Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Review: Heretics Guide to Eternity (pt 2)

Heretics Guide to Eternity (pt 2)

Really I have not come across too much that is that controversial… though I had to put down the book as I read about Spencer’s daughter Grace. I had dealt with the loss of a child a few years back (We had a miscarrage then this year I was present when we found Kyler along with his father)… That is partly why I am not a Calvinist. As to me, in its purity, with Calvinism, one would not have any real comfort over a loss of a child unless one subscribes to infant baptism as part of the "formula" for salvation... which I see not one scripture that teaches that.

Really I subscribe to the “innocent until one sins” view. In that way one has to be conscience of the action… as opposed to an infant or developmentally disabled person. The scripture does not say man is “totally depraved” but it does say, “all have sinned” and that it is by “grace we are saved”. In fact I see that “total depravity" cuts across many doctrines… like the Incarnation… God became a man… from a woman… who if “totally depraved” from birth would have corrupted Jesus as a man… (1 Cor 15: 21) I also do nto see that the scripture teaches “total depravity”. On the contrary it teaches that God “turns them over to a depraved mind.” So a child would not have a depraved mind, nor hopefully some one who is developmentally disabled as they can not grasp the concept of even being depraved.
(I know the argument against this, but it still does not hold water as if Jesus was not, for the Bible speaks more times of Jesus being “a man”, then it does about Jesus being God… it never says Jesus was the “God-man” that so many teach.)

I think if one reads and carefully tries to grasp the different types of “heretics” one will find that not all are bad, in fact if some of the “heretics” of our history did not stand against what was taught, we would not have many of the Reformers of old, let alone, the theologies many hold to today.

Thinking of a Christianity beyond religion is not a new thing… in fact many have been saying for years, “it is not a religion, but a relationship”, which is true, yet still falls short of the “moving beyond”. I see it as the difference of clothing ourselves with our denomination, or institution, or as Spencer calls it, “consensual illusion”. This is where we delude ourselves with what we “think” our faith/religion/God/relationship… (Oh, you can add any number of things to this) is THE REALITY.

In the end it is still just that, an illusion. Not based on reality. Simply a lie.

I sometimes wonder if we have replaced Jesus with a pseudo-religion that claims Him as God, yet really has nothing to do with Him.

I like the example of Copernicus as he spoke against the church of that day teaching that the earth was static… I see a direct correlation with what is happening today. There is a great shift in thought, the paradigm many speak of. Many do not see it has already happened. I am one who does not see God as static… never changing. I see His character never changes and that God is not like men who say something then go back on their word… I do see that God in a sense changes… (Though, if even in our perspective, that in a way is God changing as we gain revelation as He reveals Who He is. I see that God in a sense is ever expanding… as the Kingdom He is spreading expands.) He changed as he created matter; He changed as He engaged man. He changed as he became a man and “learned obedience” (Jesus was God… in flesh… though self limited, Jesus still was God and “learned obedience” as Hebrews 5:8 tells us… that is God changing rather radically to me). So, if God is static, the Father would not have sent the Son, Who was God in flesh and would not have been able to “learn obedience”.

So, if God is not static His Kingdom is not static; then a static religion would not be able to keep this God under control. To me that is what religion is... and attempt to control and contain God in a way that allows man to be in control and then our man made institutions will be as Spencer stated, “the center of the Christian Universe”.

If man, and our religion is no longer the center of the Universe… be it our own illusion, or created reality… then it is imperative to move beyond this non reality into the TRUE REALITY…

So far I am enjoying the book. Again, some things I have already considered before, yet if one is looking for a good primer I would so far highly recommend this one.


1 comment:

Dan said...

A couple counterpoints iggy,

First of all, looking at scripture collectively we see that baptism is a means of salvation (although not necessarily the only way). This is attested to by Christ when he says "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." Some people get hung up on the ordering of believe and baptized, but my point is that in this verse and numerous others baptism and salvation are linked. The most specific verse attesting to the salvific nature of baptism would be 1Peter 3:20-21 which states:
"God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." That states it pretty clearly.
Throw into the mix that the vast majority of the early church leaders performed infant baptism and that the first case of a child being intentionally withheld from baptism doesn't appear until the 4th century and i think you have a pretty good case for salvific infant baptism.
Secondly, it seems strange that you would throw out the idea of salvific baptism for lack of biblical evidence but then claim a sort of "age of accountability" based upon cognitive ability which has even less in the way of direct Biblical support. I also am a bit perplexed that someone who has spent so much time rallying against the dangers of propositional truth would then base so much of our salvation upon a narrow definition of reasoning (not to mention that asserting that the developmentally disabled are unable to be depraved is insulting and paints the disabled as the cherubim imbeciles, an image that disability rights groups have been trying to eliminate for years. Trust me, developmentally disabled people can be just as depraved as you or I). Let me put it this way. An infant does not cognitively understand love, but would you say that your child does not know that you love them? A gentleman by the name of Hoffman puts it this way,
"The child is capable of a “primal trust,” and, where this is not developed but held back, it sustains severe personality damage. This “primal trust” is not first developed through heard or understood articulated words, but in a personal mode which is other than verbal and which can indeed dispense with the verbal dimension. A child “knows” that it is loved and whom it can trust long before it can understand the words, “I love you."
So if we can say that a child can know love and love in return despite their developmental stage, then it follows that they can also be selfish and seek their own needs above those of others. All you really need to sin is to be self aware and to be aware of someone else (namely God) and to chose yourself.
I won't say much on the immutability of God, but I will point out that what you have said is a rather human way of looking at things and i don't quite follow how the change in God's creation necessarily means that God changes.

Anyways, that's all for now.


P.S. I wrote an paper on infant baptism that lays out my beliefs pretty well and give a bunch more evidence for it. If you'd like I could send you a copy.