Saturday, December 03, 2005

For the Record

so much has been on my mind lately. it's been nuts. i could write a book.

on another note, i've been reading lots of stuff about faith lately. trying to piece it all together. despite interpretations and theories. some very convincing theories, at that. but i keep taking scriptural references used to back different arguments, and consistently come back to the same place. somehow, it makes perfect sense, just the way it was originally written. i know this sounds like, "duh!" but you wouldn't believe how many outlandish assumptions are made to derive complex conclusions. we make faith so complicated, don't we. i must say, after forming a reasonably solid grasp of an interpretation of scripture, it is hard to accept evidence of a contradictory concept... and its scriptural backup. is this a contradiction in scripture? well, more like a contradiction of interpretation. in relation to defining faith, we have some very popular opposing views: Calvinism and Armenianism. i must admit, both have their plus's and minus's. both are essentially accurate as well. i can think of a few names of people who would disagree with me. but i will present my views now, and debate later. after all, i'm still testing my theories. but i've run this by a couple people, and they have no qualms with my logic. so here it is:

We Are Human
outside of Christ, we are oblivious to God, as well as incapable of achieving salvation on our own. we are also unable to do good in complete purity, i.e. everything we do is tainted. we cannot seek God on our own. it is up to the Holy Spirit to reveal itself to us. it does not come from tainted understandings of Jesus, or even knowledge of the Bible, or our perception of christianity based on the acts of christians. you will know a christian by their love, but it ends there. you can't get an accurate depiction of Christ based on its followers. Christianity is different than any other religion by this aspect. i won't go into great detail to answer why, but it is quite interesting. Christianity was never a religion. it was never a culture. Jesus did not philosophize, He taught what one must do to enter the kingdom of God.

so how should we 'witness?' well, personally i don't like this term. generally it's used to describe a conversation initiated and carried on with an intention to bring someone to conversion to Christianity. is conversion a bad thing? no. can we convert people? again, no. we can live our christian lives, according to a higher standard, but we can't push this to look desirable or simple to non-believers. firstly, if your christian walk is simple, you're doing something wrong.

accepting Jesus is simple. i.e. saying "Jesus, forgive me for my sins, and be Lord of my life" is a 12-word statement that will change a person's view of life, with no present word containing more than 7 letters. is there any deception in how this verse is presented? in and of itself, no. but we can give a horrifying Hell speech before-hand to seal the deal. funny how we manage to paint a picture of Hell so vividly, while our depiction of Heaven is that it "cannot be put into words." that said, both realms must be beyond our human understanding. Hell could only be worse, and Heaven could only be better, according to the Bible.

so what are we left with? i heard a preacher say the other night that Jesus never promised anything... He prophesied. meaning, He knew what he was talking about. He didn't have to do anything to fulfill a vow. He was, himself, fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. in fact, he advised not to swear by anything. He said, "let your yes mean yes, and your no mean no." so what's our role in the whole salvation thing? i think it's preaching the gospel message. we are given a Bible so that we can read it and tell people what it says. the Holy Spirit does the rest.

Relationship With God

call this "Calviminianism", but a lot of people argue about how this relationship works. and to be honest, i don't see consistency in one christian's experience compared to another. a lot of them wander around looking for, well, God-knows-what (i haven't read that book, btw)... a sign, an open door, a miracle, clear direction, affirmation, whatever. this saddens me. as i am sure it saddens God. Calvinists tell you that God is the initiator. Arminianists tell you to name-it and claim-it.

what's my take on it? well, take what Jesus said, for example: Ask and you shall receive, knock and the door shall be opened to you, seek and you shall find. Those who love Me will obey My commands. Come to Me and I will give you rest. Die to yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Me. Store your treasures up in Heaven. so i think it works both ways. i think all that we do should line up with scripture, meaning our attitudes, tithing, fellowship with other christians, accountability, preaching the Gospel, healing the sick, raising the dead, interceding, spending time with God. hmmm... that's quite a call to action.

how does one go about hearing from God? well, i think Jesus said it all right there. i think it's a give-give relationship we are supposed to have. we can't expect God do to everything, and we can't do things for our own purposes.

so who is the initiator? who commences this process? well, i think God does (John 3:16). the most stagnant christians are (very generally) the ones that have been christian for their whole lives. because they're not taught how to have a successful relationship.

did God see this as an issue worth dealing with? i believe that is one of the reasons He created Eve. to show us how to have an intimate relationship. this was how He initiated a relationship with Adam. similarly, men were made as the initiators (or pursuers) of relationship with women. this is their God-given role to understand our role in the relationship with God. what is Eve's role as a woman? to demonstrate our role within relationship to God. women respond to men, but that response strengthens the relationship. if it is taken out of the relationship, what happens? the relationship crumbles, and the initiator 'ceases to amaze' and loses the fire of intimacy.

similarly, God will not 'strike me with lightning' if i command Him to. because it is not a request that will have a positive outcome in my relationship with Him. non-christians don't have a relationship with Him to begin with, so God will not perform. He's not a "genie in a lamp" subject to slavery of a master. much like if I give a girl a flower and ask her on a date, and she says, "give me a box of chocolates and I'll accept your offer," i am turned off. meanwhile, she is pursuing a relationship with a jerk who spoils her with anything her heart desires, and when she isn't looking, winks at me in malevolence. i am rightfully jealous. because i know he will harm her. he doesn't respect her. he does this to spite me. as a result, nothing good will come to her. she will get all her heart desires, but her end is very dark.

"are you calling me a girl?" some of you (guys) may ask. well, the Bible describes the Church (that is, every christian in unity) as the Bride of Christ. so yes. as a "Church Body" we are female in nature. better said, we were created because God was lonely before He made the earth. this, of course, is introduced in our human understanding of God in relation to time. i have explained this to a few people, how God is outside of time, since He created time. He is, therefore, omnipresent in that time does not effect Him. Jesus backs me up saying "God is the same yesterday, today, and forever." but i said that in my last post. so i can't end this one there.

whew. that's probably the longest post i've ever written, and i hope it stays that way. as i said, there is a lot that's been on my mind lately, and i chose to stew in it and let it fully develop before i distributed it via the WWW. i hope you enjoyed reading it, as i'm sure if you're reading this right now you made it through. congratulations for making it through. i'll also have you know that my research in this has only strengthened my faith, thus making it worthwhile. i hope it does the same for you, if not providing insight, providing questions raised that you will find satisfying answers to.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a conversation I had with you a couple days ago *wink* Yes, it did raise questions, and brough insight! But my opions stand teh same. Weather or not this is disregarding, is up to whomever. Ciao! See you at Christmas!