Monday, February 28, 2011

I'm going to continue sharing posts on my personal thoughts and beliefs that have derived from misconceptions from friends/family members through out my life.

But before I can post my next blog, I need to correct myself.
In my post about alcohol, I wrote it with an attitude that was hurtful.
While I still agree with my reasoning to write it- the main reason being that I do not believe it is a sin to drink- I don't agree with my deliverance. I did use personal examples that resulted in offending those who figured out that they were about them. I do see it necessary to use examples of times in my life that have been hurtful to my acceptance of Christ's perfect and unconditional love, but because I let my anger when reliving those experiences take over me, (who me? let emotion drive? no way! That was an extremely sarcastic remark.) I wrote the post in a distasteful manner.

I'm sorry I was hurtful.
In my attempt to help those who have also been wounded by untruths, I wounded others.

More specifically, I should not have said the grape juice theory is stupid.
I should have chosen better words in making that point.

So with that said, I don't have the time this very moment to write another post continuing my thoughts on the subject of deteriorating the message of the Gospel, so I will leave you with a bit on my next post to come:

"Even churches have forsaken Love and Mercy."

That is a verse from the song "Tears of the Saints" written by Leeland.

Sadly, I believe bodies of believers can be the most harsh in judging. I've watched documentaries on this, I've read news articles on this, I've concluded that Christians themselves are the very people that lead those who don't believe in Christ far, far away from our faith.

Forsaken is defined as abandonment.
Mercy is defined as compassion shown toward offenders.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another post about untruths that have been fed to me

Let me go back to my previous post for a minute. In my post, I DID portray anger due to the judgement people have poured on myself and others I dearly love over drinking alcohol. I had felt judged and have seen my friends and family be judged over a matter that was, in my opinion, ignorant and tainted the message of the Gospel. That's where these posts are coming from- growing up in the south, I DID feel like following Christ meant a very strict lifesyle. You know, no dancing at weddings and CERTAINLY no drinking at weddings. Don't listen to secular music. Don't watch these cartoons. GO TO CHURCH EVERY SINGLE SUNDAY. Or else..... That's it. That's what I'm trying to say. I always felt the "Or else...." threat in my life. My parents did NOT teach these things, by the way- they were the ones constantly assuring us that our God UNCONDITIONALLY loves us.

But after I posted my blog about alcohol, my sweet sister reached out to me because she was afraid my blog was entirely too harsh. She did this out of protection for me, not because it made her mad. In response, I gave her an example. Not that long ago, she posted a facebook status that was so light-hearted and silly about a certain subject matter. The day after she posted this status, someone related to us wrote a status about the same subject matter, only it was meant to be condemning. And I know it was meant to be condemning because (I won't use the exact words) it was a status that lead you to feel guilty if you took part in that certain subject matter. I said "Erin, doesn't that anger you? Aren't you SO TIRED of being made to feel like you're doing something bad, and that you are being judged over something that YOU KNOW DOESN'T MAKE YOU ANY LESS OF A BELIEVER???" She agreed. She said it made her sad to know the way people feel about her because she knows that she is so in love with the Lord, but these people in our lives think we flirt with hell. She couldn't have said it better!

I could go on and on with examples from friends and family from right here in town to across the country who have given such unfair dissapproval both in the past and recently. But these are the reasons why I portrayed such anger and sarcasm and shameless honesty in my previous post. We are taught as believers in Christ that He loves us unconditionally and nothing we could ever do will separate us from that love, however, because of people's ignorance, we are judged on matters that steal the joy from His unconditional love, His grace, His salvation- matters that, I'm now being repetative, have NOTHING to do with the message of the Gospel.

Ephesians 3:16-19 says:
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

This verse reveals the depth of God's love for His children. When believers attempt to condemn and degrade their fellow brothers and sisters, they are robbing us of Christ's love that He so greatly wants us to know. Imagine ourselves a plant. In order to grow, our roots have to be strong and healthy and in order for them to be healthy, they have to be living in good, rich soil. Like this verse says, God wants our roots to grow deep down in His soil- so we are rooted in His love. Going to church every sunday, having a glass of wine or a beer, watching a certain movie or reading a certain book, listening to "bad" music, not being baptized..... those things are not what makes our roots grow as Christians. It's His love. And He's clearly not going to NOT love us and we're not going to be any less of a man or woman of God if we take part in these things that really won't come between our relationship with the Lord. These things are so minute in the bigger scheme of things! I am so, so tired of people's constant criticism over ignorant matters that the Lord probably really just laughs about.

