals.
            ….And to maintain their rich n opulent lifestyle, they hv to continue with their activities, which break many laws/Word of God. Eg to pay for their property taxes, maintenance fees, costs of upkeep, etc.

            1TIM.6:10 = For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

            1JOHN.2:15-17 = 15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
            ….17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

          • Ben says:

            Hi NP.

            I think you are missing the point I was trying to make when you gave your own definition of rich. And I also think it is rather ironic because the next sentence you said that I am “into New Age-ism” and think that “every thing is relative n subjective” when you just gave your own subjective answer to the question.

            What I was trying to say is that there is just NO clear material definition of “rich”. After all, logically, how do you compare a modern income person with all his modern amenities to Solomon in his time? Who is richer? Or even a CEO of an MNC to King David with all his personal servants? Who is richer??? If Jesus was referring to a certain amount of material wealth, and if King David was considered rich, did he then enter heaven?

            My opinion is this (please give me a fair hearing first before you poke holes in my argument):

            People only THINK they are materially “rich” because they have more than others, or think they are better than others. And because they think they are rich, they also think they can provide for themselves with no need for God. They enjoy life and trust their own means to tide them over whatever troubles may come. In short, they believe they are self-sufficient with no true need for a savior.

            By contrast the desperately wretched KNOW they cannot provide for themselves. They are suffering, stuck in life’s gutter and desperately want a way out of their predicament. They need a savior and they are not discriminating on where that help comes from, whether it is from man or from God.

            In the normal course of life, who do you think is more likely to turn to God for help? Who do you think is a more willing recipient to news of God’s grace? This is what Jesus meant when he said that “it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven”.

            Being “rich” is therefore a matter of spirit and the heart, not about how much possessions one has… I hope this gets you thinking.

          • Non-Pentecostal says:

            @ Ben …….who said: 12/01/2013 at 10:53 pm.

            Your definition or my definition about “What is rich.?” does not matter at all. It is God’s or Jesus’s definition of ‘rich’ or ‘huat’ that is the true definition.
            ….”To be like Christ” is to also hold the same definitions n views as Christ n to do accordingly. It is His truth that will set us free. His truth is also His Word/laws.

            MATT.19:22 = But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

            JOB.1:3 = Also, his possessions were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.

            JOHN.8:31-38 = 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the TRUTH shall make you free.”
            ….33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”
            ….34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.
            [Abraham’s Seed and Satan’s]
            ….37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”

            JOHN.3:18-21 = 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
            ….19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
            ….20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
            ….21 But he who does the TRUTH comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
            _ _ _ _ _ _ _

            MATT.19:23-24…25-26 = 25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”
            ….26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
            (see also LUKE.10:25, MARK.10:17-30)

            I did not say that all rich persons cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. I did not say it is impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. I said ‘it is very difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven/God’.
            ….So, King David, King Solomon n Job r the very few exceptional rich persons who could enter the kingdom of heaven. But bear in mind that they were called by God to be kings of the Jews n priests. Most other kings n rich persons would fall in the normal category of “a camel going thru the eye of a needle”.

            Most of the rich in the world r already set in their ways of evil practices n lavish lifestyle, ie following the evil ways of the world. Hence, nearly all of the rich in this world r evil n reject God or His call.

            Even those who r morally upright n became rich, like Job n the rich young Jewish man of MATT.19:23, will most likely not accept the call of God to give up all their worldly possessions n follow JC/God or work for God.
            ….That is why JC only called poor young Jews to be His apostles when He began His ministry, eg Peter, Andrew, John, James n Thomas were poor fishermen, Matthew was a salaried tax collector, etc.
            ….It is less difficult for the poor to give up all their worldly possessions n follow JC or work for God.
            ….But even some of the poor can be as evil as the evil rich.

            Like how the story of greedy Judas Iscariot ended, a poor person who had been called by God to be a pastor, should not end up as a rich person, like that rich young man of MATT.19:23, eg by teaching a Prosperity Gospel. I think that is definitely not the will of God.

            MATT.16:26 = “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

    • journeyman says:

      No Pastor worth his salt should/will be kept poor. It will be inhuman if he/she cannot enjoy a lifestyle similar to their sheep.

      The tricky part is always about the right amount – any amount can be justified if you need to.

      IMO it is better to separate the work of God (tithes) and the church dues (premises, salaries, utilities and other expenses) – think as Christians we sud at least be honest about things and if the church member disagrees, they can go elsewhere.

      If you are not in the 10million who have viewed – this short RSA film on youtube cud generate some ideas or thoughts on this subject of stipend and motivation…..

      link to youtube.com.sg

      • journeyman says:

        @lyn,
        How Ben wants to walk is his personal business between him and God. I only get to share a extremely small part of his journey – in this forum.

        We are attempting to sharing of perpectives and views – hopefully they prove to be useful and helpful to each other, allowing us to widen, refine or change for the better.

        Like I mentioned in the past, your naive, child like faith is both amusing and astounding and since I have no proof it is real or otherwise, it is beyond my competence to comment. Similarly, since you have no idea about my material circumstances or the progress of my journey, suggest you may be you wud not be competent to speculate or comment.

        As for stupidity, I was born and made this way and presumably the Lord may have some small trivial use for the limited skill-sets to complement his larger purpose. Perhaps blaming my parents wud absolve me of responsibility. Thank you for your acceptance, indulgence and willingness to communicate – truly Christ like!

        Regarding money making, it is a necessary hobby that keeps my mind alert and me grounded in the world – my faith keeps me from being of it. Maybe that is God’s way of encouraging the development of my rationality and sharpening my judgement – see prosperity is a great gift and encouragement!!

        Regarding the Solomon role model – he is as flawed as I am – perhaps you may be more approving if I try to be Christ-like, K-Pop clad zooming around in a red Ferrari charismatic pastor and have a 20 room mansion in Hollywood hills??

        BTW when you get free rides on private jets or military transport, you travel and life insurance policies can be voided – the ride cud cost your loved ones if anything happened.

