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About Navidad

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    Uno que hace demasiadas preguntas

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    Chihuahua, Mexico
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    Very interested in the history of religion as conflict. PhD Candidate in Modern Mexican History. Raise cattle and pecans!

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  1. Voila - I just figured out how to quote twice in the same reply! You see there is hope for Protestants to learn! I agree with your statement here. The Bride of Christ is the Body of Christ which is the whole community of Christian believers, regardless of organizational membership. It is a community that, for the majority of Protestants is open to all. A small percentage, growing smaller all the time, exclude some groups. I reject their exclusivity. I like this. I have no objection to belonging to the Catholic church in that or any other sense. That would have no bearing or impact on my Christian - Evangelical taxonomy. I don't know if MiserereNobis would agree or not, I would be very interested to hear his thoughts on whether or not, from his perspective it is possible to be an Evangelical Catholic. It seems to me I know a number of Catholics who are comfortable in that taxonomy.
  2. I don't know how to make separate quotes and reply to them in the same response. Sorry about that. I just wanted to clarify that what I am trying to say (Scotsman or not) is that in my Evangelical Protestant viewpoint, being a member of any church (Protestant, Catholic, LDS, Anabaptist, Anglican, or whatever) does not make someone a Christian or a member of the Body of Christ. The thread is about Protestant beliefs so I am trying to reflect that part of my Christian life and identity. My Protestant perspective is that no one becomes a Christian via a church. It is a personal commitment to Christ, his atonement, and grace. Then application is made for membership in a church to grow, fellowship, worship, minister, and learn together with those of like Christian minds. Of course different churches would require different things to join. But none of those requirements make him or her more a Christian after joining than he or she was prior to joining. So, in my Evangelical Protestant view no ordinance is necessary for becoming a Christian although it may be to become a Methodist, or a member of the LDS church, or a Catholic. I hope that helps a bit clarify how I am defining "Christian." I think this is why Protestants are so able to shift between church affiliations without starting over. One is a Christian prior to joining any church; changing to another has no bearing on one's Christianness (again I am making up a word). In my mind if I joined the LDS Church my taxonomy would change to Christian - Evangelical - Mormon. I don't see any other change that would result from my moving my membership from Mennonite to Mormon. Please remember, I am trying here to respond out of my Protestant perspective. That is the point of the thread. I am glad you said the conversation was interesting. I hope my LDS friends are interested in other's perspectives, if for nothing else other than a learning experience. I enjoy learning from you all! Thanks for participating in the thread.
  3. Hi Amigo - Aren't you able to "discern and quantify" your own "personal commitment to , faith in, and experience with Christ as Lord and Savior?" Does that have nothing to do with your testimony as a Christian? Let me not make assumptions. Perhaps a better way to ask this is, Do you have a testimony as a Christian that is separate from your testimony as a member of the LDS church? I would guess you don't have a testimony or identity as an Evangelical or as a Protestant, correct? You talk about a taxonomy. What is the taxonomy for the LDS Christian? To clarify the question, mine is Christian - Evangelical - Mennonite. I have a separate identity and testimony of each. I can certainly discern and quantify that for myself. You mentioned an interesting discussion. I would be very interested in understanding the taxonomy (in the same sense) of the LDS Christian. It seems I remember a few years ago on this forum we had a big discussion about how to label Christians - those who are members of the church and those who are not. RevTestament or someone - I really don't remember came up with the two terms LDS Christian and non-LDS Christian. It seemed that most agreed that was an ok nomenclature. I have been using it every since whether chatting with LDS or non-LDS groups. Does the LDS Christian have a taxonomy of spiritual identity? I know this is a bit off the subject, but it may be inevitable that the very topic will lend itself to similarities and differences between Protestants and LDS Christians. These may include taxonomy, might they not? Thanks my friend.
  4. I hope you know I was just kidding - busting on you! I know your position well - you have done a terrific job of explaining it!
