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Questions for a Christian?

Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Hello, debate.org, and hello to all of those whom I have so dearly missed over this past year in which I could not converse with you all. Unfortunately, my travels have made it extremely difficult.

Anyways, for those who do not remember me, this is a forum stream where you are invited to politely ask me, a Christian, anything about what a Christian (that's Catholic and Protestant) or Mormon believes. Those are the three groups that I can typically answer your questions about, though I personally hold to a Christian set of beliefs. How these three groups relate to each other and others (like islam or judaism) I have a reasonably good understanding, and I am sure that the holders of these beliefs will most certainly point out my errors in comparing them. Open forums often keep me in check when I accidentally mix up two different religions.

There are rules to this stream: No profanity. No "ad hominem" (Attacking the person instead of the argument).

Other than that, just click reply and delete this lengthy introduction (so that I know you've replied, but we're not wasting space). Any questions?
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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6/23/2015 6:27:24 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Where do you stand on imputation? Were our sins imputed to Christ? Is his righteousness imputed to us? Is Adam's sin imputed to us? Was anything about us imputed to Adam?
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/23/2015 6:51:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/23/2015 6:27:24 PM, philochristos wrote:
Where do you stand on imputation? Were our sins imputed to Christ? Is his righteousness imputed to us? Is Adam's sin imputed to us? Was anything about us imputed to Adam?

Wow! the topics on this forum have certainly moved forward in a year's time. Great questions!

I'm going to use the word "transferred" just to save anyone who is spectating a humiliating google search.
Were our sins transferred to Christ, and was his righteousness transferred to us? Yes, but there's a rather complex explanation behind it (as there always seems to be these days). Think of it like a contract (but please don't take the metaphor too far, as no metaphor is perfect). Jesus offers you the chance to write your name on the contract saying that he will take on all of your debt and you will be given wealth beyond imagine. You sign your name, and Jesus takes on the debt-- something that would be insurmountable for anyone with limited funds, but Jesus already has that infinite wealth, and so it does not diminish the wealth at all. It essentially becomes a contract that is, at heart, a gift for anyone who signs it.

Is Adam's sin transferred to us down the generations? Yes. Theologically I can say that our souls have tasted the joy of doing wrong, and we now have to control that addiction. Psychologically I can say that bad things make us feel good. In the moment where we want so much to hurt someone, that terrible action can make us feel better. Revenge is a common example of this. Not all revenge results in you being restored, but happy? just a bit. Realistically, I can most definitely say that I have never met a human being that did not tell a lie at some point in their lives.

Lastly, did we transfer anything to Adam? No. Our sinful nature did not effect Adam-- the result cannot come before the cause (Philosophical fallacy: Confusing the Cause and Effect).

Again, Great questions!

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind
celestialtorahteacher
Posts: 1,369
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6/23/2015 9:37:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Arasa, please stop posting Pauline Christian nonsense doctrines. Only to Paul and Augustine and the whole bandwagon of Gentiles trying to mix Mystery Religion dying/resurrection god man vicarious sin atonement superstition with Judaism's Messiah theology does this bizarre attempt to run from moral responsibility by pretending to be "born again" passing one's moral responsibility onto a fictional god who these Mystery Religions want to use as human sacrifice things, replacing animals with humans or gods, as if killing an innocent animal somehow could make one "pure". Pure of what? Right off the bat you've got bad karma from killing innocent animals and to pass this onto a human being, well, that's just plain sick.

Pauline Christians never stop to ask the moral question: Is it moral to pass one's sins onto an innocent person foolish enough to take the blame for the guilty parties. In real life, if this happens, we think the ones hiding their guilt behind the innocent person taking their blame are irresponsible immoral people, cowards. Yet this is your Pauline Christian belief system making moral cowards out of Pauline Christians using Jesus Christ to avoid ethical responsibility for their own actions. In short, the doctrine is not for Christians following Jesus Christ and taking full responsibility for their actions following the teachings of Jesus Christ. He's not a human scapegoat you know..
celestialtorahteacher
Posts: 1,369
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6/23/2015 9:43:46 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
It's time to end the blood sacrifice superstitions that actually developed in ancient times when people growing crops discovered blood in the soil greatly fertilized it, why blood meal is used today for the same effect. Kill a person and use his blood for bountiful harvest, that's your root superstition behind the whole Eucharist theology. And it is foreign to Judaism and to Celestial Torah Christianity that needs no human sacrifice or bloodletting to make one free of sin. One is freed of sin by stopping sinning. No need to go primitive superstitious about it, just read how Jesus dealt with the adultress to see that no blood sacrifice is necessary for becoming a good person that one becomes from doing good works.
dee-em
Posts: 6,473
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6/23/2015 9:57:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:

One of the earliest definitions of what being a Christian meant was written by Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch c. 180CE. Please explain his response.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com...

Book I, Chapter XII
And about your laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

Why is there not a single mention of Jesus (the Christ) in any of his three books expounding on Christianity?
SamStevens
Posts: 3,819
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6/23/2015 10:45:18 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:

Is Matthew 5:39 meant to be taken literally?

