Monday, January 21, 2013

The Laws that Govern

It is the beginning of a new year and time for some perspective.

It is important at times to step back and analyze any position we might hold in light of objective analysis. This effort for a person considering leaving a group or have left a group that they believe is toxic is probably one of the most healthy things that they can do. Look at it this way, if what was being held as truth and scripture was indeed the ‘right’ approach, then it will be able to bear up under the most intense scrutiny. In other words, what was taught as ‘the gospel’, ‘the true way’, ‘the Kingdom message’, or the ‘gospel of the Kingdom’ should bear up under the application of basic scriptural truths and yet remain cogent, coherent and logically consistent in all its aspects. If it does not, then the truth of it is, no matter how much one wants to stake into it, it is not a position that should be used upon which to base a life. In other words, it is either true or it is not true – there are no ‘half’ truths. In a dysfunctional religious group there is a weaving of scriptures into a garment that is supposed to clothe those that follow royally. Yet it is those same scriptures that allow us to see that perhaps the ‘beauty’ of the garment is perhaps an illusion altogether. So, when we look at what I would like to call a foundational point or that upon which a person’s or group’s position rests upon, what must be done is to look at that point and the construction of it to see if it is:

1>     Logical-we can reach conclusions that are not held to be speculative but arrive at solid points that offer no other possible meaning.

2>     Cohesive –each precept of this foundational point reinforces the others and each one can stand on its own not depending any other for support.

3>     Consistent- as a whole what is presented as a ‘foundation’ is consistent with its parts and can be verified independently in the scripture without any dependency on another precept.

Any other design will not do because in order to be such a foundation, it must have origins that make sense in this observable and physical world but transcend it. It must be at the final conclusion something only God Himself could construct and this is the miracle: that we can see it, know it and compare it to things that parade as something they are not: truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

It was Finished

 So when we talk about the gospel of Christ, we must take that as the ‘news of Christ’. Something that has been written down and recorded; when we look at the Apostolic works, we see Christ in them and that there is nothing that goes beyond the shadow of the Cross. Not our cross but His. Primarily, the gospel is a story of salvation in the sense that Christ’s blood was shed for

1>     our propitiation: He stood in our place and paid the price

2>     our  justification: He would become the focal point of our eternal state before God.

3>     our salvation: He would answer all onslaughts and accusations regarding our life as a disciple leading and  guiding us and so being the ‘double cure’ for us. Not just to answer what we have done but to be that answer to how to lead this life in being dedicated to God and for His purposes – being holy unto God.

So the point being is where is the real focal point of the above? Let us take the words of Christ Himself:

‘It is finished’ – John 19:28
What is the nature of this finishing? It is from a greek root word (telos) we get the true power and meaning of this statement:

1) end
a) termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be (always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time)
b) the end

2) the last in any succession or series

3) eternal
c) that by which a thing is finished, its close, issue
d) the end to which all things relate, the aim, purpose

4) toll, custom (i.e. indirect tax on goods)

The ONLY Inflection Point

So the focal point is the Cross and nothing else. Folks, it is not baptism, it is not Spirit Baptism, it is not potentially part of being a member of God’s ‘elite’ a.k.a. The Remnant, Joel’s Army, Manifestation of the True Sons of God, The Kingdom. The degree and power of the Cross is absolute and eternal. As religious beings (our sin nature), we want to take so much away from the Cross and apply to what traipses as the gospel of Christ but isn’t this simply adding on to the message of the Cross and making its way barred for people to find. If you read the commentaries from the scriptures surrounding this point in time yet transcending time you will see all the aspects of the future destiny of all those who would cling to the Cross and the work of Christ. So what happened around this point in time?

a>darkness clothed the earth at mid-day and there was no movement in heaven or earth
b> the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom
c>  the earth did quake, and the rocks rent

d> And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose

It was a moment unlike any other in past, present or future. It was the point of inflection when the old creation died and the new creation was coming on. Old ways were swiped away and the reaction of this creation was like a giving of birth. These are now the laws that govern. But like the converted Jews of Jesus and the Apostolic times, there was a temptation to rely on tradition and what was familiar and to galvanize that with the fresh news of the gospel of Christ. What they did was to add back in  ‘old ways’ to the new and living way and the result was probably the darkest of khefts ever conjured: the religious Christian.  What is the theme of the religious Christian? That there is more than the cross of Christ: That there is personal responsibility for one’s eternal salvation (notice I did NOT say state). While we are to ‘work out our salvation in fear and trembling, we do not nor ever could add to or take away from it. This is the meaning of 1 Cor 3:10-15. When a mentality of a religious Christian is in place, there are two distinct groups:  “Us” and “Them”.  What defines such groups is the very word of God is used to cause this division and defies one of the tenets of having any type of legitimate foundation point or creedal position: ‘ A is always A and cannot at anytime not be A’. So we have a decision to make. In DRGs the ‘Us and Them’ divides the body of Christ into the elite inheritors and some subnormal or malformed group. There are many analogies to this but the reflection and face of Christ that they portray to the world is more the Pharisee than the Man from Nazareth. It is these that say ‘It is good you believe in Jesus but you must be circumcised (follow our tradition and teachings) and obey the Law (not just the Mosaic Law but every Mishna or every teaching that we have derived from it as an application of it)…”  This takes many forms and what has really been done is the Universals of the faith have been mixed in with the particulars and all called essential. We must understand a few things here and must be clear. If the natural world is but a reflection of the spiritual world as much as they may claim it is, then let us take a look at the conception of the New Birth as compared to the Natural One.

