Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why propositional truth is not Biblical Truth

Why propositional truth is not Biblical Truth

(Note: I do think what is written is valid, though I have reconsidered that the title is a bit misleading… or could have been better. In that I would rename this; “Is your faith based on propositional truth or on Christ”. Otherwise I will leave it the same. 6/27/06)

In some recent discussions I found some that do not understand as to why many of us do not think much of propositional truth. First off as I have said before Truth is a Person… Jesus Himself.

The issue then is that some say that we are saying propositional truth is a farce, miss this nuance.

  • Propositional truth is only true “relative” to the situation.

  • Iggy loves cheese cake he often says, “I would never miss out on cheesecake!”

  • Iggy has the flue and feels like he is dying…. He is offered cheese cake and turns it down.

Both situations are “true”, I do love cheese cake and would never turn it down… thus my wonderful once stealthy body is no more!

Yet, in the situation of being sick, I do not care for much except to get better and the last thing I want is to throw up cheese cake!

What I am saying is that we can only say what is true, from our own knowledge perspective… which means that if we do not know everything there is to know we are missing something… which means we can not have true propositional truth as it is perverted by our experience and limitations as human beings…

Now saying that, God is in a very good position for not only having this “knowledge”, for He is That Knowledge itself in the person of Jesus!

To further this point, if someone thinks they have all truth wrapped up and believe they know all things, they are either God Himself, or insane…. Or at least very deceived.

To defend the position that we can come to knowledge of truth out side of Christ is a dangerous thing. If one believes in total depravity, and also claims to believe in propositional truth, they are in trouble as being a corrupt and fallen creature, we would filter that pure truth and pervert it by the fact we are totally depraved! If you are not a Calvinist, being that “all have sinned” there may have been a time that we could receive truth in it’s pure form, and that is called innocence, yet, the scripture says ALL have sinned and fallen short the Glory of God! So even if innocence could be carried to the farthest extreme, we do fall, and in that no longer can see truth in it’s purity as we are now clouded in shame. Bonhoeffer calls this “disunion”. At the fall we became divided, we are between “self concealment, and self revelation” or “Between solitude and fellowship”… which is as he defines… shame.

In the state of shame we can not see things as they really are. That is why I sometime rail against a shame based faith for it clouds us from the Truth (Jesus). Only in Jesus do we have no shame. Only in the state of restored union can we then by our relationship with Christ Jesus, get to know Truth as we get to know Him.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

Do you live by doctrine or the Life of Christ?

Do you live by doctrine or the Life of Christ?

Colossians 2:20. Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules:
21. "Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"?
22. These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. NIV

I have been to so many churches that teach “principles”. They claim them to be godly, yet often I wondered if that was so. Many also push “belief”, which in and of itself has nothing wrong as we are to believe in Christ. Yet, again, so many place such high importance on “believing” as in “Keeping good doctrine.” I wonder if they have come to Christ at all. You see, I know of no doctrine that became a man, lived a perfect life, then died in my place by being nailed to a cross…. Nope I have searched the scripture for years and have not found a doctrine that had done that! LOL!

The Pharisees of Jesus day had perfect doctrine. They kept the rules like you would not have believed. They were as perfect about these doctrines as one could be… and you know what? Jesus was not impressed one bit. In fact He said things like, “Vipers!” “Whitewashed tombs!”, “You teach other’s to be twice a fit for hell as you are yourself!”

I think one might see Jesus was not fond of those who put doctrine before God!

Recently we had a talk to a young person who was excited to “get out of the house in nine months.” She was turning 18 and wanted to get out because her parents were a bit strict on the dress code. Now, I think that the parents have done a great job, with what they know, but she could not show her shoulders and had to wear a skirt well below her knees. Again, nothing wrong, except these rules never entered her heart. They never cleaned the inside of the cup so to say…. It only appeared to be clean on the outside. That is what Paul means here in verse “23. Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” Why? Paul already told us in verse “22: … because they are based on human commands and teachings.”

When I say I do not see being right as that important this is what I am saying… what if my “righteousness” which what being right means, is all about me being self righteous and not about walking in the righteousness of Christ, which is our only True Righteousness. Modernists do not get that because they base their thinking on man’s reasoning and not the bible…. Or worse they have placed their beloved doctrine above God. They then depend on their own reasoning and not as the scripture tells us, “Ephesians 1:16. I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.
17. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
18. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you…” It goes on about “believing in Christ, As He is raised and seated in righteousness…

Yet, did you notice? It is not our mind or reasoning or knowledge that Paul prayed for, but the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation….Why? To know Jesus better…. Not to know doctrine better!

Now, again I am not against doctrine, I am trying to help us get a perspective on “sound doctrine”. As Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim 1: 8. We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10. for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers--and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11. that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

The Law has its use… if used properly, which I will write more on at another time. Yet, the sound doctrine conforms to the Gospel and that Gospel is the Good News of Jesus’ Resurrection! That Jesus was raise from the dead and I will be also! So many stop at forgiveness, which is what the cross was about… yet the Gospel is about the Life of Christ…. Or the Resurrection! If one takes time to read in the Acts what was taught… you would see that it was not the cross that was proclaimed, but the resurrection. That Jesus was raised from the dead…..

Acts 4

1. The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people.
2. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

This is just one of many verses that back this up. The cross was only part of the Good News, but the Resurrection was the Good News!

Christianity is not about doctrines, rules or principles… The Gospel is about New Life and freedom to grow in the knowledge and Grace of Jesus Christ, those that think it is about anything else are as Paul states in “Col 2: 16. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
18. Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.
19. He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

I do not want to lose connection with the Head! I want to walk in relationship with the Person of Christ… not live second hand by doctrines of man that can not save me.