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Other questions were sent via PM.
"This is the true horror of religion. It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own." Sam Harris
Life asked Death "Why do people love me but hate you?"
Death responded: "Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am the painful truth."
Kyle_the_Heretic
Posts: 748
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6/23/2015 11:37:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Catholic, Protestant and Mormon beliefs strongly disagree with each other on many points of doctrine. How can you answer for all three without contradicting yourself, or exercising bias against at least two of those religions?
Thinking is extremely taxing on the gullible, and it takes hours to clear the smoke.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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6/24/2015 3:16:59 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Arasa, do you think the apostle Paul was a good communicator?
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Composer
Posts: 5,858
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6/24/2015 3:24:05 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:
Anyways, for those who do not remember me, this is a forum stream where you are invited to politely ask me, a Christian, anything about what a Christian (that's Catholic and Protestant) or Mormon believes.

I don't believe you can hold the authority of a genuine believer based upon e.g. -

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. (1 John 3:6) ESV Story book

So when did you stop Sinning?
Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/24/2015 5:20:50 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 3:24:05 AM, Composer wrote:
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:
Anyways, for those who do not remember me, this is a forum stream where you are invited to politely ask me, a Christian, anything about what a Christian (that's Catholic and Protestant) or Mormon believes.

I don't believe you can hold the authority of a genuine believer based upon e.g. -

No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. (1 John 3:6) ESV Story book

So when did you stop Sinning?

Hello, Composer!

I do not claim to be any more or less perfect than anyone else. Romans will remind us all that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I am not trying to pass myself off as morally advanced. I am trying to create a safe environment where Christians and non-Christians can ask questions about something they might be struggling with conceptually. Not all Christians understand the axiological arguments for God's existence, and not all Atheists understand why the Euthyphro dilemma hasn't solved all of their problems. A Presbyterian might not understand how anyone could possibly be an Armenianist.

Lastly, I do not hold authority over this knowledge. Anyone can fact check me on this open forum, and call me out if it seems like I have crossed the line.

I appreciate your candor, but it is misplaced.
August Rasa, a 4:53 mind.
Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/24/2015 5:28:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/23/2015 11:37:57 PM, Kyle_the_Heretic wrote:
Catholic, Protestant and Mormon beliefs strongly disagree with each other on many points of doctrine. How can you answer for all three without contradicting yourself, or exercising bias against at least two of those religions?

Hello, Kyle!

If I were to say that I believed Catholic, Protestant, and Mormon beliefs, then I would most certainly contradict myself at numerous points. I do not believe them all, but I have done a fair bit of research on all of them, as well as spoken to church/temple leaders in all three on extensively numerous occassions. While I may not be able to answer every single question that exists on the subject, I can answer philosophically on most.
I say philosophically, because when I present a defense for Catholicism, I present the Catholic defense as they present it. When I present the Mormon arguments, I use the Mormon arguments. These are all structured philosophically, because they make use of them against other philosophers. This particular forum is not here to refute any beliefs, but provide information on them that people might be lacking.

If I am presenting a defense or offense wrongly (or creating a "strawman" argument), then I would imagine that the numerous holders of these beliefs will certainly call me out on it.

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind
Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/24/2015 5:31:54 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/23/2015 10:45:18 PM, SamStevens wrote:
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:

Is Matthew 5:39 meant to be taken literally?

But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.

Other questions were sent via PM.

Hello again, Sam!

Well, we can take this literally to be a specific law of what to do when someone slaps you, sure. However, I would speculate that there is a broader law at work here: Do not pay back evil for evil. If someone strikes you, just walk away. If someone insults you, do not return in kind.
Christians are called to show love to those they meet, even the ones that hate them. They are not called to spread hatrid.

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind
Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/24/2015 5:42:15 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/23/2015 9:57:49 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:

One of the earliest definitions of what being a Christian meant was written by Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch c. 180CE. Please explain his response.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com...

Book I, Chapter XII
And about your laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

Why is there not a single mention of Jesus (the Christ) in any of his three books expounding on Christianity?

Hello, Dee-em! I do believe we've had this conversation once before.

The early church had a strong sense for poetry. Read through that again and tell me there isn't an artistic flare to it. One major theme about poetic writings in the ancient world (as well as modern) is that the subjects aren't mentioned as themselves. So, if you're doing a CTR-F search through the documents looking for "Jesus Christ", you're going to be very disappointed.
Look at the very end of your citation. "We are anointed with the oil of God." What does that mean? I'm not at all suggesting that Christ IS the oil, but through what are we anointed? The author calls himself a Christian and later says that we are Christians because we are anointed with the oil of God. There is Christ here, but the author doesn't use the name. The author could have said "We are Jews because we are anointed with the oil of God" but no! It is specifically Christian- this anointment is a clear separation between Christians and all others.

