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Pollster says he can't find Christianity transforming lives
Los Angeles Times | Published Sep 28, 2002 | William Lobdell

Posted on 09/30/2002 9:19:01 AM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain

VENTURA, Calif. -- Pollster George Barna, known these days as the bearer of bad tidings about the state of Christianity in America, arrived in his office a few minutes late for a 10 a.m. appointment.

His hair was ruffled; his eyes puffy. Shoulders slouched. Being the George Gallup of the conservative evangelical world is a heavy burden for Barna, who often works into the early morning, deciphering numbers generated by his surveys to find church trends.

The 48-year-old author of 30 books, who describes himself as a raging introvert, is a popular national speaker. And he produces enough in-your-face statistics and blunt talk to irritate pastors, cost him business and earn a reputation for having, as one magazine put it, "the gift of discouragement."

His data undercut some of the core beliefs that should, by definition, set evangelicals apart from their more liberal brethren. Findings of his polls show, for example, that:

• The divorce rate is no different for born-again Christians than for those who do not consider themselves religious.

• Only a minority of born-again adults (44 percent) and a tiny proportion of born-again teenagers (9 percent) are certain that absolute moral truth exists.

• Most Christians' votes are influenced more by economic self-interest than by spiritual and moral values.

• Desiring to have a close, personal relationship with God ranks sixth among the 21 life goals tested among born-agains, trailing such desires as "living a comfortable lifestyle."

'Are people's lives being transformed" by Christianity? Barna has asked. "We can't find evidence of a transformation."

Even Barna's toughest critics concede that Barna Research Group's polls carry considerable weight because of his first-rate surveying techniques and his 17-year-long record of tracking church and cultural trends.

His work has been used by major companies (Ford Motor Co. and Walt Disney, for example) and religious organizations such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and World Vision.

"He is the accepted authority on church trends," said Bob Cavin, director of the Texas Baptist Leadership Center. "He gives pastors insight, not only into the effectiveness of the church, but with trends in society that help the pastors with their strategic planning."

Because of his influence, many are watching with interest as Barna branches out from his usual business. He has been preoccupied with quantifying contemporary Christian beliefs, attitudes and practices; comparing them with biblical truths; and delivering the results to pastors, Christian leaders and laity. He said that he once hoped his analyses would be used as building blocks for more relevant churches.

But he decided this year to take a more active role by helping to identify and develop new and better church leaders who will boldly go where their predecessors haven't gone before: to radically revamp the church. He said he believes the process will take decades -- generations -- to complete.

"One of our challenges is to revisit the structures and means through which people experience Christ," Barna said. "People have been talking about developing the 'new church' for the past several decades, but nothing new has been forthcoming."

According to Barna, pastors are great teachers, but not necessarily adept at leadership. To back up his claim, he cited one of his own polls: It showed that only 12 percent of senior pastors say they have the spiritual gift of leadership and 8 percent say they have the gift of evangelism. In contrast, two-thirds say they have the gift of teaching or preaching.

"We, not God, have created a system that doesn't work and that we're reluctant to change."

Barna also is in the early stages of establishing a genuine and appealing Christian presence in secular entities: film, music, media and politics. He has identified these as the institutions that hold the most influence over Americans.

What's needed are "skilled professionals who love Christ and model his ways through their thoughts, words and behavior in enviable and biblically consistent ways," he said.

For Barna, the need for better leadership and better Christian role models in the secular world was underscored by a poll he released this month.

9/11 opportunity lost

The survey showed that the Sept. 11 attacks had virtually no lasting effects on America's faith, despite a 20 percent rise in church attendance during the first few weeks afterward.

"We missed a huge opportunity," he said, adding that, because of their own shallow faith, church regulars needed so much reassurance themselves that they couldn't minister to newcomers.

This kind of comment bothers evangelical Christians.

Mike Regele, author of "The Death of the Church," is one of many who believe the Barna Research Group's statistical work is excellent, but the conclusions drawn by the company's founder are too harsh.

