Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Pope's speech to the Bundestag


As the first German pope in 500 years makes a state visit his Fatherland, here is the full text of his speech to the Bundestag:

The Listening Heart: Reflections on the Foundations of Law

Mr President of the Federal Republic,

Mr President of the Bundestag,

Madam Chancellor,

Mr President of the Bundesrat,

Ladies and Gentlemen Members of the House,

It is an honour and a joy for me to speak before this distinguished house, before the Parliament of my native Germany, that meets here as a democratically elected representation of the people, in order to work for the good of the Federal Republic of Germany. I should like to thank the President of the Bundestag both for his invitation to deliver this address and for the kind words of greeting and appreciation with which he has welcomed me. At this moment I turn to you, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, not least as your fellow-countryman who for all his life has been conscious of close links to his origins, and has followed the affairs of his native Germany with keen interest. But the invitation to give this address was extended to me as Pope, as the Bishop of Rome, who bears the highest responsibility for Catholic Christianity. In issuing this invitation you are acknowledging the role that the Holy See plays as a partner within the community of peoples and states. Setting out from this international responsibility that I hold, I should like to propose to you some thoughts on the foundations of a free state of law.

Allow me to begin my reflections on the foundations of law [Recht] with a brief story from sacred Scripture. In the First Book of the Kings, it is recounted that God invited the young King Solomon, on his accession to the throne, to make a request. What will the young ruler ask for at this important moment? Success – wealth – long life – destruction of his enemies? He chooses none of these things. Instead, he asks for a listening heart so that he may govern God’s people, and discern between good and evil (cf. 1 Kg 3:9). Through this story, the Bible wants to tell us what should ultimately matter for a politician. His fundamental criterion and the motivation for his work as a politician must not be success, and certainly not material gain. Politics must be a striving for justice, and hence it has to establish the fundamental preconditions for peace. Naturally a politician will seek success, as this is what opens up for him the possibility of effective political action. Yet success is subordinated to the criterion of justice, to the will to do what is right, and to the understanding of what is right. Success can also be seductive and thus can open up the path towards the falsification of what is right, towards the destruction of justice. “Without justice – what else is the State but a great band of robbers?”, as Saint Augustine once said . We Germans know from our own experience that these words are no empty spectre. We have seen how power became divorced from right, how power opposed right and crushed it, so that the State became an instrument for destroying right – a highly organized band of robbers, capable of threatening the whole world and driving it to the edge of the abyss. To serve right and to fight against the dominion of wrong is and remains the fundamental task of the politician. At a moment in history when man has acquired previously inconceivable power, this task takes on a particular urgency. Man can destroy the world. He can manipulate himself. He can, so to speak, make human beings and he can deny them their humanity. How do we recognize what is right? How can we discern between good and evil, between what is truly right and what may appear right? Even now, Solomon’s request remains the decisive issue facing politicians and politics today.

For most of the matters that need to be regulated by law, the support of the majority can serve as a sufficient criterion. Yet it is evident that for the fundamental issues of law, in which the dignity of man and of humanity is at stake, the majority principle is not enough: everyone in a position of responsibility must personally seek out the criteria to be followed when framing laws. In the third century, the great theologian Origen provided the following explanation for the resistance of Christians to certain legal systems: “Suppose that a man were living among the Scythians, whose laws are contrary to the divine law, and was compelled to live among them … such a man for the sake of the true law, though illegal among the Scythians, would rightly form associations with like-minded people contrary to the laws of the Scythians.”

This conviction was what motivated resistance movements to act against the Nazi regime and other totalitarian regimes, thereby doing a great service to justice and to humanity as a whole. For these people, it was indisputably evident that the law in force was actually unlawful. Yet when it comes to the decisions of a democratic politician, the question of what now corresponds to the law of truth, what is actually right and may be enacted as law, is less obvious. In terms of the underlying anthropological issues, what is right and may be given the force of law is in no way simply self-evident today. The question of how to recognize what is truly right and thus to serve justice when framing laws has never been simple, and today in view of the vast extent of our knowledge and our capacity, it has become still harder.

How do we recognize what is right? In history, systems of law have almost always been based on religion: decisions regarding what was to be lawful among men were taken with reference to the divinity. Unlike other great religions, Christianity has never proposed a revealed body of law to the State and to society, that is to say a juridical order derived from revelation. Instead, it has pointed to nature and reason as the true sources of law – and to the harmony of objective and subjective reason, which naturally presupposes that both spheres are rooted in the creative reason of God. Christian theologians thereby aligned themselves with a philosophical and juridical movement that began to take shape in the second century B.C. In the first half of that century, the social natural law developed by the Stoic philosophers came into contact with leading teachers of Roman Law. Through this encounter, the juridical culture of the West was born, which was and is of key significance for the juridical culture of mankind. This pre-Christian marriage between law and philosophy opened up the path that led via the Christian Middle Ages and the juridical developments of the Age of Enlightenment all the way to the Declaration of Human Rights and to our German Basic Law of 1949, with which our nation committed itself to “inviolable and inalienable human rights as the foundation of every human community, and of peace and justice in the world”.

For the development of law and for the development of humanity, it was highly significant that Christian theologians aligned themselves against the religious law associated with polytheism and on the side of philosophy, and that they acknowledged reason and nature in their interrelation as the universally valid source of law. This step had already been taken by Saint Paul in the Letter to the Romans, when he said: “When Gentiles who have not the Law [the Torah of Israel] do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves … they show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness …” (Rom 2:14f.). Here we see the two fundamental concepts of nature and conscience, where conscience is nothing other than Solomon’s listening heart, reason that is open to the language of being. If this seemed to offer a clear explanation of the foundations of legislation up to the time of the Enlightenment, up to the time of the Declaration on Human Rights after the Second World War and the framing of our Basic Law, there has been a dramatic shift in the situation in the last half-century. The idea of natural law is today viewed as a specifically Catholic doctrine, not worth bringing into the discussion in a non-Catholic environment, so that one feels almost ashamed even to mention the term. Let me outline briefly how this situation arose. Fundamentally it is because of the idea that an unbridgeable gulf exists between “is” and “ought”. An “ought” can never follow from an “is”, because the two are situated on completely different planes. The reason for this is that in the meantime, the positivist understanding of nature and reason has come to be almost universally accepted. If nature – in the words of Hans Kelsen – is viewed as “an aggregate of objective data linked together in terms of cause and effect”, then indeed no ethical indication of any kind can be derived from it. A positivist conception of nature as purely functional, in the way that the natural sciences explain it, is incapable of producing any bridge to ethics and law, but once again yields only functional answers. The same also applies to reason, according to the positivist understanding that is widely held to be the only genuinely scientific one. Anything that is not verifiable or falsifiable, according to this understanding, does not belong to the realm of reason strictly understood. Hence ethics and religion must be assigned to the subjective field, and they remain extraneous to the realm of reason in the strict sense of the word. Where positivist reason dominates the field to the exclusion of all else – and that is broadly the case in our public mindset – then the classical sources of knowledge for ethics and law are excluded. This is a dramatic situation which affects everyone, and on which a public debate is necessary. Indeed, an essential goal of this address is to issue an urgent invitation to launch one.

