Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Heterodox Aftershocks, Part 2: How I came upon these ideas

I don't know if this counts as a weakness to my argument, but I'd like to have it on record anyway. So I was looking for Zao lyrics on some random website and saw an ad that asked if hell really existed. I was feeling feisty and thought it would be fun to read some crazy heresy and took the bait. Well it turns out to be the site for L. Ray Smith. (http://bible-truths.com/ ) A feisty, kinda scary man who uses way too many CAP LOCKED, UNDERLINED SENTENCES!!! And while his style was distracting and hyperbolic he actually made some really good points that I had never thought about before. I first read his 16 part Lake of Fire series, which is almost as redundant and disorganized as my own writing. But really got me thinking. He starts going out on a limb in parts of it where he actually states that any churches who preach anything other than his beliefs are the Whore of Babylon and we must "come out of her", yadda yadda. It's funny, but my dad, in his warning to me about heresy, said heretics say this all the time. Mr. Smith tells of a time when he expressed his views about predestination to his church and was pretty much marginalized as a result. Than his young boy died tragically. When he was seeking comfort at his church after that someone said something like, "I don't see why you're upset. You believe it was God's plan, don't you?" I'm no psychologist, but I'll bet that just might cause someone to dislike churches. Anyway, the point is, while Smith is very insightful and witty, he is too far out there to call as a credible witness to the validity of any truth claims I am making. But his writing was a catalyst that opened my mind to a new world of possibilities when it comes to God and His word. I checked out a forum for discussing his writings and found several genuinely loving, mature believers on there. But a couple days later some schism started over the freedom to question or talk about certain things that conflicted with Smith's beliefs, and I didn't bother going back. But one of the members sent me some links to sites with counter arguments to Smith. And those led me to other links, until I eventually found my way to http://www.tentmaker.org/ where I found the likely source of most of Smith's wisdom. (I don't actually know whether he developed his theology on his own or what his influences were. He merely said he reads a lot.) Tentmaker is a site with a wide variety of articles from a wide variety of people and a wide variety of quality. Most of the stuff that I've read there so far is from conservative, Bible-believing folk. I'll be jumping on a Christian Universalism forum at some point soon to see what they have to say for themselves.

In the mean time, I've been reading Every Knee Shall Bow, a book from the late 1800's updated and edited by some guy in California. It is a good summation and apologetic for Christian Universalism.

The last week or so I've been spending a lot of time on C.A.R.M., a Christian discussion forum. (http://www.christiandiscussionforums.org/v/index.php) I don't think it's a coincidence that I found the site at a time when I'm trying to figure out the ramifications of interpreting the Bible differently that most Christians. There is a sort of civil war going on in the Apologetics section regarding inerrancy vs. infallibility of the Bible. I'm still studying this issue with great interest, and I'll have something on it soon.

I'm attending a several week class at my church about witnessing. We had a guest speaker a couple months ago that had some great stuff about the subject. And now he will be going into specific difficult questions that unbelievers have and how we can answer them. "In less than five minutes." Each. It should be interesting to compare and contrast his answers with mine. (Not that I'm going to be arguing with him in class!)

I'm feel kind of like I'm in a cocoon phase right now. I really have no desire to try to convince anyone of anything, nor to have too many things challenged right now. I need to digest what I'm taking in and see the fruit of it for a while. I need to find a good orthodox Christian theologian to sit down with me for a couple of sessions to see if there really are some obvious things I'm missing that have led me to these conclusions. But not yet. Soon.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In your quest to understand Christianity, why don't you take the time to explore whether it is even based on fact. I mean that if you want to be honest with yourself, you should explore the possibility that there is no god.

Here are some sites:
http://www.happyatheistforum.com/
http://talkorigins.org/
http://www.godisimaginary.com/
http://www.whywontgodhealamputees.com/forum/
http://www.infidels.org/
http://atheistnetwork.com/

6:42 PM  
Anonymous RevOxley_501 said...

its matt:

i didnt even know i wsa in the middle of the apologetics war until it was too late lol

6:55 AM  
Anonymous elizabeth said...

I've been down the same path myself, and it's taken me 10 years to become convinced enough and confident enough to start sharing these "heresies" with my religious friends.

If you haven't already, check out the expositions at www.concordant.org -- I highly recommend the works by A.E.Knoch (I'm currently reading his "The Problem of Evil and the Judgments of God").

10:02 PM  

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