Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Give to God what is God's

It took me two days to get to writing a summary of Monday's group. We travel through so many things it's sort of hard to say exactly what we talked about. There seems to be a cycle developing; one week we have a topic and the next week we explore it further and move to the next topic. Last week was "Tithe" and this week started with whether or not there was blessings received in giving and curses in withholding. We were not sure where this idea came from even though we all know it's taught in many houses of worship.

We started with Matthew 25 again with the Sheep and the Goats. This passage certainly gives reason to speculate that there is a benefit to giving of ourselves. We discussed how this giving isn't really a tithe thing or money.

But I wanted to point out that money is something we should not be holding onto. It seems that every time someone says you should be giving up money people hold their wallets tight. I know there has been a corruption with preachers asking for money fraudulently, but we do also value money too highly.

I told a story of someone here at work going to a new church last week and how they were scared because they "have never heard anyone say" that "if you don't give everything you have to God you're going to hell." This wasn't received too well in the group although it isn't necessarily not true. The Rich Ruler was told to sell everything he had and give the money to the poor. This was an example of giving everything away. It was pointed out that this was because he was rich and it's easier for the poor to give everything because they don't have anything. It's important to be ready to have given everything up.

Some more examples were given of Elisha giving up everything and when Jesus was explaining the cost of following him.

And we discussed what it meant to really give up ourselves to God - what it meant to be converted. We see that Jesus said to count the cost, so discipleship demands something. We see that in America we just tell people to "try out" God and see how it works.

The discussion continued and moved to hell. Does Hell exist? We all sort of gave our own opinions on this and explained why. I'm not going to go into this because next Monday this will be the topic.

We moved to talking about doubt. We seem to have a lot of doubts, but also faith. We see throughout scripture from beginning to end that everyone is challenged by doubt, so it is not a bad thing, but it is a thing we all must deal with.

We ended asking "do you believe the Bible as it is bound now is the infallible word of God?" This will have to be dealt with in future gatherings to be complete, and it was Robert who just wanted to see how we should approach answering questions if not everyone believed the Bible was inerrant. We did agree that the "Sword of the Spirit" is not the Bible but rather it is "the Word of God" that is the Name of Christ Jesus, the Son of God. We didn't go through this topic but I think there was an overall understanding that anything touched by man had error, so the Bible as written by men contained errors. We actually had a time of searching exactly what "infallible" meant. We took out a dictionary and found three different definitions. I answered the first question posed in this paragraph with "No and yes," for there are mistakes made in the writing of the Scriptures (capable of error), but it is infallible in "defining doctrines touching faith or morals."

So next week we will be discussing Hell and punishment.

A few references to look up for next Monday are:

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