Monday, October 31, 2005

No one has it all together

I want to learn to live contently without having all the right answers. Opinions are flying around like neutrinos and everyone thinks they have the truth altogether. I do believe in absolute truth but I doubt anyone's ever going to get a handle on it this side of eternity. Absolute Truth is a person, not a collection of words or a discourse of opinions. And we're never going to see that person with perfect vision, not while we're looking through these sin-tainted lenses - no way, not going to happen. So do me a favour and don't preach to me your opinions as if it's an air tight argument, and I'll try my darndest to do the same, lest I be labelled a hypocrite by my own words.

But then again, who isn't a hypocrite? If everyone's got an opinion that happens to be some fuzzy version of the truth, and if everyone's life is not a pure reflection of their words. How can anyone NOT be a hypocrite? Come on, let's get real. I have in a plank in my eye, and so do you. It's not that I should remove the plank from my eye to help you with your speck. Rather I should remove the plank from my eye because it's only one of many logdged in there!

The Bible, as long it remains in written form, is subject to interpretation and ambiguity. How many commentators have I read that all have something different to say about a particular passage. And let's admit it: we look to commentators and Bible scholars as our 'authority' on the scriptures. You've heard the preachers that validate their points by saying, "One commentator says that ..." Now I know I may be on the verge of sliding into some Neo Orthodox theology in the vein of Karl Barth, but all I'm saying is, no one's got the truth, even though it does exist.

I don't think Truth can possibly exist outside of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. All intellectual and rhetorical reasonings are fluff as we have seen that many people profound idiots have written many books and received many PhD's. I'm being more and more convicted that the attribution of truth is not in the grandeur of your analytical skills, but in your humility and willingness to listen to Jesus and obey Jesus.

Now, I'm not saying that everyone's opinion is erroneous or untrue - certainly we can discern the truth in statements. We all know the danger of being a skeptic to truth, because we would be forced to be a skeptic of our own minds and thoughts.

God knows that we don't all have it together and it's ok. That's why he calls us to daily fellowship with and dependence on Him. Let's get back to the person behind the Bible, let's get back to the God of all reasoning and truth. He's got it all together.

Friday, October 28, 2005

from concept to conduct

We’re all cooking in a stew of ideas. Ever notice how there aren’t a lot of great thinkers in our day whose ideas have been revolutionary and new to the extend of changing the shape of the world we live in? It seems gone are the thinkers like Marx, Darwin and C.S. Lewis, who, with a few carefully chosen words in print can mould humanity’s mentalities so considerably? The Teacher in Ecclesiastes was right when he said, “Of writing many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.” So many people with so many opinions and so much time to tell their so many opinions to so many people who have their own opinions and on and on it goes. The institution of the University thrives on this type of system of attempting to come up with a brilliant new idea, put it in print with your name beside it, and someone will call you “Doctor.”

Probably what God wants more than people who think they know something, is people who do something. Conduct – at the end of the day this is what matters to God. On judgment day, God will never ask us what philosophy we were able to comprehend, or what concepts we conjured up. Rather he’ll say, “I know your works!” Even as I sit hear writing, all I can think of is who will read this and say, “wow, what deep thoughts!” what a wretched man I am! Sure, we gotta use our brains, they are an indispensable tool and weapon in our spirituality, but thinking thoughts for the sake of impressing others is completely missing the point and is pride par excellence - even if it is theology and apologetics that you have mastered. According to Romans 12, renewing our minds is a function of already having offered our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. The discernment of the will of God comes after the body has been offered to God in worship - this is talking about deeds! How ashamed would I be if I were to fill my head with brilliant ideas, but to leave my hands empty and unused for God’s purposes!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Eternal moments of time

Traditional theologians believe that there are no sequential moments with God. He exists in a moment of NOW. In other terms, they rationalize that God has no potentiality to Him, that He is pure act, which is to say that He is static in His unchangeableness and in no way experience any sort of succession in moments. They effectively reduce God to some infinitely large and unmoving blob. Is God like that? Our God is not static, but dynamic. We should not think of God's immutability in the sense that He does not ever change or move. He is a thinking, acting, creating, electing, redeeming, atoning God. These require some passage of 'time' however it may be that God would experience it. If there were no potentiality with God, He could never do anything that He has not already done.

Now, I'm no open theist. God is not a learning new things and experiencing the future with the same degree of surprise as we do. That is just plain unbiblical. But, I'm sure there's room in our theology for a God that experiences time in some sense or another. There had to have been an interval between God deciding to create the world and God deciding to redeem it from its sin.

Let's slow down in our lofty thoughts about God before we make Him into a being that we can neither really know or relate with.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Where are the Robin Hoods?

Fact: Jesus isn't coming back until all nations have had a chance to hear and respond to the gospel.
How do we know this? First all, he said so in Matt. 24:14, "This gospel will be preached as a testimony to all nations, then the end will come." Secondly, Rev. 7:9 says that around the throne are peoples from every tribe and tongue. So let's get this into our heads. JESUS AIN'T COMING BACK TILL ALL THE ETHNIC PEOPLES HEAR THE GOSPEL. Now, can anyone tell me what implication that has for those who want Jesus to come back? Well, from my understanding, we should get our butts in gear and preach to the unreached.

But who are the unreached? Missiologists define them as people groups that do not yet have a church planted among them. Fine and well, but all too often this definition means those peoples who don't have many Christians. But, let's examine what 'unreached' really means. It seems to be, by the very semantics of the word, 'unreached' means those groups who have yet to have been reached with the gospel. It does not mean those with minimal exposure to the gospel, but those without any exposure to the gospel. So, Han Chinese, Thais, Cambodian, Indonesians, for the most part, are not unreached - they simply don't have many Christian converts. As long as one person from an ethnic group has heard the Gospel, they are reached. Now, that only leaves those small and neglected tribes out there in the jungles who are largely uncivilized. They are the ones truly unreached and untouched by the gospel. You would think hoardes of missionaries would be clamouring for the chance to reach these groups, but not so.

I think we're totally missing the point altogether. We spend all our money and efforts plugging away at the millions of 'unreached' in Asian countries trying to get the numbers up, when it's not numbers of individuals that is most critical per se, but varieties of peoples. While we try our darndest to evangelize those groups who already have converts in their number, entire tribal groups in the Amazon and Papua New Guinea are so far from the Gospel, that they don't have a single word of the Bible written in their native language nor the luxury of hearing Jesus' name ring in their ears even once. The languages of these people are not being heard in heaven, and Jesus isn't coming back until they are.

If the truths of the gospel were to be put in economic terms, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Why is so much being done to feed those who already have so much while generation after generation of genuinely unreached tribes perish? 2000 years of feeding the fat cats at home when we were supposed to be going to the farthest end of the earth - we ought to be ashamed.

Robin Hood was one who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. We need more of those in missions today. Once all the nations have been accounted for, then work on getting the numbers and the quality up. Doesn't this make sense?