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Please help mr find a denomination

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#1
I grew up in a very religious family. Most of my life I have had questions regarding God, Jesus and the bible. Every time I try to ask these questions I am met with the same response, "You just have to have faith". How can I have faith when I have little to base it on. I look at it like a foundation for a house, you have to start somewhere and it needs to be sturdy otherwise anything built on it will not be stable. A few years back I was able to reset my thinking and live a life of spirituality having a close relationship with God. My ability to view God, Jesus and the holy spirit through this new way of thinking gave me a way to address some of my concerns with regards to religion and denomination. I truly felt a direct connection with God and could pray and talk to him regularly. I had peace and could feel him working in my life. After attending a few church sessions and going to a few bible study meetings I was no longer able to continue my relationship with God (which was very strong at that time) due to the guilt, fear and confusion that I now have. For once I was able to have a relationship with God based on love and peace versus fear of going to hell and confusion but since then I have become bitter and have tried unsuccessfully to reestablish a connection with God. The thing that scares me is that I just don't feel like my prayers go anywhere and the connection I had is completely gone. How can you have a relationship when I feel like I am talking or praying to air and when I can't feel anything? I have spent the last couple of hours online looking up prayers and ways to reconnect to God. How do I rebuild a relationship with God without the fear of going to hell? I need to find a denomination that allows me to believe God, Jesus and the holy spirit are one and the same but three separate parts? I have asked for forgiveness and to be saved. I am unable to accept the bible as is. There are passages that are literal and passages that are figurative. I believe there are many parables within the bible that are used to teach a moral or illustrate a point. I just can't believe in Jonah and the whale literally. I prefer to see this as a parable or figuratively speaking. I also have difficulty with the bible being written and rewritten/reinterpreted by "man", many many years after Jesus's death. It is hard for me to believe that things weren't removed, added or misinterpreted throughout the years. When I bring this up I am told I have to believe in the bible completely and literally and if I don't then I'll go to hell. Please help me find a denomination that allows me to view God the father, Jesus the son and the holy spirit as three parts of the same being/whole/one, I am able to interpret the bible to the best of my ability based on what God directs or reveals to me and where I can have a direct relationship with God without the oppression of the church.
 
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#2
Hi Victoria and welcome to CF.net. You seem to have the exact problem i had for many years. The fact that all denominations (30,000 plus and counting apparently) are MANs doctrine NOT Jesus'.
I'm a member of Churches of Christ and believe that this is the closest we can get to actually living and worshiping as Jesus instructed. Everything is taken directly from the Gospel with no twisting and turning that I have learned of.
This works for me and I believe in my heart that this truly IS the church of Christ in every sense of the word.

That being said only you will know if it brings you closer to Him or not and whether it fits the needs you've described.
I pray that you find a denomination or church that brings you closer to God through Jesus Christ Victoria.

Obviously others will recommend their denomination to you here, and I pray that they don't turn your very sincere and real request for advice into a slinging match, using it to belittle others' faith but instead simply offer you a view of their denomination to help you make an informed decision for yourself.
Blessings in His Holy name
 
