Statesboro, GA, USA
Several points of contention I have with what you are saying... Please help me clarify these that I may also find the truth.
1) You are maintaining death as a "soul sleep" until the future resurrections you described, right? And Yet, Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus and two disciples on the "mount of transfiguration" (Matthew 17:1-3). They talked and had discourse with Jesus and his disciples. How would you reconcile your view of "soul sleep" with this instance? Remember Moses and Elijah at this point had most certainly deceased physically. The bible even accounts for Moses' death.
2) Whether one believes in "soul sleep", or a post-death awareness prior to the resurrection of the body, makes what difference? If a person has "Faith in Christ" as the Bible teaches, he will be right with God either way. Or if a person persists in unbelief, he will perish either way. You never did answer my earlier question, why this is relevant at all. You merely said that it was the difference between the true Church and the apostate one ... in arbitrary terms, begging the question.
3) As to your belief in "soul sleep", the Jehovah's Witnesses also believe in the same... hence an example of denominational religion that believes and potentially uses that to gain converts, which in turn tithe money into the religious organization. I say that to point out the fact that ANY doctrine can be used to get money if that it is the motive behind it. Is that the motive behind the Jehovah's Witnesses doctrine? I don't know. But I doubt it. The point is, I don't use such fallacious argumentation of what people do with dogma, to refute or support the truth of it. It is another issue completely.
4) How can you so easily jump from being an agnostic (We cannot know God) to being a recipient of divine revelation, and not only so, but one of the scant few in the universe to be able to get it right!? Pardon me, but which Opeth are we to listen to? I am not making fun of your struggle or attempting to irritate. But in light of all that you said, can you expect someone to really think you've got it figured out? How easily can some one accept creeds which are apparantly unsettled in even your mind? Especially seeing you tend to mock honest questioning when it is asked, or tell people they aren't elite as you to understand, and so aren't worthy of explaination or doctrinal clarification.
5) You still have not addressed such scriptures as the one where Jesus has rebuke for a church that is doctrinally correct, but without ardent love. This suggests to me that your whole conception of the "little flock" has at least the possibility of error. I am not saying that right doctrine is not important, but there are 'weightier matters of the law'. In one sweep, your statements accuse Christendom across the board as crooks, swindlers, and deceivers. The specks become motes, and in eyes you've never seen. You are not God. And to be honest I sense very little love in anything you say. Remember, "You will know a tree by it's fruit"? Where is the fruit of the Spirit to at least make the things you say palatable? Remember that a little sugar helps the medicine go down. And you may find the need for less and less sugar as you become a trusted physician. But since there are a lot of travelling medicine men around, bear with us. I'm having a hard time even hearing what you are saying beyond the bitterness and anger at religion that you exude. You say that good and evil cannot come up together... that truth and heresy can not occur in the same churches. I say this is totally unscriptural to believe so! Remember Jesus' parable of the wheat & tares? Yes, I know he was speaking of the world primarily. But Paul also said, "There must be heresies among you that some may be approved". Half of the heresy that Paul dealt with was in the churches and much of it was not doctrinal as much as practical.
6) If you are really of a Christian concern to help others see, then you will be able to address my honest concerns about your doctrine, by answering the above concern #1 for example. You cannot just take honest scriptural concerns, shoot them down, and say you don't want to discuss it with those who aren't "called" and "enlightened" like yourself. This is obscurantism at the max.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (11-30-2002 02:24 PM).]