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.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
But what concerns me are two things: Firstly, either extreme manifests serious and dangerous issues. Jesus repeatedly and unrelentlessly attacked Legalism because of it's indifference and hard heartedness. But the other end of the spectrum, is a chaotic free for all! The belief that Christ's atonement has been complete and absolute, to the critical point where we no longer carry any accountability. The belief that we have been given free licence to do whatever we want with no consequences. After all, God will forgive us, right? This is Licentious.
My second concern is its effect on dialogue; on how Christians communicate (or miscommunicate) and suffer severe misunderstanding over this issue. We have a dichotomous scale with Legalism at one extreme end and Licentiousness at the other.
Both will warn the other of its potential danger, and rightfully so! Fundamentalism is a move, a shift towards the dangers of Legalism, while the "Emergent Movement" runs the risk of entering into the Licentious. But to point out flaws and errors while not offering any sort of solution or goal is not complaining, but bickering at best, or bitching at worst. Bitching and bickering are not only counterproductive, but also divisive.
But what is the answer? If we are not to be legalists and we are not to be licentious, what are we supposed to be?
I am not content with the cookie-cutter answer of, "we are to try to be like Jesus". Although the answer is true, it is lame, a cop-out, and poorly thought out at best.
Was Jesus a legalist? Absolutely not! Was Jesus given to free licence? No. So are we to believe that Jesus maintained a perfect balance between the two; the exact epicenter; the balance point of this scale?
Many would say, yes, but I would completely disagree. From what I have seen, this "balancing point" is a sellout and a watering down of all truth.
Jesus does not represent 50% Grace + 50% Law. Jesus is 100% Grace and 100% Law. This position does not exist on this dichotomous scale. I've come to the conclusion that this scale is only useful in determining where we begin our journey, but cannot be used to map our journey itself. To move in any direction on this one-dimensional dichotomy represents absolutely no spiritual growth.
This paradigm - especially within ecumenical discussions - must be laid to rest. There is a third option, a third direction in which we all need to focus on and move in.
Legalism: Exaltation of law or formula, red tape. Preference of the Law to the gospel, doctrine of justification by works.
Licentious: Lascivious, lewd. Disregarding accepted rules or conventions.
Liberty: Being free from captivity, imprisonment, slavery, or despotic control.
We are free to break the Law, but only for the right reasons.
What we really need to be aware of is that this message, this gospel, this good news, this Jesus, is an extremely dangerous one. One that is a threat to nearly every kind of establishment and institutionalism that we know of.
Are we ready to explore what this new avenue means?
Are we prepared to follow his lead?
I don't see this as a perspective or a certain point of view. I would hope this is something we could all collectively agree upon. Namely, that our spiritual maturity, our growth must not be in any sort of horizontal direction on this diagram, but only vertically, only "up"; only towards christlikeness.
It is the clearest it has ever been made to me personally. It seems clear to me this is the core of Christianity, framed in the context of "love thy neighbour".
If I had to trim Christianity down to it's core essentials, I think this would summon it up perfectly in its profoundest simplicity.
This is a christianity I can wholeheartedly embrace. This is a kind of christianity that I could cease being a Rogue in; that I could cease "living apart from the herd".
If this truly isn't the core of christianity; of God's will, then I'm not sure I want anything to do with it.
Please allow me to give credit when credit's due.
The core idea behind this post was from a friend of mine - a baptism youth minister - on his last and final sermon. You can listen to it here.
Freedom ... free from or free to?