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Thank you so much for understanding. I don't know the differences between denominations well enough to choose. I grew up Pentecostal and the churches I attended were upbeat and close knit but I found the teachings to be fear based (don't ask questions or you'll go to hell) and very limited (the way of the complete bible and nothing else) with no room for adjustment or comfort. I grew up being told that other denominations were wrong (Catholicism, Jehovah's witness, Mormon, Jewish etc) but I didn't know why. I have attempted to look into other religions (Budhism for example) but my fear is so great that I am terrified of making the "wrong decision" and going to hell. I would like to believe God knows our hearts and if we try to seek a relationship with him (the God of our understanding, regardless of the God we feel to be the "right one") he will see that and be with us. How can God punish an African tribesman for practicing what he was taught to believe if he had never heard of Jesus? Can all religions come back to one true God? If I practiced the religion I was exposed to growing up and did so to the best of my ability, will God turn his back on me and banish me to hell (assuming I did not know of Jesus or very little at best). I am so traumatized by what I was taught growing up that I don't know if I can move past the nagging fear to alter my beliefs. I was able to do it once and made the mistake of attending church and bible study. Now there is such a tug of war in my head that I find my self riding the fence on what brought me a relationship with the God that I came to understand and the Jesus/God that I can not reject or I will burn in hell. I can not question the bible but believe everything written in it or go to hell, I must have faith before God and I can have a relationship but I need the relationship to build my faith (This is the sticking point the oxymoron that I am faced with). If anyone has read the Shack by William Young this is what I need when viewing God, a loving God that is comprised of three parts but are one in the same. If I don't believe Jesus was the son of God I will burn in hell. If I believe Jesus was the son of God and worship him but it turns out he wasn't I will burn in hell for worshiping a false God. I can accept that Jesus and God are one in the same a human version of God himself. I just don't know that I can separate them and put my complete faith based on going through the son to the father. Has anyone ever heard of David Koresh? How do I know Jesus wasn't merely a prophet or even someone claiming to be way to God? We all are children of God and this would be true of Jesus. I would like to believe, Jesus given the scriptures and the prophecies of his arrival (see Psalms) most likely would be the mortal version of God here to teach and guide us before taking our sins on. I want to believe God to be everywhere around us and in our hearts. I want to believe God loves me and no matter what wants the best for me. Therefore I need to find somewhere that I can practice those beliefs and grow closer to him.
 

WIP

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I would advise caution as you explore denominations. Weigh the teaching against scripture and not your "feelings." Is the church leadership Biblical in its teaching. There are some denominations that teach "feel good" doctrine and this is dangerous because they appeal to your human senses and desires rather than leading one toward Christ. On the flip side there are denominations that teach "legalistic" doctrine which can also be troublesome as it can lead one toward a works-based salvation and away from the truth of God's grace.

Take your time and don't make a rash decision. You may have to get involved for a while with a congregation before you finally make your decision to officially join.
 
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Victoria, the fears instilled in you by your early experiences in Christianity, prove that they were preaching doctrine of man not Christ. God IS a loving God and while His word says we should fear Him, it is more a case of "hold Him in awe" than be terrified of Him. I hope that when I meet him to be judged, I will be terrified of the consequences of my life choices, but not of Him for He is a loving God. He loved us so much He gave Himself for us. I say Himself, because God is the Father, Son and Spirit. by giving His son, He gave himself. That's awesome devotion and love to us.
i think the only time we should be terrified of Him in the true sense of the word is if we know Him, then reject him, refuse to go back to Him and repent and willingly continue to blaspheme His name. basically if we choose to become faithful servants of the dark one. Then we will be in deep dung and would need to be terrified...that doesn't sound like you.

regarding an African, if they have never known God, never heard the name of Jesus and are completely ignorant., i believe God in His infinite wisdom and grace, will give that person the opportunity to learn the truth of Him and make the decision to confess Jesus as Saviour and the one and only true living God...or continue to believe in their past beliefs. If, once learning the truth of Yahweh and salvation through Christ they choose the latter, i think they have sealed their fate and will be headed to the threshing floor as chaff.

God will never turn His back on you if you are truly seeking Him and devote yourself to Him.. He is waiting for you to discover all the truth of Him and for you to come home .
 