        Actually there is little difference between irrational people, faith followers or investors – they follow the crowd without knowing why or understanding the risk and consequences.

        My life is abundant because I wake everyday with all my marbles for which I am grateful. Hopefully if the marbles are to be taken away, I will not awake from the sleep. Everything else is a bonus

        • lyn says:

          HI Journeyman, nolah, I didn’t say you’re stupid..I’m just saying the ambition to have a yacht or looking up to people with yachts as stupid.

          All my views are my own on this forum. I sometimes show support for pastor Prince but I do not share all his views, Journeyman. Thank God the Christian yacht owners did not slay me yet.. :)

          Anyways, I find you amusing too. Now, the mutual admirations aside,

          Psalm 23:1..

          The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in ‘want’.

          The literal interpretation that NCC subscribes to would be that God will give you all that you want. If this is true, almost 25,000 members of NCC would be yacht owners.

          The truth cannot be so.

          Testimony: When I younger I find that I wanted many things. I ‘wanted’ to be a lawyer and when I was, I found that I really didn’t want it that much.

          I’d then ‘wanted’ to get married and when I did, I found that I wasn’t really that happy.

          I’d then ‘wanted’ kids and I found that this is also very troublesome.

          When I go shopping, I wanted a handbag or diamond of a certain size and when I bought them, I lost interest.

          I was never satisfied! Why? I had all I wanted. God always supply.

          Then there happened a crisis in my life. I nearly lost everything. I then realised for the first time in my life, I REALLY DIDN”T KNOW WHAT I WANTED.

          So, I said this prayer to God,

          ‘Lord, I really am stupid. All those things I chased after and thought I wanted wasn’t what I really wanted after all. YOU gIve me what I want’.

          After that, the Lord gave me my ministry, teaching a group of people, baptizing people, changing lives and exalting God with my life.

          THEN, I realised this is what I REALLY, really, really wanted. I have never wanted anything more.

          So there, this is what this Psalm 23 is referring to..instead of what we ‘think’ we want, ‘I shall not be in want’ is the ‘want’ that God decides for us because only He knows what we truly want. The amazing thing is that this is what I am truly satisfied with at last.

          I have NEVER wanted a group to teach before I prayed that prayer and before God gave it to me..

          Yacht and all is futile if we don’t find this meaning in our lives. God given meaning. However, if you’re a Christian and already own a yacht, more power to you..

          I don”t really follow the crowd and I also have all my marbles. :)

  • Non-Pentecostal says:

    B. When did the marvelous manifestations, miracles, of God end?
    1. Miracles ended when that which is perfect came (I Cor. 13:10). That which is perfect is the completed revelation from God, the Bible (II Tim. 3:16,17; II Peter 1:3; James 1:25).
    a. The written word was completed when John completed the book of Revelation.
    b. Therefore miracles ended by that time.
    2. The apostles were the only ones allowed to impart these miraculous powers to others by laying on of their hands (Acts 6:6-8; 8:12-19; 19:6).
    a. The apostles have long since died.
    b. Those upon whom they laid their hands have long since died.
    c. Therefore miracles have “failed… ceased… vanished away” (I Cor. 13:8-10).
    3. These miracles were to last “till we all come in the unity of the faith” (Eph. 4:13).
    a. The unity of the faith has come (Eph. 4:4-6).
    b. The faith has once and for all been delivered (Jude 3).
    c. The faith is the gospel of Christ.

    C. Why are miracles no longer needed?
    1. Miracles were accomplished to create faith (John 2:11).
    a. Today faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17; 1:16; Acts 15:7; John 20:30,31).
    b. Therefore miracles are no longer needed to create faith.
    c. If a miracle is still needed to create faith, the Bible is insufficient for this purpose and therefore untrue.
    2. Miracles were accomplished to confirm the Word (Mark 16:20).
    a. The Word of God has been confirmed (Heb. 2:1-4; Acts 15:32; I Cor. 1:6; Heb.6:17).
    b. The Word of God does not need to be confirmed over and over again.
    3. Miracles are no longer needed today because the power of procreation is in the seen, the Word of God, the Bible (Luke 8:11).

    D. But some today are still looking for a miracle, some are actually claiming to be able to accomplish miracles.
    1. Today there is a segment of society still seeking a sign.
    a. During the time of Jesus some demanded a sign (Matt. 12:38).
    b. Jesus had already accomplished many miracles.
    c. Signs from heaven had been accomplished.
    d. The Pharisees still wanted to see a sign.
    1) They showed their distrust in Christ’s works (Matt. 16:1).
    2) Christ refused their request.
    e. Men still seem to be seeking a sign.
    1) They are rejecting the miracles of Christ.
    2) They are rejecting the testimony of Christ, who gave:
    a) Testimony by the Spirit (John 16:12-15).
    b) Laws through apostles (Matt. 16:19; John 20:23; II Thess. 2:15).
    c) Law to be obeyed (Matt. 7:21-27; John 12:48,49; Heb. 5:9).
    3) This segment of society which is seeking a sign is doing so in lieu of God’s Word.
    4) No sign shall be given this sign seeking segment of society just as no sign was given the Pharisees.
    5) Only an evil and adulterous seek a sign (Matt. 12:39).
    6) The rich man wanted someone to return from the grave to keep his brethren from ending up where he was (Luke 16:27-31).
    7) Christ was raised from the dead but this sign seeking segment of society will not hear Him.
    8) God will allow this sign seeking segment of society to believe a lie (II Thess.2:10, MATT.24:24).
    2. But many argue that because Jesus is the same yesterday, and today, and forever(Heb. 13:8) that miracles are still needed.
    a. If this means that He always does things in the same manner in which He once did them, then He is still creating worlds, still commanding men to build arks, offer animal sacrifices, offer their sons as sacrifices, still performing miracles at Sinai, etc.
    b. It means that He is still feeding his people with manna from heaven, feeding the hungry as he did the 5,000, etc.
    c. The principle that He uses in dealing with men has not changed. He himself has not changed. But His manner of accomplishing His will has changed (Eph.3:10,11).
    3. Those who are still looking for a sign are rejecting the Word of God and are therefore an evil and adulterous generation (Matt. 12:39).
    4. If you think you can do a miracle prove it.
    a. The common answer is that well you do not have enough faith.
    b. How much faith did Elymas have (Acts 13:8-12)?
    c. How much faith did Eutychus have (Acts 20:12)?

