Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Truly Unifying, or Separation

We Christians separate over truth.

We deny, for instance, Mormons the label "Christian" because we do believe in propositional truths, that terms are defined, that meaning is sure: Thus by "Christ" we mean someone different from who they describe, for instance.

But something else is troubling me. What about defining "soteriology"? Now, I know many may not know that term, so I'll put its definition simply: "about how to be saved", or "about salvation". With such a large landscape of those eager to get the word out about "Jesus" (define it) and so the world may here "how you can be saved" (define salvation), that should be near and dear to the heart.

Obviously this simple essential should be easily defined from Scripture, and held as one truth, one meaning, among all Christians, right? It also involves other components of consideration:
Theology: about God.
Christology: about Christ.
Anthropology: about Man.
And these, in turn, have other components that go by other fancy, but very useful, facilitating terms. Now, however, we turn to the situation: in reality, there's a wide disparity of believe in regards all these areas: even among the group that calls itself "evangelical".

Normally, in the event of diversity of beliefs, we should all be able to approach scripture together, strive after the same mind as commanded, contend for the faith, and conform to God's word in all these matters, so that we may, as Paul commanded, "speak the same thing". Not by just adopting this or that position just because, to present a united front that really isn't there in the soul of those professing it, which would be dishonest, right? After all, Colossians tells us we're to learn and come to a true/right/accurate knowledge of God (see the NASB's marginal notes on "knowledge", and also you might cf. the notes from the commentary of Jamiesson-Fausset-Brown, available online).

Yet, this pretensious political front is exactly what has happened: "Statement of Belief" you will find at Church after Church, repeating practically the same terms, but all vague: leaving the definitions up for grabs to all who adopt them, like diplomatic documents forged not out of unity of the mind, but by avoiding particulars allowing anyone they want to sign it: a political front, but no true, essential, spiritual and doctrinal unity. (Yes, "doctrine" can be applied to the world's affairs: the declarations made by the world are also doctrines, that is, doctrines, dogmas, undergird and are implied by such docs, for example, as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: there are ideas behind, imbued in, represented and expressed by such documents.)

What has become of the highly visible, preaching-itself, "Christianity"? It's motto is "Unity in Diversity": antithetical to biblical teaching; the same is the motto of the Bahai religion, for Indian Society (anything but united with its demeaning and wicked caste system), for practically every major socio-liberal organization on earth today. The old Christian application of that motto?
Unity despite various backgrounds.
A unity of origins, not beliefs, not opinions (the definition of "heresies"). It was once believed that the word dictated Christian belief/doctrine and practice, and was applicable and powerful for every area of life, inward and displayed (outward). Today these are speciously acknowledged, but implicitly and practically denied. It is not convenient: if we exegete Scripture accurately (draw teaching out of it, rather than using it at our own convenience, through sound hermeneutics) it is not so accomodating to modern liberal ideals of social justice and dogma; it is not so sentimental and fluffy: it neither castes humanity in the light of a poor victim of its own sin, nor God as one who is desperately awaiting the permission of those poor murders, adulterers, harlots, coveters, self-lovers, and so on, to come upon them with sweeping gushy love; it does not speak our "heart language"; nor fail to dare confronting almost every modern, well-beloved/dear, notion and pillar of the modern mind.

It does not present itself as to be desired in order to obtain intellectual and emotional fulfillment; a loving and wonderful, stronger, united family (actually Jesus warns He casts division into families); it does not promise anything but hardship, persecution, and suffering for Christ's sake ("tribulations"). It does not downplay any of its truths as non-essentials, as if the love of God which Jesus says is evidenced by obedience, involves only assent to what is deemed by the modern so-called Christian as "essentials" because they are seen as the bare minimums required for genuine salvation, though Scripture would contend the Christian will grow in the knowledge of the Lord and be brought into conformity, rather than stagnating and protesting further teaching when it comes to challenge what they hold dear, require what brings discomfort, ridicule, humiliation, and suffering.

Today wolves teach we must "make Christ attractive", and methods to "show how cool it is to be a Christian". Gone is the humble and unnoticed Christian who by virtue brings hatred upon him or herself despite being upstanding: being the stench of death so that without any prompting, the weight of damp heat the dislike is so intense, that even the unbeliever's smile and manners can't hide their seething dislike. Gone are the days that without trying to provoke anyone, the Christian yet brought upon himself persecution, merely by purity, in action, and profession: these days being provocative is seen as a virtue to "evangelize", while the biblical condemnation of needless offense of anyone is thrown under the bus (with Jesus) for not drawing and keeping large enough crowds. "Take this ordinary life", they sing to God, as if He is to be commanded, as dissatisfied and ungrateful as the world-in-general, evidencing their hatred for Paul's teaching to "remain in your present condition" (that of where one was found and saved), and to pray for the rulers "that we may lead a tranquil (or, peaceable) and quiet life in all godliness (or, piety) and gravity (or, dignity)" (1 Tim 2:2).

Rare is the humble and contrite spirit who serves the Lord with joy even when burdened with suffering, while common nowadays is the unending multitude that has no joy unless through another conference, another "Christian" concert (groups that avoid God's and Christ's name, and "Christianese" do to try to attract unbelieving audience...and evidence their shame, not proclamation, of Christ: often evidenced when they actually start talking about it, and preach other doctrines and gospels foreign to Scripture), or event, another "exciting" undertaking. :(

How awful to have millions upon millions of mouths crying "Jesus", and so few who know the one of which the Bible is talking about, at least, that is, from what we can see by comparing all this to Scripture.

I wish, that rather than trying to correct it all, that truly Christian believers would give-up their greeting of those who hold to other gospels and christs, and do as the word commands: separate, that they be not partakers, nor lend any legitimacy to the false prophets, goats, deceived, and so forth: let them hear our preaching of the truth from without, and if God so wills, be converted, and also therefore urged themselves to come out from among them.

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