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I found a church with a preacher that I liked but as usual I found many of the "Christians" within the congregation to be hypocrites. The same ones who practice love and acceptance were the same ones who judged me for not believing what they did or asking questions. That was the church I was going to when I started attending bible study. I was met with alot of criticism when I brought up my concerns about the bible and my view on taking from it what I needed and leaving the rest. I feel that God will direct me in what is right and wrong. The bible is full of literal scriptures and figurative ones. Trying to differentiate which is which and determine what one is "right" is difficult. I believe man (who has free will) over the years have altered (even if it is unknowingly) the contents of the bible. I view it similar to telephone game where you start with one statement and by the time it reaches the end it is something else. The bible only includes certain books that man collectively decided to include and was done so after it was transferred from word of mouth to paper throughout several generations. I feel that man interrupted or altered this to conform to their view of right and wrong based on the scriptures before them. What we feel to be "right and wrong" today is not the same as it was half a century ago, I believe that the past view of man came through in the interpretation of the bible. Ten people can read a page from the bible and interpret what they read differently based on how they view life, God, their morals and how they all apply. I am very skeptical of any "Church" and want to find a religion that is not based wholly on the bible but more on cultivating a relationship with God where HE will direct and guide you. If I listen to God and follow his guidance I should do no wrong whether it differs SOME from the bible or not (obviously most of my base would be formulated from the word within the bible). I apologize if this comes across dismissive or rude, I am trying to answer as best I can in a direct way. Reading the bible I find many passages confusing and contradict each other. In Genesis God says he is a Jealous God and wants us to worship no other but then in other parts throughout the bible he is a loving God no matter what we think and as any father will always be there for us and will love us no matter what. We view Jealousy as a negative trait, how does that statement correlate with what we view as right and wrong as well as other passages within the bible? This I like to think is an example of a figurative statement showing God loves us so much that he desires all of our love and gave us free will so that we can CHOOSE to return his love rather be created to do so. Where does that leave me with what to believe is Figurative and literal? These are serious questions I have and are not meant to be argumentative ones.
 
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Rick W

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Victoria,
I as a father would be a bit jealous too if my son or daughter honored or loved another fellow more than me. What father wouldn't be? Yet, I love my children dearly. In short I am a jealous father, as parents are apt to be. But I'm also a loving father, as parents are apt to be.
 

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I found a church with a preacher that I liked but as usual I found many of the "Christians" within the congregation to be hypocrites.
You will find that wherever you go. Fact is, if we really look closely at ourselves and especially through the eyes of God we will find that we are also guilty of this. This is one reason why Jesus spoke about judging others. If you're looking for the perfect denomination, step in line. My suggestion is that when you enter into a group study and have questions or even disagreement, remember to do so in love, kindness, and patience. After all, you may need reproofing yourself. I am learning and growing in Christ and God teaches me new things all the time.

With regard to the scriptures, I like to use multiple versions. Not because I fear errors but because with any translation process there will be differences to overcome. This happens even when translating from one language to the same language. For example, if I say something like, "Only one person may ride in this car." What does that mean? Does it mean only one person at a time can ride in the car? Does it mean the car is dedicated to one particular passenger and nobody else can ever sit in it....ever? Does it mean the one person is the driver or is it referring to one passenger?

You see, it really comes down to context and time reference. Unless you know me on a very personal level and the rest of the conversation surrounding that statement I made, you don't know for sure what I really meant. No matter which version of the Bible you read that is printed in English, you are always reading a translated copy. Reading multiple translations and reading the entire Bible helps one get a better understanding of the scriptures as a whole. Reading, studying, and meditating on the scriptures helps you get to know God in a more personal and direct way.

Consider this. If you read scripture, you are translating and interpreting it in your own way. Is your interpretation correct? We need to get to know Him, trust Him, and have faith in Him. Once we do He does teach us.
 
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That is exactly how I look at things. Everything within the bible is subjective and I myself have even read a scripture and then again years later and they meant different things to me. I think God speaks to us using those scriptures based on where we are in our lives and what our needs are. The catch is what parts of the bible do you feel speak to you and what don't. What parts do we practice and what parts do we see as reference or part of a guide? If there are conflicting portions how do we overcome them? I prayed again today for God to work through me and use me to do his will. I also asked God to please speak to me and guide me. I realize this can be done through everyday acts, others, the bible and so on. Deciphering what is from him some times is difficult but if I pay attention and follow my heart, he will speak to me and show me the way, even if I don't know it yet. Returning to this thought process and handing my will over to him will be difficult but I am trying. The only time in my life where I had peace I practiced the above, I want that again.
 

for_his_glory

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Hi Victoria and welcome to CF.net. Yours is a story many of us have lived through. You will always find some hypocrites in most any church, but you just have to ignore them. Church needs to be a place where we are fed. It needs to be a place of fellowship that lifts up and edifies each other with unconditional love. Unfortunately in some Churches we walk out the door being more confused then we were when we walked in. The thing with me is that I had to learn that it's a personal relationship with Christ that is separate from any denomination or non-denomination. It seems like you had that personal relationship and still have it, but is being suppressed right now by all the confusion in your mind.

1Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

I believe you have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through that Spiritual rebirth of John 3:3-6 and Romans 10:9, 10 plus knowledge of Gods word. My suggestion would be for you to find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed and pour your heart out to Jesus and after you have poured it all out be still long enough for Him to speak to your heart as he will give you that peace back, but you have to be quiet long enough to hear Him speak. We get to anxious when we do not get a quick response and figure Jesus is not hearing us, but in all reality we do not give him enough time to speak and then we become even more discouraged. As far as asking what Church you should attend, ask the Holy Spirit guide you to a Church or home Bible study as the Holy Spirit knows where you need to be right now. Try out different places and the Holy Spirit will let you know when you are in the right place. Will keep you in my prayers.
 
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I grew up in a very religious family. Most of my life I have had questions regarding God, Jesus and the bible. Every time I try to ask these questions I am met with the same response, "You just have to have faith". How can I have faith when I have little to base it on. I look at it like a foundation for a house, you have to start somewhere and it needs to be sturdy otherwise anything built on it will not be stable. A few years back I was able to reset my thinking and live a life of spirituality having a close relationship with God. My ability to view God, Jesus and the holy spirit through this new way of thinking gave me a way to address some of my concerns with regards to religion and denomination. I truly felt a direct connection with God and could pray and talk to him regularly. I had peace and could feel him working in my life. After attending a few church sessions and going to a few bible study meetings I was no longer able to continue my relationship with God (which was very strong at that time) due to the guilt, fear and confusion that I now have. For once I was able to have a relationship with God based on love and peace versus fear of going to hell and confusion but since then I have become bitter and have tried unsuccessfully to reestablish a connection with God. The thing that scares me is that I just don't feel like my prayers go anywhere and the connection I had is completely gone. How can you have a relationship when I feel like I am talking or praying to air and when I can't feel anything? I have spent the last couple of hours online looking up prayers and ways to reconnect to God. How do I rebuild a relationship with God without the fear of going to hell? I need to find a denomination that allows me to believe God, Jesus and the holy spirit are one and the same but three separate parts? I have asked for forgiveness and to be saved. I am unable to accept the bible as is. There are passages that are literal and passages that are figurative. I believe there are many parables within the bible that are used to teach a moral or illustrate a point. I just can't believe in Jonah and the whale literally. I prefer to see this as a parable or figuratively speaking. I also have difficulty with the bible being written and rewritten/reinterpreted by "man", many many years after Jesus's death. It is hard for me to believe that things weren't removed, added or misinterpreted throughout the years. When I bring this up I am told I have to believe in the bible completely and literally and if I don't then I'll go to hell. Please help me find a denomination that allows me to view God the father, Jesus the son and the holy spirit as three parts of the same being/whole/one, I am able to interpret the bible to the best of my ability based on what God directs or reveals to me and where I can have a direct relationship with God without the oppression of the church.
I think one of the best questions ever asked of Jesus came from Pilate, when he asked Jesus; "What is truth?" A lot of people seek denominations in a bid to answer that very same question, but that's a mistake.

We need to get our doctrine, our truth, form the Bible first, not from a church denomination. However, church bodies and denominations can be very helpful in helping us determine what is truth. Sometimes they can teach us what isn't truth. That said, we don't always have an easy time understanding or interpreting the scriptures.This is the very reason we have so many denominations today. Which one is right? To answer this It's important to know what the essentials of the Christian faith are, and to test what others say against scripture. Let Scripture ultimately interpret scripture.

We have a saying in theology; "in essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, and in all things charity".

This means that we need to be in unity in regards to the essentials. The essentials are; The deity of Christ is God in the flesh. Salvation is by Grace. Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone. The resurrection of Christ, He rose from the dead. The Gospel as a witness to Christ, and we are to share and live it. Also, the Trinity. We believe in one God manifests in three forms, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holly Spirit.

