Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Making our message popular . .

Even if it's at the expense of Scripture, Tradition and reason!

People tell me how such a stance appears to be very much in vogue now and I'd have to answer that it was ever so (for indeed there truly is !nothing new under the sun).

having been listening to some of the popular personalities in the post-evangelical and emerging church world I have to say that as much as I enjoy reading many of them, the message they bring is peddling a brand of universalist faith which doesn't quite match up to, or perhaps even warrant the name of, Christianity!

I have always struggled with the word of Hebrews 9: 27 -28 for many years because it appears that we get one go on the ride that is life and then have to face the judgement, but lets look at what is written (ESV):

'And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgement, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.'

I don't see anything about secondary probation (which  [oversimply] is where you die, get 'woken up' and asked if you'd like to change your mind, and then go back in the freezer until the judgement - a sort of postmortem evangelical opportunity).

I don't see anything that reconstitutes aeons such that the end of the world comes with the fall of the Temple; neither do I see Jesus coming and changing God's mind (for previously being a Jew and circumcised [as a man] was what brought you into some sort of relationship with God but Jesus changes God's mind) so ALL are acceptable!

I don't see credibility in the argument that a twenty-year old who rejects the Gospel and chooses to act contrary to it and dies because of it must be accepted into heaven because this is what a god of love would do! I say this because the God I have come to understand is also a God who keeps the rules; He doesn't bend or corrupt the rules because He likes someone - for He loves us all but  . . .  have a think on this . .  .

If you were driving down a road which had a thirty miles per hour speed limit and were caught by a member of the local constabulary doing sixty, would you expect to be prosecuted?

I would have to suggest that you would.

Now, if the police officer who stopped you was a member of your family, would you expect to be let off even though this would mean that both of you were now breaking the law? Perhaps you'd justify it by saying that no one got hurt?

Take it up a notch: You're speeding and this causes a death, would you still expect to get off because of the family connection?

Now imagine you live down the road where the people are doing the speeding, would your views about being caught and let off be different? You hear of the driver who has killed and vanished - what do you want? I'll warrant that you want them found and dealt with by the law!

Remembering that you don't know that in either of the situations there has been part of a cover up by a family member who is also an officer - But when you find out will you want them both arrested? (silly question - of course you do!!)

This is the dilemma before a loving God, for to not apply the rules would be to make Him act against that which was in place (called 'God's laws) and would render Him and the focus of the act wrong and if this was to be, then God wouldn't be (logically or theologically). To 'let them off' or 'turn a blind eye' is to be as guilty as the person who broke the law and in the latter case would make them an accessory to a murder (or manslaughter at the very least)!

God can do one thing and that is be inside the law (even though you'd think He might be above it being God!).


I am becoming rather tired with those who seek to create a popular faith where what is required is a consistent faith.

I struggle with those who want us to have a faith which congratulates and applauds us for our choices, regardless of whether they are right or wrong (using the 'old Christianity'), ignoring the outcome and attitudes relating to them.

I am afraid that Christianity does ask us to make choices and to act differently from that which our own hearts and desires might lead us towards. It does ask us to make a commitment and to live, think and act differently from the world (which is generally full of nice people who want to do their own stuff and please themselves).

We need to realise that our efforts to create communities which accept anything and everything regardless of whether or not God might consider it to be wrong is to encourage people to act wrongly; to tell them heaven is theirs, regardless of what they think, do or believe is to take people and, like the false prophets of old, make them 'twice as fit for hell as they are themselves!'

Yep - tough words, but without them there are no moral absolutes, not correctives and no rules to live by and that is my idea of hell (on earth and later).



Jane said...

I take what you're saying Vic but surely it's a case of how we behave, not what we believe - none of us are going to have to give an account of which emergent speakers' blogs we subscribed to....and God works with us, in us, through us, for us wherever we are on our journey of faith. And even though we think differently on occasion, I'd ask you to please keep doing what you are doing, it's obviously cutting the mustard...

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

It's always a case of how we behave and the key to this is, as ever, love; but love that permits people to act wrongly (such as the police officer in my hypothetical incident) is at the end of the day something much weaker.

Romans 12 says it for me:
'Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.'

Listening to a radio interview with one of the emerging church leaders made me realise that it is those who are willing to subjugate belief, and the actions that come from it, in favour of feelings and that all too elusive trait, 'happiness' that are taking their converts and making them good for nothing.