The hypocrisy of Christians, Regele said, "has been a part of the church, probably since the day of Pentecost" and doesn't indicate its collapse.

"It sounds like he's very, very angry at the church," said Regele, a church critic himself who is ultimately an optimist. "There are reasons to be disappointed, but scripture never said we'd be perfect. We shouldn't view the whole institution as a failure."

With each new Barna poll or book, the attacks begin again: He's too negative; he has it in for pastors; he's arrogant.

The criticism "would affect any human being," said Barna, a husband and father of two. "We all want to be loved and accepted by others, but we also have a higher calling to which we each must be true."

Barna said he has learned painfully that giving advice on how to revitalize churches in America is a hugely complex proposition that doesn't fit well into sound bites. He has learned to be more guarded.

Although his statistics often show self-described Christians living lives no different from those of atheists, Barna's faith never has wavered.

"The issue isn't whether Jesus or Christianity is real," he said. "The issue is, are Americans willing to put Christ first in their lives?


TOPICS: Current Events; General Discusssion
KEYWORDS: not; transforminglives
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To: SoothingDave
Dave that parable is about spiritual gifts..it is not a passage for Pastors it is for me.

Is a Pastor to be responsible in his ministry yes ..but he is to remember the words of Jesus that HE will build HIS church..not the feeble attempts of men...

You can call it cynical but we were right were we not ? All that "Ohmygod the world is ending" running to god stopped when they realized they would live, didn't it?? SD...no man seeks after God...no not one. God is a lucky charm to carnal man nothing more

And yea the truth is often depressing to men

101 posted on 09/30/2002 2:35:14 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
"The issue isn't whether Jesus or Christianity is real," he said. "The issue is, are Americans willing to put Christ first in their lives?

This is a question that all of us should be asking ourselves.

Personally, I have a constantly evolving, improving, relationship with Jesus Christ. As a Catholic Christian, I view my faith as not static, but something that is living and growing, getting stronger and better. I am still selfish, but I am less selfish now than I was five years ago -- I hope to be less selfish five years from now, though the grace of God. I still want a comfortable lifestyle, but am more willing to sacrifice for my family and God than I was five years ago; I hope to be less concerned with material things as I grow further under God's grade and guidance.

I don't believe that there is one "conversion" experience, and simply a "before" and "after". I believe that conversion is an ongoing process, that you must every day reaffirm that Jesus Christ has the most important place in your life. Some days it's easier than others, but the constant conversion helps us grow in our faith, helps us listen to God when He speaks to us, and understand Him when He does.

These poll results are discouraging, but I see some positive trends. More non-Catholic Christians are turning away from artificial birth control. Statistics show that couples who practice NFP have far lower divorce rates than those who don't. While church attendance isn't up post-9/11, those who attend church are more devout. As both Catholics and other Christians who are trying to live their lives for Christ actually do succeed, they will bear witness to the Catholics and other Christians who may have fallen away.

So, while the poll is discouraging, I also see good. We are the Christians that must stand up and bear witness. We are the Christians who must show others how to live for Christ. We set the example, and our salvation requires it.

God bless.

102 posted on 09/30/2002 2:37:19 PM PDT by Gophack
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To: RnMomof7
Dave that parable is about spiritual gifts..it is not a passage for Pastors it is for me.

Pastors aren't people? The flock they have can't be considered to be a "Talent" that they have to grow?

Is a Pastor to be responsible in his ministry yes ..but he is to remember the words of Jesus that HE will build HIS church..not the feeble attempts of men...

How convenient. God works through and with man, not on man. The talent parable actually puts the onus on people to do the best with what they have. Calvinism, apparently, wants to wash its hands of any blame or responsibility.

You can call it cynical but we were right were we not ? All that "Ohmygod the world is ending" running to god stopped when they realized they would live, didn't it?? SD...no man seeks after God...no not one. God is a lucky charm to carnal man nothing more

Didja ever figure that the fatalism contributed to the end result? Oh, that's right. God decides everything, everything that happens is His fault.

