My conversation with @JnConstitution (so far)

The following text is unaltered (as far as I know), with no formatting. As of now, I don’t expect the conversation to continue. Have fun!

Hi Anton,

Let me say that I am glad that you have stopped by this site for discussion about the Lord Jesus. Please continue to feel welcome here and to express your thoughts and questions whenever you like.

I’d like to share a little about myself, if I may. I grew up in a Christian church, and went there with my parents throughout my youth. But when I struck out on my own as a young adult, I left my parent’s religion behind as I felt it added nothing to my life and I really didn’t believe all of the stories I found in the Bible anyway.

Several years later though, I had an experience that one could liken to that of the Apostle Paul, though certainly not so dramatic ( See Acts, chapter 9). I was confronted in a very real way with the living Lord Jesus. Not as a theoretical being who may or may not have lived and done what the Bible claims, but as a living person who is exactly what the Bible claims He is.

I have been a disciple of His since that day, now over 30 years ago ( I am 60 years old). In thinking over the events of my youth, early adult life, and my coming to faith in Jesus, I realized, what I had been missing all of those early adult years was a relationship with Jesus.

As a church goer, I knew a lot about Jesus from all that I had heard, but I did not KNOW HIM. When H e confronted me with His Life, all of the head knowledge that I had previously rejected as suspect, became heart knowledge that I could not deny, any more than I could deny the existence and reality of my wife.

I hope that you will begin or continue to seek the Jesus that lives forever and seeks to inhabit your heart and life as He does with all who would seek Him.

Comment by johnconstitution | December 3, 2012 | Reply

  • Hi John,

    Sorry for my delay, and as I told Ged, this is unfortunately how it goes for me.

    I have a couple of questions for you. What kind of church did you grow up in? How was it different from your faith now? How were you confronted with “the living Lord Jesus”? How was this relationship missing in those early years? What do you mean Jesus confronted you with “His Life”? What do you mean by “heart knowledge”?

    Sorry, but I have intention on beginning to seek Jesus no more than I intend to seek Heracles or Thor. I already sought Him, didn’t find him, and realized that was because, like Heracles and Thor, there is no Him.

    Best,

    Anton.

    Comment by Anton A. Hill | December 23, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Anton,

      I would like to adopt GED’s style in answering your questions. I can appreciate the questions you have asked, and I hope that I can do justice in my answers.

      Anton: Sorry for my delay, and as I told Ged, this is unfortunately how it goes for me.

      John: That’s quite all right Anton, we all have lives, and I can quite understand how delays, even long ones, can develop.

      Anton: I have a couple of questions for you. What kind of church did you grow up in?

      John: I grew up in a Methodist Church. In fact, my Father, a carpenter who helped to build the church building, and my Mother, were founding members.

      I attended that church from as early as I can remember, probably about 4, until I made it quite clear to my parents that I wanted nothing more to do with the church, at the age of 12 or 13. The problem was, they weren’t telling me anything I wanted to hear, it was all just a bunch of meaningless ritual. I thought it was worthless at the time, and my opinion of the ritual hasn’t changed, it is still worthless as far as I am concerned.

      Anton: How was it different from your faith now?

      John: The only things I knew then were the stories of the Bible, the rituals that I mentioned already, and the preaching of the Pastor, telling me how I needed tobe a better person and such. There was never any mention of The Gospel of Jesus Christ, no mention that Jesus is a living person that I could have a relationship with, and no mention that I was a sinner in need of salvation, all things that I consider to be of primary importance today.

      Anton: How were you confronted with “the living Lord Jesus”?

      John: In high school and in my years of “higher education” I learned to think analytically and pursued a well-paying and highly technical career path. Even in my early years I considered myself successful. I was able to provide myself with pretty much anything I wanted, and in my youth that ended up being partying, which meant alcohol and drug consumption, and relationships with women. I was involved in that lifestyle for over 10 years. I wasn’t hurting anyone, and I felt justified in what I was doing. After all, I was doing just as I pleased.

      The only problem was, I was not happy. My solution was, of course, to immerse myself more and more in my chosen lifestyle. But that was no good either. You see, I was beginning to become convicted of my actions. I knew, from my early training, that adultery and fornication were sins. I knew that lying was a sin, and if you’ve ever been involved in drug use, you are probably familiar with how easily one lies when it suits him or her. I also was in heavy rebellion against my parents, and I knew that my behavior was not at all honoring to them.