A Google search that caught my eye

A Google search that caught my Eye

I look at my SiteMeter info at times and find some interesting searches that bring people to my blog. I had at one time around Resurrection Day (Easter), had 94 hits in one day! It turned out to be searches that were looking for a certain cartoon of a chicken that shoots out an egg and then says Happy Easter. I had posted it and though the link had broke many came and tried to access it through my blog.

I get many people from many nations. DNA seems very popular as a search. It seems that a post I did on “Whose DNA?” is still connected to a Google search of a picture of DNA I linked to. I get at least 5 a day through that search a day from all over the globe.

As far as readership I receive about 25 – 35 hits in a day…. Not bad for a little blog.

I will say this is the funniest search I have seen as of lately that had caught my eye.

“circumcision discussions in billings, mt”.

Unfortunately I had not written on circumcision… but rather it picked up on my discussion group on associate.com

Yet, there is much to say on the topic in the bible and maybe, soon I will do a post or series on circumcision…. In Billings MT. In that way it will be a Biblical topic that is relevant for today! LOL!


Monday, May 15, 2006

Two Years of my Journey

Two Years of my Journey

This blog is two years old today. It has been a chronicle of my journey into the Postmodern/Emergent/emerging ideals. Though I have been a Child of God for many years, I feel as if I have just begun in many ways.

Sometimes I think I should go back and fix little errors in my blog… spellings, maybe clarify some of the thoughts a bit… Yet, mostly I have thought about some of the deconstruction and reconstruction of my theology and basic understandings of my faith in this postmodern world.

I decided long ago to leave the mistakes and to not go and change things that I may not even agree with today. It is and was and will continue to be my journey… right or wrong (tongue fully in cheek there). In the presence of some errors I have grown.

I thing that has changed was that I used to believe that after someone gave their free will to God, they could not take it up again… a small verse cleared that up… as I thought my understanding was pretty airtight. I still believe that we have a free will as the “righteous will live by faith” it takes an action… or response rather to God’s calling…. Then to lay that will in exchange for His good and perfect will. The verse in 1 Cor 7:37 tells us that we do have our own will. It is pretty clear. We have a will and it needs be set to be in the Righteousness of Christ. When we are in his Righteousness, then we can express in our life the goodness. In that "doing" the right this is based on goodness of God, and not our own understanding. This verse cleared up the thought we no longer have a will when we fully come to Christ as this man has "control over his own will". Though we must still recognize that when we follow our own will and reasoning, are all but carrying a dead corpse around... this being our old self. This will must be subjected to the God's good and perfect will and purpose for us.

1 Cor 7:37. But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin--this man also does the right thing. NIV

Though there will always be a struggle… as the flesh though in itself not evil does lay us low in how we desire and want of fulfilling these desires. The flesh seeks pleasure and resists pain… God desires us to grow and in just experiencing pleasure and never being challenged in our faith by adversity, we tend to perish than grow. Through perseverance we are able to grow. I fully admit it is not fun to grow… just ask a child going through growing pains.

Yet, in these times we are shown the faithfulness and strength and most importantly God’s love as we depend on Him in these times.

Now, if this blog seems to misbehave, remember being two is a bit rough, just ask my son Fischer. In a way it is like a T shirt we bought him… it says, “I am 2 years old and there is nothing you can do about it.” I have much to learn and I am eager to do just that.

In that last month many of you have come to me with support and love. I am a bit overwhelmed… but know that it is the Love of God that has given this desire. In that I thank you for listening to His voice and reaching out to me.

This year has been really rough. I am not talking about those who seem to be coming to my blog and then go misquoting me spreading falsehoods. I really could care less and I see that there is a religious spirit alive today, just as when Jesus was alive. Saul thought himself a servant of righteousness while he persecuted the church. I have met others afflicted with this spirit of religion… for the Bible speaks of them this way.2 Cor 11: 13. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. NIV

People afflicted with this spirit need a ton of prayer. They need to have God break the bonds that blind them to their ways of hate… God needs to show them that hate is not a virtue, or a Christian value.

Now saying all that, the hard part was often also the best part as God called me to minister to others in times of trial and great sadness. To have had the honor of doing Kyler McNulty’s funeral ( He was 7 days short of his first birthday). To be there and experience the pain…. Which I never desire to have to again, yet, in that still seeing God reach through the pain and ministering to those around me through me. There is still much to do. Kyler’s mother opted to have her tubes tied at his birth… and has now decided to have it reversed. The doctors are sure it can be done, yet there will be a great financial cost to them. Then to actually conceive again. Even with that Kyler will not be forgotten. He is in my heart forever.

The other thing of this year was changing jobs. I wont bore you with the details but suffice it to say I am on call 24/7 and often work nights and days. Early on I was doing this 7 days a week for about the first 6 to 8 weeks. It is a good job, yet challenging. It has opened new possibilities for our family financially… yet often I yearn for more time to do ministry. I often fall back on a quote of Bob George, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing a man can do is support his family.” So for now, that is my main ministry.

Failure was another thing that hit me hard. To set aside my vision and dreams and even begin to question if I had heard from God or had been presumptuous. In that I have been opened to another dimension that quite frankly I have never fully explored. In that being the role of servant.

In letting go to my dream I have decided to be a servant to another’s vision to learn. This is most humbling as I am very opinionated and often I admit, judgmental. I am very picky in whom I will follow, let alone mentor me as I have had some experiences that were not the best early in my walk. I am turning over myself to God to serve the new Billings Vineyard Church plant. I pray that I can let go of “my” agenda and serve faithfully as God desires me to. I know that this will give me the experience I need to properly follow God’s vision in my own heart… in time… after God has released me from this job at hand. He is faithful and I know He will grow what He has planted in me, even if I am 88 before it happens.

