Archive for March, 2008

GOOD FRIDAY?

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Whenever the government of a country is confronted with a moral dilemma in the delivery of its services it automatically sets up a committee to investigate the shortcomings of its administration. This approach has many admirable benefits to the government. Firstly, it makes the government feel good that it is doing something to address the deficiency. Secondly, it enables the government to effectively do nothing at all for they are waiting for the committee to arrive with its findings and when the findings do arrive they can always call a new inquiry. Thirdly, and most importantly, it enables the government to assuage its guilt at its own neglect toward its citizenry without the need to repent of its past sins.
Christians do exactly the same thing. Whenever they are confronted with their own shortcomings toward God they hold a festival. They celebrate God's goodness. This enables them to, firstly, feel good that they are doing something in addressing their own deficiency. Secondly, it enables them to put off doing anything constructive about their failings. Thirdly, and most importantly they are able to assuage their guilt while doing nothing at all towards God to repent of their past sins. This is the beauty of the annual Easter ritual!
This deficiency is no more apparent than on this day which the Church has given the name Good Friday. What exactly is good about it? The name is reminiscent of the activity of the modern day spin doctors who try desperately to turn a negative into a positive. It is surely a day of shame for the Church. Year after year the same sinners present their unrepentant, unchanged hearts before God to offer up their praise at His mercy. The death of the Lord is celebrated without an ounce of real sorrow in the collective heart of the Church. If there was real sorrow the Church would be purer, more alive with the power of His love. As it is, year by year nothing changes.

PART – 3

Sunday, March 9th, 2008


One of the consequences of the Christian belief that the New Testament is sealed is that rather than God being closer to His people He has become more distant. Jesus supposedly lay down His life to draw us infinitely deeper into the life of God. After the resurrection He tells the woman, Mary Magdalene, at the tomb “…go to My brothers and say to them I ascend to My Father and your Father, and My God and your God”. If we are called into this intimate relationship where we are no longer slaves but friends, brothers of the Lord, sharing in common a Father and a God, then our words should be constantly alive and relevant, and rather than being sealed up in a book, words bearing life should still be flowing from our lips.
Under the Law God's people knew of His love and grace because through the generations He sent His prophets, spokesmen, to correct them, whose words were His words and to be respected and obeyed. But in sealing up scripture the Church has put a distance between itself and God. The Church has acted in much the same way as the people in the time of Moses acted when they were so terrified by their encounter with God, when He appeared with fire on the mountain to deliver the ten commandments, that they declared to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us lest we die.” We are told that “… the people stood at a distance, while Moses approached the thick cloud where God was”. The Church too has acted in this way keeping a 'respectful' distance, a very long way down the mountain, from the Lord.
The curious effect of this distancing itself from God has created within the Church the art of theological posturing. Because the Church believes that they are children of God, because in there understanding the scripture says that they are, they create for themselves an intellectual illusion of their relationship with God, without ever becoming what they proclaim themselves to be. It is therefore possible for Christians to declare that they are saved, and washed in the blood, and children of God, while still declaring their absolute enslavement to sin. “None of us are perfect” they declare, “God doesn't see me when He looks at me, but rather he sees Jesus”. These and similarly juvenile utterances are what I call 'God wearing rose coloured glasses' theology and speaking such nonsense is part of the reason that the Church is held, quite rightly, in derision by the unbeliever.
It is a strange fact that those born under the Law had more expectation of a word from God than those who are supposedly born under grace! It is also surprising that those who believe that they are living under a New Covenant have less expectation of a revelation from God than those who lived under the Old Covenant. So because Paul writes that the Law, though good, resulted in death for those who stumbled in it, that must mean that Christians, who supposedly live according to grace but stumble in the same way as those who live under Law, have to be in a worse state. For if neither the Law nor love poured out through the Spirit can transform us what way is there left for us to keep the commands of God?