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Righteousness


OldSkool
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Hello everyone. Been thinking a lot lately about righteousness and wierwille's definition. From The Bible Tells Me So: You are Righteous Now:

Quote

What is righteousness? Righteousness is the God-given justification whereby a person stands in the presence of God without any consciousness of sin, guilt or shortcomings.

Is that what righteousness really is?

The just shall live by faith. Where in scripture does it ever indicate that we can stand in the presence of God (as if wierwille stood in the presence of God) without any consciousness of sin?

Biblically righteousness is a state that was granted to us by our identification with Jesus Christ. It's embodied in the spirit of sonship we receive at the new birth and we are told to walk after the spirit and not after the flesh...but guess what..we all sin...we all relapse back into sinful ways, we even commit a multitude of sins without knowing we are sinning at times. It's the walk of a child of God, the walk of an individual with two natures that are in constant conflict. So what does that have to do with how I feel?...welll...

1 John 3:19-21

And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.

One of TWO possibilites are listed here...either our heart condemns us or it doesn't and if it doesn't we have confidence towards God...what I see here is an almost child like innocence of the child of God and his relationship with his Father. This spirit of sonship also convicts us of sin, and Jesus said it would do just that. I can personally say that at times I am very convicted of sin and wrongdoing and that feeling of conviction leads me to confession and repentance...so what happened to st vic? Where did he lead us?

1 Timothy 4:1,2

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron

Ephesians 4:17-20

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, 18Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ;

 

Here's what I think from a lot of consideration on this topic over the years....so let's start putting my ideas once again to the Grease Spot Pinyata of Doctrinal...let's bang some holes here..

Personally I think, based on my limited understanding of scripture, that righteousness is a state given at the new birth and in order for us to walk righteously we put off the old man and put on the new man. Ill refrain from more scripture quotes at the moment but this concept repeats all throughout the Church epistles. (I am no longer a dispensatinalist and no longer ignore the gospels as not addressed to me. It's the Church epistles that reveal what was hidden in God - a new creation in Christ that Christ will to bring to full fruition in the future when he hands the subjugated kingdom back to God - but that work of the new creation is well underway and it's Christ that is leading the efforts as the head of his body) It has nothing to do with how we feel, but we shoud pay close attention to how we feel because the spirit within may very well convict us of sin so we can put it off and walk in newness of life.

I think victor paul wierwille's conscience was seared with a hot iron. I believe he was past feeling, and I can understand that fully because it happened to me when I was drunk all the time. Just numbed out and washed up. It's an awful state. I have no desire to sit here and beat on the memory of wierwille, however, it's his example we were given to follow. So, naturally, I was taught to ignore how I feel to the detriment of my own mental/emotional well being. Feelings come and go but the Word of God....yeah...clear as mud no?

Let's rumble...

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37 minutes ago, OldSkool said:

Let's rumble...

You expect contentious debate? :spy:

Well, here's my initial thoughts.

39 minutes ago, OldSkool said:

Righteousness is the God-given justification whereby a person stands in the presence of God without any consciousness of sin, guilt or shortcomings.

Righteousness, as I understand (and believe) is (in the spiritual sense) is not connected to whether or not a person "is aware of" sin, guilt or shortcomings at all.

Consciousness

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

noun The state or condition of being conscious.

noun A sense of one's personal or collective identity, including the attitudes, beliefs, and sensitivities held by or considered characteristic of an individual or group.

noun Special awareness or sensitivity.

noun Alertness to or concern for a particular issue or situation.

noun In psychoanalysis, the conscious.

 Righteousness, in action (rather than inaction), is IMO, a dedication to doing the right thing.

from Wordnik.

noun The character of being righteous; purity of heart and rectitude of life; the being and doing right; conformity in character and conduct to a right standard.

noun Hence, also In theology, a coming into spiritual oneness with God, because for Christ's sake the believer in Christ is treated as righteous.

noun A righteous act or quality; anything which is or purports to be righteous.

noun Rightfulness; justice.

noun The quality or state of being righteous; holiness; purity; uprightness; rectitude.

noun A righteous act, or righteous quality.

noun The act or conduct of one who is righteous.

noun (Theol.) The state of being right with God; justification; the work of Christ, which is the ground of justification.

 

In the 36 or so years of my post-twi/post-cult life, I've come to define righteousness (for me) in terms of dedication of my life to righteous causes, to justice.

