Wednesday, June 27, 2007
We had tons of fun and we were able to see almost everyone that we wanted to... though those we did not get to were greatly missed.
AND we ate and ate... we forget how good the food is out there.
We spent some time in Monterey in our old stopping grounds... Papa Chano's is great, the Fishwife is always great... Turtle Bay and Petra's our always are favorites! We also played tourists a bit and saw the Monterey Bay Aquarium... the kids loved it!
We found out that TES' old job is still available as they just can fill that position... and I realized I missed living there much.
We were able to stay at a house my sister in law was house sitting... the people actually wanted us to stay there while they were in Hawaii. It was in Menlo Park and was a very fine house... not one I would ever be able to afford I assure you. It was truly a blessing.
We also stayed in a tent on the way up and back. In Pocatello it was a bit chilly as we set our tent up at midnight. It was not as old in Winnemucca on the way back but a bit miserable with the stickers in the grass and in trying to find a good place to set up a tent. We were shocked to see a sign there at McDonald's stating they would pay $10.00/hr wages... it was almost tempting with the cost of living there being so low. LOL!
Over all we drove, ate, saw friends and relatives and listened to hours of Derek Webb, then came back... it was a bit of a rush.
So here I am trying to stabilize my blood sugars and thinking about so many things. Not must about the trip... but about a few things i hope to share later. Just a tip. If you have not read Shane Clairborne's Irresistible Revolution I recommend it greatly.
Monday, June 25, 2007
If your favorite Internet radio station is not playing here is why...
" The 'Day of Silence'is being organized by SaveNetRadio Coalition, whose 14,000 members include: Yahoo Inc., Viacom Inc, and RealNetworks Inc..
SaveNetRadio said the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board's March decision to boost royalty rates will kill the fledgling industry, if goes into effect on July 15. It is hoping the 'Day of Silence' will help raise public awareness of the issue."
emergesque: "The Simple Way" Community Devastated by Fire
Here is more on this sad story.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
"“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb.13:8). He is the same Jesus now as He was in the Upper Room and as He appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. He is the same Jesus as when Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. He is the same Jesus as when the Enlightenment was in full force. Modern world, postmodern world, post-postmodern world…Jesus never changes. He is the reason for and the focus of all that we do. He is our anchor, no matter which direction the tide may be taking us.” - Dan Kimball
"The Church's responsibility is not only to hold to the basic, Scriptural principals of the Christian faith, but to communicate these unchanging truths 'into' the generation in which it is living. Every generation has the problem of learning how to speak meaningfully to its own age. It cannot be solved without an understanding of the changing existential situation which it faces." - Frances Schaeffer
"No man has any moral right to go before the people who has not first been long before the Lord. No man has any right to speak to men about God who has not first spoken to God about men. And the prophet of God should spend more time in the secret place praying than he spends in the public place preaching." - A.W. Tozer
"The incarnation of Jesus Christ is God's undeniable evidence that relevance to culture is not optional." Erwin McManus
"Nobodies change the world. The Somebodies in Places of Power tend to exercise their power to maintain the status quo or to improve the status quo. But when it's time to move from status quo to terra nova, that's usually the job of Nobodies from the powerless places at the margins. Think of Moses, Esther, Nehemiah, Jesus, Paul...." The character Neo in Brian McLaren's book, "A New Kind of Christian"
CHRIST HIMSELF THE CONTENT OF CHRISTIAN FAITH
By: Major W. Ian Thomas
There is something, which makes Christianity more than a religion, more than an ethic, and more than the idle dream of the sentimental idealist. It is this something, which makes it relevant to each one of us right now as a contemporary experience. It is the fact that Christ Himself is the very life content of the Christian faith. It is He who makes it "tick." "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it" (I Thessalonians 5:24). The One who calls you is the One who does that to which He calls you. "For it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Philippians 2:13). He is Himself the very dynamic of all His demands.
Christ did not die simply that you might be saved from a bad conscience, or even to remove the stain of past failure, but to "clear the decks" for divine action. You have been told that Christ died to save you. This is gloriously true in a very limited, though vital sense. In Romans 5:10 we read, "If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." The Lord Jesus Christ therefore ministers to you in two distinct ways - He reconciles you to God by His death, and He saves you by His life.
