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Posts tagged ‘Catholic Church’

A Society pleading poverty

It is incredible how many people can get enthusiast to do the work Jesus had asked from them. All those who call themselves Christian should go out in the world and preach the Gospel of the Good News of the coming Kingdom of God. Though we are afraid we can not find many Christians bringing that Good News worldwide. But it is also wrong of the Jehovah Witnesses to think they are the only ones who bear witness. We do agree the other groups, like Mormons, Abrahamic Faith, Church of God people and Biblestudents and Christadelphians are minority groups. But they also try to bring the Word of God to as many places as they can. Those groups are by a lot of people considered to be sects or cults, because they do not adhere to the mainstream believe.

Politics and acceptance

In the world it can go very strange with ideas about those preaching groups. As soon as one of the groups becomes more powerful or has something to offer politicly it can be changed. For example the Baptists in Belgium are a sect or cult according to the State committee about sects, while in the United States they are one of the mainstream churches. The Mormon Church in Belgium and the United States are also mentioned under the list of sects. But recently the Billy Graham group threw his support behind Mitt Romney due to his clear support of biblical values of marriage and opposition to abortion and lots of Americans suddenly do not consider the Mormons a cult but the best Christian value. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association seems to find Mormons being Christians like they are, and a group they do not need to evangelize, while the others are non-trinitarian and therefore not Christian and in high need to get to know Christ. The only thing is that they forget that they themselves are not following Christ Jesus as it should and that they believe other values than thought in the Holy Scriptures, the Book of books which Bible Sudents,  Jehovah Witnesses, Christadelphians, Church of Abrahamic Faith and others like Messianic Jews take as the Book to follow.

Jehovah's Witnesses House Bratislava

Jehovah’s Witnesses House Bratislava (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we can not only see hiding the light of the Gospel under a bushel in the name of politics, some groups do not mind bringing cover-up policy, like the Roman Catholic Church and the Jehovah Witnesses about the paedophilia acts of their preachers. The ongoing ‘accidents’ and ‘files being lost’ in the court case of the archbishopric Mechelen and the diocese Bruges show clearly how politics and Roman Catholic Church are still interwoven in the jurisdiction system of Belgium, though the last few years the Roman Catholic Church had to give the power over the country to the Banks. The Witnesses kept all the time quiet about the matters that went wrong between youngsters and people in charge of certain Kingdomhalls.

Sanctity of life and love

The sanctity of life is extremely imperative to our foundation of love and creation and the last few years many so called Christian organisations are making a joke out of it. The main motivating factor to do missions or to proclaim the Word of God needs to be love. This love in-comprehends the respect to others, also other believers. But those who want to proclaim the Word of God do also have to live according this Word of God. They should be an example for all people, believers and non-believers. They also should be honest to all people, believers and non-believers. It can not be that they would fool their own believers and do wrong to their own congregation. But this is what we have seen happening the last few years with the Roman Catholic Church and by the Jehovah Witnesses.

Energy, time and money spend

The apostle Paul may perhaps have written that he suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, but that does not mean that the church or organisation should take as much as they can from their followers because they should count it as of no value and have to consider any worldly material as rubbish.

Photos by Patrick Dove/Standard-TimesSan Angelo members of the Jehovah's Witnesses faith walk into a new Kingdom Hall built on Pullium Street across from the Shannon Health System's St. John's Campus. The new building can hold both English- and Spanish-speaking services at the same time.

San Angelo members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses faith walk into a new Kingdom Hall built on Pullium Street across from the Shannon Health System’s St. John’s Campus. The new building can hold both English- and Spanish-speaking services at the same time. – Photo by Patrick Dove/Standard-Times

For years the people who followed the Watchtower Society gave all of their best to the Society with the idea they where giving everything for the Work of God. And yes it is good that we can give to the work of God, and we should do that. But when we give our time and money to an organisation to do the work of God, they have to value it and make good use of it. Lots of Jehovah Witnesses have been motivated by love, when they did their preaching work. From door to door they went and offered leaflets and Watchtower brochures to the people to whom they could talk to. Several did it for many years without regretting the work they do or did. Others you can see at their faces  or at their customary uniform clothing that they are not so interested any more and that it has become a burden. With other organisations mostly the people quit if things get tough, but we must say that those Jehovah Witnesses, no matter what happens, continue in their ardent task of telling others about the end times.

