Continuing with my post-conversion story:
I like Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth” even when it was being serielized on the old MOD magazine. I even asked my cousin from Canada-Rosita Ongsu to send me a copy o f the said book. And I devoured it. I was thinking of buying more of Lindsey’s book -since I have a NSTA scholarship momey during my 1st-2nd year college at UST.
And what a surprised-there were many books by Lindsey-so I asked a Christian-also browsing at National Bookstore Recto branch. And his suggested book? He told me his “interpretation of John 10. About the sheep and their Shepherd and that the sheep hear his voice and follow no other.Later I found out this is Calvinism. But I did not know then. I was intrigued and in a sense assured because it tallies with my experience. As in previous blogs regarding my conversion-I had to be irresistibly pulled by the hound of heaven so that I will submit to him.
Later , my brother-Roseller Rodriguez showed me a pamphlet from “Living Circle” -a college ministry by the Grace Bible CHurch, Nagtahan, Manila warns that such doctrine is hypercalvinism and that it teaches fatalism and non-evnagelism-so I just keep quiet for awhile and remain with our church at CCRL.
Back at Recto-I bought from Baptist Center Bookstore-a primer on dispensationlism by Gerstner-and found out that base don him Lindsey is a dispensationist and that they are supposed to antinomian.And that based on Darby’s two-people of God theory-that God is pursuing two purposes in history instead of one.And that the antidote to this is Covenant Theology (as espoused by Westminster and Calvin Seminary) and the five points of Calvinism.
So I am back in confronting Calvinism. I will confront later Covenant theology. But I already accepted the “sanctification through law” assumption by covenant theology. I admit that it is not easy to go through life by fewer guidelines-especially I am trying to reconcile the relevance of Christianity and my engineering studies. I have forgotten Schaeffer insights though. He is a Calvinist but he is not thorough going Covenant Theologian. His Faith Theological Seminary is fundamentalist and dispensational.
1. The demoniac “healed:
2. Jesus and Baalzebub
3. Sin against the Holy Spirit
4. Careless Words
1. There are cases in Jesus ministry that defies categorization. A demon-possessed man is usually exorcised. But in this case -the man was healed.It also means that some sickness is related directly tothe working of the devil. One must be cautious here. It is easy to gooverboard and say that most sickness is devil-related. Some are and it must be rigidly established. This is athe reason that the crowd begins to think the Messianic characteristic of Jesus.
2. But the Pharisees is adamant in their unbelief or unbelief that Jesus can never be the messiah since he keeps violating their cherished beliefs.So they conclude that Jesus is an agent of Satan (Canaanitic term is Baalzebub-which means “Lord of the Flies”). The Lord immediately contraadicts them for their nonsense. A demon prize will not be let go. A demon-possessed man is straightway to hell , in this life and tothe thereafter-unless freed! They don’t let go. So it had to be the enemy kingdom who have to let loosed of them. Redemption or liberation is what Jesus is bringing. And the Spirit of God is the prime agent of release. This is a proof the present realized presence of the kingdom of God and that there is a such thing as a “economic Trinity”.
3. The Sin against the Holy Spirit is a public, vocal proof of a persistent,convince unbelief and assignment of supernatural works of Jesus to the devil. It is more than mere unbelief in Jesus (which is the sin against the Son of Man) .Pharisees who are convince not to believe Jesus because of his threat to their office of teaching, and their decision to murder him-for whatever reasons and to ascribe his works to the devil-is an example of the blasphemy ofthe Holy Spirit. Let us beware of it.
4.This paragraph is usually used to moralize regarding gossip,cursing, green jokes and the like. Though it can be extended to that-the chief emphasis of these passages is that we be careful to speak agianst something we don’t undesrtand especially about Jesus and the Holy Spirit. To speak glibly of spiritual things-without investigating and validatingthem is gross error. One can be justified and condemned because of it. To speak of Jesus as Savior and Lord is to be justified. To speak against the Holy Spirit’s work- convinced persistently -as a work of the devil-is to be condemned.
I am continuing my conversion story started in Collision 1. I choose this title since it signifies the collsion of my old wordl and the new christian world-with its worldview and culture.
