Head First: A Dangerous Freedom

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A Dangerous Freedom

A few days ago, recent Slice of Laodicea target, NakedPastor posted here about scripture in the context of freedom:

"Freedom is the healthiest condition of the mind and heart, and it is the happiest place of humanity. If you read the scriptures, they must inform that reality of freedom and testify to our momentary liberation. Somehow, scripture must act like a fertilizer that percolates our minds and hearts with the freedom that the Spirit brings. The bible is not to be used as an instruction booklet on how to follow the proper steps to salvation. It is like a document from a free land that announces to us that our bonds have been broken and we are free indeed."

As I read his post, I thought about an old quote I read from Grace Murray Hopper:
"A ship is safest in the harbor, but that's not what ships are built for."

Perhaps it's just a fundamental human tendency, but I see a lot of christendom tied up securely at the dock. I can't make up my mind which distresses me more, the person (or church) that forges ahead ham-handedly and makes a mess of things, or the one who thinks, "If I never attempt anything, I'll never fail."

In the interest of full-disclosure, I have been both of those people.

24 comments:

Recovering said...

I haven't read naked pastor's blog, but having been chastised by "Slice of Laodicea" and "Old Truth" myself, I think David should be honored to get that kind of negative attention from Slice...

It means you don't go to Westboro Baptist church or any church like it.

Zeke said...

Slice makes me sick. That's some ugly shite going on over there. I feel like I need to bathe after reading the comments.

Molly's Boss said...

"The bible is not to be used as an instruction booklet on how to follow the proper steps to salvation."

I’m not sure what the author meant by this statement but I guess I would have to violently object. If the bible does not instruct us in the ways of salvation then we are a ship out of control. I think the bible instructs us in the ways of salvation from Genesis to Revelation and I rejoice in it. I do not have a problem with that but it seems that the author of this statement does.

However, What I see in other statements have some truths mixed with some thoughts that may sound good but may also lead to error.

The last statement made:
"It is like a document from a free land that announces to us that our bonds have been broken and we are free indeed."

I would agree with this statement entirely. Our bounds have been broken from the curse of the law and we are free from its actions of condemning us. We are removed from the state of separation and God’s wrath to a state of brotherhood with Christ and reconciled to the Father.

Gal 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

But what are we free to do with this liberty that Christ has extended to us?

Gal 5:13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

That is the ultimate freedom that I believe all should be looking for but some do not see the need. They do not see themselves as sinners separated from God. I think that this may come for the erroneous extension of the state of freedom that result from the statements that are being questioned.

The attitudes and actions from the state of being free I think are being expressed in the book of Galatians. Here Paul is writing about the return of those that were freed from the law desiring to return to the curse of the law. He is also writing to the Gnostics who apply absolute freedom for they separate the Flesh from the Spirit. Reasoning that the flesh can do little good therefore the flesh is allowed to sin where the Spirit should be kept in a Holy state. This extension would carry to; My Flesh can commit adultery but that does not infer that my Spirit man did therefore, I am free to commit adultery in the Flesh as long as the Spirit man is Holy. SAY WHAT? Yea, I do not understand it either, but this is how some thought!

Gal 5:21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

I guess I can see some attempting to carry freedoms too far for they did in the first century church or Paul would not have to be writing the book of Galatians. But I think that are liberty is designed by Paul to generate certain actions.

Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

And I think each man will receive his rewards from Christ when we meet Him again.

Gal 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

However, I do also believe that the people of the “church” may have not displayed the attitudes that God would desire in dealing with their brothers and sisters.

Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

If the church is to be “the spiritual” then how should the church people apply the “Spirit of meekness”? How do we “bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ”? I think there have been failings within the church where the “Spirit of ?????????” (something rather than meekness) has been applied when it was the “Spirit of Meekness” that was commanded.

