Saturday, July 10, 2004

Re:Dwight

Moving out of the theoretical Dwight and an interesting thought.
Dwight wrote:
If the church leadership understood their job as equipers of the faith instead of interventioners (that is a new word, BTW) then I think that holiness could be grasped (at least in a larger part than what I have seen today).

This speaks to something that Wesleyans have historically had a problem with. Social Holiness. Is it possible that not only are individuals are conformed to the Image of God but so are social entities. Is it possible for Communities of Faith to be the Image of God? When I read the NT there was the understanding that the writers where talking to groups of people. This is getting really Pomo but what if sanctification of an individual is impossible outside of a sanctified community (understand I speak of sanctification as process)?

If this is true or possible what does that mean? It means that the pastor or officer can not be the interventioner. Holiness does not flow from the pastor to the people but the pastor is a part of a holy community. S/he may not be a necessary position in the community. Leaders are vital but the traditional roles may not be.

so what about this idea of social holiness? Lets get heratical. Does this idea extend beyond the community of faith? Can other social organizations be sanctified? Is it possible for a government organization to be becoming the Image of God? I say not in America but elsewhere where greed does not run the country maybe?

So what needs to happen to see our communities be conformed to the Image of God?

6 Comments:

Bill

I will easily agree that the full image of God cannot be realized by an individual alone. I do not hold this because I am a postmodern but because of the early church saying "He who does not have the Church as his mother cannot have God as his Father"

I actually think that the role of the pastor lately is one who steps in the way between God and humanity instead of one who intervenes to God on behalf of humanity.

As for organizations outside of the church reaching for sanctification I will state that some probably are, but probably despite themselves. Unforunately, I think that maybe the world is becoming more sanctified despite the church as well. Leonard Sweet said, "If the church will not preach the gospel the culture will." I think that we are in that day today in America, so if that is true that it logically must be possible for corporations, communities and maybe even countries to work toward sanctification.

Side note: Can we equate sanctification as a process to healing?

By Blogger Dwight, at 5:01 PM  

Questions to Bill and Dwight:

How do you fit your concept of Christianity into a mold with the title Postmodern?

What do you do with the scripture:
Phi 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Why do you think it is a good thing to conform to an old, new theory such as Postmodernism?

Postmodernism

In postmodernism the intellect is replaced by will, reason by emotion, and morality by relativism. Reality is nothing more than a social construct; truth equals power. Your identity comes from a group. Postmodernism is characterized by fragmentation, indeterminacy, and a distrust of all universalizing (worldviews) and power structures (the establishment). It is a worldview that denies all worldviews ("stories"). In a nutshell, postmodernism says there are no universal truths valid for all people. Instead, individuals are locked into the limited perspective of their own race, gender or ethnic group. It is Nietzsche in full bloom. (CIM)

Although postmodernists tend to reject traditional morality, they can still be very moralistic. They will defend their “rights” to do what they want with puritanical zeal. Furthermore, they seem to feel that they have a right not to be criticized for what they are doing. They want not only license but approval. Thus tolerance becomes the cardinal virtue. Under the postmodernist way of thinking, the principle of cultural diversity means that every like-minded group constitutes a culture that must be considered as good as any other culture. The postmodernist sins are “being judgmental,” “being narrow-minded,” “thinking that you have the only truth,” and “trying to enforce your values on anyone else.” Those who question the postmodernist dogma that “there are no absolutes” are excluded from the canons of tolerance. The only wrong idea is to believe in truth; the only sin is to believe in sin.

Gene Edward Veith, Jr (195-196) - Postmodern Times
*************
We are to come out from amongst the world, not conform to it.

Again just some questions and thoughts.

By Blogger Concerned Citizen, at 7:50 AM  

Goofy,

You already know how I would do this through our interaction on the Salvation Army Discussion Forum a month or so ago.

Basically, I will ask you the same question in terms of how you can be a Christian and a Modern? How can your belief in Absolute Truth and the human's ability to totally grasp that concept and understand it allow you to be a Christian? How does a Modern's understanding of individualism and salvation toward individual's reconcile with the Bible's teaching of salvation for groups of people.

Basically I would disagree with your depiction of postmodernism as you will probably disagree with my depiction of modernism. Basically Goofy tell me how one cannot be conformed to this world in any way and you will have shown me Christ, but he still interacted with this world and his specific time period (and he still is). I feel that I am a little more realistic of what faith is in America for me and most of my friends and it is not absolutes or relatives. I believe in neither and call both a false dictomy of truth. Some things can be true but not universally true (i.e. I graduated from college four years ago, that wasn't true five years ago, but it is valid today).

