For many Christians the quality of life is supposed to revolve around, be rooted in, and reflect the person and mission of Christ. It should come as no surprise that the public face of Christianity is a mishmash of sects, each one pushing some line of unique discovery or unique virtue. The stimulation that creates this chaos comes from pursuing right opinion, and from self-help and self-justifying drives. It is a silo of fear and uncertainty that makes the way to life a terroristic proposition with multiple erroneous opinion.
There is a marketplace behind having the right opinion. There was a time when the word catholic meant “with it” or “according to the whole” or simply “the one”. That was before the Roman Church had a pope and cardinals, before the Churches began having councils to defend the gospel as it appeared in the writings passed down from the early witnesses to be able to coalesce around the right opinion. There is a right opinion. Some of us think that the talking points coming out of the familiar sources – such as a vision, dream, or quasi-commentary – are the final word. Every generation tries to establish its place in God’s house based on the contemporary findings – whatever the leaders say they have found – instead of the original unchangeable Christ Event. Contrary to popular opinion, the theological camps into which believers put themselves are pure fictition and the product of laziness. The Bible does not contain seeds of division. If we find that we are not saying and doing the same things as the apostles and Jesus should that not stimulate us to get back to their examle and work? The Church is one and she has nothing to sell. She is the benefactor and preacher of a divine excellence that exceeds law and prophets.
Miraculous help and self-help
A popular set places primary value on faith defying doctrines. If we believe that a doctrine related to our believing should have a practice or obligation attached what action do we attach to believing in God’s son. But what is one to do and what are the benefits of believing that Christ was born of a virgin? What is the benefit of embracing the Bible’s reliability? It is obvious that no salvation comes from believing either of these. These defy faith because neither is operative in redeeming our lives or making us eligible to receive the Holy Spirit. They certainly align with James’ “faith without works is dead” polemic. Just eat the right food and make sure you know and keep all of God’s commandments, statutes and judgments. Peter’s experience with James and the evident end of the Mosaic order stated clearly in Hebrews and by no less a witness than John the Baptist. You see how dangerous is “faith without works is dead”.
Another source of stimulation is the need to self-justify. We succumb to peer pressure to show that we have the right level of new life, as if everyone who receives the word seed produces at the same rate. If you allow the anxieties and luxuries of this life – food, drink and property for example – to dominate your production mandate you must expect a choking out of maturity. Nothing you do can show Christ’s perfection. We only approach maturity.
If you do not care that we have documents to decide Christian matters you should go home and call on the name of the Lord (for salvation!), and end the terrorising of people to perform Christ’s business without his Spirit and the words he spoke as the foundation of life and security. Seedbed types are only 4: roadside, rocks, thorny patch, good dirt. You cannot pick a doctrine or two and label yourself “good ground”. Anybody can refrain from stealing and lying; one does not need the Spirit to do those things or to pause on Saturday.
I got this, they say
And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.Matt. 7:26
What dope are you pushing?
- Vision defines truth. Right opinion will never be discovered by vision. The truth we need to know is right there in plain sight, in Greek and Hebrew. The vast majority do not care that their pastor is clueless about the meaning of the text. Is your teacher getting his messages from commentaries and the vast resources on the internet, or is there a living connection with the Spirit and the original texts?
- Imitating Israel-Judah. The right relationship will not lead to opinions that openly connect us with the primary interests of Moses and Judaism. It is a most shameful thing to see Christians doing their best to be like ancient Israel.
- Jesus is in partnership with the prophets. The authentic Jesus is a Jew but he is not a follower of Moses. He eclipses Moses and Moses knew it was coming.
If there are any messengers that stand apart from all others in Abraham’s family there would be two that fill the screen: Moses and Elijah. These two appear in a conversation with Jesus with only three witnesses, Peter James and John. The topic of the conversation was Jesus’ imminent decease.
And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah (Luke. 9:30) who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at JerusalemLuke 9:31
Jesus’ departure is the topic of the conversation Why is that important? Two men, known to be dead, talking with Jesus IN GLORY, went right over the disciples’ head. The two men were talking about something they had no previous knowledge of. Neither of them had preached the Christ event with any familiarity. Christ’s decease still baffles people who accept Christ as Saviour but follow him as an inferior to the prophets. Christ’s departure brings the ancient economies – patriarchal, Mosaic, judges, monarchic, and prophetic – to their intended purposes. People should not expect practices from these eras to rise to the top of the Messianic agenda.
The mild mannered ignorant terrorist
There are Christian leaders learning to speak Hebrew, not interpret it. They will say whatever comes to mind and then try to build a defence of it by any means, including God can do the impossible – whatever he wants. These are the people who reject the fact that God does things in accordance with arrangements (covenants) designed for the time and that explains why Christ is Lord of all, becoming the sole shaper of the thoughts we need to harbour. One cannot say “I am saved” and in the next breath “but I need to suck up that thing I just vomited”.
If we are not thoughtful about Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus in glory about Jesus’ death we will deny that Jesus and the two men represent today and yesterday. They represent the disreputable practice of killing people and he the saving of lives? Their messages bow out; his message stands up.
We have been taught to fear God – properly understood as reverence, a deep respect – when the operative element in the kingdom of God is love: love we perceive coming from God, and love we deliver to our fellowman. Fear however was what saturated the giving of the law; fear dominates the outcomes of compliance. If loving God rises to its highest point in keeping the Law then the love without hypocrisy will never be real for us. We can only become islands of self-righteousness like the people of New Testament times. They terrorized both Jew and Gentile with no resolution of the human problem. Let’s face it: gold, silver, animal blood, and other corruptible things are not God’s paths to peace.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.