A heart for work

The church is the tool God uses to push his good news into every hidden corner of the planet to shine his glorious light and God uses many people all over the world to do His job on earth. those who can do such work in love of the Almighty should be pleased to do it. Organisations who can have enough people willing to join the work should be glad and thank God for them.

“Do You Have ‘a Heart for Working’?” has been asked worldwide at the three-day conventions of the Jehovah Witnesses.

Nehemiah made many sacrifices to see that the walls in Jerusalem were rebuilt and the gates remade so as to give God’s restored people a secure future. There is an article regularly featured in the Watchtower magazine entitled “Learn from God’s Word.” It helps others and the faithful to deepen their knowledge of God, His Will and purpose.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, (Colossians 3:23) is written in the Holy Scriptures, so many Christians do their work for their church heartily as though they were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people. So the work should be done not by mere force and necessity, grudgingly, and with murmurings, but from the heart, and with good will, having a true, real, and hearty affection for their masters, having their good and interest at heart, and a delight in their service; like the Hebrew servant, that loved his master, as also his wife and children, and therefore would not depart from him, see Exodus 21:5.

Christian empires

As such many people also devote their time for their organisation to build up a congregation. Over the years the Watch Tower Society could build up, like the Roman Catholic Church did in previous centuries, a great empire. They managed to buy lots of grounds and buildings. All over the world the organisation did find enthusiast hands who could construct in a few days time a new Kingdom Hall. Often they are able to build a Kingdom Hall in less than three weeks, thanks to hundreds of volunteers who descended on the work site as part of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Regional Building Committee. People come from all parts of the country, working with members of the local congregations. It is great to see them at work and to see them so organised. People that have registered with the Regional Building Committee are put into a database according to what department they would work in. Like roofing, concrete, trimming, painting, the kitchen, electrical, plumbing, bricklaying, welding, everything is notated, registered and taken care off by volunteers. to clear such huge projects in such a short time it would cost a lot of money.  Here for those projects it are all the people of the congregation and others who voluntary give money and time to the organisation so that it may grow. and it has grown enormously.

Assets

Strangely enough, the organisation pretends now that it has not enough assets to help out on those in affliction because certain things went wrong at certain of their congregations.

For more than 70 years, the Watch Tower Society has prided itself on its clean legal record, although this has now collapsed in dramatic fashion after a jury at the Alameda County Superior Court found Jehovah’s Witnesses legally responsible for the sexual abuse of Candace Conti, who suffered repeated molestation at the hands of a member of her congregation when only nine years old. Candace Conti, now 26 and living in Stockton, is one of the rare courageous girls who dared to take legal action against the organisation. As in many other cases the congregation and the Watchtower Society concealed the important information from her parents. In showing such shocking negligence, a jury has found that the Fremont elders were acting under the Watch Tower Society’s instructions. The elders failed to report these incidents to the authorities, or warn parents in the congregation.

The Watch Tower Society has therefore been held to account for the abuse suffered by Candace, and has been ordered to pay millions of dollars both in compensation and punitive damages. Compensatory damages of $7 million have been awarded, of which the Society must pay 40%. A further $21 million is due to be paid by the Society in punitive damages. On its official website, the Society has announced it will appeal this decision. It is feared that such an appeal will potentially drag the case out over a considerable period.

Attitude taken

Worse is also the attitude the organisation further takes.

Like in the Roman Catholic Church the than still Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001 issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church’s interests ahead of child safety the Watchtower Society have seem to have like to do the same way, not loving God’s people but loving more the organisation structure and income.

In a remarkable twist, on June 20th Judge Robert D. McGuinnes ruled that the real estate assets of the Watch Tower Society were to be effectively frozen pending the outcome of the Society’s appeal against the judgement. This would mean that, for a considerable period, the Watch Tower Society would be powerless to buy, sell or exchange property without first seeking the permission of the court in Alameda. It is estimated that the total value of the Watch Tower Society’s remaining Brooklyn property portfolio alone is a staggering 1 Billion dollars.

