Tuesday, October 25, 2005

My Way or the Highway?

Molly, my good friend and sister in the Lord, wrote a comment I'd like to respond to. She wrote (emphasis mine),

"You said, 'Asking how far away from those commandments I can get betrays a fundamental gap in my understanding of the Good News itself.'

Now I totally agree with this. Buuuut, I don't think that's what Christians like Lamott are doing. See, I think that if they thought GOD was anti-abortion, then they'd be anti-abortion, etc. The issue is, they think God's okay with abortion, homosexuality, etc.

So it's really not an issue of Lordship, in my opinion, but one of comprehending Who God Is and being able to see Him in the Scriptures unclouded by cultural preconcieved ideas and norms.

The liberal thinks that abortion IS the compassionate, kind, loving thing to do. The liberal thinks that being completely accepting of gay/lesbian/bi/whatever IS the compassionate, kind, loving thing to do. From their lens, YOU are the one who is really missing God's heart for humanity.

So then the question kind of comes down to things like,

'If they don't see things my way, yet claim Jesus Christ as Saviour, are they still a Christian?'

Can someone be a Christian and still have some really confused ideas about life, culture, politics, etc, all because they've yet to really take their preconcieved ideas and conceptions to God--or maybe because God has yet to bring those things up to them?

Can someone be a Christian and yet have a long way to go when it comes to becoming mature in the Lord, wise in His ways?

Can someone be a Christian and have so much garbage and baggage to work through that it takes the Holy Spirit a looooooooong time before He can even GET to the abortion issue (or maybe He'll never get to it at all, there's so much other stuff in the way)?"

Moll, I see the "what this boils down to" as the place we disagree. You wrote, "If they don't see things my way, yet claim Jesus Christ as Saviour, are they still a Christian?"

I'm not talking about anyone seeing things my way, nor am I saying that everyone has to be immediately sanctified, thinking and acting perfectly (not gonna happen!). It's not "my" way, though: it's God's way. Of course I understand there are debatable things--often on these blogs we discuss those things. But I don't see how, for example, homosexuality is one of those things given the text we have as the Word of God. Not if you want to be honest with that text.

Now, how the reality of what the Scriptures say about homosexuality translates into our actions toward those who are practicing that sin is often the rub. Let me be really clear that I would never advocate treating anyone without compassion and gentleness. It's detestable when that happens, and obviously, it's not God's heart. But treating them with love includes the truth--it doesn't exclude it. That's where I differ with those who want to say, "God's okay with what you're doing!"

Liberal Christians want to paint conservatives as harsh and unloving, and themselves as compassionate and gracious--but at the expense of what the Bible actually says. God is not okay with abortion or homosexuality, period.

Do I think God brings things up to people on His timeline? Yes--some things. Some things He brings up right away. (For example, I knew right away after coming to Christ that I should not fornicate or curse anymore, and that abortion was wrong. Then I fumbled towards holiness, something I am still doing). I don't presume to know His timeline on that for each individual--but I do know that He does get around to showing them the truth as they follow Him. From my experience with discipling others and watching people grow in Christ, it doesn't take too long for the Holy Spirit to show them God's heart.

"From their lens, YOU are the one who is really missing God's heart for humanity."

See, but they're wrong. I am not saying that out of arrogance (believe me!), but out of confidence in God's Word.

Knowing you as I do, I know we are really not too far off on this. And I don't think Lamott is a brand new believer...some things I've been reading make me think she's into syncretism. God's not. I'm not saying she's not a Christian--I don't know. Don't know her stuff, don't know her. But in the end, those who do God's will, those who hold to the commandments (which Jesus said shows we love Him) will be saved. I pray that anyone who wants to follow Jesus will DO so. He knows what He's shown them and what He hasn't (makes Him the perfect judge, right?).

I think what we may be missing each other on is the timeline aspect. Please don't think that I'm some kind of drill sergeant discipler, or that I think God is. ("You better get it right NOW, Soldier! Drop and give me TWENTY!") I've experienced His patience and kind leadership firsthand (and still am). But sooner or later, He does bring up these big issues, and that's really what I am talking about. Some people choose to rebel and basically pretend He hasn't shown them what He has--as well as what He has revealed clearly in His Word. Everyone doesn't obey when they hear Him.