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Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
#31
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
I was working on a response to the question I asked, "Can a Christian be perfect", but I'll save it in my Drafts if there's ever an interest in the future to either discuss or debate that topic. So back on topic as reminded by Tibs.

To sum up my role here on AF:
I have no role here as a Christian. I'm one of those described in the parable, someone who once had put their hand to the plough and then looked back. As I said before, though I believe in God, and though I believe that Jesus is God's Son, I fall far short of living up to the faith that I profess to believe in. What is my role and why am I here? No role. I just enjoy it.
"Inside every Liberal there's a Totalitarian screaming to get out"

[Image: freddy_03.jpg]

Quote: JohnDG...
Quote:It was an awful mistake to characterize based upon religion. I should not judge any theist that way, I must remember what I said in order to change.
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#32
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
@Neo/Whole Group

I understand your point about it being difficult to think of posting here as falling under "do all to the Glory of God" and therefore not a legit role for a Christian. I think it depends on how one approaches the posting. I think if someone pursues the roles of correcting misconceptions, establishing a dialog, and planting seeds that may someday bear fruit, in a Christlike manner, that would qualify as doing it for the Glory of God. HOWEVER, I struggle with this. It's easier if I'm just explaining doctrine--that's kind of a neutral thing. But if I am pointing out someone else's error, I like to "win"--especially when the other person is antagonistic (which is usually the case). I'm also condescending at times if the person is confrontational rather than seeking a discussion. These are not Christlike actions and I am clearly not posting "for the Glory of God". That does not mean that it can't be done. 

That brings up the question though that what if we systematically choose to call stupid "stupid", pursue combative language when people are over the top, be condescending to people not interested in a discussion, or exchange insult for insult (as almost all of us have done)? I think this outright wrong. Let me explain.

POINT 1
We have chosen to identify ourselves as Christians and not by some generic deist worldview title.  A Christian is a follower/representative/disciple of Christ. By claiming the title 'Christian' we have created an obligation for ourselves to live up to:

1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to articulate a defense to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But respond with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who slander you will be put to shame by your good behavior in Christ. 

II Timothy 2:14 Remind the believers of these things, charging them before God to avoid quarreling over words; this is in no way profitable, and leads its listeners to ruin. 15 Make every effort to present yourself approved to God, an unashamed workman who accurately handles the word of truth...24 And a servant of the Lord must not be quarrelsome, but he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, and forbearing. 25 He must gently reprove those who oppose him, in the hope that God may grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth.

POINT 2
We, self-identified as Christians, have chosen to come to a place consisting mainly of atheists. Without any public caveat to the contrary, this decision creates an ambassador relationship: 

II Corinthians 5:18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.

CONCLUSION:
Necessarily, these two choices that we have made establishes a different relationship with the community (any non-Christian community) in that it creates the obligation that the verses above describe. To call stupid "stupid", pursue combative language, be condescending to people, or exchange insult for insult (as all of us have done) is to fail in this obligation. To systematically fail in this obligation is objectively wrong. 

Agree? Disagree? If you don't want this obligation, is there something that can be done to avoid it?
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#33
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
(May 9, 2018 at 9:55 am)Tiberius Wrote: Let's try and keep this debate on topic please. The topic of the debate is "our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums". I can't see how a side-discussion on "Can Christians be perfect?" is in any way relevant to the topic.

Is answering the question or concerns of a Christian something that's inappropriate as a role for Christians here Tiberius. Is our role only to answer the questions of the unbelieving and have a social life here, Neo. I was thinking by answering a Christian's question we were demonstrating one of the roles Christians can have on this forum. It also shows that we need a civil place to do so, so that we can help someone outside of the non-belief of atheism without being distracted from something we might consider important. If this question had come up in an open thread there would be those who would mock, joke and ridicule, just because they can and enjoy doing so and Tiberius you know this to be true. I really believe this is a role for Christians here, some would say take it to a Christian forum and I  say why, we are here and have been invited here. I honestly do not want to or see that Christians are trying to manipulate this forum, we are trying to give examples of our role and would like to be able to do so work in those roles without purposeful distractions to derail something everyone might learn from. Most of the time one or two Christians are involved in any one thread, the rest usually stay away from the discussions within said thread so we want be a distraction, our politeness is not a weakness nor a disinterest in the thread, it is respect for those involved.

GC
God loves those who believe and those who do not and the same goes for me, you have no choice in this matter. That puts the matter of total free will to rest.
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#34
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
GC, everything you have said it true. That said, this thread is specifically set up in the debate area with the understanding that it should bear some semblance to an actual formal debate. The structure of debate is generally to argue for or against a specific topic on which the participants agreed in advance. It is not meant to meander in whatever direction any one person wants to take it. All I ask is that we make a disciplined effort to thoroughly explore a single issue and then having exhausted it with reasonable depth start another debate thread delving into another area, if we so desire.
"Anyone who believes the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. I live on the twenty-first floor." - Alan Sokal
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#35
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
@ Neo, I read through your responses and how that you offered your critiques to each respondent. But, I don't think I read in any of your responses where you answered the topic of debate directly for yourself....