I'm sure there are many areas that would coem into this orbit but I was saddened to see how the message was corrupted and corrupting.

Hey Ho - He's risen and that's always worth a hallelujah :-)

DrJ said...

Can there be Justice without Judgement? The media reflects the fact that much of society is very keen on judgement. It wants to portray everyone as pure saint or pure sinner, and once their judgement has been passed, there is no way back allowed.
Of course, this keeness does not apply to ourselves, there is always an excuse for us - whether our terrible childhood on a sink estate, to the idea that MPs are poorly paid and the expenses are understood to be a way of making up for that. We deserve forgiveness, They deserve permanent condemnation (I've just been watching the documentary on the making of Dark Side of the Moon, so I am humming Us and Them to myself.
But a Theology that says that sin doesn't matter is a dubious one. It does matter, it matters so much that the price was Calvary. Surely, Justice demands judgement, with the verdict being, not that sin does not matter, but that price has been paid. So in Romans 6, Paul says: "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning, so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer."

Ultimately, though, I suspect that God's grace and mercy transcends what I can comprehend. Although Jesus is The way, The truth and The life, and no one can come to the Father but by Him, I suspect that my concept of what is meant by "by Him" is too narrow and limited, and that there will be those in heaven who I would be surprised to see there, were that possible, and perhaps those who will be surprised to find themselves there!
I wouldn't want to stake my own salvation on it, though!

Soup D said...

A quote I saw today sums it up for me:

Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone's lifestyle you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense.
You don't have to compromise convictions to be compassionate. - Rick Warren

Steven Carr said...

'If you were driving down a road which had a thirty miles per hour speed limit and were caught by a member of the local constabulary doing sixty, would you expect to be prosecuted?'

I've never broken the law.

Why should your god judge me more harshly than people who know me well and know that I am a good person?

Why should your god condemn me for breaking one of his petty rules, because he can't condemn me for breaking real rules that people live by?

I think Job had something to say about this. People only live once, so they don't need a god punishing them for being human.

Steven Carr said...

'You're speeding and this causes a death, would you still expect to get off because of the family connection?'

I see.

So Christians are going to Hell if they commit sin, even if they tell the judge that they are friends with his son?

Surely that is unfair.

Christians have a 'Get-out-of-jail-free' card.

They will be upset to learn that that is worthless, and they will be judged for what they have done, not who they know.

Steven Carr said...

'We need to realise that our efforts to create communities which accept anything and everything regardless of whether or not God might consider it to be wrong...'

How do you know what your God considers wrong?

Does your god consider contraception to be wrong? divorce? Working on the Sabbath? Eating pork?

Driving over 30 miles an hour in a 30-mile zone? Where does your god condemn speeding?

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Ho Ho, what fun.

Obeying the statutes of man might just cover the speeding!

Unfair? No, actually it's against the laws of man and bearing false witness (which of course they have to do) must fit in somewhere (or do we also bin them?)

What does 'your god' consider to be right (or wrong I wonder) for I know what mine does through direct and being in keeping with Him and his character sort of stuff.

Glad to have rung your bell - it's nice to have some sort of dialogue (even if it's only listening to shouting)>

Happy Easter (almost)

Steven Carr said...

So your god tells you the correct speed limit.

If man says the speed limit is 30, and this is objectively wrong, will your god tell you the objectively correct speed limit?

I don't have a god. I certainly can't lay claim to your god. After all, I was not the one who made him in my image.

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Excellent comment - never thought I'd find someone so taken up with speed - as an arbitrary it appears to work (we can make it 40 if that helps) and I do believe your comment that you can't lay claim to any god except that which you have created - and for He whom I follow I know that somewhere in the mix I am made in His image and will (perhaps with a struggle if the current conversation is anything to go by) also find the image of Him (the invisible God) made visible in you too - for that's what 1 John tells me.

Good isn't it?


Anonymous said...

Why are you bothering with the man for he's obvious a bit of a bloody pedantic *!$!*!?

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

Please stop!

Some of the points he makes do appear indicate a the approach of one who is perhaps a bit of a pedant but dialogue is always good (and the Ro 10 challenge was enjoyable in that it made me think - which is even better!).

Got to go now - please be polite (it costs nothing and speaks volumes).