The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A New Resolution

As I 'pen' these words, we find ourselves on the verge of a new year, new opportunities & a fresh set of resolutions! 'New Year's Resolutions' have become almost cliche', with many people clamoring for the chancre to begin anew, make a fresh start with a clean slate & hopefully do a better job of keeping those resolutions in the coming year than they have in the past. Some will resolve anything from 'tying the knot' to exercising more & eating less ( or differently ), while others resolve not to make any resolutions at all!

One resolution that we should all make, but which is easier said than done, is to do better than the previous year! Many will make this resolution, especially those who have chosen ( 'mea culpa' ) to learn life's lessons the hard way. It is apparent that changes need to be made, but again, this is easier said than done. When we have become fairly comfortable ( even though it may be very stressful ) with our current lifestyle, it is often very hard, both emotionally & physically speaking, to make those changes that we know deep down are necessary. Sometimes, it is easier for someone on the outside looking in, not only to see that something needs to change, but also to be able to elucidate what that change should look like. However our eyes are opened, it's still up to us to implement the change, to set in motion the wheels that ( hopefully ) will improve our lives on this earth!

Change is not always a good thing; sometimes people can make wrong or bad resolutions ( choices ), in the process making an even bigger mess of their lives than they were previously! Individuals always have a choice & the choices we make, while they may seem like a good idea at the time, are not always good ones. We might choose to 'listen to our heart', all the while forgetting where our 'heart' has led us in the past, or we might choose to listen to our head instead, though we should remember where that wisdom has gotten us in the past, as well!

'What to do, what to do?' Are we fated to simply 'run in place', so to speak, just flitting between flowers, hoping that the next one will provide us with what we need, or is there hope for us, that we can make a change in our own lives, to disrupt the seemingly endless cycle of failures? Though change is not always a good thing, with the right resolution, it IS a good thing! If we stick to our resolve to better ourselves & our situation, we can, no matter the extenuating circumstance or outside influences, make the necessary adjustments in our own lives. This is not to say, however, that we can make these adjustments ( changes ) on our own or by ourselves!

We all need help, once in awhile; someone or something to goad us, to move us onto & along a certain path that we otherwise would not have chosen! Whether it's a matter of comfort, a weak will or just plain & simple blindness, sometimes we just cannot bring ourselves to the point where we need to be. This is where our Heavenly Father makes His Blessed Presence known; either circumstances 'come our way' that force us to make the changes necessary, or certain people come into our lives, whether just for a season or to stay, that help us along the way to make those difficult choices that lead to a better life!

As we enter this New Year, whether with a clean slate or not, whether we follow the 'New Year's Resolution' crowd or not, let us all resolve to make the most of the opportunities we are given! Although we will no doubt be faced with many different kinds of opportunities, not all of these should be considered ( some aren't even worth considering ); some of these opportunities will probably have a familiar odor to them ( like, 'we've been here before!' ) while others still will offer us the chance to better our situation ( even if it seems like 'small beginnings' ). What we choose to do with this smorgasbord of opportunities is what will determine if we better our life, or if we damn our existence!

The Wisdom our Heavenly Father gives us is what makes the difference! Our own wisdom, the wisdom of our head & heart, that which tells us to do what feels good, or what we want ( not ALWAYS a bad thing ) is often what keeps us stumbling around in the dark, so to speak, always doing what we've always done, hoping that 'this time will be different'. People DO change, yes, but if they do not leave the path they were on, then this is evidence that they have NOT changed! In order for one to make the necessary changes in their life ( for good ) it is usually necessary to make it evident; one must make a complete turn-around ( even if it's gradual ) & leaving the path they were on, begin to walk a new path, even though it is uphill & strewn with carcasses!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, December 28, 2015

Marriage is for Life

But did He not make [ them ] one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
Malachi 2:15 

In this day & age, even among many Christians, it seems that 'easy divorce' has become 'the name of the game', so to speak! Whatever the reason, this situation is not without precedent; it is simply symptomatic of a much greater disease; the Pharisees of Jesus day faced Him with the same problem! As He told them, it seems Jesus must say to many Christians today, 'Have you not read that He who made[a] them at the beginning ‘made them male and female', and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh' ( Matthew 19:4 ( Genesis 1:27 & 2:24 )! 