So, why are you here? What did you expect your role to be? What did you expect to accomplish on AF since you said the ground was too hard to receive the Sower's seed? 


@ Drich, in post #18 of your response you directed to myself and to CL that we seemed concerned around the idea that you weren't here to save and that it seems to attribute to broad casting seeds on infertile ground(?) if I'm understanding you correctly. Please compare post #10 to post#13. I wasn't the one who said that.

@ both Drich and CL, I enjoyed the videos of your favored hymns that you each posted, btw.
"Inside every Liberal there's a Totalitarian screaming to get out"

[Image: freddy_03.jpg]

Quote: JohnDG...
Quote:It was an awful mistake to characterize based upon religion. I should not judge any theist that way, I must remember what I said in order to change.
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#36
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
@SteveII, All –

The verses you quoted are indeed relevant and instructive. At the same time, I believe we cannot allow Paul’s general admonitions to become a strictly binding rule. Just as there is no contradiction between mercy and justice, I do not see any contradiction between approaching non-believers graciously and the necessity of directly, proportionately, and persistently confronting evils and exposing falsities. The Word gives hope but first it convicts.

We cannot favor proof-texts over the broad Scriptural narrative in which God rebukes idolatry and warns of wrath through the bold witness of His prophets and the saints. Nor do these servants refrain from resorting to harsh words and even insult, as follows:

In Mathew 3:7-10 John the Baptist calls out to the Pharisees and Sadducees “O generation of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the wrath to come?”

In Mathew 12:34-37 our Lord, echoing the same, addressed the scoffing Pharisees as “You brood of vipers!”

In Acts 2:40 Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit urges the gathering crowd to “Be saved from this corrupt generation.”

In Romans 1:21 Paul says of the pagan culture ” their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (i.e they had become willfully ignorant and foolish.

In Matthew 11:20-22 Jesus harshly chides those who witnessed the clear signs of His divinity, as follows: “Then Jesus began to denounce the towns in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. Those were not kind words.

Moses did not stand meekly before Pharaoh.  Ezekiel did not refrain from humiliating the faith of the priests of Baal. Did Sampson turn his cheek to the Philistines? Was not the stone with which David slew Goliath not an allusion to the Rock of Truth on which our faith rests?

Perhaps AF is the crucible in which we engage the truly demonic lies of the Enemy that have ensnared many non-believers, lead many lies into ruin (including many Christians tainted by these falsities) and are undermining our culture. While I agree that the model of “gentleness and respect” is the preferred approach we must remember that the example of Jesus not just a suffering servant. He is also the victorious Lion of Judah!

@A_Theist - I no longer know exactly why I remain. My continued participation on AF, this thread in particular, will hopefully help me gain clarity. If it is a bad habit for me, as Alpha suggests it is for him, then I should go my way. But if I stay then I must be clear on why. Given the recent trolling I have endured and the betrayal of respected friends, I almost resolved to quietly go my own way without fanfare. I have not yet done so because I refuse to let myself be bullied into leaving. If I ever decide to leave it will be on my own terms, not out of disgust: but rather, because I have better things to do.

Sidenote - I'll stick with "Old Rugged Cross" and "What a Friend we have in Jesus." Ever hear Johnny Cash's version of "Personal Jesus?" It almost makes me cry to hear how he transforms the mockery of Depache Mode into a beautiful song of profound Grace.

That concludes my statements and responses on the topic; although I would be happy to  clarify any of the points I presented. I look forward to the remaining contributions of everyone else.
"Anyone who believes the laws of physics are mere social conventions is invited to try transgressing those conventions from the windows of my apartment. I live on the twenty-first floor." - Alan Sokal
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#37
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
@AT

What I'm saying is I am here to correct. not here to push a person through the step of salvation and declare anyone saved. My belief is only Jesus Can declare someone saved. We honestly do not even have the right to say we are saved because of this church or that ritual.. Salvation is a matter of the grace and atonement purchased by Christ and can only be dispensed by christ. Which makes all other efforts moot. So again I do not spend time trying to 'win sould' in that for or fashion.

My hope is that if I provide people with the truth/enough truth it may allow them the freedom to have a change of heart and allow them to "grow from the seeds of truth I broadcast." So that Christ may identify them as being "saved." There is no denominational right of passage or ritual I am asking anyone to participate in. only provide people with answers as they ask questions.

Neo:
you are 1000% correct matter of fact (on 1/2 the matter) I was going to provide the same type of response to steve II not as a rebuke but as a reminder that we must look for a way to both have the freedom to 'take the gloves off and form a whip to chase the devils out of our temples, as Jesus did! But at the same time show the due respect and love call for in the passages steveII left behind for us to consider.