The positivist approach to nature and reason, the positivist world view in general, is a most important dimension of human knowledge and capacity that we may in no way dispense with. But in and of itself it is not a sufficient culture corresponding to the full breadth of the human condition. Where positivist reason considers itself the only sufficient culture and banishes all other cultural realities to the status of subcultures, it diminishes man, indeed it threatens his humanity. I say this with Europe specifically in mind, where there are concerted efforts to recognize only positivism as a common culture and a common basis for law-making, so that all the other insights and values of our culture are reduced to the level of subculture, with the result that Europe vis-à-vis other world cultures is left in a state of culturelessness and at the same time extremist and radical movements emerge to fill the vacuum. In its self-proclaimed exclusivity, the positivist reason which recognizes nothing beyond mere functionality resembles a concrete bunker with no windows, in which we ourselves provide lighting and atmospheric conditions, being no longer willing to obtain either from God’s wide world. And yet we cannot hide from ourselves the fact that even in this artificial world, we are still covertly drawing upon God’s raw materials, which we refashion into our own products. The windows must be flung open again, we must see the wide world, the sky and the earth once more and learn to make proper use of all this.

But how are we to do this? How do we find our way out into the wide world, into the big picture? How can reason rediscover its true greatness, without being sidetracked into irrationality? How can nature reassert itself in its true depth, with all its demands, with all its directives? I would like to recall one of the developments in recent political history, hoping that I will neither be misunderstood, nor provoke too many one-sided polemics. I would say that the emergence of the ecological movement in German politics since the 1970s, while it has not exactly flung open the windows, nevertheless was and continues to be a cry for fresh air which must not be ignored or pushed aside, just because too much of it is seen to be irrational. Young people had come to realize that something is wrong in our relationship with nature, that matter is not just raw material for us to shape at will, but that the earth has a dignity of its own and that we must follow its directives. In saying this, I am clearly not promoting any particular political party – nothing could be further from my mind. If something is wrong in our relationship with reality, then we must all reflect seriously on the whole situation and we are all prompted to question the very foundations of our culture. Allow me to dwell a little longer on this point. The importance of ecology is no longer disputed. We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly. Yet I would like to underline a further point that is still largely disregarded, today as in the past: there is also an ecology of man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he listens to his nature, respects it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself. In this way, and in no other, is true human freedom fulfilled.

Let us come back to the fundamental concepts of nature and reason, from which we set out. The great proponent of legal positivism, Kelsen, at the age of 84 – in 1965 – abandoned the dualism of “is” and “ought”. He had said that norms can only come from the will. Nature therefore could only contain norms if a will had put them there. But this would presuppose a Creator God, whose will had entered into nature. “Any attempt to discuss the truth of this belief is utterly futile”, he observed. Is it really? – I find myself asking. Is it really pointless to wonder whether the objective reason that manifests itself in nature does not presuppose a creative reason, a Creator Spiritus?

At this point Europe’s cultural heritage ought to come to our assistance. The conviction that there is a Creator God is what gave rise to the idea of human rights, the idea of the equality of all people before the law, the recognition of the inviolability of human dignity in every single person and the awareness of people’s responsibility for their actions. Our cultural memory is shaped by these rational insights. To ignore it or dismiss it as a thing of the past would be to dismember our culture totally and to rob it of its completeness. The culture of Europe arose from the encounter between Jerusalem, Athens and Rome – from the encounter between Israel’s monotheism, the philosophical reason of the Greeks and Roman law. This three-way encounter has shaped the inner identity of Europe. In the awareness of man’s responsibility before God and in the acknowledgment of the inviolable dignity of every single human person, it has established criteria of law: it is these criteria that we are called to defend at this moment in our history.

As he assumed the mantle of office, the young King Solomon was invited to make a request. How would it be if we, the law-makers of today, were invited to make a request? What would we ask for? I think that, even today, there is ultimately nothing else we could wish for but a listening heart – the capacity to discern between good and evil, and thus to establish true law, to serve justice and peace. Thank you for your attention!

80 Comments:

Blogger Shacklefree said...

Everytime I read Benedict, I marvel at his knowledge and his ability to express ideas so clearly and write them so well. He always gives us a depth of Christianity which reaches below and above our personnel arguments and jibes. Thank you Your Grace. Dodo my friend, let’s give His Grace his due – he isn’t always knocking Catholicism.

22 September 2011 at 17:48  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Wow! Brilliant, clear and timely. Benedict may not have the best oratorical and presentation skills but he is worth listening to.

A most welcome post especially given recent exchanges on this blog about homosexuality and abortion.

Thank you indeed Archbishop Cranmer!

22 September 2011 at 18:07  
Blogger len said...

Solomon asked God for wisdom but his wisdom didn`t stop him from falling.Wisdom, intellect cannot save you only the Spirit of Christ can do that!.
Strange that the Pope held up Solomon and not Christ as an example.

Solomon had all the riches of the World and his worldly values eventually corrupted him.
Solomon broke his covenant with God. The covenant said that as long as he never sacrificed to other gods then him and his kingdom would prosper. The wisest man ever made one foolish mistake by sacrificing to his pagan wife's gods. So God allowed Israel to be conquered and smitten Solomon with madness.