Most Christians have realized for centuries that the Creator's plan for marriage was to produce a greater inheritance for His Kingdom & some have taken this to the extreme of saying that since the act of sexual intercourse is designed for this purpose, that is the ( only ) way in which it should be employed; others have gone to the almost opposite extreme & agreed with the culture around them which says that sex is mainly ( if not wholly ) for our enjoyment. Contraceptives have allowed us to, with almost no responsibility, engage in sexual intercourse with no fear of creating a new life! With this added security, such as it is, along with certain medical procedures, many marriages today have become a matter of 'easy come, easy go' because they are based upon the freedom that these contraceptives or medical procedures provide!

To many Christians, it seems that 'divorce is not an option'! In my own case, having recently been divorced, I was brought up to believe that 'marriage is forever', that once one says those vows 'before God & this company', you're in it for life; for this reason, there are doubtless many unhappy, even abusive situations out there! Although marriage should not make one unhappy or even countenance abuse, neither should these vows, 'to love, honor & cherish, till death do us part' be taken lightly! 

In western culture, not so much in eastern culture, it seems that both marriage & divorce have become a matter of convenience; in order to keep from breaking the law or to reap certain benefits, it seems that some people will 'tie the knot' with almost no consideration other than their own selfish ends, whether it be their happiness or simply a reward or goal. Again, I can tell you from experience that when a marriage is based on anything other than a purpose to raise up godly offspring, it will not last! A true marriage, from which there is no divorce, is based on a mutual decision, a Oneness of Purpose, to promote growth within the Kingdom of our God & Father!

Having established that true marriage is for life, why do we see in the culture around us & even within the hallowed walls of Christendom the trend of easy marriage & divorce? Is it because the Church has been influenced by the culture around us, or is it because the Church has failed to positively influence the culture around Her? Most Christians would immediately be tempted to throw blame ( 'mea culpa' ) at the debauched culture around us; this is what happened to Israel of old, except that her Intended knew what the case really was ( Ezekiel 16:33 ). The blame though, must ultimately fall, as it did on Israel of old, on the Church Herself, for She is the Creator's Agent of Reconciliation; She, like Israel of old, is to influence the culture ( 'world' ) around Her!

The apostle Paul wrote, in so many words, that true marriage is a picture of the union between the Christ & His Church. Since this is true, should not Christians especially have a greater urge to serve His Kingdom rather than their own selfish longings & desires? As Agents of Reconciliation, does it not behoove us to show the culture around us the blessedness of true marriage? Praise our Heavenly Father, there is a Remnant still that has determined to honor the Union of the Christ & His Church, a growing number who have refused to bow to the false gods of statehood or the debauchery of the surrounding culture & who are raising up a generation that, armed with this knowledge, are marching forth, expanding the Kingdom wherever they roam!

Much of the reason that the Church has allowed Herself to be influenced by the culture around Her rather than the other way around is that She has forgotten the true purpose in marriage! Although happiness is most definitely a concern, first & foremost should be a mutual decision to produce 'fruit' & expand our borders. Because we are Children of the King, this is our Kingdom as well; its growth should be of utmost concern to us & if we do not bear 'fruit' of any sort, but concern ourselves only with our own happiness, our own satisfaction, though the Kingdom will continue to expand & grow, it will advance without us, leaving us & our 'marriages' wallowing in the dyst!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Dealing With the Problem of Evil

It's impossible to read the majority of newspaper headlines in this day & age and deny the glaring fact; there is evil out there & it MUST be dealt with! Not only can one simply turn on the 6 o'clock news & see/hear about the latest atrocities that ISIS has perpetrated, or any other manner of evil occurrence, a simple Internet search has convinced many 'believers' that 'Satan IS alive & well on Planet Earth'! This is not to deny the existence of evil, but one can't help but wonder, sometimes ( if one is at all empathetic ) if much of the problem might have been avoided if, one, those 'on the receiving end' had acted ( rightly ) rather than ( reacted ( whether rightly or wrongly ).