Looking back to the twi definition, as quoted in the OP for this thread, it seems to be framed such that it is easily used as the foundation for a life of debauchery personally, and as the frame in which the cult and cultish norms in twi were developed.

If I, the cult leader am justified in whatever I do, because a god declared me "righteous," then I am the lord and king, displacing God and Jesus Christ.

 

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1 hour ago, Rocky said:

In the 36 or so years of my post-twi/post-cult life, I've come to define righteousness (for me) in terms of dedication of my life to righteous causes, to justice.

First off, cool post I enjoyed the definitions and perspective.

I zereod in on this point though because I think it speaks volumes both in the sense of what TWI teaches people not to do verses the right thing to do based on being righteous. TWI - they frowned (as we all know) heavily on getting involved in our communities calling that sort of involvement "designer causes" and so on. I think what you are doing is a solid way to go. Get involved! Pursue righteous causes, pursue justice - love it! Live rightly and do it in such a manner that is of true service and expresses God's love to our fellow man. TWI had us out selling classes. What better way to love our neighbor as ourself than to be involved on this level you mentioned Rocky! Thanks.

 

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3 hours ago, OldSkool said:

TWI - they frowned (as we all know) heavily on getting involved in our communities calling that sort of involvement "designer causes"

I don't remember this phrase, but I believe it. The winced expressions of contempt were embarrassingly obvious whenever they heard about my altruistic activities. Usually, after fellowship, my wife would randomly mention some philanthropic cause with which I was involved - an effort to indict me.

I was made to feel guilty, as if I should repent, be reproved and corrected, and instead of giving money to the local shelter for abused women or to the Arts, I should give that money to the fellowship. Literally. Actually.

I had been involved in various philanthropic and charitable endeavors since I was a teenager, long before meeting my wife and her corps/twit family. They used it against me - evidence of my being spiritually immature and a mere babe in da werd.

Edited by Nathan_Jr
Snow and gloves. Always in that order.
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3 minutes ago, Nathan_Jr said:

I don't remember this phrase, but I believe it. The winced expressions of contempt were embarrassingly obvious whenever they heard about my altruistic activities. Usually, after fellowship, my wife would randomly mention some philanthropic cause with which I was involved - an effort to indict me.

I was made to feel guilty, as if I should repent, be reproved and corrected, and instead of giving money to the local shelter for abused women or to the Arts, I should give that money to the fellowship, instead. Literally. Actually.

I had been involved in various philanthropic and charitable endeavors since I was a teenager, long before meeting my wife and her corps/twit family. They used it against me - evidence of my being spiritually immature and a mere babe in da werd.

Yes! That is the modus operandi of these yokels. The way they treated you in this regard is correct in your perception of the way it way. Was I there? Nope. However, I have seen this pattern repeated in any branch I was ever involved in and there were plenty of those. 

Here is a prime example: Was living in VA Beach and a cat 1 hurrican rolled through. Was in the house for 2 solid days with screaming wind, no power, all the glory you would expect from such a storm. Well -- After the storm passed I went to work. I was framing housed back then and was working right on the ocean front. Went to the job and my boss was there with the rest of the crew. He started picking up downed limbs and we all followed. I spent around 4 hours just giving to the community. Well, when I got home I was reproved by me fellowship coordinator (lived with them obviously) for not keeping the household first. Yep...something that benevelont and simple was judged wrong by my fellowship coordinator. The only interation we really had with the community was talking down to them to get them to take a class or something....

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When I was in college- and for a few years after- I was involved with a SERVICE fraternity. Instead of a house and drinking games, there were service projects and showing up to work on things.   It can be argued that it looked good on a resumè, that it provided free leadership training, and so on, so that it was useful to the member.  (In fact, I argued that Christians might find it useful to show up and get some of the experience.)   Either way, there was a lot of community service and work with other people.  In fact, some people contacted us to work with them every year because we knew what we were doing.  I've handled phones for PBS telethons,  marshalled walkathons,  worked on rebuilding a building,  worked on Earth Day and Comic Relief (both in Manhattan, both in the same year), and other service projects.  Yes, it's amazing how the skills are transferable.  I remember once showing up at an assigned spot for a walkathon.  We got to the corner before the officials assigned to the corner.  I looked at the materials, and at my fraternity brothers, and mumbled something as I organized who was working with what.  A few minutes after we arrived, the official arrived, saw the corner all ready, and left us to run it. They gave us some quick instructions, announcements to make at that spot, and handed me a bullhorn before going to the next corner- which was completely disorganized.  (Looking back, I'm amazed they figured out who to hand the bullhorn to when we were all dressed similarly.) 

