Acceptance of Christianity

Faithfulservant

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I have a good question that came up in a pm from a good friend.

Why is it that every belief in Christianity is accepted except that Jesus is the only way and the inerrancy of the bible? Even on this forum they both are disregarded at times as legitimate beliefs and looked on as intolerance or unacceptable. This troubles me and I would like to discuss it.

Faithful Servant
 
The reason why people dont want to believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to God, is because it comes off as intolerant, and even mean. It basically says that no matter what Religion you are, if you dont have Jesus, you dont have God. But, is the saying true? Well, Jesus himself said that he is the ONLY way, and he showed why. He alone, died, and paid the price of our sins. No one else did that, because no one else could.

I believe the Lord!
 
Faithfulservant - it's looked at as intolerant simply because it *IS* intolerant. Look at the dictionary for the definition -
Not tolerant, especially:

1. Unwilling to tolerate differences in opinions, practices, or beliefs, especially religious beliefs.
2. Opposed to the inclusion or participation of those different from oneself, especially those of a different racial, ethnic, or social background.
3. Unable or unwilling to endure or support: intolerant of interruptions; a community intolerant of crime.
(from dictionary.com)

Saying that THIS IS THE ONLY WAY is exactly definition (1). One could argue it's also (2) because you deny any other membership in heaven...

One of the reasons it's not particularly welcome here is because it prevents discussion. If you have the ONE WAY, there's no point in discussing anything, is there, because you have all the answers, so the discussion devolves into "well, you're wrong... "... without thought or reason.

... Bruce
 
Faithfulservant said:
I have a good question that came up in a pm from a good friend.

Why is it that every belief in Christianity is accepted except that Jesus is the only way and the inerrancy of the bible? Even on this forum they both are disregarded at times as legitimate beliefs and looked on as intolerance or unacceptable. This troubles me and I would like to discuss it.

Faithful Servant

Dear Faithfulservant,

This question is at the heart of a lot of pain and confusion, isn't it. I think you have always expressed your beliefs in a respectful manner and I do not disregard them nor disrespect them at all. I can't agree to a literal-factual interpretation of the Bible, but I do believe God inspired the writers of the Bible and the Holy Ghost has protected the Bible so that we have in the Bible the Word we are supposed to have (not corrupted). Still, it is a reflection of God as experienced by humans. We need to read the Bible in the light of the Holy Spirit and with the eyes of a lover. I only say this so you know where I am coming from.

I know that in many places the NT tells us how Jesus is our salvation and sets us free from bondage to sin and death if we believe He was Who He said He was. The Son of God, light from light, true God from true God. I think the main quote for Him being the only way is from the Gospel of John.

6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:6-7)


I know that there are lots of other quotes of similar intent, narrow gates etc, those who do not believe are condemned already, etc., but I seem to think this is the only place where Jesus implies that He is the only way. I'm not looking for wiggle room, I pray over this particular phrase a lot.

Now, I don't think you're looking for a discussion about this phrase and other interpretations of it, only a reason why people, Christians in particular, might stumble on this particular saying of Jesus.

For me it is because I can't reconcile a compassionate and just God with one Who would cut off from salvation good people who love Him but are not Christians. I'm going to borrow a few words from Marcus Borg:

"It is impossible for many of us to believe that only Christians can be in saving relationship to God. Knowing about other religions and especially knowing people of those religions have made it impossible. Moreover, there is a "commonsense" reason for rejecting Christian exclusivism. When we think about the claim that Christianity is the only way of salvation, it's a pretty strange notion. Does it make sense that "the More" whom we speak of as creator of the whole universe has chosen to be known in only one religious tradition, which just fortunately happens to be our own?

And there is a specifically Christian reason for rejecting Christian exclusivism: the classic Christian emphasis on grace. If one must be a Christian in order to be in right relationship with God, then there is a requirment, and we are no longer talking about grace, even though we might use the language of grace. If our relationship with God is based on grace, then it is not based on requirements, not even the requirement of being Christian."

Anyway, I respect your understanding as legitimate for you even though I know you believe it applies to everyone. Expressing your belief respectfully as you do is not intolerance, in my opinion, nor unacceptable. Christians are called to evangelism, although like everything else we have our different understandings of what that means. We should have the Word written on our heart, we should not fear sharing good news to those with willing ears, and most of all we are called to Live the Life that will attract those who thirst for the Water that truely satisfies.