SD

103 posted on 09/30/2002 2:40:57 PM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: RnMomof7
Jesus was a terrible failure by Barna standards..we are told that as he taught many turned and walked away...and then to top it off they were the ones..the ones healed and taught ..the ones that welcomed him as King on Palm Sunday that yelled "crucify him!"

Insightful.

104 posted on 09/30/2002 2:42:03 PM PDT by Gophack
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To: SoothingDave
Didja ever figure that the fatalism contributed to the end result? Oh, that's right. God decides everything, everything that happens is His fault.

Can you name one thing that God could not have changed?

105 posted on 09/30/2002 2:50:06 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
I am not talking about everyday living. I am talking about a church sponsored youth activity, for heavens sake. There is a big difference.

Becky

106 posted on 09/30/2002 2:53:41 PM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
Becky the church I went to last had a food pantry..Because we got surplus food we could not evangelize there...but those coming KNEW because they were treated with love and concern..

I do not believe that ANY church function should begin or end with out a prayer..not because we are trying to score points or win converts..but because in all things God should be glorified..

Becky if they can not tell the church from the world..that is something a meditation will not fix

Every person in an "outreach" ministry( To use xzings phrase) Should be prepared to give a reason for the Hope that is with in them..

Beck no big deal to me one way or another..but we can get so wrapped out in giving the gospel we can forget to live it ..we can become so used to the "church " doing it that we never learn how

How powerful if on a horse riding outing one teen prays for another out of the view of the "Offical " church...

107 posted on 09/30/2002 3:05:43 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
Nice job holdin' down the fort, Mom.

Seems to me that much of modern Christendom has chosen to focus on making converts instead of making disciples. We need to go back to the "job description" (Matt 28:19-20). Both evangelism and teaching/discipleship are important. The NT examples shows that those typically happen in different venues. What Barna has shown is that many of those he surveyed who profess the name of Christ are at best "children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming..." [Eph 4:14]

108 posted on 09/30/2002 3:28:48 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
I am asking this question seriously, not in a sarcastic tone:). I have never been into any church where the difference in the crowd is discernable from the crowd at a fair, etc.. MY question is, is the difference discernable among the church people at your church when they are NOT in church?

Speaking in generalities

Yes the difference is discernable. Very much so. Do they act like church people when they are away from church? I don't know. They do when they are with a church group away from "church". Only God knows people's hearts and what they do in private.

We just wrapped up 3 weeks of the Oklahoma State Fair. To suggest that person can walk down the midway and through all the exhibits at the fair for an afternoon, and then go to an average baptist church on Sunday and not recognize a difference in the people (both in appearance and action) is in my mind sorta silly. I mean seriously.... when I go to these type of events (the fair) I find myself wondering where these people hide out during the rest of the year?

Granted I live in a suburb... I work in an office.. my wife teaches two blocks away from home at the suburb school in the suburb district. I'm a part time church staff member....and literally all of our friends are christians that I go to church with... so I'm sure I'm sheltered. But yeah... I'm shocked sometimes when I go to non church events and I'm exposed to "the other side". The things I see and hear. Not that I'm naive to it. I mean I went to college and all that. But as I spend more and more time around christians... those that aren't become increasingly shocking.

I'm also a musician. I can go hang out at Mars music or Granny's music mall for an afternoon.... and I guarantee you the crowd there is noticably different from the crowd at church, in a lot of aspects.

A group of 20 to 30 of us go out to eat together every friday night. And we get a lot of strange looks from others when we pray before the meal, or when we talk about theology, or when we just visit. Maybe we aren't different... but a lot of people seem to treat us like we are. Including those that laugh.

I'm not saying that every christian is a picture of perfection etc.... but I really believe there is a difference in most. AT least that's my experience.

109 posted on 09/30/2002 4:48:00 PM PDT by kjam22
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To: RnMomof7
Regarding a church service aimed at outreach compared to a church service aimed at discipleship. I guess the question becomes.... would you rather see 25 people saved at your sunday morning church service or 25 people come to a better understanding of some theological premis? Some people limit this scope to the sermon and expect the pastor to carry the ball one way or the other. Let me explain how my church approaches it.

