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How is God supposed to communicate?


Flyonthewall

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As a Non-LDS, I don't disagree with "feelings". . . I'm just not as quick to assign them to something based on what Joseph Smith would like everyone to believe. I am aware of the complexity of the brain, and I am open to the fact that my "feelings" could be something other than what I would like to assign them as. I think when one draws closer to their spiritual side in any form, they will have feelings of the same you have come to know as the "holy ghost". One has to be careful when attaching meaning to the experience.

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These are fair statements and differences worth exploring.

Jesus told us:

But when we ask, how shall we receive?

When teaching the apostles right before He left, Jesus said:

The Comforter, the Spirit of truth will speak and shew us things...but does that mean we will hear words? see visions?

All of those are possible. However, there are several layers within this structure that are worth considering.

a) Given that Jesus said this directly to the apostles, that has significance. I think it is that the Spirit spoke to the apostles in all the ways you described, and in a much clearer and distinct way than He does to us today. The reason for this is that His word had not been compiled or organized or completed yet. The apostles were going to give us Hisword that will last for thousands of years. Just as Adam, and the OT prophets, I think the apostles, the ones that actually saw HIm and walked with Him enjoyed a closeness that we do not.

b( the Comforter certainly can speak to US (that's not America) in that way. And I certainly believe He does. But, given the above, it must be tested against what was previously given

I have heard non-LDS posters on this board that we cannot trust our feelings because of our "deceitful" heart.

In isolation, yes.

I've heard that the answers are in the scriptures, but with all the different interpretations of the scriptures out there, how can we trust them(interpretations) any more than our own feelings?

I think Jesus was referring specifically to writing down the scriptures - for us. And, yes, there are competing interpretations out there. Which is why I think Jesus was speaking directly to the apostles and referring specifically to writing down the scriptures. All truth is contained in the Bible. Our differing interpretations are the result of the heart that you mentioned above. However, we are remarkably consistent in core doctrine.

Will the Spirit of Truth speak to us only through our eyes and ears? or will He ever communicate through our feelings?

Sure. All of them.

if so is there no way to differentiated between what is of God and what is not?

the Bible. What the H.S. gave directly to the Apostles.

Are we relegated to piecing together scriptural verses to build an answer to whatever we ask? As is evident, scriptures can be pieced together to make them say anything we want...

I would disagree. We can piece together scriptures to make them APPEAR to say what we want. Nevertheless, they do have a specific meaning intended by God.

how can we trust this method any more than our feelings?

Because we have a consistent, error free work from which to compare.

LDS claim that the Holy Ghost, as a personage of spirit, can communicate directly with our spirit, and that is through our "feelings" or perceptions as well as through our eyes and ears.

So do we.

The Apostles, even made this comment:

Yes, they did. I think it was because the H.S. was manifest in a different way - out of necessity.

What does this have to do with anything, if it was not a means of communicaiton? It was the Holy Ghost testifying of the truth of the words of Christ, even though their eyes did not see who it was before them.

True.

So, my question for non-LDS is, how is spiritual truth revealed to you if not through "feelings"? How did you come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Christ, if not through "feelings"?

The H.S. testifies that the Bible is true.

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...

So, my question for non-LDS is, how is spiritual truth revealed to you if not

through "feelings"?

I see "feelings" as a by-product of revelatory experience -- as a side-effect

of our being in God's presence (or of the Holy Spirit being with us). Viewed

in that light, "feelings" or "emotions" are important; they can help offer

confirmation; or they can help enrich our testimonies with empathy. But

"feelings" and "emotions" are not revelation.

Any "spiritual truth" conveyed to human beings is subject to the limitations

of human intelligence and human perception. God does not always empower us

to re-communicate revelation in a full and perfect manner. When we attempt

to put into human words, what God has given unto us, we typically become as

tongue-tied as Moses. Few of us are Aarons in this life.

How did you come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Christ, if not through "feelings"?