Mostly in these 2 years I am thankful for the fellowship I have with many of you. To share prayers and hurts and fears with many of you. In this I know that we are all connected and part of the same Body. In that I see a Christ Himself on this earth building His Kingdom… one heart and one person at a time.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Would you Amen this quote?

Would you Amen this quote?

A post by Jim Biblitz:

“Whatever religion or doctrine condones or makes allowances for sin is not of Christ. The Doctrine of Christ everywhere teaches self-denial and mortification of worldliness and sin. The whole stream of the gospel runs against those things. Scripture emphasizes the 'holy' and the 'heavenly' (not the sinful and the worldly). The true gospel has not even the slightest tendency to extol corrupt nature, or feed it's pride by magnifying it's freedom and power. And it rejects everything that undermines or obscures the merit of Christ, or tries to give any credit to man, in any way. And it certainly never makes the death of Christ a cloak to cover sin, but rather it always speaks of it as an instrument that destroys it!"

After this someone said Amen….

And I went, “HUH?” Let’s look at what the Bible says….

On the surface this quote seems ok, as James does say James 1: 19. My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20. for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24.and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

Yet it is how we get rid of all moral filth… if one is saying by our own determination I will not ever agree… we get rid of all moral filth by the applying the Blood of Jesus to our life… by letting Christ Himself live His Life in and through us.

  1. “Whatever religion or doctrine condones or makes allowances for sin is not of Christ. The Doctrine of Christ everywhere teaches self-denial and mortification of worldliness and sin.”

Actually the doctrine of Christ teaches of the Power of the resurrection to overcome (transcend) sin. It never denies one will sin. It does instead give us One who stands before the Father and defends us if we do sin.

1 John 1: 6. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. 7. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

It also says: 1 John 2: 1. My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2. He is the atoning sacrifice (propitiation) for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. 3. We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.

1 John 3: 3. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
4. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. 5. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. 6. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.

Why do we not keep on sinning? Because He took away our sins!!!! We have been placed into His Body… the same Body that was pure and found without sin. To say we have sin while in Christ is to say Christ has sin in Him….. To me, that is blasphemy!
The Life in Christ is not about what we do or don’t do but about what Christ has done!!!!

2, “The whole stream of the gospel runs against those things. Scripture emphasizes the 'holy' and the 'heavenly' (not the sinful and the worldly). The true gospel has not even the slightest tendency to extol corrupt nature, or feed it's pride by magnifying it's freedom and power.”

This cuts across the teaching of scripture and borders on Gnosticism… the flesh being evil and the spirit good. The Flesh is not evil but redeemed. Flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom, but Flesh and bone will. Why? Because at the Resurrection God will be in all and all will be in God… We will be living by the Life of Christ. Peter in the book of Acts 10 separated things as ‘holy’ or ‘heavenly’, yet the message of Christ was as He taught us to pray… “Your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven”. To Peter Jesus said, Acts 10 “9. About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. 13. Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat." 14. "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean." 15. The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."

Paul speaks of the redemption not just of us, but the whole world! He speaks of
Romans 8: 19. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed.
20. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21. that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. 22. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

3. “The true gospel has not even the slightest tendency to extol corrupt nature, or feed it's pride by magnifying it's freedom and power. And it rejects everything that undermines or obscures the merit of Christ, or tries to give any credit to man, in any way. And it certainly never makes the death of Christ a cloak to cover sin, but rather it always speaks of it as an instrument that destroys it!"

The first part of this thought I might agree with… except it still seems steeped in Gnosticism if he is saying flesh as evil. He seems to say we must depend our own righteousness… in fact Paul states quite the opposite as he says that the more sin there is, the more Grace abounds! This does not mean as Paul goes on to say we should keep on sinning….

Rom 5: 19. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20. The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21.so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul continues in Rom 6: Romans 6

1. What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2. By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3. Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4. We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-- 7. because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

Yet, scripture is clear we must trust in Christ Righteousness alone.

All things for Godliness come from Christ that includes
His Righteousness… as we have none but His.
His Justification… or His perfect Nature imputed to us.
His Holiness… He declares us Holy and set apart… we can not add one bit to what Christ has done without nullifying and denying His works are finished.
His Obedience… We know not how to be obedient and as scripture tells us, we must be totally dependant on Christ’s obedience.

Romans 5: 10. For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11. Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. 12. Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- 13. for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
15. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16. Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.
17. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
18. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
19. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous. 20. The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21. so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

To think one can add more righteousness to the Righteousness of Christ that has been given to us by our own obedience… which is outside the obedience of Christ is a grave error. It is negating the finished work of Christ and in many ways saying His death was not enough.

I do not think I would want to be guilty of ever saying that… I would rather be guilty of listening to Paul.

2 Cor 3: 17. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
18. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

1 Cor 8: 8. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.
9. Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak.

Of what the critics who say that Emergent’s say, “we can do as we please and fulfill our own desires.” I have not ever heard taught or have ever read. Yet, we do have freedom to either grow in corruption, which if one is a true believer will not continue as I believe the Holy Spirit will not allow. I see these as not having been truly converted… they have heard, yet have not taken root. The other option of our freedom is to grow in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe if one is allowed to be lead by the Holy Spirit one will grow toward the image of Christ in which we as the redeemed are predestined to do. Freedom is not a license to sin, but rather a pardon from sin where the Judge not only throws the sins out of court… He takes the lashings of the punishment in our stead.

So holding this statement up against scripture it does not stand up as a good quote…Judgmental, yes, yet not Biblically accurate.

And by the way…. The last line is totally off the mark…

“The true Gospel...it certainly never makes the death of Christ a cloak to cover sin, but rather it always speaks of it as an instrument that destroys it!"

