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17Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
Now let's look at a very powerful verse of scripture. Paul admonishes us to mark them that have made the change inwardly. They are not just outward talk but they have become examples or patterns that can and should be followed. They represent, if you will, what a Christian is and you can pattern yourself after them. Paul is a our example of what Christianity is, and at the same time he tells them what it isn't also. You understand, Paul being sent to the gentiles who had no upbringing...
It's a question most Christians simply...
According to Paul these vessels are fitted for destruction by God, and one thing is clear here. The vessels fitted for destruction are not the vessels fitted for mercy. The vessels fitted for destruction show God's glory to the vessels fitted for mercy, but is that the purpose of the vessels fitted for destruction?
If God predestines some to salvation, how can the rest escape God's wrath? Moreover, what purpose could a vessel fitted for destruction have if it isn't destroyed? Isn't a vessel fitted for destruction designed to be destroyed? If God doesn't design these vessels, don't those who claim the world is Intelligently designed need to look at this inconsistency in their claims? Doesn't a vessel of wrath fitted for destruction...
Did God raise up Pharaoh for the wrong purpose, or was magnifying his own glory a sufficient purpose for raising up Pharaoh? (Romans 9:17)
How is is possible for Pharaoh to have repented and allowed Israel to depart in peace, if he was raised up for this purpose?
God actively hardened Pharaoh's heart that he might judge e.g. "lay his hand upon" Egypt. Could Pharaoh have overcome God's hardening of his heart? How?
The king's heart is in the hands of the LORD, as the rivers of water, he turns it whithersoever he will Proverbs 21:1
There is no question that Pharaoh hardened his own heart as is indicated in Ex. 8:15,32. Pharaoh is a responsible moral agent, but this doesn't answer the question of whether or not it was...
Paul clearly points out that what is foreknown is predestined, and while one could point out that the texts show God asking questions as if in ignorance, rhetorical questions are pervasive throughout both the Old and New Testaments; the figure Erotesis is especially common.
So the claim that God simply knew what Esau would do beforehand doesn't make much sense especially when Paul then asks the rhetorical question: "Is there unrighteouness with God?" There is no need or point in asking this question if God's reason for hating Esau is due to his foreknowledge of Esaus's future evil deeds.
Furthermore it isn't just Esau, but all of his descendants that are hated as well.
And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his...
There was a study done some years ago showing how many atheists were attending seminary and going on to pastor Christian churches. I can't find it anymore, but did locate one showing that 17% of pastors in Denmark, or Sweden were atheists. The thing I found intriguing wasn't just that they found the job spiritually or financially rewarding, but that so many of their congregation accepted them. This isn't the case everywhere. In some cases, a congregation can dwindle by two thirds as in a well known case up in Toronto Canada.
It seems to be catching on with the progressive Christians. I spent some time monitoring a progressive website after reading a few of Jack Spong's latest books. His writing would lead most conservative or...
Just what do the biblical authors mean by "God" anyways? We all know that all gods are imaginary, right? So what makes the biblical god any different than, oh let's say the 330 million deities that populate the Hindu pantheon of gods?
Well for starters, the biblical authors distinguish their "God" from the rest by pointing out that if you're imagining anything about "God", you're not imagining God at all. You're just looking at the product of your own imagination. They even have a word for it. They call it idolatry.
An idol is any object that is viewed as a god itself. In other words, the biblical authors don't believe in objectifying "God" at all. They can imagine all sorts of gods just like the next guy, and they can admit that...