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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Believers, this one's for you.

OK, just to be clear, pellucid even: this is not a Humor Piece. I checked, and my tongue is nowhere near my cheek. Neither am I lurking at the bottom of this piece waiting to go "Booga-booga: GOTCHA!".

The whole plumb line concept is one of comparing summat to a Standard, God's Word, or in lesser instances, to a Word-influenced view of things, so here is one for you to practice upon: In your koinonia , your fellowship, your church-going, do you find that what you would refer to as your "Christian life" (if such reference should be made at all), would be a Thing To Die For? To be more clear, is what you experience in your worship, and all the other attendant things rolled together as "church" comparable to what the New Testament reveals as what men and women died for gladly?

To be clear: Is what you have worth dying for?

You who believe that the gifts and callings of God are without repentance, and that at this juncture we do not know even as we are known: when was the last healing you have seen? I mean New-Testament-level eyeball where there wasn't one, atrophied limbs made new and functional Before Your Very Eyes, lunatics restored to mental health and functionality. Like that. I'm not talking about leg-lengthening Holy Ghost chiropractic, and "It's gone, it's gone, my Headache's gone!" stuff. (Not to give short shrift to osteo- and cranial health...I'm talking about verifiable, the doctor looks at the case history, and at the current health of the patient, falls on his face and cries "The Lord, He is God!" cases.)

Not to put too fine a point on it, but when was your last dead-raising? The only time I hear about it is when gold-encrusted, Nehru-jacketed hucksters tell us second-hand about some villager in Darkest Africa. No video, no photos, no doctor's affidavits.

At this point I say to my Pentecostally-minded friends that I'm asking what MUST be asked, if one is to be true to the Blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony.

To them wot bristles at the idea that God deigns to poke his Providential Proboscis into our doings, other than answering the occasional plea if it be His Will, and beyond lobbing a Book at us, what precisely in your life measures up to the lives you read of in that Singular Book? Is what you live day-to-day of such a quality that you would gladly bare your neck to the imam demanding your subservience to Allah Or Else? Does the church you worship with resemble the fellowship you read about in Acts, and the epistles, beyond hewing to a list of Acts of Worship which should be accomplished on Sundays?

Please, please, PLEASE, I am being earnest here (to which some attach Importance). I am not merely stirring the pudding in a talk-radio way. In the Church at the Beginning of the 21st Century, is there Life in our life? Are we born again, or just signing up to a list of "I believes". Does the world see our discipleship in the miraculous nature of our love for one another -miraculous in the sense that I seek good for others, without an angle of my own? When we say God is love, do we believe it, that He as a Father seeks the BEST for us, even in His strictures, and that he abounds toward us, always, that we may abound to others? Is there any difference at all in my life, as compared to the world, beyond that I say grace and do not beat my spouse? (Nowadays, perhaps this is difference enough....)

Does anyone else see these questions as important? Honest, this is NOT a judgment piece, either. I am not pointing a Bony Finger, at least not without three others pointing back. I am asking myself as surely as anyone else. I am not asking for confessions or flames. If you have summat to offer, that's great. I love your comments, but I am not attempting to force self-justification. The Gospel works, or it doesn't. The Christian faith is a reflection of Jesus being The Way, the Truth, and the Life, or it is one more sad and impotent religion in a world with too many of those already.

I am almost mumble-one and have issues with depression (gee, ya think?) , but I refuse to think that this is all a function of age and wacky brain chemistry. If our society is "post-Christian" then there must be a reason. Either God is NOT faithful (any hands...anyone? ...Bueller...?) or we have not been.

In this, I can only see an either/or.


Rigel Kent said...

Perhaps I'm the wrong person to comment as I'm not a christian.


As you know I'm agnostic, so I have no faith in any God or anything of that nature, so these are not beliefs, just thoughts I had reading your post. Please feel free to disregard if they're not helpful to you.

On the healing, I can think of two reasons why God might not do that any more. 1, He might not like the idea of being a performing pony. Having people say "Look-it what my God can do. God might think "I made the universe, all the stars in the sky, all the little animals that run in the field, but that's not enough. They want parlor tricks to. Nope."

