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Introduction

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  • StephenMerritt
    Hello, I am writing you for advice and to share concerns. My name is Stephen Merritt, I am married and live in Nashville, Tennessee and my wife and I are
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 1, 2004
      Hello, I am writing you for advice and to share concerns. My name is
      Stephen Merritt, I am married and live in Nashville, Tennessee and my wife
      and I are searching for a church to call home. I've been to nearly every
      denomination in town, but most recently to both the Mormon church and a
      independent, fundamental Baptist church. I have troubles with the latter
      church in that I wind up going to them because I am afraid they may be
      right after all. They condemn modernism and liberalism, only use the King
      James Version and can really work me up into a fear that if I don't toe
      their line I might not be saved.

      I've also investigated various other religions, notably Islam and Judaism.
      The Jews I've spoken with have rattled my faith in Christ. They make the
      claim that there is no historical evidence for Jesus and that if there was
      a Jesus, miracles, deeds and words were attributed to him over time. Thus
      Jesus is a myth they say, culled from various pagan myths of the time. As
      examples of pagan elements added to "the Jesus story," they cite his virgin
      birth, resurrection and betrayal, to name a few. The Jews also claim that
      the prophecies that we as Christians say Jesus fulfilled are either out of
      context, mis-quoted or non-existent in Judaism. How does one maintain faith
      in Christ in the light of such logic? My faith in Jesus has been shaken and
      I am trying to find my way back to it.

      Another thing is, with all the various types of churches out there, how
      does one find the truth? They can't all be right can they?

      I am looking for a good church to call home and am particularly drawn to
      Wesleyan-Holiness doctrine. Any comments will be appreciated.

      Stephen Merritt
    • tj21564@yahoo.com
      ... is ... my wife ... every ... and a ... latter ... be ... the King ... toe ... Judaism. ... make the ... there was ... time. Thus ... time. As ... his
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 1, 2004
        --- In wesleyantheology@yahoogroups.com, StephenMerritt
        <scmerritt@m...> wrote:
        > Hello, I am writing you for advice and to share concerns. My name
        is
        > Stephen Merritt, I am married and live in Nashville, Tennessee and
        my wife
        > and I are searching for a church to call home. I've been to nearly
        every
        > denomination in town, but most recently to both the Mormon church
        and a
        > independent, fundamental Baptist church. I have troubles with the
        latter
        > church in that I wind up going to them because I am afraid they may
        be
        > right after all. They condemn modernism and liberalism, only use
        the King
        > James Version and can really work me up into a fear that if I don't
        toe
        > their line I might not be saved.
        >
        > I've also investigated various other religions, notably Islam and
        Judaism.
        > The Jews I've spoken with have rattled my faith in Christ. They
        make the
        > claim that there is no historical evidence for Jesus and that if
        there was
        > a Jesus, miracles, deeds and words were attributed to him over
        time. Thus
        > Jesus is a myth they say, culled from various pagan myths of the
        time. As
        > examples of pagan elements added to "the Jesus story," they cite
        his virgin
        > birth, resurrection and betrayal, to name a few. The Jews also
        claim that
        > the prophecies that we as Christians say Jesus fulfilled are either
        out of
        > context, mis-quoted or non-existent in Judaism. How does one
        maintain faith
        > in Christ in the light of such logic? My faith in Jesus has been
        shaken and
        > I am trying to find my way back to it.
        >
        > Another thing is, with all the various types of churches out there,
        how
        > does one find the truth? They can't all be right can they?
        >
        > I am looking for a good church to call home and am particularly
        drawn to
        > Wesleyan-Holiness doctrine. Any comments will be appreciated.
        >
        > Stephen Merritt


        Stephen,

        Hi, I am presently living in South Carolina but will be moving to
        Nashville in a couple of months. I am Nazarene and will probably be
        going to the Trevecca Community Church of the Naz. The pastor is a
        friend of mine and a dynamic preacher. I would encourage you to check
        it out.