If one believes this, he has never really come to Christ Jesus, for our sin is not only covered but taken away… To say this is a slap against the receptive Blood of Jesus and a curse to the cross!!!! This I am against… saying doctrine saves you… Only the Person of Jesus Christ saves us… by our relationship with Him as we grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Who He is. Doctrine does not destroy sin… only the Seed of Christ that is planted in our hearts can destroy the works of the devil. If doctrine could have done as this man states, then we would have been able to be made righteous by following the Law, and been able to be content with the sacrificial system of the shedding of the blood of bulls and goats… Yet, if God was not satisfied with this and willing to send His Son to die for us, I think it a loss to continue in trusting doctrine to save us over Christ Himself. The True Gospel is about being free from sin... and the guilt and shame and living a new life in Christ It is walking in the power of the Resurrection. It is not about "stopping from sining" for sin has been taken away and cast away from the eyes of God. It is now having He Who gave His Life for me, now give His Life to me, so He can Live His Life through me. To focus on sin as th emajor part of ones faith denies the work of Christ and places one under the Law... and theLaw can not save you.

I pray that this quote was way out of context from its original presentation. I pray also that he can come to a fuller understanding of this great salvation… being more than just “not sinning”, but moving onto maturity in the faith…


Sunday, May 07, 2006

In the question of how I view Truth

In the question of how I view Truth… I hold to what many have held to in the past.
The moderns and philosophers have confused the issue by adding different types of truth, including “absolute” truth. They seem to think it is something we can attain outside of God. I contend Jesus is Truth and only in Him may we see Truth… for He is the Absolute.
I find it strange that this is even arguable as scripture is clear on this having Jesus say of Himself, “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life.”
I have been reading The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. It has been a classic and I have found it to be very inspiring. I may not agree with all, yet that may be more of the language in use and its differing usage in the age it was written and how the word is used now. I am not a ‘religious’. Yet, I do accept that this is to me faithful follower of Christ in the usage of the book. I found this passage, rewritten in a more up to date fashion. I did edit the word truth to Truth as it was in the older versions as I see that it is more true to the author’s intent and is of the topic at hand. I have also emphasized the passages that hit me the most.
As I consider the path of education I am desiring to pursue, I think this is advise that is well to be taken.
This version without my additions is available online here.

The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis.
The Third Chapter
HAPPY is he to whom Truth manifests itself, not in signs and words that fade, but as it actually is. Our opinions, our senses often deceive us and we discern very little.
What good is much discussion of involved and obscure matters when our ignorance of them will not be held against us on Judgment Day? Neglect of things which are profitable and necessary and undue concern with those which are irrelevant and harmful, are great folly.
We have eyes and do not see.
What, therefore, have we to do with questions of philosophy? He to whom the Eternal Word speaks is free from theorizing. For from this Word are all things and of Him all things speak -- the Beginning Who also speaks to us. Without this Word no man understands or judges aright. He to whom it becomes everything, who traces all things to it and who sees all things in it, may ease his heart and remain at peace with God.
O God, You Who are the Truth, make me one with You in love everlasting. I am often wearied by the many things I hear and read, but in You is all that I long for. Let the learned be still, let all creatures be silent before You; You alone speak to me.
The more recollected a man is, and the more simple of heart he becomes, the easier he understands sublime things, for he receives the light of knowledge from above. The pure, simple, and steadfast spirit is not distracted by many labors, for he does them all for the honor of God. And since he enjoys interior peace he seeks no selfish end in anything. What, indeed, gives more trouble and affliction than uncontrolled desires of the heart?
A good and devout man arranges in his mind the things he has to do, not according to the whims of evil inclination but according to the dictates of right reason. Who is forced to struggle more than he who tries to master himself? This ought to be our purpose, then: to conquer self, to become stronger each day, to advance in virtue.
Every perfection in this life has some imperfection mixed with it and no learning of ours is without some darkness. Humble knowledge of self is a surer path to God than the ardent pursuit of learning. Not that learning is to be considered evil, or knowledge, which is good in itself and so ordained by God; but a clean conscience and virtuous life ought always to be preferred. Many often err and accomplish little or nothing because they try to become learned rather than to live well.
If men used as much care in uprooting vices and implanting virtues as they do in discussing problems, there would not be so much evil and scandal in the world, or such laxity in religious organizations. On the day of judgment, surely, we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done; not how well we have spoken but how well we have lived.
Tell me, where now are all the masters and teachers whom you knew so well in life and who were famous for their learning? Others have already taken their places and I know not whether they ever think of their predecessors. During life they seemed to be something; now they are seldom remembered. How quickly the glory of the world passes away! If only their lives had kept pace with their learning, then their study and reading would have been worth while.
How many there are who perish because of vain worldly knowledge and too little care for serving God. They became vain in their own conceits because they chose to be great rather than humble.
He is truly great who has great charity. He is truly great who is little in his own eyes and makes nothing of the highest honor. He is truly wise who looks upon all earthly things as folly that he may gain Christ. He who does God's will and renounces his own is truly very learned.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Great thoughts on the Da Vinci Code and the Gospel of Judas

Great thoughts on the Da Vinci Code and the Gospel of Judas

I was checking out Jason Clark’s new blog, and his latest post pointed out a great blog which touches on two of the hot topics of today, The Da Vinci Code, and the Gospel of Judas. I agree with Jason that this has to be one of the best and most succinct writings on these two topics. Be sure to read both part one and part two.


Thursday, May 04, 2006

I love Major Ian Thomas

I love Major Ian Thomas
At times I like to read or listen to his sermons to reflect on the exchanged life. Many do not even know what the exchanged life is… and this is often reflected in the walk and in their teachings.
Be Blessed!

