H  O  M  E          
Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
Blogroll
 
T.U.L.I.P.
  • - Endorsed
  • - Indifferent
  • - Contested
 
Autobiographical
 
Profile
Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
My complete profile...
 
The Buzz


Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
- Marc Heinrich

His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
- Rose Cole

[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
- C-Train

This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
- David Kjos

Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
- Jonathan Moorhead

There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
 
Email Me
email
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Worldly Wisdom..
I have posted several times on worldly wisdom. At the heart of all worldly wisdom is the idea that life is sacred, and the sustaining of it the greatest virtue. Hence anything that takes life away, or lessens the pleasure of it, is considered immoral, and anything that sweetens life or protects and sustains it is considered moral.

A friend sent me an email containing "50 life lessons" supposedly gleaned by some 90 year old newspaper columnist. Turns out the list really was from that columnist, but the columnist was by no means 90 years old (the article was written just prior to the columnist's 50th birthday).

I was going to write my buddy back with my thoughts on some of the "wisdom" found in the list, but I thought I would do that here instead.

I begin with a disclaimer: I am not 90 years old. In fact, I am not even 50. If I have wisdom it hasn't come to me through living a long life, but through God's word studied and believed. If I lack it, it is only because sin can make a person willfully blind.

My next disclaimer is that I understand that much of that list was intended to be tongue-in-cheek, and conversationally funny.

One item in the list read this way:
You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
I have heard this repeated many times in many places, and usually (at least in Christian circles) with a nod towards Paul's disagreement with Barnabas, (i.e.: Hey! the Apostle agreed to disagree, therefore disagreement is godly!)

The truth is that when two parties disagree it is because one or both of them is either wrong or failing to articulate themselves. But consider the wisdom offered in that item: what is really being exalted in the notion of agreeing to disagree? I will tell you: Tolerance (note the capital "T").

In a world where life itself is an idol, anything that upsets life is an act of desecration. Christ taught that truth -was- divisive. What He came to proclaim was going to be so divisive, it would divide even the closest relationships (family). His message was not that we should agree to disagree, but rather that those who follow Him, and therefore hold to an objective truth will find doing so costly. This is what it means to count the cost. If you are willing to compromise truth for the sake of a relationship then you are not ready to follow Christ; scripture says you are not worthy of Christ. Unless you love Christ more than every other relationship, you are not fit to follow Him. Our Lord anticipated where compromising the truth would be most evident, as those who refuse to compromise will feel it in their relationships. If you accomodate error for the sake of maintaining a pleasant relationship, you are a compromiser, and not worthy of Christ.

Yet that is a very harsh thing to a worldling.

The world teaches that harmony is more important than truth. It does so in language that speaks of right and wrong, rather than truth and error, in terms of good and bad rather than good and evil. Yet the notion is clear enough: getting along with one another is more important than upholding truth or correcting error. Why is that? Because no one cries or dies when we tolerate error - everyone just gets along.

You have to remember: life is sacred, and therefore the quality of life is also sacred. In the short term it is always more pleasant to get along than to disagree, and for that reason the shortsighted and morally bankrupt will reason that the moral highground is held by the one who just wants to get along.

Listen: Sincere Christians disagree with one another all the time. There is enough sin in my life to blind me in ways I cannot imagine. Sin insinuates itself in us in this way: we want to believe some things because it pleases us to think that way. We are typically oblivious when it happens, though when we are delivered from some error we can see how our own desires had obfuscated the truth. Do I feel justified in hating my father for the trainwreck of an upbringing I have had? Do I give everyone else forgiveness, but not him? Guess what? That kind of sin is going to cause me to justify certain behaviors, and in doing so, I will be unable to see some truth that another may see clearly. Maybe it is some other sin, or many sins - the point is that a sin that is justified is a sin that is embraced - and where we embrace sin we become blind. We -ALL- do it, and we all do it by default, that is, it isn't some malicious choice we make to be evil, rather it is deep in us, so much a part of who we are, that we cannot distinguish it from ourselves. We suppress the truth in unrighteousness, not because we are insincere, but because we are sinners. Christ sets us free from this, but because sanctification is a process, it means that not all of us are going to be on the same page, and that means that well meaning, sincere believers are going to have real disagreements over items of faith.

What is clear to my brother may be obfuscated to me, and vice versa. This doesn't mean that it is okay to disagree. Understanding why we do a thing doesn't justify doing it. Thus agreeing to disagree is like agreeing to continue in sin, it's short sighted, foolish, worldly, and (dare I say it!) sinful.

Rather what we should do is agree to pursue the truth together recognizing sin blinds us, and that we may never agree because of sin in one or both parties involved, but not to allow this truth to cause us to make peace with sin by agreeing to disagree, which is really agreeing to let sin have its way in one or both of us. There is no love in that.

Take again another item from the list:
Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
The proposition itself is wise, but the supporting reason is worldly. The reason we shouldn't compare our lives to other lives, according to this wisdom, is because we don't know enough about someone else's life.

