New Swedish blog!

April 14, 2012 Leave a comment

You may have noticed my lack of updates on this blog.

So have I.

And I have been painfully aware, although in denial of the reason why.

The reason why, seems to be the bilinguality of the blog.

It’s not that I have problems writing things in English. Or well. Actually, that’s partly true. It clearly isn’t my mother tongue, and that’s not going to change. I have realized that I really love writing, but if anything is going to happen with my blogging, it needs to get beyond the angst of trying to pick a language for every blog entry I make. I need to pick a language as my default language to blog in.

And that language happens to be Swedish. I initially started feeling this way years ago, when I first began writing posts in Swedish to start with. And ever since I did, I realized I am usually much more comfortable with expressing myself in Swedish than English.

What does this mean, then?

That I have decided to keep this blog as it is. I will probably write entries here from time to time, and probably only in English. However, I have started a new blog that will be entirely in Swedish, which I will probably spend more time writing on.

The blog has no name yet, but the URL name I decided to give it is http://metanoi.wordpress.com
I admit the name is simply “metanoia” (Greek for “repentance”) without the “a”, but it was the word I most wanted to describe a blog I wrote right now with.

So… I’m not abandoning this blog, but for some time at least, it will probably be the less favoured of my two blogs. I have hope for this division into two blogs though, I hope it will end up helping me actually finish blog entries 🙂

Kyrie, eleison!

Categories: General Blog Posts

On Pharisees and Evangelicals

April 5, 2011 5 comments

“”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”
-Matthew 23:13, 15

Jesus seems to be saying that the Pharisees are doing two things:

  1. They are making very specific demands on who gets to be saved and who doesn’t, yet they themselves seem to miss the point of the faith they are trying to defend, and are thus leading themselves astray.
  2. They are trying hard to get someone to agree with their list of required beliefs, and when they do find someone who does agree with them, they turn even worse than their mentors.

The Pharisees tried to show outsiders that they were “among God’s chosen”, by showing off the rightness of their beliefs and life choices. Among those distinctive views that they emphasized in order to impress others were their rightness on issues of sexuality, on prayer/fasting and on water rituals, among other things. Their reaction against those who did not conform to their own standards was to call them “sinners” and shun them from their assembly of Pure, Chosen, True Covenant Members.

In a sense I wish these admonitions against the Pharisees applied only to those with the same theology, superficially speaking. Us Protestants have historically divided religious views in only two camps: those who hold to “salvation by works” and those who hold to “salvation by grace through faith”, i.e. the right view. Hence, Pharisees are merely seen as the example of people in the former camp, and Jesus is the person in the latter camp setting and example for those who would position themselves to be in this theological camp.

Something makes me think this is totally missing the point.

First of all, the criticism Jesus continuously gives the Pharisees has nothing to do with a specific theological system of how one is made righteous, but rather of the attitude of religious people trying to reduce the Kingdom of Heaven to a strict set of requirements and expelling and shunning everyone who don’t live up to their standards.

Second, as I already hinted at the start, the Pharisees were not really legalistic in the sense that they were trying to earn their righteousness by moral “actions” – they relied on “works of the Law” in the sense that they tried to show their Covenant membership by doing “Jewish stuff”, rather than by a faith in God and his Messiah.

What sneaks up on me is the realization that Christians who hold to a strict doctrine of Sola Gratia and Sola Fide, may sometimes be the most guilty of being “Pharisaical”. Jesus primarily warned of Hell to those pious religious people who excluded and shunned others, not to sinners.

Now, I’m sure he’d have a word or two to say in an environment that was overly “inclusive” in a way that ignores truth. But what I’m saying is merely that a lot of us conservative Christians should be afflicted by Jesus’ words to the Pharisees. Yes, Liberal theology can be very dangerous.

But the theology that Jesus confronted wasn’t liberal in any way, shape or form. They were in many ways the Evangelicals of 1st Century Judaism.

PS. I’d very much like to talk more about that last verse as well. What are the dangers of evangelism? Can the wrong kind of evangelism make a person into an EVEN WORSE child of Hell than before? Hmm…

Tillintetgör DjÀvulens gÀrningar!

