Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Opinion and the Truth

My stated opinion in the last post likely caused discomfort for some readers, as it may have seemed I had taken a tack of attack. I appreciate that and today would like to qualify my position.

First, with a quote from postmodern redneck's comment to the last post:

"Always keep a distinction in your mind between the actual words of Scripture, and the interpretations you and others put on them. Almost all the fighting is over interpretations; and unlike Scripture, interpretations are not divinely inspired and are not guaranteed to be inerrant."

Second, it's a given churches are "divided" groups just from the regional function of meeting with those in some sort of proximity to one another. Is there something wrong with that? Uh, no.

Aside: I was once in a discussion with a pastor who invited me to attend his church. Since the location of that building and hence the meeting to which he invited me was over twenty miles from my house, I declined over the practicality of his suggestion. He countered with one family in his flock drove a hundred miles round-trip to attend and there was a veiled reference to no price is too great for commitment to the Truth. That begs the question of the line between commitment and extremism, but I can't allow myself to become side-tracked!

Which brings up, perhaps, the defining question of why we have denominations (and non-denominational groups who have the flavor of denominations), and what is wrong with people meeting with others of like mind?

Whose truth?

I do not suggest, as a Campbellite of yore might, that I know how to foster the restored church of the New Testament. That is an example of the kind of red herring many of the rationales are which form the basis of particular-group theologies. That is, in attempting to create a pure society of Christians or a sanctified culture which honors the holiness of God, groups of Christians will sometimes put an over emphasis on some interpretation of Scripture and thus fail God's fullest will.

That I even write the words "God's fullest will" is an example of how things might go wrong. Me stating that God's fullest will is anything in particular reduces God to fitting in a box I have created in my rationale intended to qualify meanings I see in the Bible.

There is much tension in attempting to articulate Truth!

Maybe apostasy is the result of shrinking from that tension in denial of what is needed. If that be true, then this discussion is necessary. Ultimately the real problems which are faced by Christian meetings known as church are articulated clearly in the letters to the seven churches of Revelation and other specifics in Scripture. A topic like this serves an evil end if pursued to the point of polarizing brethren around defense and offense of any man-developed truth, the exact emotional dynamic I decry in the last post. Conversely however, is there not a positive outcome in examining what about our groups fosters lukewarmness and other abandonments of our first love, Jesus?

Next up, my take on the solution to the problems of group-think in the church.


Terry said...

Can't wait to hear your thoughts.

careyrowland said...

Re your point that divisions are a "given,"... yes.
Re apostasy, it doesn't pertain to any of this stuff we're talking about. Here's what apostasy is: killing, stealing, fornicating, lying, idolizing, coveting.
When we see clearly the immensity of evil that men inflict on each other in this world, our petty Christian differences become as significant as the selfish skirmishes between toddlers in a church nursery.
They are molehills amidst the mountains of evil in this present arrangement of things.
How's that for manifesting groupthink?
Nevertheless, Happy Thanksgiving yall.

Jimazing said...

I find myself wondering...

Given: We are created in God's image, not "I" but" we". Each of us is very different and we really do need one another for our gifts, our perspectives...

If the Given statement is true, why do we separate ourselves into groups of sameness? What does that say about our motives?

Like Terry, I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

ded said...

Terry, Carey and Jim,
Thanks for taking the tme to read my thoughts, often cumbersome I know, but maybe a little encouraging to you.

Carey, I would humbly counter you are mixing apostasy of those who claim God with the fruit of rebellion of those who have never known God. The two are undoubtedly linked, but are not the same. The ability of Christians to respond effectively in love and witness of the living Lord is tied to a purity of faith in the living God.

I agree with you that the level of evil inflicted by humans against humans is a much greater issue than whether or not someone is an adeherent of Calvinism or Arminianism. However, to allow the simple gospel truth of the in-dwelling Christ to remain hidden behind a gobbledly-gook of high sounding theology dooms many of the captives of evil to the condemned fate God has declared for them.

The undoing of the self-righteousness of religion and replacement thereof with a vibrant life in the Spirit of God is the path to many goals, including answering the horrible suffering which is the fruit of sin in our world. Or at least, this is the path I seek in the Wild Wood.

Hope your Thanksgiving was blessed!!

careyrowland said...

Yes life is full of undoing that we sometimes never get around to doing