My church is huge... and our pastor is not an evangelist. He can preach evangilistic sermons, but he doesn't very often. Every Sunday we get discipleship sermons. "How to" sermons that teach us about christian living and growth.

Last year my church was #2 in the State of Oklahoma for number of people baptised because of professing faith in Jesus Christ. Even with a pastor that is preaching discipleship sermons. I believe my church has well taught members who can share their faith with people. We have a contemporary music service that attracks "seekers". (much to the disdaine of the older set) :) And then we combine it with a pastor that is deeply rooted in the word and an excellent teacher. So a non-christian attending our church has most likely been invited by one of our 6000 members. That is where the evangelism starts. They hear praise and worship songs like "Shout To The Lord". And then they get a message from the bible teaching us how to live a christian life. And they realize there is a difference. And they receive the full picture that tells them what that difference is.

110 posted on 09/30/2002 5:08:18 PM PDT by kjam22
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
In answer to your question in the very first post to this thread, we will only know for sure when we die.
111 posted on 09/30/2002 5:37:38 PM PDT by exnavy
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
My church is so hard core, the other churches call us hard nosed, legalistic, Ruckmanites.
112 posted on 09/30/2002 5:39:23 PM PDT by Commander8
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To: kjam22
I am pro contemporary worship...(but I do not want our heritage of the grand old hyms lost to our kids..do not know how that happens)

Is a deeper understanding of God or his word useless knowlege? Is understanding Justification useless? Is it useless to see how Peter or Paul evangelized in the early church?

It seems to me that scripture speaks to teaching the MEAT of the word and not the milk. I left a church after 15 years.I got sick to death of "God loves you sermons" I had moved beyond that in 6 months of scripture study. If a Christian of a few years still need basic how to live and walk sermons something is very wrong!

Excuse me but if I hear one more sermon on being a good neighbor or selecting Godly friends or tithing I will vomit.That my friend is milk ..suitable for a brand new Christian.

I would rather see fully equipped mature Christians talking about Christ at work...teaching a neighborhood Bible study...Show me in scripture your example for church service evangelization? We were told to GO and Tell...

Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Equip the Saints..that is what Church is for...

One question for you is ALL scripture inspired? Is all scripture able to generate saving faith?

113 posted on 09/30/2002 5:43:25 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: Commander8
Which makes me ask, are you?
114 posted on 09/30/2002 5:47:18 PM PDT by Wrigley
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To: Wrigley
Well, let's put it like this, I use the NIV for a doorstop.
115 posted on 09/30/2002 5:49:50 PM PDT by Commander8
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To: RnMomof7; angelo; PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
Great question in #82, angelo: "can you briefly summarize from your perspective what the differences are between your beliefs and Mack's? Is it just the predestination thing, or is there more?" I've had the same question myself a time or two!

RnMomof7's answer: "So to me the order is..regeneration (born again), repentance ,conversion (saved) To Mack and Becky the order would be repentance,conversion (saved), regenerated into a new creature..(born again)"

RnMomof7 in #79: "We agree that without Christ man is lost..we agree that Jesus is the way..."

My question (most likely a stupid question, but my question nonetheless): So if the end result is the same (assurance of salvation and where we will spend eternity), what difference does the "order of salvation" make? (Why do I have the sneaking hunch I'm gonna be sorry I asked that??!!) :)

116 posted on 09/30/2002 6:28:16 PM PDT by computerjunkie
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To: computerjunkie; RnMomof7
The false gospel sows spiritual tares and chaff into the church, loving them all the way to hell. The true gospel of Calvinism does not. In fact, Jesus, preaching on Predestination actually drove people away.
117 posted on 09/30/2002 6:37:13 PM PDT by CCWoody
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To: computerjunkie
We are to rightly divide the word of God..so our doctrinal stands are not incidental..So that is why we have the doctrinal wars:>)
118 posted on 09/30/2002 6:40:16 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: SoothingDave; RnMomof7
schadenfreude ~ Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.


