Opinions on faith and life

Halflings

2009-06-04

I’ve written recently on the need for doctrine and “spirit” to balance each other. This keeps either from excesses either to coldness or error. But there are powerful forces on those extremes, with huge followings, and they don’t give up easily.

On one hand we have those who rightly cling to scripture as an anchor against falsehood, yet many of them have forgotten all about the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). I and many others have contacted leaders and authors on Christian doctrine, politely and with admiration, only to be treated worse than unbelievers just for daring to disagree with them on some minor point. They show no basic Christian love, no respect for those who are not in their elitist club, no allowance for dissent. They are like conceited physicians who, when challenged on the basis of the patient’s personal experience, retort sarcastically, “And what medical school did you say you attended?” They are the experts, but they are not infallible. Yet many who are renown for their doctrine seem to think they are infallible after all. They would do well to remember Jesus’ words about what we do to “the least of these” (Mt. 25:45).

On the other hand we have those who have all but abandoned the Bible as outdated, irrelevant, an obstacle to enlightenment, or untrustworthy. Yet these same people seem to hang on every (written!) word of popular authors peddling every flavor of spiritual-sounding elixir imaginable. It no longer matters whether the Bible is historically accurate, or that it is the only religious book with a large percentage of prophecy, most of which has come to pass, and with 100% accuracy. They really don’t seem to care exactly how we would know anything about Jesus without that written Word, or how we would tell followers of Jesus from followers of Buddha without it. The Bible just doesn’t “do the spiritual thing” for them, and contains scary things like judgment and the vengeance of God. It’s much like a child licking all the frosting from a piece of cake and throwing the cake away.

Both these kinds of people are “halflings” because they only hold to one side of the Christian faith. But other such “halflings” can be seen in the clergy/laity class distinction, as well as the gender wars. All of these divisive things are tearing the Body apart. (Titus 3:10)

As I’ve said before, doctrine and spirit must work together. The Body cannot be whole as long as each half, however it’s divided, refuses to accept the other. It is no more “spiritual” to reject the written Word than it is to forget “the height from which [we] have fallen” (Rev. 2:4-5). The mystics as well as the hate-filled doctrinally-correct need to repent of their divisiveness. Until then, Satan hardly has to expend any effort to neutralize us, since we keep fighting ourselves instead of him.

Time is running out; let us not be found hurling stones at each other when Jesus returns.

4 Comments

Lin

I am one of those eccentrics that believe seminaries will be unnecessary in a few years. A lot of this outrage at being questioned comes from spending all that time and money being indoctrinated that you are right and others are less educated and wrong.

The problem with seminary is that those who attend leave and but go into the same type of isolated enviroment where people hang on their every word. They never really go out into the real world of peers where they are questioned daily.

I submit that preachers should have to do a 5 year residency working in a factory before they get a church. :o)

Paula Fether

I agree completely. Academia is all well and good, but character is forged out in the world. The whole system needs to be scrapped in favor of apprenticeships and choosing elders per the NT model.

truthseeker

Amen to the factory internship!! Let’s add having them have to public school their kids as many have to due to financial constraints or other reasons. Real world. (I am not complaining about homeschooling here-I just know that often pastor families get breaks or complete tuition rides from private Christian schools-not available to the general church population.) Perhaps we should even require that their wives work outside the home. Again, I think it’s neat when moms get to stay home, but many don’t. (Sorry, I will go away now.)

Seriously, Paula, great article and painfully truthful. It makes me reflect on my own comp-kin and whether I have always been the best example of Christ-likeness. I have room for repentence, too. Ouch.

Paula Fether

Tanx!

Yes, we all need to be careful. We all have our moments of regression, but there are some people who seem to never see the other side.