Now I'm going to talk about baptism. I was baptized when I was fifteen. It was a turning point in my life because I declared my faith in Christ. I realize the symbolic beauty in baptism and the command to be baptized in the New Testament, but I do know that it is NOT my ticket into Heaven, in which I've been made to feel. As I mentioned before, I've been told on more than one occasion that I was going to hell if I did not get baptized, one of these persons was one of my best friends sophomore year. Me and another close friend had gone to youth camp with her and one day she proceeded to tell us that we would go to hell if we never got baptized. I challenged her on this by saying I didn't believe you could find that to be biblically true. She disagreed, yet couldn't tell me where in the Bible it said that, but she DID promise that somewhere in the New Testament, it said "You will not enter the gates of Heaven if you do not get baptized......."


God says plainly that works, rituals, and ceremonies do not save.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8 9)

The Lord emphatically teaches that salvation is given by God's grace when a person by faith believes and stresses that salvation is not merited by any work which would include baptism. Baptism is an act or work and the New Testament teaches that rituals and works do not save or have any saving merit. (Also see Romans 4:5, Titus 3:5).

Baptism, church membership, nor any good works does not merit or impart salvation. Salvation is an act of God's grace which means unmerited favor. Salvation is received when one by faith acceptS the free gift of salvation. A performed work offered to God for Him to accept for our salvation is in fact asking God to accept our works- not Christ's sacrifice for sin on the cross. Christ died on the cross and paid the sin debt of the world (1 John 2:2). The debt is already paid by Christ and He is offering to forgive our sins if we believe and put our trust in His provision of our salvation. No man is righteous and has no righteousness to offer for his sins.

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:10 12)

Saying that baptism saves or has saving properties is saying that we are adding to what Christ did in suffering for our sins and providing in part our own salvation. Of course man is a sinner and cannot offer anything for his sin. God's word says,

"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." (Romans 3:24 26)

The Apostle Paul explained this to the Colossians saying,

"Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:12 15)

A man who believes in Jesus Christ by faith is accepting Christ's suffering and sacrifice for his sins. It is Jesus who paid for sins and only He can justify the man lost in his sins and trespasses. No church or religion can add to the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Some believe that baptism imparts some special status with God. That too is not found in the Bible and is a false belief. Baptism is a prerequisite for church membership in a local congregation. By submitting to believer's baptism and joining the local assembly the new convert is showing they are in agreement with the word of God which their assembly believes and practices. Some churches practice infant baptism. Yet in the Bible there is no record or mention of anyone being baptized who had not already professed Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. No infants were ever baptized according to God's word. Every example of baptism in the New Testament plainly states those that were baptized had first believed in Jesus Christ. An infant has no capacity to believe. This false practice comes from the unbiblical idea that their church is the means of salvation. In other words, you have to join, and be a member of their church to be saved and go to heaven. Infant baptism then makes a child a member of that church, thus the child is under the protection of that church and is assured they will eventually go to heaven. That simply is not taught anywhere in the Bible. A true New Testament "church" is an assembly of baptized believers who join together and meet, worship, are taught God's word, and to honor the Lord.

Believers are baptized into His death (Rom. 6:4). It is Christ's sole act of redemption in dying for sin that saves. Christians are a part of his death.

"Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." (Hebrews 2:14 15)

1 Corinthians 10:2, states that the children of Israel were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. ( read verses 3-4) They were identified with Moses who was a servant of God. Because of their belief in God they went down into the Red Sea and their action of following Moses showed their faith. It was their faith in God and the miracle of God's parting the Red Sea that saved them.

Baptism is to be done in the
name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Matt. 28:19-20. In this passage, called the "Great Commission" Jesus commanded that believers were to go into the world and preach the Gospel and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Both the evangelism of the world and baptism were to be done in the name of the Trinity. Biblical baptisms are those that are done by true Bible believing assemblies that follow the New Testament as its sole rule and authority for its faith and practice. God has not given any church or individual the right to change what He put in place and instructed.

