Walking and Trusting

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teresap
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Walking and Trusting

Post by teresap »

I’ve been thinking a lot recently, in fact the questions keep coming and coming but that’s good, for me anyway, but it means that I have radically changed what I believe in areas I thought were fixed and certain . . .shows how wrong I was.

I thought I would write this post in order that others who are maybe experiencing their own questions and the uncomfortable feeling that can engender, will know that there are others in the same boat so to speak . . .we are never alone.

One thing I want to make clear is that I’m not saying what I believe is what others must believe, I’m sure that God is big enough and loving enough to give each of us our own individual walk and voyage of discovery, we never have to rely on somebody elses revelation although He can use those third party revelations as our stepping stones along the way, but what I mean is that each of us have a direct link to our Father which doesn’t require the input of any man.

So what I have been pondering is this . . . . are the revelations we receive and others have received throughout history primarily meant for us rather than being revelations for public consumption? . . . .I was led to think about this because of my new belief that God in no way sacrificed his son on the cross, I don’t know how I could have ever believed this it goes against everything I have come to believe about Him and His love for us but you know what it’s like, when you see something you wonder suddenly how on earth you could have believed what you believed only a second ago.

This of course led me to think about Paul and in particular his letter to the Romans where he laid out his theology regarding Jesus death and resurrection and it’s now completely at odds with what I now believe. So was Pauls revelation meant to be for everybody or was it Pauls revelation which fitted into his Jewish mindset and meant for him? Is God concerned with absolute truth as much as we are or does he gently gently lead us along a path which causes us to trust Him and comfort us, much in the same way that a parent will check inside wardrobes and under the bed to banish monsters. There are no monsters but what the child needs is to know his dad is able to deal with whatever may be lurking out of sight?

I’m not worried so much whether I am right or wrong but I want to trust Him no matter how left field the thoughts I have are . . .after all the trusting is the most important thing.

Thanks to everyone who reads this for your forbearance . . .You are a lovely bunch of people . .

Love Teresa x
If you ask God a question be prepared for him to lead you (very gently) outside of your comfort zone.
eagle77
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by eagle77 »

Hi Teresa,

I do believe trust is the most important element in our relationship with God. It is something I am struggling with and my relationship is lacking with Him in this area. Without trusting Him there is no real relationship. I feel like a hypocrite saying this, but I know it's true for me at this time.

I think you know that I am not sparring with you and only am sharing what I believe. For me personally, I believe God sacrificed Jesus at the cross. When I looked at church history and see how some things in the Bible have been mistranslated, I have come to focus more on the "red text" - what Jesus said. And of course, some of the words He said has been mistranslated as well. One of my favorite verses and I will paraphrase this, is when Jesus said, "No man takes my life from me, I lay it down." That being said, I think there is more going on in this world and the spirit world that the Bible does not touch on.

I believe there are things that should not be in the Bible (verses men have intentionally misconstrued) and there are things that should be in there, that is not. You have raised a crucial point that so many believers overlook, and that is taking into account what the culture was at the time when these things were written. Paul, John, us, all of us see the world from our own perspectives, and culture is a big part of that. But I personally believe, it's the core message of the revelations in the Bible was meant to be shared - not so much the details.

IMHO, and for me personally, those revelations consist of loving others, trusting God, as you said, and believing Jesus as my Savior. Living in God's grace and no longer the law by accepting the gift He gave us, submitting to Him alone and not following men, helping others, having mercy and compassion on those around us.

You have raised some very good questions. I myself have been wondering lately if God is concerned about us being right, because I see so much wrong being done is His name, yet people keep getting away with. It makes me angry, because at times, it just seems like He does not care. So it interesting what you said, because it has been on my mind a great deal lately.
Jac
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by Jac »

I have read the posts on this topic with great interest and relief that I am not the only one with questions about all I once believed. Thankyou for your frankness and honesty.

