Thursday, September 13, 2012

Boxing God

Those “unenlightened, traditional Christians that adhere to the doctrine of “Sola Scrptura” and uphold the authority of Scripture are often accused of putting God in a “box”. The progressive Christian looks upon those traditional Christians as “Bible Thumpers” that simply are following a book of outdated rules. Those progressives look at Scripture and see an archaic book, written by uneducated men, that contain interesting stories that are, unfortunately, wedded to the time and place where they were composed. That the authors of the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit is something that only weak minded individuals would believe, say those enlightened by this modernistic religion where God is doing all kinds of new things. Jesus said in John 16:13-15, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.” That our Lord and Savior told the Disciples that He would guide the Spirit in revealing the truth to them is of far lesser importance to the leaders of the progressive ELCA than striving for social justice.

Fact of the matter is that these so-called enlightened progressive Christians that currently hold authority within the ELCA do not put God in a box when they refuse to acknowledge anything that does not fit with what their expectations of God are. They infer that God is doing "new" things that, astonishingly, tell them only what they want to hear. Their doctrine of love, acceptance and tolerance extends only to those who think and believe as they do. Those progressive Christians that create a god in their own image are doing nothing short of fighting God. They are so hung up on the “law” that accepting the authority of Scripture is simply not tolerable. Listen to Nadia Bolz-Weber in her rant against the Christianity that has boundaries that she happens to personally disagree with. I don’t want to judge a book by its cover, but there she is, addressing the national youth gathering of the ELCA, in jeans and a tank top, showing off all of her tattoos that were etched upon her skin by a fellow drug addict. She proudly displays those signs from a former life that almost cost her life on this earth, but fails to use them to teach the young and impressionable a lesson. Yes, she extols the fact that it was by God’s grace that He lifted her out of a life of drugs and despair, but she offers nothing about faith in the Risen Christ and why God so loves His children. The story of her finding an appropriate church had nothing to do with God’s love or repentance, but all to do with feeling welcome in a “tolerant and enlightened” church replete with the appropriate diverse membership that was acceptable to her expectations. Her ideal church is not one that welcomes all sinners, but one that recognizes no sin, has no need for repentance, and has a god that meets her expectations, made in her own image.

So, while those that uphold the authority of Scripture supposedly place God in a box, progressive Christians literally punch Him in the mouth as they deny the very truths they are called to uphold. Bishop Mark Hanson was the keynote speaker that addressed the Lutherans Concerned conference in July of this year. In that address he stated, “I am so grateful for the church we are today—a church committed to welcoming all while valuing our differences and respecting diversity. Through this unity in diversity we show forth the body of Christ.“ Let me take creative license here and interpret for you Hanson’s real intent in this message. “I am deeply disturbed at the state of the church today. So many traditional Lutherans fail to see the advantage of secularizing our church. Affirming members within their sin allows us to take the high road and fit in with society, rather than undertaking the daunting task of bringing the lost to Christ. Lifting up the gospel of radical inclusiveness over the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings the ELCA greater respect in the eyes of the world, rather than being viewed as a backward thinking organization that clings to their Bibles. And becoming a new creation when Christ fills your heart, well that is overrated. Denying oneself has such a negative connotation, people feel much better pleasing themselves without having to give up those things that the selfish nature desires. Unity begins and ends with the diversity that is the ELCA.”

It is true that the leaders of the ELCA do not put God in a box. They continue be engaged in a battle, fighting against Him, striking our Lord with body blow after body blow with each “new” thing that disregards our Lord’s will. But understand this, Psalm 145:17-20, “The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.” Continue to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and seek the lost in order to lead them to Him. Pray for our brothers and sisters who remain lost within the ELCA, that their hearts, eyes and minds be opened and that they return to the path that our Lord has set before them.