This, however, is but the beginning of the story, "for if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, (now an accomplished fact,) we shall be saved (as a continuing process) by His life" (Romans 5:10). The glorious fact of the matter is this no sooner has God reconciled to Himself the man who has responded to His call, than He re-imparts to him, as a forgiven sinner, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and this restoration to him of the Holy Spirit constitutes what the Bible calls regeneration, or new birth. Titus 3:5 and 6, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour."
From: The Saving Life of Christ, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House. ©1961.
Chapter # One
The Christian's Greatest Enemy
"Self-righteousness is terrible among God's people. If we feel that we are what we ought to be, then we will remain what we are. We will not look for any change or improvement in our lives. This will quite naturally lead us to judge everyone by what we are. This is the judgment of which we must be careful. To judge others by ourselves is to create havoc in the local assembly. Self-righteousness also leads to complacency. Complacency is a great sin and covers just about everything I have said about the rote and the rut. Some have the attitude, "Lord, I'm satisfied with my spiritual condition. I hope one of these days You will come, I will be taken up to meet You in the air and I will rule over five cities." These people cannot rule over their own houses and families, but they expect to rule over five cities. They pray spottily and sparsely, rarely attending prayer meeting, but they read their Bibles and expect to go zooming off into the blue yonder and join the Lord in the triumph of the victorious saints."
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
I will be gone for a about a week... so here are some great links around the blogosphere
Jason Clark has an article on Christus Victor: Atonement for the Postmodern World?
After a brief but way to long absence Rick Ianniello is back. He is always a great read... and one of my favorite Calvinists!
Rob Witham has joined me out here in Billings... well sort of. He moved out here and we got together once. We talk about getting coffee... I hope so... soon! He always has some thoughtful things to share.
Monday, June 11, 2007
8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 8:2 For the law of the life-giving Spirit in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 8:3 For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened through the flesh. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 8:4 so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
8:5 For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. 8:6 For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, 8:7 because the outlook of the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to the law of God, nor is it able to do so. 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. 8:10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness. 8:11 Moreover if the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will also make your mortal bodies alive through his Spirit who lives in you.
8:12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh 8:13 (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live. 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” 8:16 The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children. 8:17 And if children, then heirs (namely, heirs of God and also fellow heirs with Christ) – if indeed we suffer with him so we may also be glorified with him.
8:18 For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. 8:19 For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility – not willingly but because of God who subjected it – in hope 8:21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. 8:23 Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies8:24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.
There is a lot to cover here in this chapter... so I will be cutting it in half. We ended in chapter 7 with this thought:
“Romans 7:24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 7:25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.”
The main purpose of chapter seven was to bring us to the end of our “self”. We come to the point of recognizing that we are doomed sinners… and though we thought the Law would save us, we found it only revealed more of our sin!!!! We are caught in a “body of death”. This is the same “covenant with death” that Isaiah talked about in Isaiah 28: 15 – 18:
“You boast, "We have entered into a covenant with death, with the grave we have made an agreement. When an overwhelming scourge sweeps by, it cannot touch us, for we have made a lie our refuge and falsehood our hiding place."
So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who trusts will never be dismayed.
I will make justice the measuring line and righteousness the plumb line; hail will sweep away your refuge, the lie, and water will overflow your hiding place.
Your covenant with death will be annulled; your agreement with the grave will not stand. When the overwhelming scourge sweeps by, you will be beaten down by it.”
We are dead… that is the wages we pay for sin… our own death. Yet, the Good News is Jesus Christ! Now we serve the Law of God with our mind and serve the law of sin with our bodies. This does not mean we go out and just enjoy sin with our bodies, but that before our bodies ruled our minds… pleasure is the greatest thing the body desires. It is an incredible pleasure seeking machine!
Now in chapter eight Paul begins to explain the “how” we are no longer a slave to sin! Though he stated it in Romans seven clearly, he is breaking it down more for us here.
Here we are trapped in a body of flesh… this earth suit that we walk in on earth. God designed in beautifully and as David says in the Psalm, “fearfully made”. Yet, it is that we in our minds can see “good and evil” and even desire to do “good” we still cannot keep a sustained “good” as we fail and fall into the evil.