        Tommy
      • Rev. Andrew B. Glos
        Stephen, It is a great pleasure to have you in our little company of believer. You mentioned a series of difficult questions which are worthy of long
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 2, 2004
          Stephen,

          It is a great pleasure to have you in our little
          company of believer. You mentioned a series of
          difficult questions which are worthy of long
          responses. I would like to offer a few answers and
          then you should feel free to ask further questions if
          you like.

          --- StephenMerritt <scmerritt@...> wrote:
          >I have
          > troubles with the latter
          > church in that I wind up going to them because I am
          > afraid they may be
          > right after all.

          It is worth mentioning that you should never join
          any group because you are scared what will happen to
          you if you do not. This is coercion. Jesus never
          coerced his followers. He simply asked: "Follow me"
          and they either did or did not. He offered them truth
          and they either had eyes to see of they did not. And
          while he warned of that there would be consequences
          for not giving Him our hearts, he did not throw fear
          and terror at them to induce their faith. At least, I
          cannot think of a single instance.
          Keep that in mind always.
          Also, there is nothing wrong with the King James. It
          is a lovely transaltion. One of the best, in fact. And
          much beloved of many generations of English speaking
          peoples. However, it is neither the best nor the only
          translation of the Greek and Hebrew (which by the way
          ought to be definitive for folks who are
          fundamentalists not the KJV). All translations are
          imperfect, but we English speakers need to use what we
          can to get the best sense of the Greek and Hebrew. I
          recomend several different translations at once time.
          Best way to read the bible if you cannot do the
          languages.


          > The Jews I've spoken with have rattled my faith in
          > Christ.

          Thes are common, but silly allegations that can only
          come from persons who know little or nothing about
          history. There is not serious question among modern
          historians that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person,
          who lived and died in first century Palestine. Paul's
          letters (most of them at least) are real from a real
          Paul who met the disciples and others who knew Jesus.
          We know from other non-biblical sources that there
          were disciples of Jesus who professed their faith that
          he was the Messiah and died for their faith in him
          (most notably James in the writings of Josephus). If
          all these people were making it up, someone would have
          offered this allegation in their own time. We would
          have heard them saying in the first century: "Hey, I
          don't remember any of this stuff! I was in Jerusalem
          that spring and do not remember any trial! What are
          you talking about?!!" Jews in the first century
          dispute that Jesus was the Son of God and that he
          really rose from the dead and that he was really born
          of a Virgin, but there is not a single recorded
          allegation that Jesus was made up until modern times
          and usually by people who know little or nothing about
          the historical sources. Tp suppose that even the
          enemies of the early Church where in on the lie would
          be to postulate a conspiracy of astonishing and
          utterly unrealistic proportions.

          Having said this: history and archeology cannot
          prove the resurrection nor that Jesus was who he said
          he was. While I and many others think there is good
          evidence that he was who he said he was, this cannot
          be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. There is good
          reason for these beliefs, but not proof. So, for these
          most important matters, it is still a matter of
          personal faith.

          > Another thing is, with all the various types of
          > churches out there, how
          > does one find the truth? They can't all be right can
          > they?

          Find a good church that teaches and preaches the
          Bible, offers the sacraments, and has a worship life
          which both encourages you in your faith and puts you
          in touch with the Lord. Churches do disagree. But if
          you stay close to scripture, the sacraments, and the
          Lord, you ought not to worry about these disagreements
          too much. For the most part, we are a bunch of
          squaking hens who cluck about what we really do not
          understand. For all of us, on this side of eternity,
          there are all sorts of things we are still guessing
          at. Always be careful of Christians who know more
          about God than everyone else around them.

          > I am looking for a good church to call home and am
          > particularly drawn to
          > Wesleyan-Holiness doctrine. Any comments will be
          > appreciated.

          I hope that some of these comments have been
          helpful. For me personally, the Wesleyan-Holiness
          tradition has been the most faithful to Scriptures,
          the best help in understanding God, and the most
          inspirational in my walk with (and after) Christ.

          I hope God uses it in your life. But if God does
          not, I simply hope that he reaches you in whatever way
          you are open to him.


          peace and blessing,
          Rev. Andy Glos

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