Theo Verelst Christian Faith FAQ

Possibly frequently askes questions concerning the main issues in a christian faith as it would most probably be in line with the original sources.
The answers are not loosely based on obvious, straightforward translation of both old and new testament sources, the works of Albert Grimes (PhD), and a variety of other sane protestant sources.
PLEASE NOTE: this text is work in progress, not all questions and answers are filled in yet.

1. What are the sources of christian faith ?

2. How are these sources to be interpreted ?
Considering the fruits of the original material where both extremely good, and impacted history probably more than anything, they should be interpreted straightforward, with an eye for the most obvious meaning and purpose for the intended audience.

3. What main theological or exegetical "themes" can thus be discerned ?
The total depravety of man, promises of a redeemer and Gods standard in the old testament, election of people and resulting blessings, coming of redeemer to solve biggest observed problems and restore contact with God after it was lost with Adam, this salvation as a free gift of God, not to be earned, sold or open to reinterpretation. New testament conversion and knowing of Christ, and creation of a new heart ("I will take out the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh") gives people with the real ability to chose between good and evil as a gift. These people can be recognized by their holy (in terms of freedom from the world that was sold under sin by Adam, but legally freed by Jesus) and good lifes, and they should be edified to find their purpose (ministry) and function with spiritual gifts available to them.
They should provide a good exemple, also to serve to implement Gods government as far as possible by saving others and possibly nations, both through good acts, firm protection of what is good, and the breaking of barriers that prevent salvation both on personal level and more general.

4. What is the state of affairs and power distribution in the heavenly ?
After Jesus went down to hell and rose again He got the legal victory over the evil world system and over all the powers in the heavenly by openly exposing them. That authority is available for people who found Christ not long ago "children are saved for His name sake" because God adopts them in His family, for a bit more mature christians when they themselves "overcome the evil one", and evidently later when "fathers" realy learn to know their Father. the fact that this is legal victory can be compared to officially issueing a new law that from then on needs to be enforced by the official implementors of it, and defended by the powers of the (new) ruler. An example is the authority Jesus had to cast out deamons (or to tell satan to go to hell, figuratively speaking), where the actual fact (a person being freed) follows the authority He had when it is put to work by His word, or when He bestowed that same authority on His disciples with the same effect, and when He states that true disciples of Him can be recognized by the signs that follow them, such as this and the healing of the sick (and broken hearts are I guess one of the main deseases to be cured).

5. What are the main biblical historical and future lines of events ?

6. Does hell exist ?
Many people know about it in their daily life, but hell after death is supposedly the eternal destination of all people that aren't saved, with different departments to match each type of person.

7. Can one earn salvation
No. Salvation is a free gift ("so that no-one can boast"), it cannot be obtained through works of law ("he who expects it from worls of law will e cursed, and I repeat..."), but is a predestined work of God ("No-one can come to Me (Jesus) unless the Father pulls him"). Evidently, salvation on the level of leading a life that is less damned or has fruits that aren't too evil is a matter of the reap what you saw law, it doesn't make sense to bacome evil to have something good, but no person can earn God's favour, as could be evident from his almight ("nations are counted as drops on a bucket or dust on a scale", let alone persons), and His holyness ("No-one is righteous, not even one"), and from the fact that after many senturies of trying, mankind hasn't produced a single person that met Gods standard and therefore wouldn't need a sacrifice and thus mercy.
Thinking that a human sacrifice is needed is an insult to God who apearently thought it necessary to sent His own Son for that purpose, who was the only one who actually lived according to Gods law and was righteous, so that he can claim a position before God.
It is very illustrative to use the (devilish?) internet, for instance the blue bible site, to do a search on the word "works". The the overwhelmin amount of quotes that this yields will make it quite hard to for one more second think that works may actually save someone.