The Watch Tower Society has been ordered to pay millions in damages for their part in the abuse suffered by Candace Conti (pictured) – Photo jwsurvey.org

Now the Society appears to be pleading poverty, indicating that it cannot afford to produce the required $17.3 million dollars by way of surety without using property instead of cash. Amazingly, the Society is prepared to put their Patterson complex (The Watchtower Educational Center) on the line over this judgement, offering it as surety rather than starting the payments. However, this remarkable proposal has been blocked by Candace’s legal team. They understandably want cash to be paid as surety, not shaky property assets during times of economic uncertainty.

The Society has described the payment of $17.3 million in damages along with the premium as something that would cause them “immediate irreparable harm and hardship”.

It is normal that such a huge sum is going to do a certain damage, but trying to get rid of the fine is not an attitude which we would like to see from an organisation who, at first got all the money from its members, and secondly has done grave mistakes. Weekly lots of magazines and other publications or distributed worldwide. For the printed work they receive cash money which is partly also transferred to the headquarters. They should bear the consequences of their acts, like they so often tell others to do, and should bear the fine.

Meltdown

We totally agree with the Jehovah Witness Cedars who writes on his blog Jehovah’s Witnesses Survey:  “Many Witnesses will no doubt be shocked to hear that the organization, said to be enjoying Jehovah’s blessing, is in such a perilous predicament that it is seemingly only $17.3 million dollars away from meltdown! They will be just as amazed to learn that the Society is seeking to effectively put Patterson on the gambling table, to be given to Candace Conti if Watchtower loses its appeal.”

The whole problem is that even ordinary members of the “anointed class” do not have a voice on decisions involving ways to go or legal and doctrinal matters, despite the Governing Body’s claim that it serves as a “representative” and “mouthpiece” to the “Faithful and Discreet Slave” anointed remnant and lots of money is involved in the structure of this worldwide organisation which has become very powerful at the cost of ‘poor’ believers.

We can wonder if it are really Jehovah Witnesses who dare to come out of one’s shell to take care that Jehovah’s name shall not be dragged through the mud by an all-powerful organisation which has become blinded by its worldly and economic power. In case those whistle-blowers are really Jehovah Witnesses, than we wish them lots of courage and appreciate it that they are trying to save all the good work that many Jehovah people have done by the years gone by. In such instance they probably shall have to play a more important  role to safeguard the name of the people who really love God and are spending so much time on the streets to get Jehovah been known all over the world.

The Watchtower Society shall have to show her real face and show the world if it would like to to save face over their doctrinal stance on child abuse, or for their very survival as a global organisation willing to keep the power over many persons worldwide!

Good reason to have cleansed the name of many preachers

In several countries elders have done things which are humanly and legally not right. Not to recognise such faults of those humans or even worse, to punish victims by humiliating them or by putting them out of the organisation is not respectful to those who have given their love and time to Jehovah and to the organisation they sincerely believe to be Jehovah’s Organisation. Many more people should have to see in the handling of these matters that it clearly shows that it is an organisation which may have the luck to receive a lot of God’s blessing, but that it is a human organisation like all the churches here on earth, and as such have humans ruling it who can do also faults like any other human being.

It can happen that people do something wrong. Not one person is without sin. So people should recognise that also in the organisation of the Jehovah Witnesses there can be people who do serious sins. what surprises us is that the people in charge of the organisation prefer covering up certain sins of elders, while the ordinary people are easier expelled and punished in a way that they even cannot have contact with family members any more.

The value and sincerity of the preaching is also pulled down. The action of the Board of Directors makes that outsiders who hear the news in the media are going to shit on the Jehovah people even more. The preaching wich is necessary shall be done a lot of damage, because the faithfulness or fidelity of the followers of the Watchtower and Tract Society shall not be appreciated by the general public.

The world needs a lot of preachers to proclaim the Word of God. The Jehovah Witnesses may have been the most known preachers who dare to tell others the Name of the God of gods. Hopefully those who leave the organisation on matters of the above mistrust shall stay convinced that Jehovah is the Only One God they should go for, and that we have to let the world to get to know His son Jesus and have to look for his return. That they shall stay clear and eager to tell the world the Truth.