Paul continues with this language in instructing his pastor:

2 Tim 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

I do not believe that this means that we must agree with anyone’s sin but that we need to “be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves;” I do not think walking around with a sign at a public demonstration stating “ALL ???????? GO TO HELL” is an effective way of communicating Gods love and a good attempt for bring the targeted out of God’s wrath.

I guess the prayer that I would state that would fit best in the situation when dealing with a loved brother or sister that needs a helping hand would be:

Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

How are we to handle the issue so that the outcome will be “wellpleasing” in His sight?

I think He has given us a little clue in:

Heb 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me… Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

I think it is Paul’s prayer that the Holy Spirit will show us the way in the delicacies of the Lord as to how to project His love to His people into the given situation.

By the way… "A ship is safest in the harbor” did not work real well on December 7th.

dorsey said...

MB, I can't really respond to all your points, but I think we read the first statement you quoted from different perspectives. From my history with nakedpastor, I interpreted the remark to mean that the Bible is not a one-size-fits-all instruction manual that says "each and every person must follow the exact same path and perform the exact same steps to be a Christian." I largely agree. For instance, a great many proponents of Absolute Truth seem to think, "if it's true for me, then it HAS to be true for you." In other words, if God used a period of poverty in my life to grow me to deeper understanding of suffering, then should I assume that, in order to understand suffering, EVERYONE must experience poverty? I certainly hope not.

Paul speaks of working out our salvation with fear and trembling. Does everyone's journey through salvation look the same? Clearly not. The same can be said of the experience of conversion. Some people can tell you the day and time they believed. I can't. My conversion involved a gradual changing of my mind and heart toward Christ that probably took more than a year.

As far as I can tell, belief that Christ is the Lord and confession that God raised Him from the dead are the only real criteria for becoming a Christian. Everything else in the process seems up for grabs. Nakedpastor can speak for himself, but that's how I interpreted his remark.

Molly's Boss said...

But I still see a problem in the “nakedpastors” advice because he stated this just before the quote you posted…

“To require people to live according to scripture creates admirable human beings, but it does not create free human beings. To insist that people live by the Bible appears to advance the development of the human being, but it is really just a religious form of bondage.”

I do see men attempting to merchandise the gospel and trying to place people in bondage using the word of God as their rope to bind. But I personally do not see the inerrant word of God as bondage; I see it as my liberator. I see it as written by the Prophets and the Apostils through the Holy Spirit for our benefit. I guess there are two defining questions here. First… is the word of God inerrant? And the second would be split into and if statement… If not then what is your standard… or if it is then how do we live?

I do agree with you that each one of us is on our own walk with Christ and each is to work out his/her own salvation with fear and trembling. I also agree that our circumstances may not be the same, and therefore it would be wrong on me to demand that you follow my experiences or learn from my experiences. I would also agree that each one of us is going through our own personal walk with Christ and each may be at a different stage in our sanctification process with Him going through the same woods but perhaps walking on a different path of circumstances. But that does not mean that the sanctification does not exist for each individual and we are free to sin and disregard His word.

I guess my question here would be, “Who is it that is requiring them to “live according to the scripture?” If the answer is that “I am requiring it” then you can tell me to go pound sand… but if the answer is the Christ is requiring it through His Prophets and Apostils then you might be on different grounds. I’m not sure that if ‘ free human beings” is the ultimate reason why Christ came. For it screams of… Free to what? I would think the ultimate freedom was what Adam and Eve had before the fall. And it seems to say that the “nakedpastor” may desire that we return to that state and deny sin and just love all people. But to say we can live in that freedom would be to deny reality. We do live in a cursed world. Sin does happen. The second Adam removed me from its curse and then gave me instructions through His word how I am to walk in His ways. It trouble me to think that we would want to live any other way when we know His desires drawn from His word. Now yes… We all sinned, are sinning, and will sin… and this is the dynamic we must love each other in. And yes, the church is guilty of many atrocities where the people of the church have been injured, but just because “I am incompetent”, and to the church we can extend this to “We are incompetent” does not make His word any less inerrant to where we could want to diminish its value for our lives. I am an incompetent sinner, I may even be an arrogant incompetent sinner, I may not handle the word of God properly and expose my arrogance and incompetence to you when dealing with you. But this does not lessen your responsibility to follow the Lords direction through His word just because I am a Bozo. There are lost of clowns in this world and some are in the churches. If I am searching for a church that does not contain any clowns then I may be searching for something that does not exist and if I were to find it I would still be the imperfect Joker.