    CONCLUSION:
    1. Miracles had a precise purpose, distinctive designs and a particular purpose, that is to create faith and to confirm the word.
    2. Miracles are no longer being accomplished because they are no longer needed to create faith nor to confirm the Word.
    3. If you insist that you have seen a miracle you are either mistaken, or you are lying!
    4. If you claim to be able to do miracles, prove it, do one right now!
    5. God’s Word, not signs, miracles, lead to salvation (John 6:45; Acts 11:14).
    6. There is one miracle yet to be accomplished – the resurrection (John 6:28,29).

    Source: By Larry Powers – http://www.oabs.org

    • lyn says:

      All answered prayers are miracles…

      • Non-Pentecostal says:

        @ lyn …….I do not think the Holy Scriptures consider answered prayers as the acknowledged publicly demonstrable miracles.(HEB.1:1-3 & 2:1-4) Maybe, as personal or private “miracles” for personal edification.
        ….Bear in mind that your prayers to God should be according to God’s will(1JOHN.5:14). Prayers can often be about the desires of our evil flesh/hearts. It’s the laws/Word of God that reveal the will of God(eg MATT.6:8-15).
        _ _ _ _ _ _ _

        I. MIRACLES – MARVELOUS MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD – WHAT IS A MIRACLE?
        A. What is the definition of a miracle?
        1. Some define miracle as a work wrought by a divine power for a divine purpose by means beyond the reach of man.
        a. The general idea is that it is something wonderful or unusual, and event, experience, or discovery so singular and strange as to awaken in one the feeling of awe.
        b. Often times a phenomena in nature and events in history are labeled “miracle.”
        2. Webster defines a miracle as “1: an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs 2: an extremely outstanding or unusual event, thing, or accomplishment…”
        3. How does the Bible define a miracle?
        a. The term miracle from the Biblical standpoint is a work out of the usual sequence of causes and effects (which God did by him in the midst of you Acts 2:22) for which one cannot account by ordinary operation of these causes. Miracles are
        produced by the agency of God thru His representatives and are to prove the message which said representatives bring.
        b. In Bible miracles, original laws are not suspended, violated, or modified in any way, but a supernatural power outside of nature intervenes with a new effect. Therefore often times a miracle involves the introduction of a new cause.

        B. What is the Bible description of a miracle?
        1. While the general term miracle is used to describe the manifestation of supernatural power, various terms are used of miracles, because no one term can possibly exhaust all the significance of a miracle.
        2. The Bible uses the terms “miracle,” or “miracles” some 37 times.
        a. The term miracle is used one time in the Old Testament (Ex. 7:9) and the term “miracles” is used four times (Num. 14:22; Deut. 11:3; 29:3; Judges 6:13).
        b. The New Testament term miracle is translated from a word (dunamiv) [1411] which means power. This word is translated “miracle” seven times (Mark 9:39; Acts 2:22; 19:11; I Cor. 12:10,28); Gal. 3:5; Heb. 2:4) and “power” 77 times, “mighty work” 11 times, “strength” 7 times, “might” four times, “virtue” three times, “mighty” two times and misc. nine times.
        c. The New Testament term miracles is translated from a word (shmeion) [4592] which means “sign, miracle with an ethical end and purpose.” This word is translated “miracle(s)” 23 times (Luke 23:8; John 2:11,23; 3:2; 4:54; 6:2,14,26;
        7:31; 9:16; 10:41; 11:47; 12:18,37; Acts 4:16,22; 6:8; 8:6,13; 15:12; Rev. 13:14; 16:14; 19:20), this word is also translated sign 50 times, wonder three time and token one time.
        3. The Bibles uses the term “wonders” in reference to miracles.
        a. The word wonder or wonders are found 53 times in the Old Testament and 22 times in the New Testament.
        b. The word used in the New Testament which is translated wonder(s) (terav) [5059] indicates the state of mind produced on the eyewitnesses by the sight of miracles. This word is found 16 times in the New Testament (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; John 4:48; Acts 2:19,22,43; 4:30; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36; 14:3; 15:12;
        Rom. 15:19; II Cor. 12:12; II Thess. 2:9; Heb. 2:4).
        4. The Bible uses the term sign/signs in reference to miracles.
        a. The word sign(s) are found 129 times in the Bible 79 in the Old Testament and 50 in the New Testament.
        b. The word which is translated sign(s) (shmeion) carries with it a particular reference to the significance of miracles as being seals by which God authenticated the miracle-worker himself.
        5. The Bible uses the term “powers” in reference to miracles.
        a. Miracles are also powers in that they manifest the mighty power of God which was inherent in Christ himself.
        b. The word (dunamiv) [1411] which is translated power 77 times means inherent power.
        6. There are other descriptive words of miracles are works (John 5:36; 7:21; 10:25,32), “great things” (Luke 1:49), “glorious things” (Luke 13:17), “strange things” (Luke
        5:26), “wonderful things” (Matt. 21:15), “marvelous things” (Psa. 78:12), and “marvelous works” (Psa. 29:14; 105:5).
        7. Combining all the terms used in the Old and New Testament to describe the Biblical idea of miracles as manifestations of God’s extraordinary work, they indicate powers transcending the ordinary powers of nature, wrought in connection with the ends of revelation.