Your sister,
lunamoth
 
Kindest Regards, Faithfulservant!
Faithfulservant said:
Why is it that every belief in Christianity is accepted except that Jesus is the only way and the inerrancy of the bible? Even on this forum they both are disregarded at times as legitimate beliefs and looked on as intolerance or unacceptable. This troubles me and I would like to discuss it.
First, I can't help but think a portion of this comes from my recent action. It is only fitting I respond.

If one looks through all of the threads here, they can see that there are a lot more differences of opinion than just the two you mention. Biblical inerrancy is a valid discussion that has been gone over more than once here as well.

Since I can see that my moderating might leave the impression that I sometimes question whether Jesus is the only way, it is because my study of God's word leads me in that direction. I don't expect you to agree or even understand, and I don't make it an issue. I leave that to the individual when I quote or refer to Romans chapter 2.

Jesus is the way, for Christians. That is, he pointed out the way. He lived by example.

What of the countless millions who lived and died never hearing of Jesus? I'm not talking of those who heard and refused, I am talking of those who were never given the opportunity. Are they to rot in hell because of an accident of birth? I REALLY don't think so. God said the sixth day creation was not just good, it was very good. Adam and the garden did not come about until the 8th day. So, personally judging others to hell because of non-belief is actually standing against what God himself called VERY GOOD.

God created all of humanity. With each of their cultures, languages, religions and beliefs. They will not be held accountable for what they do not know. It is wrong of us to assume we know God's mind. When we get to heaven, there are going to be a lot of surprises, people we thought should be there will not be, and those we thought would be damned will be there. That is why being judgmental is wrong.

Of course, I could be mistaken, but that is where God has led me to. Which brings me to tolerance.

I hope one day to write this in greater detail, but I will try to give a brief. The guys who highjacked the airliners on 9/11 were intolerant fundamentalist bigots. Timothy McVeigh was an intolerant bigot. Eric Rudolph was an intolerant bigot. Adolph Hitler was an intolerant bigot. The list goes on...
What all of these people have in common, is their unshakable belief that they (and those who think exactly like them) are the only ones who know right from wrong. And they commit heinous crimes against humanity for that belief, some even thinking they do God a service. Remember Paul when he held the coats of those who stoned Stephen to death? Paul recanted, and regretted his action, and went on to do great work for God. Most intolerant bigots do not. They never come to realize the hatred they hold for everyone else, convincing themselves they do so out of love. For so-called "love" of God they go to war with anybody who disagrees with them. That war may not be with weapons, but all too often it is. It also manifests as prejudice and discrimination, verbal abuse, and violence. Ironic, that in their minds it is in service to God, who is none of these things.

God loves us. He wants us to love Him in return. He could force that love, but has chosen not to. It wouldn't be real love if it were forced. Love is patient and long-suffering, even and especially with those who we disagree with. That is the nature of tolerance. In a way, you could say love equals tolerance, hate (no matter what it is called) equals intolerance. One more thing about tolerance, it is not acceptance. One does not have to accept a view one disagrees with, but I do believe we are called to be respectful in our disagreement.

Somebody said Jesus was intolerant. I disagree. Jesus walked among the scum of the earth, the dregs of society, offering hope to those who had none. What Jesus was intolerant towards is certain behaviors. There are people in this world who live their lives behaving in ways I disagree with; murderers, whore-mongers, thieves, drug addicts, etc. But I am still commanded by Jesus to love even these people. He did.
 
i really dont have time for this but i can see that CR must go one way or the other with this.
you take the 66 books & Jesus out as the chief cornerstone then you have something different.

it is like taking the torah away from Judaism & saying we dont have to be tolerant of of what you believe & can preach anything we want.

There are many many many passages that show Jesus is the way & that only through him we have eternal life. He is the author & finisher of our faith.
What you are going to have here is a Christian forum that denies the blood of Jesus for eternal salvation & the bible & it will become a mystic/gnostic type of teaching rather than a bible teaching...where anything goes.


IMO- this should allow for bible believers to teach Jesus in all forums, but we know that is never going to happen.

