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Unread 09-29-2018, 05:14 PM   #16
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I don't avoid talking to my friends about my faith. However, I don't use it as a means to evangelize them. I have friends who don't want to discuss it and I respect that. Doesn't mean I don't pray for them but I'm surely not gonna' beat them over the head with a Bible.
I intentionally buy small bibles so that I can't bash people with them.

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Unread 09-30-2018, 12:28 PM   #17
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I intentionally by small bibles so that I can't bash people with them.
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Unread 10-02-2018, 10:35 AM   #18
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I don't avoid talking to my friends about my faith. However, I don't use it as a means to evangelize them. I have friends who don't want to discuss it and I respect that. Doesn't mean I don't pray for them but I'm surely not gonna' beat them over the head with a Bible.
That is how I roll as well. It does come up, but I actually find that they often want to talk to me about it.

One friend in particular has a mother who regularly goes (she is Church of England). And, my friend retains an ambiguous connection. He is also fascinated by my work on Paul and philosophy.
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Unread 04-07-2019, 10:05 PM   #19
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I'I do think there's a point where God says, "Yep, I've given you enough chances; you're done."
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
-1 Peter 1:3-5
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Unread 04-08-2019, 07:35 AM   #20
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4 For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, who shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who tasted Godís good word and the powers of the coming age, 6 and who have fallen away. This is because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding him up to contempt. 7 For the ground that drinks the rain that often falls on it and that produces vegetation useful to those for whom it is cultivated receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and about to be cursed, and at the end will be burned.

Hebrew 6:4-8 (CSB)
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Unread 04-08-2019, 09:14 AM   #21
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Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
-1 Peter 1:3-5
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4 For it is impossible to renew to repentance those who were once enlightened, who tasted the heavenly gift, who shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 who tasted Godís good word and the powers of the coming age, 6 and who have fallen away. This is because, to their own harm, they are recrucifying the Son of God and holding him up to contempt. 7 For the ground that drinks the rain that often falls on it and that produces vegetation useful to those for whom it is cultivated receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it produces thorns and thistles, it is worthless and about to be cursed, and at the end will be burned.

Hebrew 6:4-8 (CSB)
So would the reconciliation of these passages be the "through faith" portion? In other words, while someone has faith. 1P 1:3-5 applies, but when they abandon faith, H 6:4-8 applies?
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Unread 04-09-2019, 01:09 PM   #22
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So would the reconciliation of these passages be the "through faith" portion? In other words, while someone has faith. 1P 1:3-5 applies, but when they abandon faith, H 6:4-8 applies?
That's a good question. It's one that people don't agree on the answer.
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Unread 04-12-2019, 11:01 AM   #23
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i know i'm super late here, but i wanted to drop in on the "hardening of the heart" question--one of the first places we see that phrase used is in the story of the exodus, when God "hardened pharaoh's heart."

one of the discussions that came up in some of my classes was whether God actually hardened pharaoh's heart against the israelites, or whether the phrase was actually more accurately something like, "strengthened pharaoh's resolve." like, pharaoh had decided in his heart to take an action, and God strengthened his resolve to make sure he would see it through.

the outcome is the same, but the process is a bit different. i realize it's not an answer, but rather another question, but i found it a very interesting discussion.

in that sense, it could also apply to the NT passages--someone resolves to do something or to not do something, and God strengthens their resolve to do it. it definitely adds a new layer to the divine puppetmaster vs divine train conductor debate, but the main thing i've learned is that the more i study God, the less i know. hopefully this is helpful, or at least it's hopefully not UNhelpful.
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Unread 04-21-2019, 07:33 PM   #24
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i know i'm super late here, but i wanted to drop in on the "hardening of the heart" question--one of the first places we see that phrase used is in the story of the exodus, when God "hardened pharaoh's heart."

one of the discussions that came up in some of my classes was whether God actually hardened pharaoh's heart against the israelites, or whether the phrase was actually more accurately something like, "strengthened pharaoh's resolve." like, pharaoh had decided in his heart to take an action, and God strengthened his resolve to make sure he would see it through.

the outcome is the same, but the process is a bit different. i realize it's not an answer, but rather another question, but i found it a very interesting discussion.

in that sense, it could also apply to the NT passages--someone resolves to do something or to not do something, and God strengthens their resolve to do it. it definitely adds a new layer to the divine puppetmaster vs divine train conductor debate, but the main thing i've learned is that the more i study God, the less i know. hopefully this is helpful, or at least it's hopefully not UNhelpful.
Honestly, this whole scenario just paints God as a manipulative sadist. If God is omnipotent, he knew that a time would come when (unless intervention took place) the Israelites would be enslaved. He didn't just let that happen. He led Joseph there. He set up the events in which Joseph would gain favor with Pharaoh and the Israelites would be given Goshen. He orchestrated the events that would allow the Israelites to become enslaved. And then he deliberately hardened Pharaoh's heart, basically rendering salvation for him impossible, just to flex his muscles and show that he could get the Israelites out of the mess he inevitably led them into. The debate between puppetmaster or train conductor seems irrelevant here. The fact of the matter is, whether God hardened Pharaoh's heart or strengthened his resolve, he still did it. And if the exodus legend is really true, then God did kill innocent children. That is, to me, unforgivable.