        C. Who were the doers of miracles?
        1. Miracles were accomplished by God (Job 40:2,9; 42:2; Amos 4:13; 5:8; Col. 1:16,17).
        2. Miracles were accomplished by Christ (Matt. 10:1; 28:18; John 10:17,18; 11:25; Col. 2:10).
        a. Christ’s miraculous power was foretold (Isa. 9:6; 35:5,6; 42:7).
        b. Christ never accomplished miracles simply to display His power, nor to astonish people.
        c. He did not accomplish miracles for His own behalf.
        3. Miracles were accomplished by the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:1; I Cor. 12:4-10,28; 14:1).
        a. These gifts were not to be neglected, despised or purchased (I Tim. 4:14; II Tim. 1:6; I Thess. 5:20; Acts 8:20).
        b. These gifts were temporary (I Cor. 13:8).
        4. Miracles were accomplished by angels (II Sam. 24:16; Luke 1:11-13,57-59; John 5:2-4; Acts 5:17-24).
        5. Miracles were accomplished by the servants of God.
        a. Human agents could not act directly.
        b. They could only accomplish miracles as power was delegated to them by God.
        c. Men of God such as Moses, Aaron, Joshua, the judges, the prophets, the apostles and first century disciples were channels through whom miraculous power flowed.
        6. Miracles were accomplished by evil agents.
        a. In some mysterious way the Devil and those under his sway have had power to counterfeit and display miraculous power.
        b. The Bible speaks of miracles performed through the power of the Devil (II Thess. 2:9; Matt. 24:24; Acts 8:9-11; II Cor. 11:13-14).

        D. What are the divisions of miracles?
        1. Bible miracles fall into clearly-defined divisions or catalogs.
        2. Miracles exhibit God’s power over nature.
        a. Old Testament – The Red Sea (Ex. 14:21), Jordan (Joshua 3:14-17), Sun and moon stand still (Joshua 10:12,13), etc.
        b. New Testament – Stilling the storm (Matt. 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25), water into vine (John 2:1-11), walking on the sea (Matt. 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-54; John 6:15-21), earthquake (Acts 16:23-34), etc.
        3. Miracles exhibit God’s power over disease.
        a. The provision, prevention and the permission of diseases are also related to Bible miracles.
        b. The range covers boils, leprosy, poisonous serpents, deadly pottage, withered hands, sicknesses, fevers, issue of blood, dropsy, blindness, deafness, dumbness, lameness and infirmities.
        4. Miracles exhibit God’s power over death.
        a. Some were stricken with death (at the flood, Nadab and Abihu, Shunammite’s son, Sennacherib’s army, Philistines, Ananias and Sapphira, and Herod).
        b. Some miraculously missed death (Enoch and Elijah).
        c. Some were raised from the dead (Christ raised three from the dead, Christ arose from the grave).
        5. Miracles exhibit God’s power over demons (Matt. 8:16; 8:28-32).

        E. What is the distribution of these miracles?
        1. The miracle of creation introduced the history of the world and of humanity.
        2. Miracles were accomplished during Old Testament times.
        3. Miracles were accomplished during New Testament times.
        4. Miracles are not being accomplished today.

        Source: By Larry Powers, http://www.oabs.org

    • roytan says:

      Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.2Tim3:7
      This kind of teaching comes from people who are totally blind and dead.Obviously the writer isnt a man/woman of prayer,otherwise the truth would have set him/her free.

      The rebirth of the state of Israel in 1948 was a great miracle.Please go and read the history of the 6day war plus all other major wars which Israel fought .God was fighting all those major wars for Israel.
      Each year there were thousands of rockets fired into Israel,but how many jews injured or killed by it ?????Comeon!Would you tell me that its not miracle butjust happened to be luck.

      • Journeyman says:

        @roytan
        Wonder what will be the logical and rational conclusion based on this promise given by God according to your interpretation – seems to me you are predicting an “ethnic – religious” cleansing by which ever side that may find itself in a superior military position. Do you eliminate your fellow humans, based on race, culture, religious persuasion, politics or all of the above???
        Sad to me that after 2000 years of reading the Bible or professing love, we are still clubbing each other to the nether world with more efficiency.
        Frightening is when knowledgable technically competent sociopaths with fueled by intolerant fundamentalist perspectives, decide to put together “weapons of mass extinction.” careful what u pray and wish for – the devil is mostly in us and not extraneous.

        Humans perpetrate the inhumanity to each other, not God or the devil.

      • lyn says:

        I agree with roytan..

      • Non-Pentecostal says:

        @ roytan …….who said: 11/01/2013 at 11:17 am.

        2TIM3:1-9 = [Perilous Times and Perilous Men]
        3:1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.
        ….And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 ALWAYS LEARNING AND NEVER ABLE TO COME TO THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TRUTH.
        ….8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.

        [The Man of God and the Word of God]
        10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
        ….14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

        16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
        _ _ _ _ _ _ _

        I think u hv quoted the Holy Scriptures out of context, in order to justify your “deceived” position that the writer, Larry Powers, is “ever learning n never able to come to the knowledge of the truth”.
        ….Most often, when the Word of God or the Holy Scriptures is put in the proper context, it is self-explanatory n the truth will be easily revealed.

        At 2TIM.3:15-17, Paul stated that it is only the Holy Scriptures/Word-of-God that r able to:
        1. make people wise for salvation thru faith, which is in Christ Jesus;
        2. attest a man of God;
        3. n separate the deceivers or those who r being deceived from the man of God or those who r being saved.

        At 2TIM.3:8, Jannes and Jambres were wise men, sorcerers n magicians of Egypt, who were able to duplicate with their enchantments/spells, some of the miracles, signs n wonders performed by Moses(EXO.7:11).
        ….Why did Paul use Jannes n Jambres as examples of Church leaders n believers who were being deceived n deceiving others.?

        It is not miracles or spiritual experiences that make people wise for salvation. In fact, bomohs, temple mediums n witches(ala Harry Potter) r able to perform many miracles, miraculous healings or give many super-natural spiritual experiences. God has warned those who follow after these agents/prophets of Satan that they will be cursed by Him.(DEUT.18:9-19)
        ….Those who seek after signs n wonders from God r an evil n adulterous(commit adultery with Satan/demons) generation, will be easily deceived n deceiving others.

      • Non-Pentecostal says:

        @ roytan …….who said: 11/01/2013 at 11:17 am.

