Monday, August 24, 2009

Former COGIC Pastor Now A Catholic Deacon


"It was never about going to heaven or knowing the Lord. Those things were accomplished while I was in the Pentecostal church. It was simply coming into the fullness of the Christian faith."~ Deacon Alex Jones, St. Suzanne/Our Lady Gate of Heaven Catholic Community former Pastor Of Maranatha Christian Church Detroit Michigan.

A friend presented a DVD for my review called "No Price Too High, A Dinner With Alex Jones". The DVD centered around a former COGIC Pastor (Alex Jones) turned independent, and eventually turned Catholic. This particular DVD was a conversation over dinner in which there were questions and answers about why he and most of his church changed from a decidedly Protestant/Pentecostal belief system to the world's oldest and largest Christian Church, the Roman Catholic Church.

Deacon Jones' story was especially interesting to me personally because our church, at one time, held services in a Catholic church. It was at that time that we gained the opportunity to meet some of our fellow Catholic believers and established a relationship with many new Catholic friends. I also took the time to study many Catholic beliefs, practices and dogmas and drew my own conclusions as to what the church actually represented. In addition Alex Jones was a former COGIC Pastor which is very interesting in light of COGIC's current dealings and political situations.

This blog post is not about bashing or exposing Alex Jones. There is nothing to bash or expose in my opinion. However, this post is about drawing a sharp and distinguished contrast between Roman Catholic authority, theology and dogma and the rest of Christianity.

I believe that there are many sincerely saved Catholics, however I believe, as John MacArthur also expresses, that for many within the Catholic church, salvation is in spite of the actual teaching, encouragements and traditions of the Catholic Catechisms which the Catholic church claims at a minimum to be equal to the written word of God. Believe me there is no perfect church on earth, and my church, The Church Of God In Christ, is filled with issues, as I have mentioned readily on this blog. The point is once again not to bash Catholics, however I felt important to highlight certain differences upon which the life and eternal destiny of many is predicated. I'll proceed with my 10 Questions:

Alex Jones On His Conversion To Catholicism:

Question 1. You were a Pentecostal pastor for number of years. What churches were you a part of and how long did you serve? Did you start your own church? Tell us more about your family/church history.

Alex Jones: "I was raised in the Church of God in Christ, the first original pentecostal church founded in 1895 and later became pentecostal in 1906 after the Azuza Street Revival. My first pastorate was the church in which I was raised. I pastored that church from 1975 to 1982. My second pastorate was Maranatha Christian Church, a non-denominational church I founded in 1982. I pastored Maranatha for 18 yrs. (1982-2000)"

Question 2. From the interview I saw on the DVD "No Price Too High, A Dinner With Alex Jones" it seems that you highly value the associations and friendships that you’ve been able to make within the Catholic church. I know that Pastors are often the most isolated individuals within the church. I am interested to know, before you joined the Catholic church, what were your pastoral or ministerial relationships like? Did you fellowship or have close relationships with other ministers, and did that have any bearing on ultimately being a part of the Catholic church?

Alex Jones: "I fellowshipped with other non-denominational churches; in fact, I was part of a six-church fellowship. By the way, three of the six pastors still meet with me twice a month for fellowship and relaxation. They had absolutely no bearing on my decision to become Catholic. At first they struggled with my decision, but they never opposed or said, "What are you doing?" Later they accepted me back into their bi-monthly fellowship as their "little Catholic brother.""

Question 3: When you joined the Catholic church you and your congregation made the decision to dissolve your former church. What was the rationale behind that decision? I mean was there ever a consideration to appoint a successor to carry on the work with the members who did not wish to leave, instead of closing the church all together?