March 24, 2011 3 comments

Jag har Ă€gnat det senaste halvĂ„ret att tĂ€nka pĂ„ försoningen, de senaste kanske 8 veckorna att lĂ€sa intensivt om det, och i princip… Förra vecka till att skriva en B-uppsats om det. HĂ€r kommer min uppsats om Gregory Boyds klassiska försoningslĂ€ra!

Why I can’t get over Calvinism

March 3, 2011 16 comments

I have, over the last few years, tried to understand Calvinism as well as possible. I’ve looked for ways it could possibly give a picture of a loving God that is similar to the God I’ve found revealed in Jesus Christ. To my dismay, however, I’ve only kept failing at this task.

One defense that I’ve seen is basically that Calvinism does say that everyone who comes to Christ will be saved, that he turns away no one. That the “unregenerate” sinners can choose to repent if they “want” to. The problem is, of course, that their “Total depravity”, their “deadness” in original sin, prevents them from ever even being able to consider the thought of repenting. They apparently all “hate God”. And so, while all might have a “choice” to repent and come to Christ, only those who are irresistibly drawn by the Father to come to Jesus to be born again and regenerated by the Holy Spirit to be given a new heart, CAN ever repent. Basically, it’s as if Jesus is standing to the right, and all the sinners are tied up in strings to the left, and the Father from eternity had chosen to cut the strings of  only a few of the guys to the left, so they could ever come to Jesus.
In my eyes, this is just another way of saying we don’t have a choice in the matter. Regardless of what specific breed of Calvinist philosophy you adhere to regarding the logical order of election, all Calvinists seem to claim the following things about God:

  1. After the Fall of Man, all men are afflicted with total inability to repent as a result of original sin. Calvinists disagree on whether or not Man was free to obey God in Eden or not. Regardless, this is “Total Depravity“.
  2. God does not need to consider free will in saving human beings – He intervenes and forcibly transforms an unwilling heart into a willing heart.  (“Irresistible Grace“).
  3. Hence, God would be able to save all by doing this to all, if He wanted to.
  4. However, God chooses to only pick some people to be saved, entirely arbitrarily. (“Unconditional Election“)
  5. God does all of this for his glory. In fact, the ultimate point of Creation is to glorify God. Everything else is unimportant in comparison.

If this is incorrect in any sense, please correct me. From all my research, this seems to be a fully correct view of Calvinism, though.

I don’t really care if Calvinism affirms that we have a theoretical choice to repent if there is absolutely no actual choice. It’s not that I need to have a certain number of words attributed to God to be at ease. The point is that God sees our supposedly utterly and completely lost state, and chooses to only do something about it to some of his lost creation. Does he even truly love humanity, then? Does he love the person he didn’t elect as much as the person he does elect? The general Calvinist answer seems to be “not really”, which I guess answers my question. God arbitrarily chooses to love a few.

To get at my problem more clearly, this is the image I get from the (soft version!) Calvinist view of election:

God created creatures with a free will of some sort, which was built-in with a horrific backfire mechanism that came into effect the moment a sin was committed. Once they sinned, they were caught in God’s trap, where only those he arbitrarily chose to “love” would be saved, while he would angrily look at the ones he didn’t choose and say “Love me! Except you can’t. I can make you do what I want you do to do… BUT I WON’T! Because that wouldn’t glorify me as much. I’m still gonna tell you what you’ve ought to do, however!”

Then at the end, he judges these two groups entirely based on whether or not they were picked by him, sending those he didn’t pick into eternal, tormenting hellfire. All of this, essentially being based on the action Adam and Eve chose, ages before, with every sin subsequent to that only really being a chain reaction from that original backfiring mistake, that God knew they would make from all eternity.

Can you please, please, tell me what I’m getting wrong in this picture. Because I’ve tried and tried, but in fact, the picture is only getting clearer and more horrible. I know those sent to Hell are supposedly really punished for the sins they committed, rather than mainly for the original sin. However, I don’t see how punishment is ever due to someone who genuinely had no choice in the matter. In the end, it’s REALLY all based on whether or not they were elected by God.