8. What is the eternal destiny of man
Without salvation, there are various types of 'underworlds' which serve as a gathering place for the dead. The main idea is that before the final judgement before the great white throne, persons are gathered in a type of underworld or hell, which does them justice and eventually will be sent to a place that fits the person they have been, which without salvation is never a person that is acceptable to God, wherefore Gods just demand is that they be seperated fro Him eternally, which is effectively death. Through Adams sin (whatever the hebrew actually says there, I'm quite sure it wasn't by eating an apple), mankind has become seperated from God, or spiritually dead, and given over to a wannabe god, that rules the world system that Jesus clearly renounced, and has no way of standing before and communicating with God (remember that Moses himself couln't even see more than Gods behind, and then still become so radiant he was considered irritable). Physical death was also instituted by God for the same reason, ("let their years be 120..."), and eventually, eternal seperation from God is called the second death (seems this God is to be feared, he kills everyone twice, even by decree...).
Through Jesus, man can come to God again "No-one comes to the Father but through Me (Jesus)", and a saved person will be with Jesus after physical death "and second death will have no power over him". In the old testament there is talk of "Abrahams lap" for people that God wanted to save.

9. Is man free to chose ?
Not to chose to be with God (see above), in final instance man's nature is evil and cannot chose to be with God or meet His standard. After God has given a person a new hart, such a person can chose to "put an the new man, created in true righteousness and holyness", or to stick with the old adamic nature without producing fruits for God, and eventually being cast aside for being useless in His service. Eternal salvation is once and for allways, but such a person will lose his rewards when rewards are issued before Christ's throne.

10. Does predestination produce robots or alliviate the need for "preaching the gospel" ?
No, no. The easiest way to look upon predestination ("predestined from before the foundation of the world", it is, also in the greek, a scriptural and personal concept) is that it is God's business, when the scroll of life is finally opened it will be by the only worthy person, Christ. It's pointless to consider the fact wether you anybody else is predestined to find chirst or not, because in the first place your don't know, in the second place how will you know if a person might not find Him at a random later time in his or her life (right until 1 millisecond before death), and in the thrird place when a person has been elected, it should simiply be evident from the good works he or she produces out of gratitude for such a great and eternal gift.

11. Is God a just, eternal, omnipotent, good, incorruptible (holy) person ?

12. Is the bible as we roughly known it rendered obsolete by the "progress" of mankind, science, time, or other reasons ?
No, maybe on the contrary. Statistically 80 percent of the prophesies in it have become true, so with progress of time it gains credibility, especially since some of the promises are a touch hard to believe. Who would believe after a a dozen centuries of dark middle ages and a shoa to horrible to remeber prophesies like "I will lift thee as on eagles wings,..., and they (the jews) shall return to Jerusalem from the land of the north (Lets say Moscou)"). I don't think planes were invented to make a prophesy self fulfilling, and a state existing 50 years with less then 10 million people to defend it against a comopletely hostile environment is also not very credible without a severe degree of supernatural intervention in my mind. These are promises done more than three thousand years ago. Everything human that remains over such a period of time is not so interesting, fairly battered, hard to read, and certainly not powerful anymore (unless you count the reinvention of Babylon).

13. Is it scriptural to distinguish between real and false religions ?
Very much.

14. Is the relational, sexual and power related moral often associated with christianity scriptural ?
Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, not.

15. Is it reasonable and scriptural to assume that serious deviation from the original christian sources brings about main historic errors and their fruits ?
Yes. The old testament prophets continuously warn against the errors of the type of Babylon, and "saint" Peter himself, the alledged founder of the the Roman catholic system spends his whole second (late) letter on the subject: "But there were false prophets amoung the people, even as there will be false teachers amoung you that will secretly (gr. and by the side of others) bring in damnable heresies (doctrines of destruction), .... , and many will follow their pernicious (damnable) ways, by reason of whom the way of truth will be evil spoken of.", "and through covetousness and shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you","while they promise them liberty, they themselves are theo servants of corruption", "but beloved be not ignorant this one thing that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years".
Or in Paul's words, acclaimed by Peter to hae received revelation from God and thus to be a legitimate apostle 2 Peter 3:16 "..., even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given to him has written to you", "but though we, or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed". Sounds like damnation to me, as a result of another gospel. Do you remember the main lines of roman catholic cathegese: why are we on earth "to earn our place in heaven by doing good works", or something to that extend. Please also do not forget that that great whore (as depicted in revelation) itself claims to be "the olny true church, and the only true representative of christ on this earth". Luckily Copernicus and Columbus didn't lose their scientific and human sanity by intoxication, and thought that the infallible pope (watch out, it could actually be a woman) might just not be so infallible.