The Foreign Policy of these United States of America ( lately, U.S.Inc ) seems to be more of a reactive one! The Preemptive Strike, lately popularized by G.W. Bush has taken that policy to new levels, with our armies seeming to react before or enemies even act. Of course, this ( evil ) has been going on for so long that it's next to impossible to nail down where/when it all began! It's said that 'revenge is a dish best served cold'; before the events of '9-11' when the World Trade Center in NYC was attacked, there was a long forgotten ( by most ) battle fought near the end of the Ottoman ( Muslim ) Empire. Before the recent attacks in Paris, there was the murder of Knights Templar in France. This is barely mentioning the fact that we in the West & most lately ( infamously ) the U.S., have been carrying out acts of terrorism in Eastern lands for hundreds, even thousands of years!

Some will immediately object to this line of reasoning, avowing that the American forces have committed justifiable homicide because their enemies were so evil, there could be no reasoning with them! Ignorant sayings like 'there's no good Muslim but a dead Muslim' & statements such as a current presidential candidate has been spewing forth are likely much of the reason that Muslims ( even the peaceable ones ) hate 'us' & everything 'we the people' stand for'. One could easily prove from the Quran that Islam is not a peaceful religion, but then again, another could as easily argue, from the Hebrew Scriptures, that neither is Judaism ( you thought I was gonna say 'Christianity', didn't you? ); one has merely to review the history of Christianity, though, to see that we have  not proven ourselves to be a very peaceable religion either!

'So, other than the wars & desolations these past number of centuries have borne witness to', one might ask, 'how would you suggest we deal with the problem of evil?' Do you really think that if the Jews had shown love to Hitler, that whatever number is the latest ridiculous assertion might not have seen the inside of a gas chamber, or fallen bullet-riddled into mass graves? Are we to believe that if all those Cambodians had merely 'bowed the knee' to Pol Pot they would have been allowed a peaceful co-existence, or that if Christians simply convinced their captors that Jesus loves them, that ISIS would cease & desist their beheading of them?!

It's really no wonder that with the Foreign Policy of the U.S. Inc., that ISIS ( just the latest iteration of reactionaries from Eastern lands ) has reacted in such a manner; it's actually somewhat surprising that they haven't done more & worse! From some reports, ISIS is losing steam, but when they do finally reach the end of their rope, no doubt some other group will take up the reigns & continue to terrorize the 'panty-waisted cowards' here in the West. 'Why is that?' one might ask. Well, it's quite simple, actually!

The Problem of Evil stems from humanity, or as some might say, 'human religions'! When one person disagrees with another, they may simply, out of consideration for their relation to each other, agree to disagree, but when a group of people, no matter how they're related to another, religiously decides that they're right & everyone else is wrong, then is when wars & desolations start to make the evil felt; one can simply read a history of the Civil War to bear witness to this! This is not to say either that all Organized Religion is necessarily evil, there is one true religion, but all religions have those who adhere to this true religion & not so much to all the tenets of their chosen ( or forced ) religion!

For those who trust in newspaper headlines to fulfill prophecy rather than trusting the Works & Word who fulfilled all prophecy, it's easy to believe that as the evil ( seemingly ) continues to spread, we must meet fire with fire, we must nuke them before the nuke us ( so to speak )! Is there an alternative? It seems that there is no way out, that we can 'give peace a chance' till we're 'blue in the face', but don't hold your breath; things have going evil's way for so long that it's going to take at least that long for people to realize ( although it's been staring us in the face for all of history ) that there is always a choice! We can choose we to act rightly, no matter how else everyone else acts, or we can choose to react ( usually wrongly ) to their wrong actions. It's easy to react rightly when one does rightly towards you, but it is difficult to react rightly when someone treats you wrongly; what will you choose?

Charles Haddon Shank

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Web of Life

'Why don't you move if you don't want to be an American?' There are some people today ( you know who you are ) who are pretty damn sure they don't want to be labeled 'American' & seemingly for good reason; there is much about America herself & the epitome of what is termed 'American' that is reprehensible at best! Those who voice such concerns are not necessarily being un-American or even anti-American, they are simply stating that what passes for an American today is, one, not what it used to be & two, being an American doesn't necessarily mean that you stand for or back everything America herself ( as a nation ) stand for or does; it simply means we live here & pledge our allegiance to what is right, not what is clearly wrong!