Once one realizes that when we are not in Christ there is no condemnation one is free of sin!!! This allows a new focus and direction moving from “self” to the “other” or more so now, a focus on the Eternal One. This is actually more than just a focus as that implies that “we” are the center. Jesus Christ now has become the center if one comes to Him and then enters Him and He in them.
Many talk as if we must master the flesh… in a sense we must, yet it is in the how of that where many miss the main point. They will run to “self help books” or counselors, (both which are fine, but don’t think they are the “answer”) they will go to pastors or friends or TV or radio talk shows… all In hope to see if they can become better people… but that is like putting turtle wax on a dead man’s bones… we just get a shiny dead thing. It might look pretty, smell better or whatever but it is dead.
In Christ we have New Life. This Life is not originating from us but from God Himself through Jesus. You see, God condemned and killed the flesh in Jesus at the Cross. Our flesh still fights against God in that it is corrupt and is condemned so that the Law is fulfilled... That means my dear Brothers and Sisters that we still will die… and yet even some teach that Christ will return and we will rise in our bodies, yet we will be transformed in a twinkling of an eye! (1 Cor 15:52) So, at the moment our corrupt perishing bodies will be changed to glorious new ones! The perishable changed to the imperishable!
The flesh is condemned in its fallen state, yet we live in Christ Jesus!
Yet, here we are now… learning to live as New Creations still trapped within these corrupt bodies. In that we must learn to live by the Spirit and not by the flesh. I see that this can only be learned as there is still a contrast between the fallen nature we have in the flesh and the redeemed nature we share in Jesus so what we think about is the important think… Do we still think of how to fulfill the desires of this corrupt body or do we now seek something much richer? As we walk in the flesh we come to know only death, yet as we walk in the Spirit we find Life. The flesh seeks its own so cannot seek the things of God.
Now, be careful that we do not fall into the trap of Gnosticism where we see the flesh as evil and that we must kill it… or tame it or whatever… the flesh is already judged and condemned. Yet, God made these bodies. We are redeemed and even these bodies as corrupt as they are still Gods! We are to give them to Him as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). We now bear in us this reconciliation of the profane and the sacred. The marriage of the Holy with the fallen.
This is the importance of the incarnation… that the Holy God became a man… clothed in flesh as we are, yet born fully alive. The Holy God came to earth to redeem us, in that Jesus “appeared” as we do, yet being born fully alive from heaven was able to overcome sin. What an amazing plan that was!
Now, we are not condemned as we are not just our bodies… sin is condemned in us. John states it this way:
1 John 3: 3-6:
“Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness. But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin. No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.”
The Scripture is clear here, “Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, this person does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is your life because of righteousness.” In Christ Jesus you are already dead to sin as your body is already dead!!!! Yet, the Spirit is YOUR LIFE. We have no life but Christ Jesus when we are in Jesus.
We are adopted in to His family… we are now Children of God… God has now become our Father.
Now, we come to the idea of suffering which is lost on most Christians today. With all the “good life” or “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it” mentality it is hard to understand that we now must partake in the sufferings of Christ as part of our walk. That can vary from persecution of others because you are a Christian to dying for Jesus on the mission field. In all of it we suffer for a Name… this wonderful Name of Jesus. Yet, ever in our new focus is this new found glory we have in Jesus… We may suffer now but the Glory to Come is much greater and in that we must place our vision and ever press forward.
You see this world waits as a woman who is about to give birth... with moans and groans knowing that great love is to come, must bear with the pain for a time and pass through it to enter into that state of motherhood. Creation too waits for the revealing of the Sons of God because in that it too has its redemption.
Now many think “getting saved” is all about going to heave… and that is very sad and rather a selfish view. In fact by our redemption all creation is redeemed also… and in that we are revealed, Creation is restored!
Many also place their faith in their own understandings or in what they can see… if they can read it and understand it then they place their faith in it. This can be a part of gaining insight, yet really it is in that we do not see that we have true faith… it is in not yet seeing our Hope we have Hope! If you can see it then it is not Hope… but to walk in the trust of another’s word, that is Hope that their word is true and able to give you all they have stated.
In that we must endure in this Hope so that we can one day see it in all it’s Glory!
Saturday, June 02, 2007
- Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor and combine crew on the highway.