16. Are the Jews punished by God for their rejection of Christ and eternally damned ?
There is lack of salvation for not accepting Christ in general, jew or no jew, that is unishment in its own respect. The jews as God chosen people still exist as such because God cannot deny Himself, when He makes a promise He gives His word. According to scripture, the Jews are sidetracked until Jesus returns "and they shall see whom they have pierced". At that point they will as a nation find Him, and the promised kingdom will be there (the milennium in revelation). Remember that it was a roman ruler that accepted lies, which he clearly knew and acknowledged to be lies, as the guide for his ruling, and therefore it was a european, someone under Rome's system (familiar concept...) who knowingly nd willingly perverted justice for his own political gain. And they were roman soldiers to carry out the judgement. So but the command and its actualization were European affairs, not a jew was involved, lets remember that. and I would add that if the romans wouldn't have been in charge of Israel, things might have been quite different, because the jews did look out for a redeemer, and at certain points did accept jesus for that, but were faced with a major problem of oppression, and I guess they didn't have enough trust (faith) in Jesus or themselves to believe that they actually could be the head of nations with him as king. Considering the quite disproportional interest of the romans for the jews and their religion, also in rome (they had similar thoughts about the greek, as everybody knows the greek were the hip characters in those days and mostly defined high level culture, and they were probably well aware, as we seem to have forgotten, that the greek drew heavily from hebrew sources. The great greek writers wrote just about after the start of the jewish kings' ruling days.), it would not have been altogether out of place to have had that trust. The roman empire would collapse by itself, and history teaches that they were not too reluctant to take up something known to be good or profitable up to the empereors level. In fact, it is not at all a historical error to believe that a hige power system such as the roman empire can be taken over by a religeous system....
Just a pitty that at that point the good thing was already way to mixed up (the meaning of the word babel) to be real good, and that power greed was the motivation, instead oif hailing a king that healed the sick and set captives free.

17. Is there a relation between social behaviour and christianity ?

18. Is it scriptural that the "church", as the new testament body of believers, has power and jerks people for their money and resources ?
It is scriptural that the church gets power bestowed on it when it is worth it, and it should have all power in the heavenly thaty it needs (youngsters in faith supposedly have overcome the evil one), but is is also scriptural that the persons that exercise power are well tested and of approved ability.
Considering Peters response to annias and saphira, and the response to magicians wanting to buy the power to baptize in the holy spirit, money is completely subdued to truth, honorability and other "holy" concepts, and nowhere in new testament do I see people asking money for themselves, and at several places I see them denying that possibility for the sake of good. I think the term was "thy money perish with thee", not "please let me sell you salvation". When God has a purpose in someone's life He is supposed to provide the means, and jerking for money to me seems like an act of unbelief.
When Jesus was supposed to pay taxes He sent his disciples fishing, not hold a collection. Rich women served Him by what they had volontarily, not because they were told to throw in some more money in the temple's collection box.

19. Are God's standards and goals impossible to adhere or attain to ?

20. Is secrecy, mistery preservance, and civil behaviour justified by claiming to have to follow anyone in power biblical ?
No, no, sounds like collaboration to me.

21. What are the main rules for New Testament believers and is this confirmed in various places in NT ?
Acts (...), we are supposed not to take the blood (the life), the suffrocated (bondage), sacrifice to the idols (commit adultery against the Spirit of God), or to have prostitution (greek "porne", root: selling). These are the only strict rules laid upon NT believers, and they are repeated throughout the letters in various forms, and for instane in the end of revelation (): "for outside are the dogs (greek "kune", "those with dogskins as hat"), the sorcerers (greek "pharmakois", pertaining to magical arts), and murderers, and idolaters , and whoever loveth and maketh a lie (clear by itself, someone in with the Spirit of truth, having come into the light, etc. cannot be and doesn't want to be in with lies and with their father.)
Evidently, one is to life by the rules of the state, because it doesn't carry the sword in vain, when it is of the blessingfull type, to ensure a quiete and tranqil life, according to the will of God.

