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Links to useful resources

The reality of the Christian world is 12,000+ denominations by actual count, each organized around a subset of scriptural or traditional priorities, and unable to comprehend or appreciate the whole. In our opinion there are two reasons for this: human nature and the judgments of God.

It is human nature to allow sectarian pride, narrow mindedness, competition for "turf", and personality styles to get in the way of full koinonia fellowship. Our view is that Christians should be as broad as the Bible is, and seek unity around fundamental Christian principles while asserting the full liberty in Christ that is necessary to pursue truth and enjoy the full diversity of the Body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2 and 3 define the scriptural teaching on sectarianism, along with Titus 3. The teaching on the pre-eminence of love is found in 1 Corinthians 13, while chapters 11, 12 and 14 offer strong insights into the unity of the body. Ephesians 4 also speaks to that unity in practice, as does Romans 12. The book of 1 John is an excellent description of the breadth and limits of Christian fellowship, and it asserts a few key doctrinal and character minimums that must be expected before a person can be considered a brother in Christ.

Another reason for divisions in Christianity, though, is God-imposed. Jesus predicted that imitation Christians who were actually planted by "the enemy" will intermingle and even dominate the Christian church. He taught us all to look for a "harvest" which he called "the end of the Age", (Matthew 13:24 ff) in which messengers would be raised up by God to "bind the tares (imitation Christians) into bundles" for destruction (happily, not as individuals but as church organizations). And the wheat, the true Christians, would be gathered by God's servants into his "barn" -- ultimately, heaven itself. (We don't think any sect can claim this office as their own -- it's a shared responsibility of all who love God and the truths they can understand).

The result is that much of the foment and ferment of the Christian world involves the migration of individual believers from group to group as they grow in knowledge and grace, gain life experience with their own accustomed brand of error, and experience the personal guiding hand of God in their lives. The common spirit that unites Christians, then, will not be a doctrinal statement or a denominational affiliation, but the Spirit of Christ dwelling in and bearing fruitage through our hearts and lives.

In that spirit, we suggest some links that are helpful. Everyone can gain something from each of these links, and no one can gain everything useful or even necessary from any one of the sectarian groupings associated with these links. If you compare various issue doctrines, you will find conflict. But if you look below the issue doctrines, you will still find some of God's spirit bringing out important principles of character. "Prove all things -- hold fast that which is good!"

Nonsectarian resources:

www.bibleverses.com - Opt to receive a free email with a Bible verse each day, look up Bible verses, find a selection of Bible verses on various topics, or buy CDS or cassette tapes with voice-and music recordings on the topic of Hope.

HisPeace.org This ministry focuses on equipping Christians for a biblical response to conflict, both within the Christian community and with unbelievers. It's Peacemaker's Pledge is something we subscribe to and recommend to all believers. It is also reproduced here on this site.

Critical analysis of Bible Manuscripts for the serious Bible reader. Download the PDF for a review of verses of the King James version (KJV) or the New International Version (NIV). A recommended reading is given, but the manuscript sources are included for personal decisions to be made.

On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ -- Full text and illustration reproduction PDF of the outstanding article that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in 1986. You can also go to the fine site that shares this information: www.the-crucifixion.org

Another excellent article on crucifixion is Crucifixion in Antiquity by Dr. James D. Tabor

Roger Eberts' excellent and balanced review of the movie -- At Chicago Suntimes.com

Interested in the Star of Bethlehem? This site offers convincing evidence that supports the conclusion that Christ was born in 2 B.C.