- "Vacation" means driving through Glacier or Yellowstone Park or going back to school shopping in Billings.
- You've seen all the biggest bands ten years after they were popular.
- You measure distance in miles. Not minutes.
- You've been to a tractor rally.
- Down south to you means Wyoming.
- Minneapolis is "back East", Washington is "the coast".
- You know people who have hit deer, elk, moose or cattle.
- You know who has to pay for the damage to your truck and the dead cow if you hit one.
- Your school classes were canceled because of cold, but only when it was-40F or colder and the schools boiler ran out of coal.
- You drive 100 miles out of your way for a Pickle Barrel or Pork Chop Johns.
- You know what a red beer and a whiskey ditch are.
- You think the best beers available on the market today are Ranier, Olympia, and Coors.
- You're still mad that Great Falls Select is no longer made.
- You've ridden the school bus for an hour each way.
- You've had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day.
- You think ethanol makes your truck "run a lot better."
- You've seen people wear bib overalls at funerals.
- You see a car running in the parking lot at the store with no one in it no matter what time of the year.
- You end your sentences with an unnecessary preposition. Example: "Where's my coat at?" or "If you go to the mall I wanna go with you."
- You often reply "you bet!" or "hell yes!"
- The festivals across the state are named after fruits, vegetables, grain or testicles.
- You've gotten a "To Go" drink from the local bar.
- You've stopped by the local bar to cash a check.
- You install security lights on your house and barn and leave both unlocked.
- Think of the major four food groups as beef, pork, beer, and Jell-O salad with marshmallows.
- You carry jumper cables in your car.
- You know what "Cow Tipping", "Garden Raiding" or "Snipe Hunting" are.
- You only own 3 spices: salt, pepper, and ketchup.
- You understand that it is simply not proper to put ketchup or steak sauce on a good steak.
- You know someone who's lost their license due to a DUI and have seen their tractor or
- snowmobile parked at the local bar.
- You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
- You've gone to the grocery store on a snowmobile.
- Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
- Driving in the winter is often simply a matter of staying between the fence posts.
- You think that washing your pickup is a waste of time and money.
- You have never owned a vehicle that did not have cracks in the windshield.
- You think everyone from a bigger city is stuck up.
- You get a little claustrophobic when you're in a "big city" like Missoula and their traffic is "just awful, you wouldn't believe it".
- You've attempted to set new land speed records on Montana's highways.
- You think sexy winter lingerie is a flannel nightie and tube socks.
- You know how many cords of wood it will take to get through the winter.
- The local paper covers national and international headlines on one page but requires 6pages for High School Sports.
- You think that the opening of elk season should be a national holiday.
- You carry a roll of toilet paper in the glove box in case you have to stop and go by the road.
- Your radio antenna is an old clothes hanger or piece of baling wire.
- You find -20 degrees F "a little chilly".
- You know all 4 seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction.
- You know what a real Rocky Mountain Oyster is, and have a recipe for them.
- You know what a Pasty is.
- You know how to properly pronounce the capital of Montana, the capital of South Dakota and the state of Oregon.
- You know someone who's shot themselves accidentally.
- Driver's Education was a joke for you and all your classmates since you all had been driving since you were 10.
Here is the talk I gave.
Becoming a man: Submission
Becoming a man is not easy, nor can one become a man by just getting older. Many men struggle in their identity as a man all their lives… they question even what it means to be a man.
One of those struggles is submission. Especially as a teen, one will struggle with both wanting to show how grown up you are, and yet not wanting to actually grow up all the way.
I think of submission like in a wrestling match... Where one guy will try to get the other to submit to his will. They will twist each other and try to get themselves into the best position to get the advantage of the others weakness and exploit it… this is great for wrestling as a sport, but in life, often it does much harm to the other person.
If Jesus was a wrestler I think He would win all the time… yet I think He would let the other develop their strengths. He would teach and as one would submit to His teachings and learn the holds properly, and give respect to Jesus, he will find he has learned much about himself… and about his strengths and weaknesses.
God desires that you wrestle with Him not against Him… in that we are able to when necessary take someone to the mat… yet there is more.
To wrestle just to win for yourself, you can lose sight that you are also on a team and that often we can also forget that we need to respect the other person. To wrestle in anger, one may win, but will only gain a hollow victory not having respect for the other.