22. Can one become a believer from all deprived states, and what is the purpose of repentance
Yes. The murderer on the cross was forgiven instantaneously, and so was Paul, there is exception to the rule that Jesus paid the price for each sinner that finds Him, a look around some of the cases mentioned in for instance Corintians makes clear that this is even the case for believers, i.e. after someone has already found Christ, with one notable exception: the sin against the Holy Spirit. Some reading makes clear that this sin is a sin only someone having well tasted of the future powers and in a position where he or she is confused with acting according to the Spirit of God can be in, someone that knowingly and willingly betrays the Spirit of God and tries to fool people by actually following another spirit cannot be simply set free (greek "afiemy", loosened, forgiven) from that, because that would generate confusion. Is such a person lying again or not? Fellow believers cannot simply e restored to trust with such a person, so it may take a long time to regain confidence that having communion with such a person is not having communion with another spirit than the Holy Spirit, sucha as a deamon. And of course there is the sin unto death, and that's an easy one, because then you die. Just like Annanias ans Saphira did. I guess God is not to be messed with when things get realy holy.
The purpose of repentance is to be very aware of your former error(s) to not make them again, and NOT to pay for forgiveness. Forgiveness is a free gift, repentance the only logical reaction. Repentance can preceed forgiveness, in which case it also simply means to forsake something that is evil, and is thus useful in its own respect, but not a reason or price for forgiveness.

23. Can a person be lost after having learnt to know Christ.
No. That salvation was already determined before the foundation of the world and is simply Gods will and unconditional. Nothing can seperate a person from Chist's love, because he cannot deny Himself, once He said yes its yes. So one may sin against the Holy Spirit, one may be cast aside as useless, chastised as a son, sin unto (physical) death, but saved is saved. Period. It is an important doctrine, because if people are too busy keeping themselves saved, they will never be able to simply accept Gods forgiveness and learn to produce fruits of the spirit, of their ministry and of spiritual gifts, because they occupy their capacities all the time just be remain saved. Even someone given over to the satan according to Pauls words is given over for the destruction of their flesh (physical death) and their spirit may be save in the day of the Lord Jesus. So Annanias and Saphira would add no more to the sins they would have to account for before Christ's throne, but they are still saved and will be there in heaven. Probably without too many rewards. Oh, and purgatory is not a concept to be found anywhere in scriptures that I acknowledge to be written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. 24. What does "sin against the Holy Spirit" mean, and why can it not be forgiven?
See above.

25. What does "sin unto death" mean?

26. Is the Holy Spirit a person, and what happens at rebirth and baptism in the Holy Spirit?
The Holy Spirit is repeatedly and solemny refered to as a independent person in the Godhead. At rebirth, the Holy Spirit creates a new heart (center of the soul, a person is body, soul (sinfull from origin) and spirit (dead, meaning no contact with God, before rebirth)) in a person, and restores the spiritaul faculty of being in touch with that persons new heavenly Father that adopts that person in His family because Christ has paid the price for his or her sins. This was only possible after Christ's resurrection, as a proof of Gods acceptance of His sacrifice. It was Gods little surprise, alluded to but not known in the Old Testament. The problem was known, David askes God to create a new heart in his inside, and in the OT it was known that the Spirit of God only came over people, not live inside them. That mistery was only revealed in NT (Who has given God council that he might instruct Him? It seems to be worth waiting for Gods surprise gifts), refered to by Jesus when he was talking with Nicodemus (the concept of rebirth, being regenerated), and first implemented when Jesus blew on His disciples (another version of "blowing the breath of His life into their nostrils). The Holy Spirit doesn't abuse people, or go against their will, so is invited be a person to take place in their life, and that is acknowlegded to be true by that persons ability to henceforth be able to speak in tongues (utterance in a language naturally unknown to that person under control of the invited Holy Spirit), and to have his or her share of other spiritual gifts, such as prophesy, words of knowledge and wisdom, healing gifts, working of miracles to cast out deamons, etc.
The first time that happened was at pentacost, and it was the fullfillment of the prophesy that God would pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh. The disciples had to wait for this first time of the coming of the "comforter" (greek "parakletos", "sticking around?"), and afterward it can be given to persons that know christ (are forgiven, and have a new (and unfortunately also still an old) hart), for instance in an effective manner by the laying on of the hands of a reliable fellow christian. The essence simply is to ask God for it, and the proof is the capacity to speak in tongues 9see various places in Acts).
Baptism in the Holy Spirit has nothing whatsoever to do with baptism in water (it is never confused in scripture, and there are various other types of events refered to as baptism in OT and NT), and it is only related to salvation in the sense that it is only possible after a person has found Christ, i.e. is forgiven and able to stand before God as justified by the sacrifice of His Son, otherwise that Spirit couldn't have a holy enough place to dwell (such as in old testament). Trying to perform a rite to achieve similar effects may have results, but they would be demonic and delusive in nature.
A person that is saved (knows Christ as their personal redeemer) is indeed saved, but will lack the "strength from above" that was promised and appearently deemed necessary by Christ, and have no means of excercising spiritual gifts through the Holy Spirit.