2. He might think I gave'em brains, it's about time they used the things to solve their own problems. They've had thousands of years of recorded history and past accomplishment to build upon. It's time they figured it out for themselves. They can do it, they're just bein' lazy.

On God or humanity being faithful/unfaithful, hmm. Well if by faithful (humanity's part I'm talking about here) you mean taking Christ as your personal savior (I'm assuming that's what you mean), obviously a large part of humanity is not. I remember hearing about 2 billion people are christian. Now even assuming that all of them are completely faithful, that still leaves more than 4 billion that aren't.

Now if you take it on faith that God made the world (again I'm assuming you do) then He kind of already put quite a bit of his part down. Kind of collateral on his part that he will fulfill his part, if you see what I mean.

Remember, all you can do, is what you can do. You can't make all of humanity faithful. And you certainly can't do anything about God. If you're worried about faithfulness, the best thing you can do is dedicate yourself to being faithful, and hope that will help others to be so.

Faith, Hope, and Love. You know which one's greatest.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else see these questions as important?

Yes, these are important questions. Perhaps also, one could ask - is anyone in your church asking these questions?

Short of the simularities between Israel & modern USA - God was involved in the founding of the nations, but the people have turned their backs on Him. - it is hard to answer your questions.

The Aardvark said...

Hey Rigel, it's fair game!

Briefly, 'cos I need sleep:

I have personally experienced healing of the God variety (admittedly not the "grow a new arm" variety, but important enough to me: Chronic back pain for which I was taking prescription muscle relaxants, pain meds, and chiropractic treatments - not the grab and crack variety). I say that thankfully and with no pride, as I had no power to do such of my own, nor was it a matter of "good enough". Sheer grace. I believe that God is not shy in dispensing grace, that generally the problem lies earthward. The gospel of Mark ends with the narrative : And going out ( the apostles) proclaimed everywhere, the Lord working with and confirming the Word by miraculous signs following. Amen.

My question is whether the "word" being proclaimed today just isn't worth confirming.

As to the brains issue, yes, that too. Paul's co-worker Luke (he of Gospel fame) was in fact a physician, so the Almighty seems to have no problem with medicaments.

Re: humanity "accepting Christ" I shan't worry over that, beyond saying that Jesus' instruction to "make disciples of the nations" is the proper template, meaning taking people who are willing, and teaching them how to live. Jesus set us to a harder task than "get 'em to say a prayer and shove 'em in a pew". Discipling is teaching the skill sets necessary- including spookier aspects like prayer, faith, and suchlike, besides how to get along with people and other practical aspects of living life in the Kingdom of God. And honest-to-goo I am not talking about "organized religion". The model is family of a loving Father, with us as brothers and sisters getting along, squabbling sometimes as family can and will, but ultimately doing what Father wants us to. Relationship first.

As to your ending, well...

I have heard few finer lessons.

Thank you.

The Aardvark said...

Apt question. Yes someone is. I am becoming known as a Character, a winsome combo of Flake and Gadfly.

My query is for The Whole State of Christ's Church. This is trans-national, supra-national, even. Nuttin' to do with the US, Israel or France, except those nationals who bow the knee in Truth to Jesus' Lordship.

I am not a date setter. If, however, Jesus provides a metric, a signal for the Resurrection and Judgment in Revelation:

Rev 19:6-8 And I heard as the sound of a great multitude, and as the sound of many waters, and as the sound of strong thunders, saying, Hallelujah! For the Lord God omnipotent reigns!
Let us be glad and rejoice and we will give glory to Him. For the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has prepared herself.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white. For the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints.

...then I suspect we have awhile to wait.
The church-bride must prepare herself.

Anonymous said...

Good post. Do we approach God's table because of the tasty food, or because we love the Owner thereof?

I grow overwhelmingly weary of the people who use strange sales techniques and then boast about how many people "accepted Christ!" at the party/concert/show. I've known too many people to fall away when the table looked empty.

The Aardvark said...

Even the Godfather (!) of evangelists Billy Graham had the same results. Within weeks of overwhelming Crusade attendance, and multitudes of "decisions for Christ", the converts had vanished into the woodwork, not to be seen again, like ball bearings on the old front porch.