I guess it comes down to… where do you find the competent? Where do you go to find people that share the same mind as you see the Lord’s desires in your life and theirs to enjoy your walk and fellowship with them? This also is a question we must all work out by ourselves. My guess is that is why the Lord gave us so many different church families. Even in your own experience when you said, “My conversion involved a gradual changing of my mind and heart toward Christ that probably took more than a year.” In our Reformed churches they do not do many alter calls for salvation, they, like you experienced, teach that it is a process. Therefore am I to say to a Reformed brother that he is not saved because he never walked up the alter and accepted Christ… I would not want to be so arrogant … even though my personnel experience was at the alter does not give me liberty to project that on him. As long as the essentials of Christ’s salvation as Lord of his or her life exist within them, why would I want to interfere? For where in the scripture does it say you must experience an alter call? If this is the attitude that the ‘nakedpastor” speaks then maybe we can find ground of agreement but to say that, “To insist people live by the scripture” creates bondage. I think this is all too encompassing and does not focus the problem on the problem. The inerrant words of God are not the problem and they are His standards to live by. I believe the church does need to keep this primary as the church works out His dynamics with His people.

RF2R2 said...

Slice of Laodicea made me sick. Nakedpastor could be a christian pornographer and I think I'd have more respect for him than Slice...

Caro said...

I went to read "Slice..." and found it to be very conservative, as were most of the comments. Why are Recovering, Zeke, and rf2r2 so brutally unloving in their comments? Have youse experienced such pain from "standard" church people that anything they say is offensive to you?
Where is your expression of love and compassion? Or do you reserve such for those who agree with you? If so, how are you different from "Slicers"?
Let's not get so enthralled with our freedom that we forget that Jesus NEVER placed a premium on it. His instructions were to show such love toward each other that EVEN the ungodly would be amazed (NOT amused) by us!
The fruit of the Spirit(!) is love...
Because/If the Bible is the fundamental and final authority on spiritual life, our self-centered opinions, liberal or conservative, are essentially meaningless. Only our demonstration of "agape" (love as a choice or decision, not based upon relationships or worthiness) is Christ-honoring.
Truth, untempered by love, is brutal. If my point of view is offensive to you, don't waste time examining me; ask yourself what experience has set you up to be offended by it.

RF2R2 said...

caro,

My opinion has nothing to do with Slice's politico-theological position at all - it has everything to do with his and his supporters attitude towards someone in the emergent camp.

You accuse me of being unloving, overly critical, and/or un-christlike in my rather benign statement above yet say nothing to what is truly one-sided, narrow, and presumptive treatment of another professing christian on Slice's blog. I mean, come on, people were accusing n.pastor of being a malicious heretic and 'wolf in sheep's clothing' because he confessed to enjoying nude art.

Now, I can understand if someone wants to make the argument that nudity is not meant by god to be an object for consumption thru any medium other than the marriage bed, but no one even wanted to talk about it - if I really was concerned about this professing christians exposure to sinful influence, wouldn't I want to confront him rationally as an equal instead of outright damning him?

I've been taught by the great men of faith in my life that one of the most sincere acts of christian love and compassion is to humbly correct an erring christian. It serves no one to remain quiet about observed error in the church (as I'm sure Slice would vigorously agree, btw). And as far as my having a bitter taste in my mouth from some personal church experience, I am not aware of any such event. My experience with the church has been at worst depressing or disenchanting but never injurious. I've known apathetic christians(even been one) but I've never been close to or involved in a church scandal of any sort. I just like humble and sincere discussion about truth and when christians can't get it right it really bugs me.