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Please do read:

  1. A discussion of theology among friends What’s up with this???
  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses convention kicks off on high note
  3. It takes a village to build a kingdom
    Several years ago, the four congregations of the Jehovah’s Witnesses cq in San Angelo had a dream of building a new Kingdom Hall.
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    The spacious, 8,900-square-foot brick building has matching auditoriums with plenty of room for worshippers. There’s also a library, conference room, literature room, restrooms and other support rooms.
  4. The Girl Who Took On The Watchtower – Candace Conti Speaks Out
  5. The Watchtower Punished: Society loses legal battle over child abuse case
  6. Patterson on the line: Watchtower claims that paying cash bond would cause “immediate irreparable harm and hardship”
  7. “We will decide who is a predator!” – New Watchtower Instructions to Elders on Child Abuse
  8. Manifests for believers #1 Sex abuse setting fire to the powder
    In the 50s and 60s of the previous century many acolytes and young boys became confronted with not such a nice site of human nature and his urge to have physical contact. Growing older and not having been able to cope with the old trauma some got up from their quit seat and started to tell tales out of school.
  9. Manifests for believers #2 Changing celibacy requirement
    For decades, the problem of paedophilia has been badly managed within the church and now that everything comes out of the cesspool this brought the church in discredit and got even more people leaving their church and their faith. Some wonder if you can you blame Catholics for leaving the faith when these types of attitudes run rampant in the church?  The problem becomes bigger when they do take it that “the Church” is bad and that they should not go to any church or return to the Catholic Church because they get the impression that nothing is being done to prevent abuse from happening.  It certainly doesn’t seem that the Catholic church has a screening process that will eliminate paedophiles and child molesters.
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    With all the tribulations and sex scandals many have lost their faith. Many do claim God for what happens in the world, but then they forget that at the beginning of the world-existence God had given men liberty to go his own way.
  10. Manifests for believers #3 Catholic versus Protestant
    The sex-scandals in the Roman Catholic Church did already too much damage. The clergy as well as the believers needed the commotion like they needed a hole in the head. They want to adhere to the Catholic teachings but would prefer to go back to the first century church. They do think they have enough teachings provided in the Holy Bible so that men do not need to bind others to man made teachings or to restrict others by their own teachings.  They just wanted to go back to the teachings which were already part of the church life in early centuries. They also found that the church had to put away certain teachings which where brought into existence for all sorts of reasons, of which some were financial (as protecting the church property).
  11. Roman Catholic Church at war
  12. Breathing to teach
  13. Representatives of the “Slave Class” or the Real “faithful and discreet slave”
  14. Breathing and growing with no heir
    Some may think we aren’t called to just preach. Jesus has given the major task to his followers to go out in the world and to let the Good News be known wherever they go. We also as followers of Christ Jesus should let others know that marvellous Good News.We have marvellous tools which brings us very easily much further than the doorstep.
    Jehovah Witnesses for a long time took it for granted it was the best way to reach people by bothering them at any moment of the day, ringing the bell and talking to them at the doorstep. But it seems that they today, also have found the modern means of the computer and internet. On the internet they now seem to have opened up and present more literature to the general public. Which is nice, because they also have very good literature, which can bring many more people to God.

    But, we should not let them do all the work, and let them get people in their Kingdom hall, while we have other thoughts of which we are sure they are also valuable for the people and leaving them more free. We should get others to know that there are other places of worship where honest God loving people can come together as a congregation.They may offer over there Theocratic Ministry School with a common global curriculum and nest to the weekly services with Watchtower-study they also may offer Pioneer Service School for full-time preachers, and the Kingdom Ministry School for elders and ministerial servants. The Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah Witnesses should be known as the only sort of kingdom hall the world offers good Bible teaching and worship to the One and Only God.

    We should be more conscious that we also have a lot to offer to the unbelievers and those looking for the Truth. We Can offer the Truth, but than we may not stay in our little cocoon of our armchair at home. We should get off our ass and do something.

    It is more than high time that more people would come out of their house and take up the task Jesus has given them.