Jesus is there, friend. It just takes a critical reading

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind
dee-em
Posts: 6,473
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6/24/2015 6:35:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 5:42:15 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/23/2015 9:57:49 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:

One of the earliest definitions of what being a Christian meant was written by Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch c. 180CE. Please explain his response.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com...

Book I, Chapter XII
And about your laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

Why is there not a single mention of Jesus (the Christ) in any of his three books expounding on Christianity?

Hello, Dee-em! I do believe we've had this conversation once before.

That thought had occurred to me.

The early church had a strong sense for poetry. Read through that again and tell me there isn't an artistic flare to it. One major theme about poetic writings in the ancient world (as well as modern) is that the subjects aren't mentioned as themselves. So, if you're doing a CTR-F search through the documents looking for "Jesus Christ", you're going to be very disappointed.

Flair for poetry is poor apologetics, Arasa. These books (long letters) were persuasive tracts written in an attempt to convert a noble Greek pagan of Antioch to Christianity. How could you write so much, with all that intellectual effort, trying earnestly to sway the view of a skeptical pagan and then completely fail to mention the central character of the new religion?

Look at the very end of your citation. "We are anointed with the oil of God." What does that mean? I'm not at all suggesting that Christ IS the oil, but through what are we anointed? The author calls himself a Christian and later says that we are Christians because we are anointed with the oil of God. There is Christ here, but the author doesn't use the name.

No, Arasa. The word 'christos' in classical Greek usage means covered in oil, or anointed. It's that simple. They called themselves Christians because they annointed themselves with oil. There is no Christ there. If there were, how could Theophilus fail to mention him, even once?

The author could have said "We are Jews because we are anointed with the oil of God" but no! It is specifically Christian- this anointment is a clear separation between Christians and all others.

What is your point? The congregation in Antioch had this particular ritual/practice and they took their name from it. It doesn't mean it was necessarily exclusive to them, only that they identified with it.

Jesus is there, friend. It just takes a critical reading

No, it takes a reading where you inject Jesus into a text from which he is totally absent.

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind
Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/24/2015 9:54:50 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 6:35:34 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/24/2015 5:42:15 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/23/2015 9:57:49 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:

One of the earliest definitions of what being a Christian meant was written by Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch c. 180CE. Please explain his response.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com...

Book I, Chapter XII
And about your laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

Why is there not a single mention of Jesus (the Christ) in any of his three books expounding on Christianity?

Hello, Dee-em! I do believe we've had this conversation once before.

That thought had occurred to me.

The early church had a strong sense for poetry. Read through that again and tell me there isn't an artistic flare to it. One major theme about poetic writings in the ancient world (as well as modern) is that the subjects aren't mentioned as themselves. So, if you're doing a CTR-F search through the documents looking for "Jesus Christ", you're going to be very disappointed.

Flair for poetry is poor apologetics, Arasa. These books (long letters) were persuasive tracts written in an attempt to convert a noble Greek pagan of Antioch to Christianity. How could you write so much, with all that intellectual effort, trying earnestly to sway the view of a skeptical pagan and then completely fail to mention the central character of the new religion?

Look at the very end of your citation. "We are anointed with the oil of God." What does that mean? I'm not at all suggesting that Christ IS the oil, but through what are we anointed? The author calls himself a Christian and later says that we are Christians because we are anointed with the oil of God. There is Christ here, but the author doesn't use the name.

No, Arasa. The word 'christos' in classical Greek usage means covered in oil, or anointed. It's that simple. They called themselves Christians because they annointed themselves with oil. There is no Christ there. If there were, how could Theophilus fail to mention him, even once?

The author could have said "We are Jews because we are anointed with the oil of God" but no! It is specifically Christian- this anointment is a clear separation between Christians and all others.

What is your point? The congregation in Antioch had this particular ritual/practice and they took their name from it. It doesn't mean it was necessarily exclusive to them, only that they identified with it.

Jesus is there, friend. It just takes a critical reading

No, it takes a reading where you inject Jesus into a text from which he is totally absent.

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind

It appears through all of this that you believe that the early church did not believe that Jesus Christ existed. Correct me if I am wrong in my understanding before I move any further.
Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/24/2015 10:00:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 3:16:59 AM, philochristos wrote:
Arasa, do you think the apostle Paul was a good communicator?

Hello, Philochristos

I have this paranoid feeling that this is going somewhere...
After spending time in the Koine Greek language, I can say that Paul's letters were constructed very well. They follow as few trains of thought as possible, and the thoughts are grouped together in an "easy to see where he's going with this" fashion. Even 2 Thessalonians with all its apocalyptic language is still structured.
Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/24/2015 10:05:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/23/2015 9:37:04 PM, celestialtorahteacher wrote:
Arasa, please stop posting Pauline Christian nonsense doctrines. Only to Paul and Augustine and the whole bandwagon of Gentiles trying to mix Mystery Religion dying/resurrection god man vicarious sin atonement superstition with Judaism's Messiah theology does this bizarre attempt to run from moral responsibility by pretending to be "born again" passing one's moral responsibility onto a fictional god who these Mystery Religions want to use as human sacrifice things, replacing animals with humans or gods, as if killing an innocent animal somehow could make one "pure". Pure of what? Right off the bat you've got bad karma from killing innocent animals and to pass this onto a human being, well, that's just plain sick.