One must learn that the other person deserves to be treated as one better than ourselves… that to treat the other as a lesser diminishes us as a person. The Bible teaches that we are to submit to God and to each other… in love. Seeking the best for the other and knowing that God is only wanting to give his best to us.
Humility is a strength not a weakness… submission takes more strength and character than it does to not submit. Submission does not mean we stop thinking. It means that sometimes we respect those over us and do what they say even when we disagree, yet if we can respectfully talk to them to see what they are thinking. It means working so that all win… in some way. It is about build up the people around you and that they are better because you served them. Jesus came to serve and submit to the Father and to learn obedience… That always gets me Jesus “learned” obedience and died for our sake so we can be uplifted as a person… not only that but made into a New Creation.
Below is a passage from a book called THE IMITATION OF CHRIST BY Thomas À Kempis. When I read it, it stuck a real chord in me as to this thing called submission.
The Ninth Chapter
Obedience and Subjection
“IT IS a very great thing to obey, to live under a superior and not to be one’s own master, for it is much safer to be subject than it is to command. Many live in obedience more from necessity than from love. Such become discontented and dejected on the slightest pretext; they will never gain peace of mind unless they subject themselves wholeheartedly for the love of God.
Go where you may, you will find no rest except in humble obedience to the rule of authority. Dreams of happiness expected from change and different places have deceived many.
Everyone, it is true, wishes to do as he pleases and is attracted to those who agree with him. But if God be among us, we must at times give up our opinions for the blessings of peace.
Furthermore, who is so wise that he can have full knowledge of everything? Do not trust too much in your own opinions, but be willing to listen to those of others. If, though your own be good, you accept another’s opinion for love of God, you will gain much more merit; for I have often heard that it is safer to listen to advice and take it than to give it. It may happen, too, that while one’s own opinion may be good, refusal to agree with others when reason and occasion demand it, is a sign of pride and obstinacy.”
Scripture teaches submission as a sign of love. Ephesians 5: 21 “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”
So as one man to another, I pray for you to learn the strength that comes from submission.
I fail at times to recognize that there are some who cannot have a conversation with people as people… in fact they have labeled the “other” and instead of address them as an individual, they carry in the baggage of that label…Of course I fully admit I do this also.
Yet, in these discussions I see that even when I have expressed myself clearly, the person who has placed themselves as my superior who needs to teach and admonish me for my “bad doctrine” fails to actually think they can learn something from me.
I will say that I do learn from others… even in disagreeing I learn… sometimes it is that I should not have even started a conversation with that person! LOL!
Time and time again, when I talk of the proper flow of which we should get our doctrine I am then accused of saying these things…
1. iggy is against all doctrine.
2. iggy states that doctrine divides.
3. If doctrine is presented as propositional iggy recoils.
I have found time and time again that in talking with certain people that even when we agree, they are too blind to see it in that they have already labeled and decided anything I say will be wrong.
The most recent comments on a post I was involved in make this point… I have changed the names as they seem to be a bit hostile and I hope to make a point and not continue in their fictitious war and hate they try to push on me…
Here is the last comment:
“Bob and Tom,
in fact Bob is stating what i have been saying…
“He’s missing what Piper is saying about the need to say something about Christ, and who He is, and what He has done. All of that is summed up in doctrine.”
We must first have Christ who is summed up in doctrine… that is what I stated summed up and what I teach… so you both are arguing against me teaching this very thing… note in the above comments I stated”
“Again, no doctrine has authority unless it comes from Jesus…”
Yet, "Bob" and now you have still twisted what I have said and slandered me as to saying something else…
Have both of your eyes been so blinded that you cannot even see when you agree with someone?
Of course there is much more to this…
I ended it there knowing that “Bob” will continue to slander me and Tom will continue to be a yes man to Bob… Both missing that they had a chance to reconcile in the Name of Jesus and chose to remain argumentative and divisive not over true doctrinal issues, but over their own perverse continuance to twist what others are actually stating.
I think Satan has blinded some people’s eyes so much that they can only agree with those who think just like them… which leads me to Amos 3:3
People use this scripture over and over to prove that unity must be that all must agree on doctrine… interestingly scripture states the opposite… and the passage they quote is part of and admonishment from God as to their fallen ways.
