Christian: adj.1. of Christ’s teaching or religion. 2. Believing in or following the religion of Jesus Christ. 3. Showing the qualities associated with Christ’s teaching. 4. Colloq. (of a person) kind, fair, decent. n. 1a. a person who has received Christian baptism. b. an adherent of Christ’s teaching. 2. A person exhibiting Christian qualities.
Rogue Christian: Rogue = adjective, Christian = noun"An non-indoctrinated adherent of Christ’s teaching, driven away or living apart from the church/community."
Living apart from traditional church has it's implications and complications. In addition to being a Rogue Christian it also makes me an Abbaian, a follower of the Father.
Abba: father, customary title used of God in prayer. Whenever it occurs in the New Testament it has the Greek interpretation joined to it, that is apparently to be explained by the fact that the Chaldee "ABBA" through frequent use in prayer, gradually acquired the nature of a most sacred proper name, to which the Greek speaking Jews added the name from their own tongue.1
-ian: suffix var. of –an. Forming adjectives and nouns, esp. from names of places, systems, zoological classes or orders, and founders.Abba + ian = Abbaian: Follower of the Way of God the Father.
As far as church membership goes, I am not a member of any local visible church or denomination (which is not to say I am not active within any local church or churches). Denominational background really doesn't apply. I consider myself a member of the Invisible Universal Church, which transcends denominations. I belong to a Postdenominational Christianity.
However, another implication is an apparent lack of doctrine. What's my views on soterology? Am I a Trinitarian ? Am I an Evangelical?
I am often asked, Calvinist or Armenian? Are those the only options? I find the question somewhat limiting. To be honest I agree with both and neither. I think - from a very simplified perspective - Calvinism and Armenianism are the same thing, but from two very different perspectives. If a man's life - from birth to death - were a movie, we would perceive it as an audience watches a movie. we're experiencing it as the movie "plays" or "flows" forward. However, from a divine point of view - from God's perspective - the movie reel is unrolled and the entire film, every static frame, is viewed at once. "Time" doesn't flow. For the occupants "in" the movie, choices and free will exists. From an omnipotent perspective, God can view the beginning, any and every choice made via free will, and the end and it's consequences, at once. Even though free will choices were legitimately made, God still knows their outcome.
I have a problem with predestination and God's chosen elite. It's the inverse implication that bothers me: We have a loving God who has also created people for damnation and without hope.
Some have told me I'm more Armenian because I do believe you can shipwreck your faith and lose your salvation. I don't think I really am Armenian though. You see, both Calvinism and Armenianism share their defaulted starting positions. In both, man is born in original sin, fallen and condemned. At some future point, salvation occurs. They differ on the point of whether that salvation is permanent or not.
Although I believe you can lose your salvation, I'm not convinced we begin in a default state of being "fallen" anymore and I'm not convinced we "accept" salvation but rather (potentially) choose to opt-out of it.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
The Innerrantist, Part One: The Gold of the Golden Calf
I’m not here to present an argument to convince you of errors in the bible or the inerrancy of it. I’m here to voice the concern that the Innerrantist should not prohibit others from making that exploration and conclusion for themselves.
For every person’s faith you say may be harmed by allowing errors in the bible, an equal amount of people’s faith will be harmed by the insistence of biblical inerrancy, or the subscription to the Inerrant-Bible-Theory.
I don’t like answering the question of biblical inerrancy. However, I am also aware of the potential risks of leaving this question open-ended.
What if there existed a belief-system, which wasn’t based upon the Inerrant-Bible-Theory? Then you could – hypothetically or potentially – introduce or discover an error in the bible and not have that belief-system shaken or collapse. It doesn’t stand on the foundation of a book (sand), it stands on the foundation of God (rock).
So what’s my take on biblical inerrancy? Let me put it this way: based upon my personal experiences and from what I’ve taken and learned from the bible, I’ll say that I don’t believe in coincidences. When you accumulate enough of them, they stop being coincidences and become orchestrations. Whoever that orchestrator is, I believe in Him!
Now it is important to make the distinction between Biblical Inerrancy and an “Inerrant-Bible-Theory”. An “Inerrant-Bible-Theory” puts the bible at the center of one’s faith, not God. It makes the bible an idol – in short, it suffers from biblio-idolatry.
The gold that the Israelites built the Golden Calf out of was their gold earrings (Exodus 32:2-3). This gold was then melted down and cast into the shape of a calf. After Moses destroyed the idol, he burnt it in the fire, ground it to powder, scattered it on the water, and made the Israelites drink it. It is interesting that Moses didn’t just destroy it. Why would he make them drink it? What’s important is that the material – the gold of the Golden Calf – was always among the Israelites: before, during, and after the Golden Calf. It’s not that the gold wasn’t valuable, it’s just that it wasn’t important enough to worship in God’s place. There’s a lesson to learn here from this story.
I see the bible in these same terms as the gold but not the Golden Calf. I am not comfortable saying that I believe in an “Inerrant-Bible” because it runs the risk of making the bible my faith’s center and becoming an idol – making that transition from precious gold to Golden Calf. To go that far is to go too far: just like the Israelites making their precious and valuable gold and reshaping it into a god. But that’s not to downplay its importance and value. The Israelites drank it and absorbed it within themselves. It is worth making part of our beings. It is worth consuming. It just isn’t worth worshiping. The bible is golden but it isn’t a Golden Calf.
The Inerrantist’s hypnotic mantra becomes, “We believe the Bible is consistent and without contradiction” (which conveniently does away with any exploration or questioned inconsistencies. Isn’t this circular thinking? Isn't this denial or some sort?)
The validity of the Inerrantist’s whole theological-faith-system is based completely on this “Inerrant-Bible-Theory” – not God, and not Christ. The bible itself – and their interpretation of it – becomes the center and foundation of their faith. Remove this and you remove the legitimacy of their faith.
(Next... Part Two: A Two-Sided Coin)