Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why This Word; Why This Way?

            A series of health problems, some computer glitches, and some mentally stimulating theological discussions have been troubling my spirit. For over a week now I have been struggling with how I can effectively respond to what I see as a growing insidious cancer within the community of faith. There is a movement within the church toward tolerance and inclusion. The attitude that our theology must change to reflect society is directly in opposition to the call of God for His people to “come out from among them and be separate”. Compromise is a deadly business especially in matters of faith. In January of 2007 I was involved in a car accident and as a result of that collision found myself in the unfamiliar arena of legal arbitration to reach a settlement. During that encounter my lawyer asked, “Do you understand what a compromise is?” My response to his question, while it has no particular relationship to faith, may help to explain why compromise is so devastating. I gave him the most concise answer I could think of, “Compromise is an agreement between two parties through which both lose something of value, but the one leaving the meeting the least unhappy is declared the winner.” Compromise weakens both parties.

            I do not consider myself a great apologist, and am not even approaching the parking lot of the stadium filled with linguistic experts and translators who have given us the English versions of the Holy Bible, so I am not attempting to play ball on that field. I am giving voice to my personal expression of faith in God and my relationship with Him through Christ. The sum total of the biblical message as I see it is this: God in His love created a universe and within that universe He created beings in His own image (mankind), with whom, He is seeking relationship. The shape and scope of that relationship is defined in the person and work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We enter that relationship through Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:1-3 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:” (KJV)

            Theology, man’s study of God, is only made possible as we explore God’s revelation of Himself to His creation. We do not define God. We do not explain God, and we cannot empirically prove God through inquiry. We can only accept or reject what God has spoken. Recently my prayer partner expressed his understanding and exploration of the Bible with these words, “God spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament and the message was obey or be punished.  In the New Testament God spoke through Christ and the message is obey because you love Me. They are two sides of the same coin. God is seeking a relationship with us and the relationship is our obedience.”

Romans 1:19-21 “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (KJV)

            Ultimately we will each face God and answer two questions: 1. Do you know My Son, Jesus Christ? 2. Because you know Him, what did you do? Both the Old and New Testaments agree. The message is consistent throughout time and eternity.

Micah 6:8 “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (KJV)

Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (KJV)

            Every house is built upon a foundation. If the foundation crumbles the house cannot stand. The Bible as we have it is our foundation. The introduction of sin into the world came in the form of a simple question: “Did God really say…?” Are we now facing the same question modified through the course of years, “Did God really mean…?”

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