Consider why one would reason this way. Why does this wisdom say it is wrong to compare? The reason given is because we don't have enough information to make a sound judgment. Think this through with me. That would mean that if we had enough information it would be okay... right? Yet, I don't think this "wisdom" is suggested that it is ever okay. I think what is being suggested is that no one ever has the right to compare themselves with anyone else. That being the case (IMO), the whole "walk a mile in my shoes" pitch is just a dog an pony show to meant to make the premise seem reasonable.

It -is- wrong to compare ourselves to anyone else - but not because we lack information. Rather because we understand the sovereignty of God. What do we have that we can say our own right arm has given us? If we have received all from God, then how can we boast? If I have received "x" from God, and someone else has received "y" from God, and neither of us has "caused" God to supply for us, then it is ridiculous to think I am better than someone else because I received "x" from God and they received "y".

Then there is this gem:
It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
Wow. Where do I start? Okay, let's be clear, it is not okay to be angry with God. That's like saying, "It's okay to sin, God can take it." Anger itself is not a sin, but the only way anger can be directed at God is if one charges God with wrong. Think that through. It is -not- okay to be angry with God, even if God can take it.

Here is another gem:
All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
Isn't that the hope of very false religion in the world? I mean, who doesn't love their own? What matters is not that you loved, but Who you loved.

If you love the God of scripture, you will truly be able to love others through Christ in you, which is really Christ loving through you, and not something your flesh or will, or heart managed to produce on its own. If you do not love the God of scripture, you will only "love" those who reciprocate your love, or love others to put your love on display for your own honor and glory - either way, your "love" will be entirely self serving - an animal reflex, and hardly worthy of anything more than eternal damnation.

There were a lot of good things on that list, and when I say good, I mean biblical, but these were nestled alongside worldly wisdom, and when that happens, spiritually speaking, the purpose is to sell the error by yoking it to truth. The powers and principalities that are opposed to God's rule have learned long ago that a spoonful of suger helps the medicine go down.

Be discerning in all things.

Labels:

posted by Daniel @ 9:12 AM  
3 Comments:
  • At 7:47 AM, July 12, 2009, Blogger donsands said…

    "It is -not- okay to be angry with God, even if God can take it."

    I agree. But when one does get mad at God, one of His genuine children, how should we handle it?

    I had a sister in Christ who lost her 4 year old son when he got choked to death on the sliding board in her back yard. She was mainly hating herself in her extremely heavy grief, but she was mad at God for taking Daniel, her sons name.

    I let it alone. I did try to comfort her in her excruciating pain, but it was too painful at the time.
    She has, by the grace of God, worked her way out of all this, and she is a wonderful servant of the Lord for Youth in Christ.

    so, do you think if someone like Linda is mad, it's understandable for a season?

    Repenting will surely have to come.

    I know others who became mad at God, but it was from simply not getting their way. I have told these people to repent quickly.

    Another post full of good wisdom Daniel. Thanks.

    Have a blessed Lord's Day.

     
  • At 12:48 PM, July 12, 2009, Blogger Daniel said…

    Don,

    The bible says to mourn with those who mourn. In the situation you described I can understand Linda's anger - it seems to me, from what you said, that it would have been born of the grief and desire to blame someone for taking away a child who was dearly loved in this world. If our children belong to us, and not God, we can be angry with God when He takes one, or all of them, away. There is a couple that live within walking distance of our church. They have a little boy named Joel who will likely die a very painful, horrible death before he turns two years old. If you asked Steve and Karen if they would prefer to have their child live to the age of four, they would jump at the privilege. They spend ninety minutes every four hours feeding him. They haven't slept a full nights sleep in over a year. They won't sleep a full night's sleep until Joel is gone. But they wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice two more years of sleep on top of this just to know their son a little better. They understand that each day is a gift to us who are the stewards of our children. They are thankful for each day they have. It is easier to be thankful for what you receive, when you understand that you have no right to demand what you have been given. If there has been love and joy, it is a gift, and if the Lord takes our children from us, we can only be angry because we believe that the child had a right to life, and we had a right to enjoy that life. Some learn this lesson the hardest way imaginable - and we must guard against being calloused and unloving in bearing witness to such a truth, for when understood it is a great comfort, but handled poorly, it can be a knife that cuts.

    I think that the more mature one is spiritually, the more able one is to bear witness to such a truth in grace.

    So how one reacts to a situation such as Linda's would depend on their maturity spiritually speaking. Surely the Lord will work such a thing out without human hands being required if she is His child, but if one has some gift, and can share it without malice, so that it is received, then one should share it.

    I think we are right to rebuke those who are not working out the truth in their grief, but we ought to be very careful, taking our cues from those more mature than ourselves, when dealing with this sort of tragedy.

    Good comment sir.

     
  • At 3:46 PM, July 12, 2009, Blogger donsands said…

    ".. and we must guard against being calloused and unloving in bearing witness to such a truth, for when understood it is a great comfort, but handled poorly, it can be a knife that cuts."

    Unskilled with a sword is quite dangerous.

    Thanks Daniel for your response.

     
Post a Comment
<< Home
 
 
 
Previous Posts
 
Archives
 
Links
 
Atom Feed
Atom Feed
 
Copyright
Creative Commons License
Text posted on this site
is licensed under a
Creative Commons
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5
License
.