If you’ve seen a landscape or felt the soft fur of a kitten or tasted the decadence of chocolate, then you’ve been in the interactive art exhibit and kitchen of God. That’s everday, yes? Apart from the undeniable design of our world (Romans 1:20), Christian, we have His Word through which we are invited to experience God. John 14:15 Jesus says to those who obey Him, He will disclose Himself to them. Have you been obedient to a truth in God’s Word today? Think on a Biblical truth and ask for faith and the ability for obedience and see what happens. He says He will disclose Himself to you. I pray you are blessed with knowing God more through your experience of the world God created and through your obedience to God’s Word today!
I admit, I’m a bit fired up. Mostly because I now have some sources from which I can learn about some grumblings I’ve heard among Christians. Watching our countries culture and government accept and legalize practices that God judged in Sodom and Gomorah is one thing…but seeing professing believers in the church begin to change definitions in the church is entirely another.
In my last post I mentioned that some of these things are new to me. Before I met my husband, I was not privy to much – call it “liberal” teaching – within churches. I was definitely taken aback with the vast differences of thought. My husband said last night…”why use our name “Christian” if you do not accept Jesus’ teachings…create your own name”. I suggest…Almost Christian, or something similar. (okay…I’m still a little emotional about these things, thus the sarcasm that I should probably delete) Once I began hearing whisperings of “enlightened” or “progressive” thinking within the church here and there from friends and to some extent, family, I have taken more notice. I now realize what some people are trying to market as new and progressive views of the Bible and of how the Church should function are acutally nothing new. Looking at mainline denominations, such as the PCUSA and the UCC and the Episcopal church, who have long sinced adopted veiws that younger people consider think themselves making new headway with new progressive understanding, is acutally not. And of course this is nothing new at all…if you look far enough back – you see diversions and branches of interpretation of Jesus’ teaching within the first 100 years of His life.
As I’ve started reading about these things I see a common theme that’s also not new. Questioning some aspect of the faith. Well, many thinking human beings do this throughout their faith, so that’s not so novel as some authors make it out to be whether certain authors were surrounded by others who where doing it in the same manner or not. What is sticking out, or being marketed as progressive, is the willingness of some to change some “traditional” interpretations of scripture in commonly conservative denominations. As I read the questions of some authors I hear the voice of the serpent, “Indeed has God really said?”, as a parallel dialogue. I listened to a progressive Christian mockingly share her determination to obey every command given to women in scripture (but polygamy, she said), proceeding to show a picture of her sitting on the corner of the roof for the testy remarks she gave her husband (think of Proverbs), proving, she thought, that the Bible was not meant to provide bullet points to obey, because that would be absurd. Was she asking the right questions? With my limited theology studies alone…I know better that that is a irresponsible way to make conclusions of scripture. I am shocked how bold young people are (who have less wisdom and experience and study) to change definitions for people in the church. One author said they wrestled with a particlar issue for a year and came to the conclusion they wrote about in their new book. One year she wrestled… I’m shocked some people are so confident in their limited research and time taken to learn from others they are willing to stand before God for their influence, not only for the influence on their generation but for generations who follow.
I’m rambling again…but I want to encourage those who are a bit doumbfounded about a new (or old) generation trying to rewrite tenets of the faith…to take it seriously. I’ve heard stories from my husband of this in the church…the slope is so slippery and it can litteraly destroy a denomination. You may be disenchanted with the church who has many faults (nothing new…have your read the letters to the Corinithians…) but that doesn’t mean you throw the baby out with the bathwater so to speak. The early apostles didn’t, they just kept encouraging sinful church members (all of us) to continue in obedience to God’s word. We are in a time in America the church is not only not growing equl to our population growth, but the church itself is walking away from Christian teaching because many feel is either doesn’t make sense or it’s not working for them. As the church dwindles in America, so God’s light will not be placed on as many hills to shine bright for others to see. The church should be on alert. I pray believers take notice and get ready to stand as so many before us have had to in centuries past. And be willing to speak out. 1 Timothy 3:15 says the church is the pillar and foundation of truth. Christians, let’s protect that in our country.
I don’t have a lot of time to write the following at my best, but I wanted to string together a few thoughts before the day is done.
Anyone who knows me well knows it’s in my DNA to peel the onion…sometimes peeling back layers for a lengthy period of time, and today I’ve been lead to a prominant source from which I’ve started to peel back layers to understand some contemporary Christian teaching many disenchanted Christians are embracing. This is somewhat new to me…not so new to many others.
I am sooo grateful to have married an evangelical pastor with a seminary education, with 20 plus years of theology study, and with church experience in both a liberal denomination and not, to help me understand some ideas disenchanted Christians are embracing. I am grateful for Brett’s wisdom. I’m grateful for pastors who have dedicated their life to the study of the Bible and for helping others understand it.
My personal prayer is that all believers and seekers not only go to the Bible for truth (hiss…some Christians would respond), but obey it. In that obedience you will experience the Lord you seek. (John 14:21, I hope you look up the verse). If you’re disenchanted with anything to do with the church…I pray you focus on your obedience to scripture (using responsible hermenuetics)…do that for a long time…and see what happens. If you do not experience the Lord in a way that brings you life and wholeness, it may be that you do not know Him and have only good intentions. That was me until I was 19 years old. My lack of honest experience with the Lord helped me realize my lack of having met with Him in “person” as we say. An elderly woman shared the same experience with my husband just months before she died. She told him she now went around the church asking people if they really knew Jesus, even if they thought her strange…because she was aware of the difference of knowledge of Jesus and true meeting of the Savior.
This is a bit of rambling, but for whoever may find this interesting, I want to say that while many in the church are attempting to dismiss parts of the Bible to make it more palatable to their understanding, I wanted to share and encourage you towards belief and obedience in the word of truth, God’s word (John 17:17). Man cannot explain all of chemistry, geology, astronomy, biology, and physics…sociology and more…and neither can we understand all of the Bible this side of heaven. That’s a part of accepting that God is bigger than us and that it requires us to have faith in His Word. I pray you read and obey it today.