Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Who Is a Christian?

My last post promptly drew a sincere question - how can these people be described as Christians? And then a helpful explanation from one of those "Christians," or Christoids, perhaps. And there's the problem: it is perhaps. The guy certainly isn't talking as Jesus or the apostles would, even being often reproved. He clearly isn't learning from the apostles or hearing from the God he says he believes in, and therefore is certainly not a real Christian, even though he thinks he believes the Bible which he blows off in his personal conduct. Just another empty religious hypocrite, right?

Well, no, I don't know that, and nobody else does. Maybe he is a real Christian. The Lord knows those that are his, and in the parable of the wheat and the tares, it's clear that we can't root up the tares, because we'll root up the wheat with them. The smoking wick gives forth sooty smoke, and no light, but the Lord doesn't quench it. Today the guy is a fool, showing no evidence of the fruit of God's spirit, being a dishonest reviler and somehow convinced that such conduct makes him more persuasive. But how do I know what glory may rest upon him in ten years?

The proverb says that to those who rebuke the wicked there will be sure delight, but such sure delight is not promised to us for judging one another. Reproving the wicked is one thing - which we all are from time to time, so that Jesus addressed Peter as Satan right after he had recognized Jesus as the Son of God. Godly reproof is centered on conduct and goes no farther. Judging one another is presumptuous, overdriving our lights. As Paul wrote, "The Lord knows those that are his (we don't!), but whoever names the name of the Lord, let him depart from iniquity."

Christians are those that name the name of the Lord in this world. That's how the Bible gives it to us. "The name of God is blasphemed among the nations because of you," Ezekiel wrote. He wasn't referring to true disciples but to Israel as a whole, the people from whom the world was learning how to think of the living God.

A very relevant example is David's servant Joab. He was altogether personally loyal to David's person, but he never got David's mind on things. So he was always killing people that David didn't want killed. David gave Solomon the task of doing away with Joab after his own death, to avenge the blood of Amasa and Abner whom he murdered. But who could say up to then that Joab was not David's servant?

There are lots of Joabs in the world today, people who would do anything for Jesus, including killing people he doesn't want killed. Just as Joab called David my lord the king and never could learn to do as he said, like not murdering people, these disciples are always slandering Muslims, reviling and misrepresenting other religious opponents, and admiring and following rich guys in fancy clothes and big cars, like the world around them that they love. But if they love Jesus, preach him in the world, confess that he is Lord even when they get hated for it, they're Christians, aren't they?

Well, maybe not, since they're blowing off what he says, and Jesus did say, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don't do the things that I say?" Lots of people will say at the last day, "Look at how we served you and did all sorts of wonderful things in your name," and they won't be jiving. They'll believe their own plea, which they're making at the judgment seat of Christ and they will be truly surprised when he says, "I never knew you."

But maybe they really are disciples. Who is Jesus asking, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord and don't do what I say?" None other than his disciples who followed him up the mountain. And he was curing them with the word of truth, if they could hear it. So how can I say someone is not a Christian just because he's a bruised reed or a smoking wick? I just don't know that.

When someone names the name of the Lord and claims to be his disciple, it takes too long to explain to the world that he's not a Christian, especially since we don't know where he stands - because ultimately we're all what God is going to do about us, and that is not yet seen.

I've been very clear that the United States is not a Christian country. It has a Christian heritage, but so does the whole earth, because God made the whole thing and it bears his mark, and all are descended from Noah, whom God saved out of the flood. And the Christian heritage of the United States is a complicated thing, because it's a heritage of falling away, of enormous spiritual pride and self-conceit - the Pilgrims and the Puritans vaunting themselves as the light of the world, the city on the hill, as they robbed and murdered those they found here, repaying them evil for the good they received from the Indians who kept them alive through their first winter.

It is just shuck and jive to speak of Christians being a small and powerless minority in the US, unable to affect public policy. Is it not the Christian churches who egg on the bombings and invasions of others, and the ever-increasing greed and cruelty of the Israeli state? Evangelical church members consistently show higher approval of torture than any other segment of the American population. So can we just tell the world that these evangelicals, these Bible preachers and faithful students of the Bible, with their public preaching of Jesus, are not Christians? They're Christians, baby. They're apostate from Christ, but in Bible terms they're Christians - in a way. Jesus was shut out of the Laodicean church, standing outside and knocking, ready to puke them up in fact, but Laodicea was still his church.