        I do not think the creation of Israel in 1948 by the Jewish Zionists n the Western colonialists(Britain n America) was a great miracle of God. In fact, it was a great injustice done to the Palestinian Arabs. God would not do such an unjust miracle. It should be considered as the permissive will of God, eg like how God allowed Satan to inflict worrisome Job who lacked knowledge.
        ….Similarly, the Western colonization of nearly the whole world by the 19th century, was not a great miracle of God. It was pure evil done by the mostly Roman Catholic kingdoms, eg Spain, Portugal, Britain(Anglicans=pseudo-Catholics), etc. But God was able to turn an evil into good, ie by planting His gospel seed in the whole world thru the evil actions of the greedy colonizers.

        A local Malay in Singapore whose ancestors had ruled Singapore for centuries b4 the arrival of the British colonialists will most probably be aggrieved with the outcome of Western colonization that gave the rule of Singapore to the Chinese immigrants in 1965.
        ….Britain still retained the rule over her far-off colony in Falklands, to the ire of the Argentinians. The Argentinians should hv rebelled after WW2 when Britain was at her weakest n most vulnerable.
        ….China is aggrieved that Diaoyu Island is being ruled by Japan, a legacy of Japanese colonialism.

        Notwithstanding the evils of colonialism and its unjust legacies, the “bullied” or weaker party should accept the outcome of colonialism n let God deal with the “bullying” ex-colonialists. If they r patient, God will avenge for them.
        ….The Malays, Chinese n Indians in Singapore n SE Asia were all victims of the British, Dutch, French, American n Japanese colonialists. The Malays, Chinese n Indians should bear with each other n accept things as they r, post-colonialism. Let God deal with the unjust ruling race.
        _ _ _ _ _ _ _

        In the 4th century AD, the bishop of Rome, with the complicity of the 1st Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine n by misinterpreting the Holy Scriptures out of context(MATT.16:18), was able to hijack Christianity n install himself as the Pope, the Supreme/Head Bishop, ruling over the whole of Christendom. The Holy Roman Empire(4th to 18th century) was the beginning of harlotry between the Roman Catholic Church and the Roman Empire or between religion n politics.(REV.17:5) The Popes got very rich n lived like kings.
        ….In the 16th century, the Pope endorsed the colonialism of many Catholic kingdoms when sea travel was able to open up many remote parts of the world for exploitation n greed.

        Colonialism culminated in World War 1 n WW2 when the main colonialists fought against upstart colonialists(Germany, Turkey, Italy, Japan) for the spoils, like Mafia turf wars. These wars weakened n impoverished all the colonialists, who had to give independence to their former colonies after WW2 bc they were unable to rule them anymore. America, the least of the colonialists, was able to emerge from the debilitating wars as a super-power.
        ….So, WW1 n WW2 were not wars about good vs evil or good America vs evil Germany/Japan. It was the victory by the lesser of 2 evils.

        The creation of Israel in 1948 has little to do with the plan of God to herald the 2nd Advent of Jesus Christ. The prophesy of Jesus Christ at MATT.24:15 about the “abomination of desolation” standing in the holy place(ie at the Holy Temple of Jerusalem) was referring to an event that has already passed.(Source: Eusebius of Caesarea)

        Prior to the 1st Advent of JC, the Jews had been rewarded by God for their faithfulness with their own kingdom of Israel, thru His prophets/judges Moses, Joshua, King David and so on.(from 1400BC to 700BC) Bc of forgetfulness n sin/evil deed, God caused the Jews to lose their kingdom of Israel. Israel was occupied/colonized by foreigners, ie from 700BC till 0AD till 1948AD.(by Assyria, Persia, Greece, Rome, etc)
        ….While the Jews were suffering under foreign occupation, God sent prophets to them who exhorted them to repent n await the coming of a Messiah/Christ/Savior, eg ISA.9:6.

        Even b4 the 1sr Advent of JC, the Jews already had a few failed christs/messiahs/saviors who had led failed armed rebellions against the Roman colonizers/occupiers. Hence, the Jews were awaiting n expecting a christ/messiah/savior who would lead them into a successful armed rebellion.

        We must remember that the Jews rejected Jesus as their promised Christ/Messiah/Savior bc they desired to be “saved” by God from being colonized by the Romans. The Jews wanted God to give them back their kingdom of earth/Israel thru the Messiah/Christ/Savior. But Jesus only wanted to give them a kingdom of heaven(MATT.4:17). When JC did not “save” them from the Romans, they had no use of Him n they eventually “murdered” Him.
        ….After the crucifixion of JC(at around 30AD), the Jews continued to raise up false-christs/messiahs/saviors(MATT.24:24, 1JOHN.2:18-27) for themselves to lead them into armed rebellion against the Romans which also failed.

        The Roman Emperor who resided at distant Rome, was very angry with the fanatical/extremist Jews, so he decreed for his statue(=the abomination of desolation) to be set up at the holy place in the Holy Temple of Jerusalem n required all the Jews to worship his statue as their god. Those who refused were executed. Some Jewish Christians were martyred bc of this.
        ….JC had prophesied to His apostles/disciples about this event n had warned them to flee Jerusalem when they saw these signs happening(MATT.24:16, LUKE.21:20)
        ….Of course, most of the Jews n some Jewish Christians(esp the Judaizers) hypocritically bowed down n worshiped the statue of the Roman Emperor as their god, in order not to be executed n to cunningly continue with their armed rebellion.

        When his statue-plan did not work, the very furious Roman Emperor had to lead a huge Roman army to lay siege on Jerusalem to quell the Jewish rebellion. Many of the Jewish inhabitants in Jerusalem died of starvation during the siege. Some were killed trying to break out from the siege. Eventually, all the remaining weakened inhabitants were easily killed n the Holy Temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans. Thereafter, no more Jewish rebellion n no more Jews in Jerusalem.