  5. Good afternoon - I think that the term "Protestant" has less significance to folks today than in previous years. As you know, I have always defined by position in Christ as first, a Christian; second an evangelical; and third a Mennonite. I don't include being a Protestant in there at all. I am wondering however about your assertion that "Protestantism is dwindling in numbers faster than any other form of Christianity." Are you sure about that globally? Pentecostalism is certainly outpacing all other Christian groups in its growth - most Pentecostals identify with being Protestants (not all do). Anglican Christians (Protestants) in Africa are booming. I know you well enough to know you don't say things off the "top of your head!" What makes you say that Protestantism is dwindling in numbers faster than any other form of Christianity?" I am fascinated by that comment. Thanks Phil
  6. Hi Ahab - I would have been disappointed had you not stated your firmly held position. Oh and I agree (look out for the "but" coming) that there is only true church of Jesus Christ, but of course we both know it is the aggregated community of those who have individual faith in the atonement of Christ, faith, belief and confession of sin! Have a good day!
  7. Thanks Paloma. We have much in common. I have served in a number of different Protestant groups as well and have never had to change my core beliefs to fit in and be accepted. One of my most rewarding positions in my life was serving on the International Executive Council of AIM International - the Old Africa Inland Mission. In that role I had the privilege of traveling eastern Africa to visit and support US missionaries in the various countries in which AIM served. Please feel free to add to, take away from or amend anything I have said in the original post.
  8. Good afternoon my friend: Let me answer your first question this way - I would say that the significant majority of Protestants consider that individual Roman Catholics have the same right to join the Body of Christ as does anyone else. I think that one point of confusion is seeing the Body of Christ as made up of churches. I don't believe most Protestants see the Body of Christ in that way. It isn't a church thing. It is an individual thing. For my LDS friends, the Church is essential to enable someone to have a personal relationship with Christ for eternity. For my Protestant friends a personal relationship with Christ is essential and that is not beholden or restricted to any one church. There are so many churches (individual and group) represented in Protestantism, yet it is in the individual relationship with Christ where we join the body of believers- or the Body of Christ. So the question is not about the Roman Catholic Church. It is about individual folks from that faith group and how do they view their relationship with Christ? As I said in another reply, unfortunately there are some, fortunately not a majority of Protestants who deny some individuals the right to belong to the body of Christ based on their group affiliation. Some include Catholics in that. Again, thank goodness these folks are a minority and becoming more so every year. I speak against that mindset every chance I get. So Protestants are pretty ecumenical when you consider that it is on an individual basis (with those representing a host of churches) that most Protestants believe folks come to Christ. This is why folks like Billy Graham allowed leaders from many churches to sit on his platform during his crusades. This upset the minority; but the majority supported him in it. Denying any individual the right to belong to the Body of Christ is anti-Protestant by and large. Informed Protestants would agree with Augustine's construct of the two cities and the responsibilities of the City of God as residents within the City of Man. Loving your neighbor as yourself leaves us no choice but to engage in the City of Man of which we are part. My best friend in the LDS community always, and I mean always is talking about Babylon versus Zion - the coercive hand of government, versus the enabling power of Christ. I have thought of Augustine's concept whenever my friend talks of his theory of limited government based on the Babylon versus Zion dichotomy. In Mexican terms it is classic PRI versus PAN ideology. I have nothing but the highest regard for Mark Noll as a historian of American Christianity. He fits into my categories as a Christian who is a Reformed Protestant who is also a dedicated Evangelical Protestant. He has successfully bridged both worlds, having taught at both Wheaton and Notre Dame. His writings are voluminous and, by in large are written with the lay reader in mind. I have his book on Protestantism and am embarrassed to say I forgot to consult it when constructing my answer to Pogi's question. It is indeed a brief introduction, but wonderful in that it develops the concept of the globalization and the Pentecostalization (I doubt if that is a word) of Protestantism. Yes, it is worth a read. I have heard him speak a number of times. He has Iowa roots and comes across as a very humble kind of a guy with no guile. I like that a lot. best wishes, Phil