Alex Jones: "After a majority of the remaining members decided to enter the Catholic Church with me, by law I was required to contact everyone who had been a member of Maranatha for the last five years and ask them what should be done. Letters went out to everyone to meet with me for the purpose of determining what to do with the church's assets. I offered to sign the ministry over to anyone who wanted to carry Maranatha on, but only one of the five ministers that belonged to Maranatha showed up. I asked those attending the meeting if they wanted to continue the ministry under the leadership of that attending minister. They said no and decided to close the church and give the money to charity.

Question 4. I'd like you to speak to the critic for just a minute. One thing that is obvious is that the Catholic Church has less than 30,000 black members in your area out of an approximate 1.3 million membership. Is your association with the Catholic church and rise to notoriety within it simply a marketing opportunity or scheme to attract more minority members?

Alex Jones: "No. Catholics love conversion stories. There may be only 30,000 black Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit, but the largest black denomination in the Western Hemisphere is Catholicism! In Africa alone there are over 100 million Catholics.

Alex Jones On Catholic Doctrine & Traditions:

Question 5. Making the transition to the Catholic church itself; in 2007 Pope Benedict XVI restated the views he fostered in the 2000 Dominus Iesus which stated that Protestant churches are unauthentic and are only mere "ecclesial communities" and as reported by The Gauardian.Com UK, their ministers effectively phonies with no right to give communion. In fact here is the language of part of that document:

"the unicity of the Church founded by him must be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith. Just as there is one Christ, so there exists a single body of Christ, a single Bride of Christ: ‘a single Catholic and apostolic Church."
In that same statement The Pope claimed that the Orthodox church also from a "defectus" (or wound) because it wasn’t and would not come under Papal authority. That basically tells me that the Catholic church does not hold the work of Christ through even me or my ministry as being of Christ or authentic. What are your views on the Pope’s decision to say these things? Do you think his commentary fosters or hinders dialogue between the catholic Church and other Christians outside of the Catholic church? Do your views matter?

Alex Jones: Dominus Iesus was written by Cardinal Ratzinger who later became Pope Benedict XVI. In a very succinct answer, the Cardinal was simply saying that there is only one Church built upon the apostles and prophets. It only follows that that church would grow from a small seed and become a great tree. This tree is a visible entity that has four visible marks: unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity. Only the Catholic and Orthodox, both of which comprises one church divided by politics and culture, have these marks. The Catholic Church teaches the following on our separated brethren:
CC,819:"Furthermore, many elements of sanctification and of truth" are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: "the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements." Christ's Spirit uses these Churches and eccelsial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to "Catholic unity."
The Catholic Church never characterizes Protestants ministers as "phonies," but as their separated brothers. Eccelsial communities simply means religious organizations that preach Christ, but remember, there is only ONE Church. The Catechism teaches:
CC 816:"The sole Church of Christ [is that] which our Savior, after his Resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care, [John 21:15-17] commissioning him and the other apostles to extend and rule it...This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in (subsistit in) the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him." Harvey, I suggest you read the following Catholic documents about ecumenism: Ad Gentes, Unitatis Redintegration and Ut Unum Sint.
[To take a quick break there as this gets to the heart of a very serious issue. There are two things at work at the heart of catholic doctrine as displaced in Deacon Jone's retort, both of which are fallacious in nature and unsupported by scripture: 1-The assertion that Peter was the rock that Jesus was referring to in Matt. 16:18 which reads: "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter(Gk: Petros-a rock or stone), and upon this rock (Gk: Petra- Large mountainous cliff or Boulder)I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

The Catholic Church's interpretation is that the Apostle Peter is the rock or stone upon which the church is built. If so, there's more wrong than the price of tea in China than we originally thought, as Peter was NOT the mountain of truth upon which the New testament church was built. A quick look at scripture clearly displays that Paul was the most significant figure within New Testament Christianity especially as it pertained to the evangelization of gentiles. Paul's influence yet yet remains today.