        Thru JC, God gave the world the kingdom of heaven. 2,000 years ago, the Jews erroneously desired for a kingdom of earth/Israel, n lost the kingdom of heaven. In 1948, the Jewish Zionists were able to fulfill their desire for a kingdom of earth/Israel with the complicity of Western colonialists who pitied the suffering of the Jews in the Holocaust during WW2.
        ….I doubt, this was accomplished thru the will of God. It was more like the will of the flesh. Hence, there is little peace for the Jews in Israel. Maybe, the sowing of Zionism has caused them to reap Muslim terrorism.
        ….I think the creation of Israel/kingdom of earth in 1948 was not a miracle of God. Maybe, a miracle of Satan. I think the real miracle will be the resurrection of believers n the return of Jesus Christ to begin His rule of the kingdom of heaven.

        REV.13:11-18 says that prior to the 2nd Advent of JC in the clouds(1THESS.4:16), believers will hv to undergo a similar test of faith, that 1st century believers had to go thru, ie they died for their faith by not bowing down n worshiping the statue of the Roman Emperor as their god, losing their lives but keeping their salvation.
        ….A time is coming soon when all people in the world will be required to receive the mark-of-the-beast, in order to be able to buy or sell anything. This mark will most probably be a computer chip implant, that will be scanned at the check-out counters of super-markets, stores, shops, etc. Those who refuse the mark will be persecuted or starving to death.
        ….Believers hv been commanded by JC/God to refuse the mark-of-the-beast or they will lose their salvation.

  • journeyman says:

    Sharing about “”Faith is the substance of things hoped for – the evidence of things not seen.”……..an epic journey for a family friend…..a very Christian couple at the height of a Singapore dream turned into a very daunting journey (will be nightmare for most) ……..

    “Around the first week of 2011 when I sat distraught and confused in the ICU the neurosurgeon already predicted so. He said that most coma patients from ruptured brain aneurysms either recover consciousness in the first 2 to 3 weeks or hardly at all at 10% chance.

    The stories of people getting up suddenly from coma years after lying unconscious are mere sensational news stories, he said, and had never been witnessed by him. In the past week, some 14 months after her cranial surgery, XXXXX, still unaware of her surroundings could only groan and sigh…………..

    ……doldrums that she’s facing at her journey now – neither better nor worse. It is also our journey – for those of us who knew her enough to continue seeing thru her illness. Sometimes heart-breaking, if you know her former self. As for me she is still wife, although our marriage is all but gone. I still make one-way conversations with her daily. Hard part is not getting any feedback. But then steadfastness to continue living must be shared – the healthy or the happy owe it to the less fortunate. This post is not just about XXXXXXX – it is also about us. In the end to be found standing, still. Despite our vicissitudes.”

    as friends we can only stand and offer support and love…remembering never to visit when anybody has a sniffle or suspected infection of any sort…..it has been a humbling journey for friends and does test one’s faith in a loving God……many questions and sometimes one has to smile about those unbridled prosperity and irrational daddy God themes, seen so often here.

    • Ben says:

      Hi journeyman. We shared about this very same topic in the post about the doctor that passed away. And I believe everyone goes through these questions if we are honest, especially when we see tragedy happen around us…

      We even discussed these life issues face to face if you remember. The same session which I think Blogpastor said that he witnessed a patient being brought back from a coma (but my memory is a bit hazy so please correct me if I’m wrong).

      And I believe we came to different conclusions. That is:

      (1) Tragedy happens therefore it is irrational to believe that God heals believers despite what He says in the bible.

      (2) Tragedy happens even though healing IS our inheritance in Christ and we need to accept that there are many hidden variables which we do not know. This sounds so “dismissive” and “irrational” but is it that far-fetched to believe that there really are hidden variables that we don’t know about?

      … By the way, please don’t take whatever I say as me trying to score points by sounding “holy”. God already knows I make a lousy Christian. But I thought that there is another perspective which shows that one does not need to be irrational to believe that God indeed wants healing for all believers, difficult as that may be for us to grasp.

      • Journeyman says:

        @ben,
        Yes but now after some reflection hae concluded that most times we have not idea or care abt implications abt future consequences – mostly we solve or prayer for solutions that give immediate relief. Abt 15 years ago, remembering having to be an integral part of a family decision that had to decide how to manage and treat a loved one who may have had an anueryism precipating a fall and there was fairly severe external and internal head injuries – not unlike my friend, we had access to advanced medical imaging technologies and skillful specialist. Basically we had 3 choices, do nothing but palliative care, do traditional treatments and observe evolving situation or aggressively treat with state of art technologies. We did bot MRI and Catscans on admission – Remember the specialist were 80:20 for aggressive – the interventionist (neurosurgeons) were very much for active intervention whilst the holistic physicians and recieving trauma surgeons advised for limited repair without attempting vascular repair without attempting to shunt or resort to extraordinary technologies. Her vitals were great even though she was semi comatose, bleeding external from slight fall. She was moved from from AnE to ICU. We were told that time was a luxury we did not have but given abt 60 minutes whilst prep of facilities and patient continued
        - do not remember the actual mechanics of the decision but the result was to do palliative without extraordinary heroics – result was she got better after stabilization overnight but 3 days later when
        downhill and died 7-8 days at 80 without recovering consciousness.

        The point is besides and intellectual dis ours our beliefs shape our responses and determines what our lives in the future post decision. Is it worth being alive when tcure condemns you to a semi vegetative life? It is still a casino even with faith except you have to drink from the cup you dread bit is there a choice?