Well, just so I can amuse those who boast about acting like a spiritual Tare. Please carry on!
119 posted on 09/30/2002 6:42:47 PM PDT by CCWoody
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To: RnMomof7
When Christ comes for his church many will still be in diapers and the Pastors will have to answer for that!

LOL!!!

Then get busy and found yet another denomination.

Maybe this 'un:

The Toilet Trained, Genuine Bible Exposition and Right Discerning, Grown Ups Who Got It All Nailed Down, My Way or the Highway, Church of God Almighty in Jesus Name.

Root out them milksops from the get go.
120 posted on 09/30/2002 6:54:32 PM PDT by don-o
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To: RnMomof7; CCWoody
Well, might as well dive in with both feet!! I believe God "predestined" everybody.

Romans 8:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate..."

Psalm 139:14-16 "I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them."

2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

So, being the first to admit I am not a Bible scholar, does that make me a literalist, a universalist, a Calvinist, a reformist, or can I just call myself a Christian? :) (No disrespect intended to any doctinal warriors!)

121 posted on 09/30/2002 7:09:10 PM PDT by computerjunkie
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To: computerjunkie; RnMomof7
My question (most likely a stupid question, but my question nonetheless): So if the end result is the same (assurance of salvation and where we will spend eternity), what difference does the "order of salvation" make? (Why do I have the sneaking hunch I'm gonna be sorry I asked that??!!) :)

You ask a legitimate question. The answer is important because it helps us truly understand the grace and love of God and our truly desperate need. 1 Cor 2:14 shows us the extent of the radical depravity we had as natural men,

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.

Note the inability to understand. This leads us to ask, "how can a man in such a state understand God's message concerning his radical depravity and have a change of mind ( = repentance) to think about his condition the same way God does. The answer is he needs a heart transplant (see Ezek 36:26) The Bible calls this regeneration. This regeneration permits us to confess "Jesus is Lord." Does this make sense?

122 posted on 09/30/2002 7:14:59 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: CCWoody
Well, just so I can amuse those who boast about acting like a spiritual Tare. Please carry on!

Where exactly was I boasting? About being a "tare," as you say?

And if, as you say, Calvinism is the true Gospel and never brings in any tares, how is it that Jesus even bothered with the parable you cite? Seems to me he was describing the way things are in His Church, the good and bad mingle together.

Wouldn't God have wanted it to be this way? Didn't He make it this way?

SD

123 posted on 09/30/2002 7:24:45 PM PDT by SoothingDave
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To: computerjunkie
So, being the first to admit I am not a Bible scholar, does that make me a literalist, a universalist, a Calvinist, a reformist, or can I just call myself a Christian? :) (No disrespect intended to any doctinal warriors!)

It might make you a saint who delights to glory in your Maker. Do you also believe that God works all things after the counsel of His will and do you believe that His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and do you believe that we are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation?

Just some cream puff gospel questions! (P.S. BigMack, before you call this post circular or spin or anything, you might want to check to see if I'm quoting the Bible or not.)
124 posted on 09/30/2002 7:29:34 PM PDT by CCWoody
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To: don-o

125 posted on 09/30/2002 7:31:30 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: computerjunkie
Well, might as well dive in with both feet!! I believe God "predestined" everybody.

So God failed?

126 posted on 09/30/2002 7:33:40 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: SoothingDave
Where exactly was I boasting? About being a "tare," as you say?

When you boasted that you get pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others. That is the definition of schadenfreude. It is a malicious pleasure and the kind of pleasure that only a spiritual Tare would get.

And if, as you say, Calvinism is the true Gospel and never brings in any tares, how is it that Jesus even bothered with the parable you cite?

Actually the only thing I cited about this was the fact that Jesus preached about things that specifically drove people away. He certainly didn't sow Tares into His church. I'm not sure where you are going with this question. Plus, Matthew 13 specifically talks about the enemy sowing Tares.

Seems to me he was describing the way things are in His Church, the good and bad mingle together.