I stand by my previous statement; nakedpastor at least is sincere and humble in his approach to truth, which is more than I can say for Slice and why I can say I have less respect for him philosophically. It's completely possibl that Slice is a right honorable gentleman in person, but you couldn't pay me cash money to endure philosophical discussion with him... well, maybe for enough cash money.

dorsey said...

Caro, while I think your assumptions about Recovering, Zeke, and RF2R2 are grossly unfair, and that your suggestion that they only like people who agree with them is woefully uninformed, I believe you're right when you say that love must still be the mark of a believer.

But make no mistake, Ingrid Schleuter is not a nice person (unless you are in lockstep with her), and Slice of Laodicea is not a nice place. If you haven't picked up on that, then you need to spend more time there. Nevertheless, maybe it would be of interest to discuss just how a believer goes about being tangibly loving to someone who calls themselves a believer and everyone else apostate.

For that matter, it's cheap talk to say, "Oh, sure, I love the 'God hates fags' folks over at Westboro Baptist (in the Lord, of course)." But face it, that's bullshit. What is the tangible expression of love to people like that? I'm not suggesting it's impossible. I know and accept that it's a mandate. I just cannot imagine what it looks like. The best I think I could do is ignore them, but that's not love, either.

Molly's Boss said...

wpofjbOK… OK… OK… I think I am getting it a bit more. These guys, the “Nakedpastor” and “Slice” are people on the internet that are throwing rocks at each other, one for his proclaimed freedoms to enjoy naked arts and the other from an accusation of perversion and that our freedoms do not extend that far. I guess my concern would be… do either of these guys have a heart to serve God and handle his word properly. Have they been call by God to do so? To have the office of “Pastor” I believe is a calling and those that hold themselves out as teachers are under a greater responsibility to handle His word properly. Having read a bit of what each had to say I would say the neither would qualify for my short list of “called pastors” that I would choose to have as my “teachers”. To the “nakedpastor” I would say:

Heb 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of [their] conversation. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever.

The man holds himself out to be a “PASTOR”, which means to me “A TEACHER OF GOD”S WORD”. I’m not sure that I see either of these men doing that well where I would bring them into my circle of my counselors. Slice seems to enjoy “slicing people up” which may have some merit if these people he is slicing proclaim themselves to be teachers of Gods word and are teaching the word improperly. The “nakedpastor” seems to want to enjoy his freedoms and liberties and perhaps stretch them beyond where they should go. If he were just another “Joe” just proclaiming his wants and desires then I would receive him that way but when he claims himself to be a “Pastor” to me that means he claims to be an authority with a calling on his life with hopefully the anointing to perform to the task. Point of issue, for you and me as adults were to view naked art being of adult age this may or may not be a problem depending on our history and how we view things. I’m also not sure how that 15-year-old boy would see it. I believe a person with a “Pastors” heart would know this and perhaps reflect this in his teachings of the word and exhorting Gods people to live in it. He should be an example and model of Christ to all people.

Heb 13:21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Therefore, I would say the “nakedpastor” desires to proclaim exhortations that would be fine if he were an insurance salesman but are questionable as a pastor. As for “Slice” I would rather have Hank Hanegraaff (the bible answer man) as my critic of those that teach the word of God improperly. He seems to be able to criticize the statements of error and not get too personal in the process and always leaves room for correction. Hank does not do things in a “rage” but out of research and study of His word. Therefore I do not see a need for “Slice” in my life? However, Hank does state that he has been humbled by the fact that when he gets to heaven that the Lord may state to him… “So you’re the bible answer man”.??

And to the last statement: “Perhaps it's just a fundamental human tendency, but I see a lot of christendom tied up securely at the dock. I can't make up my mind which distresses me more, the person (or church) that forges ahead ham-handedly and makes a mess of things, or the one who thinks, "If I never attempt anything, I'll never fail."

