The Believer's Armory:
M.E. Brines' blog with articles & links to important resources to equip Believers for spiritual success in a world steeped in the occult.
In a previous post we examined what “Christian” means in America today, basically “somebody who goes to church.” But what should it mean?
“Christian” used to mean somebody who was a follower of Jesus Christ. It used to mean somebody who was a disciple, who’d made a commitment to following the teachings of Jesus, to keeping the commandments, spreading the Gospel and making new disciples. But today the word “Christian” means different things to different people, to the point that nobody really knows what you mean when you say it. They only know what they think it means.
Back in the Fourth Century this same problem erupted as various heresies spread through the community of believers. People needed a definition of what “Christian” meant. So they came up with the Nicene Creed, which essentially declares:
We believe in one God, the maker of everything. That Jesus is his only begotten son and divine. That he was born of a virgin, suffered under Pontius Pilate and died on the cross for our sins, then rose again the third day. He will come again to judge the world. And we believe in the Holy Spirit, baptism for forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the dead into a life eternal. (This is the Ciffs Notes version. If you want to read the full text click on the link above.)
Back in 325 AD (sorry, I don’t go with that common era nonsense) this was what it meant to be a Christian. You could (and churches do) add other stuff, but if you didn’t agree to this minimum, or changed it around, you weren’t “Christian.”
The Statements of faith of most church denominations use this as a base and then add a few bells and whistles, the things that make their denomination distinct from other churches. For example Pentecostals add something about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. The Catholics emphasize the authority of the Church and its traditions, etc.
And you could take away from this standard. Some organizations do stray from this basic foundation. But the ones that do are not Christian.
The problem today is there are many people in all those churches that consider themselves Christian that don’t agree with that creed. Many of them don’t agree with their church’s statement of faith. Some aren’t even aware such a thing exists or what it means. In America today “Christian” has taken on the meaning “somebody who goes to church.”
If you tell people you’re a Christian it means something different to each individual. You mean (say) you try to follow Jesus. But members of other churches probably don’t consider your “cult” to be Christian. And to an atheist “Christian” means “anti-intellectual anti-science anti-gay hypocrite.” Moslems use the term to refer to basically anybody from the West who isn’t one of them, including atheists and agnostics.
A word that has a different meaning to everyone has no meaning at all. At least if you told people you were a Scientologist they’d know what it meant (that you were crazy.) By calling yourself a “Christian” you aren’t defining yourself. You’re completely at the mercy of what the other person thinks that means, for good or ill. (And these days, mostly ill.) We need a better word.
When people ask me about my religion, I tell them I’m a “Believer.” Believer is a word that means someone who believes. But it doesn’t give any details. This can lead to the question, “a believer in what?”
This is exactly what you want. Instead of having your beliefs defined by someone else’s expectations, it gives you the opportunity to define yourself. This is where that 1700-year old creed comes into play.
“I believe Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for our sins and he’s coming back soon. I believe the Bible is an instruction manual for Mankind from our Creator.”
If we truly believe in the teachings of Jesus we ought to be about making disciples. Those were his last words before he left. (Matthew chapter 28) Christ left us a task.
Churches today have forgotten this. They’re all about attendance, the building program and collecting cash to finance everything. They’ve become businesses concerned with perpetuating themselves, not carrying out the Great Commission, which has generally been redefined (when it’s remembered at all) into you passively supporting foreign missionaries with donations when it originally meant every individual believer making disciples himself in his local community.
And if we really are believers, we ought to be about our Master’s business: making disciples. And the first step in that is to let people know who we are.
And the best way to do that is to dump “Christian” and become “Believers.”
If you found this post interesting you might also like some of my books:
Revolutionary Discipleship What does Jesus expect from his followers? How did he train his disciples?
Has Christianity lost its cultural relevance? Has the Church’s misguided efforts to market itself to non-Christians doomed it to irrelevance? Is it time for a new Reformation? Spiritual Embezzlement Made Easy
Of Myth and Magic A comparison of religion, philosophy and magick throughout history. Are all religions basically the same? Is there a way to Truth and contentment?