Let's think further about where all this goes. When Paul writes, "Now we see in a mirror in a riddle," we'd best figure that some things just won't be clear. We're in the church of Jesus Christ, when we're in Laodicea, but he's not allowed in. Does that make any sense? Well, no, but that's how it is. It's being Attwood among the Christoids, among Christians without Christ.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

>>It's being Attwood among the Christoids, among Christians without Christ<<.
I thought it was just life.
I am still so very asleep regarding all this GOD stuff.I'm choosing to sleep rather then get involved because its a riddle. I don't have time for riddles. Or, just not adult ones. I like to solve the silly ones. Here's another question that you don't need to or have to answer. Do I have to pay attention to riddles?
Ill be back and reread. As usual in talking with you, to my benefit, I got more than a great answer to my question.
I do have to comment some.
Judy

10/14/2010 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just reread this post..I think its sinking in. For me, I have never felt quite right claiming I am a Christian.. When people occasionally ask me " are you a Christian?' I normally respond with I am trying to be,I'm still learning what that means. Most Christians don't like that response from me, so, I try to change it to "yes'.
I am very uncomfortable calling myself Christian because I don't know how GOD saved me...I'm not sure Jesus saved me or I trusted in HIM. I am not sure how I came to GOD. I have this inner conversation at least once a day. All I do know is I cried out for help 20 some years ago Cried out to the goodness that had been courting me all my life. I said I don't know who you are but I know if you are I want your help...I will do what I can to get it. Then I had to live in such a way that GOD felt comfortable being around me. Stay in a place I could hear HIM. That's what I been doing..I think it is JESUS because JESUS said some beautiful things. HE said HE would never leave me. and much more. Good things that would have, (is the word implicated) Himself? I haven't met a more free, lovely, or faithful people than real Christian people. And, I talk to everybody and anybody. As long as they don't BS much. let me if time allows. From every color and country. Jesus people are my favorite.
Okay, I think I get you AC idea now. I am one. It is not that i cuss/swear/anger or do less then Nobel things that cause me to be as the Laodicea. I am a functional Christian like a functioning addict. So not really free because in some ways Jesus is like the "vice" and therefore still not allowed in. Its hard to disconnect when GOD is working" and I want to veg. I think being a Christian is submitting to Jesus' and HIS ways in everything. Even when I do say i am Christian I talk to GOD about it later and I say I am sorry if I m misrepresenting YOU. In other words...anyone could say to me..Judy, you are not a Christian and I respond with, you know I might not be, I am working on it though. I am trying. It wont be till Jesus is preeminent in all areas of my life. every moment in every way..till i am not and HE is. that is when I think I will easily say I am a Christian.
I keep going off topic more then I want to. back to it...
I remember when Bush said something like "GOD wants us to go help the Iraqi people" It was about 7 years ago. I cried. He was lying and I couldn't believe the Christians around me wouldn't get pissed with me. I knew this guy was lying I didn't know exactly how but I did know GOD didn't operate the way Bush was claiming. Something was devilishly wrong..It was obvious to me. I went to church and my pastor did his best to persuade all 3000 of us that our president was representing GOD and we should all rally in support. It was so bizarre. To me BUSH was using US to exact revenge.. JUST LIKE THE MOSQUE AT GROUND ZERO..something is evil about it..I cant put my finger on it. But just like Bush in his kind, humble manner saying we are gonna go bomb Irag for GODs people..This Imam has his kind,humble suit on for GOD and his people; please guys stop helping. Am I an AC for feeling this way...maybe. I'm open.
off subject again..
I get it they are Christians without Christ. and so am I. Its true..I get it now. Ive been wanting it that way...I didn't know that until this conversation. I'm glad to see it.Jesus is real and HE does come in and sup with us/me.I know that and I know I like HIM here, near me, with me.When I don't let JESUS in its is usually because I am afraid. not because i want to do some sin but because I'm tired and I cant protect HIM when I'm tired. Wow, I didn't know I felt that way..I cant get tired because then ill be boring and if i am boring GOD might leave and if HE leaves I am really lost.
Judy

10/16/2010 12:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SEE, that is why when HE says I will never leave you I rested.. I need to get back to that. I wonder how many ACs are ACs for just that same reason. because they are tired.
Judy

10/16/2010 12:24 AM  
Anonymous Jason said...