It is better understood that the ROCK upon which the New Testament church would be and was built was and is the declaration of truth that Peter renders just a couple of verses previous (v:16): "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." The confession that Jesus was the Christ (Messiah) The Son of the living God (sharing the nature of God) was the declaration and mountainous truth by which Peter was blessed was the rock (mountainous fact) upon which Jesus built and would build his New Testament Church. No one was saved by confessing Peter or his works, but all would be saved by confessing Christ (Rom. 10:8-9) The church would not be built upon a man. In order for it to stand it would need more than a man. It would need God himself. Jesus is God! I agree with Edward Mote (1797-1874) "On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand" ~1834

The second misunderstanding found here is the misconception that Peter and the Apostles were charged to "rule" or "reign" over the church in some fashion. The truth is that the leaders were called to SERVE not rule or reign as a King or some sort of icon. This misunderstanding hinges upon the first and creates a very dangerous and in stable house of cards upon which Catholic Catechismic tradition has been built.]

Mk. 10:43-44~"43-But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44-And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all."
Unfortunately, the catholic church yet views other Christian churches as subordinate groups that are a mission field to be engrafted within the larger scheme of the church.
Vatican II & Eccelsial Communities

"The Council fathers acknowledged that, despite their long separation from the unity intended by Christ, the Protestant churches retained the Church’s resolve to preserve the doctrines given by Christ. As Fr. Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) wrote in his Theological Highlights of Vatican II, the schema on ecumenism was "a pastoral directive to Catholics to turn their attention to ecumenism," that is, to reach out to separated brethren in hopes of bringing them back into full communion with the Church"
That's called the evangelization of other Christians who don't serve under the Pope.]

Alex Jones On The Supreme Authority Of The Scripture:

Question 6: In a previous interview you stated the following regarding the bible:
"I came to understand that the Christian faith was much richer than what a Bible-alone approach could offer. The Bible is true, but not comprehensive. Scripture is the core of Christianity, but surrounding it and interpreting it is the tradition of the church, which includes development of doctrine, apostolic succession and the evolution of the sacraments. In the end, the Catholic church is the pillar and ground of truth, not the Bible. The church produced the Bible."
With that said, Deacon Jones, I would like to know specifically what you think is to be held in greater esteem, the written word or the tradition of the church? Secondly, but no less importantly, if there is a practice that the word or bible does not condone, but the church by way of tradition endorses, according to your current understanding, what choice should be made by the believer?

Alex Jones: "The problem is seen in our differing approaches to tradition. Tradition in and of itself is not bad, unless it violates God's commandment (Mat. 15; Mk 7). The Christian faith in its entirety was handed down in Apostolic Traditions, which contained both oral and written accounts (1 Cor 11:2, 16; 2 Thes 2:15). There is nothing the Catholic Church embraces and teaches that contradicts God's written word. God's word has the preemience over any and all traditions. Having said this, most non-Catholics will point to Mariology, Purgatory, papal infallibility, sacraments, iconography, statues, etc. ad nauseam as non-biblical additions to the Christian faith. Again, such views demonstrate a real lack of knowledge about what the Catholic Church really believes and teaches. If you want, Harvey, I can send you the book: What The Catholics Really Believe. [Emphasis Added]

[There is no greater point that can be made here. The Catholic church DOES teach doctrines that are not found within scripture and some that are contrary to scripture. In fact Pastor John MacArthur lays out the case against Mary Worship quite well using historical facts. Other doctrines such as purgatory and Papal Infallibility fare equally as well as not being biblical.

The Catholic church however, views "tradition" as equal with scripture especially as it pertains to times that the Pope (which ever one is in office) speaks "ex-cathedra" That is without the possibility of being wrong.

