Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
7 “Christian” Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible by Jonathan Fisk
This is the second in a series of articles expounding on the quotes from the book 7 “Christian” Rules that Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible, by Jonathan Fisk. As you read the quotes, honestly think about the answers to the following questions: Does this “belief” remind you of anything (denomination, preacher, philosophy) in our world today? Have you ever had this “belief”?
“Mysticism: The belief that direct knowledge of God can be attained through your subjective experiences of God or something godlike. Mysticism, then, is nothing more than worship of your emotions.” The idol of mysticism is your emotion which suggests that you can find God in your heart.
Back in the late 60s and early 70s there was a “program” of Bible studies using what was called the serendipity approach, which, more or less was an approach for Bible study in which each participant was asked, “So, what does this passage mean to you?” This “emoting” was expounded in the Star Wars movies with the understanding that it was the feeling of the “force” that led one to act. A corollary to this approach is the post-modern belief that truth is relative, that what may be true for me may not be true for you and visa-versa, but what is true is what you feel to be true for you. As someone, and I do not remember who, said, if you were on an airplane and the pilot would announce over the loud speaker, “We are approaching the runway. I am going to turn off all the instruments, close my eyes and let the force lead my landing.” My response would be, “No, no, no, open your eyes, turn on all the instruments, or let someone else land the plane!”
Our emotions are often fickle and change according to our experiential experiences. In other words, as we move through the day and experience each part of the day, our emotions change. To make our emotions the root of our faith would lead us on a very traumatic roller coaster ride.
Rather than let our emotions, which are not very trustworthy, rule the day, we depend on the unchanging Word of God. It is God in His Word who gives us knowledge of Himself, and it is the Holy Spirit working through the very Word of God, when and where He pleases giving faith, forgiveness and eternal life. We always point people to God and His Word as the only sure and certain source of salvation.
“Moralism: The belief that access to God can be achieved through your personal efforts or attempts to improve yourself. Moralism, then, is nothing more than the worship of your works.” The idol of moralism is your vocation, that is that you can find God in your hands.
Today we hear moralism in those who would teach (and preach) that you can be the person God wants you to be; you can achieve being a morally good person on your own, without any help from God. Now certainly, to some extent people can be morally good and have a morally good character, but this social moralism does not and cannot achieve access to God. God’s command is quite clear, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48). Since we are conceived and born in sin (Ps. 51:5) and since every intention of our hearts is evil all the time (Gen. 6:5), we cannot achieve access to God through our morally good character. And interestingly enough, to suggest that we can achieve access to God through our morally good character, if that were true, we would have no need for God, for Jesus, for salvation as we would indeed save ourselves.
Moralism, therefore, leads one either to despair because we cannot be the people God wants us to be, or it leads to works righteousness thinking that we have earned God’s good pleasure. Pointing back to God and His Word, He tells us that we are sinners and yet because of His love for us He sent His only Son, Jesus, to live perfectly for us in our place and then trade His perfect life for our imperfect life, our sins in order to pay the price for our sins on the cross. As always, we get it right when we are pointed back to the sure and certain source of salvation, the very Word of God.