Friday, May 29, 2009

Apologetics ... without Apology

I keep running into folks who are alarmed by me ... who find my thoughts to be too challenging, too radical, too dangerous even. I've been accused of discounting Jesus, negating the Atonement, teaching "doctrines of demons," throwing out the Bible ... and because I share whatever I'm thinking and believing quite openly, I'm also a "false teacher."

But don't, they warn me, tell them that they're acting out of fear. Okaaaaaay.

In case anyone who's reading here has had the same thoughts as above, I figured I'd just address it straight-up.

As far as Jesus and His Atonement goes ... I've come to believe that Jesus, who is the Savior of the world (or universe, in my thinking), actually managed to save everyone He intended to. I believe He actually reconciled the world to God. So, in my thinking, that really magnifies the Atonement ... whereas my previous notions rendered Him either less than fully-loving (as if some had been created to be eternally tormented), or less than fully-omnipotent (as if He couldn't quite save everyone). I guess I see that God is both all-powerful and all-loving ... and this view has hugely magnified Jesus for me. As for those who say that there's a "special hell" for those who believe God is "too loving," well, that just makes me smile...!

As for doctrines of demons ... I encourage anyone who uses the term to study to see exactly what those teachings were ... it's a fascinating discovery. Hint: notice how many authors of the Scriptures said that they were in the last days ... in the first century.

As for being a false teacher ... I see that we live in the covenant in which there is no need for anyone to teach anyone else about God ... though, of course, we're all invited to share our journey with others ... to share what He's teaching us (didn't Jesus say that there was only One Teacher?). I have no desire to set myself up as a teacher ... I'm a consummate student -- if I inspire others to do the same, wondermous! But don't expect to find me sitting on top of a mountain, donning Depends, uttering ethereal wisdoms...! Egads!

As for the Scriptures ... here's what I've come to believe ... I certainly don't throw them out. I do however, want to understand them, apart from the agenda of man. I test the spirit of what I read, by means of the Spirit within me. I've come to believe that I can hear the Voice of God as well as any of the writers of Scripture. I believe that God is still speaking... in a myriad of ways. He's always broadcasting, if we would but tune in...

I believe that Truth is a Person to know (and not merely a concept to grasp and defend), and I believe this Person has spread His Truth all over this planet, lavishly! And so, I delight to find His Truth, wherever it may be found. Having come to know Him, knowing His voice, I know what resonates ... I know what fits with His nature and character (& anyone can likewise know this for themselves). And so I read all manner of spiritual writings (not just the Bible, but including the Bible), and I test it by what the Spirit reveals to me about God's nature. He *wants* me to know. He doesn't hide from me, but has sent His Spirit to lead me into all truth. I do not believe that He meant "a book will be compiled that shall contain all truth." Somehow we've been taught to replace the former with the latter, to our detriment...

Of course, as I read, I pray to not be deceived (by my own egoic thinking ... which I've come to believe is the essence of what we've called "satan" ... that which is adversarial to God, within man). Having asked God for bread, I do not expect Him to give me a stone ... having asked for a fish, I know He will not give me a snake.

My friend Annie recently wrote, "I am convicted of error too many times in my meditations to believe that the voice I hear is that of ego, who ordinarily either congratulates or condemns. The voice speaks freeing impartial truths ... I've been accused of being on a slippery slope, of 'picking and choosing' for doing this, but what's the alternative? Didn't God grant us self will that we might CHOOSE? The only other option is to let a person, a religion, a book, think FOR us... selah."

I find myself on that same slippery-slope ... and I've discovered that it lands me right smack-dab in the arms of my delighted Father... and so I choose to follow Him, to hear His Voice, over the voice of man, as well.


Anonymous said...

Trying to imagine you with my friends, or me with yours. Soon neither of us may have none :-)

Dave said...

Dena, you will always have a friend in me. We don't agree on many things, but we do agree on the centrality of Christ... Love you, sister.

dena said...

Cwptmom - Real friends remain friends, no matter how they may view issues. Once we accept that the Spirit leads us into all truth, and that this requires shedding things we previously considered true (or that which fit our maturity for a time, but we've since outgrown), that this is a process/progress and not about arriving and setting up camp ... then we're set free to accept where others currently are in their journey. We trust the One leading far more than the one perceiving at the time. And, as we receive more of the things that we couldn't previously bear, this will cause alarm in those who have chosen to set up camp.

I see Jesus going along, down the path, saying, "Follow Me," and I go. I don't know where He's leading, but I trust Him. He has the words of eternal life.

I've not yet let go of any friends ... though many have let go of me. I don't take it personally, because it's not about me ... it's about what we cannot yet bear.

dena said...

Dave -

Likewise, Dave ... friendships are for keeps. Yes -- I see that we both trust Christ to continue to lead us ... and to lead the other. Along the way, we can love lavishly, without fear.

Thank you for your gracious comment... I receive it with my heart.

annie said...

friends may reject and abandon us. the good news is that they cannot prevent us loving them. it is enough.

Dena said...

So true, Annie!

We have that freedom, that blessing ... to love others as they are. As we know God loves us...