“Christian” Religion and Culture

Having lived in a missionary family, I can provide first hand testimony to the typical actions of the missionaries from America in the 20th century. There are books written of missionaries from other countries and denominations which give similar testimonies. One such book is "The Small Woman" by Alan Burgess, ISBN 1-56849-184-0.
 
The typical work of an American missionary is to westernize the culture of the people they are sent to. This culture change is not done in addition to preaching the gospel, the western culture is held forth as the gospel. This issue was often the topic of conversation at the dinner table. The western (American) culture is viewed as how one is to live the gospel. It is sad that this belief has resulted in the rejection of the gospel in so many countries. Christianity is held in great disrepute in the world because of the attempt to denigrate and change the culture of people in other countries.
 
American Christian religious organizations typically view their culture and country as a Christian culture and country. This religious culture, its norms and ethical values are viewed as the manner in which one is to live if one is a Christian. The government is viewed as originally established as a Christian government, founded on Christian principles. There is the belief that it exists to promote and protect the Christian religious organizations and culture. This is one reason why the religious public is so obsessed with politics and the protection of religious behavior in the public spaces of this country. Many religious Christians fear that if the government does not behave according to their religious cultural norms and ethics, that their God will punish the country.
 
Christianity, as established and delivered to us in the 1st century, began as a strictly Hebrew sect. It rapidly spread to the Gentiles of that day. It is noteworthy that the beliefs of this new sect were incorporated into the Gentile culture, which did not change significantly. In both the Hebrew culture and the Gentile culture, this sect was virtually invisible. It did not establish any type of institution, leadership hierarchy, or any other trappings typical of religion. This is the genius of the mature body of Christ that was established in the first century.
 
As is typical of most Christian religions, the Bible is used to legitimize their organizations, policies, procedures and beliefs. However, the vast majority of these beliefs cannot be justified by the Bible. So it is with the Christian religious culture.
 
As it is well documented in Acts 15, there was a push by some Hebrews to force the Gentile believers to become observant Jews. There was an insistence that these Gentiles change their culture. This issue was dealt with, once and for all, by all the Hebrew believers assembled in Jerusalem. The decision was made that the Gentiles would not be required to change their culture. A change in culture would not be Godly or scriptural. A letter was written to the Gentiles to comfort and strengthen them in this regard.
 
Acts 15:23 – 29 (NET Bible)
15:23 From the apostles and elders, your brothers, to the Gentile brothers and sisters in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia, greetings! 15:24 Since we have heard that some have gone out from among us with no orders from us and have confused you, upsetting your minds by what they said, 15:25 we have unanimously decided to choose men to send to you along with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul, 15:26 who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15:27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas who will tell you these things themselves in person. 15:28 For it seemed best to the Holy Spirit and to us not to place any greater burden on you than these necessary rules: 15:29 that you abstain from meat that has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what has been strangled and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from doing these things, you will do well. Farewell. 

Note the language and what it does not say. It does not use the word "obligation" or "salvation". It does not threaten them with hellfire or anything of the sort.

Paul follows through with this decision in his work, declaring by revelation that in Christ there is no race, gender or social status. These things have no spiritual significance! This does not mean that we ignore our Hebrew roots. In Romans Paul is careful to teach that the "root" (the Hebrews) support the "branches" (the Gentiles). We must be cognizant of our Hebrew roots if we are to begin to understand our new relationship with God and each other.
 
The American Christian religious culture is NOT and has NEVER been a Christian culture. The Christian religious beliefs and organizations have more in common with the ancient Greek and Roman pagans than they do with the believers of the first century!
 
We never had a Christian government. Our government has no obligation to protect or promote religious expression in public. It was never formed for that purpose. Just as it would be inappropriate for our government to enforce sharia law, it is inappropriate for it to enforce the laws and obligations of any other religion; that includes any current "Christian" religion.
 
As it has always done, religion continues to be one of the vicious, negative influences in the world, stirring up trouble where there is none. 
 
Christianity was never meant to be a religion; in truth it is a faith without religion. This faith is to set people free from fear so that they can live as never before; they can love as never before. 
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
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(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

 

 

 

Science and Society

Recently a question was asked on Google+ about climate change; what is the motivation behind this scientific hoax? The following is a possible answer.
 
Ever since the first governments and religions came into being, there has been a tense power struggle between these two entities. In these times, the influence of religion is all but gone. Science has begun to fill this vacuum provided by the absence of religion. 
 
