Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Replies to Bible survey begin to arrive

I’ve already gotten several enthusiastic replies to my survey. Check out the comments posted on the first in this series. I don’t want to scare off others from replying, so I’ll refrain from commenting on them for now.

John S:
I have been an ordained minister for one church (Logos Center in Scottsdale) and I just retired as the Executive Director for Unity Church of Phoenix. I will offer my own answers to your questions and identify which of those two churches the information is sourced from.
1. Does your church hold the complete Bible to be inspired by God?
No. Both believe the infallible word of God can be found in the Bible but not every word in the Bible comes directly from God. (Logos & Unity)
3. Has God inspired other writings? If so, what is your test to determine what is from God and what isn’t?
All holy texts are inspired by God, some with a clearer message of His loving ways than others. The same test used on Bible verses can apply to any spiritual information to test it for truth. (Logos only)
[I know, I said I wouldn’t comment, but this leaves me with a question: John said these are his own answers; yet he said this belief is “Logos only,” which I take to mean it is not the belief of the Unity Church, where John served as Executive director until he retired. How do you serve as director of a church whose beliefs you don’t share?]
6. Does your church have teachings which are based on something other than the Bible, and if so, what?
Unity = Charles & Myrtle Fillmore
Logos = Edgar Cayce
[On the questions about political, moral, scientific and medical direction, his answer for both churches was “none,” with one exception. On killing or dying for your country, he said that Logos teaches:]
“Everyone has a responsibility to help protect their beloved country and way of life. However, if fighting in a war is not a spiritual lesson you need to learn, then you will not be put in a position of having to fight. If you do need such a lesson for your spiritual growth, you could not avoid it.”
JUNO S. of Mountain park Community Church:
We believe the entire Bible was inspired by God and he used the different personalities of the writers to communicate his story.
[As to other inspired writing:]
God inspires people to write all the time, but no writings have [withstood] the scrutiny of the bible.
[As to their main teachings, Juno referred me to a website that says, among other things:]
· We believe there is only one God…who exists eternally as a Trinity of three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is fully God, yet each is personally distinct from the other.
· Someday [Jesus] will return to earth to conclude history and fulfill God's plan.
· We believe the church is God’s plan to mobilize Christ-followers to radically change the world for God.
[Juno again:]
• Politics? We encourage members to research the topic and vote accordingly.
• Creation versus evolution? God created, the process is a mystery.
• Killing (or dying) for one’s country? If need be.
• The role of women in Society? Women have leadership gifts as men do.
• Marriage, divorce, and sex outside marriage? Divorce is not God's intended plan for couples - all broken relationships are a heart break for God. Sex is an amazing gift from God that is designed only for the context of marriage between one man and one woman.
Vocab M. of Roosevelt Community Church.
[His answers to the first couple questions can be summed up as yes, they hold solely to the 66 books of the Bible as God’s inspired word.]
[On translation:]
The more a translation utilizes the 'dynamic equivalence' (thought-for-thought) translation philosophy, the less precise it will be. [We favor translations that] are based more on the formal equivalence (word-for-word) translation philosophy.
On 5 main teachings:
The central teachings of the Reformation, called The Five Solas (solais Latin, meaning "alone").
1. Salvation is revealed in Scripture alone (sola Scriptura)
2. Salvation is accomplished by Christ alone (solo Christo)
3. Salvation is by means of grace alone (sola gratia)
4. Salvation is through faith alone (sola fide)
5. Salvation is for God's glory alone (soli Deo gloria)
  • On politics: We do not do this in any official capacity.
  • Creation versus evolution? God created all things by divine fiat out of nothing.
  • Killing (or dying) for one’s country? Up to the individual conscience.
  • The role of women in Society? Equal in God's sight and should be honored and protected. When it comes to church leadership, however, we are complentarian (as opposed to egalitarian). [I think he meant complementarian. According to Wikipedia that means “leadership roles to men and support roles to women, based on the interpretation of certain biblical passages.”]
  • Marriage, divorce, and sex outside marriage? Yes, no (except on certain biblical grounds), and no.
  • Abortion, stem cell research, or other medical issues? No (unless the mother will die) and yes (unless its embryonic, then no).
  • Homosexuality? A Christian can indeed struggle with same sex attraction and gender identity confusion but will not practice homosexuality as a pattern of life.
I can’t help wondering, do the members of these churches know that they are supposed to be upholding these beliefs?
More to come, keep watching.
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