Thoughts about the Gospel

You see…I was taught was that the truest truth about Gods character is his Holiness. That is, He is moral and perfect and sinless. He is perfect, I’m not denying this, but this premise has made our whole basis for relationship with the Father, a legal one. For example…God is perfect and Holy, and can’t look on or tolerate sin. Adam and Eve sinned..and so mankind is cut off from God and to appease Him, He decided to send his Son Jesus and have Him killed in our place. So, now an angry God is satisfied because of the spilling of innocent blood, and He can now look at me accept me and forgive me. A legal transaction completed.

But there is a problem with this…firstly, God the Father and Jesus Christ, along with the Holy Spirit are one. So if God the Father can’t look on sin, if there is this great separation, how can Jesus Christ come and live among us? Eat and drink and love and touch and be close to sinful humanity? Is the Father not in Christ? And is Jesus not one with the Father? And how can I trust a Father that will sacrifice His Son for another? Where does that leave me? Would he sacrifice me his daughter? Put me through untold suffering to achieve His purposes…and then just raise me from the dead to make it all better?

There is something wrong here. We end up with two opposing views of God. On the one hand a punitive God of wrath against sin who cannot tolerate sin or look at it, and on the other hand a loving, selfless Jesus, standing on our behalf, who loves the writhing mass and mess of humanity, and lives amongst us. If you really think long and hard on this model, the only conclusion you can make is that Jesus came and saved us from the Father! What kind of Father is he? It’s no wonder the world is disgusted with this.

And again, with this “God is holy and can’t look on sin” model…It’s rather perverse that a God of love and forgiveness requires payment for sin. I am a mere human, imperfect and made of dust. And yet, when my children sin and I see they are headed for destruction, I forgive them for free! I don’t require someone else to suffer just to make me feel better. My forgiveness is there immediately and for free…just because I love them. What kind of a Father requires innocent blood? It’s just a little sick don’t you think?

So, what I am learning is that the truest truth about God’s character is love and relationship. The doctrine of the trinity cannot be just brushed over. The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one. They have always existed in relationship and this whole planet earth thing for all of time since creation is about God (meaning all three persons) welcoming us into and sharing that relationship with them. The Holiness of God is the perfect love, intimacy, and beauty of that relationship. You can’t separate the Holiness of God from the love of God. It’s all one.

Starting with a relational premise and not a legal one changes everything. Still thinking it all through..more another day.

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And so it continues

The past few years have been an undoing of things in my life and it just keeps going. It’s been painful at times, a feeling of terrible insecurity as I’ve questioned and doubted everything I’ve ever believed. I’m speaking mainly about my beliefs in God and Jesus, and what the Bible teaches.

It’s scary to think that I may have wasted my life to this point, pouring it into things I don’t believe any more. Think hundreds and hundreds of hours spent in church diligently scribbling down notebook after notebook full of preaching, serving, joining programs, activities, supporting ministries, and thousands of dollars. But worse even than that: major decisions, life changing decisions that may have been a completely wrong headed thing to do. All the while being convinced that it was good. Like living away from family…leaving my parents and my in-laws completely distant from us and their grandchildren. And even worse, having my children grow up not knowing what it is like to have grandparents, cousins, aunts or uncles. And for what? I still battle despair and depression if I look back at the years past. The sheer waste of it. I was such an optimistic person, had such hopes, and made every decision carefully….it’s just that my whole basis for making decisions was built on a faulty understanding of God, the world and my place in it.

And while it has been quite a yucky experience, I have to say that a raw, angry and honest questioning of belief has been very healthy for me.

I have sworn (and still do) and raged about the crap that has been preached to me for years and that I believed without question. I’m still sometimes feel angry at the arrogance of preachers who teach and preach with such confidence ┬ábut can’t answer with any intellectual integrity questions put to them. It’s a sad state of affairs really…that the modern church has people preaching from a position of authority (more on that another day) to people who unquestioningly listen…when in fact their theology only is a mish mash of books they have read, often by other misinformed high profile preachers. There has been no systematic study of theology. After all, intellectuality is played down in the circles I’ve been in. The preferred method for determining truth seems to be following feelings of ease or unease in the spirit at worse, to proof texting already established dogmas at best. Neither is sound.

And here I am learning from conservative old men sitting in dusty ancient universities, and discovering that the intellectual world that the Pentecostal movement has spurned is holding veritable treasures about God and humanity and in fact the whole cosmos, while the modern church is preaching confused and often times harmful theology, and working itself in to a frenzy of activity in order to ‘save’ the world. Oh dear.

But while I am still angry about it at times, there is no point me sitting around getting eaten up by this stuff. What’s more, I am completely and thoroughly excited about rebuilding my theology from the ground up. Or should I say from the Trinity outwards. I have never been so touched by how good God actually is.

I’m hoping to be able to actually share what I’m learning here, and would welcome any comments or discussion around it. I’m no theologian, and I’m not saying I understand it all…just that I’m on a discovery of God in a completely new way…

(Written 17/5/2011)

Welcome to Thinky Think

I’m just a nobody. I’m learning stuff. Stuff about theology, and I want a place to think it through. I process and think through writing. So this shall be where I think my theological thinks.

Comments and discussions most welcome. Let’s be friends ok?