With the production of the atomic bomb, scientists began to question the idea that the politicians should be in charge of this very real power. Knowledge is power! Who produces this knowledge? Science! Why should the scientists be treated as invisible, irrelevant servants of the government? Thus was born the ambition to wield the power inherent in scientific knowledge. This ambition has rapidly degraded to a standard lust for power.
 
Science has some institutional flaws; it does not have an institutional place in society as religion does; it does not have a source of funding which is independent from government. Science does not have a revered source of morals or ethicals; it does not have the institutional means to wield power. Like governments and religions of old, government and science have become codependent social entities.
An unbridled lust for power, coupled with an absence of ethics and morality, leads to an inescapable justification of "the end justifies the means".
 
This brings us to the scientific prevarication that has become known as (among other things) "climate change". Governments are in a world wide campaign to undo the advances of individual freedom achieved in the 20th century. They must convince an increasingly ignorant public to give up their freedom for a compelling "good reason". This "good reason" is supplied by science; "become a slave or the planet (and you) will die". 
 
Government supplies the funding, science provides validation services for the cooked data. Science has the opportunity to provide the policy recommendations which result in the enslavement of the masses. Both government and science share the money, power and influence.
More questions:
What should the role of science in a free society? How can this role be practically realized?
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe 
 

 

 

It’s Not Rational!

Lately, I have been involved in some discussions with a variety of people, ranging from the religious, to atheists. The subjects under consideration were basically spiritual in nature. There was a diversity of opinion offered in these discussions. Some became emotional;  differences of opinion on these subjects can be perceived as a personal threat. For the most part, spiritual wisdom was not well received or understood.In our culture, some of the factors which contribute to secular beliefs are Reason, Rationalism and Empiricism.

Religious belief is mainly formed by teaching of religious traditions, opinions and theories which may or may not be influenced by reason, rationalism and empiricism.
 
Discussions of ideas and beliefs among people assume that the people participating are logical, reasonable, rational people. However this is mainly a false assumption.
 
The information contained in the Bible, as originally imparted, is spiritual in nature. It describes the religious and secular traditions, beliefs, practices, teachings, knowledge and wisdom as "the wisdom of this world". "World wisdom" is acquired through the senses, via "…the spirit of the world." The religious seek mystical signs and religious experiences in the physical realm; the educated seek senses based wisdom.
 
God states that the wisdom of this world has failed; it cannot perceive or even ascertain him. You cannot acquire a knowledge of God by way of rationalism, empiricism, or religion. Thus it is irrational to believe in God, the creator of the universe, the Father of Jesus Christ; this belief is absolute foolishness, according to the standards of the world.
 
Only the spirit of (or from) God knows God. We who are spiritual have received this spirit from God so that we may know and understand all that God has lavished upon us. When speaking of spiritual matters and truths, we speak  truth taught to us by the spirit. An unspiritual person refuses that which is spiritual as it is foolishness to him or her; they are not able to grasp spiritual matters as they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person is able to discern all spiritual matters and wisdom. 
 
Thus it is unreasonable to expect unspiritual religious and secular people to receive or understand spiritual matters or truth. Spiritual wisdom is completely irrational; the unspiritual literally do not have the capacity to receive this wisdom or knowledge. No amount of reason or logic will enable an unspiritual person to know God.
 
Yet, it is necessary to continue to speak truth taught by the spirit in order to find those who are called by God. It is necessary to continue to speak in order to strengthen those who are called, so that they can come to a knowledge of the truth. This is an expression of God's love for the world.
 
One major, fundamental spiritual concept which the religious and secularists have difficulty with is our redemption which Jesus Christ earned for us. 
 
Due to religious influences, the secularist is quick to deny the existence of sin. However, through death, our savior destroyed the power of death and delivered all who were subject to lifelong slavery through the fear of death. Death is the wages of sin; sin is separation from God. The free gift of God, among other things, is eternal life through Jesus Christ. The concepts in this paragraph are spiritual in nature, they are spiritually discerned. Now, the secularists who live by empiricism, cannot deny death, nor can they embrace any form of life after death as that would involve believing in something without any evidence.
 
The religious will undoubtedly affirm some form of the free gift of God, mentioned above. However the religious doctrines, teachings and behaviors all stand in denial of God's free gift. An aspect of this gift is that God made sure that the body of our sin was crucified with Christ. Furthermore, through one mans action, death ruled; all were condemned through that one man. So, the act of righteousness by one man leads to justification and life for all. 
 