Fact: At the point of conception, a DNA unique and unrepeatable is created.
Fact: All physical attributes are completed (eye color, hair, etc) are created.

There are other things that are worked within the individual that comprise the person such as personality but key question is WHEN the soul is born. If we were to look to the ancient leaders in the church of Jesus Christ, perhaps their premise should be followed:

“The Soul  begins at Conception. ..Life begins when the Soul begins…”  --Tertullain

This is the universal truth and fact that reflects in the natural birth; What many dysfunctional religious groups teach is that there is ‘something more that is needed to complete the birth’; this is seen in many aspects such as: water baptism, spirit baptism or even both and without them the person (believer) is somehow malformed.  Yet if spiritual birth is like its natural counterpart – and I would challenge those who have any evidence that in principle that they are different. After all the ‘seed’ talked about by the Apostle Paul is the ‘spermatikos’ – or sperm. So friend, what can be added to the point of conception by the Spirit? Nothing.   There are complexities that are built regarding the state of the believer that are out-of-line with this one stark and SIMPLE fact. God has used one of the most common and central themes of a person’s eternal state and composition with perhaps the most basic examples and experiences of mankind to reflect His wisdom and message: the natural birth.  This is an example of comparing a viewpoint to the basics of the faith and see how it stacks up.

A Just Weight

See how well your view of what it takes to be a Christian lines up with these basic tenets – the Laws that Govern:

1>     Your view must be internally consistent in its composition: What this means is the doctrinal statements are consistent with each other and lead to logical conclusions that are consistent. For example taking the above regarding spiritual birth. Does your doctrinal stance reflect full spiritual conception at the point of birth (contact)? If not then there are many states of being for the Christian believer some good and some not so good but the Bible reflects only one type of believer – one that is born and from the above all the person is and will be is already present we are born human we don’t become human.

2>     Your view must be logically coherent. For example your position on the Holy Spirit when He comes to live inside you…when is that? To be logically coherent, you cannot be a Christian without the Spirit of God – He is the spermatikos: That is He is there at the point of conception. Where is conception? Outside the body? No. To believe the Spirit is only an influence or upon the Christian when they receive Christ is not logically consistent and yields speculative states of the Christian that were never intended. This is where the modern church begins to divide the body of Christ into pieces that were never in the mind and purpose of God. To state it frankly: You cannot be a Christian without the Spirit and if the Spirit is the agent of justification and salvation and He is the seed of God for conversion…what logical and consistent conclusion must be reached? He doesn’t take residence later but is there from the beginning.

3>     Your view should line up with historical evidence. So many times we run to something new when  if we would stop and look and compare to bulwarks of the faith we might not be so quick to embrace.

4>     Your view should provide fecundity. That is it should inspire you to seek and gain knowledge not protect the ‘secrets’ but expose them to the world and prove they are what you say they are: the truth. If this is what your view works itself out in the real world  i.e. you are reluctant to share the fullness of your faith because it is hard to understand, takes a long time to explain or you have basic questions yourself where others fit in and where even where you yourself fits in, then your view is not fulfilling the basic mandate of Christ: to go into all the World. Jesus is not scared or intimidated by what His viewpoint is and historically the church has not either, so where are you?  Truth is not afraid of scrutiny…are you?

5>     Your view should not fundamentally be altered when new evidence comes to light. Are you in a situation where the fundamentals of your faith are still being defined? For example, does the leader bring a revelation that alters the main tenets of what you have been taught – i.e. may it change your eternal destiny? If so, it has been fundamentally altered based upon the words of usually one man or woman.

6>     Your view should be simple and straightforward with no hidden truth to be revealed later that involves the salvific position of yourself or who you are talking to at the time.

These are the Laws that Govern…so how does your view and foundational position stack up? If there is any point above that is a question, does your view fully explain reality as it is? If it does not reflect the above points, then you might be living in an altered reality and not a real one…but perhaps you already know that. Maybe the Spirit of God is trying to get through to you that you are wasting precious time in an effort that is a man’s vision and not God’s.