When pagan gods and pagan symbols creep into ones religion then the 'writing is on the wall' so to speak.

22 September 2011 at 18:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace

What a man ! What a church ! (...Yes, thank you, our Lord Archbishop...)

22 September 2011 at 18:16  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Come Len, Fair Do's. Benedict talks about Jesus all the time. The pr-emminence of Jesus is intrinsic to Christianity - It goes without saying. Did you not get anything positive from the speech? Your comments sound like sour grapes

22 September 2011 at 18:22  
Blogger J.D. Malcolmson said...

Pope Bendict refers to the ecology movement, which became a significant political force in Germany.

However, if we are relying on the political classes (in which I include also the political media) to inspire us into a reawakening of individual moral conscience based on reason and natural law, we're in for a long wait.

The corporate "top-down" state, with its nationalised morality, nurtured by a sham version of democracy which offers no real political alternatives, will be with us for a long while yet, I fear.

Even if any of our would-be rulers were to "do God", an admission of which would probably make them unelectable to start with, can you imagine any of them having the humility to ask to be endowed with something as "uncool" as wisdom?

And in any case, what good would wisdom be in the face of the constant stream of soundbites, sensationalism, and superficiality from the aforementioned media, which demands short-term solutions to ensure political survival?

I think I am reaching the same level of cynicism as Gnostic. Soime way to go with the acerbic wit, though!

22 September 2011 at 18:28  
Blogger The Worker said...

"Man can destroy the world. He can manipulate himself. He can, so to speak, make human beings and he can deny them their humanity.

In the third century, the great theologian Origen provided the following explanation for the resistance of Christians to certain legal systems: “Suppose that a man were living among the Scythians, whose laws are contrary to the divine law, and was compelled to live among them … such a man for the sake of the true law, though illegal among the Scythians, would rightly form associations with like-minded people contrary to the laws of the Scythians.”


Is the Pope signalling the time has arrived for organised resistance by 'like minded people' to laws that are contrary divine law?

22 September 2011 at 19:03  
Blogger IanCad said...

Benedict said:
"Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he listens to his nature, respects it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself. In this way, and in no other, is true human freedom fulfilled"

Is there some wise soul out there who can explain this gobbledygook, or is it just a bad translation?

22 September 2011 at 19:10  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector General

Calm down,calm down!

Let's not call Mr Cranmer 'My Lord'. He isn't really Archbishop Cranmer returned in an urn. You do know that, don't you?

22 September 2011 at 19:13  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

IanCad

You've cited what is probaly the central theme of this homily: the need for harmony between intellect, will and nature in man and in man's laws.

If you read the full text carefully and slowly, and more than once, you'll understand what Pope Benedict is saying.

22 September 2011 at 19:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

IanCad: "Is there some wise soul out there who can explain this gobbledygook, or is it just a bad translation?"

He's been taking some inspiration from Jean-Jacques Rousseau for the overall thrust of it.

22 September 2011 at 19:24  
Blogger IanCad said...

TWD @ 19:20

I've read it twice and did not enjoy doing so.
Such convoluted claptrap has to be compared to the plain beauty of Scripture.
I give credence to those who assert that the Popes are generally considered to be the arch-dissemblers of their ages.

22 September 2011 at 19:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo (22 September 2011 19:13)

You are saying he is not Cranmer incarnate for a second time ??? This cannot be, you surely jest my good fellow...

22 September 2011 at 19:46  
Blogger Gavin said...

I think it was a very good speech, with lots to chew over. Benedict seems to have a knack for addressing the topical philosophical issues of the day, and shedding light on them.

In calling for a debate on this theme, it seems that he welcomes responses and counter-arguments. As such, I'd be interested to read either His Grace's, or perhaps another renowned Anglican thinker's response. From an Anglican perspective, what did the Pope say well, and what did he say poorly? What parts would an Anglican say quite differently, or not say, or even say the opposite?

22 September 2011 at 20:11  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Presumbly he has a speech writer? A host of them I suppose. "I vant a Cathlick speech about zecular law because it is killing ze church". "Of course, Holiness" *scribble* *whisper together* *scribble*

22 September 2011 at 20:29  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Gavin

I'm sure most Catholic Anglicans would agree with the Pope's analysis and his critique of modern secualar laws.

IanCad

It's an address by the Bishop of Rome to an assorted group of politicians. As such, it could never be compared with Scripture written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

It's also academic in nature describing the influences of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem in European legal traditions and urging a return to these foundations.

What is does challenge is the exclusivity of Scripture in arriving at an understanding of God's plan for how we should live our lives.

How would his speech have been received if he said: "abortion, homosexuality and divorce are wrong because the Bible tells me so"? Do get real!

Catholicism sees no tension between reason, will, nature and Scripture. It seeks the links between. It also accepts that man in his fallen state needs Christ and the Church to fulfill his destiny.

DanJ0

You really think so? You've either misunderstood Rousseau or the Pope. I take it you didn't major in Philosophy?

And what a silly, childish second comment, even for you.

22 September 2011 at 20:51  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector General

I know! It's really hard to accept our host isn't the ashes of Archbishop Cranmer speaking to us from within his urn.

It took me ages to figure it out. My doubts first started when I tried to figure out how he could physically type blogs without secretarial assistance. He doesn't use computer speech technology as he is prone to the odd typing and spelling error.

Imagine the disillusionment this could cause. Best keep quiet about it.

22 September 2011 at 21:00  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr DanJo @ 20.29, you clearly majored in cheap shots.

Benedict's speech is specifically targeted to a German audience, of course. There is a fair degree of dog-whistling in his address.

In particular Benedict plays to the German concept of Culture-nation. Hard to translate but 'civilised people' is an approximation. The Germans mourn the pagan excess of the Nazi period when they ceased to be a 'culture-nation' and Benedict refers to this period. By the same token his criticism of modern European 'positivism' is a warning that a new threat to the German desire to be a 'culture-nation' is at hand.

It is ridiculous to suggest that this speech is the work of a speech writer. It is clearly the work of Benedict himself, a remarkable man.