      I did not know it then, but it was Jesus who was convicting me, and I was not able to escape His conviction. I was on a downward spiral, and when I reached the bottom, Jesus was there. I was at a point in my life where I did not want to live it any longer. I was not suicidal, but I desperately wanted to change my behavior, and was trapped!

      And it was then that Jesus showed me the way out. Jesus showed me that He died for my sins, those that were in the past, and those yet in the future. He showed me that all I needed to do was to admit my need for a Savior, and to trust in the sacrifice He had made on my behalf , His death on the cross, He died for me, taking the punishment I deserved.

      Anton: How was this relationship missing in those early years?

      John: In my earlier encounter with church, I knew only a religion, a dead religion that had no ability to give life. What I learned much later had nothing to do with religion, or even with church, but with a relationship with Jesus. Note that this relationship only began after He revealed Himself to me.

      Anton: What do you mean Jesus confronted you with “His Life”?

      John: See above

      Anton: What do you mean by “heart knowledge”?

      John: As I am sure you are aware, the reality of Jesus’ existence is not something that can be proven objectively. One either believes that He lives, or he does not. I, through the interactions I have had with Him am thoroughly convinced that He lives, even though I have not seen Him. I have “heard” His voice many times in prayer and He has communicated with me in many ways. How can it be that I would believe He is real without any evidence? One might well ask me another question: “How can you be sure this Anton fellow exists, without any real evidence?”. And my answer would be the same, “Perhaps you have not proof that Anton exists, but I know in my heart that he is real.”.

      So, you see? Many things in our lives we know by faith, from the mundane to the supernatural. Think about it some time, and you might surprise yourself how much faith you have that various things are true.

      Anton: Sorry, but I have intention on beginning to seek Jesus no more than I intend to seek Heracles or Thor. I already sought Him, didn’t find him, and realized that was because, like Heracles and Thor, there is no Him.

      Best,

      Anton.

      John: I understand your position entirely, and I will not ask that you seek Him. Always keep in mind though, I never sought Him either. The fact of the matter is, Jesus was the furthest thing from my mind, but He sought me, and found me.

      Perhaps one day He will seek you out as well. My prayer is that if that day comes that your heart will be open to His prompting.

      My best wishes,

      John

      Comment by johnconstitution | December 27, 2012 | Reply

      • Hi John,

        Sorry for the extreme delay. As with Ged, I won’t adopt your dialogue style. Sorry, just too complicated for my tired, old brain.

        I wonder what you consider “ritual.” Is prayer ritual? How about baptism?

        I find it strange that a Methodist church never mentioned the gospels nor the doctrines of sin and salvation. I thought those were pretty standard. Also, I’m a little confused. You say Jesus is a living person. Do you mean this literally like I’m a living person? If so, I wonder where he resides, what he eats, etc., as a living person has certain physical requirements.

        You say you encountered the “living Lord Jesus,” yet you don’t say how. You state that he convicted you, that he was at the bottom of your downward spiral, that he showed you the way out, etc., but you don’t say how. Did Jesus literally present himself to you in the flesh and have a face-to-face conversation with you? I ask because many times, people use metaphors to describe these things and I’m unclear as to whether your description is metaphoric or not.

        Interesting you make such disparaging remarks about the church as it’s safe to say that without it and its developments, you’d have nothing. Even the doctrine of a “personal relationship” was developed (by the Pietists I think). Do you consider your faith independent of these developments or the pinnacle of their achievement? Or something else?

        Also, I really wonder about many Christians’ criticism of their own church. I hear often, “I’m not religious; I’m a Christian.” This then begs the question, “What’s the difference?” As near as I can tell, the only difference between the former and latter is a lack of formal ritual in the latter. Is that true? Am I missing something?

        I’m glad that you admit that Jesus can’t be proved objectively. Many Christians are dishonest in the claim that he can be. What specific interactions did you have with Jesus that convinced you of his existence? How do you know that these interactions were necessarily with Jesus and not with something else or nothing at all?

        Now wait a minute. You said earlier that you met Jesus, but you admit here that you’ve never seen him? What kind of interaction can you have had with him, specifically one that proves to you that he’s a living person, if you haven’t physically seen him?

        You say you’ve “heard” his voice, but you put “heard” in quotes. Did you hear Jesus voice or not? If so, what did it sound like? What were the other ways in which he communicated to you?

        One might very well ask how you know that I exist, but that’s irrelevant (thought I’ll get to that in a second). The question is how you know Jesus to exist without any evidence? If your answer is “I know in my hear he’s real,” then I’d have to ask what that means.