All of that being said, I kept that as college life and social life.  Around that time, NY (state and city)  had, in effect, been kicked out by lcm.  That's when he'd demanded an oath of loyalty to himself PERSONALLY to follow him BLINDLY and without qualification (in both meanings of the word.)   The entire staff of the state refused and were fired en masse.  We were told they were all serving their own bellies and to ignore them, by lcm.  But, we'd worked with these people and knew that was a lie, and we couldn't say the same about lcm.  In fact, he was slated to show up locally once and he wussed out.   So, 80% or more of the state walked en masse with the staff. 

Not that long into the process (a few years), one of the area coordinators started mentioning to me an idea that had been trickling down- the idea of public service, of volunteering for local events that needed help.  He sounded like this was the most shocking idea he'd heard in some time.  (Then again, he'd been hearing from HQ until recently, and now only from upstate for a few years, so a few new ideas were circulating.)  I offered my counsel, and told him I'd been doing that for years at college and had accumulated over 100 service hours, so I had experience.  (Minimum of 20 hours per semester, 2 semesters per year, 4-5 years at the time...)   He gave me a look like I'd just claimed to have invented the idea of public service, and never uttered a peep to me about it again, let alone asked me for practical advice.

 

Even for ex-twi, the idea that public service outside of official channels could work has ranged, at times, between surprise, shock, and outright disbelief.  Now, it's decades later, and I'd expect the idea isn't so shocking anymore.

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Great points by everyone!

It’s always interesting when we get into how wierwille often redefined something in the Bible. And along with that I’ve noticed he slips in some other notions that are not biblical…

Reviewing You Are Righteous Now, wierwille starts off by saying many born-again believers are spiritually defeated in this life because of sin-consciousness. I think of that concept in two ways – and one should be careful how to parse this:

1.       Dealing with a sensitive conscience over non-moral issues 

2.       Struggling with a guilty conscience over sinful behavior 

In this post I’ll talk mostly about # 1, because of the confusion caused by wierwille’s misinterpretation and misapplication of passages that deal with non-moral issues. In the latter half I'll deal with # 2.

1. Dealing with a sensitive conscience over non-moral issues

In Romans Paul addresses the issue of dealing with a sensitive conscience “over disputable matters”. What’s that? Arguing over non-moral issues. In current times it might be a debate on an appropriate dress code for work, rules in a game, voting over a bond proposal, etc. It’s not an argument over what is morally right or wrong:

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. 

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.      Romans 14

 

Reflecting on wierwille’s overuse of Romans 8:22 Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves – I believe there was something much creepier behind his use of it in public preaching. Knowing of his bad behavior he may have been justifying his fondness for the sexual molestation of women. He took a directive to dismiss concerns over non-moral issues and warped it into a free pass on licentiousness.

In    I Corinthians 8   Paul covers a similar non-moral issue:

4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.    I Corinthians 8

~ ~ ~ ~

2.       Struggling with a guilty conscience over sinful behavior

I’ll assume the reader of my post does NOT have a seared conscience. Personally, I battle with this one quite a bit since I am a recovering a$$-hole. Not a day goes by that I haven’t done at least a dozen horrific acts of annoying, offending, irritating others or trying to show I’m better than them sometimes at their expense. You might think I’m putting on a show of being self-deprecating – but I like to think I’m just keeping it real…Paul said:

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.    I Timothy 1:15

For some reason doing things for others comes easy for me. I like to run errands for family, neighbors and friends...I like to fix stuff for others...I get into donating to charities and food drives at a local church...maybe sometimes I use that as an excuse to be crabby. but I know that's a no-no  :nono5:    :biglaugh:

 

Maybe as we grow spiritually, there’s more of an appreciation of what Jesus Christ did for us while we were still creeps unconverted - and sometimes even when we have relapse into creepiness after conversion…Being involved with TWI for 12 years took a heavy toll on my soul…I had to identify…recognize the damage done to my faculties – one of which is the conscience  . I believe it can be a trustworthy guide – more like a skylight that lets in the light rather than an independent source of light…so in that regard it’s rational associations based on one’s moral philosophy or value system. The topic of the conscience was one of the first big issues I talked about when I joined Grease Spot in 2006 – it still is – see my 2006 thread > TWI's sedative to the conscience 

Conscience exists as a faculty of the human soul. Conscience is fed and nourished, ordered and directed by what is presented to it in the rational ability of man to know objective moral truth — that is, to grasp what is truly good and what is truly evil. It does not exist apart from man’s intellect or free will. Contrary to some popular misconceptions, conscience is not the “source” of morality, but rather is its “servant.”  from: Simply Catholic: what is the conscience?