It was the suggestion of my grandfather and my aunt to look for an IVCF campus ministries at UST gardens. And thru it especially -now Engr Onofredo Mojica , I was able to find a house church at Constancia St., Sampaloc, Manila-named “Community Church of the Risen Lord”. It was led by 5 elders-namely (now) Ps Ric Pagarigan, Ps Esdras Martinez, Elder Fred Gan, another one I cannot remember right now and the deceased Paredes patriarch. They were the one who interviewed me for my 1992 baptism at Cubao Baptist Church.
My long time mentor is Ps Ric who introduced me to Francis Schaeffer and Faith Theological Seminary. We also both watched the “Empire Strikes Back” the first time around. He is now pastoring at Canada.
My usual responsibilities then was to keep the hymnals and the chairs and to help Ps. Ric in his bible studies and house visitation.
Side of Union Church
I am hoping that I can make some informal survey of the biggest or influential churches here at Metro Manila-like that of outreach magazine: http://outreachmagazine.com/08Outreach100.htm
So, I am starting with what I know -my former church during the time when I left Bread from Heaven Christian Fellowship-towards the time when I was to get married in 1993. I will try to be mostly positive in my assessment and leave out the negative unsaid. Here are two pictures we took when we wnt there yesterday, February 22, 2009:
Raviel at front of Union Church
UCM building is located at the heart of Makati district. It is somewhat new since it replaced the building I knew when I was there in 1990 to 1991. There’s a parking lot beside them but since Makati is dull by Sundays-it is easy to park at the streets. No hasles. The building is big but not massive-continuing its previouse theme of reaching out to the heavens. The toilets are clean and many. The temperature inside is bearable-not too cold or hot. They are still using the old pew benches-but they are still comfortable anyway. The base ment are for the many Sunday School classes.
Ushering-which I was a part-is still impeccable. There are many volunteers handling this-I just observed that before the service (there are 3 by the way-contemporary,traditional and blended) there is an usher that holds a card telling others to shut-off their cellphones.
The program still follows the traditional worship order (We went there during the mid-morning service) and is within the time-limit. The choir are still there to lead the congregation and even though you have heard most of the songs before -due to their song leading, the congrgation are able to sing them vigorously.
Steve Ruetschle, Senior Pastor spoke about Psalm 119 about the love of a believer for the Word of God-comparing it to wine and a love poem-while telling his story about his love for his wife (he cannot sleep for three days until he was able to share his poems for her), sharing a quote from John Calvin and telling about his wine tasting tour at California. It was well researched and you can feel his love for the Word during the message.
The Sound sytem of UCM is superb -not too loud or too soft. You can hear what needs to be heard.Afterwards we stay at the basement for some snacks and bought a book on discipleship. I was able to go around the Sunday school area and was able to hear the practice of the next worship band. It was a start on my blof regarding evangelical churhes in Metro Manila.
Their website is : http://new.unionchurch.ph
This is a short review:
I went there with my wife during February 14, 2009. The place is kind of cold and windy. The two groups who sung were good-True Faith and Baihana.
The food services was bad- Costelo Restaurant-It took us 1 1/2 hours to get our food-lasagna and pizza-and it was cold. And it also took as a long time for our payments to be accepted. They were not ready for this Valentine’s concert. Here are two (2) pictures of the event:
Crowd at Lakefront,Posadas
I was always alone by myself
Not caring what goes on
For others like me
people who sits by me
at the bus or jeepney
Building my world
Insulating it from others
Others like me
someone to be with
running from them
Avoiding your image in them
But you found me
And I found myself
reaching other for you
And I found myself reaching them for you
I tried to hide the idols of my heart
In the secrte rooms
Hoping no one will see it
Hoping He will not see it too
The one I thought is Freedom
Led me to prison
The one that gives me pleasure
Led me to long term pain
Wretched man I am
Alone in my sin
But He came
His thoughts for me undivided
His presence undiluted
Now I found myself released from my chains
And my heart now undivided
Posted in Poetry
Tagged heart, idols, Jesus