We might. at times, question, or argue in debate, these essentials. We may think a little differently on a few things, but as long as those things do not change the essential value of meaning and understanding then we can say such debates are nonessential, and we offer liberty, I'll give you an example.

I was raised in the Methodist Church denomination. If you look at any belief statement for the Methodist denomination you will find something like this concerning Salvation; "We believe Salvation is God's free gift to us but we must accept it." Now I study the bible. I let the bible guide me, and scripture interpret scripture, and so I agree with this statement up to the point where it says "we must accept it." I have a different theology based on my own awareness of my salvation and what God has reveled to me concerning this through His word, and the Holly Spirit.

Dose this mean I'm I right and the Methodist wrong? Doesn't matter. We can argue this point all we want, but in the end it's a nonessential, and therefore we allow liberty. If someone wants to believe we must accept our salvation and someone else understanding is that God saved them, that they did not accept it, both believe, both understand the gift, and are living for God, changed from the inside for His purpose....It does not matter. We offer liberty in these types of things. There is this type of freedom in Christ Jesus.

Finally, in all things Charity. What do we mean by this? Well, we need to pray for one another. We need to understand that grace is not a matter of truth because if it where, then no one would be saved. Grace is a gift, Truth is understanding, but both are from God; not the Methodist, the Baptist, the Roman Catholic Church, or Joel Olsteen, or any other of the thousands....and you read that right, THOUSANDS of denominations you can choose from today.

So let the bible be your source for doctrine. Let God be your leader and guide, because in the end, you can choose your denomination, but you can't choose your salvation....I slipped that last part in there just to be a little cheeky.

I did not know God until I was 25. What I like to tell new Christians is this, READ and STUDY Gods word. PRAY. and Fellowship with other believers. You may find a church and decide later that you need something else. That's OK. We do not finish where we start. Otherwise it would not be much of a race now would it?

So welcome to the forum, and to the body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
 

JPPT1974

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#12
Praying that you will find the right kind of denomination. As well as that it is comfortable for you. In worshiping your faith in Christ. As just lean on Him to give you the right kind of church and denomination my friend!
 
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#13
Hi Victoria

I can really bond with a lot of what you wrote in your post. I am a strong believer in Jesus and have a close relationship with Him, but have been unable to settle into a church, partly because I don't believe in exactly the same way as other members. I think there are probably a lot of people like us out there! I can't accept the 'believe as I do or go to hell" doctrine; I have always liked to think for myself. I see the Bible as being an incredibly valuable and precious book, but not necessarily an infallible instruction manual. The Old Testament is a record of a nation's journey towards true belief in God, and also a record of the customs and beliefs at the time when Jesus lived. The New Testament contains the writings of those who actually walked and talked with Jesus. I therefore treasure it, and spend a lot of time reading and learning from it, but I don't fully believe that it is infallible.

I would like to have the fellowship of other Christians, but never quite feel that I fit in.
 
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Hi Victoria, and welcome to the site :)

I'd like to offer a couple perspectives for you. (You ask good questions!)
First off, You're terrified of God, and this is a good place to start. Scripture says that the beginning is the fear of the Lord, so it is good to have a healthy fear of the Lord. As you draw closer to the Lord, you will learn that there is a lot of joy to be had in the Lord also. He is soo loving and longsuffering and merciful and full of grace! God is not willing that any should perish so He is there for you, absolutely. He loves you so much and you are so valuable to Him...that He let His SON die that you could live. God does not make mistakes or poor investments so you really are that valuable to Him and he DOES love you THAT MUCH. (Praise the Lord!)

Secondly, (loosely speaking, no offense to any denomination), but...forget about all of the denominations. Do not seek a denomination. Seek Jesus Christ Himself, only. He wants a personal relationship, so forget the denominations. They largely confuse and distract by trying to teach you to be a good XXX (whatever denomination) Christian. This is not right and distracts from a personal relationship. I claim no denomination. I belong to Jesus. My beliefs may be similar to what the world calls certain denominations, but it's all about Jesus. That said, I can hear it coming. That begs the question, so where does one go to get the proper doctrine? Good question. Here is your answer right in scripture...

