Friday, November 14, 2008

Finished

God's Word has never been an easy thing to swallow for anybody.
Especially me.

I sit here, tears streaming down my face as I wonder where I went wrong in sharing my thoughts, feelings, and emotions about the church, Christ, and my relationship with it all. I have this blog to share what I think. To be honest, I didn't get it to witness. My myspace is for that. As well as my own life. This is a place I can share how I feel, what I think.

Apparently I've "offended numerous people often" with the things I write on this blog. Apparently I'm condemning, harsh, cold, and hateful. Apparently the things I say come off wrong and offensive. And these people that are being offended don't come to me to discuss these things; they take it up with my mom. And I hear about it from her. And that never ends well.

So I'm finished. I'm done being on my "high horse" when I write things. I'm finished being "offensive". I'll stop writing about the truths of scripture. I'll stop bashing religion just like Jesus did. I'll stop typing what God Himself has laid on my heart. I'll stop hurting feelings of those that are offended by the truths of scripture I provide. I'm done with it.

From here on out, any blogs I post will be on Myspace and will be available to be read only by certain people on my friends list. I'm finished with this blog. It hurts me that I cannot write feelings without being put down for it. It hurts me that my own family cannot accept what God has grown me into, and that I come off as condemning and self-righteous.
Apparently, I have no idea how to be a loving Christian, and I've got a lot of growing to do.
Which, to be honest, I do!


I am spiritually hurt and exhausted from having to hear about all of the horrible, wrong, offensive things I write. So I'm done with this. I've absolutely loved having this blog because it's given me such a great opportunity to write about everything going on. Sometimes it's just good to get it out, you know? Everybody has things inside they wish to convey. I just chose to actually convey them.




Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written:

‘ This people honors Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition."

Mark 7:5-9







But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”

Acts 5:29-32







"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, as well as his own life, he can't be my disciple."
Luke 14:26









It is not my job, as a christian, to make sure I never offend anyone. It is my job to be sure that I never teach anything false or unbiblical. It is my job to preach the gospel in season and out of season, and to correct those who are wrong. I need correction as well. I am so dishonest and untrue so much of the time, I admit it! I am not always right, and so very wrong so very often. But I know that when God lays a truth on my heart that cannot be countered biblically, there is absolutely nothing wrong with posting it, regardless of whom it may offend. I will step on toes as a christian. It is impossible to be a follower of Jesus Christ and never offend anyone - even Christians. I am not perfect. I am not eloquent. I do not word things properly. I don't always come across greatly. I am a fallen human being with sinful lusts and horrible pride. I mess up daily. I am not great.
I will never be great.
You cannot expect me to always be right on. You cannot expect me to always speak perfect truth. Because I cannot. It is impossible. I will always let somebody down. I will always fail.

But to assume that I will never offend you and still always speak truth is ludicrous and impossible.



From here on out I will still have my Myspace blog. I'm finished with this one. It causes too much drama and I can't handle it. I will end it with a defense and an apology.


I am terribly sorry if I have ever offended any of you with false assumptions, accusations, or statements. I am deeply grieved that I would hurt the feelings of any person with wrongful writings. I would, however, like to defend my stance on biblical baptism and why I view it as I do;


Pastor Matt made a really great point when he said last Sunday that people in the early church apparently saw baptism as something entirely different as we see baptism today. Today it's so ritualistic. Today it's made out to be an ordeal that the family must attend with cameras. The sermon always has to be cut short so we have enough time for the baptism before church lets out at noon exactly - otherwise, people may be angry. Get the cameras ready. Everybody give him/her a pat on the back for what they've accomplished in doing by being dunked in water. Everybody cheers, it's so exciting. And it was crucial that everything was in order, everybody was there, and it went right according to schedule.


I'm terribly sorry for this next seemingly offensive but completely biblical statement;
This was never how the early church did it, and I would be shocked to have anybody tell me it's right.