So what am I to say? I cannot help but be disgusted by this. Calvinists claim that the reasons for God choosing not to save is “for his glory”. First of all, when was eternal suffering considered glorious? What messed up picture of God assumes that God considers eternal torment and punishment for sins committed by a person who had no choice in the matter to start with, displays His glory? And finally, how is that picture of God in any way, shape or form, related to the picture of God displayed in the character and life of Jesus Christ, dying on Calvary for the same people who crucified him?

Here’s a short case for Resistible Grace that has a great analogy 🙂

Babies, Law Court Judgement and Christ

February 10, 2011 5 comments

It’s been a while since my last post, especially in English. I might make yet another post later on to answer “what’s up?”, but I’m posting for another reason now. I was notified by my friend Lisa Greer this morning about Greg Boyd’s latest post on “Baby Universalism and Reasonable Infanticide“, and I realized I have quite a few thoughts on this. So I wrote her a reply, which I realized would work out as a blog entry! It sort of assumes that you have read Boyd’s blog entry, however, so if there’s anything unclear, it might be a good idea to read it.

This is a question I’ve been wondering about for years, but no one else has brought it up, so Greg did what he usually does and asks the question no one else dares to ask. I’m totally with Greg on this. Any logically and morally inclined person who seriously believes in baby universalism should wander around murdering all the babies within reach, as well as forcing mothers into having abortions. It reminds me of an atheist I met once who said that if he was a Christian (as he understood them), he’d force people into accepting Christ by any means possible, damning himself if he had to (Rom 9:3). When you think about it, the notion that God gives a free pass only to those who don’t enter into adulthood makes our lives into nothing more than a cruel joke. It basically gives a thumbs up to all the teenagers who kill themselves: “Good idea, there’s absolutely no good reason to continue striving in this world!”

I understand and sympathize with the basic view of God and babies that makes one assume God would never condemn a baby who hasn’t started making conscious choices, but in the end, I think this scenario proves the absurdity of “Law Court Final Judgement“.

Most Western Christians assume that the final judgement is a scene where Humanity is standing before God, and those who have consciously signed the Jesus-contract in their earthly lifetime are magically Jesus-protected from God seeing their sin. Those who haven’t consciously signed the Jesus-contract in their earthly lifetime, however, won’t be prevented from God seeing their sins, and so God’s alarms will go off and he’ll throw them into eternal hellfire, regardless of anything those people might say when they get into heaven, because they are all radically morally totally depraved sinners who hate God anyways.

When Baby Universalism is connected to this view of the Final Judgement, babies are presumably either given a free Jesus-contract, or they simply commit no sin that the Father has to torment them for. I think both these alternatives are weird. In my view, (original) sin taints all of creation, and although it depends what kind of infirmities God is looking for, babies are not perfect. Free will also doesn’t “pop up” at the age of 11-12 in children, they start making choices independent from their instincts very early on.

If God made an “exception” in the law court system to babies below the arbitrary age of accountability, does that mean he gives exceptions to people who had a bad upbringing? People who started hanging out with the wrong people in their teens? People who got bullied in school? If we wants to keep any consistency here, we should just say that God should give an exception to everyone, and accept universalism. The other option within the law court system is to go the other way with election instead, and just change God’s character so that he enjoys sending people to Hell. That works too.

One major problem with the West is that we view sin so individually, and primarily juridically. Sin taints all of creation, and it is contagious like nothing else. Everyone is at one level guilty of sin, and yet everyone is at one level a victim of it as well. This is why we in the confession of sins say: “Through my sin I am guilty of more evil than I understand on my own”. This reality about the nature of sin makes it hard for me to see how Western Law Court Justice can ever be appropriately meted out. It’s so pervasive, and it doesn’t seem to be fixable by punishment.

Because of this, I am less inclined to believe God’s problem with sin is that his Divine Justice must be fulfilled by meting out Just Punishment to all those guilty, which in the end turned out to be redirected to Jesus/Himself. You’d think the Crucifixion would be a lot more intense if God needed to pour out all the punishment and wrath on the God-man on the cross. Especially when you consider that the cross, according to this view, was supposed to be the punishment for all humans replacing our punishment in eternal hellfire, due to sin against the eternal God (by finite beings…). You’d think the punishment due to Jesus (if comparable with eternal torment) in this view would be more like a billion nuclear bombs exploding and imploding on him over… well, eternity? That’s not to say Jesus did not experience things beyond what met the eye on the cross. He assumed all of humanity, and thus, without having sinned himself, “became a curse for us”, and “bore our sins”, so all the weight of our evil was upon him in those last moments.