        • Journeyman says:

          Do excuse my horrible typing skills – thoughts are faster than clumsy fingers and the autocomplete and spell checker is driving me nuts on iPad and iPhone – may cause me to jump unto Android devices in next few months………apologies if you hv hard time deciphering but am very fallible – remember am just trying to be “approximately right and not precisely wrong. Sorry ah

  • journeyman says:

    Maybe the Meyer Briggs Index will help some of us understand how and why we perceive the world……

    Carl Gustav………….. “Jung’s typological model regards psychological type as similar to left or right handedness: individuals are either born with, or develop, certain preferred ways of perceiving and deciding. The MBTI sorts some of these psychological differences into four opposite pairs, or dichotomies, with a resulting 16 possible psychological types. None of these types are better or worse; however, Briggs and Myers theorized that individuals naturally prefer one overall combination of type differences.[1]:9 In the same way that writing with the left hand is hard work for a right-hander, so people tend to find using their opposite psychological preferences more difficult, even if they can become more proficient (and therefore behaviorally flexible) with practice and development.
    The 16 types are typically referred to by an abbreviation of four letters—the initial letters of each of their four type preferences (except in the case of intuition, which uses the abbreviation N to distinguish it from Introversion). For instance:
    ESTJ: extraversion (E), sensing (S), thinking (T), judgment (J)
    INFP: introversion (I), intuition (N), feeling (F), perception (P)….”

    Based on comments so far ……..maybe a lyn/wendy type looks like an INFP type whilst NP-type feels like a JIST…a ben cud be INTP….not sure how to classify myself as have access to too much data, maybe impossible for self to revaluate oneself honestly.

    And so on for all 16 possible type combinations.

  • lyn says:

    Hi NP and Journeyman,

    My testimonies above are meant for building up and encouragement. But if you’re not, it’s ok. It is up to the Lord how He deals with each one of us. But for your own sakes, I feel you should keep an open mind with regards to all things of God. Just because we argue back and forth does not mean there needs to be a ‘winner’.

    Miracles and faith are personal to you. How you choose to believe God is your own choice. But it is Jesus who said that ‘According to your faith, be it unto you’.

    What I mean to say is, please try to keep an open mind. Writing here, what it can do is that if we keep an open mind we can learn many things. However, if we don’t, just to prove ourselves ‘right’ we’ll shut the opposing idea down so completely that even the little we have, we throw it to the dogs.

    We all need miracles from time to time. To trust that the mighty One is looking out for us. All these things, if we can believe, are blood bought and does not come at a cheap price. So please don’t throw it away so easily.

    So, keep an open mind, be it with regards to healing or prosperity (as you’d care to define it) or faith as you’ll never know when it might come in handy for you.

    God bless..

    • lyn says:

      Mark 4:21-25

      A Lamp on a Stand

      21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

      24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

    • Journeyman says:

      @lyn – no basis for me to doubt yr integrity or generosity. Do have problems with a unmerited grace and unbridled prosperity and the repeated promises that “Daddy God” is completely indulgent. Was trained to keep an open and evaluating mind and conditioned to doubt all findins until they can be verified.

      “Miracles,” are by definition extremely rare events – usually when the laws of nature are suspended perceptibly By God or one of his anointed – herein lies the rub – since it is subject to fallacious and often malicious claims, sheep are slaughtered in droves every year and yet more join the queue to the abattoir.
      The continued expectation of miracles are inflationary – degrading the pristine purity with creeping self interest and avarice.

      Have observed that many people interpret the Bible literally or non- literally. Believe the fundamentalist stains wud be extremely literally whilst the “rationalist” wud be mostly non- literal. Find that when Bible ” miracle” do not appear rational to me – like Jericho blowing horn to collapse wall – cud be explained if God layered a earthquake event with the action of horn blowing by an appointed. The parting ofthe redsea or some other body of water cud be like the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel is the site of the largest tides in Continental Europe, with up to 15 meters of difference between high and low tides. The sea rushes back towards the coast “at the speed of a galloping horse,” as the saying goes or Balaam speaking to the donkey……….seems to me slot ofthe Bible has to be read in a non literal manner if we are to harvest the pearls of wisdom – if you see nothing, you learn nothing hence your lamp – thus the lamp on a stand parable wud support a rational perception than a literal fundamentalist approach which you seem to be inclined towards.

      Who is right? Guess it is determined by what you want to believe – a spherical globe was made flat by religious nuts for over 400 years – the Greeks have a saying – when the God’s want to destroy you, all they have to do is make you mad.

      • lyn says:

        Hi Journeyman,

        When I decide to believe in God, I took a stand to believe everything the Bible says about Himself.

        Why should I doubt anything stated in the Bible?

        If I believe that there is a God who made the universe, why should I doubt that He could part the Red Sea?

        Now, that is madness..

        Every breath is a miracle. He could take that away from you in an instant.

        I never believe anything half way.

        You’re using scientific evidence to explain the ways of God. That’s like using Dell computer methods to solve problems with your Mac. Nothing good can come out of it.

        Now, take the plunge, be bold and stand up for your God..

        • journeyman says:

          @lyn…..from wiki…”In modern times, the view that the Bible should be accepted as historically accurate and as a reliable guide to morality has been questioned by many mainstream academics in the field of biblical criticism. Most Christian groups claim that the Bible is inspired by God, and some oppose interpretations of the Bible that are not traditional or “plain reading”. Some groups within the most conservative Protestant circles believe that the Authorized King James Version is the only accurate English translation of the Bible, and accept it as infallible. They are generally referred to as “King James Only”. Many within Christian fundamentalism—as well as much of Orthodox Judaism—strongly support the idea that the Bible is a historically accurate record of actual events and a primary source of moral guidance.

          In addition to concerns about morality, inerrancy, or historicity, there remain some questions of which books should be included in the Bible (see canon of scripture). Jews discount the New Testament, most Christians deny the legitimacy of the New Testament apocrypha, and a view sometimes referred to as Jesusism does not affirm the scriptural authority of any biblical text other than the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels…..
          Guess each can make up their own minds on how you want to treat the Bible……presumably either the KJV or NIV or ASB….my own model is the bible is a book with numerous contributors over a long period of time about an awesome God that defies any anthromorphogenisis so we can reduce him to a human dimension to rationalize
          are the other good books mistaken, the Copthic, russian orthodox, egyptian, greeks, turkish….list goes on,everybody believes in roughly the same thing but they are contridictions, so how – dont friend, evangelize and threat of majority oppression or just exterminate? what about Mormons, Catholics….then there are the pesky other religious nuts……where is the line ……to me it is about acceptance, respect and love – will talk about my belief but will qualify by saying it is perssonal – always askmy journey partners to think and seek an abundant life promised.

