Christianity in Finland is based on Luther's ideas that separated Protestants from Catholics. Catholicism has a bloody history, and it was the thirst for power that drove the wedge between what Christianity was supposed to be, and what it had become in Rome. It was Empire building at its worst. It had to be stopped and perhaps God picked Martin Luther to do it. A Protestant believes that prayer changes things, but does not pray to the dead, nor Mary, nor Saints, hoping they will pass on the request to God, nor do they believe that you can pray to get friends and relatives out of limbo (purgatory). The Bible simply does not ask us to pray to them. Short bible readings, a ceremony with wine and a wafer, and we move on to worshiping the image of Mary. I am sure that Mary has seen thousands of images of "her' and cringes each time, because they look nothing like her. "Thou shall not make any images..." These are church traditions, and the Bible says that church traditions have made the Word worthless. The Word is the creative force of God which He uses to do His work. "He sent His Word and healed them." "In the beginning was the Word." It was NOT the "Force" but the "Word." Let the Word be with you. God does not have a secretary screening his calls. A Christian should go boldly directly to the top, as per the command in the Bible, not to a priest, who then conveys the prayer to God. To do otherwise negates what Jesus did: open the door past the priest, straight to his throne. Sorry priests but Jesus made your job redundant.
Christianity today is extremely fragmented. Every day we hear some preacher saying bad things about some other preacher or doctrine. One of these doctrines is called "Word of Faith." This is similar to the doctrine of "health and wealth" preaching. The basic premise is that whatever we say, in Jesus name, we shall have. But this does not sit well with a large segment of Christian preachers. They don't believe Jesus came here to heal, or help us prosper, or any of those things that prevent undue suffering, such as wealth. Jesus came here to save us from our sins. So I studied the Bible to see which one of these doctrines was the right one. I found this: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." That did it for me, because this is God's word, He wants us to prosper in very aspect, health, wealth and happiness. So if you ever hear anyone telling you that you don't love Jesus, you are only after what is on his table, don't say anything, leave that person alone, bless him or her and move on. You can love God and want all that He has for you as the Bible says, "King James Version (KJV)
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's."
The Bible says we are saved by Grace. That means we have not merited salvation by our works. The thief on the cross was saved, and he did nothing for it, Jesus beside him, was doing it right then. There was nothing more to do, but believe. Some believe that if we misinterpret the Bible, we are lost. But if we believe in what Jesus did and accept Him, everything else is secondary. Nowhere in the Bible does it say we are saved only if we interpret the meaning correctly, or if we misconstrue some meaning, we are forever lost. Certainly the correct meaning of the Bible exists, but not everyone you ask has an identical explanation. Some Bible scholars say only they have the correct view of the Bible. Think about it, when the disciples were with Jesus, learning the ropes, how many times did He correct them when they did not understand something? Quite a few times. So, if our understanding of Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, Salvation, Healing, and so forth is not 100%, but in our hearts we believe Jesus died for our sins, we are saved, period. Nothing can change that once it has happened. The Bible says that nothing can snatch us away from Him, meaning the devil has no more claim on you.
Some believe that there is only one valid Bible. Which Bible is the word of God? Well, some believe the King James version is. Even in that translation there are errors, though it is better than the rest.
Should every person in the world learn English in order to get the word of God? I don't believe this is the case. Therefore most versions written before WWII will do. God does not expect perfect transmission of his intent from the writers to the people. Perfection only exists in God, and only He can make the true intent known to us. It is mainly after WWII that the new, politically correct, versions were written, (the "virgin" becomes "young woman" - throwing out the virgin birth etc.) removing the politically incorrect stuff. And, after the removal of prayers from schools, our children have started to become liberal atheists, similar to the Communists in USSR - and we know what the results were there. Their society fell apart. But more importantly, the move away from God in every arena of life including the military has dire consequences: losing every major war except maybe the Gulf War, which the American forces never really finished, because Saddam Hussein, the man US installed there, remained in power. God's blessings are bestowed upon a people who appreciate and honor God's providential hand in history.
