Why Are There Or What Is The Need For So Many Flavors Of Christianity?

Discussion in 'Faith & Religion' started by Jack Roberts, Aug 3, 2021.

  1. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    The UMC is still big on "works." I think it is a good thing. I think it is what we are called to do. Looking at the UMC website, at a high level some of what Corporate skims from the individual churches funds goes to The Africa University Fund, The Black College Fund, The Episcopal Fund, The Interdenominational Cooperation Fund, The Ministerial Education Fund and the World Service Fund. As an aside (because our offerings go into these endeavors), the UMC also gets involved in things like "Social Justice" [racism is a sin, they say], global warming, international politics [peaceful transition of power], etc. This is not felt at the local level in the churches I was attending. I've never heard anything of any of it ever. The supra-Christian stuff is like some far off business unit we fund but never hear from.

    There are special financial drives for entities such as The Society of Saint Andrew, a cross-denominational organization focused on ending hunger that still goes out and does things like gleening fields to gather food for the needy.

    Locally, we put together clean-up kits (buckets full of supplies) to be sent to disaster areas in the states, we buy & assemble birthday party kits (small gift, balloons, cake mix & candles in a party bag) to take to the local food banks to hand out as needed, we help local families in need as-required when we hear about it. We bought a woman a new stove when we heard hers had crapped out, we've helped families recover from fires, stuff like that. On Shrove Tuesday (pre-COVID) we have a pancake/BINGO social and bring in the folks from the local special needs rehab program to join us.

    A few nearby UMC churches have pooled resources and done some Stop Hunger Now/Rise Against Hunger events, where we have bulk food brought in by the Stop Hunger Now people (rice, dried veggies, protein powder), and then they set up assembly lines where we portion the stuff out (each component by weight) into smaller servings in mylar bags and seal them, then send them out for distribution. They get stuffed into the boxes that the bulk food was delivered in, and the company that manages all this takes it away and distributes it. We did about 10,000 meal kits per hour...it went crazy fast. I think we did 30,000 meal kits (4 meals per pak, as I recall) that afternoon.
     
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  2. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    New Baptist congregations are often formed from the ashes of conflicts within an existing congregation, so some of them stay and the rest go off and start a new congregation. They divide as so many amoebas.

    It's amazing how many baptist churches there are in the south. I've generally not been interested because my impression is that anyone who "feels the call" can stand up and be a preacher, whereas the Methodist ministers go through extensive biblical training (not that I've agreed with everything said from UMC pulpits, but at least there's some theological reference point from which to converse.) And if you read my response to Don Alaska, you can see that the UMC is hardly politically centrist, but that really is at the corporate level and does not bleed down into the individual churches.
     
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  3. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Veteran Member
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    I wonder if anyone here has encountered a Primitive Baptist Church? I find them fascinating, although I don't think there are many left.
     
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  4. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    ***I am not a theologian***​

    I had not heard of them before and took a quick read on the web. It seems that if each individual's salvation is preordained ("The Elect"), does that not make them as the Puritans were? Wouldn't there be some fatalistic streak or "why bother" running through the community? It also begs the question as to why anyone would spread the word and evangelize...what's the point??? Heck, preordained salvation obviates the point of God sending his son to atone for the sins of all mankind...doesn't it??? One would assume that The Elect were determined long before God sent his son to atone for our sins, so "Why Jesus?"

    <sidebar>Of course, there are other things one could engage rhetorically, such as their rejecting anything not mentioned in the New Testament, yet having indoor plumbing, electricity, etc (if, in fact, they do have those things) or celebrating the co-opted Pagan holiday we now call Christmas (as the Jehovah's Witnesses do not.) Are they Amish-lite?</sidebar>

    What I really finding interesting is these Baptists saying that baptism has no part in salvation...that there is no ceremonial washing away of the sins and a rebirth. Perhaps they believe that since Jesus was sinless and Jesus still got baptized by John, it is universally a superfluous act. In fact, it might even be blasphemous, as though Man feels the need to approve of what God has ordained (when they happen to baptize one of The Elect), or Man is defying the will of God (when they happen to baptize one who is not of The Elect.)
     
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  5. Bobby Cole

    Bobby Cole Veteran Member
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    There has always been some confusion regarding the verse contained in Rom. 8:29 and the word “predestined” merely because there are those who will not study the prior and post verses.
    The verses work as a SET and no verse is complete without the other hence without using them appropriately we have sects running around preaching predestination totally out of context.

    As far as Baptism goes, yes, there are those denominations which believe that no Salvation is complete without being immersed (or even sprinkled) in water and some go so far as believing that Baptism insures their journey to heaven.
    Note: The idea of Baptizing a baby isn’t so much that of Salvation but the freeing of the hold that sin has on the mortal person.

    The fact that we do as the Master did in our Christian journey doesn’t save us at all but the fact that we believe it is God’s grace through the Crucifixion of Jesus and the proof through His resurrection and ascension that we are saved.
    Jesus never said to believe in Him and be Baptized in order to be saved but as good followers of the Christ we further the statement of our commitment to God and His Son through an act of submission ergo, Baptism.
    Note: I know we have covered it but again, Baptism is indeed an act of submission which is why many churches demand Baptism as a membership requirement. You’re submitting to that ideology and that particular statement of faith and mission.

    As in all things no matter how tangled things can get in our Christian journey, God knows the heart and above all else, God is just.
     
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  6. Don Alaska

    Don Alaska Veteran Member
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    Exactly the problem I have with Calvinism and its offshoots. I know @Bobby Cole followed your post with an explanation of the concept from the letter of Paul, but I have never found an attendee who felt that way. In general they think: "God knows all, therefore he must cause it to happen". In the early Church, Baptism was the focus of the Church, not the message (although that has always had importance) or Communion/Eucharist. The Initiate and the Baptizer both had to abstain from food (and water I think) for 3 days prior to the ceremony. I just enjoyed the Primitive Baptists as their churches had no plumbing or electricity. The preachers were generally on a 4-church circuit and only held services once a month which lasted all day. People would gather at 0800 or 0900 in the morning for the first session, which lasted until around noon or 1300, at which time they broke for a potluck lunch/picnic. When the meal was over, the service would resume and last until around 1600. Congregants gathered from significant distances and spent one entire day together every month.
     
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  7. John Brunner

    John Brunner Veteran Member
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    I can see the attraction to that, although that is a very long day. Perhaps doing that monthly makes it an anticipated event and not a resented obligation.

    When I first started going to the 3 Church Charge here, I was in a small congregation (most Sundays there were 4 adults and one daughter.) My favorite Sundays were when the then-pastor (a great man I miss dearly) would pull out his sermon, put it back in his pocket, say "I don't feel like doing this today," then pull up a chair and sit with us and we would all discuss the Bible.

    I imagine that being in a church with no electricity or plumbing meant that you were all there together, sharing whatever the environment was that day (stormy days must have been quite the event), versus being individuals sitting together as an audience.
     
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  8. Ken Anderson

    Ken Anderson Senior Staff
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    Baptist churches are more likely than many other mainstream Protestant factions, to be autonomous, not just the American Baptist Conference, and many Baptist churches are wholly autonomous. Some Baptist churches are Arminian, while others are Calvinistic. This is why you're likely to come across a wide range of seemingly contradictory Baptist policies, requirements, and leniencies. Generally, Baptist congregations hire their own pastors, often without even consulting with their denomination or association, although most will require theological education and professional degrees.
     
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