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|Christian Pioneer - eBook for Cell Phone - Radical Christianity|
The word 'radical' in the title was selected to resonate with those in contemporary Christianity dissatisfied with what they find available to them in the denominational marketplace. The word 'radical' is usually associated with someone whose dissatisfaction had risen to the point where change is sought. While there are many reasons to be dissatisfied, this book is primarily intended for those who seek greater truth and love than they have encountered so far.
We can contrast our church experiences with New Testament descriptions of peace, joy, fullness, abundance, and love and we can come to think that something is missing or even that we have been cheated. Modern life infuses us with cynicism resulting from exposure to the promises of politicians, insurance companies, and advertising so that we reflexively assume that what we are told is hyperbole or just plain false. When we bring this reflex to our Christian walk, it often leads us to have lower expectations. While most may accept a diminished, marginal, or partial 'Christian' life that never seems able to deliver on the promises in the bible, some abandon Christianity completely, others withdraw into a life of isolation, and some even keep plugging away trying to find the right denomination, church, or video that can help them make sense of it all.
It is the intention of the writer to describe how the practice of Christianity came to be so often confused, inert, and unsatisfying. This is contrasted with how Christianity was supposed to work and can be made to work for the individual. Starting with the ideal, an understanding of how things became as they are can be used to tackle the subject of what can be done to overcome our present circumstances.
It is hoped that the Christian who struggles in his faith will be able, through understanding, to find a path to greater Christ-likeness (the objective of Christianity) and obtain the elusive descriptors peace, joy, and love. To this end, a wide range of subject matters will be considered to provide a context and foundation from which a broad understanding can be extracted starting with a brief summary of a biblical view of the history of the world.
The Foundation of the World
God created two realms, the heavens and the earth. He also created two groups of beings, angels and humans. The angels were created fully formed in a hierarchy and with degrees of power complete with knowledge. Humans were created with the ability to reproduce and with little knowledge. Both humans and angels were given free will.
One of the highest (more powerful) angels, Satan, took a third of the angels with him when he rebelled against God. Satan used deception to get humans to act on their own apart from God (passive as opposed to overt rebellion). As a result, that which was connected to God (manís spirit) died that day and mankind has been separated from God ever since.
The fall of humans was not a surprise to God. God had a rescue plan for man made from before he made the world. He would send his son Jesus to pay the price for the sin of the whole world. Rescue would be offered to anyone who would have faith (trust) in Jesus.
History - Sequential Failures - Ultimate Success
Mankind faced two big obstacles in obtaining rescue (through faith in Jesus) from the judgment that would come on all of us because of our sins. First, our disconnection from God creates in us a powerful inclination towards self-seeking and disinterest in being rescued. Secondly, Satan seeks his own interests which often include our exploitation and deception.
The years right after the fall of man into sin resulted in such a progressive degeneracy that God exterminated everyone except eight people in a worldwide flood. Next, God called out a man (Abraham) from whom he would build a nation (Israel) that was supposed to serve him to bring the knowledge of him to the world and be the people from which Jesus would be born.
The history of the nation Israel is not one of faithfulness to the calling of God. God allowed 5/6 of the nation to be conquered by the Assyrians and the remainder to be taken captive to Babylon for 70 years until they finally abandoned their idolatry. When Jesus came (400 years later), the nation failed to receive the offer of the Kingdom and the new covenant.
For the last 2,000 years gentiles have been allowed to become Christian but in a condition less advantageous than it would have been and will be when, through very adverse conditions, a remnant of Israel does receive Jesus the King and his kingdom.
Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? - Romans 11:12
Sometimes Christians think of Israel as a failure and the church as a success. However, both have fallen far short of what God has desired. One of the biggest reasons for our failure is losing interest in God because we do not think we need him.
And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. - Deuteronomy 6:10-12
One might think of contemporary Christianity as in two parts. The first part is Christianity as lived out in third world conditions. Here there is a sort of purification in adversity that protects Christians (sometimes even as they are being martyred) in a similar way that David was purified in heart in his youth as he fled the wrath of Saul who was trying to kill him.
The second part of modern Christianity can be seen in Western civilization. Here prosperity has so corrupted Christian practice it is like David later in his life when he became so distant from God that he had a womanís husband killed so that he could have her for himself.
It was necessary for Satan to hijack Christianity and use it to build Western civilization so that he could obtain the technology to enslave the world. The ability to control who is allowed to buy and sell (described 1900 years ago) can only be achieved with the technology developed in the last 30 years.
Satan turned Christianity into a sort of mechanical machine and used it to imprint a collectivized systems approach to nations, trade, and education to such an extent that today it is difficult for us to even conceptualize Christian practice outside of an organizational system. This is why when we read the New Testament we so often get the impression that we are lacking what they had. This is because the bible describes relational life not organizational life.
The Need for Radical Change
Some Christians seek change because they are searching for deeper truth. Some seek change because they seek deeper love. However, there may be soon a growing number who seek a more authentic Christianity because, like a young David, they seek a refuge from a world growing increasingly hostile.
Most western Christians have grown accustomed to the soft comforts of their familiar church practices and do not see any need for change. Eighty percent of their children leave the church. Mathematically this indicates that traditional Christianity is dying out. Some churches embrace the world in an attempt to appeal to those attracted to the world. However, as churches become more worldly, there seems increasingly little need for them.
Western civilization brought unprecedented prosperity to the world. However, like a rocket that has reach apogee, a rapid descent is coming into view. Increasing difficulties in life, especially directed towards Christians, may motivate many to choose between the world and Jesus.
Regardless of whether a person seeks change or finds himself driven to it, having a broad understanding can be helpful in avoiding some of the potentially painful consequences of making blind changes (jumping out of the frying pan into the fire). To help provide understanding, the first part of the book will address how Christianity is supposed to work. The second part will discuss how things got twisted around. The last part of the book will address how an individual can deal with some of the obstacles common to contemporary Christians.
Information about Christianity and the Christian life.
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