Martin Luther's interpretation of the Bible was dangerous to the power of the church, and indeed the Lutheran Church has little or no power with respect to individual salvation, and therefore control over people. Other religions tie people to the church, and thereby the organization gains power over the people. The Christian God meant all mankind to be free to worship Him as He intended: by their own free will. Every person, whether they be trying to increase Islam, Christianity or whatever, who do it by force are not sent by God, but by the adversary. So if it is imperative you go to Mass or Mosque for prayers or forgiveness or whatever, and you go through various rituals or traditions, the church or mosque gains power over you, and this is the intention. The teachers gain power over the people's minds, being able to incite them to do whatever they want. This can be dangerous in wartime, for we cannot always know what is being taught.
The Christians of Finland
According to Pastor Daniel Erlander, the cross where Jesus suffered and died is seen as a symbol of the point at which God meets man, which transcends the power of logic. We cannot find God by our own works, but by seeking Him in humility and, in our helplessness, God's grace and love finds us. In fact the Bible says that all our righteousness is like filthy rags - not honored by God, because he knows you are not what you appear to be, but a sinner.
As a result of honoring God, (like George Washington, right) Finns have become among the most free and prosperous people in the world. No other path can say that their society is as free and prosperous as those that follow Jesus Christ as stated above and described below in greater detail. With the observed standard of living also comes a challenge to retain the foundations that produced it: the teachings of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, whose finished work was not to be added to. New messages were indeed coming, that were repudiations of Christ's teachings. This new teaching was of the moon and sword, by a religion that claims to be of peace, but is not: Islam.
Finland as a nation has benefited greatly from their trust in the Christian concept of a loving, caring God, especially during the dark days of Revolution and the Second World War.
In the Lutheran religion, the Bible is always the ultimate authority, and no person or society has the sole right to interpret its meaning, nor to judge other people.
The Karelian people of Russia, (who speak a dialect of Finnish) have almost lost their language under Communism. Today the people of Karelia, now mixed with ethnic Russians, are turning back to Christ after living under Atheism for seventy years. They have seen the fruits of a Godless system.
The problem was not a faulty system which, if fixed, would result in the perfect society, as many still believe. The problem was their atheism. The Russian government has finally admitted that Atheism did not perfect human nature, nor did it protect human rights and freedom. Marxism has proclaimed that religion is the people's drug. Would you rather have your kids on Jesus or booze and drugs?
Soviets turned "liberated" Finnish Churches into theaters in 1940. The picture above is of the Finnish Lutheran church in Impilahti, which was taken back for 3 years in 1941. This picture is from my father's, wartime collection when he was in the Finnish Army in the Continuation War 1941-44. This and other pictures from the front may have been taken by my father, but there were quiet a few that were distributed amongst the men, as some pictures in my possession have turned up elsewhere.
To protect future generations from destruction, the Russian government gave the people back their freedom of religion - the very thing most Americans are against these days, especially Christianity. Then, the Russian Orthodox Church claimed to have sole rights to the Russian people. And the government got involved. There is no separation of Church and State in Russia. Like the Czars, Russian government now wants to recognize only their "Russian" religion, and they have begun to supress all other religions at the request of the Russian Orthodox Church. Religion has become a tool of nationalism in Russia as in centuries past.
Finnish House Society in Vancouver, helps to maintain Finnish culture in Canada, which is where the writer lives. "The culture of a people is not only literature, music, songs, poems and art, but also includes its customs, traditions, spiritual values and religion. As a strong faith in God and His provision has been the basis for strength and high moral standards in the homeland during wars and great difficulties as well as in peace, so also it should be here in our chosen new homeland, among other religions and people." From Finnish House Society constitution.
YTM (MA in Social Sciences) Jarmo Ryyti, of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland explains the historical role of a religion that arose in the North in the 19th Century. Here are his comments about Lestadius (Lestadiolaiset).
"The Lestadians are followers of a religious movement established by Lars Levi Lestadius, who was a Swedish-Saami. He lived in the 19th century, and was a multitalented polyglot. He was proficient in three Saami dialects and in Finnish, Latin and Swedish. He is best known as a religious leader, but he also is a known ethnologist and botanist.
