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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Yet more doctrinal stupidity.

Our local talk station (the one that launched the Hannitoad) shall we say changes formats on Sunday mornings. Local churches sponsor half-hour preaching sessions. I know if I was a wastrel coming off of a Saturday-night bender, the first thing I would tune in would be radio preaching.

One thing I appreciate: churches of Christ do not beg money on radio or TV, being convinced that all church funding come from the local congregants' contributions. No bake sales, bazaars, or swap meets. And no begging.

What a victorious message for churches of whatever stripe to go begging to the world for funds!

Radio preaching...a local Primitive Baptist church sponsors recordings from the Cincinnati Primitive Baptist Church, The Baptist Bible Hour, with Elder Lasserre Bradley Jr. Listening to this seasoned pulpiteer is like listening to Pat Buttram, but that is only a stylistic thing. He beats the "sovereign grace" drum loud and long. Today he was talking about a particularly stupid teaching making the rounds nowadays, that of "needing to forgive God". He gave it precisely as much credence as it deserves. The idea that I, the creature, must magnanimously "forgive" the Creator so that I can get past summat is comical, and tragic. Behold My Feelings upon the Throne of the universe. In order to feel better, I may have to forGIVE the Almighty because He didn't keep Fluffy Muffins the kitty from running out into traffic. My Momma died when I was five. I must forGIVE God because "He took my mommy". This whole idea reeks of hubris, showcasing the idea that my feelings are the ne plus ultra of creation (the truth being that even my feelings must bow the knee to the Lordship of Christ. Practical examples of this reside in the Psalms - yes, I know, old covenant, but the mechanism is there). The idea of my forgiving The Sinless is astoundingly, astonishingly foolish, in the Biblical sense.

Now, Bradley was working off of a riff with which I disagree, that one should never be angry at God.
God can take care of Himself. The man after God's own heart, King David, was acquainted with Having a Mad On at God. He could be a sulky-boy. 

1David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. 2He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah  to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name,  the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. 3They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart 4with the ark of God on it,  and Ahio was walking in front of it. 5David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs  and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals.
6When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. 7The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.
8Then David was angry because the Lord’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah, and to this day that place is called Perez Uzzah. 
 I Samuel 6 1-8

David was clearly mad at God, and he was not struck down for it.  Three months later, he was back dancing before the Lord.  This follows a pattern in David's life. Psalm 77 is a perfect example. In verses 1-9, David pours out his complaint to the Lord. Then, verses 10-12 serve as a pivot:

10 Then I thought, "To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High." 11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. 12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.

He moves through the rest of the psalm, putting his focus on God's mighty acts on behalf of Israel, and in that, appropriating them as his own. This is no "name it and claim it" thaumaturgy; David is reprogramming his attitude, and re-establishing his relationship with God.

A quick perusal of the entire collection of psalms will yield a trove of examples like this. If I am grumpy at God, or even mouth-frothingly angry, the issue is most likely with me. If I do as David did, and think of the manifold works of God, through history, in Christ Jesus, and in my life, I will reprogram myself, get myself out of myself, and get my attention and attitude back to where it should be.

Bottom line: there is nothing in the Scripture that states "don't get mad at the Almighty". There is even less instructing us of some need to "forgive God". Such New-Agey feelgoodism is foreign to the Scriptures. And it's foolish and stupid and dumb, oh my.



Ted Amadeus said...

God is not responsible to control our minds and attitudes, WE are! Who came up with this crap idea that, just because you're a Believer, everything's gonna be hunky-dory/a charmed life? I have yet to read anywhere in Scripture where life was a piece of cake for anyone that followed The Way, but plenty where God gave them victory in spite of the circumstances.
Forgive God because "yew powah feewingz got huwt"? How about controlling and renewing your mind, instead!

Michael W said...

It's always been a source of amazement to me that there are people who'll beat the drum about God's power and omnipotence and, at the same time, give God the overall maturity of a pre-schooler.