  9. Hi my friend: I would be happy to try and clarify my first point. I will try not to be too wordy. First, being a Protestant is most often defined as being a member of a church that aligns with historic Protestant beliefs. One joins a Baptist church and one is a Protestant because Baptists have historically identified themselves as Protestant. The individual who just joined the Baptists may have no idea what it means to be a Protestant, but all of a sudden he or she is one! It is group identification based on a specific denominational, group, or church affiliation. At the same time, being a Christian is thought of by Protestants (caveat to follow) as an individual commitment to Christ as Lord and Savior - an individual belief in the atonement. The difference between being a Protestant and a Christian is that the first is identity by historic group identity; the second is by individual commitment, faith, and belief. Technically the leadership of the specific group should vet the person as to their Christian testimony prior to allowing the person to join. That doesn't always happen well. I also believe that while members, some fall away from their faith commitment. The Baptist part of me believes in eternal security; the Mennonite part of me believes that one can lose his or her way and faith. So, is it possible to be a Baptist or Methodist and hence a Protestant, but not have a personal commitment to, faith in, and experience with Christ as Lord and Savior? Yes. Hence the statement "Not every Protestant is a Christian." I would say the same thing about members of the LDS Church? It is possible to be a LDS by association, but not a Christian by personal faith commitment. Question two of the baptismal interview would seem to prevent this; but it may not, especially with children, or those with strong commitment to LDS affiliation. I mentioned a caveat. This bothers me greatly, but there is a group within Fundamentalist Protestants, very conservative Evangelicals, and perhaps Pentecostal Protestantism who have decided that in some cases, whole groups are excluded from being Christian by virtue of their very group affiliation. This betrays the belief that being a Christian is an individual commitment and adds extra layers to what is "normally" required to be considered a Christian. This exclusion is leveled at times at Roman Catholics, the COJCOLDS, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and a few others. These very conservative Protestant folks look at the group affiliation and deny that anyone therein could be a Christian, regardless of personal commitment to Christ. I reject this view, as do a majority of Protestants. Unfortunately it is folly to deny that these exclusionary folks exist, and that they may even be the majority of folks within Protestantism with whom members of these out-groups come into contact. The fundamentalist on the street corner in Mesa becomes the face of Protestantism to the visitor to the temple, pageant, etc. Then in logical reciprocity, Protestants are identified with this smallish sub-group and the inaccurate categorization becomes mutual. The old depiction of the Protestant minister probably doesn't help either. Last, I don't really like charts such as the one you posted (no offense) because they tend to identify Christians by group affiliation and not by individual commitment. At the extreme right side we have Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox folks. They fit the historical grouping of Christianity as a world religion, but fail to account for the fact that people come to Christ, whether by profession of faith, or that plus baptism, one at a time. I have never seen a group baptism in the LDS, the Baptist, or the Mennonite church. Certainly more than one person may be baptized on a given day, but indeed they are baptized one at a time, signifying their individual commitment and readiness. I also agree with someone else who posted that the chart needs updating. It is fairly exclusionary of groups like the LDS Church and Pentecostals. Best wishes.