22 September 2011 at 21:01  
Blogger Gavin said...

Hi, Dodo. Yes, I'm sure plenty of Anglicans would agree with most of the broad strokes of this speech, yet (partially because the Pope is not pontificating here, but merely "proposing some thoughts" and is also expressing a desire for further debate), and because he has expressed himself so clearly, I feel quite eager to read some responses from an Anglican viewpoint, and possibly gain some new perspective. (which is why I read this blog, I guess!)

22 September 2011 at 21:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, you knave

Of course it’s our Lord Archbishop back. Either that or I’m not the Inspector General. Wait – What’s this, Look Dodo Look, it’s the Inspector, and he can walk. Praise All !!! And he’s making his way to that whisky bottle on the table, completely unaided. Disbeliever – what more proof do you need ??? (...Where’s G Tingey when you need him, this is what he’s looking for...).

22 September 2011 at 21:59  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Hopefully he will get a reasoned response instead of the killing of Christians which occurred in Islamic countries in response to his Regensburg address. Benedict is very strong on the use of reason as were the early Christian apologists and his points are well made. It is clear from reading his other works that there is a style and consistency that indicates that he does not need ghost writers. I think if anyone tales the time to read his other works they will find them similarly uplifting

22 September 2011 at 22:01  
Blogger Gavin said...

It would be most disappointing if the identity of 'Cranmer' was to be unmasked as none other than Bob Grinstead, assistant oversize baggage handler at Manchester airport. I prefer to keep my illusions unspoiled!

22 September 2011 at 22:07  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

Of course you are real. Me too, though I do struggle with the keyboard and mouse at times because of my large feet. But claiming to be the burnt remains of a man whose ashes were scattered, then magically gathered together and transported to our time? Ummm ....

As for Mr Tingey, he's probably out somewhere looking for the Sky Fairey.

22 September 2011 at 22:15  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Gavin

True!

22 September 2011 at 22:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, keep this to yourself, but if you believe in Cranmer, there'll be 75 virgins waiting for you.

22 September 2011 at 22:28  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Inspector

As tempting as that might be, I'm content with my dear wife. Besides, in my case, lust has waned with age and discipline.

22 September 2011 at 22:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, just as well because it turns out it’s 75 old slappers, all as ugly as sin, but a handful with a good personality. Best the Inspector can do for you...

22 September 2011 at 22:41  
Blogger Gavin said...

I'd like to address Len's comment at 18:11. Len, I respect what you are saying, but I can't quite put my finger upon it yet I feel you are missing something.

Solomon "asked for wisdom" from God, and he received it, but surely the wisdom he asked for and received, was the divine wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit? Yes, he subsequently sinned and he had to be disciplined by God, but didn't Peter (Simon) also sin and deny Christ, even after being with Him for three years? An outpouring of Christ's Spirit upon us, does not instantly make us perfect and incapable of sin.

Len, there's also something which I feel you are missing, when you say 'why does Benedict refer to Solomon instead of Christ'. It's something to do with our unity with Christ as Christians. We are in Christ and Christ is in us. This is not to suggest that we ARE Christ, but that He is the Head and we are His branches. There is a deep unity there, it's similar to the way Christ says "in so much as you give a cup of water to the least of men, you do it unto me", or His command "love one another, as I have loved you". To love one's neighbour is not merely "like" loving Christ; it IS loving Christ, as He lives in us, and we live in Him. The Christian life is not so much a question of "MY journey with God" (as if God and my neighbour are two wholly different things), but instead, to love my neighbour IS to love God, there is a sense of unitedness there, which Christ himself prayed for, as we read in the Gospel of John.
Sorry, Len, I do like your comments, but I just had to get this off my chest, I hope it makes some kind of sense to you, friend.

22 September 2011 at 22:56  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

How very disappointing that all those prepared to 'pontificate' against Roman Catholicism or religion in general, are unable or unwilling to comment on this speech of Pope Benedict.

Apart from two ungracious comments from those who protest against Rome and one other rather silly commentator's contribution - nothing.

Their collective silence speaks volumes!

23 September 2011 at 00:16  
Blogger non mouse said...

Yet when it comes to the decisions of a democratic politician, the question of what now corresponds to the law of truth, what is actually right and may be enacted as law, is less obvious. In terms of the underlying anthropological issues, what is right and may be given the force of law is in no way simply self-evident today. The question of how to recognize what is truly right and thus to serve justice when framing laws has never been simple, and today in view of the vast extent of our knowledge and our capacity, it has become still harder.

Oh boy. Well -- I'm glad he's in Germany, and not in England.

23 September 2011 at 02:15  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

bluedog: "Mr DanJo @ 20.29, you clearly majored in cheap shots."

I've learned all I needed to know on that topic from people here, including you it has to be said.

23 September 2011 at 06:08  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "You really think so? You've either misunderstood Rousseau or the Pope. I take it you didn't major in Philosophy?"

It was a comment about that particular snippet and a core facet of Rousseau's argument. It wouldn't be immediately obvious to someone reading wikipedia, Dodo. I'd explain but I expect it'd be pearls before swine in your case.

But the speech writing thing ... I was being serious. Surely there are a whole load of people knocking that stuff up and poring over the detail to make sure it is both politically relevant to his audience and consistent with the rest of the Catholic doctrine? Ratzinger is a politican afterall, and the head of a great monolith. The Vatican is a well-oiled, self-sustaining political machine with its tentacles spread over the world, I imagine if the Pope had advanced alzeimers no-one outside would even notice as long as he could still read aloud.

I'm not saying the speech is bad or incoherent at all, the argument is very clear even with that tortured passage. Of course, I still disagree with it because it's based on a false premise but hey.

23 September 2011 at 06:25  
Blogger len said...

Gavin to tell someone the truth... in love.... is a mark of true love.
It is quite Politically Correct NOT to tell the truth nowadays.Obviously in some matters telling the truth can be quite hurtful ,if my wife asks "How do I look in this dress" and I reply "awful"this would be truth (perhaps) but not told in love .The essential point is telling the truth ..in love.. but with consideration(and moderation)with regard to others feelings in matters which are NOT life affecting.If my wife stood in a life threatening situation I would shout and use any means possible to alert her!.