The mantra of Christianity seems to be "whatever happens, trust God because he's God." But it ignores the fact that, if God is truly omnipotent and omniscient, then whether he causes horrific events to happen to innocent people or merely allows them to happen, he is still placed in a pretty bad spot when it comes to justifying what he does. And to say, "The more you study the less you know, just let it all go and trust God" seems to me a poorly-masked cop-out.
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Unread 04-21-2019, 08:23 PM   #25
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I haven't personally researched this myself, but it is argued that God sent each plague to assert that he alone was stronger than any diety the Egyptians worshiped:
https://owlcation.com/humanities/Ten...s-For-Ten-Gods

I otherwise don't have any answers that are sufficient for you; you're asking a lot of hard questions that I'm at this stage not prepared to answer, but just remember everyone here still loves you regardless.
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Unread 04-21-2019, 08:29 PM   #26
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I haven't personally researched this myself, but it is argued that God sent each plague to assert that he alone was stronger than any diety the Egyptians worshiped:
https://owlcation.com/humanities/Ten...s-For-Ten-Gods

I otherwise don't have any answers that are sufficient for you; you're asking a lot of hard questions that I'm at this stage not prepared to answer, but just remember everyone here still loves you regardless.
I remember writing a paper on this during my early years of bible college. That was the conclusion myself and most of my peers came to, working within the framework of believing God to be real and true to the text of the bible. But even if it was to prove himself stronger than any Egyptian deity (a fair assertion), it still doesn't dismiss the fact that he had to kill innocent children to do so (in the context of the exodus events), nor the fact that he led Joseph and the Israelites into that situation.
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Unread 04-22-2019, 04:58 PM   #27
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God's omniscience does not prevent our free will. God knows what will happen. God can control what will happen. His permissive will allows all kinds of things to happen but that doesn't necessarily mean He is the cause.
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Unread 04-22-2019, 09:54 PM   #28
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God's omniscience does not prevent our free will. God knows what will happen. God can control what will happen. His permissive will allows all kinds of things to happen but that doesn't necessarily mean He is the cause.
So why would God lead someone into a situation, knowing all the horror that would unfold? It makes no sense to me. Itís not like the Egyptians went out and captured the Israelites. God had already put them there. Like lambs led to a slaughter. But even so, that aside, if God wanted to prove himself more powerful than any Egyptian deity, he could have easily just struck Pharaoh dead and caused the temple/palace to crumble to the ground and destroyed the pyramids. He could have made quite the spectacle of it. Instead, though, he opted to kill children.
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Unread 04-23-2019, 05:29 AM   #29
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So why would God lead someone into a situation, knowing all the horror that would unfold? It makes no sense to me. Itís not like the Egyptians went out and captured the Israelites. God had already put them there. Like lambs led to a slaughter. But even so, that aside, if God wanted to prove himself more powerful than any Egyptian deity, he could have easily just struck Pharaoh dead and caused the temple/palace to crumble to the ground and destroyed the pyramids. He could have made quite the spectacle of it. Instead, though, he opted to kill children.
You'll probably say this is a cop out but how can I presume to know the mind of God?

He's God. I am not.
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Unread 04-23-2019, 06:47 AM   #30
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Hi there. I'm really late on this entire topic.

First, Ben, I'm sorry to hear you've left the church. I can understand where you're coming from and the reasoning behind your decision.

Second, like Lee said, there's no knowing the mind of God. His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. Again, that probably sounds like a cop-out, but that is only part of what makes God God. He is completely beyond us. If He operated on our own level of being and thinking, then He would be no different than a human.

As far as the tenth plague goes, God didn't just wantonly kill innocent children. He gave every single household in Egypt a choice. They could choose to take a lamb, kill it, prepare it, paint its blood around the doorframe, and spare their firstborn's life; or they could choose to not abide by that and forfeit their firstborn to the Angel of Death. It was their own choice, pure and simple, whether Israelite or Egyptian. Throughout the Bible and throughout history, when God puts His foot down, that's the final word.

It doesn't mean He's a malevolent sadist. He has overflowing amounts of mercy, grace, love, and patience. We can't see all the things He sees. He knows the big picture. We can't see but a fraction of it.
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