John Wesley once articulated his method, as having four parts:

1. Tradition (we learn wisdom passed down from earlier generations of believers)

2. Scripture (we learn from the word of God, given to others)

3. Experience (we learn from direct encounter with God)

4. Reason (we use our reason to sort out all of the above)

My realizations concerning Christology came via all four of the above --

but I'd have to say that #2 and #3, added together, were primary.

Uncle Dale

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I cant explain how it happens, but it is like the windows, even doors of Heaven would open for a peek. Suddenly you just know you know. I know the difference of me "understnding" a part of a scripture and that of getting something from "upstairs"... although I have to confess the voice in me is so tiny.. that I sometimes mistake it as ... not beeing of God. It is just because my ears are not open. It is also easy to ignore the "voice". I need to be spirityally prepared and on reight level to get it. But I have had theese things happening to me, even though I have not even asked a question. For example when reading scriptures I just suddenly know somthing I have not known before.

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These are fair statements and differences worth exploring.

All of those are possible. However, there are several layers within this structure that are worth considering.

a) Given that Jesus said this directly to the apostles, that has significance. I think it is that the Spirit spoke to the apostles in all the ways you described, and in a much clearer and distinct way than He does to us today. The reason for this is that His word had not been compiled or organized or completed yet. The apostles were going to give us Hisword that will last for thousands of years. Just as Adam, and the OT prophets, I think the apostles, the ones that actually saw HIm and walked with Him enjoyed a closeness that we do not.

This is interesting, and I want to make sure I understand what you are saying. I will not argue the differences in theology, but will ask questions that arise in my mind as a result of the differences.

The apostles walked and talked with Jesus during His mortal ministry, and after His ressurection, why did they need to have a special way of distinguishing the truth? They heard it straight from Jesus.

b( the Comforter certainly can speak to US (that's not America) in that way. And I certainly believe He does. But, given the above, it must be tested against what was previously given
And how did Peter test the revelation of preaching to the gentiles? What was previously given on that subject? Didn't that go against what was previously taught? Also, with all the death and destruction going on in the OT, isn't that dangerous to base on?
In isolation, yes.

I think Jesus was referring specifically to writing down the scriptures - for us. And, yes, there are competing interpretations out there. Which is why I think Jesus was speaking directly to the apostles and referring specifically to writing down the scriptures. All truth is contained in the Bible. Our differing interpretations are the result of the heart that you mentioned above. However, we are remarkably consistent in core doctrine.

Do you mean that when He gave instructions to ask, knock, seek, pray in His name to the Father, that wasn't for us but specific instructions to His Disciples?
Sure. All of them.

the Bible. What the H.S. gave directly to the Apostles.

I would disagree. We can piece together scriptures to make them APPEAR to say what we want. Nevertheless, they do have a specific meaning intended by God.

Then there must be an authority to which we can go to get this specific meaning...who might that be? If you say God the Father, Jesus or the Holy Ghost, well then aren't we really right back at square one?
Because we have a consistent, error free work from which to compare.
Consistent? not sure I agree on that...Thou shalt not kill...Go in and kill every man, woman, child, and animal...et al.
So do we.

Yes, they did. I think it was because the H.S. was manifest in a different way - out of necessity.

So that means of communication is not available to us? only to the Apostles?
True.

The H.S. testifies that the Bible is true.

Well yes He does, but how? It can't be by the written word because there are many other books out there that have written words in them. There has to be some form of communication that speaks to the individual, and so far, it seems, that method that seems to be used most is faulty because it is reserved only for the apostles?
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On the way God communicates, I wrote this a few years back:

http://www.meridianmagazine.com/articles/060215model.html

It includes a listing of scriptural descriptions of how prayers are answered, divided into thinking and feeling categories, plus some other ways.