 

 

We really can’t say what goes on in someone else’s mind – but since it was a well-known fact that wierwille was promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters – I am apt to think he saw the biblical idea of righteousness as a cloaking device for immoral behavior.

I shared some of this on the determinism/free will thread: Maybe wierwille's conscience didn't bother him - but perhaps there were times he had to insulate himself from the dirty looks he would get...the bad vibes from victims… how often did he have to reinforce his ivory tower?

Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., holds doctorates in English and Psychology – said there’s 4 chief methods for rationalizing—or even “moralizing”—our immoral behavior:

1.       Reinterpreting Culpable Conduct

2.       Obscuring Personal Agency

3.       Disregarding or Distorting the Consequences of Immoral Action

4.       Blaming and Dehumanizing the Victims of Evil Behavior

from: Psychology Today: 4 ways You Rationalize When You Act Against Your Conscience

I know we all mess up at times and will do one or more of those 4 methods of rationalization...we have to do something to quiet that nagging voice in the back of our minds...but I think that's playing with fire...it's a dangerous undertaking with our conscience.

However there is a simple solution to #2    Struggling with a guilty conscience over sinful behavior -  simple to say but not to execute.

The idea is "do good and you'll feel good" . I got that from Christian Counselor Jay Adams - it was a principle he abstracted from   Genesis 4    God dealing with Cain. As the story goes God says to Cain "why do you look so down...if you do what is right, you'll feel accepted."...sometimes trying to NOT act like the world's biggest a$$-hole is the hardest thing for me to do...but when I do succeed I feel pretty good about myself.

 

Speaking of wierwille’s tendency to redefine biblical words and concepts here’s how he defined sanctification in the PFAL book, chapter 23, Knowing One’s Sonship Rights, page 338:

I Corinthians 1:30

But of him [God] are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption…

…The word “sanctified” means “to be set apart.” Before a man is born again of God’s Spirit, he is a man of body and soul, that’s all. But when he is born again, he is set apart by God for heaven and all hell can’t stop him from going...

End of excerpt

~ ~ ~ ~

In my opinion, wierwille's definition of "sanctification" is an incomplete thought.  in the Old Testament utensils of the temple were set apart for a specific use or special purpose. The way that wierwille defined it as more for a future time - set apart for heaven. I think dedicated for a specific use or special purpose in the here and now is what God had in mind.

I believe the sanctification of I Cor. 1:30 may be talking in terms of in principle but not fully realized yet – since in the passage it relates to the accomplishments of Jesus Christ; considering other passages on this topic, I lean toward the notion there might be two modes:

1.       the immediate effect of what Jesus Christ already accomplished for us. 

2.       since we have His influence and the power of The Holy Spirit inside us -  sanctification is also an ongoing process of becoming more like Christ, by purifying our hearts and minds, through repentance, prayer, and spiritual discipline. In the Bible, sanctification is mentioned frequently as a calling to align oneself with God's will and cleanse oneself from sin. As seen in the following passage:

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality     I Thessalonians 4:3

  

I think on some topics, like this one – wierwille might have had a smidgen of the right notion – the idea of having stuff like righteousness, sanctification, redemption of Jesus Christ – the theory, if you will – but it is only an abstracted practice. Whereas practice is applied theory. Like what I Thess. 4:3 was talking about – God wants us to  ACT  SANCTIFIED  – in practice that means avoiding sexual immorality and other sinful behavior...How would Jesus Christ act in a situation? Certainly His actions exemplified holiness.

I think what you all have said about doing righteous acts is the theory put into practice. According to Wikipedia righteousness is the quality or state of being morally correct and acceptable...that makes me think of the 2 great “directives” applied  –   love God and neighbor.  :rolleyes:

Edited by T-Bone
typos
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10 hours ago, WordWolf said:

When I was in college- and for a few years after- I was involved with a SERVICE fraternity.

