Sunday, 2 March 2014

Confidence, Boldness and Certainty

There's a growing movement in what puts itself forward a a kind of "new and improved" christianity towards adjusting core beliefs and teachings held for thousands of years that men and women have been martyred for being deemed "irrelevant" to 21st century society.

Science bombards us with facts daily. Miracles of restored sight, replaced hearts, cures for ailments that just a generation ago were killers.

But what is the cost?

We breed a watered down, luke-warm church. I find it repugnant that any Christian can consider reversing the scriptural concept of sexual immorality - and please not, not limited to homosexuality issues here - as irrelevant, or at best of "lesser importance" than the slaughter of dolphins by Japan. Social equality is the latest buzz-word, and over-liberal people who bear a resemblenace more to Rehoboam than to Jesus become vocal.

Like "free love" in decades past, and the latest LBGT "pride" parades here in Cape Town, the people making the most noise are largely a minority. The majority stay silent, embarrassed to speak up for the black-&-white of the bile. It gets watered down and becomes grey.

Somewhere along the line, Jesus as the sole route to God and restoration becomes a side-line instead of the crux - literally - of the matter, replaced with socially acceptable whitewashed tombs.

Sin is a dirty word. It drives people away apparently.

But Jesus sought out sinners and made no attempt to hide it. He came for them. He came for us.

Paul writes that we have All fallen short of God's standards. The nature of the sin is not the point. Every single human being on the face of the earth falls short of God's standards.

So how can we have confidence, boldness and clarity in our walk?

It's actually far simpler than we are led to believe.


Simple faith as a child has. Accept His promises at face value. He doesn't hide what is on offer to any who genuinely seek.

Like a vinyard, it's hard to hide what's on option. Hundreds of vines can only mean grapes. In the same way, a Faith truly rooted and grafted to Christ can only produce His fruit. We cannot produce anything else. If we do, we need to check our root-stock.

Jesus spoke with a cold clarity. He backed up John the Baptist's message and added hope to it. Yes, John taught baptism for the forgiveness of Sin - again, no differation. Baptised into Christ is a rebirth. We get a second try.

But habits, and exposure lend us to the point where we believe certin things are simply "how we're made" rather than an external influence.

DNA can only show so much. Hypothetically it would be possible to clone Hitler and Ghandi, and through exposure to certain formulative experiences reverse their personality traits. They both wanted the same thing.

What if Ghandi, or Nelson Mandela had advocated a blood-bath? A billion people will likely not stay silent as they die in poverty which our lifestyle underscores. The delivery method of the message is the core issue.

The IRA wanted independant representation in the 1970's, 80's and 90's. Their solution made the British Government more and more hard-line. Terrorist force was met with highly trained elite soldiers who fought fire with fire - with deadly results.

The ANC fought for freedom from the white minority in South Africa with a cry of freedom for all. It was achieved, like the IRA objectives, when violence behan to be withdrawn from the table. Ironically, the organisation has not managed to change from a party of revoloution to a party of Government. The potential for great loss is right there. Racist policies abound under the guise of "redressing" the past imbalances, but with few previously oppressed people having access to the level of education required to manage business or govern the country, the result is a steady decline into chaos.

Am I off topic? No, although it could easily be seen tbat way.

Jesus was a man with a single focus: Save mankind.

He spoke simple truth boldly. He didn't regard the inconvenience of His own arrest, show-trial and execution to be a bother in the long run. With His eyes fixed, He entered Jerusalem with a solid message: God Loves you - no matter what. I'm dying in your place. Walk my path - it's not easy, but it's the only way.

Simple. Bold. Confident.

The certainty in His message gets watered down today. We hear Jesus described as a single well point drawing water from the same aquifer by "progressive" leaders. Translation? One size fits all, and your comfort is what matters.

Christianity is not a comfortable Faith.

The Salvation Army, so loved for their wonderful music at Christmas and Easter, were at first assaulted, beaten and sometimes left for dead when they began. The taught against the acceptable climate of the day and the society tried to shut them down and slaughter them.

The Methodist movement was thrown out of the Anglican church for much the same reason - unwavering belief that doctrine - what we believe - is more important than works. The works will flow naturally from a right belief.

Every major denomination has had it's radical leaders who have pushed against conforming to the pattern of the society of the day. The result is a rich diversity of angles focussed on by Luther, Wesley, Whitfield, Newton, St Paul. On a contemporary level parallels can be drawn with some of the leaders of New Frontiers, who stuck to their understanding and founded a growing family of churches.

Boldness raises Lazarus from the dead. Confidence walks towards the people ready to kill you on the spot and pass through unharmed. Certainty allows the storms of this world and pressure from society to run off like nothing.

Compromise leads to death. Half a story leads to death. Uncertainty leads to death. Spiritually.

We become the rich man from the parable who dies and goes to hell. Our fate is to watch our loved ones heading down the same path and being unable to stop them.

We must stop watering down the Gospel. A return to teaching Black is Black, however you cut it. Sin is Sin. Jesus didn't practice situational ethics. He simply Loved from a place of Love.

Uncompromising, unwavering Love.

He didn't judge the woman caught in adultery. They both knew she was guilty. It was irrelevant because she repented. But He warned her to leave the life of Sin.

Somewhere we've lost the certainty, and hesitancy has become a virtue.

Luke-warm theology. Inducing vomit in Christ for 2000 years.

I'd rather lose friends and maybe by demonstrating a solid resolute stand recover them through loving them in spite of our differences as they see that what they do is not the sum of who they are to God. Their behaviours, like mine, are not necessarily their own.

I often hear the statement "I can't believe in a god who makes me this way and then condemns me for it". I heard it today from a friend of over 30 years. A man I respect and would entrust my physical life to without a second thought. A man of principle and integrity in his ways. A man I pray for to see the Love of Christ available to him in the same way it is to me. Different issues, the same result - separated from God because of it, but reconciled by the Blood of Jesus.

But first he needs to find someone who can gently show him that God isn't a transcendental Shylock demanding his pound of flesh, but a loving Father who longs to have His Family in relationship primarily - and we can deal with our shortfalls later because of Jesus.

I hope this will reach some ears that have been closed.

Christians should not be beating people down with a big stick. The opposite is true.

We should be building a pen for the lost sheep to find shelter, safety and comfort in.

And all the walls are cross shaped. Clear, Bold and certain.

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