Why Knowing God and Loving Others Go Hand in Hand

I wish it were true that everyone you find in church will be a loving person. But that would be so far from the truth. Actually, one of the meanest persons I have ever met is a regular churchgoer who claims to know the Lord.

But knowing God and loving others are mutually inclusive. That is, one can’t exist without the other.

So how do we come to know God? It is not an intellectual process. Simply put, we come to know Him through repenting of our sins and believing on His Son.

Of course, anyone can claim to have accepted Christ as her Savior. Anyone can claim to know the Lord. But one thing that separates true believers from those who are not is that true believers walk in love.

This profound difference between the former and the latter is not happenstance. Rather, it is the result of what happens when true believers place their faith in Christ. Through an operation of the Holy Spirit, they become born again.

Why We Can’t Separate Knowing God from Loving Others

Read the rest at: https://frankking.net/2020/01/why-knowing-god-and-loving-others-go-hand-in-hand/

10 Reasons Many Churches Aren’t Friendly To Guests

Chuck Lawless

I’ve previously written about findings of “church secret shoppers” we’ve used in church consulting. One of those findings is that many churches aren’t very friendly to guests. Here are some of the reasons that’s the case:

  1. Caveat: Churches are friendly, but only to people they already know. That’s why churches almost always assert how friendly they are, and guests often talk of how friendly they aren’t.
  2. No one’s ever evaluated them. I’ve never talked to a church who told me how unfriendly they are. On the other hand, they’ve never really tested that conclusion by seeking input from guests—particularly, the guests who never return.
  3. Congregations don’t even know each other. The reality is that most members have a small circle of friends in the church, and they don’t know many people beyond that circle. If they aren’t really in relationship with other church members, it’s not surprising that they don’t reach out to guests.
  4. They leave the “friendliness” responsibility to others. After all, they think, the extroverts and the talkers are wired for that task. When the greeters are doing their job, other members shouldn’t have to worry about it.

 

Read the rest: http://chucklawless.com/2020/01/10-reasons-churches-arent-friendly-to-guests/

Hospitality to Strangers

Hebrews 13:2

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

Read blog: https://raymcdonald.wordpress.com/2020/01/06/hospitality-to-strangers/

Corporate Worship Values: What Unites Us

http://www.davidsantistevan.com/corporate-worship-values-what-unites-us/

7 Reasons it’s harder to be a faithful church member today

http://chucklawless.com/2017/03/7-reasons-its-harder-to-be-a-faithful-church-member-today/

Whatever Happened to the Christian Principle of “Love Paternalism?”

What Ever Happened to the Christian Principle of “Love Paternalism?”

I am very interested in studying the mores and norms of contemporary American Christians today (2019) compared with what I know they were fifty and more years ago. Let me explain one example of where I think contemporary American Christianity, especially evangelical Christianity, has nearly totally forgotten a biblical principle that was often preached and practiced fifty and more years ago.

What I am saying is that I believe, based on my almost daily interactions with American Christian students who grew up in evangelical Christian homes and churches that this very prominent biblical principle has nearly disappeared from American Christian consciousness. And I know for a fact that fifty plus years ago it was a principle widely preached and discussed in American evangelical churches and parachurch organizations (and families). I think this is worth considering. Why has this happened? What does it reveal about American Christianity?

*Sidebar: The opinions expressed here are my own (or those of the guest writer); I do not speak for any other person, group or organization; nor do I imply that the opinions expressed here reflect those of any other person, group or organization unless I say so specifically. Before commenting read the entire post and the “Note to commenters” at its end.*

The principle I speak of here has a scholarly name: “love paternalism.” Many Pauline scholars know immediately to what that refers. It was never called that among the grassroots; it’s a scholarly term. For what? For Paul’s forceful command in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8-9.

Scholarly opinion about the Sitz im Leben (the situation in life) in the background of these chapters is what is called the conflict between the “strong” and the “weak”—in faith—among first century Christians. The “strong” were those who knew of the great liberty of the gospel of grace—liberty from rules and regulations that don’t really matter to God but only to some people. (When I was growing up in the “thick” of American evangelical Christianity these were called “convictions.” Later I discovered the theological term for them: “adiaphora”—things indifferent. The “weak” were those first century Christians who, in their own minds, considered certain practices more than “things indifferent” (to salvation) and truly believed that engaging in them would destroy their relationship with God.)

The specific Sitz im Leben into which Paul spoke this “love paternalism” was whether eating meat offered to idols in a pagan temple ceremony may be eaten by Christians. The “strong” said yes and Paul agreed with them. The “weak” said no and Paul disagreed with them. However, along with chiding the weak for judging the strong, Paul also chided the strong for caring more about their liberty from laws (rules and regulations about things like meat) than about the spiritual condition of the weak.

“Love paternalism” is the scholarly term for Paul’s principle that the strong in faith should put aside their liberty and not exercise it for the sake of the weak. In other words, Paul taught, yes, you strong in faith have the right to eat meat sold in the marketplace that you know was dedicated to idols before being put up for sale. However, Paul taught, you must put aside that right and not exercise it insofar as it might case a weaker brother or sister to “stumble.” He even goes so far as to argue that flaunting that right in front of a weaker brother or sister may cause a person for whom Christ died to be destroyed. Clearly, clearly (!) Paul took this principle that we now call “love paternalism” very seriously and wanted his converts and other Christians to observe it. It was not just an opinion; it was the Apostle Paul’s clear teaching to Christians then and, I would dare say, to us. There is no reason to consider this particular principle merely cultural—tied to a certain time and place. The principle goes far beyond the issue of eating meat to all kinds of issues—between then and now and today.

 

Keep reading at: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2019/12/whatever-happened-to-the-christian-principle-of-love-paternalism/

Why Aren’t the Younger Generation Coming To Worship?

https://alightbreaksthrough.org/why-arent-young-peopling-to-worship/