Monday, July 10, 2006

Morris News Article--(In case it doesn't make it to publication)

Pastor’s Perspective

Rev. Nathan Mattox, Morris First United Methodist Church

This past Sunday, I sat in an adult Sunday school class at the church here in Morris. We were discussing a chapter of 1 Corinthians that dealt with a controversy in the church at Corinth over eating meat that had been sacrificed to the patron gods of the area. There were some in the community who insisted that Christians must refrain from this meat, while others in the same community insisted that the freedom found in Christ compelled them to disregard the taboo against eating such meat. (1 Corinthians 8) Though we may no longer be troubled by the concerns over dietary purity in our day and age, it was certainly a “hot-button” issue in the early church. Paul’s advice, though about a particular circumstance in a particular community, transcends time and place to speak to us even today.

Today I was looking at a book that a parishioner let me borrow, Morris Historical Highlights: Early 1900’s to 1991. I have been struck by the sense of community that this town has—and evidently, that sense of community has a long history. It was fascinating to see the first school bus in Morris, a long coach pulled by a horse in the early 1900’s, and the dapper gentleman who drove the “bus” in a bowler hat. There were also photos of a bustling Main Street. Community is something that is very important and valuable. Now, most of us simply take off to Okmulgee’s Super Center for all our needs—what used to be the norm for our community is no longer. Where do we find community in a modern world?

This pastor and the Apostle Paul hope that you find a sense of community in your church. If you don’t belong to a church, you should visit one and see if you feel welcomed by that community. Paul’s advice to the Corinthians was to not let squabbles over “hot-button” issues divide the community. He said that a humble heart is worth more to God than a mind that knows what is right and wrong about everything. Paul knew that it is the little things that cut away at the fabric of a community.

At the Sunday School class I attended, the issue of prayer in school came up as an example of a “hot-button issue.” As the conversation unfolded, it was apparent that there were different ideas and opinions on the matter. Though several folks were passionate about their side of the issue, the conversation remained respectful. It is important to remember that there are central ideas in faith that tend to be ignored when we drum up controversy over wedge issues. Jesus himself was asked the most important thing about faith—he said “Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22: 36-39) In his farewell address in the Gospel of John, he said “Love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) Oh, how often and how callously we sweep aside the important things so that we can feel the addictive thrill of righteous indignation motivated by issues we think are so important.

I know many people my age (I’m in my late 20’s) who are turned off from having a faith life because they see Christians as being hot-headed know it alls about everything. They see Christians at each other’s throats about divisive issues. They see hypocrisy, they see hatred, they see rage, and these things overshadow the faint-hearted “second-thought” of loving each other. After Jesus commanded his disciples to “love one another” in John, he said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Paul knew it was enough to focus on the essentials of faith. He asked the Corinthians to consider each other’s stumbling blocks and to not provoke each other. He asked those who ate meat to refrain from eating meat in front of those who didn’t as a way to strengthen the faith of the whole community. He asked for the community to have some give and take on such a hot button issue. Imagine if we were to give up the insistence that we are absolutely right about an issue and recognize the complexity of it. Prayer in school, freedom of expression, sexuality, abortion, immigration, etc. etc.—imagine if we gave up arguing about all of these things because for some they are a stumbling block to faith. What would we have left to focus on? Perhaps we’d get back to basics and get back on the path of the most important commandment. Imagine that!

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever questioned Paul?

    Paul says we are not under the law, but the Bible says God's
    commandments are forever and ever (Psalm 111)

    I seriously believe Paul was a false apostle as:

    1. He wasn’t ordained an apostle by Christ (Mat 10)

    2. He didn’t qualify to be an apostle (Acts 1:16-26)

    3. Paul’s doctrine is proven false:

    After Christ died and rose he appeared to his apostles. The gospels record him as appearing to the “eleven” (remember, Judas had died), but Paul’s doctrine is in clear error as he tells us that Christ appeared to the “twelve”:

    Paul said twelve:

    1 Corinthians 15:4-6

    4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve

    Mark said eleven:

    Mark 16:14: Afterward he (Christ) appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat

    Matthew said eleven:

    Matt 28:16-18:

    Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

    Luke’s mentions the “eleven”:

    2And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: 5And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8And they remembered his words, 9And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest.

    Acts mentions eleven:

    Acts 1:26:

    26And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

    Paul is a liar, and a proven false witness. Christ, in Revelation 2:2 commends the church of Epheus for figuring out false aposles. He said, “…thou hast tried them which say they are apsostles, and are not, and hast found them liars. Remember, Paul preached at Epheus.

    Fact 4:
    The apostles did not believe Paul was a disciple:

    Acts 9:26
    26And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.

    After Barnabas told the apostles that Paul had “seen the Lord” and that he preached boldy in the name of Jesus, the Apostles didn’t tell him to join them, but they sent him home to Tarsus. Remember, Jesus told us (Mat 13:57) that a prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house . The apostles sent Paul to a place that no one would believe him.

    Paul's caught in a lie about his conversion:

    There are 2 different stories. In one version he said that Christ told him to go to Damascus and that it would be there that Christ would reveal more to him. In the other version, Christ did the opposite. Compare Acts 22 with Acts 26

    Jesus tells apostles to "heal", Paul blinded a man:

    Acts 13:11, Paul said:
    "11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand."

    Jesus, confirms twelve apostles, not 13:

    Revelation 21:14:
    14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

    Jesus told the church of Ephesus they knew who the false apostles were:

    To the Church of Ephesus, Revelation 2:2:

    2I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

    Paul told Ephesus he was an apostle:

    Ephesians 1:1
    1Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus

    Paul admits his doctrine had troubles being accepted in Ephesus:

    Acts 19:8,9:

    8And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. 9But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

    I have much, much more on my website going into faith works and law too. If you want to see more, just go to my site:

    verse of the day:

    Deuteronomy 13
    1If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

    2And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

    3Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

    4Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

    5And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.