Pauline Christians never stop to ask the moral question: Is it moral to pass one's sins onto an innocent person foolish enough to take the blame for the guilty parties. In real life, if this happens, we think the ones hiding their guilt behind the innocent person taking their blame are irresponsible immoral people, cowards. Yet this is your Pauline Christian belief system making moral cowards out of Pauline Christians using Jesus Christ to avoid ethical responsibility for their own actions. In short, the doctrine is not for Christians following Jesus Christ and taking full responsibility for their actions following the teachings of Jesus Christ. He's not a human scapegoat you know..

*sigh* hello, Celestialtorahteacher. Yours is a voice that I cannot say I have missed too fondly.

If you have a genuine question, please don't hesitate to ask it. If you feel such a need as to beckon wildly in my direction, please do so in my Private Message box, so as not to clutter up this forum with non-question/non-response posts.
philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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6/24/2015 12:43:54 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 10:00:17 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/24/2015 3:16:59 AM, philochristos wrote:
Arasa, do you think the apostle Paul was a good communicator?

Hello, Philochristos

I have this paranoid feeling that this is going somewhere"

I wasn't really going anywhere with it. The question occurred to me in light of the statement in 2 Peter 3:16 that Paul writes things that are hard to understand. I recently read _The Fabric of the Cosmos_ by Brian Greene, which is a book about physics. It talks about relativity, quantum mechanics, and string theory/M-theory. These are all complicated subjects, but Greene was such a good communicator he was able to explain these things in a way that was easy to understand. Whenever I think I have a handle on something Paul said, it always occurs to me that it could've been explained more clearly. There are people with PhD's who can't seem to agree on what Paul meant in many cases. I wonder if this is all due to the fact that Paul is just not a very good communicator. I mean maybe we can grant that he keeps his train of thought, doesn't chase rabbit trails, and makes sound arguments, but that doesn't mean he explains himself very well.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
dee-em
Posts: 6,473
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6/24/2015 7:32:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 9:54:50 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/24/2015 6:35:34 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/24/2015 5:42:15 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/23/2015 9:57:49 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:

One of the earliest definitions of what being a Christian meant was written by Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch c. 180CE. Please explain his response.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com...

Book I, Chapter XII
And about your laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

Why is there not a single mention of Jesus (the Christ) in any of his three books expounding on Christianity?

Hello, Dee-em! I do believe we've had this conversation once before.

That thought had occurred to me.

The early church had a strong sense for poetry. Read through that again and tell me there isn't an artistic flare to it. One major theme about poetic writings in the ancient world (as well as modern) is that the subjects aren't mentioned as themselves. So, if you're doing a CTR-F search through the documents looking for "Jesus Christ", you're going to be very disappointed.

Flair for poetry is poor apologetics, Arasa. These books (long letters) were persuasive tracts written in an attempt to convert a noble Greek pagan of Antioch to Christianity. How could you write so much, with all that intellectual effort, trying earnestly to sway the view of a skeptical pagan and then completely fail to mention the central character of the new religion?

Look at the very end of your citation. "We are anointed with the oil of God." What does that mean? I'm not at all suggesting that Christ IS the oil, but through what are we anointed? The author calls himself a Christian and later says that we are Christians because we are anointed with the oil of God. There is Christ here, but the author doesn't use the name.

No, Arasa. The word 'christos' in classical Greek usage means covered in oil, or anointed. It's that simple. They called themselves Christians because they annointed themselves with oil. There is no Christ there. If there were, how could Theophilus fail to mention him, even once?

The author could have said "We are Jews because we are anointed with the oil of God" but no! It is specifically Christian- this anointment is a clear separation between Christians and all others.

What is your point? The congregation in Antioch had this particular ritual/practice and they took their name from it. It doesn't mean it was necessarily exclusive to them, only that they identified with it.

Jesus is there, friend. It just takes a critical reading

No, it takes a reading where you inject Jesus into a text from which he is totally absent.

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind

It appears through all of this that you believe that the early church did not believe that Jesus Christ existed. Correct me if I am wrong in my understanding before I move any further.

The evidence strongly suggests that this particular community in Antioch, at the least, practised Christianity but without a Jesus Christ saviour figure. Theophilus was a Bishop of this congregation and he exhibits not the slightest hint of knowledge about Jesus, and we are near the end of the 2nd century. I'm asking you as a Christian to explain this puzzling phenomenon, since it appears that you can have Christianity without Jesus being a part of it.
Arasa
Posts: 380
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6/25/2015 5:32:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 7:32:57 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/24/2015 9:54:50 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/24/2015 6:35:34 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/24/2015 5:42:15 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/23/2015 9:57:49 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:

One of the earliest definitions of what being a Christian meant was written by Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch c. 180CE. Please explain his response.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com...