1 John 2:27
27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him./(KJV)

So, you don't need mans teaching and doctrine. The Lord will give it you. His Spirit will bear witness with your spirit and teach you. Seek and you will find him. Jeremiah 29:13
We are to live for the Spirit and not for the flesh, meditate upon His word day & night, Pray without ceasing, Talk to the Lord always, invite Him to go with you everywhere. Seek Him with all your heart. Romans 8:5-6 Joshua 1:8 Deuteronomy 4:29 1 Thessalonians 5:17

As you draw closer to the Lord, He will draw closer to you. Don't look for a feeling, that is carnal. The Lord does not teach us to carnally seek Him. We are to live for the Spirit and not the flesh. Feelings are of the flesh. Just have faith sister. I know that you said that you need something to base your faith upon, but this is incorrect, that is of the flesh...of our own undertanding, and we are not to lean upon our own understanding. First you have faith, or...put your trust in Him...and then He will grant you understanding. That's how it works. Think of it like your trusted friend brought to you a trusted friend of his, that wants to borrow some money You have nothing to base the trust upon, that he will repay you. Your trusted friend vouches for the man, but you have no personal experience on which to base your trust. So you have to put your trust in him first, and then see...The Lord will not EVER let you down. I vouch for Him! Many others will also.
Then He will give you understanding and reveal Himself to you personally and faith will grow...

(paragraphs, sister, please. It's hard to read with no paragraphs...:))
 
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Yes! I have to agree with Edward. There is no perfect church. Get your doctrine from the Spirit and the word and some "denominations" may be more close or further away on one point or another and some other may be just the opposite. Dr. J. Vernon Magee once said, "If I could find the perfect church I would join but as soon as I did it would no longer be perfect!"

There is only one perfect and He is sitting on the right hand of the Father. We are all works in process (EPhesians 2:10)...being conformed (faith to faith, glory to glory) into His image. But know this, when He appears we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2) and it is then that we shall know even as we are known (1 Corinthians 13:12)...until then the word is like a mirror in which we gaze darkly...when we look therein we see our face but as soon as we walk away we forget what we look like...so now we see in reflections but then 'face to face' and until then Grace!

In His love

brother Paul
 
J

Jon David

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Yes! I have to agree with Edward. There is no perfect church. Get your doctrine from the Spirit and the word and some "denominations" may be more close or further away on one point or another and some other may be just the opposite. Dr. J. Vernon Magee once said, "If I could find the perfect church I would join but as soon as I did it would no longer be perfect!"

There is only one perfect and He is sitting on the right hand of the Father. We are all works in process (EPhesians 2:10)...being conformed (faith to faith, glory to glory) into His image. But know this, when He appears we shall be like Him (1 John 3:2) and it is then that we shall know even as we are known (1 Corinthians 13:12)...until then the word is like a mirror in which we gaze darkly...when we look therein we see our face but as soon as we walk away we forget what we look like...so now we see in reflections but then 'face to face' and until then Grace!

In His love

brother Paul
It sounds to me like DR. J Vernon Magee is declaring himself as the final determination. So, by his own words ANYTHING that "he" is joined to is not perfect. Since he chose to exalt "himself" as the final projection, in his own mirror.
 
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This forum is not set up as a debate forum. More of a general chatter or question/answer type. We have more then enough debate forums in side.... Please drop in if you wish...
 
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Jon David

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This forum is not set up as a debate forum. More of a general chatter or question/answer type. We have more then enough debate forums in side.... Please drop in if you wish...
I must ask forgiveness then. I appreciate the invite and that you posted my posts.

I must decline the invitation at this time.
 
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You are most welcome to post Jon... Forgiveness sure but not necessary . You are welcome here... :)
 
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It sounds to me like DR. J Vernon Magee is declaring himself as the final determination. So, by his own words ANYTHING that "he" is joined to is not perfect. Since he chose to exalt "himself" as the final projection, in his own mirror.
Not at all...he was expressing ultimate humility.He is saying exactly what I said...there is none perfect only Christ!
 
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