I have to disagree with both moderators in this thread, while i do feel over all the moderators have tried there best to keep peace & do what they feel is best and Brian has been a very fair man.

I feel it would be in the best interest of the moderators & the owner to meet & decide what way you want to go with this. I am not going to spend hours debating over who is right & who is wrong. Decide or create a sub forum for for the bible believers or something, because it is a problem. Or you can always just ask the bible believers & those who put Jesus first to leave OR chop our heads off.:) fine by me.

People are INTOLERANT of the believers that want to discuss the bible & Jesus & wish to promote something different than what was first delivered.
Jesus taught more than Love. He taught it ALL, death, hell, the grave, eternal life, love, peace, heaven, evil you name it..

In all honesty, I have spent 50% of my postings on defending or trying to prove what I believe, rather than discussing. I call that intolerance.
If you are expecting for believers to deny Jesus & accept every wind of doctrine & that every religion that pops out of the woodwork is right, that is not going to happen, no more than Hindus or Buddahist are going to accept Jesus & the bible.


My burden & love goes out to those who truly love the Lord & want to spend eternity with Him. Hold on to Jesus because we are in for a very rough road on earth in the upcoming years..but he will not fail us:) . If it means laying down our life, then that is what we have to do.

Glory be to Jesus and to His Father, forever.
 
brucegdc said:
Faithfulservant - it's looked at as intolerant simply because it *IS* intolerant. Look at the dictionary for the definition -

(from dictionary.com)

Saying that THIS IS THE ONLY WAY is exactly definition (1). One could argue it's also (2) because you deny any other membership in heaven...

One of the reasons it's not particularly welcome here is because it prevents discussion. If you have the ONE WAY, there's no point in discussing anything, is there, because you have all the answers, so the discussion devolves into "well, you're wrong... "... without thought or reason.

... Bruce
Ok I can understand this.. but please.. there are many more religions than Christianity who believe that theirs is "right" I dont force my beliefs down peoples throats but I dont mince my words either. Im not going to put in a box with a pretty bow and say that everyone is on the right path because that would be denying everything I believe in. If I have ever acted self righteous or condemning you are free to call me on it... and without hesitation I would ask for pardon because I am noone to judge anyone for anything.

If Christianity is not welcome here why then is there a forum for it?? And at over 500 posts personally I do not feel I have prevented any discussion whatsoever. I also do not simply say your wrong I am quick to tell everyone that its my belief and state my reasoning for it using scripture which is my main source of reference...they are more than welcome to tell me that Im wrong in which case there is a discussion. If everyone agreed on the same thing how boring this forum would be.............................. and how unrealistic.

I am not intolerant of other peoples beliefs religious or not.. I do not expect everyone to believe as I do. I also do not exclude ANYONE from anything because of their beliefs religious or not. I think its completely unfair to label anyone with that and Im offended. You are saying that absolute faith in anything is intolerant......... because faith would exclude anything other than whats involved in that said faith. Im just going to assume that you werent lumping me in your post because to do so would show that you dont respect my beliefs... and dont know me or havent read my posts.
 
Faithfulservant said:
Ok I can understand this.. but please.. there are many more religions than Christianity who believe that theirs is "right" I dont force my beliefs down peoples throats but I dont mince my words either. Im not going to put in a box with a pretty bow and say that everyone is on the right path because that would be denying everything I believe in. If I have ever acted self righteous or condemning you are free to call me on it... and without hesitation I would ask for pardon because I am noone to judge anyone for anything.

If Christianity is not welcome here why then is there a forum for it?? And at over 500 posts personally I do not feel I have prevented any discussion whatsoever. I also do not simply say your wrong I am quick to tell everyone that its my belief and state my reasoning for it using scripture which is my main source of reference...they are more than welcome to tell me that Im wrong in which case there is a discussion. If everyone agreed on the same thing how boring this forum would be.............................. and how unrealistic.

I am not intolerant of other peoples beliefs religious or not.. I do not expect everyone to believe as I do. I also do not exclude ANYONE from anything because of their beliefs religious or not. I think its completely unfair to label anyone with that and Im offended. You are saying that absolute faith in anything is intolerant......... because faith would exclude anything other than whats involved in that said faith. Im just going to assume that you werent lumping me in your post because to do so would show that you dont respect my beliefs... and dont know me or havent read my posts.