In this life, we often feel that we are caught in a web, that we can't get away from doing a certain thing or even a certain way of doing things; I mean, if you don't salute the flag or hold your hand over your heart during the singing of the national anthem, at the very least you may be thought unpatriotic: God forbid you don't say the pledge ( of allegiance )! On the other side of the coin, one might find much the same with modern Christianity; if you don't revere the Bible appropriately, or confess certain creeds or hold to certain 'orthodox' doctrines, you may not be a Christ at all, but simply a wolf in sheep's clothing!

Spiders are interesting creatures, bloodthirsty maybe, but interesting nonetheless! When spiders spin their webs, it is not only to trap flies & other insects for food, the web also serves as their home, their network of communication & a very real line of defense. If a spider feels the minutest vibration from anywhere on the web, they know that something requires their immediate attention & they hurry to meet the disturbance with their hackles up & their senses intact.

Life in our human world is very similar, if only we would realize it & accept it! There is a thread ( however fine ) that connects us all as human beings. The apostle Paul told us that when one part of the body suffers, the whole body is affected, to whatever extent; in context he was speaking, not of biology, but of the spiritual Body of Christ, but is this not so in biology as well? Even in plant-life, we can observe that what affects the leaf usually stems from the root. Often, if the leaf is disturbed, the disease travels through the whole plant till at last the root itself becomes diseased!

As human beings, we have a similar way of communicating with each other; we use our network, not only to trap what is needful for our consumption, but also to secure our borders, to provide a home for ourselves & our loved ones: we also use the same network for a line of defense, much like the spider! When our lines of communication are providing their optimum capability, we are in tune, not only with each other but with Nature itself, with the human suffering around us & even with plants & animals when we witness their abuse. Our human biology, much like plant & animal biology, is fearfully & wonderfully made; we are so intricately woven together that I dare any biologist to so that we are not products of Intelligent Design!

To say that someone is un-American or even anti-American because they don't adhere to every doctrine or ideology that is called 'American' is not only the height of ignorance, it is destructive to the thread, the network that links us all! The same goes for those who would label certain people non-Christian because they don't subscribe to certain creeds or believe certain doctrines; it only serves to sever those all important lines of communication, theose same lines which feed us, serve as our homes & natural line of defense!

To be an American does not mean that you agree with everything America stands for, has done in the past, is doing nor, or means to do in the future; it simply means that this is your place of origin! As American Christians, or more correctly, Christians Americans, we are Children of the King! Yes, I realize that there has been a separation between what is spiritual & what is physical, but maybe this is part of our problem; we have all but severed ( or at least attempted to ) those lines of communication between what we deem as 'up there' & what is 'down here'. Some have recognized this connection for decades & centuries but have often ( usually ) suffered the fate of 'heretics'!

One must not support wrongdoing, whether the perpetrator is America or ISIS! Those who are not sure if they want to be called Americans ( for the most part ) are not saying they don't want to live in America or even support & defend her, they are simply saying, 'what America is doing, as a nation is not right & I will not support or defend what is not right'; they also, along with many who do not yet realize it ( call them 'sheeple' ), suffer under an oppressive regime. There is right & there is wrong; when America as a nation embodies what is wrong, we should do our level best to withdraw our support from her, but when she does what is right, we should support & defend that right!

In judging for ourselves, however, we should be very careful not to disturb the web, the thread that connects us all, for without that necessary connection, we will wither & die! It is only by pulling together & realizing that we are all entangled in this Web of Life that we will ever come to the realization that the spiritual & physical are two sides of the same coin. The Marriage of Heaven & Earth ensured that it is only through our spiritual connections that we communicate Life & Light, all else is Death & Darkness!

Charles Haddon Shank

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

In the Arms of Love

'You can never have too many friends!'

What a well-worn saying! It IS true however, if they're truly friends: many people have plenty of fair-weather friends, friends who will only be there for you when things are going good & some people are simply moochers or gold-diggers, out to mine for the precious metal ( or paper ) that you carry! These kinds of friends are a dime-a-dozen, but if you want to find out who your true friends are, throw a monkey wrench into the wheels of your smooth-running life & see who comes to your aid & who either throws you under the bus or walks by on the other side!

