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The Pursuit of Holiness

#1epictetus1216Posted 3/21/2014 11:06:39 AM
I almost picked up this book in B&N today. It's a modern classic from what I can gather. The premise is that holiness is a state we can strive for but can never achieve without the grace of God. The author, Jerry Bridges, compares it to a farmer plowing the field. He has to plow the field and plant the seed - that's his part. God makes the seed grow - that's his part. It's a partnership so to speak. Our part is outlined in the bible, according to the author. Live by its commands and God will do his part to see our efforts are rewarded.

It would be nice if it were clear that this is true and as simple as that, but I have my doubts. I imagine it would take a strong belief on the farmer's part to even till the soil. Without that, why even put in the effort? I guess it's commendable that those who do have the faith are putting in the work, and I really hope they are rewarded for it. Work with no paycheck is the epitome of injustice. However, is it really necessary to say those of us who lack faith and put in no work because of it should suffer the fires of hell because of it?
#2OrangeWizardPosted 3/21/2014 11:11:16 AM(edited)
Work with no paycheck is the epitome of injustice.


In the case of things related to serving God, it's equity-based payment as opposed to a salary.

You get the bulk of the payment for your services later, and in a different form.
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The head is backwards.
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#3epictetus1216(Topic Creator)Posted 3/21/2014 11:20:41 AM
OrangeWizard posted...
You get the bulk of the payment for your services later, and in a different form.


This is one of the points I'm getting to. Your faith has you tilling the soil believing there will be a payoff. Fine, I hope you get one. However, isn't it a bit harsh to say that the faithless who put in no work not only won't get payment, but will also be condemned? Hey dude, enjoy the fruits of your labor. I'm willing to walk away empty handed but I really don't see why I have to be damned to boot!
#4OrangeWizardPosted 3/21/2014 11:24:43 AM
I don't believe in hell, so I'm not the person to answer your question about condemnation.
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The head is backwards.
The head is backwards
#5epictetus1216(Topic Creator)Posted 3/21/2014 11:31:03 AM
How do you reconcile Mark 16:16 if you don't believe in hell? "The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned."
#6Thewinner14Posted 3/21/2014 11:50:13 AM
epictetus1216 posted...
How do you reconcile Mark 16:16 if you don't believe in hell? "The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned."


Mark 16 ends at verse 8, verses 9+ are spurious and not inspired.
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#7JonWood007Posted 3/21/2014 12:42:45 PM(edited)
epictetus1216 posted...
I almost picked up this book in B&N today. It's a modern classic from what I can gather. The premise is that holiness is a state we can strive for but can never achieve without the grace of God. The author, Jerry Bridges, compares it to a farmer plowing the field. He has to plow the field and plant the seed - that's his part. God makes the seed grow - that's his part. It's a partnership so to speak. Our part is outlined in the bible, according to the author. Live by its commands and God will do his part to see our efforts are rewarded.

It would be nice if it were clear that this is true and as simple as that, but I have my doubts. I imagine it would take a strong belief on the farmer's part to even till the soil. Without that, why even put in the effort? I guess it's commendable that those who do have the faith are putting in the work, and I really hope they are rewarded for it. Work with no paycheck is the epitome of injustice. However, is it really necessary to say those of us who lack faith and put in no work because of it should suffer the fires of hell because of it?


That attitude is dangerous nowadays.

Let's step away from religion for a second and view this through the lens of conflict theory. Conflict theory is a sociological perspective that looks at how laws, institutions, propaganda, etc., are tools to serve the rich or elites in society.

By telling people to work for no money...who is benefitting? Well, the person who is getting their fields worked for free. Now...if they can use religion to convince people that they should all work for free, and people accept it....who benefits? Certainly not the people giving away their labor for nothing...but the person who owns the fields benefits immensely.

And if you threaten someone with hellfire if they don't...then that's just abuse...no better than slavery...just with no real world consequences...not psychological threats.

Once again...who benefits? The owners of the field...they turned the devout into their own little army willing to work for free because they think that they will burn in eternal hellfire if they don't.

That, to me, is a great evil, and a great injustice. This kind of mindset is precisely why I come off as so anti-theist at times, and why I denounce religion as a form of brainwashing and indoctrination. Because it is. It's turning you into little mind slaves in this particular case...getting you to work for free....with the idea that God MAY reward you (but there's no evidence for any of this), but if you don't do it, you're gonna burn in hell (even though there's no evidence of this either). You are essentially.....slaves of fear.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WPOoK7MVLXI

(sorry, I couldn't resist, it is just so relevant to the discussion at hand).
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#8epictetus1216(Topic Creator)Posted 3/21/2014 4:14:41 PM
You're taking it out of context. Bridges is suggesting that living by the Word of God is the part we play for our heavenly reward. He's not asking for a donation, nor are the scriptures.
#9JonWood007Posted 3/21/2014 5:01:06 PM
Still a form of social control adopted to keep the peasants submissive. People who want to use the religion to their ends have you put up with crap in THIS life, with the promise of reward if you do. if you don't listen, then they scare you with literal boogeymen about hell.
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#10epictetus1216(Topic Creator)Posted 3/21/2014 6:18:53 PM
I think it's important to note that Bridges is talking about striving for holiness. I may have taken it a bit out of context myself by bringing in the afterlife. He's talking about attaining holiness in this life. Now, psychologically, I think following the guidelines of scripture such as the teachings of Jesus or the Book of Psalms may be instrumental in actually doing that. I do believe that people who apply these teachings in their life may actually acquire a sense of the divine by doing so. So, it's not about religious authorities establishing control, but about individual effort to attain holiness by using scripture as their guide. That's what his book is really about.