Answer to Prayer Emphasizing Thinking

a. Guides to truth (that is, to what is real; Jacob 4:13; John 16:13; Ephesians 5:9-10).

b. Brings Christ

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John Wesley once articulated his method, as having four parts:

1. Tradition (we learn wisdom passed down from earlier generations of believers)

2. Scripture (we learn from the word of God, given to others)

3. Experience (we learn from direct encounter with God)

4. Reason (we use our reason to sort out all of the above)

My realizations concerning Christology came via all four of the above --

but I'd have to say that #2 and #3, added together, were primary.

Uncle Dale

It's interesting that this is almost exactly flipped from how the Dalai Lama suggests a person learns the truths of Buddhism.

First, experience then reason followed by testimony or the use of scripture.

See here - dalailama.com

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So, my question for non-LDS is, how is spiritual truth revealed to you if not through "feelings"? How did you come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Christ, if not through "feelings"?

Hello fly on the wall,

One comment made by JS which I disagree with was "you can not be saved in ignorance". IMO knowing spiritual truths has very little to do with salvation. How you live your life does.

With regards to your question, 99% of the truths I've received had to do with how I related to other people. Sometimes these came in the form of dreams, and sometimes (very rarely) after I wake up, lying in bed but not fully awake, I would here a voice.

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It's interesting that this is almost exactly flipped from how the Dalai Lama suggests a

person learns the truths of Buddhism.

First, experience then reason followed by testimony or the use of scripture.

See here - dalailama.com

In 1979 I attended a darshan with the His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in

Houston, Texas. Four years later I took the pilgrimage to Muktinath,

beyond the Annapurna Himalaya --

In the intervening period I completed my graduate studies in Christianity,

at a Methodist theological seminary.

Perhaps there is some obscure connection between Wesleyanism and Buddhism -

????

If one is the reverse of the other, then I've traveled the road both ways.

UD

.

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...

One comment made by JS which I disagree with was "you can not be saved in ignorance".

IMO knowing spiritual truths has very little to do with salvation.

...

My wife works daily with mentally-challenged highschool students. One of

them has the body of a fifteen year old, but the mind of a three year old.

That student will never "know spiritual truths" with her damaged brain.

She can, however, experience and respond to love, kindness, attention

and many other basic human interactions.

That student's salvation is not dependent upon knowledge -- and not upon

some arcane ordinances conducted in some distant future. Her salvation is

dependent upon us (by which I mean the human beings in her life).

UD

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Jesus told us:

But when we ask, how shall we receive?

When teaching the apostles right before He left, Jesus said:

The Comforter, the Spirit of truth will speak and shew us things...but does that mean we will hear words? see visions?

I have heard non-LDS posters on this board that we cannot trust our feelings because of our "deceitful" heart. I've heard that the answers are in the scriptures, but with all the different interpretations of the scriptures out there, how can we trust them(interpretations) any more than our own feelings?

Will the Spirit of Truth speak to us only through our eyes and ears? or will He ever communicate through our feelings? if so is there no way to differentiated between what is of God and what is not?

Are we relegated to piecing together scriptural verses to build an answer to whatever we ask? As is evident, scriptures can be pieced together to make them say anything we want...how can we trust this method any more than our feelings?

LDS claim that the Holy Ghost, as a personage of spirit, can communicate directly with our spirit, and that is through our "feelings" or perceptions as well as through our eyes and ears.

The Apostles, even made this comment:

What does this have to do with anything, if it was not a means of communicaiton? It was the Holy Ghost testifying of the truth of the words of Christ, even though their eyes did not see who it was before them.

So, my question for non-LDS is, how is spiritual truth revealed to you if not through "feelings"? How did you come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Christ, if not through "feelings"?

Spiritual truth is not revealed through feelings. Q. How do you know if what you are feeling is from God? What do you use to gage your feeling by?

These questions are good ones to think about because our feeling can decieve us unless we have a standard to go by.