When the early church heard the words "baptism", they heard "immediate". There was something about baptism in the book of Acts that came with immediate actions. There was no delay in the church. There wasn't a big family gathering. People heard "be baptised" and they were baptised right then and there! Baptism is, as Pastor Matt said, "the wedding ring of the christian faith." It is your way of showing the world that you are Christ's and He is yours. When you get married, you don't set up an appointment to exchange your rings in a week. You put the rings on at your ceremony. Your marriage is not made complete without them. And your salvation, though secure, is still missing something until you become baptised. And to make a person wait when they are ready, to me, is torture. I also believe that if a person is ready to be baptised, but isn't willing to do it until certain family or friends can be there, they have missed the entire point of baptism and don't want it for the right reasons.

It's perfectly okay to have your friends and family, and those closest to you right there to share such a strong and important part of your christian faith with you. It's a beautiful thing to have people to share it with. But baptism isn't about them. Baptism is about you and Jesus Christ. If you're ready, and God is pushing on your heart to be baptised, and you hold off just so others can see you do it - you've missed the point. To be honest, looking back on my baptism, I wish I would have done it right when I asked for it to be done. If I were to wish to get baptised right now, I would call somebody over and we'd get in that bathtub and dunk me! That's what's important. Having your family and friends there is not. Making it ritualistic with big smiles, cameras, and pats on the back are not what baptism is about. Baptism is what you do as a follower of Jesus Christ FOR HIM, and not for anybody else.

Am I saying any of those extra things are wrong? No. Am I saying that waiting is wrong? Possibly. Because you never saw in it in the early church.


I think way too long we've let our church traditions overrule our biblical traditions. We let our own ideas and how we've been raised mold what we believe church and a relationship with Christ is supposed to be, rather than allowing the book of Acts, the epitome of the word church, shape our body of believers today. And that is the biggest problem I have. I have no problem with traditions. I have no problems with how people choose to do things. I have problems with our own ideas and traditions being contrary to the Word and being set as how we perform as a body of Christ.



Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”
And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

Acts 2:38-41



So the eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
Acts 8:34-39


This is beautiful! The Eunuch, just having been saved, apparently realized his desperate need for baptism. Baptism most definitely meant something completely different and deeper to him than what we see it as today in most of our churches. He didn't call up his friends and family. He didn't wait it out. He stopped, seeing the water, and questioned why in the world they were delaying his outward expression of salvation. "What hinders me?", he asked. And when he was ready, he was baptised. Right then and there. They commanded the chariot to stand still. They stopped what they were doing. They quit in their tracks. They went into that water and baptised a man that needed it. And our churches can't even go five minutes over in a service to put a man in a baptismal pool when he is ready?





While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
Acts 10:44-48


These people were commanded to be baptised instantly! There were no questions about having family there, or making schedules. In God's kingdom, there are no schedules. There are men that come to Jesus and need His renewing touch. Peter didn't even glorify God for the saved souls before they were baptised! He was grieved because of their salvation without the baptism. If Peter sat in one of our churches today, saw a man in want of baptism, and watch us appoint him a time in a week to be baptised, I really don't believe Peter would stand for it. I can imagine he would walk straight up to the front, grab the man's hands, drag him outside, find a body of water, and dunk him in immediately. Because that is what baptism is about. It is an outward expression of an inward transformation and it begs to be placed right along with the moment of salvation.



Can we make schedules and appointments and have cameras for baptisms? Well sure. Is it wrong and ungodly? I don't believe so.

But the most important question I would pose is this;
Is it biblical?


Because Pastor Robbie once preached one of my favorite sermons on the most important question ever. He submitted that asking yourself "is this the wrong thing to do?" is not the question you should be posing. Instead, you should be asking yourself "what is the wise thing to do?" And the wise thing to do will always come from the Word of God, and will never be wrong regardless of what any man's tradition will ever tell you.




This ended a lot longer than I had planned. But I figured for my last blog, I might as well make it good. I appreciate you who read and engaged yourselves in my life. I loved the comments and e-mails I would get as a response to my posts. If you're a friend on Myspace, start checking me out on there.



God Bless!

14 comments:

Joelseph said...

Am I saying that waiting is wrong? Possibly. Because you never saw in it in the early church.