  15. Which back voters in the US wants to see
  16. Mormons, just an other faith

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  • Cult or True Religion (wordsonsergebenhayon.wordpress.com)
    “…if you believe in it, it is a religion or perhaps ‘the’ religion; and if you do not care one way or another about it, it is a sect; but if you fear and hate it, it is a cult.” Leo Pfeffer.
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    Call someone a name and you don’t have to refute their argument – it makes it easy to toss it aside as the workings of a potentially crazed mind rather than something that may be of value, truth and substance.Why are there two separate words in the English language – cult and religion – that are understood by most to refer to two separate things. Calling new religions ‘cults’ is a very clever scare tactic used by the older religions in order to protect their market share. Christianity sees other religions that do not follow its version of doctrine as cults… so that makes all Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, followers of Islam plus all other religions, and thus a very large proportion of the population, cult members on those grounds.
  • Billy Graham: Mormonism No Cult (orthodoxyandheterodoxy.org)
    it seems that Mormonism is no longer a “cult”
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    now even the walking-Evangelical-saint Billy Graham has sacrificed doctrine for politics, that his desire for a Republican in the White House has transcended his commitment to the distinctives of his Southern Baptist religious faith.
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    The Graham definition above—”any group which teaches doctrines or beliefs that deviate from the biblical message of the Christian faith”—is similarly problematic. How would this definition include Jehovah’s Witnesses but not Roman Catholics? How would it include Unitarian Universalists but not Mormons? Isn’t it true that all of these groups (and many more) would deviate from most Evangelicals’ understanding of “the biblical message of the Christian faith”?
  • Defining Christianity (reneland.wordpress.com)
    I recently had a very good friend of mine who is Catholic and went to a Catholic school until the 9th grade say to me that she wasn’t a Christian, she was a Catholic. She said that the nuns told her she wasn’t Christian.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses (calltoprayerministries.wordpress.com) {the writer of this article does not seem to see what it really means to be a ‘Christian’ and wants to take hold only on a sort-sighted vision.}
    Jehovah’s Witnesses come up in conversation more times than one might think. I guess that it’s because there are many people who know JW’s and there don’t seem to be many obvious differences between their faith and ours. Many JW’s are nice people, talk about Jesus, share their faith, and care about their families… just like Christians. So what are the differences? Are they just a different kind of Christian?
  • ‘Mormonism’ Taken off Site’s Cult List (abcnews.go.com)
    The prominent Christian evangelist Billy Graham has taken public steps to embrace Mitt Romney for president this week, removing Romney’s Mormon religion from a list of cults on his website and taking out an advertisement that appears to urge people to vote for Romney.
  • Billy Graham Offers To Help Mormon Mitt Romney And Then Removes Section From Website Calling Mormonism A Cult! (soulrefuge.org)
    The scriptures make it very clear that true believers in Jesus Christ should not be “yoked” together with unbelievers. Why would any true Christian want to help and support a Mormon who teaches that Jesus Christ is the spirit brother of Lucifer?
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  • Billy Graham Risks His “Legacy” By Scrubbing His Website Of Mormonism Cult Reference, But He Also Changed His Views About The Cult Of Rome Over 50 Years Ago (soulrefuge.org)
  • Grahams tighten Romney ties (newsobserver.com)
  • Mormons off Graham’s ‘cult’ list (upi.com)

Many churches

Bible Students in the light of so many churches

People often wonder how it comes that there are so many churches in Christianity. Why does Christendom seems to be so complex and full of different groups with totally different opinions?

