17 November 2011

Answering Questions #12- Negativity, Interpretation and Agenda

I like a lot of the things you write and the way it makes me think, but I'm concerned with the negative tone. Does everything always have to be so dark and gloomy?

I've been meaning to get to this for some time and after a recent exchange I thought it might be a good time to answer it.

First, there are many other websites and resources that will help you to study the Bible and theology. If you want to work through Joshua, read Arthur Pink. If you want to understand Redemptive-History, look into Kline or Vos. If you want to study theology or need Biblical commentary…there are many books written long ago that don't need improvement.

I'm specifically dealing with issues pertinent to the Church of our day. I believe the Church has made some bad theological choices which have led the Church to wrongly interpret history. And because of these theological turns and historical interpretations, the Church of our present day is asking the wrong questions… and some of the answers are both dreadful and dangerous.

I'm tackling history, theology, and current events. History and current events have a factual basis but it's all in the interpretation. Theology is about method. There's a right answer but we need to be careful in our dogmatism. I am adamantly against those that would treat theology as a series of mathematical formulae. Theology should be primarily understood in terms of structure and thematic arrangement. The guide and boundary isn't the mathematical proofs or a coherence test, but the Text itself.

The answers to historical questions and current events (despite the way some people operate) are not mathematical either. Many social, political, economic, and historical theories look great on paper, but don't work in practice and often fail to take into account the wickedness of man. I'm not offering alternatives, merely critique. We are Martyr-Witnesses and Pilgrims. We are builders of the Spiritual Kingdom not the Babylon's of this world.

I am suggesting that the Bible does indeed tell Christians how to view these things. The Bible provides us the principles to live our lives in this fallen world and speaks to every subject and situation. It tells us how to act, not how to fix the world which in many cases is impossible. Discernment does not necessitate a solution.

I'm offering a mix of facts and opinion…data and interpretation.

No one is going to agree with everything I write. If you do, then you're not thinking for yourself. I'm trying to frame things differently, hoping to lead people to think about a lot of these issues in a very different way.

As far as the negativity…

Christians today are at war. The Church believes the great enemies are Liberalism, Islam, Secularism, China and that's just for a start.

I believe this is because the Church has bought into wrong ideas concerning the Kingdom of God…and now since the nature of the Kingdom has been misunderstood, the Church is very actively engaged in fighting what I believe to be the wrong enemies.

We are indeed at war…but the real enemies, the real threat are forces that would corrupt the Kingdom and ultimately the Gospel.

Our worst and most dangerous enemies are actually sitting in the pews and in many cases occupying pulpits.

Since there are very few people taking this line…yes I feel a sense of urgency. The number of subjects I could write about is almost inexhaustible. Why listen to me? Read some of the materials. If they are of interest or challenge you, read on. Otherwise don't.

I'm not writing for an organization or for a profit. Largely I'm just writing, but putting my thoughts and frustrations out there in case someone might be interested and maybe just maybe, someone will benefit.

I believe some of the people I'm critiquing are possibly and even probably Christians. Many of them are not. I personally believe many of them are wolves in sheep's clothing and the doctrines they promote are sending people to hell.

So in conclusion…

-The task here is specific. By its polemic nature it's bound to seem negative. I try (probably poorly) to interject encouragement and hope.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.  But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.

We live in times of Cosmic Events. God is at work. Christ is coming. Destruction and the Day of the Lord are upon us. This should make us rejoice with trembling and live our lives with sober wisdom and drive us to redeem the time in these evil days. I didn't become a Christian until I was about twenty one years old. I feel like I wasted a lot of time. So perhaps because of my own experience I'm driven to want to learn and understand. Learning that virtually everything I had been taught in my youth about the Church and the World was wrong…well, I find it motivating to say the least.

-I'm not a news organization, nor am I writing text-book style history. I'm offering my opinions…hopefully informed and insightful. Don't trust me, don't trust my facts, do your own research. I'm offering historical interpretation… secular historians will not agree with me. Many Christian historians will not agree with me. I think there's a reason for this and I try to explain why.

Does this mean I'm being deliberately sloppy or misleading? I sure hope not. I'm often writing fast and I can make mistakes. If I do, I'll fix it. And there's been a few times that I've had to eat crow due to factual errors.

But interpretation…is just that. If you understand where I'm coming from it may make sense. If you don't agree, then it may mean I'm wrong, it could also mean you're not understanding me, or it could mean (if you're prepared to admit it) that you're wrong.

With regard to Theology and Church History, the relevant people-group is smaller and thus there will be fewer who will agree with me. My ideas are not original. What's unique here is how I'm putting things together. I'm arguing that doctrines which sometimes seem to be contradictory are not.

With regard to society and current events. There's nothing I'm saying that's original at all. I'm not brilliant. I just read. The difference here is that I will specifically try to tie in Christianity with what I'm looking at. Since I'm in complete disagreement with most Conservative Christians…though Biblically and Theologically I am often more Conservative than they are…some of my perspectives will seem unique or original.

Again, no one is going to agree with everything here…and I'm more than content with that.

And to answer an issue that just came up…

-Do I have an agenda?

Sure. In some cases my only agenda is anti-agenda. I'm arguing against the agenda that many Christians have embraced. What's my agenda to counter their agendas?

As far as political or social agendas…I have none. I'm praying for the peace of Babylon. It matters little to me what country I live in or system I'm under. Some are better than others. Some are better sometimes but those same systems can become quite bad as they develop.

As far as theological and Kingdom agendas…definitely. I try on a pretty regular basis to explain it, and often the most effective way to do that is to demonstrate where others are going astray. Their errors generate questions. There are many things that unbelievers will say and do that I shrug my shoulders at. They're lost. But when Christians say and do those things it's quite different. When they say and do those things insisting that they're representing some kind of Biblical view or teaching…then I sit up, pay attention, and if no one else will…I'll speak out.

So in one sense I apologize for the seemingly endless criticism and in another sense…I don't.

Don't look to this website for you daily bread…what you find here is bread, but mostly salt.

For a balanced Christian life you need time in the Psalms, time to engage in devotional reading and study. For the most part, that's not what you will find here. This more the realm of Jeremiah. My task is to provoke and challenge, to expose and call out and in some cases denounce.

There's a lot here, but this cannot be your sole source of edification. Some dispositions are not going to be able to deal with the weight and burden of what I'm dealing with. Others can benefit from it. That's my goal.



OS said...

I like the comments here but to much negative. Not uplifting. I learn things but I am sad to read them. To much bad things is bad for the heart of man.

Proto said...

You're right, I'm not Joel Osteen. I thought I explained 'the tone'...but I guess not.

As sorrowful yet always rejoicing.