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Everything posted by Oakspear

  1. Just got involved in The Way Corporation in March 1978
  2. I don't come here that often any more...is this 'Revival & Restoration' group another splinter group? New as of 2017? Just another bunch of 'enlightened' knuckleheads
  3. I never lived at any of the so-called root locales, but out in "the world" we did everything that non-Way people did, we just called it "Household Holiday". They talked a good game about not being observers of days & seasons, but didn't have the balls to walk the walk
  4. I took the PFAL class in Flushing in '76 and lived in Kew Gardens through '80 before moving to Nebraska
  5. The subject of whether or not someone is a Christian and how to determine that was not meant to be a major part of this discussion. My fault for including that one sentence at the end of my initial post. My point in starting this topic was to discuss the lengths some people go to in order to harmonize biblical contradictions. The criteria that the writers of the bible set down about what makes someone a Christian might be an interesting topic, but I ask that a separate thread be started if discussion on that topic continues. I'm sure the mods could move any relevant posts if asked. Again, my fault for leaving an opening by including that one sentence.
  6. I expect that it's a given that anyone posting on this thread knows that we don't have the originals and have no access to them. However, despite this, we (on this thread and in other places) discuss "the bible", what it says, what's in it and what its meaning is all the time. We have a collection of books that some time around 1600 years ago (referring to what we call the New Testament) were collected into a canon of scripture. Understanding that what we have are versions and translations of various manuscripts that underwent copyists' errors and do not all agree with each other, we can still manage to ahve a discussion about the bible. Resorting to "you don't know that, we don't have the originals" leaves us in the place where any discussion is pointless. We don't have the originals and no one knows precisely what was in them or what was changed before some of the earliest manuscripts that we have appeared, but we have what we have, and what we have contains contradictions.
  7. There are many definitions, back in TWI we supported Romans 10:9 & 10 as the confession that got us Christianized, some denominations rely on "repent and be baptized (Acts 2) as the gold standard. I've heard some say it's "accept Jesus into your heart". Still others require water baptism. Many just claim to "believe in Jesus". And of course there's those who emphasize the outside, the works, maintaining that reciting a formula is worthless without acting like Jesus. Most, if not all of these different groups can point to and interpret some section of the bible to support their view, and if they can't, so what? Who am I, or you, or anyone else to decide whether anyone else is a Christian?
  8. I've said it before on this thread...in any category or "rung on the ladder" it depended on the individual the degree to which they could be a victim or oppressor or somewhere in between. Surely there was enough variety to demonstrate that there is no one-size-fits all description. The degree to which a person who was inclined to be an "oppressor" actually was able tp act oppressively depended on the degree of authority that they had within the TWI structure. As a WOW, we could all be jackasses to one another, but it was only the WOW coordinator who could do it "officially". In a twig setting anyone could be judgemental and nosy about the details of others' lives, but only the limb coordinator could mark and avoid you...etc, etc.
  9. Or, as I believe, Paul and the writers of the gospels simply had differing opinions; later church leaders and theologians had to find a way to make them fit together, a late example is dispensationalism.
  10. I presume nothing in my observation that there are contradictions in the bible, they're all over the place, some major, some minor. There are different conclusions one can derive from that observation: one is that there are only apparent contradictions that need harmonizing, another is that the bible is a book wherein you would expect contradictions, because it was written at different times by different people with different agendas. Other conclusions are possible. I hold to the definition that if one self-identifies as a Christian, then one is a Christian. I do not believe that any one person can make that determination for anyone else.
  11. Sky - good points, but I guess since I was kind of a knucklehead when I came to GSC, I'm cutting him some slack. It takes some of us longer than others
  12. Skyrider - for many of us, the outcome, as you call it, was all that we ever saw, Wierwille just being a guy we saw on tape during PFAL or from afar at the ROA. It is not unreasonable for a person to view Way Corps people in a bad light if that's all that was seen. In my own experience I tended to blame individual Way Corps (and non-Corps) twig leaders & such, for their behavior at the time, but from the vantage point of many years later I see that it was a bit more complex than that. Wierwille was indeed the source of the evil, but individuals still had free will to act ethically or not.
