Thursday, 22 December 2011

Why can't we get it right?

I'm still working on how we are supposed to view scripture and utilise it. If you've been following my blogs you'll notice its been something of a theme lately.

So what's wrong with the bible, you may ask? Nothing at all! Its totally inspired by God and preserved for us as a reference - everything God intended for us to have as a written record is in it! No problem there.

But here's the problem, as I have expressed from different angles before. If God wanted pure unified doctrines and theologies that would have held His church together, to stand in unity, grow into full maturity etc, how come  he didn't spell it out in black and white, unambiguously, no room for interpretation. Well, you may say, the original languages have changed and we don't know a lot of the original context - all that sort of stuff. But didn't God know that? Didn't he realise that over 2000 years language and culture would change so radically that we would loose the plot? Why didn't He take that into account? After all, He is sovereign, and nothing is impossible for Him.

But wait - there's more! Even in the first church, they couldn't get it right. All Paul's letters are addressing various errors, and there were divisions from the word go. So if all the New Testament is so perfect, what are we missing?

Now don't get me wrong, I'm still saying its completely inspired by God and is exactly what He wanted to be recorded for us. But if we keep struggling to agree on so much stuff (and that's big issues, not just little things that don't matter) we have to start thinking that maybe this is what God planned all along. Maybe he actually didn't want a completely unambiguous set of instructions that we could hold up, and no one could possibly misinterpret. He could have done that if He wanted - He's God!

Maybe He left us this jumble of documents in the hope that we would rely on Him for truth, and maybe we could rely on each other. Maybe His plan is that we trust Holy Spirit in each other. And maybe, just maybe, He's not that fussed if our doctrines are wrong. He could be interested in relationship above all else. Maybe all He is really interested about is Love, after all, that's what He is. Perhaps He purposely allowed the confusion and errors and arguments so we could see that its not about following a set of instructions, that its all about Him. Our restored relationship. About Jesus and what He did to reconcile all mankind.

Maybe the whole purpose of the bible is to bring us to the end of ourselves, so that we just fall into His arms and let His love envelop us and reveal the unbelievable unity we now have with Him, even better than Adam and Eve had!

And maybe when we read it from that perspective we will see His words in a whole new light. God in us, united by the presence of Holy Spirit in every one of us, filling us with His love.

Maybe I'm a dreamer, but who gave us the capacity to dream?
(I'll keep expanding on this theme as its probably the core issue for many of us now, as we argue things like the validity of scripture and battle with fundamentalism.)

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Armour

A slightly different look at the Armour of God mentioned in Eph 6:10-17.

I have always been led to believe that the armour of God was something we put on as we blasted out into warfare waving our swords ready to put the enemy to flight. It was good discipline to consciously put the armour on every morning, memorise the passage and be ready to fight the enemy! My zeal was, of course, well meant, but lacked a little depth and context.

So what is it really?

Belt, body armour, shoes, shield, helmet - all passive stuff, part of resisting as Paul says in the previous verses. And those shoes - the Gospel of peace, not what I'd call fighting boots! All the pieces form something that protects us, allowing us to stand, not run around fighting.

So what about "taking the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God"? Jesus is the Word of God! The sword is Jesus. We don't wield Jesus, flinging Him around like a weapon. The Greek word for "take" actually means "receive, accept, welcome". What a difference! The actual fight is His job, we just accept His victory and stand firm, rest in that place with our feet firmly planted in the gospel of peace. Nothing can touch us with that armour on! Sure you can go into lots of detail about each piece of armour if you want, but its all very simple - truth, righteousness, peace, faith, the assurance of salvation, and Jesus doing all the fighting.

Our instruction is simply to take it, that's all! Pick it up and put it on. Not hard, and its right there ready for us, we don't have to run around looking for it because our relationship with Father allows us free access to it - He's holding it out for us ready to slip it on. And once we've put it on we can rest knowing that the enemy can't touch us and Jesus is doing all the hard work! Now we can get on with the important stuff without having to worry about that pesky devil!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Good Exegesis!