Jesus warned about this sort of approach where tradition minimizes the word of God. In his discourse to the Pharisees who were in judgement of the disciples for not following the added teachings regarding ceremonial washings Jesus concluded:

Mk. 7:13 ~ "Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."
Now, sound traditions as deacon Jones pointed out is essential to faith practice and the polity of the saints:
2 Thess. 2:15~"Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
But all of that only leads us to our next question and answer:]

Question 7. In your DVD there was a 10 to 20 minute discussion regarding certain Catholic doctrines. One of noteable interest was that of prayers made to Mary in particular. There were 2 things to note about this discussion. 1- I noticed that the discussion initially centered on the difference between western society's view prayer and English society's view of prayer. In fact statements were made that prayer, according to us in the west includes worship, whereas prayer in England was more about asking someone for assistance and did not necessarily include and element of worship. The biblical model for prayer however was neither a product of England nor of the West and was always directed to God. In fact, the Greek word proseuchomai which always carried the connotation of praying to the Supreme God himself.

The second thing that is notable is that church tradition, holds the same about prayer. Origen says this about prayer:
"It is improper to pray to those beings who themselves offer up prayers. For even they themselves would prefer that we should send up our requests to the god to whom they pray, rather than send them downwards to themselves, or to apportion our power of prayer between God and them" Origen (c.248,E) 4.548 [ David W Bercot "Dictionary Of Early Christian Beliefs" Henderickson Publishers 1998 pg. 533]
Having made those observations, on what basis do you justify prayer to Mary or any other Saint in heaven or otherwise?

Alex Jones: "I'm sure the citation from Origen was not talking about Christians. The practice of praying to saints began with the Neroan persecutions in 62 AD when living Christians would kneel at the grave of martyrs and ask them to pray for them. The earliest Christian art, ca 92 AD, shows the Blessed Virgin on a sarcophagus interceding for Peter and Paul. The communion of saints shows the inter-relatedness of the Church Triumphant with the Church Militant."

[Unfortunately for Catholic dogma, Origen was talking about all men including Christians who engage in idolatry or prayer to beings outside of God. In his debate and refutation of the heretical teaching of Celsus, Origen confirms true Christian practice regarding prayer:
"Celsus forgets that he is addressing Christians, who pray to God alone through Jesus." [Origen (c.248,E) 4.653 [David W Bercot "Dictionary Of Early Christian Beliefs" Henderickson Publishers 1998 pg. 533]
The object of Christian prayer was not to individuals in heaven or otherwise, and to base a spiritual and theological belief on a work of art is totally unfounded and unheard of in any religious system of which I am aware. The object of prayer was always God through Jesus Christ.]
Ephes.3:20-21 ~ "20-Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21-Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen."
Alex Jones On Catholic Teachings Against Homosexuality:

Question 8: Speaking to issues of modern inclusion, what is the official position of the catholic church on homosexuality especially among the ever increasing "gay christian movement"?

Alex Jones: "You will find the teaching of the Church about homosexuality in the Catechism, sections 2357-2359"

[Here are the sections to shich he is referring:]
Chastity and homosexuality:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
Source(s):
Catechism of the Catholic Church

Question 9: Decons were powerful within the bible. The first martyr was Stephen, a deacon (Acts 7:59).Philip turned Samaria on it’s ear and he was a deacon (Acts 8:5). Deacons are essential to the work of the church, however we note that your were formerally a Pastor and initially held out hope to be appointed a priest within the Catholic church, noting that there are some 80 dioscese that allow married priests especially when they come into the church such as you did. Your Bishop, however has denied this office to you on 2 occasions. Previously you said, "Both times the answer was no, so that’s that," however, you also said, "If they offered it to me, (Priesthood) I’d take it in a heartbeat, but it’s not likely in this diocese. They don’t allow married priests." (emphasis added)With that said, are you content to serve in the Deacon capacity? Do you plan to appeal to become a priest?

Alex Jones: Remember, "All things work together for the good to those who love God and are the called according to his purpose" (Rom 8:28). "A deacon in the Catholic Church is part of the clergy, having been ordained into one of the three orders: Bishop, presbyter, deacon. I am not actively seeking ordination to the priesthood; I'm quite satisfied to fulfill God's work as a deacon."