I certainly did not intend to even imply you were "lumped in", Faithful.. as you point out in an earlier paragraph, your behavior is to state your belief, and explain it. Since I gave that impression, I most humbly apologize.

The intolerance is not in ones own belief, it is in not permitting others to have theirs - where it's been an issue on this board, it's been folks coming in, saying "this is the only way" and insulting others for differing. When you have someone who comes in and says "this is the only way and this is the only interpretation of scripture" it doesn't help discussion - as you say, forcing stuff down peoples throats.

Again, where this started was your question on why some views on "this is the only way" tend to cause issues here. The views aren't the main problem - it's the behavior stemming from them. You, for example, allow the rest of us to keep our wrong views :) Others, who have departed, do not...
 
There is also a great diversity of views about what it means to be a Christian and the nature of Christianity. For example, I am a Christian but I don't believe in the innerrancy of the Bible. I don't restrict myself to the Biblical Canon. I don't believe in the necessity of believing in doctrines or confessional creeds. And I don't believe that the language of Christianity is the only way to express the Truth of of Christianity, but that people all over the world have discovered the Truth even if they don't agree to literally believe in the symbols and doctrines of Christianity.

I know that there are Christians who disagree with me. I don't expect them to change their mind. However, I do listen to their views, ideas, opinions, beliefs and stories. All I ask is that they listen to me in return.

The problem arises when someone decides they won't listen to the ideas of others. If there is no listening then there is no dialogue. And this is the "Christianity" sub-forum in the "Interfaith Dialogue" area of Comparative-Religion.com. A dialogue requires us to read and consider each other's points of view and respond respectfully - even if we disagree - keeping in mind two things: (1) it's okay for others to hold a different opinion; and, (2) being obstinate, judgmental or accusatory is neither persuasive nor does it play any role in a dialogue.
 
I think lunamoth and AdD made exactly the points I would.

I think it is safe to say all Christians are "Bible-believers." We all read the Bible and hold it to be a sacred text, as I understand it. However, some of us think the scriptures are inspired by God, but still subject to mistranslation, misinterpretation, and the possibility of errancy, both in the writings of the original texts and in the canonizing of some of those texts (or some combo of the above). Others of us think that the scriptures are inspired by God, and that means they are infallible. Some of us think the Bible is to be read like poetry, attending to metaphor and allegory. Others of us think the Bible is to be read like prose, attending to literalism.

But we all hold the Bible sacred.

As for whether Jesus is the ONLY way, or if he is the way for us. As I understand it from my own studies and conversations with Christians across the spectrum of liberal to conservative and more... There are scriptures that will back either case, and everyone seems to be passionate in their viewpoint, and understandably so. We are all trying to evangelize what we feel to be the message and gospel of Christ.

But we all love Jesus.

We all pray to God. We all struggle to put our faith into action.

And that, to me, is the foundation of respectful dialogue in Christianity. It is choosing to embrace one another as brothers and sisters in Christ, despite our disagreements. It is listening to one another, exploring the scriptures and possible interpretations together, and praying that all Christians receive the wisdom and insight of the Holy Spirit, and the love, peace, and goodness of the fruits of the Spirit. I stand by the beliefs I have and I provide the reasons for those beliefs because I think it is important for people to know why I believe the way I do. But I also respect that others feel the same way, though they disagree with me. I find the dialogue useful, and I take others' perspectives to prayer with God, because everyone (I believe) has the capacity to strengthen my faith, either by helping me reinterpret views that turn out to be errant, or by strengthening my views through careful study and prayer.

There is a lot of diversity in Christianity. I guess one can just categorically say, all people who believe differently from me are not Christians, are not saved. But that doesn't seem very helpful in dealing with the internal diversity, nor is it very supportive of one another. I think it's instructive to understand the truly diverse beliefs in Christianity today, and to have a healthy discussion (and even debate) about the bases for these beliefs. I find that it helps me grow spiritually.
 
This is a very important issue of which I have alot of opinions. I'll start by saying that the christians take a lot of flack from others for the reason that they evangelize. I'm not saying anybody is evangelizing here on CR but that in general this is the christian mission. This act and this act alone brings controversy. When somebody has ideas or beliefs forced on them(maybe I should say posed to) their natural reaction is to debate or question. Very few will just outright accept something foreign to them without a struggle. Christians need to understand that many have had bad experiences with christians trying to convert them, including me and have an issue with it. Since Christians will not stop evangelizing others there will be continued resistance. This is just the way it is. Christians need to accept this.