My life is good: it's been quite an adventure, especially the last few months, but it's all good! I got to see the West Coast, of which I'd heard that the part I visited, the Oregon Coast, was the most beautiful. I got to experience a road-trip with a woman I'd just met, which, in retrospect, may not have been the brightest idea I've ever had. I got to experience ( more or less ) how 'the other half' live, having spent a few days in a homeless shelter in Spokane, Washington. Over all, if had the chance or opportunity to do it again, although I'd doubtless do certain things differently, I'd probably do it all over again. But then again, I might just call a 'Danny Glover'!

'Friends are friends forever'; so sang Michael W. Smith in his 1983 hit 'Friends'! True friends, yes, are friends forever & in some cases, only time will tell. A true friend will not be as those mentioned earlier, there only for what they can get from you & then absent or otherwise unavailable ( or unable ) the minute you need something, No, a True Friend will be about the exact opposite; although he or she may be absent through much of the good times, when the bad times come calling or a metaphorical wrench is thrown into the works, they will be the ones who come running to see if they can lend a hand, even only if it's to slap you around till you come to your senses!

Some people come into your life for only a season & some set up house & settle in for the long haul, but everyone comes into your life for a reason! Those who pass through your life like a breeze ( or a hurricane ) are usually there to teach us something; either they are meant to be a lesson for us or we are meant to be a lesson for them: sometimes, it's both! Everything happens for a reason! If you don't believe that, you're living in a dream-world & have blinders on! Believing that whatever happens to us simply happens by chance is like playing Russian Roulette with a full cylinder; well, why not, right? There's always the chance that the round that the hammer falls on is a dud, right?! You go ahead & take your chances! Not me, no way, no how!

Reason also plays a part in how we choose those who will simply pass on through & those who remain! Everything happens for a reason, yes, but sometimes the reason is that we're stupid & make bad choices! A true friend is one who is there for you through thick & thin, one who is honest enough to tell you when you're on the wrong track & who is not afraid to get in your face about it. They won't kick you when you're down, although sometimes it might feel like it!

A friend who does kick you when you're down is no friend at all! Although it may seem like it, a true friend will never leave you hanging but will always give you a hand up after he or she slaps you down or gives you a much-needed old-fashioned butt-kicking! There ARE those out there, unfortunately, who act the part of a fair weather friend or even gold-digger & sometimes it's hard to tell the difference, for whatever reason, between these types of friends & those who are 'forever friends'!

When it comes to 'just friends', sometimes we can indeed have too many! If someone is 'just a friend'. there's a good chance that he or she is there just for the good times, to see what they can get from you & then vanish into the sunset like a blood-sucking cowboy ( or girl ). One must exercise great care in dealing with 'just friends', because while some may turn out to be actual friends ( again, 'time will tell' ), many of these 'friends' are there simply to get what they can & then 'get while the gettin's good', sucking the life out of you in the process!

So, you're probably thinking, 'what about love? He hasn't made one mention about love or what this article has to do with being 'In the Arms of Love'!' That's true, I haven't directly made one mention of 'love' till just now & I'm not going to anymore either; I'm going to let you the reader figure it out!

Choose your friends, but choose wisely; guard your heart ( thanks, sis )!

Charles Haddon Shank

Monday, December 07, 2015

The Temple of the Lord

'If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.'
Jesus-John 14:23 

Yes, it's that time of year again, the time when all Christendom gathers to celebrate the birth of Christ! At this time of year, most Christians celebrate the birth of a Baby without taking into account the true import of what Jesus did when He grew into His Ministry. Aside from the fact that 'He was born to die', 'Jesus came to save us from our sins' & of course, 'God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son...........................', etc, etc, few Christians realize that the 'world' He loved so, in context, was 'the world' of His own day ( the 1st century Roman world of Jews & Gentiles ) & that the people He came to save was His own ( again, 1st century Jews-Matthew 15:24 )!

We all know the Story of how Jesus entered the Temple of the Jews once upon a time, became rather indignant & ended turning the tables, before driving those wicked Jews out, quoting from the prophecy of Jeremiah ( 7:11 ), telling them 'Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!' ( John 2:15 ( Matthew 21:12 & 13 ), but how often do we think about why He did this, what the real significance was? Sure, we all learned in Sunday School that Jesus was showing us how displeased He was that they were using the Lord's House to make their filthy lucre & that should be a lesson never to do business in a church building ( oh, wait...........), but is that really what Jesus was saying to them?