Baptism is the first act of submission or obedience to Christ after one is saved. (Matt. 28:19-20) Those who recognized themselves to be sinners and by faith in Jesus Christ believe the word of God....are saved, have their sins forgive and receive eternal life.

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:9 11).

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Is it a sin to drink?

Ok, so per my last post, I realize there is a lot on my mind about legalistic Christian views and that I'm going to have to post my personal take on it all one by one, post by post.

Let me just do a little preface, though.
People are ignorant.
Ignorant people upset me.
Ignorant CHRISTIAN people upset me even more.

When I think about the things I have felt condemned for over people's ignorance, I really get angry. As I mentioned before, an example of this is being told I'm going to hell because I had not been baptized. Another example that sticks out clear in my mind is being made to feel HORRIBLE as a little girl for a certain toy I got for Christmas. I used to collect trolls when I was little. I collected them because they had crazy hair, cute faces and jewels in their belly button. In the 2nd grade, I got a troll baby doll from Santa (that's another discussion for later.............................................. laughable) and I loved it. She had purple hair, a purple jewel on her stomach and wore a blue jean dress. I brought her to my grandparents' house Christmas day to show her off and that's when it started. I had family members in my face telling me how horrible it was that I got a troll doll, Christians shouldn't have trolls, trolls were of the devil, trolls represented magic, magic was of the devil, I shouldn't have a troll........... That happened. On Christmas day. From my family members. To a 7 year old girl.

I can't begin to tell you how many times I have felt condemned, as well as my family members have felt condemned for drinking. I have been made to feel guilty from friends and family members from every side. Ok, maybe not my mom's side...... But I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say "Jesus said drinking is bad." When challenged on the topic, people can't really seem to defend their view.

Now, let me say this, if you don't drink because of a personal experience or belief, I'm not going to judge you. But if you don't drink and you point your finger at people who DO drink, let me tell you, YOU are the one in the wrong. If it's a matter of your heart not to drink, by all means, I will respect that, but if it's not a matter of someone else's heart to not drink, then YOU have to respect that. I can think of very, very clear incidences in which my mom, dad, sister, myself, my husband, my brother-in-laws were drinking and someone, almost ALWAYS a family member, made them feel like a worthless piece of dirt. I watched my father and grandfather get ridiculed by a family member for ordering a beer when I was a little girl. I knew as a little girl that my dad and grandfather weren't bad people for ordering a drink, yet in that moment, I felt like my family members were trying to portray them as bad people and I felt like my cousins were buying into it. THAT'S WRONG!!! Hello??? Not that long ago, my dad confessed being pushed to tears by a family member accusing him of being an alcoholic for simply looking at an ad in the paper and saying "Wow, this is a good deal on wine." Really? An alcoholic? Here's the thing, when people react this way, they're judging. And in that moment of judging, the person who is drinking is not in sin. The person who is judging and pointing their finger is in sin.

Back to the matter of the heart. If you choose not to drink because you know alcoholism runs in your family or have watched someone suffer from alcoholism, again, I completely respect that. If you are close to someone who struggles with drinking/alcoholism and you choose to drink in front of them, you are causing them to stumble. My personal belief is against that.

Also, when the Bible talks about wine, I do not think it was merely grape juice. I've heard that argument before. I think it's incredibly ignorant. OPEN YOUR BIBLE. 1 Timothy and Titus speak against getting drunk off wine. If wine were simply grape juice in biblical times, tell me........ HOW CAN YOU GET DRUNK OFF GRAPE JUICE? That's all I'm going to debate on that point because I just think the grape juice argument is.... well.... stupid.