Lestadius preached in Finnish and in Saami, which was part of his movement. The language of people was used instead of the administrative language of Church of Sweden. The church of Sweden was an important tool of Swedish imperialism and colonialism, but L.L.Lestadius changed all that by preaching boldly in Finnish and in Saami. It was sensational and provocative. Therefore L.L.Lestadius was also hated among the nomenklatura of the Church of Sweden and he got a lot of enemies.
Thanks to Lestadius, Finnish survived as a kind of a underground language in Northern Sweden and Northern Norway until these days. The Swedish and Norwegian administration tried to uproot Finnish and Saami speaking culture by all means but they could not prevent people to talk with God Finnish and Saami. And L.L.L. gave courage to them to do so. -- In 1958,The Swedish School Administration repealed directives banning the speaking of Finnish language in Sweden's schools. However, some municipalities maintained restrictions until 1968."
Statistics of Churches and Religions in Finland
Lutherans 4,300,000 86%
Orthodox 57,000 1%
Pentecostals 50,000 1%
Members of Finnish Free Church 13,000
Roman Catholics 5,000
Members of other Christian churches 1,000
Jehovah's Witnesses 17,000
Muslims 15,000 - 20,000 (2000)
Non-affliated 500,000 10%
Some who follow old pagan religion
Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) - German Reformation Leader
"The Just Shall Live by Faith Alone"
Martin Luther was German Augustinian friar who put Christianity back on the right path. When he visited Rome in 1510, he was shocked by the worldliness of the papal court. Further payment was demanded by Rome, after Christ had already paid for the sins of the world! This was not what the inspired writings in the Bible taught. He believed that salvation, as taught in the Bible, was from the unmerited grace of God available through faith alone, not something that Rome gave for money or no money. He also denied, as per the Bible, special spiritual authority of priests and the final authority of the Pope to interpret the Bible. He showed that the Bible declares the priesthood of all believers, with Jesus as head, not the Pope. He changed the course of history when he exposed Rome's corruption, and smashed the shackles that bound millions of ordinary people to Rome's whims.
Martin Luther showed the people that the Bible does not require from them anything else but faith in Jesus, that you could not buy favors from God, and that according to the Bible, Jesus paid the price in full, period. There was no need to bow down before any image, regardless of reason. In fact worship of images is expressly forbidden by God. When Christianity was withdrawing from its Jewishness, it moved towards the paganistic veneration, bowing down to images, as in the image of Caesar. Veneration of icons, or images amounts to the same thing, and is forbidden. Changing "worship" to "venerate" is playing with words - with many believing everything is OK; it is not. Churches do not have the authority to override God's commandments by semantic manipulations. (When you bow down before an image, you are saying that you are less than that image, which is false. You are less than Jesus and God who authorize no images, and equal to other humans alive or dead. To say that images of Mary and Jesus factually represent them is not correct, and neither are the images authorized by them. If you were to put a picture of me on the internet without asking my permission, I would be very angry, wouldn't you? Similarly, God commands that we shouldn't make images - are we to contradict Him? Furthermore, we cannot say if they are more holy than the next person, only God can, for He knows what they really did and believed in their lives. And, the Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. So why pray to a sinner, why not go to the sinless one as the Bible commands. Who knows, some people may have been praying to a worse sinner than themselves. He explained that all God wanted was for the world to accept what Jesus did for them, and they would be saved from their sins and set free. For the wages of sin is death, in the eyes of God. He taught that if Jesus hadn't paid the sin debt we owed with his blood for mankind, eternal life would not be possible. He taught that anyone could ask for salvation at any time, and they would have it right then in a split second. If they should die before baptism, they would still go to heaven by Jesus' grace, by which we are saved. This made Rome, which wanted people to believe salvation was dispensed by the church, angry and Martin Luther narrowly escaped execution.
Martin Luther also showed that Bible truths are still true in German or any other language, and Latin does not have a monopoly on the teachings of Christ, which was the position of the Pope. Can you believe that most people did not understand the sermons, which was fine by the Pope? This explains why Orthodox Churches and Catholic Churches have so many pictures and statues. Worship of these is considered to be part of the religion, although people who read the bible often refuse. Jesus did not worship images, nor did the apostoles. Sometimes God was not even mentioned in prayers when contacting spirits of dead Christians.
