jeudi 17 novembre 2011

Imitating Jesus on this coming year - 2012

We have some time difficulty to show appreciation where praises are due and rebuttals where correction are perceived to the same entity. We like to polarize issues. We are usually either for someone to the point of being blinded by their reprehensible behaviors or we are totally against the person to the point that we are blinded even to their good aspects. This comes to us easily and we find it natural; and i may say "it is human". However as Christians we need to learn to recognize the profitable and the non profitable from the same sources. Remember how Jesus did it.

At the church of Ephesus and Pergamos, Jesus started acknowledging that he knew their works and He encouraged them in good works and as He ended His prophetic message, He nevertheless said to them that He had few things against them though, and He rebuked them and gave corrections. See more in the New Testament book of Revelation chapter 2.

When John the Baptist seemed confused about Jesus Messianic presence as he was in jailed and soon to be beheaded, Jesus sent him evidences of who He was and added as a corrective remark that blessed are those who didn't find in Him a stumbling block which apparently was the case with John the Baptiste. And as we keep reading the account we read Jesus exalting John the Baptist saying that among those born of women, none was greater than John. It is clear that even if his ("theological") faith in Christ was shaken, and that Jesus did reproach him that, He (Jesus) didn't forgot that he (John) was still a great man.

And again, Jesus shows this absolutely balanced view as He spoke to people about His mortal enemies, so deadly in fact that they were the force that ended his physical ministry in Jerusalem and immobilized Him on a cross. Jesus said of them to those who heard Him (i am paraphrasing), "do what they (Pharisees) tell (teach) you but do not do what they do".  This is just an honest and objective look at issues, and Jesus just got the high score of objectivity in His ministry. He was and still is an inspiration to me.

But what do we do when we disagree with someone even in the least minor issues, be it theological or else? I'll tell you what we do, we just reject everything that person says as if it were a pestilence and unworthy of even the slightest consideration. I should mention that each time we do that, we forfeit our right to learn, to be instructed and to grow; of course we have the right to choose that too. O:) If I had only limited my readings and my listening to Christians with whom I only theoretically agree with in all aspect of the Christian theology, I certainly wouldn't be nearly the person that I am today. I would probably have seen my good friends still growing up and maturing (ex. my old friend Ngabe) and I suspect that I would have blamed God of that spiritual stagnancy of mine instead of looking hard on my direction to see the sources of the real blame.

When Jesus taught about how judgement should be done, He did that as a reproach to the Israelite. He told them that when they Judged, they did that after the flesh. But when Jesus judged, He did that according to the truth; which means if I allow myself an interpretation, the judgment after the flesh is based on personal affinity and appreciation (subjective). While the judgment of the Lord Jesus (the truth) was being done with what corresponded to reality - what the things really were- (objective).

As an example, i do believe in the charismatic move of the Spirit of God in this age, which consist in the spiritual gifts such as prophecies, word of knowledge, discernment of spirits and signs and wonders etc. So you might say that i have a pro-charismatic theology and i have never found reasons to doubt it. Now just imagine that i read something like this:

"We see evidence of this (that the sufficiency of Scripture is under under attack), in the fact that so many pastors and church leaders now doubt that Scripture is sufficient diet for the saints. They want to supplement biblical teaching with entertainment ... extra-biblical motivational talks ... Do you want more evidence that evangelicals are losing confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture? You will see it in the rise of evangelical mysticism -  the belief that Christians need to listen to God speaking directly to them through strong impressions in their mind, a voice in their head, or other mystical means. Some evangelicals have become obsessed with Satan and demonic powers. They imagine that they can command demons merely by speaking to them. All such mysticism is in reality nothing more than dabbling with the occult. It stems from a loss of confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture. Those who aren't convinced the Bible is a sufficient revelation of truth will be continually looking elsewhere fore more 'revelation' and new mystical experiences. In doing so, they open the door wide to the worst kinds of demonic deception."

What do you think is my first reaction? Usually people who makes assertions like this are not interesting to me, as i believe that they don't know half of what they are talking about in this issues. But should i hence think that because they have little or incorrect understanding of the charismatic move of the Spirit that they are clueless with all regard to the Christian faith and doctrines? Not necessarily. For example, this small excerpt that I gave you come from a Christian Scholar who is quite good in other aspects of the Christian faith, and it would be a great disservice to my spiritual life and growth to ignore him because of his ideological/theological misunderstanding and falsely conceived apprehension of the charismatic gifts/power of the Holy Spirit. Actually for those who are interested to know the author of that excerpt, it is Dr. John MacArthur in his book, (i am currently reading), "THINK BIBLICALLY! : Recovering a Christian Worldview. page 23. Ed. 2003".

Actually, he is not an exception to have a peculiar view that would make some segment of the Christian community uncomfortable. Tell me, would you consider avoiding to read and listen someone who says: "An unanimated corpse is not a human body. If you lose your arm in an accident, then that object severed from you is, despite appearances, not a human arm (because it is no longer animated by a soul)." Such a person says that because he doesn't believe in the distinction between soul and body. Would you listen to him or them? If you do not, you would have forfeited the opportunity to learn and equipped by such a great man as Professor J.P Moreland. For those of us who have benefited from his ministry, we know that without him our apologetic equipment for the christian faith wouldn't have been what it is today.

Hence, i end this post by inviting you to challenge yourself in this year of 2012. Do not just judge a person from only one thing that you find difficult to digest in his spirituality, be willing to first judge what he says based on the truth and not from the flesh when you hear Christians speaking. It might turn up to become salutatory to your spiritual growth as you learn to discern what to keep and what to reject. As for me, i am planning to keep growing again this year if the Lord give that grace again as He did for the past years.

May the Lord bless you as you learn from Him through His Word and through His body (the Church members) on this coming year of 2012,

May the Lord really bless you all in Jesus name!

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