But when it comes to matters of life and death(salvation) can we afford to 'tiptoe around' life affecting issues.Would it be OK for me to tell people"Look God loves you and everyone is going to Heaven so don`y worry if you have committed a few sins , He will probably just ignore them".Would that be love?.Or do people need a 'reality check'?

Jesus called people to repent and in our modern World people say "Why Repent "There`s nothing wrong with me",because Society has made sin 'acceptable' "people say what I am doing is only 'natural' there`s people a lot worse than me" not realising that God does not have a 'sliding scale ' for sinners.
A lot of what is in Catholicism(and other denominations, the American 'prosperity church' has bought shame on the Gospel and made the impression that its all about money) )is not Scriptural and leads people astray and away from the True Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My intention is that all the religious rubbish is swept away and CHRIST ONLY should be preached.

'I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death. (Phillipians 3:10)

God declares that only those who believe will be saved. God says that only those who trust in him for their salvation – solely and completely – only these will be freed from sin and the penalty it deserves. Yes, only when we have faith in Christ – only when we know Christ – are we made right with God. That’s why Paul puts it like he does, "I consider [all those things I once had( Paul was a Pharisee a fastidious law keeper) a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (v 8). To be saved, we have to know Christ. That’s the bottom line, and so that’s the thing Paul’s compelled to return to, even in his final days: "I want to know Christ."

23 September 2011 at 07:57  
Blogger Ariadne said...

bluedog, I agree with you.

Without analyisng the speech into components relating to this or that version of Christianity isn't it a wonderfully clear statement of even our Judaeo-Christian heritage.

And just look at the smiles!

23 September 2011 at 11:07  
Blogger Adrian said...

http://youtu.be/ehSPhWAxAjo

23 September 2011 at 11:12  
Blogger Preacher said...

Len.
Totally agree with your comments.
I feel that Paul sums it up very well in 1.Cor, Chapter 2 verses 1-5
Blessings!.

23 September 2011 at 11:46  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

len and Preacher

You are both missing the point. Don't you think the Pope agrees with len's statement about salvation through Christ?

The issue is the undertsanding the Pope has that the West in slipping back into a 'dark age' because we has lost touch with our values. Values that recued the world from the barbarity of pre-Christian and pre-Roman times.

It wasn't just a theological debate he was calling for but a re-evaluation of a democracy that abandons reason, will and nature. In so doing man puts himself at odds with our Creator and risks losing his humanity. He is warning us of another tyranny, the tyranny of positivism. I think you would agree the Pope is right.

Imagine if he had stood up and simply told Europe you have abandoned God'd word, turn to Christ and stop sinning. How efective would that have been? And, no doubt he would have ben criticised for 'pontificating'.

Instead he opened the debate with:

"Unlike other great religions, Christianity has never proposed a revealed body of law to the State and to society, that is to say a juridical order derived from revelation. Instead, it has pointed to nature and reason as the true sources of law – and to the harmony of objective and subjective reason, which naturally presupposes that both spheres are rooted in the creative reason of God.

What are you proposing for challenging the prevailing culture that increasingly obstructs the effectiveness of evangelisation?

Or do you believe 'Saving Grace' alone is sufficient? That those saved and damned have been predetermined? Does the Church have no part to play in protecting and promoting the climate where in the message of Christ will be received?

23 September 2011 at 13:23  
Blogger Oswin said...

O.I.G @ 22:41 :

Don't knock those old slappers, they're my contemporaries!

DanJo @ 06:25 :

Similarly, don't knock Dodo's adherence to Wiki; God knows what he'd get up to without it...better the Dodo you see, than a lurking, shadowy presence; moonlight glinting upon a raised stiletto. 'Watch out! Watch out! There's a Jesuit assassin about!

Dodo: admit it, you KNOW you secretly enjoy that particular allusion. ;o)

Rule of thumb for any High Anglican: when you start agreeing with what a pope has to say, then look about you, into those shadowy places...

23 September 2011 at 17:14  
Blogger len said...

Since the fall of man God in His Grace and Mercy has restrained evil so that His plans for the redemption of Mankind could be put into affect through he Cross of Jesus Christ.Without the restraining Hand of God on evil mankind would have been finished long ago.
But now man instead of seeing evil for the destructive force that it is now pronounces evil as 'natural'and adjusting his moral outlook to incorporate evil.
Man now is truly lost he has no way of assessing what is right and what is wrong morally.
The only course left open to God is to remove His restraining Hand on evil and let man see the full affects of it, to fully appreciate the full force of evil. When man reaches a state of total wretchedness he will either curse God (not correctly apportioning blame to the 'god' of this World,Satan the author of all that is evil)or call out for the Messiah to put an end to the Chaos that will break out on Earth.This will be a 'wake up call' to Humanity.

Dodo, time is past for' playing at religion'with all the pomp and golden thrones , golden crowns etc, and to beat a path to the rugged Cross of Calvary and to join our Messiah for He is the 'gate' from this World to the next.
The greatest negative in our World was the Cross of Calvary for all that opposed God and led mankind into sin, bondage, disease and death, was judged there, also the greatest positive came through Jesus Christ`s atonement for the sins of mankind at Calvary, the resurrection, rebirth ,and the new Creation...IN Christ Jesus.
This is the time when Christ ,His death and Resurrection must be preached ,anything else is a 'sideshow' a distraction.

23 September 2011 at 19:11  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Oswin

'Monita Secreta'!

23 September 2011 at 19:43  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

len

You've surrendered and fallen into a fatalistic gloom.

Thank God there are those who remain willing to fight for the salvation of souls and continue contending with the evils of this world.

23 September 2011 at 20:13  
Blogger Serpents and Doves said...

The Pope is asking us as Christians to set doctrinal differences aside and focus on the grave set of challenges facing the world.

As Christians we focus on disagreement, not on the unity of the message of Christ. This has weakened the Church and opened the door to a new form of Christian worship that lacks rationality, doctrine and organisation.

Positivism and secularism are growing in influence and has undermined traditional and foundational Christian values. A hedonistic culture is emerging. Science has created serious ethical problems and the solutions are excluding God's natural law.

Our political system tests the human weakness of desiring power. Democracies expose this because popularity requires concessions to human weakness for success and also encourage the avoidance of disagreeable action.