By: Major W. Ian Thomas
Christian living is not a method or technique; it is an entirely different, revolutionary principle of life. It is the principle of an exchanged life" not I, but Christ liveth in me" (Galatians 2:20).
This is all part of our Gospel - it is not the Gospel plus! We must not get our terminology wrong. To divorce the behavior of the Christian from the Gospel is entirely false and is not true to the Word of God, yet all too often such is the characteristic of gospel preaching.
I would like to explore with you what is the true spiritual content of our Gospel ­ not just heaven one day, but Christ right now! Christ in you, on the grounds of redemption ­ this is the Gospel! To preach anything less than this must inevitably produce "Evan-jellyfish" ­ folk with no spiritual vertebrae, whose faith docs not "behave!"
Do you remember what James says in his epistle? "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead" (chapter 2:26). The "spirit" there means breath, and a body without breath is dead. Stop breathing ­ and folk will bury you! In other words, a living body breathes, and a living faith breathes, and a living faith breaths with divine action. A living faith breathes with the activity of Jesus Christ. That is why the Lord Jesus, in John 6:29, said, "This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent."
That is the work of God. It is your living faith in the adequacy of the One who is in you, which releases His divine action through you. It is the kind of activity that the Bible calls "good works," as opposed to "dead works."
"Good works" are those works that have their origin in Jesus Christ - - whose activity is released through your body, presented to Him as a living sacrifice by a faith that expresses total dependence, as opposed to the Adamic independence (Romans 12: 1,2).
It is only the life of the Lord Jesus -- His activity, clothed with you and displayed through you, that ultimately will find the approval of God.
From: The Saving Life of Christ. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House. ©1961.

The Jesus Creed

The Jesus Creed
I wanted to share this as some seem to think that Brian is just a heretic.

I find very little if nothing heretical in this written profession of his faith. I would contend if one disagreed with this statement of faith, they may be in dangerous water!


The Jesus Creed
This creed was originally shared at the Emergent Convention, Nashville, May 2004.
By Brian McLaren

We have confidence in Jesus
Who healed the sick, the blind, and the paralyzed.
And even raised the dead.

He cast out evil powers and
Confronted corrupt leaders.
He cleansed the temple.
He favored the poor.
He turned water into wine,
Walked on water, calmed storms.
He died for the sins of the world,
Rose from the dead, and ascended to the Father,
Sent the Holy Spirit.

We have confidence in Jesus
Who taught in word and example,
Sign and wonder.He preached parables of the kingdom of God
On hillsides, from boats, in the temple, in homes,
At banquets and parties, along the road, on beaches, in towns,
By day and by night.
He taught the way of love for God and neighbor,
For stranger and enemy, for outcast and alien.

We have confidence in Jesus,
Who called disciples, led them,
Gave them new names and new purpose
And sent them out to preach good news.
He washed their feet as a servant.
He walked with them, ate with them,
Called them friends,
Rebuked them, encouraged them,
Promised to leave and then return,
And promised to be with them always.
He taught them to pray.
He rose early to pray, stole away to desolate places,
Fasted and faced agonizing temptations,
Wept in a garden,
And prayed, "Not my will but your will be done."
He rejoiced, he sang, he feasted, he wept.

We have confidence in Jesus,
So we follow him, learn his ways,
Seek to obey his teaching and live by his example.
We walk with him, walk in him, abide in him,
As a branch in a vine.
We have not seen him, but we love him.
His words are to us words of life eternal,
And to know him is to know the true and living God.
We do not see him now, but we have confidence in Jesus.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Galatians 5 and some thoughts...

Galatians 5

1.  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2.  Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.

Freedom! God is so good. I was once a slave to sin, now because Christ has taken away the sins of the world I am set free. I can now enter into His great Salvation.

3.  Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.
4.  You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

Many try to get people to be under the Law, They think that to “be obedient to the Law” will justify themselves more… How sad, for the Law can not cleanse us. It can only point to how sinful we are! If one believes they can add to the finished work of Christ, then they are not trusting His works and are still not at rest, but still are depending on their own works for salvation… Salvation can not come with the temporal sacrificial system. In fact, forgiveness was dealt with before the cross. But it was only a temporal covering. Christ’s work was finished and eternal.

5.  But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.
6.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7.  You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8.  That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.
9.  "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."

Fleshly works have no value… to be circumcised or not has not value in Christ… “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” It is Christ love in us that drives us to do His good works. That is the good race. To allow even a little bit of self righteousness in your works, nullifies it and pollutes the purity of the good work.

10.  I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.
11.  Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.
12.  As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Paul is not trusting the people to take no other view, but rather that “in the Lord” they will not take on any other view. The difference is that again, works of the flesh versus dependency on the works of Christ! For Paul to say I trust you that you will take no other view, would not be trusting Jesus, but the flesh and it’s corrupted works.

13.  You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.

Freedom! So many fear freedom and think that those who teach it are only saying that it is good to follow fleshly things. In that there is that option, but as one grows (which is what God does, only He “make things grow”.)
One can grow in perversion, yet I believe if one is truly a follower of Christ, one would not be satisfied and begin to desire that which is good. I once was under very legalistic teaching and found my faith twisting in condemnation for my sin. Then God revealed I was not a sinner but a saint! I am a new creation! In that I have the desires of the flesh, but I am no longer under the Law and its legalities.
On the contrary, John teaches in 1 john 3: 23.  And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24.  Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

Obedience is not what we do, but what Jesus did. And as we believe in Jesus and love one another as He commands, He lives in us. Which leads us to the next verse;

14.  The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15.  If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16.  So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Again, if we live by the Spirit, we will not gratify the flesh… does not mean we wont fall? No. We will as long as we have this body of flesh. But the fact one has guilt of his actions, which leads us to confession to God and to one another, we will find more freedom and strength in our weakness. Guilt is good if it leads us to Christ, yet it is not good is one sits in its death grip. Be thankful for the firgivness that was given at the cross. In that also walk in that forgiveness and it’s freedom from condemnation.