27. What is the place and function of prophesy in New Testament?
Prophesy is speach under control of the Holy Spirit, in a known language. Tongues (as the proof of baptism in the Holy Spirit) are too, but they would have to be interpreted to qualify as prophesy. Prophesy in general rarely relates to future events, it does not have the function of a soothsayer, but addresses problems at hand, hidden thoughts of the hart to produce faith, may provide directions, and occasionally deal with future events. Prophesies should not ne dispised, when Gods Spirit actually speaks one would better take it serious, it is the same God that counts nations as drops on a bucket, and should be severely pout to the test of fellow believers who sense the source to be correct, against Gods word because He doesn't contradict Himself (God doesn't err), and against actual fact because God is not a liar and a spirit that lies cannot be confused with His.
In short, the function of old testament prophets was to exhort people, which is more or less similar with NT prohpesy, that can be uttered by any spirit filled believer, but since the bible is finished (historical lines have been presented from past to far future) there is no need for such type of great prophesy, and it often is of a more personal nature.
The concept of the prophet as a ministry (that is a 'job' type in the body of Christ) is completely seperated from the spiritual gift of prophesy. A prophet is a type of person with a lot of inspiration, or 'impulse driven' as opposed to 'ratio driven' behaviour that a teacher would exhibit. An apostle seems to combine both types of behaviour in one unit (person). Old Testament prophets were only temporaly grabbed by the Spirit of God (remember, they didn't have a new heart God could live in) "thy words burn in my inner being", to utter what God wanted to say to His people, in NT both the gift of prophesy in action as well as the prophet in living in his ministry (any member of the body of Christ has the potential faculty to prophesy, and only a certain fraction of them are prophets by ministry) are not taken over by Gods Spirit like a spiritistic medium would do, buit simply give place for His words by opening their mouth, and have His word in their minds as any other matter of fact, the only difference being that the thoughts are because God reveals them to the mind. Prophesy is a dangerous faculty, either for those with hidden evil thoughts or for believers of good will who are confronted with prophesy of the wrong source. That is any other source than the Spirit of God, such as the own thoughts of people, a hurt and wounded hart (emotional prophesy) or simply a demonic source.

28. What are ministries, and what is their place ?
A ministry is the implmentation of Gods will in someone's life, one may say a 'job' in Gods service. Each believer has a unique personality, and a new heart that he or she can use to carry out actions the God has planned for them, and those personalities can be rougly characterized and categorized by type and authority. First, apostles with a dual personality (not schizofrenic, but both of the teacher (rational) type and of the inspired ("inpulsive") type at proper times, second in authority the prophet (a prophet may well teach), then the shepperd (local church), the teacher, the exhorter (mainly inspired, at best limited ability to instruct, but very "good with people"), shower of mercy (inspired, probably my favorite, because it comes closest to the essence of what God gives), givers, etc.
Knowing (people who can recogize it) and finding one's ministry is essential to produce fruit unto eternal life, that is the fruits that last eternally and probably have to do with future occupations and the approved ability to have them (we shall reign as kings?), and is the essense of globally finding Gods perfect (instead of permitted) will for one's life.