Has any person since Christ ever been really "holy?" Depends what we mean by holy. If you mean without sin, the answer must be "no" because the Bible clearly states: "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Also, we hardly get through a day without some slip or "sin" because we are human and have to fight our inner tendency all the time. So we should be careful in giving the title "holy" to any person if we mean that person is sinless, or perfect. We have a bad day and no matter how hard we try, we might unjustly say or do something to our loved ones; it is normal and just a part of being human. Holy can mean making a promise to God and keeping it, but the only sinless person on earth was Jesus. When we bestow such a title, we are judging that person to be of high quality. But we are told not to judge, lest we be judged (by the same criteria). People can also prophecy, and we can learn from them, but still they are not sinless. A prophet is one who predicts something, and most so-called prophets today have proven to be false prophets, just as predicted in the Bible. These false prophets will be banished to the pit.
If Muhammed had predicted future events he would certainly, by definition, be a prophet. He was a brilliant general whose conquests became widely known, but he did not predict events, and therefore we do not have much proof of his prophecy. Our God commands us not to kill, but Muhammad went out several dozen times to kill, rape and steal. He also made some statements which are very strange, unlike the God of the Bible: Satan lives in the nose during the night, he split the moon in half, the sun goes down beneath a muddy pond during the night, Muslims have one intestine, non-Muslims have seven, Jews turn into rats, monkeys and pigs, and so forth; the Koran is nothing more than "lovely stories" and fables, just as Muhammad said they are. He was an epileptic and got all that stuff while he was having a fit, (Supposedly from angel Gabriel, (?) but the prophets of the Bible always got it straight from the source.) when they threw a sheet over him. He was called the "sheeted one." He thought he was possessed by demons, and contemplated taking his own life. He is supposed to be a real prophet because he has a big hairy mole on his shoulder called the seal of prophethood. He hates dogs and told people to kill them all. This doesn't sound like the God we know; He doesn't hate dogs, pigs or anything else He created. When he created the world and all its creatures, He called it GOOD. So why would he want to do away with his own good works?
Thus the God of Islam is not the same as the God of the Bible, nowhere near it. If this is the case, then who is this Allah and where did he come from. There is no explanation in the Qur'an. But history says that Allah was originally the Arab moon god, despite what Allah is today supposedly i.e. The Creator God. The Bible prophets actually predicted future events accurately, we know that because all the Old Testament prophecies have come or are coming to pass. Prophets are sinners too, so we should not worship them on the same level as God. E.G. White is a prophet of Seventh Day Adventists. She predicted the end of the world. Her prophecies did not come to pass, so she is not a prophet. The Bible also asks us not to call any man on earth "father" because we only have one father and he is in heaven. This is how I interpret the Bible and religions claiming to be on par with the Christian God, but fall short by a long, long way - not even close.
The early church was few in number, without wealth, position, or honorary titles, but they were a terror to evil-doers wherever their character and doctrines were known. This is primarily because they adhered to the Word of God as it is taught in the Bible. They were, like Jesus, a constant rebuke to the evil and self-righteousness all around them. And, like Jesus, they suffered for it. Hatred, opposition, and death always came from those who loved and followed the ways of evil. The evil done in the name of the teachings of Jesus, has been attributed to Jesus rather than the evil men - thus continuing the false accusations he was crucified for in the first place. In the sixth century, the papacy had become firmly established and the head was established in the Imperial City, and the Bishop of Rome was declared to be the head of the entire church.