  10. Hi InCognitus: Thanks for your reply. I have interacted and preached with and to Protestants outside of the United States in Latin America, Europe, and all over Africa. I agree with your characterization of the differences between Protestants based on location. My sense is that Protestants in Latin America, by in large are more Charismatic - Pentecostal. I think that is also true of Catholics. In Africa, Protestants, especially Anglicans are much more conservative than anywhere else I have been. Opinions are very strongly held. In Europe, just the opposite is my experience. Except with reformed groups, doctrinal issues are not as large. Fundamentalists are hard to find. Pentecostalism is gaining a foothold in Britain. I preached and sang in a Lutheran State Church in Finland. My sense is they were barely hanging on; trying to hold on to their historical importance. Those are all anecdotal experiences, but they align with yours. I was referring to water baptism, not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. To clarify, I made the baptismal statement very nebulous, because the theological significance of baptism is all over the place. There are huge nuances and differences within groups who believe in baptismal regeneration, especially within and between Lutheran and Anglican Protestant groups. I would suggest that many Protestants within the fundamentalist camp do not see Catholics as Christians; however when pressed, they would agree that individual Catholics might be Christians. Fundamentalists are a shrinking group in my experience as many of them are migrating to a more inclusive Evangelical perspective and some to a Pentecostal view. It is interesting that Pentecostals are becoming much more theologically sophisticated in defining their own theology beyond pneumatology. A lot of fundamentalist and some evangelical Protestants have had exposure to counter-cult ministries as you say. This is not a large group within Protestantism. My guess is that most members of the LDS Church come into contact most often with a small percentage of Protestants who are fundamentalists and because of that contact tend to identify Protestants by the Fundamentalists. I identified seven Protestant groups. I doubt very much that "pew" members of the LDS church almost never come into personal contact with at least four of the Protestant groups. It would be fun to try and breakdown the seven Protestant groups by percentage of the whole. I suppose it could be done, but would take a lot of data analysis. As you may know I identify as Mennonite, so it is no wonder you recognized some of what I said as similar to how he might word things. Anabaptists are like Anglicans in the sense that some do and some don't identify as Protestants. Best to you. Phil
  11. So do I!!! I also believe there are many more common threads as well.
  12. Last week on another thread, I was asked the following question by Pogi, ”Just curious, what are the essentials that unite all Protestants, and how did they become essential?” I thought a subject of such importance and perhaps, difference of opinion, deserves a thread of its own. So here we go! First, let’s examine the question: Pogi asked about what unites all Protestants. The answer, therefore, cannot relate to only one group or kind of Protestant. That limits the options from which we have to choose. His question is in the present tense. So we are not talking about the 16th, 19th, or 20th centuries. We are talking about here and now in 2020. That significantly changes our options. His question asks about essentials. This criterion limits our options. My answer is from my own lifetime of studying, preaching and teaching, learning, observing, and meeting with many Protestants of many and no denominational affiliations. That is the source material for my thoughts. I am quoting no one. These are my thoughts, so of course, you are free to question, disagree, agree, amend, or whatever you like. That is what dialogue and discussion is all about. Pew Research offers us some excellent insights into the Protestant community I offer you for your interest. Here is the link: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/10/27/500-years-after-the-reformation-5-facts-about-protestants-around-the-world/ 1. In 2010 Protestants made up 37% of Christians in the world. 2. The share of Protestants among adults in the US is in decline. 3. Protestant populations in Latin America have risen sharply. 4. Pentecostalism within the Protestant community has gained ground globally (My note – this has caused some sweeping review in traditional Protestant theology – primarily related to the Holy Spirit). 