Gods plan for the world is much bigger than our opinions over a few scriptures. If scriptures were so indisputable and all that was required was "good exegesis" then I think all of our woes should have been well and truly sorted by now. You'd kinda think that after 2000 years we could get our theology right!
But it just keeps getting worse - more divisions, doctrines and theologies than ever before - and more theologians who have the best texts than ever before - and still a bigger mess than we could imagine!
So study is not the answer, endlessly digging up scripture is not the answer. The more we bury our heads in endless studies of the scriptures, the more we end up like the Pharisees.
Its heart, its relationship, its allowing the Holy Spirit to renew our minds to the incredible unity that Jesus enabled. Its letting him be Daddy, knowing that we ARE new creations and he will never leave us. Its relationship - from beginning to end, nothing more, nothing less. He has planned it all from the beginning. He created every single person for relationship and He will not loose even one. I can trust Holy Spirit in me, and being created in his image means all the basics of our personality/character/makeup are like his. The bits that are "greater than our ways" are things like, how He keeps everything going, how He pulls it all together and makes all things work together for good. His character, however, is firmly imprinted deep in our hearts, sometimes tainted, but always the desire of dreams.

He is love, first and foremost, and he has made sure we understand love. Its indelibly stamped on our hearts, every single one of us. WE understand justice, he put it in us, and he gave us wonderful enquiring minds that can explore the depths of all He has put before us. He left things hidden for us to explore, ever unfolding the life before us. He gave us logic and deduction, the ability to philosophy and dream. He gave us Jesus, who became the centre of all our dealings with God, past present and future, gave us a new spirit, so that ALL shall be reconciled, and he came to dwell in us and us in Him - in all his fullness! His love NEVER fails, NEVER gives up, neither in this age or the age to come, and finally He shall destroy death itself.

He is wonderful beyond our wildest dreams, He brings hope to the hopeless, that need suffer no longer. Salvation is now, and through all ages, through trials and sufferings, pride and pain, until all that is not of Him is burnt away and we see Him for who He is and every knee will gladly bow and every tongue gladly confess He is Lord - and we will walk in perfect unity with Him into eternity!

Amen, Maranatha!! (Our Lord come - our Lord has come!)

Thursday, 15 December 2011

What’s in a WORD?

For years the law demolished us
Our heart and soul our simple trust
With no accountability
It ruled in its verbosity
Twisted WORD misunderstood
And good turns evil and evil good
Using “submission” (a voluntary state of meekness)
As enslaver’s chain
And “accountability” (to be an open book)
For personal reign
WORDsmiths groan in painful measure
As the WORD is robbed of intrinsic treasure
And the sweetest SPIRIT is quenched once more
While HE THE WORD waits at the door
For if in wresting it was defiled
Let it now be reconciled
Let ears be opened and HIS heart be heard
And let us now redeem the WORD

Harrison  Burns
(Turn of the century Christian poet)

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Victorious Cross

A great quote from Joel Adifon ~

The more we grow in the ways of the LORD, the greater the possibility for us become dangerous threats to the agenda of the kingdom of darkness.
Desperate to stop us from attaining the full stature of Christ, the enemy will do everything he possibly can to focus our attention on new teachings and take our eyes off of the Teacher.
As great as miracles, signs, and wonders are, they are not the Gospel.
The enemy loves watching Christians spend hours of their lives reading dozens of testimonies, watching street healing videos, going to signs and wonders conferences, and trying to live vicariously via their favorite pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc.
Don't get me wrong, I love hearing and reading about what God has done.
I think solid teaching on healing in the Kingdom is definitely important for feeding one's spirit man with faith.
I love watching videos on believers taking the power of God to the marketplace.
...Papa, has been rocking me lately and bringing me back to the Source of all of these things.
The Source of power is not the latest video, mp3 teaching, or conference.
The Source is the Gospel and the Gospel is summed up in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
We should be glorying in nothing other than the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
If any other thing besides the Cross becomes the focal point of the messages we preach, we're missing something.
Come on Church! :)
Let's not have a been there done that attitude with the Cross, as if it's some elementary teaching that is only for baby Christians.
The Victorious Cross of Jesus Christ is the source and summit of the Christian life.
It was never meant to be Christianity 101.
Preach the Healer and healings will manifest.
Preach the Deliverer and demons will be scattered.
Preach the One who sanctifies and holiness will be a natural fruit.
Preach the Lover of souls and people will be saved.
It's all His work! :)
We're just hanging on for the ride.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Saving the Lost