Gotta say your experiences are interesting considering the timing of the loyalty oath, what happened in NYC/State during that time, the fact that community service was a foreign concept, etc. It add a lot of insight because they were willing to consider community service as a viable in-road into the community but when it was your idea it wasnt a good idea any longer. Is that from leadership feeling outshined? By the time I came along in 96 any form of community service was expressely frowned upon unless you were using those avenues to sell classes.

Also, along these lines and on a personal note. I feel that service in the community is vital for a Christian. So on a side note, I enrolled my teenage son in a private school starting in 2021. It's not a religous school it's a Waldorf School. Waldorf is an educational style that, for my son at least, has been far more effective as an educational method with it's non-lecture/test model; though lecture/test is a part of the systesm...anywho. The students are required to contribute 25 hours per year of community service. It can be anything beneficial, so there are no requisites on where to give, only that no monetary compensation occurs. It's really fun figuring out how and where to give. He is going to work at my wife's job next Tuesday before thanksgiving serving at her Thanksgiving work party. Well, my wife works healthcare and administrates an adult day care for the mentally handicapped. Most of these guys are wards of the state and pretty low functioning and its a HUGE deal to interact with them, especially for something like Thanksgiving Dinner. Of course I take the time to talk over scripture, giving, service, etc. 

It has a certain sense of satisfatcion to have my son on a better trajectory than I was and also taking the Christian walk out of wonderland. The way international has this pretend spiritual arena they live in and their own seperate sub-culture and totally adversarial to society. Christ did not conduct himself that way in the gospels...so yeah.

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8 hours ago, T-Bone said:

Great points by everyone!

It’s always interesting when we get into how wierwille often redefined something in the Bible. And along with that I’ve noticed he slips in some other notions that are not biblical…

Reviewing You Are Righteous Now, wierwille starts off by saying many born-again believers are spiritually defeated in this life because of sin-consciousness. I think of that concept in two ways – and one should be careful how to parse this:

1.       Dealing with a sensitive conscience over non-moral issues 

2.       Struggling with a guilty conscience over sinful behavior 

In this post I’ll talk mostly about # 1, because of the confusion caused by wierwille’s misinterpretation and misapplication of passages that deal with non-moral issues. In the latter half I'll deal with # 2.

1. Dealing with a sensitive conscience over non-moral issues

In Romans Paul addresses the issue of dealing with a sensitive conscience “over disputable matters”. What’s that? Arguing over non-moral issues. In current times it might be a debate on an appropriate dress code for work, rules in a game, voting over a bond proposal, etc. It’s not an argument over what is morally right or wrong:

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. 15 If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. 16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. 

22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.      Romans 14

 

Reflecting on wierwille’s overuse of Romans 8:22 Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves – I believe there was something much creepier behind his use of it in public preaching. Knowing of his bad behavior he may have been justifying his fondness for the sexual molestation of women. He took a directive to dismiss concerns over non-moral issues and warped it into a free pass on licentiousness.

In    I Corinthians 8   Paul covers a similar non-moral issue:

4 So then, about eating food sacrificed to idols: We know that “An idol is nothing at all in the world” and that “There is no God but one.” 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”), 6 yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.

7 But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. 8 But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. 10 For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? 11 So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. 12 When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. 13 Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.    I Corinthians 8

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2.       Struggling with a guilty conscience over sinful behavior

I’ll assume the reader of my post does NOT have a seared conscience. Personally, I battle with this one quite a bit since I am a recovering a$$-hole. Not a day goes by that I haven’t done at least a dozen horrific acts of annoying, offending, irritating others or trying to show I’m better than them sometimes at their expense. You might think I’m putting on a show of being self-deprecating – but I like to think I’m just keeping it real…Paul said:

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.    I Timothy 1:15

For some reason doing things for others comes easy for me. I like to run errands for family, neighbors and friends...I like to fix stuff for others...I get into donating to charities and food drives at a local church...maybe sometimes I use that as an excuse to be crabby. but I know that's a no-no  :nono5:    :biglaugh:

 

Maybe as we grow spiritually, there’s more of an appreciation of what Jesus Christ did for us while we were still creeps unconverted - and sometimes even when we have relapse into creepiness after conversion…Being involved with TWI for 12 years took a heavy toll on my soul…I had to identify…recognize the damage done to my faculties – one of which is the conscience  . I believe it can be a trustworthy guide – more like a skylight that lets in the light rather than an independent source of light…so in that regard it’s rational associations based on one’s moral philosophy or value system. The topic of the conscience was one of the first big issues I talked about when I joined Grease Spot in 2006 – it still is – see my 2006 thread > TWI's sedative to the conscience 

Conscience exists as a faculty of the human soul. Conscience is fed and nourished, ordered and directed by what is presented to it in the rational ability of man to know objective moral truth — that is, to grasp what is truly good and what is truly evil. It does not exist apart from man’s intellect or free will. Contrary to some popular misconceptions, conscience is not the “source” of morality, but rather is its “servant.”  from: Simply Catholic: what is the conscience?

