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Thursday, January 23, 2014

One Word: Pursuit

I chose the word Pursuit for One Word 2014.  You can read more about that over HERE.

Today, I wanted to get out some thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for a few weeks now.  I realize not everyone will agree, but I would appreciate you at least considering this train of thought.  

I grew up in what I now consider to be a very conservative denominational church, that strives to glorify God in all they do.  In college (private christian college) I began attending a more liberal church and was introduced to expository preaching, Biblical interpretation and non-denominational thinking.  After college Coach and I moved to a college that presented us with a different theological slant and for the first time in my whole life I began to think, "Wow, I wasn't taught the whole truth!"  This question rolled around in my head off and on for several years until I began to realize there was a very clear line in thinking in the 2 circles I associated in, and without minimizing it, most arguments came back to one phrase " Jesus Feminist, “life in Christ is not meant to mirror life in a Greco-Roman culture. An ancient Middle Eastern culture is not our standard. We were not meant to adopt the world of Luther’s Reformation or the culture of the Great Awakening or even 1950s America as our standard for righteousness. The culture, past or present, isnt the point: Jesus and His Kingdom come, his will done, right now – that is the point.” (p. 77)" vs. what I had been previously taught: the whole Bible is inspired or written by God and we need to accept inerrancy of scripture.

I'd like to take a different point of view on this statement above from Jesus Feminist, see if you might be willing to consider it also.

When I read this statement above what I hear is that God was not powerful enough to inspire writing in such a way that it would be able to be followed by all his followers for our time on earth.  It seems to state that current scholars need to re-explain the Bible in a way that can be lived out today.  Frankly, it seems to put God in a box that makes his words irrelevant to current day living.  Minimizing subjects specifically addressed for those striving to live a life of obedience.  

This argument is used for any statement in the Bible not liked.  It's used around the subject of submission, homosexuality, divorce, and really any subject that might rub someone wrong.  Often, as seen above, the commentator will point you back to "We need to be more like Jesus". 

Ok people, I agree, we DO need to be more like Jesus!  In fact, we should strive to reflect Jesus every day, in that, we must be cautious not to cherry pick with parts of Jesus life we reflect.  You see Jesus did an amazing job of reaching out to anyone who responded to him.  He dined in the homes of those others saw as unfit and he spoke with women in a time when that was not acceptable.  He forgave those who were crucifying him even though they did not ask.  HE ALSO called out those who sinned and cleansed the temple (Matthew 21:12-17).  Jesus did not say, you know this is culturally accepted, so it's ok to sell prostitutes in the temple. No, he became frustrated and drove out the sinners and then healed the wounded.  In everything Jesus did in his ministry it still came back to the fact that Jesus was on earth for one purpose and it was his act of obedience to God the Father that has allowed for the scandal of grace to be present in my life, and in your life.  

Here's my point: Making the argument that something in scripture is no longer is something we need to abide by because it's not culturally relevant is an incredibly slippery slope!  Hebrews 13 even warns against it!  "13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever! 13:9 Do not be carried away by all sorts of strange teachings. "   

So, that being said, I do believe there is a place for this point of discussion in our conversations about how to best live a life that glorifies, honors and reflects Christ.  I simply would like to suggest that we have taken this argument WAY TO FAR.  Culture has begun to rule and we were warned about this from John as explained in 1 John  4:4 You are from Godlittle childrenand have conquered them, 13 because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.4:5 They are from the worldtherefore they speak from the world’s perspective and the world listens to them. 4:6 We are from Godthe person who knows God listens to usbut 14  whoever is not from God does not listen to usBy this 15  we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit. 16 

If faith were easy it would not be called faith.  Hebrews 11 gives us a clearer picture of how hard living a life of faith truly is and yet it is the essence of being a Christian or Believer as often called.  At the same time Jesus reminds us in Matthew 17 that the faith of a mustard seed is enough to move a mountain!  So let's agree to stop putting God in a box.  Let's agree to stop minimizing His power to inspire.  Let's agree that the God who created man from dust, woman from the rib of man, the oceans, stars, animals, food, EVERYTHING was also powerful enough to inspire writing on subjects we, as followers TODAY, should still abide by.   Let's agree that there are things we will not fully understand this side of heaven but that God is wiser then us all and his plan is perfect, even when it's hard.   Let's agree to be cautious about what we accept as written only for a certain culture and read the WHOLE Bible accepting it as God's words for us.  Let's agree that we are human, and God is God.

"At the end of the day, our feelings and wants and heartaches and desires are not ultimate-only God is ultimate. God tells us plainly that His ways and thoughts are infinitely higher then ours (Isa 55:9). Expect then, that Scripture will say thins that don't agree with our natural way of thinking." Francis Chan Erasing Hell

How does this fit in my ONE WORD?  Well, above I said that I begun to hear a new point of view on scripture and was taken in by it.  I thought I had been taught wrongly.  Now I'm futher along in my faith and have been taught the skills of reading scripture with more intentionality and I realize I was taught correctly the first time!  I was taught to believe all of scripture, strive for obedience and to reflect Jesus, and mostly, that God is SO much bigger then I am!  So my commitment is:  I'm pursing all of God, not just the comfortable parts.

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