It's not one or the other as Jesus Himself demonstrated we must be able to do both light into someone and yet retain love and respect for the person. For example Jesus out right blasted his disciples for being foolish or dumb for not understanding a parable or concept or for infighting over stupid stuff, there was a point many left him. Then he was So disrespectful to the pharisees and sadducees they Literally had Him killed over what he said and did to shine the light of truth on them. Jesus literally pushed the entire Jewish religious hierarchy into Murder, by simply disrespecting their pride.

And that's the key. That is how Jesus could on one hand insult, and damn the pharasiees for being snakes hypocrites and fools and at the same time show nicodemus mercy enough (a prominate pharisee) enough compassion to spell out the coming salvation...

In that Jesus never sought to destroy the individual (send a person to Hell be with holding the love of God) Jesus very carefully/surgically attacks a person's sin (which more often than not is Pride) Pride that demanded the leadership of the temple to murder Christ, despite all of the miracles they saw him preform, despite questioning Him and only getting the answers God could give. Jesus through his love harps on things that hurt their pride over and over and over again. Why? it is a form of conviction If a proud person masks his pride behind his title or role in the church, then by exposing this pride and keep it from running and hiding.. That person's pride will demand that person do anything to make the spot light leave them even justify murder in this case, or some other great sin that even a deluded person could not deny... however if they do deny then they are beyond help... if they do not and seek truth like nicodemus did then he is the one to help and not waist time on the chaff

In Jesus' efforts of pride bashing Jesus sifted the whole lot of Jewish temple officials and found one who was willing to answer his call.

So when nicodemus demanded a night meeting Jesus made himself avaible. This is where the love SteveII passage comes in. Jesus held nothing back. He gave nicodemus the full truth and even broke it down in depth. In effect Jesus was tilling the soil to see where to cast his seed..

So when we see seeming conflicting passages like the love and servitude we are to show our enmy's and the out right blasting of the people we would assume was Jesus' enmey's we are not allowed to pick and choose which one to believe and ignore the other. We must find how both passages can be true at the same time. Then we must try and to incorperate that teaching into our lives.
1Thess 5:21 Question all things and hold on to what is good.
That doesn't mean question just the questionable, it also means that we should question the foundational. If you have a biblically based question you'd rather not openly discuss i am happy to receive any PM's discretely, or Email [email protected]

A/S/K= ask, seek, knock. As outlined in luke 11:5-13
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#38
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
@ Neo, those you spoke of from scripture were sent to do specific things. As for how we can make a tough stand and I believe we can without resorting to the same tactics some of the atheist use, is to be stern Jesus was stern on many occasions, yet He never lowered himself to the level of those He was opposing. I can say that I've seen very few times Christians have stepped over the line, but it has happened and I'm one who has, sadly. To rebuke as God rebukes carries a loving heart with it. I do believe the atheist cry foul far to often and then do not take the responsibility to of having done what they are crying about. Not all the atheist do this and those I carry a respect for and there have been those who have admitted they step over the bounds of how people should be treated and apologized. So in saying this I think all here can improve on how we converse with each other and as Christians I believe we can rebuke certain things said but do it with Christian love. We must remember there are those outside of the membership of this forum who are watching how we handle ourselves.

GC
God loves those who believe and those who do not and the same goes for me, you have no choice in this matter. That puts the matter of total free will to rest.
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#39
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
To answer your question, Steve, I agree 100%. I actually loved your post very much.

So, as far as my role goes, I don't think I have much left to say that hasn't already been said. I'm here because I enjoy having discussions with different minded people. But I now also see the value in being here as a Christian, and how it can glorify God. In the ways I mentioned on my last post, but also in a suggestion Steve made. Which is this: "One legitimate role is to correct and educate those that lack knowledge so that 1) they don't propagate their ignorance and 2) that some who read the post might be prompted to engage in a civil discussion of which the goal is to understand the other side."

That is what I would like my role to be here, and come to think of it I've been doing it all along but never really thought about it as a "role".

That concludes my statements. I'm open to answering questions from the questions thread whenever everyone else is ready.
"Of course, everyone will claim they respect someone who tries to speak the truth, but in reality, this is a rare quality. Most respect those who speak truths they agree with, and their respect for the speaking only extends as far as their realm of personal agreement. It is less common, almost to the point of becoming a saintly virtue, that someone truly respects and loves the truth seeker, even when their conclusions differ wildly." 

-walsh
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#40
RE: Our role(s) as Christians on Atheist Forums
Refer to my final summary in post #31.
"Inside every Liberal there's a Totalitarian screaming to get out"

[Image: freddy_03.jpg]

Quote: JohnDG...
Quote:It was an awful mistake to characterize based upon religion. I should not judge any theist that way, I must remember what I said in order to change.
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