Book I, Chapter XII
And about your laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

Why is there not a single mention of Jesus (the Christ) in any of his three books expounding on Christianity?

Hello, Dee-em! I do believe we've had this conversation once before.

That thought had occurred to me.

The early church had a strong sense for poetry. Read through that again and tell me there isn't an artistic flare to it. One major theme about poetic writings in the ancient world (as well as modern) is that the subjects aren't mentioned as themselves. So, if you're doing a CTR-F search through the documents looking for "Jesus Christ", you're going to be very disappointed.

Flair for poetry is poor apologetics, Arasa. These books (long letters) were persuasive tracts written in an attempt to convert a noble Greek pagan of Antioch to Christianity. How could you write so much, with all that intellectual effort, trying earnestly to sway the view of a skeptical pagan and then completely fail to mention the central character of the new religion?

Look at the very end of your citation. "We are anointed with the oil of God." What does that mean? I'm not at all suggesting that Christ IS the oil, but through what are we anointed? The author calls himself a Christian and later says that we are Christians because we are anointed with the oil of God. There is Christ here, but the author doesn't use the name.

No, Arasa. The word 'christos' in classical Greek usage means covered in oil, or anointed. It's that simple. They called themselves Christians because they annointed themselves with oil. There is no Christ there. If there were, how could Theophilus fail to mention him, even once?

The author could have said "We are Jews because we are anointed with the oil of God" but no! It is specifically Christian- this anointment is a clear separation between Christians and all others.

What is your point? The congregation in Antioch had this particular ritual/practice and they took their name from it. It doesn't mean it was necessarily exclusive to them, only that they identified with it.

Jesus is there, friend. It just takes a critical reading

No, it takes a reading where you inject Jesus into a text from which he is totally absent.

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind

It appears through all of this that you believe that the early church did not believe that Jesus Christ existed. Correct me if I am wrong in my understanding before I move any further.

The evidence strongly suggests that this particular community in Antioch, at the least, practised Christianity but without a Jesus Christ saviour figure. Theophilus was a Bishop of this congregation and he exhibits not the slightest hint of knowledge about Jesus, and we are near the end of the 2nd century. I'm asking you as a Christian to explain this puzzling phenomenon, since it appears that you can have Christianity without Jesus being a part of it.

Excellent, we are on the same page! The early church at Antioch (and specifically, a man named Origen, who started the allegorical nonsense) was scolded heavily by the rest of the Christian faith, for their insistance that everything to do with the New Testament was allegory. This group did not survive the test of time, as their beliefs created several key inconsistencies. They believed in "Jesus Christ" in the same way that you and I believe in "the pitcher who always has a perfect game".

The group was distinctly Christian, as they believed all of Jesus' teachings, but did not believe that Jesus Christ existed. You have good reason to suspect foul play in this writing, as it does not seem to align with what Christianity exists as today. This is an instance where an understanding of church history is vital, but hard to come by.
Arasa
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6/25/2015 5:43:36 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 12:43:54 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 6/24/2015 10:00:17 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/24/2015 3:16:59 AM, philochristos wrote:
Arasa, do you think the apostle Paul was a good communicator?

Hello, Philochristos

I have this paranoid feeling that this is going somewhere"

I wasn't really going anywhere with it. The question occurred to me in light of the statement in 2 Peter 3:16 that Paul writes things that are hard to understand. I recently read _The Fabric of the Cosmos_ by Brian Greene, which is a book about physics. It talks about relativity, quantum mechanics, and string theory/M-theory. These are all complicated subjects, but Greene was such a good communicator he was able to explain these things in a way that was easy to understand. Whenever I think I have a handle on something Paul said, it always occurs to me that it could've been explained more clearly. There are people with PhD's who can't seem to agree on what Paul meant in many cases. I wonder if this is all due to the fact that Paul is just not a very good communicator. I mean maybe we can grant that he keeps his train of thought, doesn't chase rabbit trails, and makes sound arguments, but that doesn't mean he explains himself very well.

There are certainly a lot of arguments over the clarity of Paul's writings! For example, Paul seems to point to Predestination in Romans 8, but there are other instances in the bible (like proverbs 16 or 2 timothy 2) where we have free will. Armenians argue that we have misunderstood Paul, and Calvinists say that we have not.
Much miscommunication in Paul's writings begins with a hypothesis, like "We have no free will" or "Paul hates women", etc. Now, as for Peter, he recognizes that Paul is writing primarily to a Jewish audience. If we follow Paul's letters, the first place he always goes to in a new town is the Jewish synagogue. To the Jews, Paul's letters are right at their "theological comprehension level", but to someone who was a gentile, issues that required frankly a Jewish level of understanding of the Old Testament went right over their heads. In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter warns against ignorant people making use of Paul's letters to contort the gospel.
Composer
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6/26/2015 1:24:19 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/24/2015 5:20:50 AM, Arasa wrote:
I appreciate your candor, but it is misplaced.
According to the bible Story book malignant sinners like you are jebus' rejects, frauds but agents of your Devil!