In combination these threats are grave. The Pope is inviting a discussion on how we as believers in Christ can act now in unity to tackle them. Not a ‘peace treaty’ based on concessions to doctrine and faith. The common approach would be built on what we do agree on and how to act now for Christ and our neighbour?

A coalition to agree a programme of coordinated action? An association of interested parties with a common belief in the basic Gospel message?

24 September 2011 at 01:16  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

S&D: "Our political system tests the human weakness of desiring power. Democracies expose this because popularity requires concessions to human weakness for success and also encourage the avoidance of disagreeable action."

Sounds like pateralism to me: the church knows what's best for people even if they don't want it and the church is going to try to make sure they have it. We've had our fill of that sort of centrist, totalitarian thinking in the UK and have rejected religion for the most part.

24 September 2011 at 06:48  
Blogger Preacher said...

Dodo.
Sorry pal but formal Religion will save nothing. That's why the Lord commisioned ordinary men, fishermen, tax collectors, freedom fighters (or terrorists) to take the gospel to the world.Oh yes, don't forget the prostitutes, lepers & those cleansed of demonic possesion.
The Jewish faith had religion in trumps at the time her Messiah came, to the point that it had become religous observance under a highly exclusivist leadership, their were still some who were able to think & act independantly, i.e Nicodemus & Joseph of Arimathea, but the rest were so bound up in religous observance that they even missed the arrival of the long awaited & prophesied Messiah.
Good Luck to the man in the Vatican if he is as genuine as he proclaims. But I hope that you'll forgive us for mistrusting the hierarchy of any group that has a history of crushing & persecuting any that oppose it's teachings.

24 September 2011 at 08:58  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Preacher said ...
"Sorry pal but formal Religion will save nothing...
I hope that you'll forgive us for mistrusting the hierarchy of any group that has a history of crushing & persecuting any that oppose it's teachings."


I agree with your opening sentiment - it is Christ alone who saves.

And, at some point, the mistrust on all sides has surely to be set aside? Roman Catholics suffered as did other Protestant groups, at the hands of the Reformers.

24 September 2011 at 11:34  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

What's wrong with Paternalism? God is Our Father. He knows best and in His revelation offers the answers to all human questions.

It is your kind of positivist thinking and secular mindset, devoid of any rational natural morality, that the Pope is challenging.

24 September 2011 at 11:42  
Blogger len said...

Organised religion can do many things but one thing it cannot do is impart Life.
And Organised religion(in many cases, especially Catholicism )stands between man and God and takes the place of Christ as mediator.This is anti- Christos 'instead of' |Christ.

Oh if Catholics could only have their eyes opened to see this.

But I believe once one has accepted their chosen religion as'truth' they seem to come under a satanic deception which only Christ can break(with their co -operation) unless that happens they are truly as lost(probably more so ) than those of the World.
This saddens me very much.

24 September 2011 at 11:58  
Blogger len said...

I believe that the Catholic church has(or has always )assumed a predatory position towards true believers and wants to consume them much as a snake consumes its prey.Once consumed the prey becomes part of the predator.

All this will be done in the name of 'Unity'and those who oppose this 'unity' will be branded as un-Christian. I see 'rumblings' to this affect already.This 'uniting is the first step towards a 'multi faith' apostate Church.

All those who remain true to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (unadulterated version) will be seen as 'divisive and troublemakers( suggestions have already been aimed at me not that it bothers me only confirms my position and makes me more determined to hold onto the Word of God and resist all comers!)

We(True believers) are told by Christ to overcome and this means the waves of Satanic deception that are trying to tear us out of our position in Christ and to depart from the true faith.

Hold on brothers and sisters keep true to the Word and resist all that would try to tear you away from the Living Truth, Christ Himself.

24 September 2011 at 12:11  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Len said “This 'uniting is the first step towards a 'multi faith' apostate Church”.
Jesus said may they all be one and so it is incumbent on us to work for unity. However we have to be aware of the dangers of a multi-faith church which is by definition apostate. If there is one God, it is self evident there can be only one true Church and one true doctrine. Doctrine is important because Jesus made it clear that some of the Jewish laws had deviated and he had come to correct that within the established Jewish Church of the time. He did not tell people to leave it but that everything had to be done within the Jewish Church at the time which is why the early Christians saw themselves as reforming and returning to the true roots of the Jewish Church.
Nevertheless, although I am not about to prophesy, I can speculate that in the End Times we may possibly see a multi-faith church arise because a pantheistic church is what we would expect of satan. The third secret of Fatima suggests that a pope will be killed. If this is Benedict, then we may be near the End Times and if so, it is possible to envision a crisis which results in an anti-pope on the throne of St. Peter for a short time (a time, two times and a half as mentioned in Revelation). The prophet Daniel mentions the disastrous abomination set up in the holy place. The holy place can only refer to an anti-pope on the throne of St. Peter. If there is any other candidate for the holy place perhaps someone could tell us. In this context, it is possible to have serious reservations about the Assisi Gatherings for World Peace instituted by John Paul II and in the past this involved Hindu and Catholic celebrations occurring together. Fortunately Benedict is rolling back the excesses and communal prayer will no longer be a part of this and will therefore not be a religious ceremony. Now if our Protestant critics say that the Catholic Church has been the anti-christ from the beginning, then that denies the words of Jesus that the time of the anti-christ will be short.