This is something I will explore as I write my essay on the Atonement, by the way, but it is not that I deny all substitutionary or legal language for the Atonement, but I believe the introduction of Western Human standards of justice into God’s character is a large reason why people can’t see the beauty of God in Christ, when he takes upon Himself the Sin of the world. He took on our sins as something that is in ITSELF horrific. Sin is horrific and deadly, not God. The only reason God’s holiness is dangerous is because Holiness (wholeness) exists, and sin, distorted creation, ultimately doesn’t. It is not creation, but yet we cling to un-creation when facing God. No wonder it is dangerous to fall into the hands of the Living, Existing God like that. You can read what I’ve previously written on sin and salvation here. But there is nothing inherently scary in God’s character. God, in Jesus Christ, took on all of Sinful Humanity and lived it out (without sinning) to its logical consequence, death. When God had finished that, the Old Adam was brought to his end, and Jesus Christ destroyed sin, death and the Devil who had lived as a parasite on that fallen humanity, and rose victorious on the Third Day, creating a New Humanity in Him.

I think the view of sin within the Orthodox Church, which Greg Boyd seems to share, is more compatible with the loving character of God as perfectly revealed in Jesus Christ. God’s problem with sin is that it damages us and our relationship to Him, each other, ourselves and everything else. He wants to heal us, but we flee from Him, in fear that He will judge us and accuse us. Who is the accuser? Not God, but Satan. We have made God into Satan, by assuming that his greatest problem with us is his punitive anger against our sins. In reality, it seems the only reason He reminds us of our sins is to simultaneously ask “Will you stop holding on to that and give it to Me, please?”. All He asks is that we stop making our tormentors (Sin, Death and Satan) into our lords, and make Jesus Christ our Lord instead. Through choosing to return to Jesus Christ and taking part of His New Humanity through the Incarnation, we are given a new identity in Him as righteous and holy. We are then to put on Christ’s Humanity  and put off Adam’s humanity every day, so we may walk and continue the Life of Christ on Earth, by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Heb 2:14-18; Rom 13:14; 1 Cor 15:22,45)

Here is a wonderful passage fleshing out (pun not intended) the wonders of the Incarnation and its centrality to our salvation:

But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that He, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, saying, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.” And again, “I will put my trust in him.” And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

-The Epistle to the Hebrews, 2:9-18

And also:

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.

-The Epistle to the Romans, 6:4-13

From my understanding, in the Eastern view, the Final Judgement is about whether or not there is a sign of Divine Life inside of us, whether or not we take part of the Divine Energies that God wants to envelop us in. He gives them freely to all who seek His Face, and in the end, He will be all in all (1 Cor 15:28). When this happens, the love of God will envelop everything. Those who refuse to see the truth of who God is, however, will experience His love as torment and wrath. They will not experience it this way because God created it such, but because their lord Sin has become their guide to how to interpret everything they see, like GrĂ­ma Wormstongue in Lord of the Rings. Heaven and Hell are the same place: the loving prescence of God, but He will not force Himself into anyone’s mind.

So Hell is a reality in our minds, and a state of mind that I’m sure all of us have already tasted. That is not to say, however, that being freed from Hell is a mere decision and change of mind. It is a deadly mind virus and a parasite, and if we do not let the caretaker of our souls, Jesus, uproot it, it could take over our entire existence, and harden our hearts towards God. As for what God in his loving-kindness will ultimately do to those who end up in this situation, I don’t know. As I have previously written (in Swedish), although with a lot less clarity on the nature of Judgement, I think there is Biblical support for the view that all that is not in accordance with God will be as if it never existed. However, I am not certain of this view, and in the end, I can only look to Christ and know that He is Good.

As for the babies, then… I don’t believe our souls become inactive after death. I think we are either purified or hardened against God. As I have to assume there has to be some point in staying alive on Earth, I believe babies must be given the chance to choose beyond this life instead. But I think Boyd gave the answer to this question in his blog post and elsewhere. As I said before, in the end, I can only hope that God will be God in all situations. If I see Jesus, I see the Father, and Him who “is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature” (Heb 1:3, verbatim).

Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy!

Guds kĂ€rlek och villolĂ€ror

September 6, 2010 4 comments

Som jag nĂ€mnde i tidigare inlĂ€gg, och borde ha visat spĂ„r av under en lĂ€ngre period, sĂ„ Ă€r jag till stor del pĂ„ en resa i min teologi. Jag drivs av en enormt stor iver att ha en sund och sammanhĂ€ngande vĂ€rldsbild, som stĂ€mmer överens med vad jag sĂ€ger och gör. De flesta kĂ€nner nog igen sig i detta, men för mig innebĂ€r det att jag ocksĂ„ mĂ„ste tĂ€nka kring hur olika teologiska tankar och idĂ©er pĂ„verkar min vĂ€rldsbild. MĂ„nga kristna tĂ€nker att sĂ„ lĂ€nge vi bara pratar om Guds kĂ€rlek och lever enligt den, sĂ„ behöver vi inte reflektera kring nĂ„gra av de andra teologiska tolkningarna vi har gjort – det vore ju att kompromissa med budskapet i vĂ„r tro!

FrĂ„gan som har drivit mig under de senaste mĂ„naderna Ă€r denna: Ă€r budskapet i vĂ„r tro frĂ€mst en samling dogmatiska lĂ€rosatser, som mĂ„ste formuleras enligt ett visst sĂ€tt, och Ă€r den typen av frĂ„gor vad Bibeln oftast behandlar? Ibland fĂ„r jag kĂ€nslan av att kristna tror att vĂ„r tro handlar om ett tiotal grundlĂ€ggande pĂ„stĂ„enden av Gud, varav ett Ă€r att han Ă€r kĂ€rlek och vill ha en relation till oss, men att detta inte har nĂ„gonting att göra med tolkningen av de andra pĂ„stĂ„endena. Till exempel brukar det sĂ€gas att “Guds kĂ€rlek mĂ„ste balanseras mot hans rĂ€ttvisa och vrede”. Dessutom innebĂ€r tydligen per nödvĂ€ndighet pĂ„stĂ„endet att Jesus Ă€r enda vĂ€gen till Gud att VÅR vĂ€g till Jesus Ă€r den enda vĂ€gen till honom.

Jag tror att det finns en stor rĂ€dsla och osĂ€kerhet hos mĂ„nga s.k. konservativa/evangelikala/bibeltroende kristna. Om man tror att Jesus var den han sade sig vara i evangelierna, och vill vara i en kyrka som poĂ€ngterar lĂ€rjungaskap efter honom, sĂ„ gör mĂ„nga dĂ€rifrĂ„n ekvationen att desto mer icke-politiskt korrekta eller s.k. “fundamentalistiska” Ă„sikter man vĂ€ljer att ha, desto mer trogen Ă€r man ocksĂ„ Jesus. SĂ„ Ă„ ena sidan finns dĂ€r en genuin tro och lĂ€ngtan efter att följa Jesus frĂ„n Nasaret, Gud med oss, men Ă„ andra sida kĂ€nner man sig tvingad att explicit eller implicit tro pĂ„ massor av andra idĂ©er som sĂ€gs vara baserade pĂ„ Bibeln.

Exempel pĂ„ sĂ„dana idĂ©er Ă€r 6000-Ă„rskreationism, med tanken att det mest “bibeltrogna” sĂ€ttet att tolka Urhistorien i 1:a Mosebok 1-11 Ă€r att lĂ€sa dem som en kronologisk berĂ€ttelse som gör naturvetenskapliga pĂ„stĂ„enden om jordens tillblivelse. Detta leder till att man tvingas konstatera att jorden skapades ur intet för cirka 6000 Ă„r sedan. Även om mĂ„nga kristna idag kĂ€nner tveksamhet inför den hĂ€r tanken, tror jag att mĂ„nga plĂ„gas av en inre röst (eller konkreta röster frĂ„n andra kristna) som anklagar. Dessa anklagelser sĂ€ger har ofta i princip kontentan att du Ă€r pĂ„ vĂ€g mot liberalteologins omrĂ„de, och dĂ€rmed Ă€r pĂ„ riktigt farlig mark. Snart förkastar du sĂ€kert Jesu gudomlighet och tanken pĂ„ synd ocksĂ„!

