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Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

“When I was a child , I spake as child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11 kjv

One of my most memorable experiences from childhood was my baptism in the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

The Holy Ghost was formally introduced to us when Jesus ascended into heaven saying to his disciples:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:26 kjv

The disciples we understandably distraught over Jesus’ departure and weren’t particularly comforted by Jesus’ proclamation of the comforter, that is until the day of Pentecost.

1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance Acts 2:1-4 kjv

The role of the Holy Spirit was to provide a guiding voice in the life of believers. He is that ever doubting voice in the back of your head encouraging you to do thus or discouraging other actions. He is a constant presence providing direction in a cloudy world and the completion of the Holy Trinity. The Father, The Son and The Holy Ghost.

Interesting that he is called a Ghost.

Indeed the Holy Ghost is so important, that of the members of the Trinity, he is the only one of whom has been said:

But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Mark 3:26

Reason tells me at this point in my life that this is because of the 3, the Holy Ghost is the most unbelievable and serves the least purpose. Therefore, the unforgivable sin is invoked to prevent undo questioning of him.

As a child and even into my teen years I often worried if I had committed the unforgivable sin. When I would ask the answer was always the same: “If you had committed it you would not care if you had or not”. Not an especially comforting answer for a developing child wrought with guilt but it sufficed on multiple occasions. I suppose my current state would suggest I have finally succeeded in committing said sin.

What I think the fundamentalist church does not fully understand, or maybe it does, is the impact that it’s teaching have on children. We will discuss at length the effect that they had on my life specifically but I do not believe my experience to be in way unique. Children look to the adults in their life for guidance and confirmation that they have made good decisions, they want to please the adults and of course in particular their parents.

Fundamental churches believe that the day of Pentecost is not reserved for some of Jesus’ followers in a loft but rather a manifestation of a gift from God for all and still actively ask God to bless them with the same gift given to his followers in the New Testament.

Going back to my spiritual baptism then at age 12. The service as I recall was not unlike any other service in which the power and the comfort of the Holy Spirit was taught. These types of services were always followed by an invitation by the speaker to come forward to the alter to be baptized in the Holy spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Those of us who had not been baptized felt immense pressure to do so but the fear of failure was monumental. The thought of going up to the alter in front of all those people and not being able to speak in tongues was petrifying, but each time there was such a call my parents would gently nudge and ask if I wanted to do so. On this occasion, for whatever reason, I was feeling particularly worthy and agreed.

I would like to describe the setting at some length here because I believe it is an important for you to fully understand the experience and a part of this experience is the environment in which it is set.

I attended a large church, the sanctuary, which is the large theater where the congregation sat, held around 500 people. A far cry from the mega churches but a large audience nonetheless. It had very tall vaulted ceilings, at its peak, in excess of 50 feet, this made sanctuary feel much bigger than it actually was. The pews sat in three rows. The center row was the widest with narrower rows on either side of it divided by aisles. Above that sat the balcony and it stretched about half the length of the lower level. The sanctuary its self, was ornate with fancy decorum in differing shades of purple. The pulpit was made of glass and stood at the end of a 35 foot deep platform in front of a very large wall with 25’ Cross which stood above the baptism tank that was used for water baptism. The front of this platform was the alter and it stretched the full length of the sanctuary in front of the pulpit.

The service always starts with worship. Worship is not the reserved practice you may have seen in a Catholic mass but an energized event full of loud singing, dancing in place, hand waving and crying. Occasionally this service would be interrupted by an especially holy event called “Tongues and Interpretation”.

In a lull in the worship service someone (as often as not my mother) would begin loudly speaking in tongues. As the speaker spoke their foreign language the building would fall silent and everyone would listen. Once the speaking of tongues was done the silence remained as all waited for another person to interpret what had just been said. I remember well the growing tension as time would tick by, every second seeming like an eternity, as we waited for the Lord to move upon someone with the correct words. Then it would come, it always did, and it always began the same way: “My people, my people I say unto you” I always thought it interesting that God spoke in King James English but I certainly was not going to judge the Lord himself. After the message had been interpreted the congregation would clap and rejoice in the words of the Lord and the worship service would continue.

Between the worship service and the preachers message there was the collection of money. This event was generally precipitated by the reading of the Word of God commanding his people to give their 10% and a prayer over the offering asking God to move his people to give. In the event of a special speaker, a second offering called a “Love Offering” would be taken at the end of the service.

The preacher speaks from the platform though I dare say rarely from behind the pulpit. In my fundamental upbringing it was much more common for the speaker to be pacing back and forth from one side of the platform to the other speaking loudly then softly and then loudly all the while wiping the sweat from his brow with the customary white kerchief. As seen through the eyes of a child the preacher is nearly superhuman. All the adults listen intently to his words, they nod their heads, they shout in agreement and write down all the things he has to say. He is clearly an important person and appointed by God and the child in the church tip toes around him for fear of making him displeased.

