Jesus vs Religion – Honouring God

StainedGlassJesus2So I am halfway through Eldredge’s list of ten indicators of religious distraction from true Christ-centred Christianity.  Let’s see if I can finish the list in a single post, actually I won’t bother trying.  I’ll finish the list tomorrow.  All to do with honouring God:

6. The holiness of God is taught by making him “unknowable” or unapproachable.

“God is spoken of as a mystery so high and lifted up we cannot possibly be friends.  The talk may be very intellectual and philosophical; it may be hyperspiritual talk of the heavens; it might be existential “dark night of the soul” stuff.  Do you ever hear Jesus talk like this?  Of course there are mysteries to God, but Jesus came to make God known.”

The incarnation is about the unseen God being seen, and touched, and met, and talked to, and heard, and known.  The New Testament critiques the proto-gnostic notions of an un-incarnate Christ because that tendency was in the churches.  In modified forms it still is.  While it may get us kudos as we stand at the church door and shake hands with the impressed, let us instead offer them the only begotten God who has made the Father fully known.

7. Holiness is substituted with rule-keeping.

The church seems to propagate technical righteousness and the minding of evangelical manners.  Is this what holiness is all about?  If we can’t make the connection between holiness and the fellowship of the Trinity, but only speak of separation from sinful acts, then perhaps our view of holiness is too superficial.  If the preacher doesn’t get it, the congregation have little chance.

Tomorrow I’ll finish the list . . .

 

1 Comment

Filed under Audience Analysis, Christianity, How to . . . ?, Preacher's Personal Life, Preaching, Religion, Stage 5 - Message Purpose

One response to “Jesus vs Religion – Honouring God

  1. Loving this series. I have been discovering just these kinds of attitudes myself as my wife and I have moved ourselves and our children away from mainstream Christianity, preferring to teach our children as we “walk down the road”, etc. rather than subject them to the either too formal or too weak spiritual “education” offered today. I felt a great deal of guilt ab out it and it was a long time before I “confessed” to family members that we weren’t attending church anymore. It wasn’t a surprise when my faith immediately came into question. I have suffered some bumps and bruises, but ultimately wouldn’t ever go back to how it was before because I feel closer to Jesus then I ever have and I can see my children relating to the world through the eyes of Jesus, Nothing is better as a father than seeing that.

    Anyway, concerning today’s posting, I had a couple thoughts.

    On the first point of rendering God unknowable, I have never honestly experienced that one. The one I have run into is the opposite — that with enough study (under the “right” teachers) we can understand God, and “how it all works” in regards to the “ologies” we find in the Bible. I have been blasted as lazy and yes, arrogant, for suggesting that God is NOT understandable and that there will always be mysteries that we will never know. God IS KNOWABLE, but that’s different than understandable. For instance Moses KNEW God, even stood in His presence, but He certainly wouldn’t claim to UNDERSTAND God. I think we always need to take the middle ground here. God is not completely beyond us nor is He neatly laid out for us in the Bible. He is as knowable as we need Him to be (through Christ) to relate to Him, but His thoughts and ways will always be beyond ours.

    The second point really hit a nerve with me as well. This is one I have seen SO often. The meaning of the word “holy” has been completely redefined to mean “moral goodness” (defined by some particular view on which Biblical laws and verse interpretations should be observed). We have lost the meaning that the original languages conveyed with this word. Firstly, it speaks of a “specialness” – not of position, but of use. We are holy (set apart/special) because God uses us in spite of our unworthiness (similar to how he used Balam’s donkey), and through that use we become clean (positionally).. It also conveys completeness or wholeness — being “without lack”. God is without lack, and we can be too by allowing our every need and desire to be fulfilled in/through Him. Holiness is not the end result (goal) of observing some standard of moral living. Rather, good morals (behavior) is a natural result of BEING holy, which is something that God does to and through us, not something WE do.

    Looking forward to the rest of this.

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