Regarding Christ's death and the doctrine of the atonement as generally believed today I have lots of questions. I think about how we are supposed to forgive as God forgives us. But the common view today of the atonement means that God could not forgive without taking vengeance on SOMEONE, even if it had to be an animal or later His own Son. Would anyone in their right mind have their own child imprisoned for the someone else's crime just so they could forgive the criminal? I just can't see forgiveness to be linked with vengeance on anybody, either the forgiven or someone else who is innocent. True forgiveness is truly free of the need that somebody pay. Again that does not say punishing criminals is not necessary. But it is not done for forgiveness, but to hopefully change the person.

Even the whole idea that we are born depraved guilty sinners needing forgiveness that only comes through some particular prayer or belief bothers me. How can we be held responsible for how we were supposedly born? That is not to deny that we sin but maybe we are more responsible for how we act than if we were simply born depraved.

I wonder if Christ lived as a man and died a horrible death so God could empathise with us as we live in this world with all its struggles, heartache and suffering. Whatever we go through He can say that He knows what it is like because He has been there. For me I think that is how I understand trusting Him.

I find it easier in this context to comprehend that Christ died for all as the bible writers often asserted, not just a select few as bible writers also asserted!

I was going to ask what does "trusting God" even mean. I think the answer would be unique to each of us. I know God is not going to take away my heartache. I don't believe "something good" is going to come out of it or that I will "learn something". I am not going to feel wonderfully comforted or relieved in my distress. It is as it is. But He knows what it is like and He weeps with me. He does love me even though He never promises or intends to "fix things" as so much of religion looks for. Accepting how reality really is for me is a big part of trusting Him.
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teresap
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by teresap »

Eagle77 and Jac, thank you so much for your response, I find it so encouraging to know that others are facing their own questions, even though they may differ from mine. Isn't it good to know that we can be exactly who we are without having to try and make ourselves fit a mould?

Ian,
I have found the bible to be in the main unnacceptable as a means to get to know God. There are too many contradictions of ideas and character for me to be able to get any comfort and assurance from the scriptures. I have found though that there is a thread running through the whole which confirms the ideas that I have about God.
I don't think that we were meant to rely on the bible as we do but God can, of course, speak to us through anything, including the scriptures but if he is alive (and I believe he is) then why limit himself to a collection of writings which were written and collated many years after the events were spoken or happened, if indeed they happened as recorded?
If God is real and alive and loves us as much as I think he does then he will communicate with us. I think the problem we have is that we expect him to do it in a particular way and become anxious when he doesn't.
I hope this doesn't sound trite or as though I know all the answers, honestly I don't, I'm just making my way like everyone else, I appreciate having company.

Love Teresa x
If you ask God a question be prepared for him to lead you (very gently) outside of your comfort zone.
Noblemen
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by Noblemen »

Wow, with all do respect. Just because mans interpretation of the bible, we toss it out like it's nothing. Because I can't understand stand it there is something wrong with it, I've listened for awhile never really saying much about it, but it blows me away. Again, with all do respect, I've sat and took it from you guys but when you say free believers I see more bondage in here than inside the building you lambaste, unreal.
Jac
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by Jac »

I think we should be free to ask our questions and be honest where we are at. I am sorry Nobleman if honesty blows you away. It was not meant like that. You have your own story which is closely tied to the Pauline letters and that is good, but it is just not always that way for others. Our life experiences and interpretation of those cannot be the same and consequently our walk with God is not the same. Even one person is not always in the same place at different times.

I think that difference is even reflected in the bible writings where they don't agree. It is not always possible for me to put the differences down to interpretation or translation. I will not go into specific examples because I am not arguing. I am just trying to explain how it is for me.