  13. MRAP - there are often very good reasons for concealing ones identity here. Since Day One here at GSC posters have always been free to reveal or conceal at their own discretion. You of course are free to believe or disbelieve what you see written here and judge whether you have enough information. Posters are not likely to publish their own names or previous positions in TWI just to satisfy your curiosity.
  14. I can see some sense in holding questions until the end, sometimes you have to have more complete information before you can formulate a question, but that's not what was going on in PFAL. It wouldn't have been too bad if questions actually were answered at the end of the PFAL class, but more often than not you were still told to hold it "in abeyance" until you understood more, or took another class... In general, it's a good idea to question everything
  15. Good point. I highlighted "hidden" - I cannot believe that the creator of the heavens and the earth caused his book to be written in such a way that you had to be a sudoku master to divine the "real" meaning behind it. How many teachings involve skipping all over the bible to make a point? Yeah, there are verses about confounding the wise and all that, but if you need a degree in advanced biblical Greek and hours a day of free time to wade through it all, it's not very accessible to the common man is it? Nice :evilshades:/>
  16. One of the things that I try to apply the "outsider test" to is prayer I'm not talking about the kind of prayer where you talk to God, or praise God, or anything other than asking God to do something, or provide something I know a lot of people who are sure that "prayer works", and are vocal about providing examples of the many times where prayer "worked", i.e. they asked God for something and they received it, or it came to pass My outsider test in regards to prayer is that even a superficial look at the track record of prayer "working" would likely result in a very low success rate I understand that I am not proving anything - maybe your individual experience is that you receive 100% of what you pray for 100% of the time, but it has been my observation that people who make this claim employ rationales or weasel words to explain why not receiving what was prayed for: God answered, but he said "no"; the ever-popular "God works in mysterious ways"; "God gives you what you need, not what you want"...the list goes on and on Confirmation bias, selective reporting, rationalizing lack of success all serve to explain away the times when prayer doesn't "work" My own favorite reason for disbelieving in the effectiveness of prayer: disasters, either natural or man-made, when the survivors claim God's blessing for sparing them when many others were killed, or lost their homes Applying the same standard that is applied to psychics, fortune tellers and predictors-of-the-end-of-the-world to prayer and you'll get the same results
  17. One of the hallmarks of Wierwillism was the belief that the bible, in "the original", was inerrant, and that any contradictions are only apparent contradictions. This was not new or unique to Wierwillism (surprise!) but can be found in many fundamentalist denominations and is evident in the writing of E.W. Bullinger. It is obvious to anyone who reads the bible in any depth that there are contradictions, ones position theologically determines what you do with those contradictions. The early Christians bent logic into a pretzel to harmonize the many contradictions about the nature of Jesus, resulting in the doctrine of the Trinity, Unitarians (like Wierwille) bent things in a different direction in order to justify the lack of a Trinity. A couple of examples (one of which was pointed out to me when I was deep into WayWorld, but which I chose to ignore) are the number of people crucified with Jesus and the number of denials of Peter. Most people know that there were two other guys crucified with Jesus and that Peter denied Jesus three times. The reason that they know this is that in every mention of the others crucified there are two, and in every mention of the denials there are three. Readings of the Gospels in church generally will read one rendering of these events, that is, they don't stop to compare two gospels side-by-side. If they did, they would notice there are discrepancies, i.e. contradictions. Some people never notice the contradictions because they don't ever compare records, and don't "research", they just read. Others kind of know about the contradictions, but aren't bothered by them. But still others attempt to reconcile the contradictions, because to them there aren't any contradictions in the bible. These people notice that in one gospel Peter denies Jesus three times before the cock crows, in another before it crows twice; in one gospel the denials take place in certain places, in another the locations are different; the people that Peter denies Jesus to change from one gospel to another. At the crucifixtion the others are malefactors in one gospel and robbers in another; in one gospel one rails against Jesus and in other they're both silent; in one they are led with, in another at a different time. So what the inerrantists do is compare each detail side by side and see which details agree. If a detail appears in one gospel but not another, then that's a separate detail. What we end up with is four others crucified and six denials. The problem with that is that every gospel says that there were three denials and two crucified, not six and four. Believing that there were six and four requires inventing a fifth canonical gospel, one where everything is in harmony, but where the details contradict what it plainly says in the "real" gospels. Whether there were three or six denials, two or four others crucified may be a matter of biblical trivia, but this manner of thinking extends to matters of doctrine as well. Even though there may be (well, there are) differences in the view of the afterlife, sin, church government, etc. from one biblical writer to the next, the inerrantists naturally want to make it all fit together. Words are given meanings that the writers would be very surprised at! What inspired me to start this thread was a discussion that I had elsewhere at the cafe where another poster assigned a meaning to a word that contradicted every biblical use of the word, mainly because the implications of using the obvious and natural meaning of the word would be a contradiction of something that another biblical writer wrote. This is what we learned was "research" in TWI and is considered legitimate in many fundamentalist circles. If you throw out the notion that the bible is inerrant, that it is perfect in all particulars and can therefore contain no contradictions whatsoever, that the writers were mere mortals who were just writing what they thought was the truth about Jesus, that they had differing views about him and were emphasizing different aspects of his message and the meaning of his death, then the need to harmonize disappears. You can say, "Paul meant A and the writer of Luke said B" without having to twist and squish one or the other or both views to fit the other, or to come up with a third option that harmonizes the two.