That standard must be the Bible, God's Word. Jude to us to do this:

Jude 3-4

3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

KJV

Jude tell us to earnestly (excruciating exertion is implied)contend for the faith (the depostie of truth) once delivered. Faith's content is static and found in the Bible. Because the boundries of it are fixed (The Bible), Christians are to earnestly (excruciating exertion is implied)contend for the faith (the depostie of truth) once delivered. Why are Christians to do this?

Jude 4 give us the answer.

Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

We condent for the once for all delivered faith found in the Bible because false teachers (creeps as they are called) will enter the Chruch and bring their false doctrine trying to lead the true believers in Christ away to another false doctrine.

We know truth not because of how we feel about something, but because the Bible records the only true truth we must preserve at all cost. Feelings do not make something true. We must know first (the Bible doctrine) then feeling can come. We must have an object base for knowing if our feeling are true. The Bible is our source for truth and not our feelings. We must earnestly contend for The Truth that was once delivered 2000 years ago and found in the Bible.

DLC

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From my understanding the most effective means of communication is ultimately through the Holy Ghost. While He uses any means necessary it really boils down to that. He has been known to used Angels to declare His words, prophets, apostles, scriptures both written and spoken, at other times visions, dreams, and especially the still small voice. But in all cases it is by His spirit that He does it. Through the light of Christ He can reveal truth to all men, and He bears witness of His Gospel through the power of the Holy Ghost. See the following:

(2 Nephi 32:1-9) "And now, behold, my beloved brethren, I suppose that ye ponder somewhat in your hearts concerning that which ye should do after ye have entered in by the way. But, behold, why do ye ponder these things in your hearts? Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels? And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost? Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ. Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do. Wherefore, now after I have spoken these words, if ye cannot understand them it will be because ye ask not, neither do ye knock; wherefore, ye are not brought into the light, but must perish in the dark. For behold, again I say unto you that if ye will enter in by the way, and receive the Holy Ghost, it will show unto you all things what ye should do. Behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and there will be no more doctrine given until after he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh. And when he shall manifest himself unto you in the flesh, the things which he shall say unto you shall ye observe to do. And now I, Nephi, cannot say more; the Spirit stoppeth mine utterance, and I am left to mourn because of the unbelief, and the wickedness, and the ignorance, and the stiffneckedness of men; for they will not search knowledge, nor understand great knowledge, when it is given unto them in plainness, even as plain as word can be. And now, my beloved brethren, I perceive that ye ponder still in your hearts; and it grieveth me that I must speak concerning this thing. For if ye would hearken unto the Spirit which teacheth a man to pray ye would know that ye must pray; for the evil spirit teacheth not a man to pray, but teacheth him that he must not pray. But behold, I say unto you that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform any thing unto the Lord save in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance unto thee, that thy performance may be for the welfare of thy soul."
This is the key, this is the reason that so many cannot or will not hear His voice or understand it. So in short while God may be able to use diverse manners to speak to His children, there is primarily one conduit through which revelation comes, by the power of the Holy Ghost. Otherwise our understanding does not come from the source, and if we drink from the waters "down stream" or "below the horses" we can come up with some polluted knowledge. This is why the Lord warned the Saints in Kirtland with the following:
(D&C 50:13-24) "Wherefore, I the Lord ask you this question
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In 1979 I attended a darshan with the His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in

Houston, Texas. Four years later I took the pilgrimage to Muktinath,

beyond the Annapurna Himalaya --

In the intervening period I completed my graduate studies in Christianity,

at a Methodist theological seminary.

Perhaps there is some obscure connection between Wesleyanism and Buddhism -

????

If one is the reverse of the other, then I've traveled the road both ways.

UD

.

What a life you have lived. I'm envious of your breadth of experience.

My intial thought is that His Holiness may likely have studied Wesley given his openness to outside, western sources and being a student of the world in so many ways. I don't know that this is sustainable by any evidence though.

Regardless, it is something that caught my attention and made me think. Thanks for sharing!

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How is God supposed to communicate?