For me I think these debates are essential. Maybe moderators feel they belong somewhere else but I think they belong here. (no offence moderators:cool: ) This is the Christians chance to evangelize. I think it's a little funny sometimes that people cry foul when others put up a fight. If your mission statement is to convert and evangelize and bring everyone to Christ this is what you have to deal with. People have issues to air, questions to ask etc.

Personally I think the issues some have with Christianity goes beyond just accepting Jesus as the only way. There are many others. Another thing, I don't know of another religion believes themselves to be the only way. Not like christianity does. My understanding with Islam and Judaism is that you have to submit yourself to God and God only. Follow the commandments etc. This path is open to anybody, God is the main focus.To me it is a little different than Christianity because they all believe in One God only. Christians believe in One God too but with a little twist to it. You have too accept that God sent his son to die for us or you don't d go to heaven.
 
I'd lke to point something obvious here (and in scripture) that hides in plane sight. For a Christian, Jesus is the way. For non-Christians, their path is a different one, though not neccessarily the wrong one for them.

According to Scripture, those who accept Jesus, are ransomed the instant they do. Jesus didn't force anyone to follow Him, He invited...

To ransom, means to pay for. A faithful Christian believes his/her life is paid for, right now, not at judgement time at the end.

Also according to (Christian) scripture, those who are not Christian will stand in judgement at the end, and the books will be opened to see if their name is in the book of life or not. No where does scripture state that those who do not accept Jesus are damned to hell, just they'll have to go through a process that faithful Christians do not, and they may end up being on the short end of the stick. ;)

The tendency of people to attempt to prove a point or convince others of their errors is not a Christian characteristic...it is a very flawed, Human one.
When people have differing views and state them as their own opinion, most people can accept that. It is when an attempt is made to condemn another because their view does not match one's own, that emotions begin to fester. Emotions (strong primitive ones), can cloud a crystal clear blue sky (but only for the one who is emotional (the term "seeing red" comes to mind). Those observing are usually surprised, or in extreme cases, disgusted and walk away.

I find it very humbling to hear someone considered one of the greater people in modern history stating that he loved the idea of Christianity and would gladly become one...if he only could see a real Christian... (Mahatma Ghandi)

v/r

Q
 
...I feel that CR's "mission" is to let us all ask questions and have different (and, even, sometimes opposing) views...at least, it's what attracted me, as a seeker, to these forums...If I KNEW for sure that I am a Christian, I'd join an all-christian forum...on the other hand, I am really grateful (as a seeker) that there ARE people here that really, truly and honestly believe in their own religions (Christianity included) because that allows me to get a better view on the things that trouble me...
For example: I get a lot of comfort from the Virgin Mary, who is the "Mother" of the Catholic church....to most Christian-evangelical people (at least where I live!) this is idolatry, precisely because it goes against this "only path" thing....Now, I'm not saying I believe you can be saved just by believing in Mary....but, it is one of the greates area of dissent between Catholics and other Christians (to the point where, here, if you say you are Christian and then you say you are Catholic, people think you are crazy!)...
 
miclason said:
...I feel that CR's "mission" is to let us all ask questions and have different (and, even, sometimes opposing) views...at least, it's what attracted me, as a seeker, to these forums...If I KNEW for sure that I am a Christian, I'd join an all-christian forum...on the other hand, I am really grateful (as a seeker) that there ARE people here that really, truly and honestly believe in their own religions (Christianity included) because that allows me to get a better view on the things that trouble me...
For example: I get a lot of comfort from the Virgin Mary, who is the "Mother" of the Catholic church....to most Christian-evangelical people (at least where I live!) this is idolatry, precisely because it goes against this "only path" thing....Now, I'm not saying I believe you can be saved just by believing in Mary....but, it is one of the greates area of dissent between Catholics and other Christians (to the point where, here, if you say you are Christian and then you say you are Catholic, people think you are crazy!)...
Then I guess I'm a flippin' nut case. :D

(this catholic Chritian sends)

v/r

Q
 
I can appreciate the debates sometimes. There is a fine line though. Someone professing faith and showing why they believe as they do is wonderful for those of us who want an inside view. But it is a conversation.

