Brent opens their discussion by saying, Last week we almost got into an argument about which type of church—liturgical or “born again”—produces more real Christianity, or fewer “half Christians.” It seems to me that that’s not a whole lot better than the disciples’ arguing about which of them was the greatest!
Pastor Cortez says, I’d like to bring in a few scriptures: If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; the old is gone, the new has come! 2 Cor. 5: 17. God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their sins against them. 2 Cor. 5: 19. “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. . . .Therefore, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Rev. 3: 15, 16. But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19: 26. .Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God. Luke 9:62 And of course John 3:3—Very truly I tell you, no one can see the Kingdom of God unless they are born again.
Benedicio: When I was in the States I heard of a Baptist pastor who as a policeman inadvertently killed his lover’s husband, and then later in the week preached a sermon in his church, and I heard of a Presbyterian minister who was having affairs with women in his church. But there are Catholic bishops who have mistresses, and others have covered up child abuse scandals for decades! There are even many clergy who seem to be serving religion more than the Way, the Truth, and the Life. But we should consider carefully what Jesus told the accusers of the woman caught in adultery, “Let him who’s without sin cast the first stone.” Nonetheless, let’s step back and take a look at the problem as a whole, that many Christians say they believe in God, but don’t seem to be showing this in their lives.
Fr. Henry: Good idea. Psalm 86:11 says, “Unite my heart to fear thy name,” and the Great Commandments enjoin us to love God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves. This cannot be done half-heartedly! Jesus told the rich young man to sell all he had and give it to the poor, and “come follow me” because he knew that if the guy didn’t do that, his mind would be at least half the time on his wealth, while Jesus was offering “treasures in heaven.” Jesus clearly warned about trying to “serve God and mammon”. Being a “half-Christian”, is as impossible as being a half disciple, it seems to me. It would sort of be like being half married, like engaged to one person, but “seeing” someone else on the side.
James: So, are you saying that all the Filipino half-Christians, nominal Christians, are not really Christian at all? Wow! If so, that would support the “born-again” side!
Annabelle: It’s hard to say, and maybe we shouldn’t, as Jesus warned against making such judgments, in Matt.7. Yet we’re not judging their ultimate destiny, but remembering His words, “By their fruits you shall know them.” And, I should add, places like La Trinidad show signs of being more impacted by Christianity than most other places in the Philippines.
Ptr. Jerome: Maybe because of all our independent churches that have been springing up!! Yet I hear that even in these churches, the women are more active than the men. I have to admit, that’s true of mine!
Benedicio: I think we should take up this issue next week: Are women more religious, more Christian, than men? Or are men afraid of being “under the salla”, dominated by their wives, and often refusing to go to church as way of asserting their independence? Or are they simply too busy with their jobs? (BTW, if you have any thoughts on this, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.)