Some say there is only one Universal Catholic Church, others say you have three main categories, the Catholics, the Orthodox and the Protestants, some find the two groups Trinitarian and non-Trinitarian as one part of Christianity while others are convinced the Non-Trinitarians are no Christians at all. But others will say that all the different denominations are part of the same body of Christ. You perhaps could say that they are alike in some respects but the differences are real enough. People should notice that there is a difference of teaching between one church and another, and that this difference is sometimes very substantial, even fundamental. Even in certain churches people can find different teachings or ideas and practices which contradict each other. Though all those churches say that they follow Jesus Christ, and some of them also say they follow the Bible. But other denominations say that ordinary people cannot study the Bible because they do not have any theological formation. They do seem to forget that Jesus often rebuked the people of his own day — but never did he rebuke them for reading the scriptures, rather he rebuked them for not acting in accordance with what they read. He explained what was written in the Scriptures and told his apostles to go and preach the gospel, so that people would be aware of what God wanted from them. To know what God wants from us, we do best to study the Word of God, the Bible. That there are so many denominations also come by the fact that there are several churches which prefer to keep to human traditions and prefer the teachings of philosophical and theological writers, instead of keeping to the Word itself. History shows us how human scriptures became for some churches more important than the 66 books of the Bible. Therefore to understand why there are so many different churches and to find out which way we have to go it is best to know a little bit of the background or history of the Christian Church. When you look at Christendom you can find many influences in Christianity which become crystal clear when placed in context.

A simplified chart of historical developments ...

Derivation of major branches of Christianity

It is important that believers must distinguish between the cultural forms associated with a religious tradition and its “critical edge” which is usually derived from its otherworldly perspective, or from contrasting the ideal life portrayed in its scriptures with the historical practices of different congregations. Allowing for both aspects, religion may be seen as the present day interplay between the past and the future: i.e., between traditional faith and the hope for the future of individuals and their communities. To understand the real value of the differences in the churches we have to look at what happened in the passing of time. History shows how people got influenced by other ways of thinking, other religions, traditions, believes and myths. It shows also how range of practices, organizations and expectations came into existence. History shows also how people grow away from the essence of the Holy Scriptures and why through centuries serious Bible students, Bible Researchers, lay and clerical theologians kept looking for the truth and wanted to go other ways than the most traditional institutional churches.

The essential and central feature of the apostle Peter his writings is that the Scriptures are able to teach men the truth about salvation and that truth is comprehensible by ordinary people. We have to pick up the Word of God, as it is given to us in the Holy Bible and should take it at heart, giving enough time to study it thoroughly. When we read through the Bible we should compare what is written there with what so many churches proclaim and take lessons from that. To come to a good non biased Bible study we should have an open mind and have no preconceived ideas, seeking in its pages support for doctrines already formulated from other sources. We should not be blind to see that doctrines are formed or supported on isolated texts without reference to the general teaching of scripture. Very often doctrines tend to be isolated from each other, like parcels tied up separately, and the final and logical outcome of their teaching is not looked at penetratingly. So the discrepancies and contradictions are not brought to light. Looking at the history of Christianity we can see that certain churches have been dominated by particular doctrines upon which more than usual emphasis has been laid, which has resulted in the neglect of other important teaching. The outcome of this has been a dislocated and unbalanced view of Bible truth leading to false conclusions and a disordered conception of salvation.

Today we live in a world of easiness, of “laisser faire”. Many think that the Christian faith cannot be defined in propositions. It is supposed to be too personal and too mystical for that. It is this point of view which encourages so many to say that it does not matter what you believe or which church you join. But in the New Testament we are clearly warned to be very careful. According to the Nazarene Jesus, Christ the Messiah, the way is not easy to stay on, and the gate to go through is quite narrow. In the New Testament is said that the Church should be “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3: 15). There is a solemn duty laid on every believer to ensure that their faith and their church is built on that true foundation, as it is revealed in the Bible.

Looking at the History of Christianity we shall be able to notice that a lot went wrong because people did not stay with the word of God, but looked more at other religions and traditions. The other problem was also that there have always been prominent teachers in Christendom who said people would not be able to understand what is written in the Bible and even worse teachers who denied Bible teaching about God and His purpose. They explained away the reality of Christ’s resurrection, and throwed doubt upon the authority of God’s word, and watered down His commandments.

When we look at the history of Christianity we shall be able to see that we ought not to be too impressed by the credentials of the ‘scholar’. Where scholarship is faithful to God’ s word and helps us to understand it better we ought to be grateful for it, but the Bible never suggests that human cleverness is the passport to divine knowledge. Instead it tells us that the truth unveils most of her face to those who are humble and of a contrite spirit.

We do hope that in these writings on the net we can go together on the quest to the Truth, and that we are able to convince you that it is important to undertake a thorough study of the Bible, and that you yourself are able to become a good “Bible student”.

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