I guess I would share your dilemma. I have been on both sides also. But I would agree with your first statement as well… “What are ships built to do?” What they really need is an excellent Capitan and a trained crew to navigate through the waters otherwise they may end up aground. I do not see myself as being qualified as a Capitan but at least I can do my part as a member of the crew (church/remnant), put this boat in the water, set the sail, and see where the Lord’s directions will take us.

RF2R2 said...

Therefore, I would say the “nakedpastor” desires to proclaim exhortations that would be fine if he were an insurance salesman but are questionable as a pastor.

I can understand why you might say this, but, in all seriousness, what is the difference between the two? Other than the possibility that one has gone to seminary and the other has not, what makes these two men so spiritually different that they cannot discuss truth the same way or with the same rules? I don't think there is anything that makes my pastor more qualified to seek or identify truth than me or any other christian; the Spirit in one is, after all, the same Spirit in the other. You read as though the office of Pastor carries certain "rules of engagement" when it comes to certain issues (like the place of nudity in christian life), but I fail to see any reasonable foundation for such a belief. Truth is available to all who seek it (and not in the churchy sense, but the philosophical one) and I am not ashamed or afraid of truth since it has the power to set me free. If a pastor wants to lead his flock into a discussion of nudity, then the truth is there for them all to discover, whether the Pastor's view is correct or not, and I am not afraid of chritians thinking too much - if anything I'm afraid of us thinking too little.

Zeke said...

Slice makes me sick. That's some ugly shite going on over there. I feel like I need to bathe after reading the comments.

Those words may be unkind, but they accurately describe my response to the environment at Slice. Since it was directed at the environment and not at people, I don't know how it can be construed at unloving to any particular person.

But look, it isn't just about being nice. Slice is full of individuals who seem quite eager to pull up the weeds in God's wheat field. There are few things that disgust me more than those who presume such.

Molly's boss said...

Hi rf2r2

The short answer to why I would expect mare from a pastor than an insurance salesman is:

Mal 2:7 For the priest's lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he [is] the messenger of the LORD of hosts.

There are many other verses we could bring in but this is a good start. The term pastor to me means he is responsible for leading His flock.

I’m not sure that Nakedpastor said this because it is a quote from “Slice” but if he did then I would have a problem placing him on my short list of qualified pastors.

“I love art, including fine-art nude photography and other kinds of art that explore the beauty and wonder of the human body. Some of the art my friends do is nude, erotic or naked. Whatever. I appreciate it all. So you will be seeing more of it on my site without apology.”

The 15 year old boy, and I was and maybe still am one of them, would not necessarily see this posting that is “erotic nudity” as art. You may say so “that’s my problem”. I guess you would be right but my statement would be I would not expect my pastor or any legitimate pastor to take me or anyone else there. I do not see “erotic nudity” as the doctrine of Christ to exhort that a pastor would want to get involved in. Therefore, as long as I do not have Him as one of my counselors as a pastor within my life, then there is not reason to go to his site and I will continue hopefully in the sanctification process without this difficulty. You could say that I’m short sighted, and I would say… in this manner I am guilty. Therefore I will stay away from this site so I do not bring further guild upon myself. I would think a pastor would want to take me out of this and not be the promoter of this within my life.

Not sure that you agree, but that is how I see it.

RF2R2 said...

boss,

First, if I may offer a couple of scripture in response to your Malachi verse:

5Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

-Exodus 19


9But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

-1 Peter 2

The reason I bring these two verses up is that they indicate to me that all believers are intended to take on a priestly office which would mean something profound in terms of how we view the role of pastors in our churches. I'm not saying they are unnecessary or unbiblical (as I have heard some emergent types argue) but I think the western church collectively has inflated the role of the pastoral calling in churches.

Again I stress that truth is everybodies business and the same rules apply for everyone.

RF2R2 said...

boss,

Also, I want to add that I understand and may even agree with you about his blog being too open to those in his church who perhaps ought not to view some images, but maybe his view of sexuality and the human body is much more christlike than anything else his flock are hearing on the subject. My point is that if my children must live in a pagan and over-sexed culture, maybe a place where they can see nudity treated far more reverently is a good thing. All I'm saying is that it is possible.

