March 12th, 2014


Who is God? part Eight

Romans 8:12-27

Who is God?
The Spirit: the God in the Church

My attempt to explain who God is has led us along a path of successive self-revelations of God to his people. This is, really, the only way we can know who God is – who the real God really is – for we have no tools with which to study him other than those he gives us. We are like the figures in a painting or a diorama created by an artist. The artist himself leaves plenty of clues to himself in his work, but none which is himself, so unless he tells us about himself explicitly, all our attempts to describe him wind up with us creating God in our image, rather than the other way round. In the coming of Jesus, the artist enters his own work, as one of the figures in the piece, and we learn even more about him. But then, after Jesus’s departure, God reveals himself in a new way.Collapse )
lindisfarne gospels

Battle of the Proof-texts

I'm not much of an evangelical. I don't really come from the subculture, and I've never been a Bible-thumper. Shouting out, "Opinions 6:12!" or "Hezekiah 4:19!" does not express an argument, though it may start one. Tearing the Bible into slogans is of questionable legitimacy. Even worse, it's a bore.

In their quest to overturn common Christian morals, the progressives have now turned proof-texting on its head. In response to what they call "clobber verses," they have painstakingly put together references to various outmoded dietary laws and other stuff and cite them endlessly to show how silly we are to stick at converting the sins they admire into virtues. I find their Biblical scholarship as disingenuous as I find the other side's to be lazy.

In fact, I think both evangelicals and progressives are guilty at times of inventing their own past, the real Judeo-Christian past. The progressives, who think basing authority on the past is illegitimate in the first place, I see making up facts as required to support their case. The sad truth is, evangelicals, who constantly appeal to the past (the Biblical record as well as Church history), often have a view of the past that I don't think stands very strict scrutiny, either.

Whatever else the Gospel is, it is a Story. The Gospel goes back to the earliest parts of the Old Testament and is carried forward past the end of the New Testament into the age of the Church. We are writing the latest chapter of the Story. But we don't get to make it whatever we want. Self-righteousness always wants to make a "Mary Sue" of the Gospel, with a consequent loss of power; this is, in essence, what the progressives want to make of it. The challenge is to accept all that has gone before and attempt to write your chapter in such a way that will be true to the characters and theme. That will require us all to confess our sins and repent of them and mortify our swollen Selves, before the Editor will pass our manuscript.