People like Knowledge get on my nerves. The cut and pasting of Mee is beginning to work on me as well. That type of stuff is evangelizing. This is not a bible study or a church session. And if that is so, I can choose my own pastor. I am not interested in having my soul saved at Comparative-Religion.com. But I am interested in understanding the belief of others and why they continue to believe; that gives me inspiration.

People forget that Christianity is a labor of love. Jesus wants us to share the information but some of us need to focus on dieing our daily deaths and obeying the Law before we grab our sword and shields and run off into the sunset to stab horses that are already dead. I like the stuff you say, FaithfulServant. I find your posts to be strong and gentle.
 
Quahom1 said:
I'd lke to point something obvious here (and in scripture) that hides in plane sight. For a Christian, Jesus is the way. For non-Christians, their path is a different one, though not neccessarily the wrong one for them.

According to Scripture, those who accept Jesus, are ransomed the instant they do. Jesus didn't force anyone to follow Him, He invited...

To ransom, means to pay for. A faithful Christian believes his/her life is paid for, right now, not at judgement time at the end.

Also according to (Christian) scripture, those who are not Christian will stand in judgement at the end, and the books will be opened to see if their name is in the book of life or not. No where does scripture state that those who do not accept Jesus are damned to hell, just they'll have to go through a process that faithful Christians do not, and they may end up being on the short end of the stick. ;)
Q
Thank you for that perspective. I'm finding a lot of meaning and truth in what you say. I find it wondrous that Jesus gave us this amazing gift of his love and self-sacrifice, and we can choose to cling to it, which results in a change in us... a desire to follow him and his teachings. Not that eternal life is an exclusive club for Christians, but rather that taking Jesus as our Savior helps us immeasurably in our path toward eternal life.
 
this is not an attack & i dont believe these things but it appears to me to be the main issues here & what some would like to claim.

1. Take out the virgin birth
2. Dethrone Jesus from the throne of God & remove him from the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
3. Take out Jesus is the way, the truth and the life & that we do not have to go via Jesus.
4. Remove Paul & most of his writings from the bible & any parts that some do not like.
5. Remove the blood & name of Jesus & his sacrifice for the remission of sins for mankind.

6. Remove all the commandments except for the first two.
7. Take out death, disobedience, hell, a place called heaven the grave & evil & a literal Satan.
8. Remove Jesus as Messiah & Savior because John asked if Jesus is the one & Jesus did not give a straight answer I am the one.
9. Remove the creation story & the book of Revelations.
10. Replace with the gnostic gospels.

these are some of the main issues that have gone round & round here at CR.

Is there anything else that should be removed in order to make it tolerant & acceptable for other religions & other beliefs.
 
Bandit - the issues here are not tolerance from the "others" towards Christians... it's more the other way around - self-identified "Christians" who demand that the only truth is the version they spout, and abusing others who believe differently. I'm sure if we hang around here long enough we'll get the same from each religious group... we just had a run with two in this class.... I'm sure we'll get a different proseletyzing "my way's the only one" flavor next week... until then, keep your faith, I'll keep mine, and maybe by discussion we can all learn .. both between and across the "big" groupings...
 
Interesting point, which makes me recall the history of Christian missionaries, and the success they have had through out the world.

Had theirs been a "my way or the highway" attitude, there might not be two billion professing Christians in the world today.

hmmm

v/r

Q
 
brucegdc said:
Bandit - the issues here are not tolerance from the "others" towards Christians... it's more the other way around - self-identified "Christians" who demand that the only truth is the version they spout, and abusing others who believe differently. I'm sure if we hang around here long enough we'll get the same from each religious group... we just had a run with two in this class.... I'm sure we'll get a different proseletyzing "my way's the only one" flavor next week... until then, keep your faith, I'll keep mine, and maybe by discussion we can all learn .. both between and across the "big" groupings...
yes Bruce you are correct. Though I see a big difference in tolerance & acceptance, questions & discussion & being 'challenged' to try & prove someone wrong in order to 'remove' beliefs.
i do not challenge or question others repeatedly for there beliefs.
thank you for allowing me to keep my faith & identity in the Lord Jesus.:)
 
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