Sure, Jesus sows the sons of the kingdom and Satan sows the Tares. What should bother you is the fact that the servants know who the Tares are but are under specific instructions from the Lord to leave them be cause He intends to burn them.

Oh, BTW, Jesus is not describing the way things are in His church, but the way things are in His kingdom. You Roman Catholics are always getting that confused.
127 posted on 09/30/2002 7:53:32 PM PDT by CCWoody
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To: RochesterFan
Yes, it does. I honestly never thought about the "words" involved, the process, and the exact order in which it happens. I know that I am a sinner, I know that I need a Savior. I know that God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins. I know that He rose again on the third day and now resides in heaven with the Father, and that the Holy Spirit resides in me. I know that because I believe those facts, I am saved to eternal life with Jesus Christ!!!

I always thought regeneration, repentance and conversion all happened at the same glorious time!! But I was saved when I was 8 years old...most likely didn't understand things like "natural man", "radical depravity", and heart transplants!! I just knew I was a sinner who needed a Savior, Jesus was that Savior, and I confessed that "He is Lord"!

Pretty simple, when you get right down to it! However, now that I know what REALLY happened to me way back then, it's even MORE miraculous!!

128 posted on 09/30/2002 7:57:09 PM PDT by computerjunkie
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To: RnMomof7
Hey, if junkie says he believes that God predestined everybody, then he is essentially saying that he believes in absolute double predestination. I can't fault him for that.
129 posted on 09/30/2002 7:57:45 PM PDT by CCWoody
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To: computerjunkie
However, now that I know what REALLY happened to me way back then, it's even MORE miraculous!!

How right you are! Isn't God awesome!

130 posted on 09/30/2002 8:02:54 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: CCWoody
Oh, BTW, Jesus is not describing the way things are in His church, but the way things are in His kingdom. You Roman Catholics are always getting that confused.

Last time I looked the church was in the "kingdom"

131 posted on 09/30/2002 8:03:06 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
So God failed?

Not in the least! I quote again:

2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

He provided the way. We have a choice.

132 posted on 09/30/2002 8:03:20 PM PDT by computerjunkie
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To: CCWoody
Good. Then can you fault "him" for being a "her"? :)
133 posted on 09/30/2002 8:05:19 PM PDT by computerjunkie
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To: computerjunkie
I know that I am a sinner, I know that I need a Savior. I know that God sent His only Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for my sins. I know that He rose again on the third day and now resides in heaven with the Father, and that the Holy Spirit resides in me. I know that because I believe those facts, I am saved to eternal life with Jesus Christ!!!

The question CJ is HOW you know those things and your neighbor does not??

The doc explains the speed at which these events (regeneration/ conversion ) happen as a bullet going through a board..which came first ..the bullet or the whole it passes through ??

The order IS important because it is about the sovereignity of God

134 posted on 09/30/2002 8:09:04 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: computerjunkie
Let me clarify that..."him"/"her" refers to computerjunkie...not God!!
135 posted on 09/30/2002 8:10:08 PM PDT by computerjunkie
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To: computerjunkie
CJ read 2 Peter in context ..who is he talking to?

2Peter 3:9: God is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance."

BUT: "any" or "all" of what? Dogs? Chickens? There must be an antecedent to the pronouns. In 3:3-7, Peter is discussing "them" (i.e. unbelievers). In verse 8 he addresses the "beloved." The beloved are those to whom the epistle is addressed, "those who have obtained a like precious faith with us" (1:1). Thus, God is not will willing that any of the BELOVED should perish. And, since God gets everything He wants, this verse becomes a proof-text for eternal security. Moreover, the context of this passage is when the end of the world will come (3:7,10). Peter is teaching that God will wait until "all" have a chance to repent. If "all" refers to everyone who has lived or will live, then the world would never end as new people are being born all the time! But if the reference is to all of God’s people, then the world will end when the last of the elect (a large but finite number) has repented and believed.

136 posted on 09/30/2002 8:11:49 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: computerjunkie
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

We all agree on this CJ..the question is who WILL believe? Why will some believe and not others?