Justification is a legal judicial verdict – the charges against us were dismissed because Jesus Christ paid the penalty; he became our substitute. There is no further judgment for those who accept the free gift of God; the charges have been dismissed! Now (it has already happened) we have been given the righteousness of God through Jesus Christ. All this is nonsense to the religious adherents whose thinking is saturated with the wisdom of the world. These are spiritual concepts which are spiritually discerned and understood. There is no mystical sign or religious experience to confirm the accomplishments of Jesus Christ and render them understandable to the mind that is set on the world.
 
The religious discuss religion, the secularists discuss rationalism and empiricism. Don't be surprised when they cannot seem to comprehend the irrational spiritual truths that God has made available.
 
"Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
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(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

 

 

 

More on Positive Thinking

The previous posting on "positive thinking" was rather critical. My wonderful wife recently introduced me to a woman on Youtube who is an example of the appropriate application of positive thinking. (The link to my wife's posting on Google+ can be found at the end of this post.)

 

The womans name is Lizzie Velasquez. She is faced with almost insurmountable challenges, yet she has endured to have a successful life. No, she has not overcome her challenges, she has succeeded in spite of them. Even though it was not fair, Lizzie chose to change; she directed the changes in her thinking and attitude. The challenges of her life were not allowed to direct these changes. The development of her thinking and attitude shaped the actions she took as a result. This is important – thinking and attitude will do nothing for you if there is no action.
 
See the following link to a video presentation by Lizzie Velasquez:
 
 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe 

 

The Quest For Healing

The quest for healing can be a heart-rending, all consuming quest. I have been involved in several such quests during my lifetime, for myself, family members and others. There are few such challenges which exposes a persons true beliefs and expectations.

In our culture (especially in religious culture), we have been generally taught to live by recipe. So it is with healing. When illness strikes, the search for a curative recipe begins. Another search is performed which consists of answering the question "…what did I do wrong?" Even the "faithless" among us seek to answer this question. (A recipe is a list of things to do in order to obtain a desired result.)
 
Those that do believe in healing from God generally believe in a Hollywood, stained-glass mythology which has nothing to do with Biblical scripture. This mythology has been promoted and packaged as a commodity. This commodity is marketed to people who are desperately seeking the recipe of healing.   The pulpit and other forums seem to produce an unending supply of recipes for healing. Most of these recipes are accompanied by scripture for validation and a plea for cash. In most cases, the recipe is devoid of any beneficial result.
 
As one in need of healing and having a knowledge of the Bible, I studied every record of healing that I could find in the Bible. One or more of these records refutes every single recipe for healing that I have ever heard. These recipes for healing basically leads to damaging and unholy practices that benefit no one.
What I did learn from all these records of healing is that the main question is not "…how do I get healed?" but rather, "…how do I endure until I am healed?"
 
I eventually was healed. The greatest miraculous healing I ever experienced happened when I was alone, at night, walking down a busy highway. I was delivered from a chronic condition that had challenged me for close to 30 years. Endurance is key. (See the chapters on Job, parts 1 and 2.)
 
If you are challenged with sin consciousness, or you think you are unworthy, not good enough to be healed, I refer you to a record of healing in 1 Kings 13:1 – 6. The man that was healed was a king who was turning his entire country to idolatry. Even after the healing, he did not change his ways. 
God does not inflict people with sickness to teach them or to improve their character. God is good always. (See the chapter "No Condemnation".) Don't wear yourself out requiring a "miraculous" healing that conforms to your every expectation. 
 
Most of the ineffective recipes refer to prayer and "claiming God's promises". (See the chapter "The Promises of God")
 
One of the detrimental effects of the popular recipes for healing is that they increase stress and decrease endurance. I found that as I refused to follow these recipes, I had more energy, less stress and anxiety. This enabled me to improve my endurance.
 
Update: After re-reading this post, the need for some examples became apparent. So, here are some examples of recipes for healing I have heard through the years:

 

  • "Clean up" your life (literally and figuratively)
  • Renew your mind
  • Only speak and think positives
  • Study the bible more
  • Give more money
  • Serve more
  • Pray more
  • Pray for others
  • Visualize your deliverance in detail
  • Figure out what fear cause this to happen and face your fear
  • Find and memorize as many verses as you can that will encourage and "inspire" you
  • Take "this class"
  • Find the "right" person to minister to you
Note that none of these recipes were required for the healing previously mentioned.

 

 

 

 

 
My book "Godly Abundance and Prosperity", Kindle edition, is now available at
The paperback is available at https://www.createspace.com/4552448
 
Leave a comment, or contact me at keith@ksradcliffe.com
(C)2014 Keith S. Radcliffe