        But back to me, yes, given almost all of our interactions so far, there is little way of immediately proving that I exist as a living, breathing person. You’ve only interacted through a medium by which a computer might be able to run. At the same time though, claims made of me could be falsified. For example, were you so inclined, you could figure out what I look like (confirming my image in my picture), where I live, how I sound, etc. There are many forms of evidence and verification of that evidence you could embark on were you to choose to do so. Please tell me what the equivalent of this process is for Jesus.

        Unfortunately, I reject your claim that we know many things, mundane and supernatural, by faith. I’d suggest that actually, we know nothing supernaturally because nothing supernatural has been proven to exist, and we know nothing mundane through faith because mundane things can be proven to exist.

        Here’s an interesting challenge. How about you suggest something to me that you think I may only know through faith. I think it’d be a fun challenge.

        Certainly, my heart would be open to Jesus prompting. It sounds like I’d have nothing but great things to gain, well, except for non-accepting loved ones who’d go to Hell and suffering to continue in the world… Hmmm. I don’t know that I’d stand to gain much, but I’d still be open to prompting.

        Best,

        Anton.

        Hi Anton,

        Skipping to the very end of your post, the Bible promises that if we seek God from the heart that He will be found. So, if you are sincerely open to Jesus’ prompting, and not simply playing word games, then I am confident that He will answer you personally in a personal way.

        I pray God’s greatest blessing be yours,
        John

        Comment by johnconstitution | April 11, 2013 | Reply

        • Hi John,

          Why did you skip to the end? It seems pretty rude to blatantly ignore my sincerely posed questions and points. Christians (and the Bible) have told me that it’s a Christian’s duty, obligation, to convince the unconvinced. Why do you think this obligation doesn’t apply to you?

          I understand that you think the Bible promises that if we seek God from the heart that he will be found. I’m telling you I did that for many years from early childhood to adulthood and I never encountered Jesus nor God. I was absolutely sincere in my seeking. I wasn’t trying to prove or disprove anything. I wasn’t cynical. I wasn’t skeptical. I was completely open to it. And yet I received nothing. I understand that you’re confident that if I seek, God answers, so what’s your explanation for the fact that he never did? He’s waiting? If so, for what?

          Thanks in advance for your opinion,

          Anton.

Hi Anton, I am not trying to be rude, but my obligations are not something that are open for debate.

As for why I skipped to the end of your previous post, to be completely honest, I am not interested in continuing this discussion further.

You see, at the beginning of this year I made a resolution not to involve myself in (what I consider to be) pointless discussions, and that is what I feel this one has devolved into.

Again, I am not meaning to be rude, and if I seem so, then I apologize.

God bless,
John

Hi John,

Sorry for the delay. I was out of the country. And it seems you’ve gone ahead and judged our conversation as "devolving," which I find unfortunate and surprising as I was asking sincere questions and making sincere statements. I can’t control how you feel about things nor what action you’ll take, however, so if you choose not to allow this, then obviously that’s up to you.

With that said, I’d like to be clear that I wasn’t looking for a debate with regard to your obligations. I was merely asking about them. The reason I was asking was that many Christians have told me that it’s their God-given duty to convince the "lost." I was merely trying to confirm this with you. If you disagree with the claim, that’s fine, I have no issue with that. I only wanted your opinion.

I don’t understand why you’re no longer interested in the conversation. You made specific claims and asked specific questions. I asked about your claims and attempted to answer your questions. While it’s true that I’m skeptical of your ability to convince me of the validity of your claims, it remains that I find your perspective fascinating and I’m genuinely interested in learning more about it.

I’m not sure why you call our discussion "pointless." Is it because you determined you were likely not going to convince me of the validity of your claims? If so, then yes, I have to agree that if that were the point, then the conversation had reached an end. I wonder, though, what’s the point of your site, then? It’s called "Worship the Lord Jesus." That’s an imperative. An order. The obvious question is why? If you’re unwilling to answer the question, I wonder why you have that title for the site, and more specifically why you have the site.

I also have to wonder why you chose to follow me on Twitter in the first place. What was the purpose of that? I’m honest about my atheism on my Twitter page, so you must have known about it. The only conclusion I can reach is that, on some level, you did suppose that you could convince me of the validity of your claims.

Regardless, I appreciate the amount of conversation you did engage in and if this was our last exchange, then be well.

Best,

Anton.

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