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Doctrine in dialogue format
For I am the LORD, I change not;
In today's episode we find Reverend Leo talking to one of his pastor friends Ottoman Hassock. Listen:
"I always like to be prepared Otto. It's our little debates that push me to my threshold of understanding. I look forward to them. Oh waitress, please, a refill on the coffee? Thank you."
"Yes Leo, I look forward to our chats myself. However I must tell you, sometimes I feel like I'm on a firing line, and I'm the one wearing the blindfold and standing against the wall."
"I don't blame you for feeling that way Otto. If I were preaching the stuff you are, I'd feel very uncomfortable too."
"Now Leo, you know that isn't what I meant. I mean that you sometimes come down pretty heavy on me and my denominational beliefs. I don't attack you, why do you feel obliged to attack me?"
"I'm sorry you take my observations as attacks Otto. I don't mean them to be. But you must know yourself that you stand on very shaky ground with some of the things you preach."
"Such as what Leo? I think my stance is quite securely on the rock. You're just old school is all and you aren't aware of the new findings they've come up with in the last few years, even centuries in some cases."
"It's not that I'm not aware of them Otto. It's that I don't agree with what they're finding. As far as I'm concerned, whatever God says, and what Jesus says, is all I need to know. None of the rest of anything else is going to add one iota to what I've learned in my years of study or my understanding of the Word."
"That may well be Leo, but in my opinion you're cutting yourself short, and you're robbing your congregation of vital information by ignoring what's going on in the world around you."
"Have you never heard Otto that we are to be separate from the world around us? Don't you think it's better to prepare our congregation for the world to come, that of eternity, than it is this world?"
"Of course I do Leo. But there must be balance in everything, including the church."
"That is not what I read in the Word at all Otto. In fact I see the Apostles and Jesus not only preaching, but living a very unbalanced life, heavily weighted toward the Spiritual."
"You're talking apples and oranges Leo. We don't live two thousand years ago, and you and I are not Apostles beginning a new religion. We must prepare ourselves and our people for this world so they will be better prepared for the next. Living life with your head in a cloud is just looking for trouble. Haven't you ever heard the expression that goes, such and such is so Spiritually minded that he's no earthly good?"
"Yes Otto, I've heard that expression before. And I place it right along with Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Muffit. It is not my calling to be any earthly good. If you have such a calling, I feel sorry for you. My calling is to abandon every nuance of worldliness and take on the Holy Spirit. How do you see your calling?"
"You're attacking again Leo, even more in your attitude than you are in your words. You know I have my congregation's good at heart. And I know you feel the same about yours. We just have different approaches by which we fulfill that goal, that's all. It's not the big deal you make of it."
"It's not? I don't know what it is you're seeing in the Bible, or where the Holy Spirit is leading you, but your view is entirely different than mine. What I read, and what I've been shown, is that we are to devote every ounce of our being into purifying ourself and become as Jesus is, and that is completely led by, and filled with the Spirit of God. Anything less is unacceptable."
"Now Leo, you know perfectly well that such a thing is impossible. We are not born of a virgin, nor did we have doves hoovering over us when we were baptized. We're to live good clean lives, and let our light shine to those outside the church. Jesus said we are to be candles in the darkness, not blazing fires."
"Otto, it sometimes seems to me that you and I belong to two entirely different religions. Yet we use the very same handbook. You say I attack you, well what I'm about to say now is really going to sound like an attack, but it's intended for your edification and spoken in brotherly love. You, Otto Hassock, remind me of a drug peddler. That's the only way I can describe my view of what you teach."
"That's a hard statement Leo. You're really hitting below the belt now. But I'll play along with you. Why on earth would you say I remind you of a drug dealer? That makes no sense at all."
"I mean you sell your congregation sleeping pills Otto. It's like the doctors who experiment with their new medicines. They give some people the real medicine that could well save their life, and they give to others a placebo, sugar pills, that make people think they're getting better and saved from death, but instead they're only losing time and strength that could have been used toward their real salvation."
"That's a lousy description of what I believe and teach Leo. I teach my congregation the truth, and nothing but the truth. I don't water it down, and I serve it right out of the Scriptures. Where do you get off comparing my teachings to a sugar pill or a sleeping tablet?"
"How else would you describe a doctrine that states all a person has to do is take a bath and say a few words in order to gain eternal life and favor with God? The Bible tells us to get up and run to the fullest of our ability, and you say to sit and wait for a cloud. The Bible is full of examples of what God has done to those who do what you preach should be done, and I don't see a one of those examples that is favorable. You teach a God of love without anger, and the Bible demonstrates a God exploding with anger toward those who do what you preach. In fact, we have Scriptures that expressly state that what you teach is what angers God, and you ignore them as if they aren't there. No Otto, I don't mean to be cruel, but I want very much for you to see the error of your ways, both for your own good, and for the good of those who trust in what you tell them."
"You're way off base Leo. The Scriptures you're talking about are in the Old Testament, and for the Jews, not for us after the cross. I wish you could get it through your head that the death of Jesus changed everything. We're under a new covenant now, and it has nothing to do with what the Jews lived under. They lived under the law, we live under grace. It's totally and completely different now. You say I'm putting my people to sleep. I say you're running your people over a cliff, and for no reason. If I read my Bible correctly, and I'm sure I do, what you preach is near on to heresy, if it isn't heresy to the fullest. I highly suspect that you, and those of your congregation who listen to you, are going to be in a world of hurt when you stand before the Throne of Judgement and discover that all your works, all your dedication, has done nothing but lead you to the brink of hell. I'm not trying to get back at you Leo, I hope you know that. But I really do think it's time you woke up and smelled the roses."
"Yes, well Otto, speaking of time, it's time I get back to the parsonage. I did enjoy our discussion today, and I also feel good that I said what I've been thinking. Kind of a catharsis if you know what I mean."
"Yes I do Leo. And I feel the same. That's one thing I like about this little get-together of ours, we can air out our differences and learn from one another. I think it would do the church as a whole good if every pastor and every denomination, including the cults, would do the same. Maybe after a thousand years or so of looking at one another's similarities, instead of building thicker walls, we might find the truth. At least we can hope."
"I agree Otto. But don't forget the main ingredient to such a meeting of the minds, that without, such meetings will only lead into more error as does ecumenicalism."
"And what ingredient is that Leo?"
"The Holy Spirit."
17Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them, 18And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? 19And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies? 20Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly. 21Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. 22Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life: 23Therefore ye shall see no more vanity, nor divine divinations: for I will deliver my people out of your hand: and ye shall know that I am the LORD. (Ezek 13:)
6And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, 7In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations. 8And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves. 9Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. (Ezek 44:)
1For there is no respect of persons with God. 12For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; 13(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. 14For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: 15Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) 16In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel. (Rom 2:)
1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (1Tim 4:)
12Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 13But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. (2Tim 3:)
8Now go, write it before them in a table, and NOTE IT IN A BOOK, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: 9That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: 10Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: 11Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us. 12Wherefore thus saith the Holy One of Israel, Because ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon: 13Therefore this iniquity shall be to you as a breach ready to fall, swelling out in a high wall, whose breaking cometh suddenly at an instant. (Isaiah 10:)
11And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is THE BOOK of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in THE BOOK of life was cast into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:)
24Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1Cor 9:)
6For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:)
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