          • lyn says:

            @JM,

            If you’re Christian then NIV is a good and easy read.

            If God can make the world, He can edit the Bible.

            We’re Christians not Catholics, Jewish, Mormons or Scientologist and certainly not religious nuts.

            If you think there are contradictions in the Bible, then bring it out here. We can discuss it together..:)

          • Ben says:

            You said: “Where is the line”.

            Seems like you are basically asking how can you know and trust that the (mainstream) Bible is true?

            Instead of talking about the historicity of scripture and the extremely careful copying methods of Jewish scribes, let’s go another route.

            Someone likened the books of the Bible, both the NT and OT, to a 3D hologram showing an image. Now the special property about holograms compared to a canvas drawing is that it is very error resistant. Even if you cut the hologram in half, you don’t end up with half the image unlike the canvas drawing but the full image still, only with less resolution.

            The words of the Bible function the same way as holographic storage. The image of the Bible in this case is Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice. But even if we start removing pages and pages or even books, we still get the over-arching theme of the suffering Messiah who died for the sins of many embedded in the rest of the book, only now it’s less clear and explicit. The references and hidden types are strewn all over even in the OT, which is too much for me to list in detail here, and they all serve to reinforce the theme.

            How then do you determine what book to exclude and what to include?

            The first step is really in seeing what the entire Bible is really about. Even if you just have the Torah, the main theme is still there because of that holographic property that I talked about, only it’s less clear.

            So, since we established that the central theme of the Bible is quite tamper-resistant, we are able to discard purportedly “lost” books simply because these other books stick out like a sore thumb. For example, when 1 book out of 20 suddenly tries to validate concepts like “penance” and “purgatory” that run counter to the main theme, you probably have an outlier. Common statistical sense dictates that outliers are probably not representative of the actual data, and should normally be discarded.

            Does that mean that the Bible as it stands is completely perfect and inerrant in every word and letter?

            At least in the original OT Hebrew manuscripts, I think it’s quite possible. But does it even matter even if some information is lost or corrupted today? Does it invalidate the fundamental belief in the true Lamb of God who takes away our sins? Of course not because that central theme as I’ve pointed out is still available to us and it is very error-resistant.

            By the way, shall we all meet up again for another stimulating round of discussions?

  • Journeyman says:

    @NP 12Jan13 7:24am
    I think it takes 2 hands to clap – the current finical dislocation was caused by all of us – the “banksters” developed exotic instruments we did not understand but promised easy money, so most of us piled into it, from pension to church funds to individuals because we were greedy and fearful to have missed the gravy train. Markets exist because there are sellers and buyers willing to transact for whatever reason. The ultimate craziness is believing money can create more money – we are actually being fooled by the hugh credit generated from massive issuance of debt – we believe the IOUs by governments, banks and companies are always going to be repaid. Actually when it gets too much, nobody pays back – we just inflate over the bump and start onto the next bubble. The mistaken belief that inflation will not destroy trust will cause the next financial event that could sink us. Money is fiat currency – it has no value beyond the fantail printing and promise of the printer.

    Seems to me that inspite of reading the Bible for 2000 years, xtians have not made much process – we still enjoy the killing, ego – coming to the conclusion finding God will be an individual effort as the collective results so far does not justify the promise after all this time. The belief in God does not appear to be translating collectively into a better society – check the social stat indicators between xtians and the rest of the population – no significant difference!!

    Either the belief is false nor we do not practice what we profess or the practice is all wrong. Since few of us believe the belief is false, it leaves us with 2 possibilities – perhaps u hv a better explanation.

  • Journeyman says:

    @Ben 18/01/13
    Hologram are like raster graphics – skeleton with granularity – reducing data set reduces details but spatial anchors do not change – perhaps a better analogy wud be like navigating with compass vs GPS. The traditional method is approximate and if North pole (currently shifting at abt 41km per year) were to invert to S, we can still navigate with work for a lot of printers and cartographers but we will still get there if we do some mental gymnastics. There will be no change in GPS readings as it is a co-ord mapping point base on an arbitrary electronic sphere from multiple satellites around earth in geosynchronous orbits. GPS wud be extremely accurate whilst a compass reckoning would offer sufficient precision to navigate reliably.

    Guess to me both accuracy and precision are equally important hence contradictions can only be logically accepted if we decipher using non literal imagery

    • Ben says:

      Yeah the point I was trying to make with the hologram analogy is that similar to a hologram, the Bible is also very resistant to noise. IF there really are errors in the Bible, then sure, you might end up with some minor false beliefs, but the main image of Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice will still be apparent because of that noise-resistant property I just mentioned. Like I said, even if you tear out page upon page or even entire books, Jesus Christ can still be seen in types and allegory in every Bible account from Genesis to Revelation.

      In my opinion, that fact alone is sufficient reason for me to be convinced that the message of Jesus Christ as illustrated in the Bible is reliable.

  • Aaron Lee says:

    Thank you Ps Kenny for sharing the fruit of your reflections. I do enjoy reading your blog posts and learn much from you! God bless you.

  • Journeyman says:

    Can I assume we concur that the (KJV variants) Bible hv contradictory verses and cannot be read in a strictly literal sense?

    Understand some fundamentalist wud disagree most violently but it is ok as this forum is to enlighten and strengthen faith.

    Enjoy the teachings immensely when it becomes alive and relevant to my daily life enabling me to navigate daily challenges and live it abundantly. This might explain why i develop a ” meta stable, evolving standard model,” based on my own experiences and limited knowledge to make more sense of my existence. In a sense it is not different from your hologram analogy – the downside of that analogy is the need for coherent monochromatic light source – life is more dramatic, a tapestry with many threads, hues and depth

    Praying that as I journey thru this dynamic landscape, will be able to create a small sphere of tranquility and light based on wisdom that I have been allowed to glean from the Bible and discipline of scientific observations. We can develop this further offline in the future.

 

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