If one is a dispensationalist (which I am not) they hold that God changed his way of dealing with humanity several times over our existence (i.e. garden, fall, flood, babel, israel, christ, church, heaven). If that is true it cannot be absolutely true (i.e. something that doesn't change based on time, space, language, culture, history, etc). So if one is a good baptist dispensationalist then they cannot believe in an absolute God.

Goofy pickup a book by McLaren (A new kind of Christian would be good for you) and read the mostly-postmodern perspective of a 50+ year old pastor. Visit www.emergentvillage.com for a church perspective on postmodernity that feels that it needs to be dealt with not feared or run from.

By Blogger Dwight, at 8:43 PM  

Hey Dwight,

You are right, I realized we had had this discussion on the TSA forum right after I hit the submit button. So in essence I should have addressed it to just Bill, however, with your response, I think it would be good to discuss further.

I am not a Salvationist, nor a Modern, I think I have been called just about everything in the TSA forum but “Modern” is a new one. The title that has stuck in the forum is “Pentecostal Charismatic Foursquare” person. That would be about the nearest and in that a “Fundamentalist” somehow fills out the names. Absolutes are the mark of any well balanced society, whether it be the absolutes of sin and death or the laws of mankind, without absolutes of any kind, you have chaos. The Bible is an absolute in the historicity of God and His people; it lays down the basics for humankind to be humane and just. The Bible also lays out the laws of nature, the human credo of right and wrong created in the conscience mind. God is an absolute as He is the beginning and the end. Jesus is an absolute as He is the author and finisher of our faith. Jesus love was absolute and unconditional. Absolutes have become a problem in society as they point to the ultimate conclusion that there is a right and a wrong, they do not allow for middle of the road commitments or fence walking. God’s absolutes carry punishments as well as rewards and man today does not like to deal with the reality that if you disobey those laws of God there is a price to pay, a negative outcome if you do not turn from those things that would separate you from God for all eternity. Sin is sin, and the new theory of degrees of sin is not new at all, it is from the beginning of time in the Garden of Eden. Jesus made the way for us to return back to the Father without there being a recompense for our own personal sins that is the absolute of unconditional love.

I know Dwight I am probably spinning my wheels here, you and I will probably never see eye to eye, but I do pray for you, that your journey will mellow and you will come to find the inner peace that is given to all who believe in God and His authority over all.

Blessings,
Goofy

By Blogger Concerned Citizen, at 8:24 AM  

Goofy - what do you mean by "I know Dwight I am probably spinning my wheels here, you and I will probably never see eye to eye, but I do pray for you, that your journey will mellow and you will come to find the inner peace that is given to all who believe in God and His authority over all."

It sounds like you are questioning my love for Christ and my salvation. If you are then you will know why I have left church for a while and why I left the SA discussion forum. My lack of beliefs in Absolute Truth which reeks of Platonic thought does not effect my entrance into heaven.

Also sin does have degrees (penalities for lying and murder are not the same on this planet from humanity or from God (read leviticus proof of this), and any sin is enough to hurt our relationship with God. So the concept is as old as time itself because it is true. Again, research a Christian's view of postmodernism some time.

By Blogger Dwight, at 9:43 AM  

Dwight,

I apologize, I did not mean for my last statement to read the way it did. I was trying to say to you that I am praying that the journey you are on will come to a more centered place in your heart and you will find the peace you obviously desire. I am not doubting your belief in God, but only your lack of acceptance and understanding that He is all you need. You don’t need a bunch of modern day theories, you already have Jesus Christ and God in your heart, you just need to focus on the Bible and not the theories and teachings of man. It’s all right there, if you are willing to read it for the wisdom contained in it.

As to researching the Christian view of postmodernism, I have been. I have read a lot of Len Sweet and many others as well as the Threshold, the Church on the Threshold, Future Church and Christianity Today has some excellent articles pro and con. I would recommend you visit the following in your journey:

V Praize at:
http://www.praize.com
There you can find Watchman Nee, Wigglesworth and so many other wonderful theologians and their visions of the Christian life.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2000/013/7.74.html

I did not mean to offend you Dwight, but I think you are wise in seeking to find the Lord on your own at this point in time. If you continue to earnestly seek Him, in His Word and not in the words of so many outside, I think you will find Him in a new way that will give you exactly what you need.

Blessings Brother, in the Name of Jesus.
Goofy

By Blogger Concerned Citizen, at 10:25 AM  

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