You never saw musicians on a stage either. You never saw anything remotely similar to what we know as the "alter call" today. You never saw decisional salvation. You never heard any of these phrases:

"What will you do with Jesus?"
"If you died today, do you know you'd go to heaven?"
"Every head bowed, every eye closed, no one's looking, this is between me, you, and God. Slip your
hand up where I can see it. I see that hand, thank you."

Repentance was never an offer given by the early church. It was a command. And by that command, three thousand were added to their number in a single day.

We are such a far-cry from the early church. And if we're going to follow out our biblical convictions consistently, there's a lot more wrong today than just baptism.

On the topic of baptism, as far as WHEN we're supposed to be baptised, I personally don't think is much of an issue. I believe there are much greater concerns, though I WOULD lean more toward the 'as soon as possible' side. But I don't think that because Philip baptised the Ethiopian immediately, we should start militantly claiming to have the most biblical view.

As far as WHY we get baptised, that's a different issue, and IS a big concern. But of course, it wouldn't be safe to assume that anyone, or even most of the people, who schedule baptisms are doing it to be seen. And I don't think you assume that.

But about your blogs being offensive, I'd say the people being offended....should not be. It should encourage them to get in the Word and challenge themselves, which they SHOULD be doing everyday anyway. For instance, I'll make it a habit to read any anti-calvinistic stuff I find. Some of it is pure hatred, even to the point of showing little cartoon pictures of Satan endorsing calvinism, lol. No joke. But it at least makes me go back and check everything.

The Word of God, instead of simply affirming what we already believe, should be CONFORMING us to itself. And many times even breaking us of things that we might hold dear. If we always find the Bible just affirming what we already believe, you can be certain it's because we're not really taking in all of it, but instead only the parts we like.

So in conclusion, I'm sorry you're taking heat. It seems odd to me that people would rather talk to your mom, than at least try to have some meaningful dialogue with you about the topic. At the same time, I'll offer some advice. Ask yourself tough questions. The toughest of the tough. Make sure that in writing about these things, it's for the sole purpose of edifying believers, and glorifying God as He should be. Is it really so that the church will obtain a better understanding of Jesus and the things He taught? Could there possibly be motives that are secretly self-gratifying?

These are questions for YOU to ask and answer for yourself, and I have to ask myself too. I always like reading this blog, so it's sad to me that you won't be writing anymore, and I can't read your Myspace ones. Or at least the latest one.

Be blessed!

-joel

the_art_of_letting_go said...

I think your blog entries are insightful and share the journey of falling in love with God and getting on the word. I truely think people that come here can be ministered to.

if they get offended that's not your fault. offense is a choice.

Anonymous said...

This was a private email sent to my grand-daughter.....I was not offended but I feel no less a personal relationship with Jesus than someone who was baptized within minutes of conversion.

excerpts from Kristi's blog....

The sermon lasted maybe ten or fifteen minutes, and it was on the subject of baptism. As soon as he finished and canceled out every excuse NOT to get baptised, Pastor Matt made a call to everybody in the place to be baptised in water if they had not already done so.
_______________

Growing up in a good ol' southern baptist church, whenever a person was ready to get baptised, they were usually brought up in front of the whole congregation, and a scheduled baptism was made usually for the following Sunday or the next.

When I thought about that, I felt sick in my stomach
_______________

Funny what makes one sick to the stomach.......... My immediate thought was Pastor Matt preached on baptism and ask all those that had not been baptised to come and be baptized. I heard nothing of repentence of sin. Baptism doesn't cut it......that made my heart hurt. If I died before being baptized I'd still be with Jesus. If I was baptized without ever having received Jesus I would be in Hell. Kristi, no earthly domination, Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, or Assembly of God is perfect or gets it all right. Don't be judgmental if your way of thinking is different. The point is everyone needs to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Baptism is an outward sign that we are following Jesus command to repent and be baptized. The people in those days were baptized in a lake, sea, stream maybe, you were baptized in a concrete pool in the back side of church.....shame on you! Love you bunches,Nana

This is a public apology for causing such stress that you would stop a blog that has blessed me from day one and I am sure it is a blessing to others as well. I would never want to say/do anything to deliberately cause you pain. I love you and that was not my intention. At this point I can only ask you to forgive me.