18.  But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19.  The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20.  idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21.  and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22.  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23.  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24.  Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25.  Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
26.  Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Here is the crossroads. In my journey I have found many who think that by attacking someone, they are serving the Kingdom. Be careful in that as to the motive one may have. Is it out of envy? Hatred? Jealousy? Selfish ambition? Does it cause discord? Are you doing it to get “fits of rage”? This is not a Spirit filled motive.
I pray that my readers may find that the fruit of the Spirit is flowing in their lives. That you know and give love. That your faith is filled with joy! That Peace centers and grounds you in life’s situations. That kindness is in your words and in your deeds. That you seek goodness in all you do. I also pray for faithfulness to allow us to grow more in the Grace and Knowledge of Christ. That gentleness is given to others, as it was given to us on the cross… instead of wrath and vengeance. I pray the Spirit gives self control in times of temptation and time we feel the need to seek revenge. I pray that humbleness keeps us from conceit and that we find no joy and peace in provoking and envying one another.

Jesus tells us the standard is to love our enemies.
Romans 5: 8-10 is one of my favorite versus…
  1. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9.  Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10.  For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

So we must imitate Christ in His standard which is to love our enemies, even while they still hate us. For if we do not, we do not have the Life of Christ in us. For it was his very Life he gave to reconcile us. That was His ministry and now ours. To not try is to slap Jesus’ face and pluck His beard… and condemn Him once again to the Cross.


Some Advise for Handling Critics and False Accusers

Some Advise for Handling Critics.

  1. Rejoice! Mat 5: 11. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 13. "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.

  2. Give no answer (I am working on this one) Mark 14: 56. Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree. 57. Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58. "We heard him say, `I will destroy this man-made temple and in three days will build another, not made by man.'" 59. Yet even then their testimony did not agree. 60. Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" 61. But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" 13.

  3. Let Christ’s light shine through. Acts 6:13 They produced false witnesses, who testified, "This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law. 14. For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs Moses handed down to us." 15. All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

  4. Keep Serving the Lord and let the false accusers come to their own end. For God is faithful. 2 Cor 11: 12. And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. 13. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

  5. Live in the freedom of Christ and do not give in to the false accuser. Gal 2: 4. [This matter arose] because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you. 6. As for those who seemed to be important--whatever they were makes no difference to me; God does not judge by external appearance--those men added nothing to my message.

  6. Do not give into the meaningless chatter of your accusers. Leave them in their falsehood.1 Tim 6:20. Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, 21.which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.

  7. My final advice is this Forgive and pray for your enemies… and love them. Matt 5: 43. "You have heard that it was said, `Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' 44. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45. that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.


I have decided to renew my ordination!

I have decided to renew my ordination!

I have renewed, which was free…. I should get me new card that says “Rev Carlos Shelton” in the mail in the next few weeks.
Funny, I was thinking of dropping the iggy and going with The Rev, but that is so overused... LOL!

I am dropping the Title Pastor, though God has gifted me for that purpose. I will still use the gift, but because so many are confused as to the Biblical teaching of “pastor” I will not use it until I am officially given it through the Vineyard.

I have found the ordination helpful in doing ministry. I hope to be able to do more hospital visitations and other ministries that require me to be ordained.  Also I will be taking some correspondence courses to further my education. Though I have done some free online courses like from the Blue Letter Institute which I have gotten some pretty good grades. I have felt for some time that I need to further my education in many areas. I am not against education, just the importance some place on it over the Biblical teaching that Jesus has already gifted us with all we need for godliness. By the Power of Christ we have gained all we need for eternity.

2 Peter 1:  1.  Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ,   To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2.  Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3.  His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.  5.  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6.  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7.  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Pastor is really a “gift” not a position of power. Just take a look at Ephesians 4: 11.  It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12.  to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up NIV

Notice that God “gave”. It is not a title of power, but a title of purpose… notice “He gave… to prepare”. The purpose is to prepare God’s people for works of service, which is for the grander purpose of building up the body of Christ. Any power that comes from the title must come out of respect and not out of just claiming authority and power because of position. Remember the admonition of Jesus in Matt 23: Matthew 23

1.  Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:
2.  "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.
3.  So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.
4.  They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
5.  "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries  wide and the tassels on their garments long;
6.  they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues;
7.  they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them `Rabbi.'
8.  "But you are not to be called `Rabbi,' for you have only one Master and you are all brothers.
9.  And do not call anyone on earth `father,' for you have one Father, and he is in heaven.
10.  Nor are you to be called `teacher,' for you have one Teacher, the Christ.
11.  The greatest among you will be your servant.
12.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13.  "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
15.  "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

We are not to think highly of ourselves because of our position… instead be humble. I think that would apply to those who are highly educated. If that was in Matt 23, it would be said like, “If you think your self high because of your education, remember there is One who knows more, your Creator in Heaven.
This passage is used often to accuse Catholics of being un Biblical in using the term Father for their priests… the context is far from that. It is about being humble and knowing no matter how big you think you are, God is bigger.

If on takes the passage in the manner some do as to accuse Catholics of this “father” usage, then my son and daughter would be guilty also for calling me Father. Also anyone who called a teacher a teacher would be guilty of the same sin… In fact that causes more issues as the Bible teaches that God gives “teachers” to the church.
1 Cor 12:28  28.  And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues.

So suffice it to say, not because of the “accusations” against me, but rather because I have not been invited to be “pastor” in the Vineyard community which I have decided to serve.