When Jesus told His disciples, 'Assuredly, I say to you, not [ one ] stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down' Matthew 24:3 ), we take Him at His word; not one stone ( literally ) would be left there ( on the Temple Mount? ) that would not be taken away! Two things that we should be reminded of here though, are ( 1 ), we are trying to understand Eastern Literature in our Western context & ( 2 ), not unrelated, Jesus was reaching back into Israel's own history ( which they probably realized ), quoting from their Law ( Leviticus 14:40 ) & telling them their House ( the Temple ) had been cursed! So, did Jesus simply cleanse the Temple by His actions, or was He telling them by His actions that their House was about to be desolated ( Matthew 23:38, Luke 13:35 )??

Paul's letters are full of references ( for those who care to see ) to the fact that Jesus' disciples ( into the 21st century & beyond ) are now His dwelling, His Church, His Temple! The Stones that Jesus said would be thrown down ( Leviticus 14:42 ) were, even in Peter & Paul's day, being replaced by 'living stones' & His disciples were 'being built up a spiritual house ( Temple? )'. The point Jesus was making to His disciples here was not that there would actually be no stones left, but that this 'house', the Jewish Temple had been condemned!

Yes, 'God so loved the world', so much so, in fact, that He condemned those unbelieving Jews who dared corrupt His Temple! When we take into account the fact of Audience Relevance & the poetry ( literature ) of the Ancient Near East, Stories such as these take on a whole new meaning & significance; did Jesus come to save His people from their sins ( Matthew 1:21 )? Yes indeed, He most assuredly did! Did He come to die? Again, yes, but He came to do so much more than simply open the passage for us; He came to dwell with ( in ) us, to set upon His Throne in us, His New Temple!

We might be reminded here of the Hebrew meaning ( in other words ) of 'Israel'; it means 'ruler with ( or 'Prince of' ) God!

Charles Haddon Shank

Friday, December 04, 2015

'Is My Name Written There?'

In regards to the modern evangelical landscape, the implications of Fulfilled Eschatology are not only potentially very dangerous ( damning? ). they're also almost endless! If the descriptions of 'Heaven' ( such as it is ) that we read in say, John's Revelation or in the Hebrew Prophets ( Isaiah, for instance ) is simply referring to the ( spiritual ) abode of our Heavenly Father's people in the here & now, then what does that do to their precious ( traditional ) doctrines of Heaven & Hell? Eternal Conscious Punishment? If the principles of preterism are true, then what about the afterlife? IS there an afterlife?!

Among most Christians today & even among many who would not be considered Christian by most Christians today, the afterlife is probably one of the hottest topics, theologically speaking! Especially when faced with the expiration of a friend or loved one, whether near or far, it is hard to believe that, once the biological body dies, that person is not enjoying some sort of afterlife, whether 'hangin' with Jesus & the apostles or sitting on a cloud playing a harp. The concept of your dear departed as your guardian angel is a by-product of this belief.

The notion that all is fulfilled & being fulfilled, although not a new one by any stretch of the imagination, is one whose time has com! Christians in general are become less & less enamored with 'Last Days Madness'; so many predictions have been made about the end of the world while everything goes on as it has since the beginning of the world ( except for ONE notable 'change' ), that all but the most fanatical believer has abandoned this theory & many have abandoned not only those who taught them, but the Institutional Church that harboured them!

We as a people, have entered upon a new 'Great Awakening'! Every day, more & more people are becoming increasingly aware of, not just their surroundings & of their symbiotically necessary union with all of Life, but that much of what the IC has taught for centuries as Gospel is a farce, nothing but religious fear & fairy-tales. If what the Scriptures reveal to us is simply a Revelation of the End of Israel's Story, the Book of the Covenant that the Creator revealed to Israel from the Beginning, then what does that mean for us? We are Americans living in the Western Hemisphere in a culture much different that that of Israel under that first covenant; on top of that, they were written about people living 2-6,000 years ago!