Question 10: What do you feel your current mission is to the body of Christ? To the Catholic church?

Alex Jones: "When I entered the Church I had only three aspirations: to live a life of prayer, to give myself to study, and to work with the poor. I still have those things in mind. My current ministry of traveling and speaking will certainly come to an end. Then, and only then, will I live out the life Christ has called me to live."

Conclusion:

This concludes my interview with Deacon Alex Jones and I wish to appreciate and say "thank you" to both he and his family for allowing this highly important and significant information to go forth.

I must say that one thing stands out in my mind. Under Question 2 Deacon Jones stated this about his ministerial friends, "At first they struggled with my decision, but they never opposed or said, "What are you doing?" Decon Jones I don't believe that true friends could sit idly by and let you slip from Pastoring the flock of God and an AUTHENTIC CHURCH, (whether recognized by the Pope or not, your previous church was not simply a mere eclessial community). IF God called you to Pastor, the Pope, Bishop or noone else has the right to minimize that call. What men control men bless, what God controls IS blessed and that is by HIM.

Blessed!

20 comments:

  1. One of the first things the new Pope said publicly is "there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church". It's not a new Catholic idea, but the first time "old school" doctrines where brought back to life and stated as fact.

    I knew nothing of the Catholic faith when I visited one big forum and asked some questions. I had the hardest time understanding their answers because they didn't fit the Bible, so I learned a lot about outside teachings in a short time. To Catholics, outside teachings hold as much (and more) authority than the Bible. I say more because there are so many outside teachings that contradict the Bible, though I was told there were no contradictions (even when it was clear as day).

    Now to also be clear as day - I have nothing against Catholics or the Church. So many are wonderful, devout men and women, but I do hold a grudge against Pope's that allow false teaching about salvation with all it's rules and sacraments, and cause those devout - though saved - to still be in bondage.

    I have my own opinions about what I learned on the Catholic board based on receiving the same pat answers to my questions such as the ones Pastor Burnett posted. At the end of two months of questions, my research into their doctrain got me kicked off their board when I couldn't believe what I was reading in their Catechism Articles, and said so:

    II. THE POWER OF THE KEYS

    981 After his Resurrection, Christ sent his apostles "so that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in his name to all nations."526 The apostles and their successors carry out this "ministry of reconciliation," not only by announcing to men God's forgiveness merited for us by Christ, and calling them to conversion and faith; but also by communicating to them the forgiveness of sins in Baptism, and reconciling them with God and with the Church through the power of the keys, received from Christ:527


    [The Church] has received the keys of the Kingdom of heaven so that, in her, sins may be forgiven through Christ's blood and the Holy Spirit's action. In this Church, the soul dead through sin comes back to life in order to live with Christ, whose grace has saved us.528

    982 There is no offense, however serious, that the Church cannot forgive. "There is no one, however wicked and guilty, who may not confidently hope for forgiveness, provided his repentance is honest.529 Christ who died for all men desires that in his Church the gates of forgiveness should always be open to anyone who turns away from sin.530

    983 Catechesis strives to awaken and nourish in the faithful faith in the incomparable greatness of the risen Christ's gift to his Church: the mission and the power to forgive sins through the ministry of the apostles and their successors:


    The Lord wills that his disciples possess a tremendous power: that his lowly servants accomplish in his name all that he did when he was on earth.531
    Priests have received from God a power that he has given neither to angels nor to archangels . . . . God above confirms what priests do here below.532

    Were there no forgiveness of sins in the Church, there would be no hope of life to come or eternal liberation. Let us thank God who has given his Church such a gift.533

    http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a10.htm

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  2. I was outraged, you might say, and I'm pretty sure I let the word "cult" slip. I was bounced for "contempt of Catholicism" and my thread that was over 10,000 posts long disappeared.

    I have zero "contempt". I dare say that those who were posting read the "Keys" for the first time that day.

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  3. hmmmmm.