137 posted on 09/30/2002 8:14:20 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
Last time I looked the church was in the "kingdom"

Hmmm! So, I can agree with you that the TRUE church is in the kingdom, no sweat. Jesus, of course, only mentioned the church 3 times, if I can remember; He talked about the kingdom over 100 times. But I cannot agree if you say that the church is the kingdom.

Good nite, Mary Ann; I gotta go read to my wife now....
138 posted on 09/30/2002 8:14:35 PM PDT by CCWoody
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To: computerjunkie
When Peter says "any", one must ask "any what?" Context is critical here. Look closely at 2 Pet 1:1 "To those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ" and 2 Pet 3:1. "This is now, beloved, ..." Peter is clearly addressing believers. Peter is saying that God is waiting for all believers (i.e. the last one) before returning. To conclude that Peter means "any human" means that God is no longer sovereign over His creation. The rest of the Scriptures are loaded with clear statements that such is not the case. I will happily supply multiple examples of such clear statements in the Scriptures if they will help you...
139 posted on 09/30/2002 8:14:57 PM PDT by RochesterFan
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To: computerjunkie
You are my friend and I hesitate to ask a confrontive question ..but here goes...

He provided the way. We have a choice

Was anyone saved at the cross?Is it possible that Jesus might have died in vain?

140 posted on 09/30/2002 8:18:20 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RochesterFan
Ping there Rochester:>)
141 posted on 09/30/2002 8:21:26 PM PDT by RnMomof7
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To: RnMomof7
The question CJ is HOW you know those things and your neighbor does not??

Because I have been remiss in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with my neighbor.

142 posted on 09/30/2002 8:32:54 PM PDT by computerjunkie
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To: RnMomof7; RochesterFan
UNCLE!! TIMEOUT!! See? I KNEW I shouldn't have brought this up!! :)

Seriously, I don't mind the questions...makes me dig and think. However, it's getting too late for me tonight to delve into all of this, so I need to continue this later...

I've said this before. I have a very simple faith...not naive...simple!

143 posted on 09/30/2002 8:33:30 PM PDT by computerjunkie
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To: RnMomof7
Yes, I believe one of the men crucified with Jesus was saved at the cross. (Luke 23:39-43)
144 posted on 09/30/2002 8:36:55 PM PDT by computerjunkie
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To: computerjunkie
Don't let them turn you to te dark side girl, your simple faith in what God has told us, is true.

BigMack

145 posted on 09/30/2002 8:49:25 PM PDT by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
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To: RnMomof7
But if the reference is to all of God’s people, then the world will end when the last of the elect (a large but finite number) has repented and believed.

Sure sounds like you're denying God's sovereignty here: the end of the world can't come until the last of the elect chooses to repent and believe. So long as that last person holds out, the world can't come to an end?

146 posted on 09/30/2002 9:10:38 PM PDT by CubicleGuy
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To: CubicleGuy; RnMomof7
***So long as that last person holds out...***

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me."
-- Jesus, the Real Jesus -- not the LDS spirit brother of Lucifer
147 posted on 09/30/2002 9:14:05 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: drstevej
Jesus, the Real Jesus -- not the LDS spirit brother of Lucifer

Ah, you mean the fictional Jesus of your erroneous scriptural exegesis, performed without aid of revelation by the power of the Holy Ghost? That Jesus? The one that's required to wait on that one, single, solitary, final repentant soul?

148 posted on 09/30/2002 9:26:19 PM PDT by CubicleGuy
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To: CubicleGuy
***The one that's required to wait on that one, single, solitary, final repentant soul?***

He's not required to wait. He drags us to Himself as and when He pleases.

Perhaps the last one will be you! That would be great.

149 posted on 09/30/2002 9:33:08 PM PDT by drstevej
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To: PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain
Do you have a man REALLY called of God as your pastor, that is a strong leader, and has not watered down the gospel?

More than one HERE.


150 posted on 09/30/2002 10:56:16 PM PDT by ppaul
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