I love you. Nana

Joelseph said...

Right on, Nana! :) I liked what you said a lot.

Repentance has gotten so lost in today's sermons. Not saying anything about Kristi's pastor, but just in general.

Anonymous said...

so are you ashamed of what you say? i don't believe in god, but i just find it strange that someone as faithful and convinced as you would be afraid of offending people with what you believe is true. i thought you were ballsy, but i guess if what people think is more important.. !

hypocritical, a bit?

Joelseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joelseph said...

Hi "anonymous,"

:)

Baptism is a minor issue within the Christian faith. Different people hold different views on it, depending on how they read scripture. And you're right, in a sense. As Christians we have to preach Christ and him crucified, no matter who it offends. The Gospel will always offend. In Mark 13:13, Jesus himself told His disciples "you will be hated by all for my name’s sake." And in John 15, he adds "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you."

So we are most certainly not called to back down from preaching the Gospel to all people. But what you have to remember is that this is not the Gospel that is being discussed. This is a discussion of how baptism should take place after one has come to faith in Christ, and what the Bible has to say about it.

So in light of that, we should heed to what Paul says in Titus 3:9 where he warns believers to "avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless." Also, in his first letter to Timothy, Paul talks about those who have "an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words."

So what I'm getting at here, is that baptism is a secondary issue, and is not a primary concern. First and foremost, we're to preach the cross of Christ unashamedly. We're to proclaim salvation for all who believe so that His sheep will hear his voice (John 10). And that is where all born-again believers stand united. But when it comes to secondary issues about the affairs of the church, there can be disagreements that we should not offend other people over. Baptism is one of those things.

Hope this sheds more light on it for ya. God bless.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate you who read and engaged yourselves in my life. I loved the comments and e-mails I would get as a response to my posts............or maybe not!

Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joseph said...

man, it's going down in here.

so i personally don't think you should leave for various reasons.

1. The blog is primarily for the glory of God. We don't preach the gospel for people to get their best life now, we preach the gospel primarily to proclaim the glory of God. Secondarily to see people saved. In others words, even if we knew no one would ever be saved, we would still do it.

Seeing as how that's the primary focus I see no reason to stop.

2. The desire to 'shut it down' is reactionary, the emotions are running high, you've been hurt and your flesh wants the 'prideful hard-hearted people to be left to their demise.' Give it a couple of days, wait it out, do some prayer etc.

3. Recognize this as the grace of God. No-one ever accused Christ of being prideful, harsh, but not prideful. It's because they couldn't. This is going to sound odd but it gets the point across. No one calls me a creep or a murderer because they do not perceive me as such and I have never done anything to give them that idea. I have been called other things however, such as prideful. They were right and they are always right. Simply b/c the moment I disagree and rebel is the moment they are right

Your response only shows that your condemners are to a degree correct. Yes they went about it the wrong way, yes they are prideful, yes they are not loving and merciful, but that doesn't at all negate the reality that they have said something with truth in it. They might do it out of the hardness of heart, they might fundamentally disagree, or whatever, but the sovereignty of God is in it. He is using it to get a point across, you're not humble enough, you're not broken enough, you're not gentle enough, and you're not loving enough. Your response should be sorrow for your sin, sorrow for those accusing you, and thankfulness for the grace of God, that instead of leaving you in this 'self-righteous' state of mind, He loves you enough to shake you up a bit and bring you out.

There is a time when we are to be harsh like the prophets, but we should err on the side of grace and mercy always. Christ is both a lion and a lamb. Guys like Washer and the prophets could be harsh and sarcastic b/c they have callouses on their knees. And they have an incredible amount of discernment. You have none of that. Not to mention, the harshness takes place in the pulpit, in open air preaching, not on a blog where things can be easily misinterpreted.