At the end of every service is an alter call. The nature of the alter call varied depending on the content of the sermon, but nearly always included a portion for those who did not know Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior to come forward and accept him and eternal life. Upon coming forward the lost or in need would have hands laid upon them by the elders of the church (chief among them my father). The elders would pray for them in unison, generally slipping in and out of the tongues of angels in the process.

On this occasion the sermon was about the power and comfort of the Holy Spirit and I, a 12 year old boy, answered the call. I moved to the front of the church towards the alter and immediately wished I hadn’t. Doubt clouded my mind and 500 sets of eyes were peering down on me from all around. As I walked down the aisle I could hear the whispers of “hallelujah” and “praise Jesus” and sniffs of old ladies rejoicing to see a young person answering the call of the Holy Spirit. I was mortified! What if the Holy Spirit rejected me, what if I was unable to speak in tongues, what would they say?

As I approached the elders I looked to the left and the right and to my dismay realized I was the sole respondent to the call that evening.

At 12 I was tall drink of water. I stood maybe 5’7” and weighed all of 80lbs. Always the tallest in my class, I was also the thinnest. As I approached the group of 8 adult men they opened to form a half circle and asked me to kneel, as I did so the group collapsed around me as all 8 full grown adult men formed a circle around me with their hands on my back, shoulders and head. They began to pray.

7 of the 8 men (including my father) began, as was often the case, to pray in tongues speaking words that I could not understand but which, presumably, God did. The eighth man knelt in front of me and endeavored to coach me through the process of loosening my tongue and allowing the Holy Spirit to take over my body and control my tongue. The pressure was insurmountable, I simply did not know what to do, I knew relatively quickly that this was not going to work, perhaps I was not worthy, perhaps I did not believe strongly enough, whatever the case it was evident to me that the Holy Spirit was not going to enter me that day. But what to do? The embarrassment would be to much to bear and with my father so adamantly praying over me, how could I face him? I decided to try and fake it. To my surprise with each grunt or noise I made the more enthusiastically the men prayed and the more joyful their tone and expressions. As an imaginative child I had made up my own language long ago and as I slipped into this language it gained credibility as a gift from God.

When it was over I was pronounced baptized in the Holy Spirited as evidenced by speaking in tongues. My father and mother were elated, they took me out to dinner to celebrate and all the others in the church congratulated me on this big step in my relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

But as I saw it, there was no other acceptable outcome. To fail would have been devastating and my already lowered self confidence, thanks to the continual teachings of unworthiness, would have collapsed entirely as I watched my role models hang their heads in disappointment.

It was that night that my skepticism began to set in. “These were men of God” I thought, “that should not have worked, they should have seen right through my deception”. But it did work and from that point on I was looked at in a completely different light. I was encouraged to use my new prayer language all the time, to foster it and grow it. It never occurred to me before that night to question the gift of the Holy Spirit but after that I did. I listened to everyone’s prayer language and wondered if they too had just made it up and I wondered if they believed they were speaking in the tongues of angels or if they too were just trying to do what was expected of them.

~AP~

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I got hooked on a band named XTC in 1989 when they realeased their album entitled Oranges and Lemons.  A few years later Purchased the album Skylarking and discovered Dear God.  The song rang true with my soul and in that time of decision making was a comfort to me.  If you haven’t heard it (which I find unlikely) I hope you enjoy it.  If you have I hope you enjoy it again.

Frankly I don’t think it can be said for me much better than they have said it here.

~AP~

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May 7th is the “National Day of Prayer” This is the time when Christians throughout the nation dedicate a day to prayer. The day was signed in to law by President Truman in 1952.

In a nation as diverse as the US you would think that something as single minded as the National Day of Prayer might loose sponsorship from the government.

Strictly speaking the day would not include Catholics, Mormonism, Judaism, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhism, Baha’I Faith, Coadaism, Cao Dai, Druidism, Confucianism, Druse, Eckankar, Hare Krishna, Jainism, Santeria, Scientology, Shintoism, Taoism, Unitarianism, Vondu, Zoroastrianism, and of course Atheists.

The US government sponsored day, is a law supporting the following values:

In accordance with Biblical truth, the National Day of Prayer Task Force seeks to:

  • Foster unity within the Christian Church
  • Protect America’s Constitutional Freedoms to gather, worship, pray and speak freely.
  • Publicize and preserve America’s Christian heritage
  • Encourage and emphasize prayer, regardless of current issues and positions
  • Respect all people, regardless of denomination or creed
  • Be wise stewards of God’s resources and provision
  • Glorify the Lord in word and deed

The case can be made that since the major faiths in America are Protestant and the protestant religions believe that Catholics are hell bound, because they pray to the saints and of course the virgin Mary as well as other key theological differences, that the intent of this day excludes Catholics.  In addition it would certainly exclude Mormons who did the ultimate no-no of adding on to the bible. 