The way you presume to formulate such a comprehensive and unsurprisingly negative spiritual profile of me based on limited comments provides telling insight on how badly you must mangle your other determinations. You pretend to deduce all of this from what I write, but in reality what motivated your dismal overview is the fact I’ve taken you to task for co-opting the word “Christian” to justify criticizing government policy; your first love. I’ve demonstrated your ignorance in topics you try to speak authoritatively on, such as your tenuous grasp of Islam. In other words, it’s not how or what I have written, but that I have tarnished the image of Attwood on his spiritual perch above the Christoids if indeed there is anyone reading your blog that could not see through the sham themselves. Simply put, no other conclusions could have been reached from someone who is essentially retaliating against my claims with accusations of your own, forcing specious conclusions that I don’t learn from apostles, or hear from the God I only claim to believe in, and only think I believe the Bible which I readily blow off in my personal conduct, all of which are judgments in sore want of evidence beyond what you have.

I won’t exaggerate and claim this is the most childish use of Scripture to deflect criticism I’ve seen, but it certainly ranks on the list. Voicing uncertainty as to whether these contrived spiritual faults you slap together as needed disqualify me from being a Christian or what glory might await me in the future after getting all the derision off your chest hardly disguises your contempt over your haughty spiritual ego being called into question.

And with this contempt you search your Bible for analogies you can use as insults and still maintain laughable claims to speaking like Jesus and the apostles. It is lost on you in a most profound way that even as you successfully confine your vituperation to biblical precedents, the nature of your speech embodies in the fullest sense the clanging, unprofitable, nothingness Paul cautions the Corinthians against becoming. The strident to the ear, unprofitable hypocrite who tows his Bible behind his political views and misapplies rebuke after rebuke in order to rail against government policy, blaming instead the fast and loose multitudes of those he defines as “Christian – in a way” … whatever that means, and in whatever way he needs them to be to avoid being wrong about anything.

Perhaps most entertaining of all in the Bible Man show is how Peter disregards clear biblical truths such as “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” in preference for CNN poles about how the hordes of Christians, so numerous and influential in policy that we can instigate expensive bombing campaigns worlds away but do nothing to stop the millions of abortions here in our own country, are foremost in advocating every non-Christian act one can imagine. Who are these people that cheerlead torture, invasions, civilian death, abortion, exploitation and all the rest … these are Christians? Well, they’re certainly Mr. Attwood’s Christians.

You couldn’t resist slipping in your political opinion about the State of Israel even for one post as you attempted to explain who real Christians are. Yes Peter, you sound exactly like Jesus and the apostles, their speech seasoned only with rebuke and constantly denouncing the Ephesians, Thessalonians, and Colossians for the brutal, expansionist policies of the Roman Empire.

10/16/2010 9:42 AM  
Blogger Peter Attwood said...

Jason,
Since you continue to mischaracterize my positions and ascribe base motives to me without evidence, instead of considering the possibility that I disagree with you and believe what I say, rather than how you choose to construe it, I think I have plenty of evidence for what I've said about your ways. But it's nothing personal.

If I speak or act amiss, then I should expect someone to show it, as you certainly have not, with only one exception so far. And if I walk faithfully, there will always be people like you to contradict. The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

In this case, I just took advantage of two comments whose spirit is in such sharp contrast that they made a great exhibit in my case - just documents I introduced at hearing.

For instance, it in no way contradicts what Jesus said about the few that find the narrow way to state that American Christians, in the name of Jesus and based on how they read their Bibles, urge aggressive war, torture and the destruction of republican liberties, and unconditional support for the state of Israel and its criminal behavior. Lots of people believe in Jesus in some sense, as I discussed in this post, who take the broad and easy way instead of the narrow path, a theme Jesus returned to at the end of his discourse.

The watching world is being preached a Jesus that loves aggression, violence, robbery, and lying, another Jesus that the apostles never preached. A principal reason that large segments of the American public don't want to hear it is the blasphemy of all these preachers like Chuck Smith, Greg Laurie, Rod Parsley, John Hagee, and the rest who preach this trash, along with their "Left Behind" books and other such spiritual obscenity - and that is a precise description of what it is. Far from being marginal figures, they have millions of followers who all claim to believe the Bible, and they represent Jesus to this culture. Moreover, it is nothing new; it's been like this for 400 years, to our ruin.

I am tired of saying this, since you carefully refuse even to acknowledge it, but a difference between the churches in the Roman empire that the apostles preached to and those at present is that they indeed did not participate in the civil religion of Roman empire, and they did not serve as a claque for Roman ideology. There were no "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS" stickers on their chariots, if they had any, because the idea that the Roman legions were THEIR troops would never have entered their heads. That is very different from the wholly prostituted American Christendom of today, which for that reason calls for a different diagnosis. Judging from what the prophets said to the Jews about being enamored of alliances with Egypt and Assyria, and what James said of the rich whom American Christians so admire and support in all their pursuits, it's pretty clear what that diagnosis is.

10/16/2010 6:27 PM  

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