OK SO, with all that off my chest, I DO believe getting drunk is a sin because there are very clear statements biblically that say do not drink to the point of drunkenness. You know, God created our bodies- every single fiber, every detail. He tells us not to do certain things to our bodies because, MY GOODNESS, doesn't He know best? My wild, off-the-chart guess to the command not to get drunk is probably because being drunk harms us. Alcohol poisoning? Alcohol is a depressant. Depressants lead to depression. Depression leads to a whole world of messed up-ness, mostly, tragedy. Being drunk makes you do stupid things, like drive and die driving drunk or kill someone else driving drunk. It makes you lose your better judgement, like going home with someone and having sex, getting pregnant, receiving a great little gift called an STD, getting in a fight causing harm to yourself or someone else, getting arrested, passing out, getting raped. I mean, all in all, drunkenness is mostly negative, am I right? Do you think that's possibly why we are commanded not to get drunk- God telling us not to get drunk is for our protection because He loves us? That's what I think.

Here's some more great, great information to the lovely ignorance that is "Is it is a sin to drink?"
I obtained this golden information from

Is it a SIN to
drink wine or alcohol?

Q. What does the Bible say about drinking wine or alcohol? Does it have any examples of people being drunk? Is drinking a sin? Why should someone not drink at all?

(Submitted by: Lyn)

A. To understand the drinking of alcohol, wine and strong drink, we must first understand how God looks upon drinking.

In Matthew 11:18-19 Jesus said that John the Baptist came neither eating or drinking because he was under a Nazerite vow to God. Jesus' statement concerning criticism of John because he DIDN'T drink and criticism of him FOR drinking (and eating) is in the book of Matthew:

But to what shall I liken this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their companions, and saying: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; We mourned to you, and you did not lament.’

"For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has ademon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look, a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Butwisdom is justified by her children.” (Matthew 11:16-19, NKJV throughout)

John's Nazerite vow precluded him from drinking not only wine (fermented juice) but also he couldn't drink grape juice or even eat any grapes. The primary location in the Bible that discusses the Nazarite vow is in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 6.

Unlike John, Jesus came eating and drinking, and they called Him a WINEbibber (Matthew 11:19). So Jesus drank wine, but Jesus did not sin; therefore, to drink wine or alcohol is NOT a sin.

In fact, Jesus' own mother, Mary, asked her son to make more wine at the marriage feast in Cana. He obeyed His mother even though He wasn't supposed to start doing miracles then, but He obeyed his mother and made more wine than they could drink.

One of the greatest Biblical proofs that drinking alcohol is not a sin in God's eyes is the fact that Christians drink wine showing Christ died for our sins. Some believe that "oinos" (Greek: οινος , Strong's Concordance#3631) was grape juice, but it couldn't be because it represented His blood which pictures life. God said that what gives us life is our blood. Wine is fermented grape juice which is active or "living" just as our blood.

The Apostle Paul did not think drinking wine was a sin. He tells Timothy, who was having stomach trouble, that he should drink a little wine for his stomach's sake.

"No longer drink only water, but use a little WINE for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities." (1Timothy 5:23)

Based on the Bible, drinking alcohol is of itself not a sin or harmful. As stated previously, Paul told Timothyto drink a little wine to benefit his health. The latest scientific findings show drinking moderately is helpful for our heart and lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Of course, the Bible does condemn drunkenness. Lot, Abraham's nephew, got drunk after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and had sex with his daughters (see this site's article on the subject). Titus 1:7 states that a minister of God should not be given to wine or an alcoholic. Drunkenness is clearly a sin (1Timothy 3:8).

The Apostle Paul warns us that we should not be drunk with wine, wherein is excess (Ephesians 5:18).

As long as we drink moderately, the Bible states it is good for us, but drunkenness or alcoholism is definitely a sin and not to be a part of a Christian's life.

Written by: Art Mokarow

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"good ol' Ayla-bayma"

a post about my experience growing up with Southern Baptists.

When I was in the first grade, my classmate asked me if I had been baptized.
I hesitated and answered with a no.
In response, she gasped and said "You're going to hay-ell!"

In the 10th grade, my friend told me that the Bible said I will not enter the gates of Heaven until I'd been baptized.

This is a taste of a blog to come in which I discuss my freedom in Christ and how I will not allow myself to feel condemned by fellow believers who tend to focus on outrageous negativities that have nothing to do with the message of the gospel.

I'm going to gather my thoughts, though they may be lengthy, and will post in the next few days.

Stay tuned...