    Let me say that again.

    hmmmmmmmmmm.

    That's quite a transition.

    Ive asked this before if God has people in every religious movement? Are all Catholics, Mormons, JWs et all hell bound just because they are members of such churches?

    Im not suggesting anything, just wondering if Deacon Jones has forfieted his salvation with his decision?

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  4. Hey Harvey,

    I've never studied a whole lot of Catholic doctrine but from what I have studied I would have to agree with you that alot of it's unbiblical. That's not to say that I think they're all damned and on their way to hell. I think that there could be some catholics who are saved and on their way to heaven. Sometimes I even wonder if I'm "saved"

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  5. Jesus brought the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews - believe He was Who He said He was.

    Paul brought us the Gospel of Grace through Christ - That Jesus is the Son of God, He died for your sins and was resurrected. Believe the Gospel of Grace for salvation.

    Question for Pastor Burnett - If they believe that Jesus left the job half finished, have they met the requirements for salvation?

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  6. I'm sorry I haven't been able to interract as regularly, I'm having system problems. I can do everything including delete comments, but i can't post any. I'm working on it.

    Laura,

    You askedIf they believe that Jesus left the job half finished, have they met the requirements for salvation?

    I appreciated your speaking on catholic doctrine and I'd like to know more about your story, but to the point, I don't think that thye view things as being half done...I just believe they strictly interpret that THEY as opposed to anyone else have all the rights and authority that Jesus had here on earth.

    There's a literal interpretation of most all scriptures so far as "remission" of sins..."whosoever's sins ye remit they shall be remitted" etc...They feel that's in their sole and exclusive power since Jesus died. in other words outside of their authority and approval or consent, remission of sins doesn't occur.

    They will probably say I'm wrong but I am effectively right no matter how it's twisted. Example, ecclesial communities only have the right to 'act" like a church...they ARE NOT a church. they CANNOT lawfully serve communion. Why? Because it's not under the Vicar's authority...That's a MESS!

    If this is for communion, the same holds for salvation. ie: "you ain't saved 'till we say you're saved"

    That may be dramatic, but I believe that's the way it is. When you say "cult", I'll tell you what, that and many other practices are at least cultic.

    Does the church have certain rights and authority spiritually? YES. Are those rights and authority an exclusive feature of the Catholic church? NO!

    Certain authority and power resides upon ALL churches and believers which call upon the name of the Lord.

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  7. Cole,

    You said:Sometimes I even wonder if I'm "saved"

    Why do you wonder that my friend?

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  8. Gcmwatch,

    You said:Are all Catholics, Mormons, JWs et all hell bound just because they are members of such churches

    It depends upon who these people believe that Jesus is. In some of these churches he is not God, he is only a created being, like an angel and in some (Mormons) he is only the "spirit brother" of Lucifer.

    Is there salvation in angels and "spirit brothers"? Absolutely not.

    So IF a person receives Jesus for who he is and follows him according to scripture, then one hasn't forfeited his/her salvation, HOWEVER, How can someone who truely follows him SIT and consume doctrine and teaching that is contrary to who he is? I'm not talking about nonsavific differences such as tongues, healing,anointing with oil etc, I'm talking about differences and issues that deal with the nature of Christ or who we pray to or yoke with...These things are highly important and are essentials that are not to be compromised.

    Every cult that renders Jesus as simply a means of salvation and the THE means of salvation or that lessens him to a lower being other than God the son eternally WILL NOT BE SAVED.

    That'll open the convo for sure. you guys answer in my absence if I can't get to it right away.-LOL!

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  9. Harvey,


    Well, I'll start having doubts about wether or not the Bible is true.

    And then I get confused about who is right and who is wrong with all this stuff.

    I use to be a hardcore five point Calvinist but I'm not so sure about that anymore either. I just get confused sometimes about all this and I go out and get drunk.