A Priestess of Mars - a romantic steampunk adventure that explores the meaning of love from a Biblical perspective. Lilith of Gomorra is a noble Martian priestess who sees love as nothing more than an exercise in naked carnality. But when she discovers a higher form of love, her faith in the ancient religion turns to doubt and she must choose between her people and the man she loves. The fate of the Earth hangs on her choice.
And if you didn’t like this post…well, there’s always something on TV.Tweet
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Who is M.E. Brines?
M.E. Brines spent the Cold War assembling atomic artillery shells and preparing to unleash the Apocalypse (and has a medal to prove it.) But when peace broke out, he turned his fevered, paranoid imagination to other pursuits. He spends his spare time scribbling another steampunk romance occult adventure novel, which despite certain rumors absolutely DOES NOT involve time-traveling Nazi vampires!
A former member of the British Society for Psychical Research, he is a long-time student of the occult and a committed Christian who sees himself as a modern-day Professor Van Helsing equipping Believers for battle against the occult Principalities and Powers that rule a world in darkness. (Ephesians 6:12)
The author of three dozen books, e-books, chapbooks and pamphlets on esoteric subjects such as alien abduction, alien hybrids, astrology, the Bible, biblical prophecy, Christian discipleship, conspiracies, esoteric Nazism, the Falun Gong, Knights Templar, magick, and UFOs, his work has also appeared in Challenge magazine, Weird Tales, The Outer Darkness, Tales of the Talisman, and Empirical magazine.
*I'm often asked how I square my Christianity and "messing around" with the occult, as if I'm partial to bestial things with a goat under the amber light of the moon or something. No so. I'm a student, in the same way I used to study Soviet weapons and tactics back when I was a US Army officer. This gives my work a unique perspective no matter what your belief system. I don't judge. I just present the information and let the reader decide.
Tales of the Talisman magazine
Ghost Hunting Theories (+ Bigfoot)
Gnostalgia (the Esoteric Steampunk Lodge of the Retro-Future)
Why Star Trek is dead. (Postmodernism killed it)
Smashwords is great place 2 get e-books, 7 different formats, Nook, Kindle, EPUB, & more! Many are FREE. Check it out!!! https://www.smashwords.com/
The Struggle of Nations Game
(This could be you)
Ever wanted to rule your own nation? Now you can! The Struggle of Nations is a historical play-by-e-mail game where each player is the leader of his own nation. Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing government or rebel faction. Weekly turns represent the passage of a year in game-time. During each week you can plot, plan and scheme, then turn in your national budget and orders by the deadline. Track your progress using the economic report and full-color maps on the web site. Read about your exploits in the weekly newsletter!
The game accommodates busy players by enabling you to spend whatever time you like during the week conducting diplomacy with the other players via e-mail and determining your budget and orders, as long as they are finalized and submitted by the weekly turn deadline. You devote to the game exactly as much or as little time as you choose.
The rules are realistic and complete yet with a human referee to allow customized options. Players can manipulate tax rates, social programs, propaganda, and forge a customized military with secret weapons of their own design. The possibilities for economic growth, conquest, colonization, exploration, and research are endless.
Set in a 19th century steampunk Victorian world, The Struggle of Nations allows players to develop their countries as they see fit, accommodating any ideology or style of play. The game only ends if one player manages to conquer (or destroy) the world. In previous sessions the game lasted until the early 21st century as players began to explore and colonize the solar system. What could YOU accomplish if you ruled a nation?
Find out in The Struggle of Nations! Choose any nationality or secret society you like. Players may enter the game at the beginning of any turn with no handicap, taking over an existing nation or rebel faction. Just contact the Game Master by sending an e-mail to "email@example.com." For the rules of play, click on The Player's Handbook below. The game is FREE (although we request a donation of $5 per turn.) Sign up today!
The links below lead to the Player's Handbook, and other useful documents. The player's handbook helps players fill out their order packets correctly so their orders are not misunderstood by the Game Master.
The new Hanoverian steam panzer:
The Portuguese flagship, Lisbon
The new Spanish flagship, the British-built Hispania
a central battery ironclad
You can join the game discussion group by using this URL:
All attached documents are Copyright 2012 by Michael E. Brines