According to ReligiousTolerance.com protestant America is represented by roughly 52% of the US population.
 
This day then is designed by a slight majority to pray against the other 48% of the population.  Have no delusion about this.  They are praying against everyone else.  I don’t care if they pray, pray away, it is not as if your prayer will actually accomplish something.  What I do care about though is the mentality behind the prayer, the propagation at a national level that the Christian is superior in thought, mind and deed to the other 48% of the population, the propagation at a Government level that the Christian agenda is deserving of national recognition. 

 Lets review what we are recognizing with this day

  • A religion that refutes evolution, which would force evolution out of the school system in favor of a 6,000 year old planet.
  • A religion that would force our children to pray to their God in schools
  • A religion that would completely outlaw all alternative lifestyles
  • A religion that would encourage the beating of children for wrong doing
  • A religion that stifles all creativity and wonder by explaining all unknowns as God did it
  • A religion that would remove alcohol from our nation
  • A religion that would remove a woman’s right to choose
  • A religion that supported slavery
  • A religion that supported the denial of a woman’s right to vote
  • A religion that is responsible for the continuation of minority rights struggles
  • A religion that encourages prayer over action
  • A religion that……………………………….

 
Need I go on? The Christian will say “If you don’t want to pray then don’t pray, why are you making such a big deal about it?”

I am making a big deal about it because it is a federal law that this day must be observed on the first Thursday of May.  This is not a conglomerate of churches saying “Hey, lets get together and pray on Thursday” it is a federally sponsered day, supporting an agenda that is completely ludicrous. That is why I am making a big deal about it and why you should make a big deal about it too.

~AP~

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This is a product for sale at a site called Vision Christian Store

“Genesis 1:24 – And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

Do christians really think they are doing thier kids a service by teaching them this kind of rubbish?

~AP~

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That’s right. According to the Bible your kids are hell bound where they will be tortured for all eternity. Poor 4 year old Johnny died and now he is burning in hell. It makes me sad to say, but it is not my religion and I did not make the rules.

I was perusing comments over at Proud Atheists this morning and came across a comment that stated children are exempt from God’s judgment until they are old enough to accept or reject God.

Putting aside the entire host of additional questions that pop up about mental capacity and where the line is drawn in development to make such a decision, those who cannot see or hear etc…. I want to discuss further the idea that God somehow has made any such claim that children are exempt.

It has traditionally been accepted (at least by evangelicals) that because no sin can enter into heaven:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelations 21:8

And

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelations 21:27

And because of original sin most notably the sin of Adam :

“For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.” 1 Corinthians 15:22

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5:12

Unless the parents of the child are “saved” then the children of those parents are hell bound along with the parents. However, if the parents are “saved” then the children are covered through the parents salvation until the child reaches the “age of accountability”.

This is a useful tool when evangelizing. If you cannot appeal to a persons sense of self preservation then you can always appeal to their desire to protect their children.

The idea that your sins are damming your children has support, biblically, with the concept of “the sins of the father”. And sin being a generational offense.

“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Exodus 20:5

“You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me,” Deuteronomy 5:9

“Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” Exodous 34:6-7

The Bible has clearly established that no sin can enter into heaven and that the sins of ones parents (well the bible is very sexist so the sins of ones father) are passed down to their children. Thus a child born in sin is also a sinner and cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.

However, the bible also states that because of Adam’s deed everyone is born a sinner and as we just stated cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The solution to get to heaven is a deliberate act of contrition and belief:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me John 14:6

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. John 3:16 – 18.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:3

There are no Bible verses (at least none that I can think of) that support the idea directly that if a parent is covered by the blood of the lamb then too shall the parents’ offspring so long as the parents remain in obedience to God until the child reaches the “Age of accountability”. There are also no scriptural references to the “age of accountability, it is a fabrication. I suppose Christendom thought it to harsh to inform it’s members that since all are born sinners, all go to hell until one actually receives salvation through a deliberate act of contrition and faith.

On the contrary, as we have seen, there are plenty of verses that support the idea that all are born in sin and that sin cannot enter into heaven. This quite clearly states that your children are hell bound. No amount of applying logic to the situation and asking why God would send little children to hell will change that fact. To ask such questions makes you an Atheist. We know that God has no issues with putting damnation on children, he did it many many times in the bible.

The truth is that to accept the God of the bible is to accept that your kids are going to hell, where they will burn with fire and brimstone and the nashing of teeth and all the other delights God has planned.

~AP~

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Sounds like what I remember from church. Kid’s pretty good even got the message right blah, blah, blah, blah LOL. I just love all the fundi’s praising God during this “sermon”.

~AP~

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Ha ha I would really like to have this action figure set. I was a big G.I. Joe fan as a kid but this…. who knew 🙂

~AP~

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