The question asked in that famous old hymn, 'Is My Name Written There?', is rendered somewhat passe' by Fulfilled Eschatology! If the Lamb's Book of Life referred to in the Revelation of Jesus the Christ was simply a record of those faithful Israelites who honored their Messiah & accepted Him as such when He came, then can we seriously ask that question? Should we even?! Sure, in some sense one could say that this could be applied to us today, for we are 'the Israel of God', but as Christians & believers in the Christ, we should be aware that Book had a Beginning & End, and Alpha & Omega!

As those who live in the New Age, as members of the New & Eternal Covenant, we will never die! These biological bodies will perish, as they were meant to, but our spirits will live on. We are with our God & Father right now & He with us, but when this biology passes away, we can really only speculate as to what our life will be like when we have become pure spirit! Gnostically, some might accuse us of saying that the biology that was created good has become evil & something to be escaped, but this is not what we're saying at all. We're simply saying that our biology wasn't built to last forever; it was made to serve a purpose & once that purpose is fulfilled, we've served our time! Once our spirit leaves our body & this biology returns to the dust from which it came, all we really know about the afterlife is that we are with our Heavenly Father in this luife as well as what may come after it!


Charles Haddon Shank

Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Consequences of the Philosophy of Man

'If it feels good, do it'!

'God made me this way; if He hadn't wanted us to.......................He wouldn't have...................!'

The Creator DID make us a certain way, with emotions, feelings & certain interlocking body-parts; not only that, He pronounced it all good! If He hadn't wanted 'this', then why did He do 'that? We can reason within ourselves, like philosophers have for years as to the whys & wherefores, but what it ultimately comes down to, especially for the Christian; 'is it right?' According to the written Revelation of His Word, who is Absolute, there is right & there is wrong, good & evil!

There are those, even within Christian circles, who have been telling us for years that the Scriptures are out-dated, that many of the principles within don't apply to this age! 'This is the Age of Grace', they say, 'not the Age of Law!' They try to tell us that what wrong for them ( in that culture in particular ) is not wrong for us, in this day & age. Some will not this as 'Relativism' right away, but even though this would be a liberal theology just decades ago, it is becoming more & more accepted, even among the more conservative!

Many who have adopted this theology, or the resulting life-style, have paid the price & are continuing to be plagued by their choices! Divorce rates among Christians are probably as high, if not higher than those who do not claim that belief system. The Institutional Church is continually plagued by many of the same problems that any 'secular' business or corporation would face. For the most part, except on certain days of the week, one might be hard-pressed to tell the difference between many Christians & 'unbelievers'; in fact, one might note that in some cases, the 'unbeliever' acts more Christ-like than those who claim to be Christians!

When faced with the uncertainties we encounter in this new age, one might wonder why we face these dilemmas; why is it so hard to discern between the True Believer, the true Christian & one who simply goes to church every Sunday, between those who actually follow in the footsteps of Jesus & those who simply espouse 'Sound Doctrine'? What kind of philosophy would tell us that it is more important to believe in Heaven & Hell ( Eternal Conscious Torment ) than it is to feed the starving & take care of the widow? It is not difficult to see from the pages of Scripture which of these doctrines Jesus & His disciples upheld!

'Philosophy is the study of the general and fundamental nature of reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language ( from the Wikipedia article on the subject ).' While there is nothing inherently wrong with the study of any of these subjects, Western theology, or philosophy in general has been greatly, if not wholly been influenced by Hellenistic ( Greek ) philosophy. The famous Greek philosophers, while some may have accepted the truths of Christianity at some point in their lives, were yet, even in their 'conversion', influenced greatly by their pagan philosophies!

Though it is without doubt that we WERE created with certain varying emotions & differing feelings, though it is gloriously true that this was made for that & NOT the other, that all this WAS pronounced good, there were also rules laid down! This Law was not given simply to show people that they were, by themselves incapable of adhering to the commandment; it was written on our hearts & inscribed on our minds to play the part of common sense! To ANYONE with common sense, not JUST the Christian, it should be clear that this does not normally work with that, what is wrong ( evil ) for one is wrong for everyone. Some may seem to get away with it, but in the long run, the same price is usually paid; the piper always demands his pound of flesh!

So, what, you might well ask, are the consequences of the philosophy of man?

Just look around you; these are the consequences of the philosophy of man!

Charles Haddon Shank