Now in Amos 3:3 it is not that two must agree on everything… but in order that two walk together they must agree on that. God is stating to agree to walk with Him and to trust Him. God is calling those to get out and walk with Him. God just wants us to trust Him because He called us… not because we agree in all things. In fact the scripture states we do not agree with God and that the ungodly cannot be agreement as the mind of sinful man is death.
Romans 8:6-8 “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.”
The point is that without Christ Jesus present we cannot agree to walk with God, let alone agree on all point with each other.
In the book of 1 Kings Chapter 18, we have two kings of Israel that “agree” and divide the Nation of Israel into two parts. Israel and Judah… Yet there was one man that agreed with God.. Elijah. I thin kit interesting to note the two Kings that agreed were Ahab who allowed the worship of Baal, and Obadiah who loved and served the Lord.
Elijah confronts the Ahab and the sin that he had allowed. In that Elijah eventually goes up again the prophets of Baal in a stand off over which of the “gods” was true and would bur up the offering to him… of course most have heard the story and know that Baal did not burn up his offering… and that YHWH sent a ball of fire down and devoured His offering. (Which had been doused with a ton of water!)
The point is that agreement of two was not uniting… in this case it was divisive…
So the used of Amos 3:3 as to mean that we must agree on all things to walk together misses the point. God wanted people to turn to Him and walk with Him even though they may not have agreed with Him… God wanted them to remember how faithful He was to them in the past and on that trust and learn more and more how to agree with Him more and more.
Another example is the Tower of Babel… it is said that all mankind at that time came to one mind and goal which was to build a tower to reach God. They were all of one mind to reach a goal to reach God on their own terms. If God had not stepped in and caused them to become confused by giving them all different languages, mankind might have been lost.
So again, just because two agree and even if they agree in all things, does not mean it to be “biblical” unity. That can and only comes from God alone. It must flow from God to us… and not from us agreeing and then turning to God in our own way.
Many approach scripture and doctrine in this way. In fact the Pharisees held that if they kept God’s word to the minutest detail, they could force God to come and run out Rome. They sought to control God by their doctrine… and this still happens today by those who hold that Jesus and doctrine are equal or inseperatable. In a true sense they are but with out the proper understand that doctrine must flow from Jesus, we then we have an unbalanced view of doctrine and its true purpose.
This is a bit like understanding the relationship of Jesus and the Father... though both God, Jesus stated that the Father was greater... and that He did nothing unless the Father had already done it.
Friday, June 01, 2007
It seems rather sad that some are so bent at calling Christian Mysticism wrong… even satanic. They miss that many of the reformers were highly influenced by the Mystic Saints. Case in point is John Calvin who was greatly influenced by Augustine who is considered a Christian Mystic and also St. Bernard. (This is well noted in “Institutes: written by John Calvin as he refers often to both of these Christian mystics and build his thought from their thoughts.)
Noting first that both of these men were of the Catholic persuasion, then that they were “mystics” make me truly wonder at many who call themselves Calvinist today. I think they really have a short term understanding of history and even more how their own “system” of Theology came to be.
To cast Christian mysticism as satanic as many have, seems then that without realizing it, they have condemned Calvin to the pit of Hell for being influenced by two Christian Mystics.
Can one separated the influencer from the one influenced? I do see that one can, yet often without thinking we act as if Calvin or Luther just fell out of the sky one day and came up with something new, or as some say, reclaimed the old.
Yet, influences are that, they guide one to think on terms that they might not have considered, and it seems that Calvin himself was at least more open to things than many who claim his name…
(A bit of a side note here: I cannot ever be a Calvinist as it goes against the teachings of Paul in 1 Cor 1 where Paul is stating that we are to follow and be baptized into the Name of Jesus… so I see that by this I cannot take Calvin’s name as Calvin did not die for my sins, nor did he raise from the grave the third day… as far as I know he is still in his own grave waiting for the day of Resurrection. I am baptized into the Name of Jesus and am content in that as my identity.)
I see that anyone who blindly calls all Christian mysticism as Satanic have missed and possibly are missing a very important element in their faith… and that is intimacy with Jesus Christ. Calvin called this "unio mystica" or the "mystical union".