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Marley’s Chains May 29, 2019

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion, Uncategorized.
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To paraphrase scripture as presented in the Message we see that not only has the Church become Israel many have become spies only pretending to be Christians, who slipped in to find out just how free true Christians are who seek to pervert the freedom from religious legalism Christ gives us.  They want to build their own kingdoms and feather their own nests by bringing others into the same religious bondage they drag around like Marley’s chains through a life that reeks of the grave.

Now the paraphrase of Romans 2:17-29:

If you’re brought up Christian, don’t assume that you can lean back in the arms of your religion and take it easy, feeling smug because you’re an insider to God’s revelation, a connoisseur of the best things of God, informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know God’s revealed Word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others through their blind alleys and dark nights and confused emotions to God. While you are guiding others, who is going to guide you? I’m quite serious. While preaching “Don’t steal!” are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you?  It is the same with adultery.  And it is the same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and his law. The line from Scripture, “It’s because of you Christians that the outsiders are down on God,” shows it’s an old problem that isn’t going to go away.

Baptism, the ritual that marks you as a Christian, is great if you live in accord with God’s law. But if you don’t, it’s worse than not being baptized. The reverse is also true: The unbaptized who keep God’s ways are as good as the baptized —in fact, better. Better to keep God’s law unbaptized than break it baptized. Don’t you see: It’s not the submerging in water that makes a Christian. You become a Christian by who you are. It’s the submerging of your heart in God, not the water on your skin that makes you a Christian.  And the recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics.

Not only are we warned to avoid the legalism of religion we are specifically warned about false teachers and wolves disguised as Christians who seek to build their own kingdoms and lead others astray.

At the end of the book of Romans Paul warns us; One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.

And in Philippians 3:17-19 Paul tells us; Stick with me, friends. Keep track of those you see running this same course, headed for this same goal. There are many out there taking other paths, choosing other goals, and trying to get you to go along with them. I’ve warned you of them many times; sadly, I’m having to do it again. All they want is easy street. They hate Christ’s Cross. But easy street is a dead-end street. Those who live there make their bellies their gods; belches are their praise; all they can think of is their appetites.

I’m not knocking anyone’s beliefs or their traditions.  What I am doing is trying to warn those who want to follow Christ.  We can’t let anyone, anything, or the peer pressure of any community fool us into elevating a system of man over the freedom of Christ.  We should ask ourselves, “How can customs, traditions, holidays, and ceremonies transplanted from paganism to attract or mollify converts as faith in Christ was spread, sometimes by the sword, across barbarian Europe after the fall of Rome save us?”  Anything that obscures the fact that it’s by faith alone that we’re saved and by obedience alone we’re changed is something holding us back from becoming what God created us to be.

Once again turning to Paul, the Apostle of the heart set free, we find in Galatians a stunning rebuke of those trying to turn a living faith into a religious structure.  In Chapter three he says, “What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one.

Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. But the Scripture has confined all under sin that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.”  After faith comes we’re free.  Holding on to the structure of religion may make following easier but making ourselves a slave to it doesn’t set us free.  And Christ came to set us free.

Remember whatever is not of faith is sin and  no one can snatch us out of the hand of God but we can sure jump.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2019 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

A Soap Opera That Never Ends Will Finally End Then What? June 6, 2018

Posted by Dr. Robert Owens in Religion.
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All my life I’ve been in love with History.  I learned at an early age that if you love reading you can live a thousand lifetimes and if you’re wise you have the opportunity to learn from the mistakes of others.  I’ve certainly experienced the former while unfortunately not doing much of the latter.

My love of History metastasized into a love of Political Science.  These two intellectual “Loves of my Life” have given me countless hours of joy lost in reading, mired in thinking, and entertained by speculation.

Now as I enter what are called the golden years, though I believe they might be made of brass, having spent several decades teaching both subjects I feel a need to share some insights not on particulars but instead on something that is usually disparaged and often dismissed, generalities.

Though most have never heard of him many can misquote the writer and philosopher George Santayana who is reported to have said, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”  What he actually said was, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  There is a subtle difference there for learning and remembering are two different things.  This sounds so wise.  It even appears self-evident.  And it apparently, at least to my observation, it’s an oxymoron.  After a daily study of History for sixty years the only lesson I’ve learned is that humanity never learns the lessons of History.

In my classes I tell my students that History is nothing more than the stories of people just like us who lived at different times in what were essentially different worlds.  They had the same bodies and minds that we do.  They felt the same emotions.  They lived, they died, and now it is our turn.  I also tell them that if we don’t learn anything from History that helps us in our everyday life we might as well read fiction.

I know that most people study History because they have to.  I know most people find it boring.  As an exercise in memorizing dates, names, and facts to be later regurgitated on a test and forgotten I can well understand the boring part.  There are so few who can see through to the stories making History so exciting.  So few can lose themselves in the narrative, imagine themselves on the deck of that ship, in the palace with the king, or in the hut with that peasant.  They only see dates, and names, and facts. BORING!

And Political Science who cares about that?  I tell my students who don’t care about it at all that it’s the science of who gets what and if they don’t care about it someone else will and then they get to make the decisions.  So what do you want?  You decide.

Now after decades spent following politics through the lens of History attempting to share with others the insights gained I must tell you all that it’s essentially the equivalent of an ant studying a castle made of sand.  He spends his life telling other ants how wondrous the castle is, how imposing its turrets are, how deep its moat, and how formidable its defenses then the waves come in the castle is gone and the ants have disappeared.

I recently taught a class on American History from 1877 until the present to a class full of millennials.  We used a textbook that was more than a thousand pages long.  It wasn’t until the last few pages that we reached anything the students could remember as having happened since they became aware of the world around them.  That last twenty minutes of the semester really had an impact.

To most people History begins the day they’re born.  For all of us it ends the day we die.  And Political Science ends up being the science of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

In the 4.5 billion years of this planets existence, in the fifteen billion years since the Big Bang the history of humanity doesn’t even take up the last few pages.  It would fill perhaps part of a sentence, a few words such as……………. All things will pass only those things done in Christ will last.

That’s it.  The sum total of all I have learned, all I have discovered, and all I will ever know.  No Christ no peace.  Know Crist know peace.  For those who seek to gain their life will lose it and those who lose their life for Christ will find it.  He is the truth, the light, and the life and without Him there is no truth, or light, or life.

Stop fighting a war that’s already been won.  Stop spinning your wheels running in a race that goes in a circle.  Step out of the darkness and into the light and let this be the first day of the rest of your life.

The stories of those who have gone before teach us nothing if they don’t lead us to Christ.  The politics of this world are an endless loop, a tempest in a teacup, a soap opera that never ends.  It may be engaging to watch like a slow motion train wreck.  It may be exciting, exhilarating, even entertaining but for most of us in a hundred years no one will even know we were here.  In a thousand years no one will remember the compelling arguments of today, the all-important bitter debates about whether we place the deck chair here or there.  Yet in an eternity from now heaven will know whether or not we acknowledged Christ as our Savior, for if we confess with our lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead we shall be saved.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com  © 2018 Contact Dr. Owens drrobertowens@hotmail.com   Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens or visit Dr. Owens Amazon Page / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

 

 

 

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