if we really, really believed, that humanity's last hope for redemption is this life and that most will be lost to eternal hell, and we claim to know how Father weeps for the lost and the pain he feels for every one of them breaks his heart, what on earth are we sitting around for, wasting time studying endless doctrines, going to meetings, partying, and even working or going to school for that matter! There are billions needing to know the gospel right now, every second we waste thousands are dropping off into hell - lost forever! This is horrible beyond comprehension, and WE are their only hope! Common, how can you live with yourselves knowing that every second, we are braking Daddy's heart and allowing people to completely unwittingly walk straight into eternal torture!!

Its an unbelievably hard job and the whole burden is on US, its as if every second that passes we personally have "hit the big red button" that sends another one down the chute.

And worse still, poor old God is sitting there utterly helpless, in tears, unable to even give us enough help to do the job, because its our job, and the Holy Spirit is too flat out to get to everyone in time. Yes, of course Jesus died to set us free from sin, but unfortunately it wasn't really that effective, it only works for a few lucky enough to hear about it in time... and oh, there goes another one. Was that my fault? Will I be held accountable for everyone? And what on earth will happen when I finally stand before Him? "Well Jim, you didn't try hard enough and 4,675,237 souls are now being tortured for eternity because of you! But that's okay, because you are saved, and you can spend the rest of eternity with me living happily ever after, and we won't even think about those poor souls any more because that would just spoil all the fun!"

Is this too silly? Really?...

Friday, 9 December 2011

The fear of Ultimate Reconciliation

I think the fear so many feel from even looking at this subject with any sort of objectiveness is real and should be respected. I myself have read all the books about both sides (well, lots of them), been a christian for 40 yrs, gone to bible college, had the full gamut of teaching from every corner of christendom, and I can't escape a few glaring facts that refuse to go away no matter how much theology I throw at them.

The biggest one (which I posted on Facebook the other day) in a nutshell, is something along the lines of: why would God create billions of precious people in his very image, out of his heart of love, knowing full well that most of them would end up in unbearable, horrific torture for eternity with no hope of reconciliation? It not only makes no sense but makes God out to be a tyrant more cruel than any human could possibly be, let alone want to be! He has put his heart of love in each of us - we know what love is, he describes his own character in 1Cor 13. So its not only impossible to think that God would just say "oh well, you lost your chance - off to hell with you and no chance of redemption", it is incomprehensible, and loathsome on any level. We to easily fob it off by saying His ways are higher than ours and other stuff about his justice being pure etc, but how come our standards are higher than His?

So where does that leave us? I have wrestled with this for years, and my passion for Jesus has only grown as I discover more and more of his grace. As I let more of His love fill me this question becomes a bigger issue, something I can't just cover up with a bunch inconsistent scriptures. I'm not afraid to be wrong! But God gave me a brain and a heart, that I have used with as much integrity as I can muster. Something is wrong with this picture - and I think its time we stopped burying our heads in dogma and had sensible discussions knowing that we can trust Holy Spirit in each other!

Thursday, 8 December 2011


I'm not against theology, working out the nitty gritty of scriptures etc, but its only a secondary thing, its not the real issue. The entirety of the gospel is simple and it embraces the heart of a God who IS love - every part of his being is love. Jesus is the physical embodiment of that love and the more we embrace that, the more we bathe in His amazing unconditional acceptance, look into His face, lean on his breast and hear His heartbeat, see the wonders of His creation, experience His comfort in the midst of devastation - we realise that our efforts at trying to piece together who he is by scripture alone, fail miserably. Jesus said it was far better that He go so we could have the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, God IN us, creating our unity with the entire Godhead. We are privy to the heart of Father now, by the amazing redemptive work of Jesus. This alone gives us our understanding of Gods nature, our hearts witness to it, and scripture supports it, not the other way around.