  18. It's not either/or, in my view It depends on what the Corps person did and with what attitude they did it It depends on what individuals did with the power and authority that they had over other people From what I read here, some of you Corps grads were on the receiving end of mental abuse that I can't even imagine...but I also observed Corps grads dishing it out and who were (apparently) willing participants in the top-down abuse that originated with Wierwille, and I was lucky enough to know Corps grads who were good people who did nothing but "bless" the lives of those they came in contact with But you didn't have to be a Corps grad to be a victimizer, to be an abuser of power I did not go through the Corps (I signed up, participated in Apprentice Corps meetings etc, didn't get my money together and never tried again) but I am not proud to say that I was party to and complicit in abuses as were other non-Corps people. A couple of people who I categorize as those whom I would most like to hit in the face with a hammer were not Corps...you just can't make a blanket statement about a whole class of people
  19. Well Roy my friend, there is certainly some disagreement regarding your thread topic, but it's evident that the church didn't have to invent hell, since a place of eternal punishment is mentioned in the gospels, by none other than Jesus. Whether it's correctly translated or interpreted seems to be an open question. Jesus evidently thought that certain sins would be punished by a "firey" eternal punishment, while Paul had a different view, a "sleep" culminating in a resurrection of all at some future time. The question of whether the church used the threat of hell/eternal punishment/torment to control by fear is a separate question that can best be answered by looking at history, rather than the bible, but I don't think you'd have to dig too deep to see that the threat of damnation was used extensively to control by fear.
  20. Thanks for the effort, but I do not think that you have demonstrated that aionios/eternal means different things when describing God and his works or describing Satan and his works. It appears to require an assumption about what God would or would not do to ignore the fact that the same word is used to describe eternal life and eternal punishment.
  21. I don't believe that the meaning or translation of the αἰών (aiōn) is in dispute. Clearly it refers to a time period which is limited in time, although it appears to refer to a long period of time. I think we derive our English word "eon" from it. You have, in detailed fashion, made your case that αἰών does not necessarily refer to a time period without end. However, no one was arguing the other side of this argument. I do not have time this morning to list individual verses with uses of αἰώνιος, (aiōnios) translated "eternal", however, in all but three of its 70 occurences, it is translated either "eternal" or "everlasting". Many, if not most, of these occurences refer to eternal life. There are a few options: 1. The translators got it completely wrong and "eternal" is a wrong translation and it should have been translated "long, but ultimately limited, life" 2. The adjective αἰώνιος has nuances beyond the strict, literal, meaning of αἰών and came to mean "unending" while the root word only meant "really, really long The implications of pinning a meaning of "limited time period" onto the word translated "eternal" when referring to punishment is that eternal life isn't really eternal life
  22. Honestly I'm uncomfortable when people call me that, like I don't think I've earned it. But I think people get ideas in their heads about what people are and stick them in pre-grooved slots...maybe that's another thread I use the title "reverend" in my advertising in order to communicate that I'm "legal", but always introduce myself to couples by my given name
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