24 September 2011 at 13:14  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Len said “This 'uniting is the first step towards a 'multi faith' apostate Church”.
Jesus said may they all be one and so it is incumbent on us to work for unity. However we have to be aware of the dangers of a multi-faith church which is by definition apostate. If there is one God, it is self evident there can be only one true Church and one true doctrine. Doctrine is important because Jesus made it clear that some of the Jewish laws had deviated and he had come to correct that within the established Jewish Church of the time. He did not tell people to leave it but that everything had to be done within the Jewish Church at the time which is why the early Christians saw themselves as reforming and returning to the true roots of the Jewish Church.
Nevertheless, although I am not about to prophesy, I can speculate that in the End Times we may possibly see a multi-faith church arise because a pantheistic church is what we would expect of satan. The third secret of Fatima suggests that a pope will be killed. If this is Benedict, then we may be near the End Times and if so, it is possible to envision a crisis which results in an anti-pope on the throne of St. Peter for a short time (a time, two times and a half as mentioned in Revelation). The prophet Daniel mentions the disastrous abomination set up in the holy place. The holy place can only refer to an anti-pope on the throne of St. Peter. If there is any other candidate for the holy place perhaps someone could tell us. In this context, it is possible to have serious reservations about the Assisi Gatherings for World Peace instituted by John Paul II and in the past this involved Hindu and Catholic celebrations occurring together. Fortunately Benedict is rolling back the excesses and communal prayer will no longer be a part of this and will therefore not be a religious ceremony. Now if our Protestant critics say that the Catholic Church has been the anti-christ from the beginning, then that denies the words of Jesus that the time of the anti-christ will be short.

24 September 2011 at 13:14  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "What's wrong with Paternalism? God is Our Father. He knows best and in His revelation offers the answers to all human questions."

Your illusion of god is your father figure, not mine. I'm happy to be responsible for myself and to think for myself, thank you. So, as long as your illusion only seeks to extend its answers to Catholic/Christian (delete as appropriate) people then we're good to go. If not then we need to put you in your place so the rest of us can get on with our own lives in peace.

"It is your kind of positivist thinking and secular mindset, devoid of any rational natural morality, that the Pope is challenging."

His speech writers are, you mean. All he/they are doing is reiterating the bog-standard Catholic argument of how stuff supposedly works which has been around for 700 years or so. The positive thing of course is that the Catholic Church has got ring twitter over the continuing loss of its hegemony, that's the reason for the speeches. They're just hand flapping really, hoping that dull god drones like you (if you are actually a Catholic and not purely a troll) will speak out and slow the break for freedom down. Deckchairs and Titanic, hopefully.

24 September 2011 at 14:21  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

You're purchasing an unrefundable one way ticket to a very hot climate. God will forgive ignorance but not a stubborn and wilful disregard of the Truth.

24 September 2011 at 14:57  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

len

If you truely believe all the above then, I'm afraid, the Great Delusion to which you refer is your own.

I would also observe that you did not glean all this from the Gospel and have obviously fallen under the influence of another form of Christianity that distorts and twists history and Roman Catholic theology.

I pray you recover your senses and, meantime, urge you to stop spreading unfounded lies about the Church established by Christ Himself. No good can come from it.

24 September 2011 at 15:03  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "You're purchasing an unrefundable one way ticket to a very hot climate. God will forgive ignorance but not a stubborn and wilful disregard of the Truth."

You might be too if god's name turns out to be Allah. I'd say that you will have wasted your life but by the sounds of your boasts^h^h remorse and shame about your past you have lived the high life before picking Catholicism from the smorgasbord of religions available. Perhaps it will all turn out okay for you anyway, Insha'Allah.

24 September 2011 at 17:06  
Blogger Oswin said...

''...if God's name turns out to be Allah'' then I, for one, will be demanding a recount!

I know you've been sorely provoked DanJo, but there's no call to be chucking hand grenades about.

24 September 2011 at 17:18  
Blogger Serpents and Doves said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 September 2011 at 18:35  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Oswin

DanJ0 deliberately provokes because he enjoys the negative attention - it's his thing.

24 September 2011 at 20:21  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Oswin: "''...if God's name turns out to be Allah'' then I, for one, will be demanding a recount! I know you've been sorely provoked DanJo, but there's no call to be chucking hand grenades about."

Hey, one and a half billion Muslims can't be wrong surely! a whole bunch of them must truly believe they are right. In fact, some of them are so sure they are willing to jump the gun to get to heaven.

24 September 2011 at 20:40  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

24 September 2011 at 20:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "DanJ0 deliberately provokes because he enjoys the negative attention - it's his thing."

Dodo, I really ought to have a word about your self-awareness. Or rather your complete lack of it.

24 September 2011 at 20:41  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

You know I'm right - that little fantasy you revealed of Policemen in uniforms with their trucheaons at the ready. Don't deny it now.

25 September 2011 at 00:01  
Blogger Oswin said...

The truly frightening thing about one and a half billion muslims is that they ARE wrong! What's more, they just don't seem to care. What's yet more, they don't seem to stay where they're put!

25 September 2011 at 00:57  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Oswin: "The truly frightening thing about one and a half billion muslims is that they ARE wrong! What's more, they just don't seem to care. What's yet more, they don't seem to stay where they're put!"

*shrug*

There's a billion Catholics who think they are right too. It's powerful indoctrinating and socialising stuff, this religion milarky. There's no way of objectively determining who is right, if anybody, but it doesn't stop any of these people, Muslims, Catholics, or whatever, trying to tell me how I should live my life and potentially trying to force me too if they get temporal power. Bloody weirdos.

25 September 2011 at 06:08  
Blogger len said...

It is a rather sad thing but many have chosen religion rather than truth.Many have chosen atheism because they see the flaws in religion and prefer not to join what they see (in many cases correctly) as something which is little more than a 'social club' and there are those who join religion only because they have a desire' to belong',or perhaps their parents joined so they do too.

Jesus never came to set up a religion but to restore mankind`s broken relationship with the Creator God of the Universe!.

God sets before us Life or Death. Life through Christ Jesus or death (separated from Jesus eternally and beyond the means of salvation)
God says " Choose Life" but will not force or coerce anyone.

The facts are laid out before you the choice is entirely yours.

25 September 2011 at 09:38  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

Have you ever stopped to wonder why all the major world religions share a foundation of very similar moral precepts for how we should conduct our lives? Coincidence?

Christianity differs in so far as it does not rely exclusively on scripture but uses rationality, natural law and Roman legal concepts.

Each of us has a conscience and a God given need to seek God.

25 September 2011 at 14:28  
Blogger Oswin said...

DanJo: you are quite right to admonish me for my wee piece of flippancy. However, what is truth? Well, I can't answer that, but I would begin by comparing the sources of the 'truth' in question.

Within a purely historical approach, which I suspect you would prefer; we know much about Mohammed, the man; and what we know isn't greatly to his favour, yes?