I understand that it's your heart, and it's what you think is right, but there are plenty of loud people out there who think they're right about everything when they're so far from the truth it's scary. I just got done talking to a man the other day, he was taking verses out of context, injecting his own philosophy, ignoring entire texts, explaining away others, all so he could live how he wants.

You can get your point across with serious bite w/o 'loud and brash' sentences.

Now, as far as the baptismal thing goes, Baptist tradition has people waiting until after the person claiming salvation has understood assurance of salvation and God has so worked in their heart that their life is conforming to his word. I believe very strongly that in this day and age of easy believism and minimal repentance a non-immediate baptism is a very good thing.

It should also be noted that everyone that was immediately baptized in scripture were done so b/c it was immediately known that they had truly been saved. So I understand your point, and to a degree I agree. However, baptizing someone based off of even perceived repentance is not a good move, it only hardens their heart to the gospel and/or gives them a false assurance.

So let me sum it up. Keep the blog, don't be too reactionary and emotional, don't get offended at someones rebuke that you're offensive, thank God for His grace, understand that there is at least some truth in it if not entirely true, repent, change, and move on. To quit this blog would only allow satan to succeed in causing division, it will not teach anyone a lesson, it will only make ALL parties more prideful and bitter.

The quicker grace shows up the better things are.

And I hope this doesn't cause you to block me from your blog :)

Kristi said...

Kristi - it's Madre -I agree with your view, just not the way you chose to say it. Not posting on this blog anymore is a sad thing. I enjoy reading it. Instead of posting anything against what, I choose to discuss it with you-Please reconsider. Please consider to bless others the way that God has talented you to do. :) Much Much Love.....Madre

Amanda said...

Kristi,

You probably know that people besides your close friends and family members also read this blog. I have been reading it off and on since I first became one of your Myspace friends. It has been such a blessing to me, and if no one else agrees with me, then oh well I still want you to know. No matter what other people say about it, the only thing you have to ask yourself is how God Himself feels about it. In my opinion, you are doing nothing wrong. People all over the world write blogs specifically to bash other people's opinions - harshly. This is obviously not what you are doing. You are simply sharing your walk with Jesus, through the good times and the bad. (So many people wish they could be that open and honest about themselves.) And even if it offends a thousand people but blesses one, I say it's worth it. Your blog has inspired me to start my own, I will be starting it at the beginning of '09. I know it will be tough, as I read some of the comments left on here, but I have to think that out there somewhere is a person like me, who really needs to hear some daily words of encouragement. Someone who needs the revelation that they're not the only one going through something. Maybe someone who isn't comfortable asking others for advice, or have never even questioned their own beliefs.
I don't know, maybe you've been the only advice-giver or encouragement for people for a while and now it's someone else's turn to build YOU up. I pray that you find people in your life to help do that.
You have so much more wisdom than anyone I know. Continue to let Jesus shine through you no matter what anyone says. He never told us we would be accepted, even by our own family members. Yeah, it's really hard and probably always will be... but our time here is limited and we don't want Jesus to find us giving up on the things He assigned us to do because other people are speaking badly about it.
I feel like what I'm writing right now is much like your blogs.. I'm not claiming to have everything right. I'm not trying to say that I never get offended. But from one sister to another, we have to build each other up - use the Word the way you know how and tell people what it says no matter how harsh it sounds. It's the truth! As long as you identify which parts are your own opinion and which parts are scriptural, then others just need to be mature about it and read it or don't read it. Simple.

If you do decide to end this blog, I hope that you can include me in your Myspace discussions. I also hope we can talk more instead of me just hiding behind the computer screen and not returning the blessing.

~Amanda (Rule of Faith Photography)

stefan said...

i enjoyed reading your blog because you're one of the first christians that writes blogs that actually talks about God like he's a real person and you have a actual real friendship with him. I'm sorry that you're not writing on this blog anymore. It's been great to read and definitely an encouragement to me in my walk with Jesus

Saii said...

that's terrible.
I really like reading your blog since I'm your myspace friend and God has used you in many ways.
I ask you to reconsider your decision.
I'm sorry for all the bad things that happened.
:(