(1 John 3:6, 8)

At 6/24/2015 5:20:50 AM, Arasa wrote:
August Rasa, a 4:53 mind.
What is that supposed to do for you?

Next!
Composer
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6/26/2015 1:27:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 5:43:36 AM, Arasa wrote:
There are certainly a lot of arguments over the clarity of Paul's writings! For example, Paul seems to point to Predestination in Romans 8, but there are other instances in the bible (like proverbs 16 or 2 timothy 2) where we have free will. Armenians argue that we have misunderstood Paul, and Calvinists say that we have not.
Much miscommunication in Paul's writings begins with a hypothesis, like "We have no free will" or "Paul hates women", etc. Now, as for Peter, he recognizes that Paul is writing primarily to a Jewish audience. If we follow Paul's letters, the first place he always goes to in a new town is the Jewish synagogue. To the Jews, Paul's letters are right at their "theological comprehension level", but to someone who was a gentile, issues that required frankly a Jewish level of understanding of the Old Testament went right over their heads. In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter warns against ignorant people making use of Paul's letters to contort the gospel.
IF you firmly believe you have a ' freewill ' then why do you keep freely choosing to remain a Sinner?
SamStevens
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6/26/2015 1:54:26 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Do people who were born before the creation of Christianity go to hell? They didn't believe in Jesus, etc.
"This is the true horror of religion. It allows perfectly decent and sane people to believe by the billions, what only lunatics could believe on their own." Sam Harris
Life asked Death "Why do people love me but hate you?"
Death responded: "Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am the painful truth."
dee-em
Posts: 6,473
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6/26/2015 7:23:42 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/25/2015 5:32:48 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/24/2015 7:32:57 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/24/2015 9:54:50 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/24/2015 6:35:34 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/24/2015 5:42:15 AM, Arasa wrote:
At 6/23/2015 9:57:49 PM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/23/2015 6:10:35 PM, Arasa wrote:

One of the earliest definitions of what being a Christian meant was written by Theophilus, Bishop of Antioch c. 180CE. Please explain his response.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com...

Book I, Chapter XII
And about your laughing at me and calling me "Christian," you know not what you are saying. First, because that which is anointed is sweet and serviceable, and far from contemptible. For what ship can be serviceable and seaworthy, unless it be first caulked [anointed]? Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished? Then the air and all that is under heaven is in a certain sort anointed by light and spirit; and are you unwilling to be anointed with the oil of God? Wherefore we are called Christians on this account, because we are anointed with the oil of God.

Why is there not a single mention of Jesus (the Christ) in any of his three books expounding on Christianity?

Hello, Dee-em! I do believe we've had this conversation once before.

That thought had occurred to me.

The early church had a strong sense for poetry. Read through that again and tell me there isn't an artistic flare to it. One major theme about poetic writings in the ancient world (as well as modern) is that the subjects aren't mentioned as themselves. So, if you're doing a CTR-F search through the documents looking for "Jesus Christ", you're going to be very disappointed.

Flair for poetry is poor apologetics, Arasa. These books (long letters) were persuasive tracts written in an attempt to convert a noble Greek pagan of Antioch to Christianity. How could you write so much, with all that intellectual effort, trying earnestly to sway the view of a skeptical pagan and then completely fail to mention the central character of the new religion?

Look at the very end of your citation. "We are anointed with the oil of God." What does that mean? I'm not at all suggesting that Christ IS the oil, but through what are we anointed? The author calls himself a Christian and later says that we are Christians because we are anointed with the oil of God. There is Christ here, but the author doesn't use the name.

No, Arasa. The word 'christos' in classical Greek usage means covered in oil, or anointed. It's that simple. They called themselves Christians because they annointed themselves with oil. There is no Christ there. If there were, how could Theophilus fail to mention him, even once?

The author could have said "We are Jews because we are anointed with the oil of God" but no! It is specifically Christian- this anointment is a clear separation between Christians and all others.

What is your point? The congregation in Antioch had this particular ritual/practice and they took their name from it. It doesn't mean it was necessarily exclusive to them, only that they identified with it.

Jesus is there, friend. It just takes a critical reading

No, it takes a reading where you inject Jesus into a text from which he is totally absent.

August Rasa, a 4:53 mind

It appears through all of this that you believe that the early church did not believe that Jesus Christ existed. Correct me if I am wrong in my understanding before I move any further.

The evidence strongly suggests that this particular community in Antioch, at the least, practised Christianity but without a Jesus Christ saviour figure. Theophilus was a Bishop of this congregation and he exhibits not the slightest hint of knowledge about Jesus, and we are near the end of the 2nd century. I'm asking you as a Christian to explain this puzzling phenomenon, since it appears that you can have Christianity without Jesus being a part of it.

Excellent, we are on the same page!

Somehow, I doubt it.

The early church at Antioch (and specifically, a man named Origen, who started the allegorical nonsense) was scolded heavily by the rest of the Christian faith, for their insistance that everything to do with the New Testament was allegory. This group did not survive the test of time, as their beliefs created several key inconsistencies. They believed in "Jesus Christ" in the same way that you and I believe in "the pitcher who always has a perfect game".