Seer stones

Liahona

divining rods - used to show tribes who is going to hold the priesthood

8 And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

(Old Testament | Numbers 17::P

1st comforter

2nd comforter - J14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter

ministering angels

Jesus in person, God in person,

visions, dreams, etc. etc.

There are many ways...

Have you ever asked a question, opened the scriptures to a random page, and bam, there you go, clear as day? Scriptures are a form of communication too.

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...

I don't know that this is sustainable by any evidence though.

...

Who knows? Perhaps there are connections not evident to our eyes.

From what I know with Buddhism, there comes a realization that some

degree of suffering is inevitable in life, and that there are ways

to at least minimize suffering, if not end it altogether.

Such a realization should have a sobering effect even upon the most

extravagant of healthy, wealthy and powerful of princes. But not

everybody makes that discovery on their own.

Therefore we may learn of it from others, or from the sutras, or perhaps

even through stages of enlightenment -- without access to others.

What seems least likely, however, is that we would discover a means

to alleviate suffering through the application of reason. Reason takes

us only so far. And there is not much "reason" to expect that our sitting

under a particular tree, in a particular park full of deer, will bring

any special results.

In Buddhism I suppose that reason is the handmaiden to experience --

or what we Latter Day Saints (along with Wesley) might call "revelation."

Uncle Dale

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How is God supposed to communicate?

Seer stones... divining rods

...

I thought that our experience with Hiram Page had taught us to

seek out better means of knowing Heavenly Father's will. At least

I hope that The Brethren are not resorting to such stuff in 2009.

UD

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Spiritual truth is not revealed through feelings. Q. How do you know if what you are feeling is from God? What do you use to gage your feeling by?

These questions are good ones to think about because our feeling can decieve us unless we have a standard to go by.

That standard must be the Bible, God's Word. Jude to us to do this:

Jude 3-4

3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

KJV

Jude tell us to earnestly (excruciating exertion is implied)contend for the faith (the depostie of truth) once delivered. Faith's content is static and found in the Bible. Because the boundries of it are fixed (The Bible), Christians are to earnestly (excruciating exertion is implied)contend for the faith (the depostie of truth) once delivered. Why are Christians to do this?

Jude 4 give us the answer.

Saul earnestly conteded for the faith, but he contended in the wrong direction.
Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

We condent for the once for all delivered faith found in the Bible because false teachers (creeps as they are called) will enter the Chruch and bring their false doctrine trying to lead the true believers in Christ away to another false doctrine.

We know truth not because of how we feel about something, but because the Bible records the only true truth we must preserve at all cost. Feelings do not make something true. We must know first (the Bible doctrine) then feeling can come. We must have an object base for knowing if our feeling are true. The Bible is our source for truth and not our feelings. We must earnestly contend for The Truth that was once delivered 2000 years ago and found in the Bible.

The Apostles felt a burning in their bosom while Jesus spoke to them. This was the Holy Ghost testifying to them of the truth of Jesus' words.

You say we must know first(the bible doctrine), but who do we turn to so that we might know first? Is it a person? If you say God, then we are right back where we started.

Again, the truths found in the bible are different for different people, as is evedent by what you get from it and what we get from it. We read the same words, but arrive at different conclusions. Who is the referee that determines which is correct? If you say God, then how does He communicate that?

We, as mortal men(people), have to filter everything through our senses, and "Feelings" are a major part of our experience here. To deny that God will not use our "feelings" to convey truth, does not make sense. I understand that "feelings" can be misinterpreted, but no more than the bible has been.

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Hello fly on the wall,

One comment made by JS which I disagree with was "you can not be saved in ignorance". IMO knowing spiritual truths has very little to do with salvation. How you live your life does.

With regards to your question, 99% of the truths I've received had to do with how I related to other people. Sometimes these came in the form of dreams, and sometimes (very rarely) after I wake up, lying in bed but not fully awake, I would here a voice.

sleepyhead, the idea of knowledge being necessary for salvation isn't unique to JS.