If the source of the spring is corrupted...etc. Thus I say that muslims are indeed wrong; notwithstanding the many calumnies of the Roman Church, and many others besides.

25 September 2011 at 15:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Have you ever stopped to wonder why all the major world religions share a foundation of very similar moral precepts for how we should conduct our lives? Coincidence?"

No to both of those. We're a gregarious, self-aware, rational, empathic species. Certain things like the Golden Rule naturally tend to fall out from that list, I'd say. Now, tell me how come something like 1.7 billion people believe that god's name is Allah and Mohammed is its prophet?

"Each of us has a conscience and a God given need to seek God."

Which is just a poetic way of saying that we're human, really. Have you ever wondered why some people need to seek a god and others don't even though all of them may be rational and good people? I bet there's something co-expressing from some genes there.

25 September 2011 at 16:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Oswin: "Within a purely historical approach, which I suspect you would prefer; we know much about Mohammed, the man; and what we know isn't greatly to his favour, yes?"

We know almost nothing historical about Jesus. We have a set of stories rather clearly constructed as narratives rather than biographical accounts.

Also, Mohammed was the last prophet according to Muslims. That is, he was most definitely a man not a fusion of man and god. A bit like Moses I suppose. Perhaps he'd be called "righteous in his time" in biblical language?

But anyway, I'm not admonishing you, I'm just teasing Dodo.

25 September 2011 at 16:18  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

Let's not repeat the tortuous evolution verus divine creation debate.

What I would say is that everyone has a God given need to seek Him. We are made in His image and have reason, imagination, empathy and a capacity to love (agape and eros).

Some choose to ignore God's call. Others have their options limited by the times they live in and the cultures they are exposed to. Some find Him and some find an immitation of Him. And some directly confronted by His presence in a moment.

25 September 2011 at 20:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Let's not repeat the tortuous evolution verus divine creation debate. [...] What I would say is that everyone has a God given need to seek Him."

Is this a Catholic thing? To insist that one must move past the premises of an argument? I don't intend to have a debate about evolution but you surely realise that the rest of your assertions and pronouncements are dross if people simply don't accept the foundation of the argument?

It's rather like those religious nutters in city centres, the ones where some woolly jumpered bloke is banging on about the gospel of John to one of his colleagues opposite listening intently, pretending he is the start of a crowd, as people walk by sniggering on the way to the next shop.

"Repent! The end is nigh! The kingdom of god is upon us!" or in your case "You're buying a one-way ticket to hell". I think the correct response to all that is "Yeah, yeah, whatever". I mean, it may be true, just like Islam may be, but I'd try to get people to buy into the argument first.

26 September 2011 at 04:47  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

Who are you trying so hard to convince? Me or yourself?

There's a few stops yet so still time to leave the train.

26 September 2011 at 10:01  
Blogger Jon said...

Len - your post at 09.38 on the 25th September strikes me as the wisest moment in the thread.

From what I've read of Jesus, I think he'd be thoroughly ashamed of much of what goes on in his name, especially the ritualistic and mercantilist elements.

In my younger days, when I was an unabashed evangelical type, I found comfort in his message - but was increasingly bewildered by the ability of others to extrapolate what he said into such blatantly self- serving mush. Whilst I'm afraid I disagree with your conclusions sometimes, I greatly admire your adherence to the basic precepts which I remember - I just wanted you to know.

26 September 2011 at 13:59  
Blogger Oswin said...

DanJo: come now, the man was a monster. You'd have hated his guts, and rightly so. From what I've determined of your terms of reference, Mohammed is the very apotheosis of all you despise.

26 September 2011 at 15:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Oswin: "DanJo: come now, the man was a monster. You'd have hated his guts, and rightly so. From what I've determined of your terms of reference, Mohammed is the very apotheosis of all you despise."

Top marks for getting apotheosis in there! I don't know a great deal about him other than the sort of thing Rageh Omaar broadcast. You're almost certainly correct and I probably wouldn't have liked the Arabia Peninsula back then either. Of course, I'd also have taken a dim view of Joshua, another righteous in his time person I'm guessing. The slaughtering of every last man, woman, and child in Jericho doesn't seem that great to me. Also, the Israelite punishments of the time seemed rather harsh to me but perhaps not to a bunch of maurading tribespeople trying to nick the land off the incumbents.

26 September 2011 at 17:43  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Who are you trying so hard to convince? Me or yourself?"

I'm trying to convince no-one. It's obvious enough to me, and you're basically a troll whom I'm indulging.

By the way, I saw the Jean Jacques Rousseau reference but chose to laugh and ignore it. God bless wikipedia. :)

26 September 2011 at 17:49  
Blogger Oswin said...

:o)

26 September 2011 at 18:48  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DnJ0

One man's 'troll' is to another man someone with a different oint of view.

I think if you encountered Jesus Christ you see Him as a troll. He would challenge your neat little secular world view and call you to change your ways. It's easier to dismiss Truth than to accept one needs to turn their life around.

I am happy to be a troll for Christ.

26 September 2011 at 21:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"I am happy to be a troll for Christ."

You troll for Dodo. The three times to date you have tried to deliberately stir up trouble between Albert and me demonstrates that very well. There's nothing of your Jesus in that, just malice and pleasure in trouble-making. But hey, that's the nature of internet forums for you. As long as it all stays anonymous, it's just words on a screen.

27 September 2011 at 04:59  
Blogger len said...

Jon,
The main difficulty nowadays is to differentiate between the simplicity which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the entanglements of religion.
Jesus warned that many would come in His name promoting false religions.
I think the only way to discover the truth is with the help of the Holy Spirit and to ask Him to reveal Truth to you.Gods Word is truth and the Holy Spirit will ALWAYS verify what He says with Scripture.

There are many well meaning(and sometimes not so well meaning ) people who are deceived themselves and pass their deceptions onto others.
Believe no one(not me or anyone else) unless what they tell you can be verified by Scripture.

God Bless.

27 September 2011 at 18:25  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

DanJ0

"The three times to date you have tried to deliberately stir up trouble between Albert and me demonstrates that very well."

Now you really will have to evidence that charge. I've done no such thing!

27 September 2011 at 20:45  

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