Again, this is hard for some to understand. I will use my gift as a “pastor” in purpose, but not expect anything of position or authority until I have gained the respect and love and proven myself to that community.

So for now, just call me Rev iggy…. LOL! Not!

Still and will always be,

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Prayer of Blessing of Blessings of Enemies

Prayer of Blessing of Enemies

I think that this is beautiful.

Prayer of Blessing of Enemies
By St. Nicolai Velimirovich of South Canaan, PA.

"Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.
Enemies have driven me into Your embrace more than friends have. Friends have bound me to earth, enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world. Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world. Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath Your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world. They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself. They have tormented me, whenever I have tried to flee torments. They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself. They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish. Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a dwarf. Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background. Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, they have prevented me with an iron hand. Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep. Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out. Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of Your garment.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me: so that my fleeing to You may have no return; so that all hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs; so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul; so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins: arrogance and anger; so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven; ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself. One hates his enemies only when he fails to realize that they are not enemies, but cruel friends. It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies.

Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and my enemies.

A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands. For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life. Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them."

I am a Failed Church Planter

I am a Failed Church Planter

Some of you may have noticed that I have that in my profile. I am not down on myself about it, more I am proud that I tried, even if I failed. I believe God has given me a vision for a fellowship in Billings so to me though it may not be now, it could be in the future.

In past posts I wrote about finding other fishermen to fish with. I have been praying for that for over two years. God is good and in a strange way I believe He has equipped me in these last two years and taught me much.

I use the word failure…

Years ago I heard a sermon on How Jesus failed. The speaker preached that by the world’s standard, Jesus failed. He did not gather an army and overthrow Rome. He did not set up David’s Throne again… and sit on it forever. He was right! Jesus failed! Yet, it is the fact of His failure that brings us Salvation! (From the worldy perspective and definition Jesus has failed when nailed to the cross, yet we know now that that was the plan and in the eternal theater, this was a very successful plan.*)

I speak of “Theaters”, such as in Job, you have the theater of God and Satan, and then you have the theater of Job on earth, Job’s family, his friends and so on. With that I often look at life in that way. By faith I decide that if something is not what I had hoped or that I have failed, even at times I have succumb to weakness of the flesh, I try not to look at it in just the theater I am in. I try to think that outside of the reality I can see that God is in the works of something greater.

I know that the recent tragedy of Kyler McNulty’s death has really hit me. It is beyond heart break to see a family lose a young infant. I am shattered to the core in many ways. In that, I do believe God has a grand plan in motion. I am not so vain as to say I know what it is, but I do know the character of God through the kindness of Jesus.

To me failure in a Christian’s life is not about success as the world says and defines it. It is about learning and growing. It is about persevering and rising above circumstances to believe in faith that God is in control. To me it is failing forward. We may fall down, but we are not out. One of my favorite scriptures is Ephesians 6: 12. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
13. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. NIV

“after you have done everything, stand.” And that is what I am doing. Another verse is Romans 14. The context is about meat sacrificed to idols… yet it is about faith. Some have weaker faith and others can trust in God knowing in their hearts all things are made new and as God told Peter, all things are made clean

Romans 14

1. Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.
2. One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
3. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.
4. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

It is the last phrase that catches me. “And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” In that I see God will lift up the weaker brother and we can depend on His faithfulness to keep us standing.

I am not ashamed of my failure, I am embracing it. It has been a really tough couple of years, and I hope to be able soon to share what I have learned. In the end it has made me only stronger.

Is this the ending or the beginning?

I have great hope for Billings Vineyard church. The Pastor, Allen Hodges is a great guy and it does not hurt to have another friend who is proficient in Hebrew and Greek and is a M div. It seems he and I have hit it off. Which is more to the point of what I was praying for… a friend to fish with.


(* this was added at a later date 5/04/06 for clearity)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Thoughts on Postmodern/Emergent/emerging

Postmodern and Truth
This is a feeble attempt to explain what it means to me to be emerging.

To me postmodernism is the age we live in. It follows like this in a timeline,

{ Premodern, modern, existentialism, postmodern, and post postmodern}

We were once in the premodern age… as the modern age approached many found that the ideals did not fit with their Christian view. So, in that we have many who in a very basic say may be called the fundamentalist of today. They rejected the modern view and tried to stay in the premodern age. The extreme example would be the Amish.

The modern age brought with it many good things, yet it also brought with it things like Darwinism and the view Science versus Religion. In all the modern glory we find that technology was embraced by many. Mostly the Charismatic’s who used the radio and later Television to communicate the gospel. You guessed it. The premiers saw these people as heretics.

That brings us to now, the postmodern age. Many miss a very basic understanding that they are in affect “postmodern” by default as they live in this time and age. That does not mean all think as the postmodern writers and thinkers. On the contrary, many of us do not think that way; yet see value in some aspects of the view that can free us from the modern thinking that has attached itself to our Faith as Christians. In a way what has happened is we have let science become the rule to decipher the Bible and have lost sight that it is by revelation we can understand.

So, with that many of us who once referred to ourselves and postmodern Christians, then found that as not fully accurate, so changed to emerging Christians, and now even becoming organized as a “movement” called Emergent.

First off I am not a postmodern; I am a child of the Living God, bought and paid for by Jesus who is the Messiah. I cannot hold to all the values of a true postmodern and I believe that most who still cling to that term as a way of identifying themselves, if they actually read the writings of many of the postmodern authors would find they do not agree. I am only a man of faith living in an age where the Judeo/Christian world view has slowly become more and more obsolete. This is very much more apparent in Europe and is also becoming more apparent in our Universities here in the States.

I claim only to be a Man of Faith who is living out my Salvation in this postmodern world.

