Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Arguing about stupid stuff...

Read this facebook update this morning from a fifty-something guy... a great blue collar guy who loves Jesus... one grandchild and two on the way... had three of his kids in youth group back in the day... "not news we wanted or expected the tumer in my kidney has grown, the lympnodes in my chest are showing activety. he (doctor) is a little concerned as to how that is affecting the bone cancer. changed my chemo to the one released last monday but did not get it yet from the manufacturer. should be this week. now hoping the va will pay for it cause its so new and cost about 3-4 thousand a month." Brokenness abounds. Yet, brothers and sisters in Christ (myself included) are arguing about stupid stuff that we will never fully understand (i.e. how and why the atonement works). All the while we neglect the ministry of reconciliation. Brokenness abounds, and yet we throw rocks at one another claiming our particular beliefs on salvation are the only correct ones. I John 4:2 reads: "This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God." So, how do we dare add things to that simple list left for us by John, the one Jesus calls 'beloved'? Some argue that we need to hold to the penal substitutionary theory of atonement to be 'Christians.' If this is the case, what are the rest of the faithful called? Frankly, I know this: We are called to the ministry of reconciliation. My friend has cancer and is likely dieing. People are dieing around this world for lack of food and water and health care. Let's get real, and be faithful to the gospel. Perhaps we need to forget about being 'right' and instead be 'righteoues' by wrapping our arms around a world in need of God's goodness, grace, and love. For only these three things remain in the end: Faith, hope, and love.

1 comment:

R.D. Potter said...

Randy,

I'm sorry to hear about your friend's bone cancer, and I am praying for the Spirit to be working in him both for recovery and the faith to trust in Christ through this hard time.

However, I still think there is room for discussion on your point in this post. The main question is this, why can't we do both. Why can't I strive with all my might to know God (as much as he has revealed in scripture), to know his word, and to know his son. Why can't I study great theology that leaves me breathless when I get a glimpse of the immeasurable riches of Christ Jesus. Why can't I do all of these things and still love the poor, and give my time and money away. Why can't I also pray for the sick and weary. Why does intellect inherently hinder me from compassion.

I will agree that there are plenty of people who "love theology" but could care less for social justice. While there are also those who are so focused on feeding the poor that they forgot to make it about Jesus. However, I'm willing to bet there are far more people doing both.

There has been criticism from the Emergent movement that the evangelical, reformed tradition doesn't do enough social ministry. This is probably warranted in some instances; we can always do more to show Christ to those around us. However, emergents should not be so quick to exclude themselves from examination theologically. While faith in Christ is all that someone has to have to be saved, there is still a treasure chest full of truth that we can learn. That's what Ephesians 1 and 2 is all about. The immeasurable riches of God's grace.

Paul then goes on into chapter 4 and talks about how this gospel is to unite us in Christ. But in the midst of this he says how we need to be built up into mature manhood, and not be tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine. And, he ends the section in saying to do all of this in love. Amen to that. We all need to be reminded of the love which Christ had for us in dieing for us, so that we may go and love others. I'll be the first to admit that I can be alot more loving towards alot of other brothers in Christ. But I can also be loving and seek to correct, however gently, those same brothers who are wandering down very dangerous paths.

All of this to say, we must do both. Love God and others, and worship him in spirit and truth. Deep, grounding, and awesome truth.