That being said, if he advertises the existence of his blog to his church family, then it woud probably be wise to be clear about it's potential content and maybe even add a gateway page to his blog warning about the same.

dorsey said...

I wouldn't disagree, MB, except to note that the nude art issue could be one of culture and/or maturity. I have a lot of that 15 year-old boy in me, too, so nude art might not be the most productive pastime for me, either. However, I can't say that such is true for everyone.

(To be fair, I think it's important to note that nakedpastor didn't say, "I love nude art." He said, "I love art, including fine-art nude photography and other kinds of art that explore the beauty and wonder of the human body." I fear that some of the conversations surrounding this issue have created a false impression that we're talking about a man who is obsessed with nakedness. We need to take this in the proper context. [not saying that we haven't...just saying, is all])

Regarding the difference between a pastor and the insurance salesman, the Malachi passage must be taken in the NT context that every believer has now entered into the priesthood. As such, the insurance salesman has the same moral authority as the pastor or the milkman. I take a lot of heat for saying stuff like this, but I can't see how it's not the truth.

Molly's boss said...

Hi Dorsey and rf2r2

I agree with you completely that we are each a priest within our own house. My suggestion regarding a pastor is just my way of screening whom I take my teaching from. If I am to be a priest of my family and desire to be accountable to someone, then I will be selective in those I will be accountable to. It would be my desire to be accountable to one who knows the scripture well, models them, loves the word of God, and has patients for His and his people.

rf2r2 said… “Again I stress that truth is everybody’s business and the same rules apply for everyone.”

I would say, amen to that. I’m not saying that the pastor is of any greater spiritually value than I am. And I would agree 100% that it is everybody’s business and the same rules apply to everyone. However I’ve been trained in certain disciplines, he hopefully has taken the time to receive training in his discipline. It is my desire to be able to approach him as a shepherd when I desire advice. I would need to have a respect for him to handle the word of God properly before I would approach him in this manner.

Pro 11:14 Where no counsel [is], the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors [there is] safety.

I just have a desire to screen my counselors. This does not mean that I limit my counselors to “pastors’ only but I guess what I am saying that the “pastor” I desire in my life should be at least able to qualify to be a respected counselor.

Caro said...

WOW, I really didn't understand that emotions would kick in before the end was reaached. My error. Please re-read your own comments, then mine, and you may see what I saw in them, or not.
How do I show love to the very unlovely people who make comments or post blogs or whatever? We reveal ourselves by what we say or don't say. Could there be love in silence? Must I respond to everyone whose remarks "push my buttons"?
As for pastors, MB, I think your are on the right track. One must remembeer that our concept of pastor and teacher is really based upon the concept of the "rabbi." Therefore, we should understand the 1st century concept before we can be sure we are "rightly dividing the Word...". To be a rabbi, one had to have a thorough knowledge of "scripture", both written and oral tradition. Further, one had to have had exposure to many rabbinical points of view and be given to much prayer. Very few of us would qualify (outside the home, that is) and yet we all have opinions about everything.
Qurestion is, are our opinions scriptural or do they represent a narrow focus? You see, both liberal and conservative (I use these terms for simplicity, not clarity) "opinions" are just that, opinions, often NOT the result of serious, long-term study and reflection.
One who is a "public" pastor/teacher must have a total concept of the scriptures. We, who may choose to be "non-public" need only be well-versed in one or two areas.

Anonymous said...