No, August. Theophilus displays no knowledge of the NT in its present form. He quotes nothing Jesus supposedly said. He does not reject Jesus as a human being or refer to him as an ideal of some kind --- he simply has no knowledge of him at all. You are failing to address the real issue. Even when he discusses one of the central tenets of this new Christian religion, the subject of resurrection, he fails to mention the example of Jesus (whether an Earthly event or not). Surely if there is a place in his books where it screams out for a reference to Jesus, that is it. Yet all Theophilus does is talk about seeds and such.

The group was distinctly Christian, as they believed all of Jesus' teachings, but did not believe that Jesus Christ existed.

Are you getting this from the works of Theophilus? I don't see the slightest evidence that he was aware of any teachings by Jesus. How could you adhere to the teachings of someone named Jesus Christ and yet deny he existed? That makes no sense.

You have good reason to suspect foul play in this writing, as it does not seem to align with what Christianity exists as today. This is an instance where an understanding of church history is vital, but hard to come by.

I don't suspect foul play, and it certainly doesn't align with what Christianity teaches today. So someone other than Theophilus is fabricating things. I don't think you will find anyone claiming the Theophilus books are forgeries. I mean, who would forge them? There is no motive that I can see.

Hence we return to the puzzle. If Jesus was a historical person, how could this Christian community in Antioch, 150 years after his death, have no knowledge of him whatsoever? Antioch is not that far from Jerusalem. It beggars belief that this tale of Jesus Christ and his teachings, the basis for a new religion, had been growing for a century and a half, gospels had been written giving his life story, and yet a stone's throw away Jesus of Nazareth was an unknown amongst people who professed to be (and undeniably were) Christians. Someone is lying. Do you think the winners get to write history?
Arasa
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6/26/2015 4:07:23 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 7:23:42 AM, dee-em wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:32:48 AM, Arasa wrote:
Excellent, we are on the same page!

Somehow, I doubt it.

The early church at Antioch (and specifically, a man named Origen, who started the allegorical nonsense) was scolded heavily by the rest of the Christian faith, for their insistance that everything to do with the New Testament was allegory. This group did not survive the test of time, as their beliefs created several key inconsistencies. They believed in "Jesus Christ" in the same way that you and I believe in "the pitcher who always has a perfect game".

No, August. Theophilus displays no knowledge of the NT in its present form. He quotes nothing Jesus supposedly said. He does not reject Jesus as a human being or refer to him as an ideal of some kind --- he simply has no knowledge of him at all. You are failing to address the real issue. Even when he discusses one of the central tenets of this new Christian religion, the subject of resurrection, he fails to mention the example of Jesus (whether an Earthly event or not). Surely if there is a place in his books where it screams out for a reference to Jesus, that is it. Yet all Theophilus does is talk about seeds and such.

The group was distinctly Christian, as they believed all of Jesus' teachings, but did not believe that Jesus Christ existed.

Are you getting this from the works of Theophilus? I don't see the slightest evidence that he was aware of any teachings by Jesus. How could you adhere to the teachings of someone named Jesus Christ and yet deny he existed? That makes no sense.

You have good reason to suspect foul play in this writing, as it does not seem to align with what Christianity exists as today. This is an instance where an understanding of church history is vital, but hard to come by.

I don't suspect foul play, and it certainly doesn't align with what Christianity teaches today. So someone other than Theophilus is fabricating things. I don't think you will find anyone claiming the Theophilus books are forgeries. I mean, who would forge them? There is no motive that I can see.

Hence we return to the puzzle. If Jesus was a historical person, how could this Christian community in Antioch, 150 years after his death, have no knowledge of him whatsoever? Antioch is not that far from Jerusalem. It beggars belief that this tale of Jesus Christ and his teachings, the basis for a new religion, had been growing for a century and a half, gospels had been written giving his life story, and yet a stone's throw away Jesus of Nazareth was an unknown amongst people who professed to be (and undeniably were) Christians. Someone is lying. Do you think the winners get to write history?

It would appear that you're too focused on this quest for finding the name Jesus Christ and quotes from Jesus Christ, when I've just told you that this particular early church at Antioch did not believe that Jesus was a person. You're striking down anything that explains why these things don't appear, and there is simply no compelling logical reason to do so. Let me elaborate further, so as to coax out the premise on which you deny what I've said about the early church at Antioch and the man called Origen.

If you conceptualize the perfect baseball player, you can describe to me all of the things that the perfect baseball player does, without creating a fictitious baseball player named Tom. In fact, I would wager that creating Tom and using Tom as a gold standard as if he really existed, would most certainly make anyone you are trying to convince of your perfect playstyle think you were just a tad off. Nor would you convince anyone of your playstyle's effectiveness by saying "Tom said to do X". Why, then, would this group make use of these two things? You can say "Honor your parents" without saying "God's commandment is to honor your parents".