Power corrupts, and the church slowly fell victim to it - the evil deeds were confessed to by the Pope in the first months of the new millennium. The Catholic Church became apostate. (Catholic Church goes to confession) Control of millions, wealth and power became a church goal, and pagan rituals became part of the church operation. After celibacy of priests was invented, the church decided to make Mary a virgin in perpetuity, and Jesus the only child of Mary and Joseph. Pergatory and all kinds of church inventions were designed to get money from the people. Jesus did not tell the thief beside him on the cross "see you in pergatory" but "I say to you this day you will be with me in paradise." This statement is disputed by many, who want to place a comma after day. In the original Greek there were no commas. This has a lot to do with where we believe the thief went immediately after death: to paradise or to sleep. Can you see why there are so many sects in Christianity? The Thief on the Cross Despite this, there are millions of people in the Catholic Church who believe basically what Protestants believe about who Jesus is, (Jesus is Lord and Savior, equated with God, not just a prophet) and what He did for them, and therefore they are the same in spirit. Jesus' grace is sufficient for salvation, and no man needs to lead us to His grace, we can do this ourselves. Some people think we are saved by following the traditions of the church, or by the prayers of the priests. This is not what the Bible teaches.
Martin Luther, the man of God, was to become an old intolerant anti-semite, and therefore some of his teachings as he aged were anathema to what the Bible teaches. Taken literally, they would constitute religious persecution of the worst kind by today's standard. This is why a Christian follows the Bible, rather than the teachings of men. Fortunately Finnish Lutherans did not subscribe to antisemitism and Finland was safe for Jews during the WWII.
The Fundamental tenets of the Christian faith are based on the Bible:
1) The Ten Commandments (Law of Moses): (briefly)
You shall have no other gods besides Me.
You shall not make for yourself an idol
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy.
Honor your father and your mother.
You shall not murder.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. The Ten Commandments
2) The Ten Commandments Were given to Moses (The Old Covenant. Christians are under the New Covenant of Jesus.
3) The Lord's Prayer:
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name,
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
forever and ever, Amen.
Every year a certain University professor had the habit of asking if anyone in the class believed in God. He would use a little demonstration to prove his point. He would ask "Is there anyone here who believes that if I drop this glass on the ground, any power in heaven could prevent it from breaking?" His experiment went unchallenged for many years. One day a fellow, a new Christian who thought God could do anything decided to put up his hand. "I do," he said. The professor was astonished. "Go ahead and pray then" said the professor. The boy prayed. "Are you through?" "Yes," said the boy. "Well I am going to demonstrate to the class how stupid prayer is - it's totally useless." He dropped the glass. The glass fell, down it went, and hit his shoe, then bounced harmlessly onto the floor, totally intact. The professor never used that demonstration again.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy universal Church,
the communion of saints, (believers)
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting, Amen.
Children are taught in schools not to believe in God. I thought that religion and state were supposed to be separated by law. So why are they teaching people about God? You may say that they aren't doing that. They are! When they say that life began by itself without proof, i.e. creating it in the laboratory, you are in fact teaching your view of Creation. Never has science shown by what means life on earth began - not even close. Darwin thought life could begin spontaneously, just like (snapping fingers). He did not know how complex it was. Science has done that, but continues to insist that it can appear by itself and this is a lie taught in our schools, and is not science, but religion. They want
their point of view (lies that the government wants to inject into every child) taught to the children, not the parents'. For what reason? They are working for the government, whose agenda is to create a "One World Government." How does education fit in with this? Well, you cannot teach people the truth if you are planning to control them totally. You see, as Jesus said, "The Truth Shall Make You Free." This is bad news for the government. Christian teachings go contrary to what the government is building NOW! I like Obama, but he has been proven to be working for the forces building the New World System. He says whatever anyone wants to hear. To get elected, he claimed to be a Christian. After he was elected, he made a statement that he was indeed, a Muslim. Whether he was one or the other isn't important. He might not be either. But he says what is expedient at the moment, to achieve the immediate goal.
He is working for the big corporations, and that is bad news for you, because their goals are to kill you with their poisons. One of these is Cyanide, or various forms of it hidden in your food supply and vaccines. It works slowly to produce Cancer and other diseases. One form of this poison is Acrylamide, which is now in most foods, and is put there by Monsanto, in the fertilizer and other methods. The way they plan to kill you is through Air, Food and Water. Watch out for these. GMO is wrecking your food supply, they are not safe. Vaccines are creating barren girls and autistic children among other diseases. Do not trust the food and drug monitoring agencies, they are working for the enemy. Just be careful and live.