 

 

We really can’t say what goes on in someone else’s mind – but since it was a well-known fact that wierwille was promiscuous and unprincipled in sexual matters – I am apt to think he saw the biblical idea of righteousness as a cloaking device for immoral behavior.

I shared some of this on the determinism/free will thread: Maybe wierwille's conscience didn't bother him - but perhaps there were times he had to insulate himself from the dirty looks he would get...the bad vibes from victims… how often did he have to reinforce his ivory tower?

Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D., holds doctorates in English and Psychology – said there’s 4 chief methods for rationalizing—or even “moralizing”—our immoral behavior:

1.       Reinterpreting Culpable Conduct

2.       Obscuring Personal Agency

3.       Disregarding or Distorting the Consequences of Immoral Action

4.       Blaming and Dehumanizing the Victims of Evil Behavior

from: Psychology Today: 4 ways You Rationalize When You Act Against Your Conscience

I know we all mess up at times and will do one or more of those 4 methods of rationalization...we have to do something to quiet that nagging voice in the back of our minds...but I think that's playing with fire...it's a dangerous undertaking with our conscience.

However there is a simple solution to #2    Struggling with a guilty conscience over sinful behavior -  simple to say but not to execute.

The idea is "do good and you'll feel good" . I got that from Christian Counselor Jay Adams - it was a principle he abstracted from   Genesis 4    God dealing with Cain. As the story goes God says to Cain "why do you look so down...if you do what is right, you'll feel accepted."...sometimes trying to NOT act like the world's biggest a$$-hole is the hardest thing for me to do...but when I do succeed I feel pretty good about myself.

 

Speaking of wierwille’s tendency to redefine biblical words and concepts here’s how he defined sanctification in the PFAL book, chapter 23, Knowing One’s Sonship Rights, page 338:

I Corinthians 1:30

But of him [God] are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption…

…The word “sanctified” means “to be set apart.” Before a man is born again of God’s Spirit, he is a man of body and soul, that’s all. But when he is born again, he is set apart by God for heaven and all hell can’t stop him from going...

End of excerpt

~ ~ ~ ~

In my opinion, wierwille's definition of "sanctification" is an incomplete thought.  in the Old Testament utensils of the temple were set apart for a specific use or special purpose. The way that wierwille defined it as more for a future time - set apart for heaven. I think dedicated for a specific use or special purpose in the here and now is what God had in mind.

I believe the sanctification of I Cor. 1:30 may be talking in terms of in principle but not fully realized yet – since in the passage it relates to the accomplishments of Jesus Christ; considering other passages on this topic, I lean toward the notion there might be two modes:

1.       the immediate effect of what Jesus Christ already accomplished for us. 

2.       since we have His influence and the power of The Holy Spirit inside us -  sanctification is also an ongoing process of becoming more like Christ, by purifying our hearts and minds, through repentance, prayer, and spiritual discipline. In the Bible, sanctification is mentioned frequently as a calling to align oneself with God's will and cleanse oneself from sin. As seen in the following passage:

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality     I Thessalonians 4:3

  

I think on some topics, like this one – wierwille might have had a smidgen of the right notion – the idea of having stuff like righteousness, sanctification, redemption of Jesus Christ – the theory, if you will – but it is only an abstracted practice. Whereas practice is applied theory. Like what I Thess. 4:3 was talking about – God wants us to  ACT  SANCTIFIED  – in practice that means avoiding sexual immorality and other sinful behavior...How would Jesus Christ act in a situation? Certainly His actions exemplified holiness.