5. In Western Europe, the home of the Reformation, Protestants and Catholics are now more similar than different, at least on some theological issues. Next, I would like to offer you my list of the significant categories of Protestants in the world. They may, at times, overlap. A Protestant might identify with more than one of these categories. They are not exclusive. Based on the question initially asked, I need to identify the essentials that adherents from each of these groups would agree on: Fundamentalist Protestants Evangelical Protestants Mainstream Protestants Pentecostal Protestants Neo-orthodox Protestants Reformed (Calvinist) Protestants State-Church Protestants (Anglican and European Lutheran in the majority) It must be made clear that not all Anglicans or Pentecostals believe they are part of the Protestant tradition. Therefore there is some debate on this issue. Finally, my answer to your question. Here are the essentials that I believe all (within a 3% margin of error, or so) Protestants would unite around: Not every Protestant is a Christian Not every Christian is a Protestant God the Father; Christ the Son; and the Holy Spirit comprise the Godhead God can and has inserted Himself into human affairs The Bible is or contains God's words given to humans and was written under the influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit. Christ's atonement provides the means for humans to be in a right relationship with God for eternity. Grace, belief, faith, and confession are essential parts of this relationship. Endurance is evidence of this relationship. This relationship provides the basis for the existence of the Bride of Christ, the Church, wherein we learn, fellowship, and worship. Baptism, by some mode and meaning is important. God is love and full of compassion. He is also fully righteous. How did these become essential? Certainly not via any creed or generally agreed-upon formulation. I can offer no authoritative source. I was asked a question, gave it a ton of thought, initially had forty-some essentials, and shortened the list down to these nine. I don’t believe that others with any greater or lesser specificity would be regarded as essential and the means for unity by 97% of Protestants. I think all other doctrines would be in Joseph Smith's word - appendages. This question is a very challenging one to answer in anything short of a book! Some might prefer I use more, less, or different words. I wrote this being very cautious of the limitations I posed at the beginning of this post. Please offer your insights, thoughts, and suggestions. I don’t expect anyone to be happy with it as written. I am not even sure I am! Thanks, Phil
  13. Hi all: I have several thoughts on this question. First, whenever you read in a news-type article online about what "prominent evangelicals" teach or say, you can be pretty sure that the person is a "celebrity evangelical." There is a big difference. Celebrities become such by making outlandish statements. That is how they get clicks. Second, you cannot be sure if the prominent Evangelical is a Fundamentalist, a Pentecostal, or a member of a mainstream Protestant group, or what? There is little discernment involved in the use of the term evangelical. The Book of Revelation is a very unique kind of writing only found in a few places in the Bible. It is apocalyptic literature: There is some in Daniel, in Ezekiel and in Revelation. It is extremely hard to interpret. It is so hard not to inject our thinking of our own time into our interpretation. I can remember a day in early June, 1967 when an Arab-Israeli war broke out and at the same time a blackout covered the northeastern US where I lived. I remember it well because my typing final was cancelled because of no electricity. To me, it was an answer to prayer! (not really). My father sat in his Dodge all day listening to the radio because he was sure it was the beginning of Armageddon. Of course, it wasn't. We don't know if the events described in Biblical apocalyptic literature are already fulfilled, are yet to come, are completely symbolic, or ?????? If I may I would like to recommend the analysis of the mark of the beast found in this link. It is from a truly prominent evangelical scholar and is balanced in its interpretation and analysis. The author, Dr. Keener is a "prominent" New Testament scholar at Asbury Seminary, a Methodist school. I really like his thoughtfulness and lack of bias as he helps walk us through such a difficult subject. I hope you all find it interesting. https://zondervanacademic.com/blog/what-is-the-mark-of-the-beast
  14. Hi Pogi - It appears the 95 theses never happened. Apparently the whole episode was mythological. No door . . . no posting. That is what I was always taught and recent scholarship seems to verify it. At the best, they represent Luther's position even if he formulated them, but never posted them. I need to get a book review done tonight that I promised for a journal so I will respond more to you tomorrow. Remember, I said "most Protestants." Who are the majority of Protestants today? That is an important point. Try and find the "five solas" listed on a website of Baptists, Pentecostals, Anabaptists, non-denominationalists, or a host of other of the big Protestant groups. I also would simply caution that things like the five solas, as a group only have meaning (as a group) to the mainstream Protestants who are now a minority within the Protestant community. Of course the individual items are important to a Protestant like me, but collectively as a group, they have no collective meaning as a statement of faith. That is my point. If you look carefully they are often connected with Luther and Zwingli, two men who despised Anabaptists, and along with Calvin had their forces martyr us. I don't have time enough tonight to be careful in my response. It is the collective I am indicating is not of interest - neither the 95 nor the 5. The Protestant community, especially today is deep and wide and very diverse! The mainstream denominations are now in a significant minority. More tomorrow. best, Phil
  15. I like substance. I prefer substance. I will do better!
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