    I had 3 years being sober up until I started debating atheists over at Debunking Christianity. They threw me for a loop and I got drunk and ruined my sobriety.

    It's just things like that, that make me wonder.

    I'm doing fine right now but I still haven't made up my mind about which church I should go to. I was thinking about trying Eastern Orthodox.

    Right now I'm just trying to get back on track. I've been reading Christian Mystics materials and things from the "Nature Mystics." There's alot that I can relate to in their experiences of God.

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  10. "I appreciated your speaking on catholic doctrine and I'd like to know more about your story, but to the point, I don't think that thye view things as being half done...

    Pastor Burnett, I should have been clearer with my question. The sacraments - without them they can't see heaven. I asked them plain-out "Jesus' death and resurrection wasn't enough?" and they said (in so many words) no. They said that Sacrifice was NOT a completed work, and it's up to THEM (as individuals) to make sure they finish the job (church rituals) in order to gain eternal life.

    I kept asking myself "if you don't believe what Jesus said He did, do you believe in the Jesus of the Bible? Troubling, to say the least, but I consoled myself by matching it to the Gospel of Grace:

    1. Jesus is the Son of God
    2. He died for your sins and was resurrected.
    3. Believe this for salvation

    I don't have a definitive answer. After my two months there, I think I understand why some choose to be Catholic. IMO, it stems from not believing and trusting God. Ex-Catholics I know who turned from God have the same belief/trust issues, so the Church with all it's rituals doesn't solve that problem for everyone.

    Oh course, many are born into the religion. And many don't read the Bible... I just want to believe they are saved. Anyone that rememebers Christ through communion (even as oddly as they precieve it), has GOT to be saved. I hope.

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  11. Supertindent,

    Thanks for interviewing this brother and posting this information.

    I have heard about this gentleman for some time and read some portions of his autiobiography which is online. I was quite curious. I'm COGIC, so after hearing about his experiences, even his associations with some of the greats such as Mother Estella Boyd, I found it quite disconcerting--although COGIC and the charismatics have its problems--that he came to this place in life.

    I would hate to say anything bad...I've met Catholics that are devoted to christ but I'm quite concerned about this brother in the Lord. Even his so-called transition from pentecostal to catholic seems to be based on very little--there is something missing.

    What is the passion that brought him to this new perspective?

    Furthermore,
    I have some concerns about this catholic text he uses to present the catholic church's position on homosexuality. That first verse that he presents is very strong in that it is not approved by God.

    But the next two verses, almost seems to show a weakening stance. Now I see why some would think, you could still serve in church positions (Lutherans, Catholics) and still be gay, just as long as you're chaste/celibate/non-practicing or whatever. Just really interesting...thanks

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  12. OK,

    I finally got a little fix to this thing although I am still having problems...

    I'll tell you what I need...I need 2 lines...a $100.00 line and a $200.00 line and let's proceed expeditiously, please follow the derections of da ushers-LOL-LOL-LOL!

    OK, I'm sorry, I just couldn't help it...OK

    Laura,

    you said: The sacraments - without them they can't see heaven.

    I got ya now...and that's true. That's the whole thing on this imagery also. I've heard Catholics tell me that the stations of the cross usually displayed close to some very pretty stained glass windown in their church are only mere "reminders" of what Jesus did and that the statues in front of the church of Mary, Peter, Paul etc are only "reminders"...Then some kneel at those statues and some kiss them etc...you can't tell me those practices don't come from idol worship...

    The sacraments are the same way. in fact Dr. Jones was influenced by the order and the sacramental service so much until he instituted it all in his church. The liturgy was so appealing that he said I've got to do it as if what he was doing was somehow less sufficient and out of order.

    I see what you're saying. In short it's another form of 'works' salvation at heart. There is always something else added to the grace and works of God to gain, get or obtain salvation.

    Very interesting.

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  13. In Christ,

    I said the same thing my brother. My wife and I watched the video and this preacher has a heart of gold. I was drawn to him like a son to a father.

