Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Gospel According To Me

Sovereignty, election, predestination, freedom to choose… Why does it have to be an ‘either-or?’ Maybe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Calvinism vs. Armenism for example: maybe it’s both and then some!
I was discussing this issue today with a friend and brother, musing about the wild and almost unthinkable possibility of coming to see and know the Truth totally apart from either Calvin or Arminius!

For as long as the church has been around, the flesh in believers wants to try to come to the pontificating forefront with its absolute and adamant conclusions regarding the scriptures, much like two doctors congratulating each other on the brave, ground-breaking, never-having-been-done-before open heart surgery they performed.What we don’t see in this picture is that unfortunately the patient died. However, as long as the doctors’ perceptions were right, that’s all that matters, I guess.

Maybe there is so little known about the Truth Himself because of the propensity of us worshiping our erroneous conclusions. Rather than focusing on simply what it might mean ‘to know Christ as our life’ we are too busy making sure no one gets to God apart from our particular brand or version of the truth. For example, maybe “grace” encompasses far more than what we have determined it to be or mean, including things that we are so certain would have nothing to do with Grace.

For example: (2Corinthians12:8-10 1Corinthians 15:10)
These are but two examples of the same thing, His grace.
In the first picture of grace, Paul is empowered to accept the buffeting messenger of Satan (in his flesh) to be God’s will for his life. Actually, Paul was glad to let it happen. In the second picture we see him ‘laboring more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God.’It’s the same grace at work accomplishing two (according the natural way of thinking) diametrically opposed things. One is to accept, the other is to rise up and fight.

To not allow ourselves to think, ponder, and muse over what the Father may in fact be trying to lead us to see, is to set one’s self up as the final authority!

As I have witnessed repeatedly in the institutional church, the moment a child of God (possibly prompted by the Father of their spirit) begins to ask questions of those in leadership, these ‘anointed ones’’, prompted by pride, fear and reputation, seek to put an end to this unholy disruption. The collective working body of knowledge (the truth according to man) will not allow for upstarts to begin thinking for themselves.

It reminds me of the movie, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, when Dorothy’s dog Toto begins to pull back the curtain concealing the machinery orchestrating the wizard’s ‘magic’. Hiding behind this curtain was a mere man, masquerading as the “Great Oz” bellowing out with fire and smoke, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!”

Seems to me, that Pharisaical attitude was most prevalent when Jesus, the Word was made flesh and walked among us. It was hard (understatement of huge proportions) for those professing their certainty that maybe they just might be wrong in their understanding of what they perceived as truth up to that point (John 5:39). Fear-based thinking dictates that everything line up and fit in with the way it is supposed to, and of course that way is ‘our way.’

I remember a brother sharing just such a dilemma. He had been struggling with the whole thing of election vs. free will. While he was sleeping, he said he sensed the Lord boil it all down most simply for him in a dream. In the dream, he was about to enter a tunnel. Above the tunnel a sign read, ‘Predestined from the Foundations of the Earth.’ As he emerged out of the tunnel, he was prompted to look back, and to his chagrin he noticed a new sign above the tunnel that read, ‘Whosoever will!’ Upon awakening, my friend saw it did not have to be either-or, but both were working in harmony creating a perfect balance.

Rather than admitting we just don’t know about a lot of things, (which by the way, would make plenty of room for most of us that are in the same boat to have some very real heart-to-heart fellowship), we instead declare our perceived but adamant gospels of truth which serve to broaden the gap between us. Of course, this gospel of ours makes no bones or room for anyone to think contrary to our collective body of knowledge, which is at best, having a form of godliness, but lacking the power.

I remember hearing that yesterday’s heresy usually becomes today’s dogma.
Funny thing is that there was a time that it was perceived to be a ‘Godly’ thing to burn or drown such heretical thinkers. Is it possible that not too far under the veneer of our religiosity, there still exists this ‘godly desire?’

Instead of seeing all 'truth' summed up in The Truth, our perceived conclusions may amount to nothing more than successfully to alienate us from those with the same Seed, Son, and Spirit within them.The basis of all that we share in this common union (communion) in Christ, is abandoned for a much greater prize, our desire for prominence and recognition.


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