In that, though many are going to hell as they do follow the postmodern mindset, just as those who where of the modern mindset. Lacking the Mind of Christ these go out blindly seeking something real… that something to me is a Person…Who I refer to as THE REAL. For as Hebrews teaches,
Hebrews 10: 1. The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming--not the realities themselves.

Also in Col 2: 16. Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.

When I began my journey I knew many would not understand… as I had a similar experience when I found Grace. I lost friends and my position at the Church I served. Yet, one thing I decided was that there was something missing in my faith as I seemed to know all the answers, I could quote scripture and dispense it like a pill, yet found two things.

  1. I had stopped growing

  2. I was not reaching those I knew around me with the Gospel

One of the critisisms of the emerging church is that is has no regard for truth. On the contrary I have found that it has a higher standard. I too have found a higher appreciation of Truth. In fact I have found a higher appreciation of the Bible... and realized that I even seem to take things more literal than I used to...

I point out that those who claim I do not by simply stating "Is it wrong for Catholics to call their priests, father?" it is most always answered with a yes... I then point out that they call themselves teacher, and to interpret scripture the way they did with that passage makes them as "guilty" as their claim of Catholics. The point is instead of filtering through all the “absolute, relative, relational" verbiage I have found Truth is a person. I have found that it is better to not know "absolute" but know Who is the Absolute!

I have found this all out in my walk as I have found the freedom to deconstruct my faith I have taken apart the ideas and values of Modernism to reveal that much of my thinking was tainted by the modern view.

A good friend of mine said once that, “It is funny that so many are now defending modernism and are so against postmodern/emergent/emerging as back in the day, modernism was the enemy." I have to agree. I see so many fighting against what they mostly do not understand, and defending what was once thought of as evil.

I seek purity, simplicity and Truth.

Truth is a hot topic, and so many are missing the main point. In the emergent/emerging Truth is a person. It is not an abstract, absolute, of relative.
In a sense from a worldly view it is all of these, yet in the Christian view there is only One Truth and He is Christ. When we are outside of Christ or “in the flesh” as some say we are depending on our own interpretation of truth and being self centered creatures will make things “absolute”. The issue though is if we are fallen and have corrupted minds and hearts, pure truth now filtered through our minds is no longer pure, but as corrupt as our hearts and minds. So, from the perspective of human reaching to God, there is no absolute truth… From the eternal perspective of God, Who is Truth Absolute, were can through revelation receive truth and in that we have the mind of Christ. This is a little tricky to understand, yet if one can understand the Biblical teachings of how we are truly fallen, then one can get a better understanding of how high we do hold Truth.

Another thing that is often misunderstood is the thought that ALL emergents do not believe in Sola Scriptura.

Now, in the strict definition many do. Many of course do not… yet that is found in most modern churches so is a bit unfair to hold over just emerging ones. Personally I have yet to find any of the emerging leaders that do not hold the Bible in high regard.

Denominations outside of the emerging church differ as much as many hold KJV only as the only anointed Bible, which to me is intellectual suicide. Many hold it as inerrant as it is in English, some hold it as inerrant as far as the truth contained. Some as I do hold it as inerrant in the original written texts… yet the problem is we do not have those… or if we do God has not shone down some special light to say, “Hey, this one is an original Pauline signature parchment!” In that I have to go on faith that the originals were without error. I do see that any error, which is usually in translation is often not having any affect on the over all teaching of salvation and the Kingdom as is taught.

So to say, “I am sola scriptura.” Really does not say anything… in a sense as this is often lost in the definition of whatever denomination one is part of. In a way it is a bit archaic, and if you asked most Christians about it you would get a very blank stare as they would have no idea what you are asking. Again, I am talking about modern churches. So to me, to criticize the emerging church about not being sola scriptura, I would say, look at your own denomination and pull the log out of your own eye before looking for the splinter in ours.

I will say this, I do not argue over whether Jonah was literally swallowed by a literal fish when I am talking to someone. I do not debate that as I see the story is more important to teach from to help someone understand and grow in or come to Christ. I trust that the Holy Spirit will reveal many of these sorts of things. To me equipping someone with what they need to grow in Christ is more important than if I can get them to believe in a big fish. BTW, I do take it as a literal story.

What I have found.

I have found a people who genuinely love Jesus. They seek to do good in their community. They seek to live their lives in submission to the Life of Christ. We are able to have discussions and friendly debates that allow us to explore openly our views, and test them. I think this is healthy and Biblical. They handle themselves with Grace and others with kindness.

I have found on the other side, that those who attack often lack very basic understanding. They take everything personally. They desire not to communicate but to argue. The Bible speaks of these men;
2 Tim 2: 23. Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26. and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. NIV

These very people are the ones I speak out against. The ones I find unloving in the Kingdom, for they seek to only promote their own kingdom, often without realizing it. I see these as the Pharisees of today. Though they themselves do not keep the very standard they profess, they hold others to it as if holding their feet to fire. Jesus summed it up by saying, “Mat 23: 11. The greatest among you will be your servant.
12. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
13. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
15. "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are."

How do I respond to my critic? I will say I have much to learn. In that as I have said before, I see Brian McLaren as a great role model in how to handle critics.

Now, about Brian McLaren. I see him as one who has opened my eyes to see outside the box. In many ways while doing that, I only confirmed what I believed more. I am not Brian, so I do not and will not speak for him. What I have read, which may surprise many not much, I found to be not much different from many modern books. A New Kind of Christian, to me was challenging, and really a break through as a genre… fact/fiction. Really this is what Jesus did with parables. I do not agree, with Him on all points. Often I think he puts something out there to ponder over. Yet, unlike the modern view, we have a choice to accept or reject what we read. I do that with many of the writers of emerging/Emergent. I think most critics miss that we are individuals yet have found unity.

And unity is something the Modern Church will never have.