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What I would like to ask you is what church you are going to now? Also, Easter and Christmas


----- Original Message -----
From: Name Withheld
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 11:24 AM
Subject: Shepards Chapel

I  read your paper on Shepard's Chapel I have watched his TV show for about a year and do not agree on everything he teaches but  I do not follow men I follow Gods word. But buy the same token I don't agree with everything you say. What I would like to ask you is what church you are going to now? Teaching the word is not very well accepted in the churches now and I have a hard time setting and not saying anything. What I have been researching now is Easter and Christmas any thought's on this I would love to hear your thought's.  
Name Withheld

My First Response:

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Name Withheld
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2011 12:38 PM
Subject: Re: Shepards Chapel
Hi Name Withheld, thanks for writing.
Also I wouldn't mind if you were specific about the things you disagreed with, you may not want to argue, but I may want to clarify, it helps me when people are specific because sometimes people get the wrong idea about me based on limited exposure to my writings.  For example, based on letters, I have come to understand that people are misunderstanding my views on the nature of God based on a few remarks I made about the trinity doctrine, that will lead me to make some clarifications on my webpage. I say that I do not believe in the trinity doctrine, but non-Trinitarians usually end up calling me a Trinitarian, and no Trinitarian who has ever heard my complete views on the subject of the nature of God and Christ has ever called my views heretical.  Maybe that wasn't the issue for you, but I hope you take my point.  While I do appreciate your civility, it would do me more good to hear something a little more specific.  We don't have to argue over it, but at the least I do like to know and at the most I do like to clarify myself..
What I would like to ask you is what church you are going to now?
I don't go anywhere for church, but I'm always part of the church.  For several years I was meeting regularly with a large group of Christians in Wisconsin, at Spirit of Truth Church.  But in 2009 I left after I was maltreated for questioning a few things the Pastor said (privately, to the pastor directly, without murmuring). I still meet informally with brothers, but I do not "attend services."  for a host of reasons.  I question that whole machinery,  I would be willing to go into if you are interested. Church services are pretty worthless in my estimation, they serve little and few, I try to do my utmost to serve people and to help them grow, but real personal contact is the best way, services are too impersonal and corporate. I am active in church activities such as teaching and preaching the gospel. I am also active in sharing my experience in divers matters as well as helping others when I can and counseling. 
Teacxhing the word is not very well acepted in the churches now and I have a hard time setting and not saying anything.
I sympathize, people are afraid of controversy and the way people interpret the word is more often colored by tradition and conditioning than by sound interpretive practices.  And they do not teach sound interpretive practices.  I would really like to do a video on YouTube for that one.  And I will.
Even if you go about it in the most polite and respectful, and patient way, you are basically asking for trouble if you question anything that comes out of a pulpit.  Except for me, ha ha, of course.  But I'm not in a pulpit.  I answer questions.  I'm no one's idol, least of all my own, so I have nothing to lose, no perch to fall from, real or mental.
You can't question doctrine because the Pastor cannot change doctrine.  Either he is too proud or he is constrained by the denomination.  I have met Pastor's that have changed and admitted wrong in one matter or another, but they do not like to keep doing that and it eventually causes people to mistrust them.  And it would indeed show instability and blindness if pastors were constantly amending their doctrine.  But to most minds this should all be sorted out already.  Really, what does some punk like me have to add to the work of generations of scholars?  Truth is arrogant and when you bring truth to people that have invested themselves in lies, they will call you arrogant and worse, as they did me.
From my perspective I am here not to teach people new things but to bring to life things that have gone stale and have been neglected and forgotten.  And some things are hidden, hidden until the end, and we are not there yet.
What I have been researching now is Easter and Christmas any thought's on this I would love to here you thought's.  
Thanks for asking putting value on my opinion. I consider the whole thing a matter of conscience.  I don't observe holidays,  I eat turkey on thanksgiving, I give gifts at Christmas, my kids color Easter eggs in the spring, it is fun, but I don't observe any holidays.  I do not attach any religious significance to any of these events any more than I do to the fall collages they make from leaves. I do not observe the birth of Christ or his Resurrection day. 
I don't know if you get my drift or not.  The outward deeds are all harmless.  I know about Ishtar, but she is just an idol, and colored eggs do not rouse her from her slumber.  I suppose if it was not for my wife and kids I would not do anything for these holidays.  And when I say, we color eggs "for Easter"  I do not mean that we do it on Easter Sunday, Easter has passed for me the last decade without notice.  We don't eat a special meal for Easter and the eggs are colored in the vicinity of Easter because that is when the egg coloring kits appear in stores.
I sincerely want my kids to take up the faith.  But I don't wish to waste my authority on denying them Christmas presents.  Everyone else gets Christmas presents.  And for me to say "Sorry kids that is against my religion."  is a waste of my authority.  One might argue, "but they will see your conviction, and learn to deny themselves, etc"  and to that I would say, I would rather not expend my authority to deny my children presents.  I do not think it will turn out well.   I have bigger fish to fry and the last thing I want is my kids believing that Christ is just out to deny them good things in life.  I do believe in the importance of denial, but I am an adult, and I believe in Christ it is given to use, yes, to suffer, but also to prosper, there is a time and season for both.  I never get anything for Christmas, i don't care, but I love my children and I like to give them gifts.  I do not ever teach my children to believe in Santa Clause, I do joke about Santa, but they know it is a joke.
I believe that in Christ there is liberty and though I do not wish to make my weak brothers stumble I really think that righteousness is not achieved by proper observance of holidays and Sundays and Sabbath days.  I think this was a core lesson of the new testament that legalistic types are always trying to undo to bring us under fear and bondage.  Somewhere out there are people who are afraid of Easter Eggs and Christmas trees (we have one every year) and it seems to me to be petty and small.  They worry about Christmas trees and Easter Eggs and being in church on Sunday but their hearts are filled with covetousness and divers lusts.  When I say "afraid" I mean that they believe that these things are capable of "harm"  they believe that the use or allowance of these will mar the righteousness of one who uses them.
I covered a lot of this in my study in 1 Corinthians about things sacrificed to Idols and also in studies of related passages.  Also I have been asked about this subject  and here are a few of my responses.  You may want to look at these because I talk about the scriptural basis for my opinion whereas here I have given my opinion nakedly. 
Thanks again for writing,  One last word. Beware of the teachers who teach the scriptures what the scriptures ought to mean, rather than letting the scriptures teach the teachers what the teachers ought to teach. I have seen this as a great evil in our day.  Also, a passage which teaches an idea in doctrine, that is, a passage whose intent is to instruct in doctrine, is a better source for doctrine and instruction and has more weight and takes precedence over anything that is read in parables, prophecy or as part of a narrative.  Much evil has come from ignoring doctrinal passages to exalt what is seen in vision or spoken in parable or that which is part of a story unexplained.  Much evil has also come of this.  I hope you understand me.  I do recommend my bible studies.
Paul Stringini


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