I think what you all have said about doing righteous acts is the theory put into practice. According to Wikipedia righteousness is the quality or state of being morally correct and acceptable...that makes me think of the 2 great “directives” applied  –   love God and neighbor.  :rolleyes:

I love the section of scripture you include on conscience. Honestly, I had never considered them in this light or really gave too much thought to the fact that wierwille had a seared conscience and sets the stage for other's to follow him into his insanity. I mean, why tell someone that "sin conscience" is a bad thing? When we sin, shouldn't we be conscience of it? Whether a brother tells our fault or we figure it out on our through holy spirit conviction we get to the place of confessing the sin as told to do in scripture but that doesn't happen without conscience. That's also an interesting tie-in on sanctification.

Not only does wierwille alter definitions to suit his purposes he also alters related concepts to support his definitions. Case in point:

From The Bible Tells Me So Ch. 8 - You are Righteous Now:

Quote

The basic cry of the heart of man is to be righteous before God; so many Christians do all kinds of work to obtain righteousness, such as confessing their sins,...Yet these good works do not make a person righteous

Now - before I begin let me say that I understand that there is a difference in righteousness given a quality of the new creation we receive at the new birth. So, confessing sins won't necesarily do much until one confesses Jesus as Lord...I get that. However, in this case we are taling about CHRISTIANS - by VPW's own words.

I John 1:8-10

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Wierwille says that confessing sins do not make a person righteous and scripture says that confessing sins CLEANSES us from all unrighteousness. So obviously in our walk we can be most unrighteous to the point that we have to be cleansed from unrighteousness. So why teach contradictory information...and why contradict the Bible. Before someone comes in and says it's all figurative, Im saying right now that it is not. This is a practical section of scripture and is practical to our walk. Nothing figurative about confessing sins and being cleansed form all unrighteousness.

I think that wierwilles' theology is actually moving healthy boundaries that God set in place in our relationship with him as his children. I mean if I sin against my parents in some egregious way, say I get drunk and wreck my dads car by driving it through his fenced in yard....wouldnt it be proper to apologize and make amends? But when it comes to God...according to wierwille we shoudn't feel anything when we sin. That's dangerous and it moves a huge landmark that I feel set the stage for trips to the motor coach...but I digress once again.

Edited by OldSkool
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My thoughts are that by reading VPs definition of righteousness serial killers and psychopaths would fit the bill.

They have zero moral conscience of wrongdoing and could stand in the presence of God unaffected by any sense of guilt.

Similarly, justification.  Just as if you had never sinned.

Who needs constant reminders that they are ok despite their living patterns?  Those who sin A LOT.  And are worried about it.

No I think the “sonship rights” are little more than a man whose moral conscience bothered him and who was trying to manipulate scripture to feel a little better about himself.

”I wish I were the man I know to be”

”He was a mean man”

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6 hours ago, chockfull said:

My thoughts are that by reading VPs definition of righteousness serial killers and psychopaths would fit the bill.

They have zero moral conscience of wrongdoing and could stand in the presence of God unaffected by any sense of guilt.

Similarly, justification.  Just as if you had never sinned.

Who needs constant reminders that they are ok despite their living patterns?  Those who sin A LOT.  And are worried about it.

No I think the “sonship rights” are little more than a man whose moral conscience bothered him and who was trying to manipulate scripture to feel a little better about himself.

”I wish I were the man I know to be”

”He was a mean man”

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And of course ole vicster had serial implications about him...serial philanderer, rapist...whatever else he did habitually, so naturally you have to rationalize your actions.

Getting into the concept of sonship rights...where is that ever stated in scripture? Ive never seen it. We think of inalianable rights because the framers of our country imbedded the concept into our country's founding documents. But is the idea of sonship rights scriptural?

I ask, and Im leaning towards they are not scriptural, but I ask to point out a corresponding attitude of entitlement that I noticed with people in the way international (and other name it and claim it outfits) where everything is already given, you have sonship rights, now go claim what God already gave you. I feel the corresponding attitude of entitlement is also based in pride and especially the law of believing type of pride where everything you have is a result of one's awesome believing. What I do see in scripture is God resists the proud. The meek shall inherit the earth. Jesus Christ was meek and lowly in heart. Nowhere ever have I seen in the gospels Jesus telling his disciples to go demand whats yours from God. We are told to ask, we are told to be meek and patient. We should approach God with an attitude of love, respect, meekness, thankfulness, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think most people don't sin. In PFAL, VPW said most people sin before breakfast. That should have been a big red flag for me. Trying to convince me that I was sinning all the time, I guess. A bunch of self-righteous brow-beating. 

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