• Welcome to Talk Jesus

    A true bible based, Jesus centered online community. Join over 13,000 members today

    Register Log In

Church Controversy

Users who viewed this discussion (Total:0)

Member
There's always been controversy in church life, perhaps today more than ever. How should we handle difficult issues? Is there a bigger picture beyond the specifics that can be so divisive? Here are some thoughts... Thanks for reading.

----------------------------------


Discovering the Guiding Principles of God in Scripture

Alcohol, smoking, gambling, eternal punishment, Bible inspiration, infallible tradition, religious dogma and sacraments, intimacy before marriage, gay Christians, abortion, and so on.

Rationalised or intellectualised faith makes for a poor spiritual diet. The life and mind of Christ are imparted to us in better ways. So what gets genuine believers through all of this controversy in Church life?

Let’s roll all our so-called controversies and debates into a messy bundle and step back. Some may detect a general trend that shies away from the final authority and coordinated fullness of Scripture. Reject that and we can go just about anywhere, redefining whatever we choose every step of the way. But God’s Word tells us a lot about the eternal character of God the Father. It abundantly reveals Christ’s mind and wisdom.

The core issue here isn’t what we believe we should and should not do. Let’s not get hung up on levels of permission. Everything pivots on understanding the holy, fixed principles by which God expresses His life to us. His Word reveals His personality. By His Spirit in us, Who does He reveal Himself to be?

Fundamentally it’s always a question of Who He is and all that He stands for. If at the beginning we looked at our Christian lifestyles in this context, controversies could be less problematic.

In the light of His Word, the holy, pure character of God in us would cause us to falter over many of our choices. At that point it becomes a matter of submission and obedience to His will.

To stop this essay running to thousands of words, let’s just use alcohol as a quick example. Scripture has something to say about how God’s righteous character responds to alcohol in the lives of those He separates to Himself, those individuals He raises up for service.

Part of this controversy in modern church life stems from making a big deal about alcoholic excess. We all know the verse very well: we shouldn’t get drunk. Well, that’s clear enough. So that’s our goal then. (But many know that in practice it’s not quite that simple.) So we rationalise about how much is too much, and where and when.

Some say spirits are out. But beer’s ok. Such definitions are meaningless. What we like or allow is of no consequence, and we should be careful about who we tell. For many people alcohol is harmless and has an insignificant role in their social routines. But we should also remember it’s literally a poisonous sedative that causes addiction. And it’s hurting Christians. Should we choose our words more carefully?

In Scripture strong drink (however you define it) is associated with recklessness, judgement, impurity, confused thinking, going astray, fights, and foolish and embarrassing behaviour.

We find that God’s chosen people in Scripture are characterised by a separation from strong drink and drunkenness. Isn’t there a general principle to be learned here about the use of alcohol in our lives? Scripturally it’s a revelation to us of His holy character and His desires for those He separates to Himself.

When we try to apply dead regulations and a long string of do’s and don’ts to Christian behaviour we simply stir up the wearisome legalism of religion. We wield Bible verses like a club. So we struggle against these controversial subjects in our own strength, within the confines of human wisdom, morality and opinion. Many Christians get suffocated. Some of them give up and rebel in frustration.

But when we ask God to reveal His character in us—the very mind of Christ—we get a sense or revelation of His holiness, love and flawless guidance. He always offers us the better choice. It’s a narrow path that irresistibly leads us away from the pride of life, the ways of the world and the pull of “the flesh”. Jesus told us the flesh profits nothing.

In this way, through His truth, God cuts deep between our flawed, sinful mindset and His ways revealed in our spirits (see Hebrews 4:12). Through Him the balanced fullness of Scripture leads us to better understand why particular behaviour and choices are essentially illegitimate. They are inconsistent with the holy character of God.

His ways are not our ways. All that He encourages and disallows becomes part of who we are in Him. Christ doesn’t offer advice. He is free from controversy. He reveals His truths for our profit, and they are right and perfect.
 
Moderator
Staff Member
But God’s Word tells us a lot about the eternal character of God the Father.
Amen!

Who He is and all that He stands for. If at the beginning we looked at our Christian lifestyles in this context, controversies could be less problematic
So true. Sadly, it usually isn't until we begin to grow in Him and He in us that this understanding starts to shape itself. By then we have also acquired the "do's" & "don'ts" evidenced in Christendom.

In the light of His Word, the holy, pure character of God in us would cause us to falter over many of our choices. At that point it becomes a matter of submission and obedience to His will.
This is when the battle begins between the flesh & spirit.

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. Galatians 5:17

But when we ask God to reveal His character in us—the very mind of Christ—we get a sense or revelation of His holiness, love and flawless guidance. He always offers us the better choice. It’s a narrow path that irresistibly leads us away from the pride of life, the ways of the world and the pull of “the flesh”. Jesus told us the flesh profits nothing.
As we get closer to God, we become more aware of our own sin. Thereby the need for greater reliance (submission and obedience as you have said) on Him and less on the selfishness of sin.

Thank-you for sharing this.
YBIC
C4E
<><
 
Active
Through Him the balanced fullness of Scripture leads us to better understand why particular behaviour and choices are essentially illegitimate. They are inconsistent with the holy character of God.

His ways are not our ways. All that He encourages and disallows becomes part of who we are in Him. Christ doesn’t offer advice. He is free from controversy. He reveals His truths for our profit, and they are right and perfect.

Beautiful, beautiful, just beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
 

Similar threads

Top