I looked up the meaning of "lambast" as I was unfamiliar with the term and it implies a very strong even angry reaction to or criticism of something or someone. I don't think anyone here does that! We may recount struggles and difficulties and even negative experiences when involved with institutionalised religion but we don't aim to "lambast" anything, neither the bible, the experiences and interpretations of others, nor church.
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ianstephenson
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eagle77
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by eagle77 »

I know there are others here who believe differently than I do, but I value hearing from their perspectives. I may not agree with what every one has said on this forum (not talking about this thread per se), but it has benefited me immensely as I sort out what I believe and why I do. Speaking for myself, I don't believe the Bible is irrelevant - my own personal belief is that it is God's Word. But I want to be heard and want a fair shake at expressing my views, just as much as Ian, Teresa, or Jac - or anyone else who have the same right to express themselves. I very much appreciate their perspectives, regardless whether I agree or disagree. All of them have got me thinking about stuff that I can relate to and that I am dealing with. I understand what it is like to be offended by something you hear or read - but I think you have to realize all of us on here are on a journey that is unique to us - we are just not going to all see things the same way.

I want to emphasize that when I said that it is the intent or revelations behind the messages that need to be shared, I was not saying what is in the Bible is inconsequential. My point is that you can remember verses, sing the messages, preach the words - but if the intent and meaning behind the message is lost, then reading and studying all of these things are in vain. I see people quoting scriptures over and over, telling Bible stories, but not applying them to their life and discounting the message behind them. I personally believe most people underestimate how devastating the effect of men/women have used the Bible to pursue their own agendas, and the impact it has on believers and the world.
teresap wrote:If God is real and alive and loves us as much as I think he does then he will communicate with us. I think the problem we have is that we expect him to do it in a particular way and become anxious when he doesn't.
I think so too - there are times I've seen things that really defy any rational explanation, and I definitely believe it was Him. I think God can use whoever or whatever to get our attention.
ianstephenson wrote:I'm not saying we flat out lie but what I am saying is that we do draw upon our particular understandings of the scriptural source material, our cultural milieu and our past experiences to construct a meaningful context to give meaning to our lives.
Ian, I agree. I think this holds true for all of us, regardless of what you believe. These things are part of us and influences how we view the world and our beliefs. In another thread not too long ago, the issue of racism, the police killings (which I certainly do not condone and think it is evil), etc., came up and I mentioned because of my race, my perspective towards those things may be different than others. What we know, who we are, how we are raised, our culture, our past experiences, absolutely impacts how we view and perceive things, including how we see God or view religion.
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teresap
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by teresap »

Hi Noblemen,

You’ve obviously been upset by what has been written and as the starter of the thread, I feel some responsibility for this.

I think I know where you are coming from as your emphasis on sonship and fatherhood as detailed in Pauls letters is one that is very familiar to me, in fact that’s the way I was raised as a christian in the church I used to belong to , so I am understanding of all the points you raise in your postings.

For a long while I believed that Paul wrote about the true gospel to the sons of God, who were an elect group. I was so persuaded about this and Pauls revelation to us Gentiles and that he was the preeminent voice in the bible that had Marcion been around I would have probably become a Marcionite. Even today he is my go to author when I want to read the bible.

I also believed in the inerrancy of the bible and believed that every word was the inspired word of God and I would like to say that had I read what I have written in this thread at that time I would have had no doubts that it was absolute error . . . .

But I began to have questions which would not go away, I could not reconcile contradictions in the bible and my christianity didn’t work. I realised that it wasn’t God who was wrong but my understanding of him. so I left the church, I didn’t go to any church and armed with a revelation that God loved me (and everyone) with such an overwhelming love that I was completely safe just kind of cast myself adrift and eventually was able to ask the questions I had buried inside me.

My purpose in writing what I write is to enable other people to feel confident about expressing their doubts and fears and to ask God the questions that we need answers to, knowing that we aren’t treading a thin line of acceptance but that God relishes our questions and wants to lead us into a closer walk with him. This is not always comfortable, at least I haven’t found it so, and some answers really surprise me. But and this is the important bit, I don’t believe he wants anyone to feel isolated, we are all part of him, even though we are thousands of miles apart.

I get comfort from seeing the questions others have, we really are in the same boat.

