Friday, February 29, 2008

"If they knock on your door, you already gave

... You don't need no more of what's ailin' ya." -- Lenny Kravitz

I was over at an Eastern Orthodox forum, and I was astounded at the volume of guilty conscience. Guilt ridden people, led by a theology that says you might as well play it safe with God and confess confess confess. A theology that says that in the end you don't know if you're going to be saved, so do all you can. It's sad.

My hope: God made me alive in Christ. I who was once an enemy of God, who was dead in trespasses and sins, have been made alive in Christ, and I have been seated in heavenly places with Him. I have the Spirit of Sonship, a guarantee of my inheritance, by which I cry, "Abba, Father!"

My foundation: The finished work of Christ on the cross, and God's vindication of Him by raising Him from the tomb after 3 days. Christ bore God's wrath, so I wouldn't have to. (Lose this at your peril, Eastern Orthodox and Emergents....) Now by faith I am connected with God and His life flows through me.

So exhort me, but don't make me go to confession before communion.


Brian said...

And yet...

"Lord have mercy on me, a sinner..."

I know little about Eastern Orthodoxy, so I don't pretend to address that particular question. But perhaps this is related:

If we are really to follow the radical example of Jesus, maybe rather than worrying so much about our place in heaven, we should be worrying more about serving others.

After all, if we are altruistic because we think that will get us to heaven, then that's not much for altruism, is it?

But in fact we are commanded to "in humility, consider others better than yourself." Why should that not carry on to salvation?

In summary, I think maybe my attitude should be, "I know not whether I will be saved, and in fact it doesn't matter to me. What does matter is that I love God and love neighbor, and that I trust God for the rest."

So, how do you like them apples?

John said...

I don't know too much about EO, but I've been observing it over the last year or so on Podcasts and websites, and that's just my impression.

Regarding "Lord have mercy on me, a sinner..." That's great for an entry. And at least once, Paul warned people "take heed lest you also fall", regarding people who help others recover from a sin. I was raised Catholic--you don't have to teach me to second guess myself--I do it *all the time*. It's crippling. It sucks.

You gotta weigh all the verses pertaining to post-conversion life against each other: the aching soul searching ones vs. the joyful confident ones. My impression is that the greater part of the Christian walk should be about joy, interspersed by times of "Lord, what is wrong with me? Who will deliver me from the body of this death." Could be 51-49, I don't know. (I might add here, Romans 5 talks about rejoicing in the hope of the glory of God, and at the same time rejoicing in our sufferings -- hmm..., quite another matter than constant penitence).

About altruism: if we're supposed to be purely altruistic, then why did Jesus say stuff like "Don't work for food that spoils but for food that lasts, don't put your treasure in things that rust, but eternal riches." Sorry, this is a massive paraphrase, but I'm short on time. Anyway, he didn't stop with, "Don't hope in this world." He gave us the carrot of eternal life, as a reward. I'm not an altruist when it comes to my motivation for eternal life. However, thank God His Spirit is doing the work inside me to be more altruistic.

Paul commanded people who were *already saved* to consider others better than themselves. It doesn't carry on to salvation because salvation already happened for them.

You're starting to sound like Jack Caputo, or was that Richard Kearney (continental post-modern philosophers)? ;^}

John said...

Sorry Brian, I wasn't clear. That last sentence, about Caputo, in my previous comment was in regards to your second to last paragraph (the one before the apples).

And I love apples, especially McIntoshes.