Friday, 7 November 2008

Character

I enjoy going to the Training College to see the cadets. They're motivated, alive and well. Their hearts are right and they are ready to hit the field. They are a blessing of God.

It's beautiful how God has called them and equipped them to serve Him. A significant part of their journey at the College is that of character building. All good people and fully saved, we spoke today about their character. Truly, some Christians have difficulty with their character. SA leaders need to be persons of strong character. You can learn more from 2 Peter 1:5-8.

2 Peter 1:3 (NIV)
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

10 comments:

jeff said...

this post sent me scurrying for the definition of character. I found this quote in Wikpedia:

"We define character as the sum of those qualities of moral excellence that stimulates a person to do the right thing, which is manifested through right and proper actions despite internal or external pressures to the contrary" ~united states air force academy

How would you define character Jim?

David said...

If people with a more liberal theological persuasion are not welcome to teach at the training college, then one would probably define character as "fundamentalist" or belonging to the "turn or burn" brigade.

Out of interest, if only one type of theology is taught, why is the wrong one chosen? Purely for character development?

jeff said...

ok david, define liberal, its grossly over used in this country by republicans to define a democrat. but i think it means those that don't take the scriptures literally, which need to be to experience the full power of God. the dictionary has a fairly favorable definition, one that does not coincide with how the word is used today. we can continue this on my blog if you want not to hijack Jim's. or better still, jfstrain@yahoo.com if Jim doesn't answer you.

Anonymous said...

To David,

Wether you personally believe in hell or not is not the issue here. The issue is that The Salvation Army believes in hell. It is one of the artilces of faith (11) that we believe in the eternal punishment of the wicked. Consequently this gets taught at the college. IT IS A SALVATION ARMY TRAINING COLLGE and consequently teaches it's beliefs. Our desire to save should come from this belief, our desire to save the lost from such a fate. If this defines the character of people training there then let that be so as my definition of the word fundamnetal would be somone who believes and holds on to the the basic principles / facts of the bible.
May we all do that to build our character.

Nicky said...

Dear Anonymous

If I was to disagree with your definition of hell and understood hell to be a bit more tangible, like, let's say for argument, oppression, poverty, addiction, loneliness, imprisonment, mental health issues, hunger, slavery - just to name a few - wouldn't I be justified in wanting to save people from hell? Thy Kingdom come here on earth.

And it's a question I seem to be asking a lot lately, but I'll ask again, Should we expect of God what Jesus expects of us? If not, that's a bit hypocritical of God, isn't it?

Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.

jeff said...

good point Nicky. If in fact I understand you here, forgive me if not. I always wonder just how far down the road someone is when they say they don't believe in hell. Sooner or later someone is going to find out what hell is like here on earth and would never want anyone to experience that and would do whatever is necessary to keep someone else from going there, even if on this plane. I think, and I'm going out on a limb here, that some people don't want hell to exist because of a loved one that has passed on already and is unsure of their salvation. I think for this reason the questioning and anger is justified. It is in cases like this, only trusting God with the truth of his love will suffice. And that is difficult when one is still skeptical. All we can do then it pray for them and us.

Nicky said...

David,
thank you for your comments, however, I think the point that I am trying to make is that if Jesus asks us to forgive our enemies, shouldn't we expect the same of God. If we understand God's love and mercy to be only temporary, then aren't we saying that God is not eternal, because God is perfect in love and mercy – in fact God is love - and according to 1 Corinthians 13: love is never ending (NRSV-13:8) and doesn't keep a record of wrongs (NIV-13:5). If I am wrong then God knows my heart as that's what God looks at. If I am right then I haven't wasted my time and energy worrying about the things that are God's to worry about, all Jesus asks of me is to love God and love others with everything I can.
I would suggest that I am one of those who are skeptical about an after death place called "Hell" (I have no worries about friends or family who have died - I believe them to be now with God - even in Sheol God is there). God is love.

Peace and grace to you all.

Nicky said...

Sorry David, I meant Jeff.

jeff said...

Nicky, now that I know you are addressing me, I will try and reply. Please before I do, know I am not a scholar, Just a seeker. I have thought those same things, but have never been directly asked to respond. My conversations about this have always been statements like this to friends or conversations with God. But while I think and pray and search the word on this, I can say I wouldn't myself be comfortable with the statement in the word that "even in Sheol God is there." I guess David said it in the Psalms and I'm not sure of the context. In my pain, my intense despair and days of wishing I was dead and thinking of ways to end my hell on earth, from drug abuse and any number of other erroneous ways of living, it was no comfort at all to me that God was there in the midst. It was hell, and if I knew my son was going through that kind of hell right now, even though I loved him and even though God still loved him, I wouldn't rest until I knew he was no longer suffering in that way. And found every possible way, if only prayer to help him put an end to it. Even when a person is merely hungry, I am restless until I find some way to end that hunger. In Daniel it says that even though Daniel was faithful and God answered His prayers, that it took several days for the angel to come with the answer due to an evil blocking his way.

Eternal Hell is not something I want to rest on my own Biblical interpretations being correct as a means of dismissing it. There is a scripture verse somewhere, I think in Matthew, a little help here, where people that were sure they were serving Christ on the last day and He says be part from me I never knew you. This is my motivation to continue loving on this earth, seeking all of His word, not interpreting it away. If Jesus says there is a hell, if I believe what he says about love, I have to believe that also. Even if it does suck a bit. Or a lot. I never really encountered the truth of Satan until I gave my all to Christ. Including my mind. I always felt responsible for my falling. But when I began to depend on Christ, and the Holy Spirit to keep from falling, then that old adversary showed up and began tripping me up in sinister ways I had never seen before.
"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits. Not every one who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and do many mighty works in Your Name?' And then will I declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you evildoers.' Every one then who hears these words of Mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it." (Matthew 7:19-27 RSV)

I don't pretend to know anything. I just got to a place where it seems better to trust and obey. Than to trust my own thinking.

Nicky said...

Thanks Jeff for your honest response. I guess that we should celebrate our common ground, being that it is our works that prove our faith in a loving and compassionate God. It is in working at alleviating suffering and pain in this world and the loving of our neighbour that we find our true connection with God, the other stuff, I think is not overly important to God.

God's grace and peace to you.