Hosea 4:6

6
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The apostles walked and talked with Jesus during His mortal ministry, and after His ressurection, why did they need to have a special way of distinguishing the truth? They heard it straight from Jesus

To write it down. One might begin with why they felt compelled to write it down to begin with. After all, many believing jews thought Jesus would be returning within their lifetime. So why would the apostles even be spurred to write these things down? Secondly, the H.S. is the communicator for us now (and them - post resurrection). He guarded His word, making it, so to speak, what it is supposed to be.

And how did Peter test the revelation of preaching to the gentiles?

I think it's a mistake to believe that the H.S. communicated to the writers of the Bible in the same way, or even to the same degree, as He does to us know. After all, God operated in a much more distinct and overt way (one might argue). Miracles were different. His OT presence was completely different than it is now. If one can accept that, and that seems patently obvious to me, one must ask why? And the why is because we know have His written word, established and consistent.

What was previously given on that subject? Didn't that go against what was previously taught? Also, with all the death and destruction going on in the OT, isn't that dangerous to base on?

Do you mean that when He gave instructions to ask, knock, seek, pray in His name to the Father, that wasn't for us but specific instructions to His Disciples?

Then there must be an authority to which we can go to get this specific meaning...who might that be? If you say God the Father, Jesus or the Holy Ghost, well then aren't we really right back at square one?

No, we're not back at square one because we have His written word. I'll agree, and it would be foolish not to, that there are competing interpretations out there. However, the fact that there are competing interpretations does not mean that God is somehow confused about what He means. He does have an intended meaning, and it does require work - bu that's not a bad thing.

Which leads to your authority question. Absolutely, The H.S. can and may speak to us in the ways you've described - though never to me. However, we have several other methods of which we can avail ourselves, UD mentioned them and I agree. I disagree with his order of importance or effectiveness, but they are the same. I'm unclear why the H.S. can't speak to us via those ways. IT seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Consistent? not sure I agree on that...Thou shalt not kill...Go in and kill every man, woman, child, and animal...et al.

When one considers that God was dealing with a different point in history, therefor a different parameter in which He chose to operate, then I think they are perfectly consistent.

So that means of communication is not available to us? only to the Apostles?

To a large degree, yes. But perhaps the question could be put another way. Why should it be available to us in the same way as the apostles? After all, we have His written word, they didn't.

Well yes He does, but how? It can't be by the written word because there are many other books out there that have written words in them. There has to be some form of communication that speaks to the individual, and so far, it seems, that method that seems to be used most is faulty because it is reserved only for the apostles?

It seems to me that one can come to a reasonable, thoughtful, logical conclusion that the Bible is His written word. Does it take faith? Certainly. But THAT faith is also a gift from the H.S., at the point of true repentance.

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>>>sleepyhead, the idea of knowledge being necessary for salvation isn't unique to JS.<<<

I agree. Christianity as a whole is a pass/fail system. It's only natural that viewpoints would develop which provided the adherants with some sort of ace which would assure they would pass. For some it's having the correct theology, for others it's just believing in Jesus. Lds have several ceremonies to ensure they pass.

Hosea 4:6

6

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Saul earnestly conteded for the faith, but he contended in the wrong direction.

The Apostles felt a burning in their bosom while Jesus spoke to them. This was the Holy Ghost testifying to them of the truth of Jesus' words.

You say we must know first(the bible doctrine), but who do we turn to so that we might know first? Is it a person? If you say God, then we are right back where we started.

Again, the truths found in the bible are different for different people, as is evedent by what you get from it and what we get from it. We read the same words, but arrive at different conclusions. Who is the referee that determines which is correct? If you say God, then how does He communicate that?

We, as mortal men(people), have to filter everything through our senses, and "Feelings" are a major part of our experience here. To deny that God will not use our "feelings" to convey truth, does not make sense. I understand that "feelings" can be misinterpreted, but no more than the bible has been.

Q. Whose feeling are you to accept as true when individual feelings contradict?

DLC

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