Wednesday, August 18, 2010

347: 1 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 1-5
"Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope." - 1 Thessalonians 4:13

This is really going to be a short one today. This is yet another letter where Paul is praising the people he's writing to.

Paul spends the first three chapters thanking God for the Thessalonians' faithful worship. Paul explains that he wanted to visit them for a second time to see how they were doing, but Satan stopped him. This is yet another example of Satan not really being that bad. Why, if Satan could stop him the second time, could he not have stopped him the first time? That would surely have been much worse, considering the Thessalonians would have been left unconverted.

In chapter 4 Paul repeats the same old nonsense about having to be sexually pure, even though he's said we don't have to follow Old Testament law to be saved. Paul seems to have taken a special interest in sexual immorality, whereas Jesus just lumped sexual immorality together with lying, murdering, stealing, etc. And, of course, Jesus says that all the OT laws still apply, where Paul does not.

He goes on to say in chapter 4 that we should not mourn those who "fall asleep", like the non-believers mourn. Eventually he contrasts this "falling asleep" with living, making it clear that he means people who have died. Is there some reason he used this bad metaphor? Anyway, Christians seem to fail at this one. I see Christians mourning their loved ones all the time.

Why, if you truly believe your loved one went to heaven, is a death even sad? First of all, they are in a "better place" and second you will be, presumably, seeing them in a couple of years. If anything, why not be happy for your dead loved one? Yet the average Christian I know mourns just as if they are never going to see their loved one again.

Paul goes on to say that when Jesus returns, the "dead in Christ" will be resurrected first. Wait, what? I thought everyone was going to heaven. In the end of days everyone is going to have to come out of heaven back into their earthly bodies? Or is Paul saying that only after Jesus has returned will we have eternal life?

Chapter 5 is about how the day of Jesus's return will be a surprise to everyone; it will come like a "thief in the night". Why, then, are people even speculating that this could be the end of days? The bible says that it will come when we least expect it. With this logic, all the people that think this is the end of days could actually be saving us.

Paul ends, as usual, with a call for the Thessalonians to pray, and love each other.

*News*
A Christian school is firing it's teachers:
An evangelical Christian school in Corona [California] is causing controversy after it fired at least 11 of its employees, including four teachers, because their belief systems were not in line with the new pastor's doctrine.
Were these teachers atheists? Were they even not Christians? No:
They were making a mockery of other people and religions. And this went for the Lutherans, the Episcopalians, the Catholics and they were very demeaning...
Yes, the pastor fired Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Catholics for not being "true Christians". Normally I would have no problem with a private school firing people that don't believe what they do, but in this case first, it's not true, and second it's simply not biblical. Therefore it seems like the one doing the firing is really the one that isn't a "true Christian".

The new Pastor, Chuck Booher, came with his (made up) "Level 4 living" doctrine. Anybody who's not a "level 4 Christian" cannot be a teacher at the school.
But soon he was requiring that all the staff conform to his own practice of Christianity [level 4 living], including baptism by immersion, a form of baptism in which the participant is submerged under water.
Wait, where in the bible does it say you have to have a full submersion baptism? In fact, the bible says that post-Jesus you don't even need to have a baptism, because Jesus will baptize you with the spirit.

The pastor also said that he's trying to make the staff "100 percent Christian". Needless to say this is a "no true Scotsman" fallacy. You only have to believe in Jesus to be 100 percent Christian. And you certainly don't have to have a full immersion baptism.

Even Paul says that all Christians are part of one "body". And that all Christians should love their Christian brothers. Where does "put your fellow Christian out of a job" fall in with this? Not to mention that this pastor is in no way humbling himself by saying that he knows the one true way to Jesus.

I suspect this "Level 4 living" is exactly what Paul was talking about when he mentioned "false gospels". Maybe the pastor is the one that should be getting fired.

(via ABC)

1 comment:

  1. 1 Thessalonians is generally considered to be the first of Paul7s real epistles (and the oldest book of the NT), but I've seen an argument against this that at least makes me pause.

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