    However, I felt that he was either hurt, misdirected or somethign that caused him to loos confidence in both this church and his path. That's just my felings I mind you, but that's what we both saw.

    Now, the time line is suspect. He left COGIC in 1982. I believe Owens was Presiding bishop at that time. I may be wrong, if I am please let me know with a correction right here. I'm trying to think what was going on in Detroit around that time that was a source or motivator of his actions. now to be fair, he said it was due to a debate of a roman catholic and a reformed evangelical that caused him to see that the original church was the Catholic church...that, he said, started it for him but there's something else to that.(In my opinion)

    So far as homosexuality is concerned isn't that about the WEAKEST stance against an ungodly practice that you've read in modern times?

    There is no deliverance from this sin in their eyes, it can only be managed and surpressed...That was shocking but leads into what we see about priests molesting these boys...a person who just manages sin and does that on their own is destined to fail. That was a trip.

    Great insight my brother/sister. (I wasn't sure which u were)

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  14. Cole,

    All I have to say is get away from the "mystics" Christian or not. Look, I believe you have some pentecostal roots? Hopefully, you know how to fast and pray. Follow Hosea 10:12. Seek him until he comes and rains righteousness upon you. It's time to break these bands of oppression my brother. The Lord doesn't want you or your faith shaken so easily.

    Bury yourself in prayer and fasting and deep introspection and flat out laying yourself out before God...he'll strengthen you because his grace is sufficient. You don't have to be or live on the fringes...you need that experience in his presence and it's available. You know the word, I know that...now you need a renewed spirit. travail before him my brother, he's available to you.

    You're in my prayers!

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  15. Harvey,

    What's wrong with the mystics? I'm just asking.

    Yep I do have some Pentacostal roots. :)

    Thanks for the advice.

    I just read R.C. Sproul's "The Holiness Of God" It's awesome!

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  16. Cole,

    Is that you? What's with all the name changes?-LOL???

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  17. Cole,

    This is the problem I have with that approach:

    Christian mysticism aspires to apprehend spiritual truths inaccessible through intellectual means, typically by learning how to think like Christ. William Inge divides this scala perfectionis into three stages: the "purgative" or ascetic stage, the "illuminative" or contemplative stage, and the "unitive" stage, in which God may be beheld "face to face." [Christian Mysticism (1899 Bampton Lectures)]

    All knowledge, in my opinion, should be subject to the word. Secondly, one can open themselves up to be suggestable and be overtaken in self thought or simply the persuasion of the devil himself.

    A much better relationship can be gained through fasting and prayer and seeking his face. That's mysticism enough for me and believe me I have some awesome and thoroughly fulfilling prayer times...i can't pray in public like I do in private, they'll think I'm crazy 4-real!

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  18. Harvey,

    HaHaHa!

    I changed my name to Mysterium Tremendum because it sounds better than Romantic Mystic.

    I read about it in R.C. Sproul's book "The Holiness Of God."

    I think I need to get back to God's holiness and start there. It's the attribute of God that is listed three times in the Bible.

    It says God is Holy, Holy, Holy.

    I hink I will take your advice and lay off the Mysticism.

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  19. I was part of an multifaith organization years ago that included muslims, jews, catholics, mormons and Christians. Our common denominator was that we all believed homosexuality was wrong per our "authority". Mine of course was the Bible.

    However, I pulled out after a while because among other things, the resolution of such wrong is not to supress and manage as the catholics teach. They do not believe one can have spiritual freedom from homosexual sin, just that you can be celibate and not act out but still call yourself gay.

    Fundamentally, I could not agree with that.

    JO Patterson Sr was PB in 82. He died in 89. source

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  20. Gcmwatch,

    OK Patterson was still in in 82.

    So far as Catholic doctrine, I noticed the same as you. I still believe that God can set a person free from their sins, not just give them strength to cope with them.

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