Love Teresa x
If you ask God a question be prepared for him to lead you (very gently) outside of your comfort zone.
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by Jac »

I too in the past believed in the inerrancy of the bible and put contradictions down to either mistranslation or my own inability to understand. Then I gradually began to wonder why He couldn't have ensured the translation was as "accurate" as the original, and understandable to the uneducated. Then I wondered why our relationship with Him was so dependant on a book accessible only to the mostly rich educated few. Then I wondered about many other things until today I am in a very different place to back then. I think each person has a unique journey with Him and He is very patient with us all.
When I question I never mean to upset anyone. Where I describe I am at is never meant to upset anybody or claim I am right. I have pleaded with God to know the truth about Him and I have ended up coming right back to His all encompassing love as truth. I am trying to put that in the context of my life experiences and that can (honestly) be a challenge sometimes. It has caused me to have to re-assess everything I formerly believed about what He is like and how He works in the world. Who knows where He will take me in the future? I just trust that He will not mock my plea and will patiently lead me to where He wants me to be.
I am puzzled sometimes when it all seems so hard (and slow). But then I don't have His patience, but I am learning!
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Noblemen
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by Noblemen »

Free believers, if you're believers, what do you believe if you don't believe the bible is the word of God.
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Post by ianstephenson »

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Jac
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by Jac »

People who "believe that the bible is the word of God" still do not believe the same things as each other (not even about matters considered basic truths). Each group maintains they have THE TRUTH. So stressing about differences where other people are at will always happen if sameness is considered important in the group, whether "believing the bible is the word of God" or not.
So we need to accept that people are on different journeys even if we don't understand someone else's journey.

I wonder if in the past I was more concerned about the bible than God's love. The bible had the central place, not God. I do believe the bible can be loved and worshipped more than God. That may be my overreaction, but I believe God is bigger and more profound than what can be conveyed in a book and He can not be reduced to words on pages.
Jac
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Re: Walking and Trusting

Post by Jac »

ianstephenson wrote:I think the whole idea of a personal God is problematic. After all there is precious little personal interaction recounted in the Jewish scriptures and virtually none in the New Testament. And when it is, it is bigger than life-size and certainly not within the frame of our daily experiences. Instead we have a familiar paradigm, found in many different faiths, where something significant happened to one person and was then encoded in written form, however those experiences are no longer the norm.

Frankly I'm amazed how we contextualise communication with God when all we have are words written so long ago and associations that we infer from our experiences. I know that works for a lot of people and many different faith traditions, but I've never been able make that cognitive leap. I experienced so much angst over the lack of communication until I realised that this was normative behaviour and that everyone makes up their own stories about faith and how it relates to them. I'm not saying we flat out lie but what I am saying is that we do draw upon our particular understandings of the scriptural source material, our cultural milieu and our past experiences to construct a meaningful context to give meaning to our lives. If that is even half-way true then of course we will each have a meaning which is significant to us and perhaps us only. I think this goes someway towards explaining why we have devout Jews/Moslems/Christians/Jainists and in times past fervent followers of Zeus/Suijin/Loki.
One of my out there thoughts. Does God simply want us to grow up? ! Instead of running to our heavenly Father with everything and every decision does He want us to use the intelligence and conscience He gave us appropriately, and live our lives as human beings without the constant dependence on communication with Him that we sometimes crave. Actually conscience is something not discussed much. (I think that goes with the depraved sinners view which leads us to mistrust our conscience and intelligence and even be afraid of them. But can we still rely on conscience and intelligence more than we think as long as combined with love and empathy towards others?)

Growing up does not mean we don't need our heavenly Father in our lives, but maybe in a different relationship to what we tend to look for. Just a thought. I know this can be seen as incompatible with walking and trusting in a dependent relationship with Him. But I don't think so if it is seen that intelligence, conscience, love and empathy come from Him. We depend on His gifts to be the beings He wants us to be.
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