Of course it does not align with Christian teaching today! As I've said, this group was dealt with by the rest of Christianity, exposing critical theological issues, and no longer exists to my knowledge.
Arasa
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6/26/2015 4:16:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 1:54:26 AM, SamStevens wrote:
Do people who were born before the creation of Christianity go to hell? They didn't believe in Jesus, etc.

That's a very good question, Sam!

Did King David go to hell? Were the only people before Christ to go to heaven the ones who were taken from the earth without dying?

Here we actually see that the people before Christ's coming kind of had it easy on that front. The requirement of a Messiah for salvation did not begin when Christ was born, but from the moment of the first sin in the Garden (Genesis 3:15). Then we see in God's covenant with David (2 Sam 7), in which God makes abundantly clear that there's a messiah coming. It is the belief in God's original promise that through Adam's offspring, all mankind would be saved, that saves the pre-Christ believers.
I say that the pre-Christ believers had it somewhat easier because we have the frustrating task of figuring out if the Messiah was Christ, or if it is another who has yet to come. If we have placed our faith in the "Wrong Messiah", then we are destined for Hell. In contrast, if Jesus is the Messiah, then there are a number of Jews who find themselves in hot water for denying their savior.
Arasa
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6/26/2015 4:26:18 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 1:27:23 AM, Composer wrote:
At 6/25/2015 5:43:36 AM, Arasa wrote:
There are certainly a lot of arguments over the clarity of Paul's writings! For example, Paul seems to point to Predestination in Romans 8, but there are other instances in the bible (like proverbs 16 or 2 timothy 2) where we have free will. Armenians argue that we have misunderstood Paul, and Calvinists say that we have not.
Much miscommunication in Paul's writings begins with a hypothesis, like "We have no free will" or "Paul hates women", etc. Now, as for Peter, he recognizes that Paul is writing primarily to a Jewish audience. If we follow Paul's letters, the first place he always goes to in a new town is the Jewish synagogue. To the Jews, Paul's letters are right at their "theological comprehension level", but to someone who was a gentile, issues that required frankly a Jewish level of understanding of the Old Testament went right over their heads. In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter warns against ignorant people making use of Paul's letters to contort the gospel.
IF you firmly believe you have a ' freewill ' then why do you keep freely choosing to remain a Sinner?

In the same way that a child has the free will not to take the cookie from the plate which is clearly marked "Don't touch". We possess the mental capacity to either take the cookie or don't, yet the free will only allows us to do either good or bad. After that, human psychology takes over. Where Christians traditionally say "We have a sinful nature", the modern Christians with a vast understanding of psychology might say "It's in our nature, but that's not a good enough answer". My good friend Jordan is in the psychology field, and he is frequently raising discussion about how the compulsion to steal is only ever sometimes within the realm of explanation. Sure, your environment plays a big part- stealing might be how you survive. But there are instances where stealing is so far ingraned into our natures that we do not even understand why we do it. We have no rhyme or reason for the sinful acts we do, either conscious reason or subconscious reason, and yet we might find ourselves doing it regardless.

Why do I still sin, despite my free will to do both good and bad?
1. Because I possess the ability to do wrong
2. I want to do wrong
3. When 2 is false, but I do wrong regardless, it is in my nature- my reflex to do wrong
Arasa
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6/26/2015 4:42:08 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 6/26/2015 1:24:19 AM, Composer wrote:
At 6/24/2015 5:20:50 AM, Arasa wrote:
I appreciate your candor, but it is misplaced.
According to the bible Story book malignant sinners like you are jebus' rejects, frauds but agents of your Devil!

(1 John 3:6, 8)


At 6/24/2015 5:20:50 AM, Arasa wrote:
August Rasa, a 4:53 mind.
What is that supposed to do for you?

Next!

Well, I'm going to have to extrapolate the question from your first remark. How do I reconcile this with the rest of my Christian beliefs?

1 John 3:6,8-10 requires some cross-examination. In isolation, this can most certainly be devastating for anyone who calls themselves a Christian. However, this interpretation of the text is not congruent with John's other writings, and so assuming the continuity of a single author, we must arrive at a different conclusion.

1 John 4:12 says that if we love one another, then God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We can extrapolate the stark contrast, "If we do not love one another, then Satan lives in us and God's love is incomplete". Now, accounting for each person's ability to love their neighbor one moment and hate them the next, I think that we can confidently conclude that we have both God and Satan in us.

Now we look back at 1 John 3:2, where Christians are described as children of God!

Return to 1 John 3:6,8-10. What we arrive at is as follows:
1. We are of God
2. We are of the Devil
3. (1&2) We are of both God and the Devil
4. When you do wrong, you are of the devil
5. When you do right, you are of God

So, you are correct in saying that we are agents of the Devil. The important piece is when we are agents of the devil. You seem to be under the assumption that we are always the agents of the devil, yet scripture indicates that only when we do wrong are we agents of wrong. When we do right, we are agents of right.

Your last comment there, I believe is directed at my signature. John 4:53