 

Helpful resources from various Christian and Jewish groups:

The Christian Church has been plagued since Apostolic times by wrangling over who is right and who is best. (See 1 Corinthians 3) Sectarianism has repeatedly caused unnecessary divisions. Like Abraham Lincoln, the author of this site and the members of the Gramateus Institute find that they cannot agree to any single creed without mental reservations. All denominations make decisions about the content of scripture which are imperfect, yet become inflexible and dogmatic about the judgment calls in every belief system. So the Grammateus Institute refuses to take a stance that lends unqualified support to any organization. The Scriptures are quite clear that the Lord knows those who are His -- and we do not. And that the Body of Christ is built up by that which every joint supplies. So we heartily welcome all believers in Christ as the Ransom and whose lives reflect the clear moral teachings of scripture as brethren, redeemed by the precious blood. And we attempt to pursue all the truth of scripture, regardless of how many denominational and orthodox toes it steps on. Sola Scriptura. There are helpful insights into Christian life and learning on many, many sites. Here are just a few that are more helpful than most for serious seekers of the fullness of God's grace and truth:

Xenos.org We have had much fellowship with the brothers at Xenos (a church which holds many traditional Christian teachings but with a counter-culture emphasis and many new wrinkles in its ecclesiology.) Especially strong on matters of relationships within the Christian community. We are confident that one day the Spirit will lead these brothers from an appreciation of "radical grace" to an even broader understanding of God's plans for today's unsaved. Here's just one article we like (though we disagree with a few details) called "2 Lessons from Jesus' death and resurrection".

Herald of Christ's Presence site -- A wide variety of articles and writings, going back over 150 years, have been compiled on this extensive site. A useful CD is also available for purchase, containing many Bible translations, commentaries by a wide variety of perspectives, and articles by Christians who share many of the concepts advocated in this site.

Family Ministries -- Specializing in child-rearing, marital counseling, and other scriptural insights that impact families. A very useful resource for Christians who wish to follow the Scriptures in their family life. Features the writings and seminar tapes of Reb Bradley and Alistair & Virginia Fugate.

Bible Fellowship Union -- A group of British brethren in Christ have been writing outstanding articles for many years. Especially helpful are the multi-part series articles on the great Bible characters, and archeological findings of the last century which verify the Bible's authenticity.

Faithbuilders Fellowship -- An excellent selection of articles on a wide variety of Biblical topics. Quite harmonious in most instances with the message contained in the "Why Jesus Died.com" site.

Christian Universalists -- There are many sites among this eclectic group of believers who treasure God's promises of salvation that will ultimately reach today's lost. Among the best is this site, which is a springboard to a wide variety of useful information: http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/univart.html

House Church movement -- Believers who care about following the example of the early church in respect to simplicity, avoidance of materialism and "professional" leadership, congregational unity, etc. The Open House Church site tends to agree with many of the concepts elucidated here. Steadfast Shou, Wolfgang Simson, Dan Beaty, Lorin Smith and Karl Ketcherside are helpful teachers who have contributed to Housechurch.org. Other house church sites such as House Church Central tend to hold more traditional Christian doctrines.

The Noachide Laws is a movement that recognizes the importance of the 7 laws set down by God to Noah for all mankind to follow. The Noachide laws embrace the concepts within Moses' 10 commandments, except for the Sabbath. This movement has become an interesting point of contact between various Christian faiths and Jewish people who are interested in dialog.

Jews for Judaism Because of our stand against Christian proselytization of Jews, we enjoy fellowship with this vibrant and decidedly Jewish organization.

Here's a useful apologetics site on Bible prophecies that have been/are being fulfilled: 100prophecies.org.

Dialog on spiritual gifts is often especially heated. For now this site is committed to not espousing an opinion, content to leave each believer on his own as the Lord's word advises: "Try the spirits, whether they be from God." Here are a couple of sites that give an exchange of perspectives in a thoughtful way: John MacArthur's view, "Charismatic Chaos", and a reply from Rich Nathan of the Vineyard movement. Also, a bibliography and another article on the topic. In due course the goal at Why Jesus Died is to contribute to this discussion in a constructive way.

Since we've just shared a few "Calvinist" sites, it is important for all truth-seekers to review some history. Here is an article about the execution of Michael Servetus and certain questions it raises about reform theology. Another excellent article on the servetus.org site discusses Servetus' book, "The Restitution of Christianity", and how three copies of it survived.

Finally, here's an interesting article on what it takes to be considered a Christian by a man who was obviously badly hurt by the orthodox tendency to reject and persecute anyone who does not share their theological conclusions.