There was never a time when the church was not sinful and struggling with sin. How could it ever be when it is made up of folks just like us? Some sins bug me more than others but they all bug God even the ones that don't bug me so much. I can't change me and I can't change the church either but I know the One Who can and is very involved in that very process. Where I can get off track is when I put the church between me and Jesus and start expecting the church to give me what I need from God; to be free from my sin by the power of their own virtue. It is even worse when I start to think of some special Christians as having an office and expect them to be more than is humanly possible and allow them to discourage me when they fail miserably. There is no division in Christ, no 'office' of one Christian over another. I can't change the false structure of the modern church either but I can choose to change my thinking and I can either worship my God and King in the midst of much human error as believers have done for centuries or I can worship at home with others who are repulsed by what the church has become. What I can't do is set myself somewhere outside the church (for I'm part of her no matter where I am)with an ellitist mindset and constantly bag on her sins. The battle each of us needs to wage with sin is within. We've only the power to clear out our own temple. Maybe when that occurs on a grand enough scale, the substance will create a church also of right form.

Pam

Recovering said...

Caro - Faith and human nature inevitably move toward legalism and institutionalism. It is a battle we must constantly fight. That was what Jesus was so pissed at the Pharisees about and I think we still have to guard against that same set of mistakes today.

I see the folks (generally) at Slice as erring similarly in principle to the religious leaders of Jesus' day. Dogma begins to supersede love. Knee-jerk reactions and harsh words supercede a desire to understand. Religious homogenization supersedes beauty and creativity throughout His Kingdom.

This is where I see Slice readers and contributors going. And it makes me angry...probably not unlike the anger Jesus felt when he saw the Pharisees arrogantly put the rule of the law and self-serving greed over serving the hearts of men. And he stormed throught he Temple overturning tables, rebuking the religious leaders, and clearing out the rank-and-file who participated in their religious imperialism.

So if I seem unloving, I pray that it is becuase my righteous anger toward those that misrepresent Christ is simply misconstrued as something else. I pray that God will correct people like that and allow them to see how much more peaceful life can be when they aren't trying to do the Spirit's job in the lives of everyone they meet or hear about.

Spiritbear said...

Slice of Laodecia. I tried to talk to them once and got 4 pages of scripture quotes. Bible bombs dont make good debate. I gave up.

They need to get a clue.

Anyone they bash is probably good in my book

Caro said...

Pam: I think you hit the mark w/your remarks.
Recovering: Oh yeah, Jesus was angry with the false religion that the Pharisees promoted; but remember, they started as a "Scripture-believing" movement which was opposed to the worldly influence which was getting into their faith. Sound familiar?
Note also that Jesus did NOT maintain an angry disposition toward ALL the group, only the leadership!!! As I read "Slice", I found that the leadership seemed to set the tone for the respondents and they followed her(?) lead. Maybe we could be upset w/Slice and yet have compassion on the people who follow that leader. Are we really so perfect that we can judge "another man's servant"? I really am still distressed by the harshness I (note the 'I') read in(to) some of the remarks made about the "Slicers". His LOVE requires me to love the unlovely by my choice, thus emulating the love of the Father toward me.
If the "church" would indeed expend its efforts on living the life of love He requires, it could show, with great effectiveness, the love which the Father has given to the world. How tragic that we are so self-centered that the world cannot see Christ in us.
Such remarks as you may read her are not to be judgemental as much as they are to be provocative (provoking to good works).
By the way, what is the Westboro Baptist church?

Recovering said...

Westboro Baptist is the group of hate-mongers that hold up the "God Hates Fags" signs and "Thank God for IED" signs among others.

Do a Google Image search on them and you will be disturbed.

SocietyVs said...

Oh Slice, I enjoyed blogging with them for a while until I started question a lot of their tactics - in which case - they boot you (silence you from making comments). As far as I am concerned, anyone that functions like that mine as well not talk about 'freedom of speech' - they censor others - and can be easily considered ignorant (by virtue of closing their ears to anything of even the littlest contention to them).

I had an extremely tough time rationalizing their thoughts with true biblical values within the gospels - so much so - it would seem they never read the gospels (or do not believe it) - thus my discussions with them about 'how they treat people'. In the end, if they want to converse I am more than game for such an event - but that's very unlikely - they hide behind walls of sand who watch for the tide to set in - and it will.