Broken-down Poetry: Liberal Christianity


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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Liberal Christianity

Let me start off with a verse: "It is God's will that you should be sanctified..." (I Thessalonians 4:3a)

We have talked a lot about this verse this week, in chapel and in this (goshawful) book I'm reading for World Changers. God wants us to live a blameless life, free of willfull (intention) sins. That makes sense.

God can and will save us even if we sin intentionally (which is where Grace comes in), but God really, truly desires us to be free from all sins. Especially ones we realize. "Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." (James 4:13)

So let's talk about what I call "Christian Liberalism": the act of doing what culture says is fine, but many Christians have problems with. Not the blatenly sinful (adultery, murder, unforgiveness, rebellion) but the grey areas. The nitty gritty.

What about cussing? To me it's a personal conviction not to cuss. I don't like it. I don't think Christians should cuss. But honestly, to use Todd's argument, the Bible doesn't specifically say "no cussing." And Jesus does call the Pharisees names. But it's not a heaven vs. hell issue. Words hold power, as my COM 115 prof tells me, but to be honest, saying heck instead of hell isn't much better. Think about it.

In Jacque and Ricky's Bible study we talked a lot about how one man's convictions may not be another ones, like my issue with cussing. I, for one, have no problem watching R rated movies. I like a lot of them. But I know people who won't watch them or are very careful in choosing what to watch.

Who's right?

I think about back in King David's time and how men practiced polygamy. I think it's interesting that God never made a law about that. (Or did he?) I mean, God created one man to be with one woman, right? But good ole Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Is that practicing sexual purity illustrated in the New Testament? Not so much. Did God just "approve" because culture did?

That I don't have the answers for, but it makes me want to look at issues like cussing and movie watching in the same way. What makes sin a sin if God doesn't step in and tell us one way or another? Can we really just rely on personal convictions?

There is a Christian journalist I greatly respect, who after years of being a youth pastor then a writer, decided to move away and pursue a job as a bartender. Yes, a bartender.

Since I have built up respect for him, so to speak, I don't see anything wrong with his career choice. So what if he serves people alcohol for a living? But I know some people would be morally against this.

But what if this guy used it as a ministry? Or what if he's just surrendering to the culture of this age?

Who knows, and frankly, who cares?

I guess my question is, where is the line? How holy does God want us to be? Perfect, I know that answer, but what makes one thing acceptable for one but not another? Can we justify "cultural sins" like polygamy in the OT days or, say, pirating music in ours?

I'm just asking the questions, I don't really have an answer, nor do I expect my audience to give me one either.

Maybe I'll come back with more in a few days.

Until then,


1 comment:

charlesrhice said...
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