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The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar-full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred-proof grace—of bottle after bottle of pure distillate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly. The word of the gospel—after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about perfection—suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, nor flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter in. ~ Robert Farrar Capon


Guest blogger today…

Jim’s heresy of the day.

2 Tim 3:16 –  “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness”.

Which scripture was Paul referring to? Obviously not the New Testament because it didn’t exist then. So he’s talking to Timothy about the Old Testament. Timothy’s mother was a Jew, father a Greek, but he was raised with knowledge of Jewish traditions and scripture. Paul preached to the Gentiles, Timothy was working amongst the Greeks, they had no Torah nor were they encouraged in any Jewish traditions. So all a bit odd given Paul’s other statements about the law.

I did quite a dig around about the word for Scripture used here. Its a particular form that isn’t used often in the Greek and basically means the entirety of all God’s breathed Word – or something along those lines. Given the context of Paul’s other writings and his emphatic statements about doing away with the law, the only conclusion we can make of this is he wasn’t speaking about a bunch of written laws, rituals and prophecies, so much as the entirety of Jesus, the living word. Seeing as this letter is addressed directly to Timothy he would have been very aware of what Paul was saying and its implications.

Of course, we mustn’t forget  Paul had Timothy circumcised early in the piece, which was totally against Paul’s own teachings. In studying this point, there are a few fumbling reasons put forward as to why this may have been, but we seem to forget that Paul made mistakes (gasp!) and Timothy’s circumcision may have been one.

So going back to a bigger picture, why have we included the New Testament in the same category as the Old. The Old was a strict set of written laws, codes, messages from God to a people who didn’t have the indwelling Christ. They had to have it written down and preserved! The early church had no scriptures! The letters and other documents weren’t regarded as Holy Scripture until many, many years later, they were just letters floating around mostly correcting churches that were going off the rails.

It seems that if we were to have an infallible set of written documents that were to be taken as the literal instructions of God on how to be Christians, Jesus would have organised that before the ascension so there could be no doubt that these instructions were from him! But no, all we have is a set of hodge-podge ambiguous writings that have been tacked together and presented as the infallible Word of God.

Now I know you are looking around for the biggest stones you can find to throw at me… but those documents were inspired by God! Each was to a specific audience – a church in trouble or need, a struggling leader, a group of people in a region needing encouragement, whatever… Were they written to us? Of course not! Are they inspired by God? Yes! Can we learn from them? Yes! Can we apply every little thing in them for our lives? No!

So what de we do with all this? Horror of horrors – we have to have a personal relationship with God, our loving Father, with his son Jesus who by his Holy Spirit lives inside us in all his power and glory. He has to be intimately involved with our very being, all that we are and do. He is our Word, our wonderful living Word. The Scriptures should just support what Holy Spirit is already doing in us.

If we are constantly walking in greater revelation of God in us we are less and less likely to even be sin conscious, less needy of being propped up by an instruction manual – of being less dependant on trying to figure out which particular scripture fits our particular need at any given moment – of finding a promise to hang on to – because the living Word is IN us already.

Just remember those poor old gentile christians wandering around with no scriptures to guide  them, and some of those Jewish christians berated by Paul for telling others they had to live by the Torah. It seems that the last thing Paul wanted was a bunch of scripture fanatics wandering the countryside!

You may have noticed I’ve been on about all this for a while now.  The reason is obvious (to me). Our current understanding of all these things just doesn’t work. We happily say if we know enough scripture and understand it all, everything will all fall into place – but it doesn’t – it just gets worse! More doctrines, more denominations, more splits, more discord, hatred, lies, envy, pride, you name it. And we keep blaming each other’s interpretation of scripture – when will we see that this will never stop until WE stop and realise there’s something wrong with this picture?!

Could it be that scripture was never meant to be used like this???

Religion means ritual service. The Greek, thréskeia means ritual worship, religion (reverence or worship of the gods), or worship as expressed in ritual acts.

Religion is not the new covenant way. It is a dead way, not a new and living way.

Why any would think we benefit from ritual acts, when we have the fullness of God himself living in us, is beyond me. Yet I hear it all the time, often from pastors. They say it’s how we touch God. Oh, really?

James 1:27 (Easy To Read Version) The kind of religion (worship) that God accepts is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help, and keeping yourself free from the world’s {evil} influence. This is the kind of religion (worship) that God accepts as pure and good.

James is not saying that religion is worship that God accepts, or that caring for orphans and widows is worship.

He is saying that action and caring are what God accepts, not ritual.

Showing you faith in your works is a huge theme with James. Like Paul, he is saying that it’s our reasonable service. It is not service to God, but to the members of the body, the church. God himself is not served by human hands.

Nobody ever connects with God in a real or true way by rituals. They in fact form a barrier, requiring priests and go betweens, and objects, and recitation of words. Empty, meaningless words, designed to make the worshiper feel that they are touching God, when in fact it is faith in His words that pleases Him.

Jesus said that the day was coming when people would worship God in spirit and in truth – for these are who God seeks. The place (neither a mountain, nor temple with rituals) is neither spirit not truth. Jesus is truth.

The day Jesus spoke of is here.

We have the Holy Spirit abiding in us. No more go betweens. No more pretenses. No more uncertainty. So again, why would anyone want to practice empty religion?





Follow the Rabbit Holes to Grace

A good friend reminded me of a time of loss in my life. The loss left me feeling like I had a large hole in my life. At the time I remember asking God over & over to fill the hole. Holes are deep, dark and feel terrible! Get rid of the hole!

But then I discovered that the hole was not just an empty space to be filled back in. Rather it was an open portal into my new inner man and Grace. Like Alice entering the rabbit hole, I embarked on a wonder filled journey. Soon, I forgot all about the hole or the attempts to have God fill it and began experiencing life as God created it to be.

~ John P. Cwynar



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