Jag hade sjĂ€lv en lĂ€ngre period av mitt liv nĂ€r jag hade den instĂ€llning jag skrev om ovan… FrĂ„n den tidiga tonĂ„ren, dĂ„ jag pĂ„ allvar började ta tydliga Ă„sikter i trosfrĂ„gor, började en attityd vĂ€xa fram hos mig. Jag tog till mig enkla svar och tog en fientlig instĂ€llning till all kritik mot mina tolkningar av hur tillvaron sĂ„g ut. Jag fann en sorts “liv” frĂ„n tanken pĂ„ att jag hade rĂ€tt svar, och den översittarattityd med vilken jag förklarade hur fel andra hade. Det Ă€r spĂ€nnande att vara politiskt inkorrekt, och Gud skulle sĂ€kert belöna mig för att jag sa att jag trodde pĂ„ saker som jag egentligen trodde för dĂ€rför att det var nĂ„got jag kunde lĂ€gga ner tid och energi pĂ„ att hĂ„lla igĂ„ng tron pĂ„.

Grejen var bara den att jag levde med en sorts dubbelhet i detta. Jag kunde inte riktigt förklara för andra mÀnniskor hur jag kunde ha de Äsikter jag hade (om  t ex evolution, sex och helvetet), och fann mig sjÀlv tvivla allt med pÄ det. Jag hade visserligen inte sÄ mÄnga kristna vÀnner, men de jag hade vÄgade jag aldrig pÄ djupet prata om de hÀr sakerna med. Jag tror att kÀnslan till stor del var ömsesidig. IstÀllet blev jag allt mer pÄverkad av vÀrlden runt omkring mig nÀr det gÀller hur jag VERKLIGEN sÄg pÄ de hÀr frÄgorna, Àven om jag kanske fortfarande skulle ha sagt att jag höll mina gamla Äsikter i frÄgorna. Detta ledde till en kris i min Gudsrelation, Àven om den redan innan var ganska ytlig. Jag flörtade med annan typ av andlighet (hednisk/fornnordisk sÄdan, till exempel), och lade ner med tid, tro och intresse i olika konspirationsteorier om jordens slut Àn i vad Gud ville göra hÀr och nu, med mig eller med andra.

Men Gud hade en plan för mig. Genom ett möte med en lĂ€rare frĂ„n Johannelund (LOE) pĂ„ ett lĂ€ger, vĂ€cktes mitt intresse för att fördjupa mig i tron. Efter studenten ansökte jag dĂ€rför till Bibelskolan pĂ„ Johannelund. De första stegen pĂ„ den resan kan du börja att lĂ€sa om pĂ„ den hĂ€r bloggen, frĂ„n oktober 2008 och framĂ„t…

Gud har gjort sĂ„ mycket i mitt liv, men det som han tydligast har gjort Ă€r att förvandla mig frĂ„n en “rĂ€ttrogen” religiös tro, som mest handlade om Ă„sikter, till en levande relation med den levande Guden! I den relationen, och i gemenskap med andra med samma lĂ€ngtan, har jag allt mer fĂ„tt föras in mot djupet av Guds förvandlande kĂ€rlek!

NÀr jag började pÄ Johannelund fanns det visserligen en lÀngtan efter gemenskap och fördjupning, men min syn pÄ teologi handlade mycket om att lÀra mig om djup, mystisk kunskap, och att kunna föra fram mina Äsikter. En av de tidigare och största lÀrdomarna jag gjorde efter jag kom till Uppsala var dock detta, och fortsÀtter att vara:

Teologi Àr ett medel till ett mÄl, inte ett mÄl i sig. Nej, mÄlet Àr relation med Gud genom Jesus Kristus. Det kan och fÄr inte vara nÄgot annat. Om teologin inte bygger pÄ husgrunden, Jesus (Matt 7:24), och om Herren inte bygger det huset (Psa 127:1), sÄ Àr allting förgÀves. Om vÄr teologi blir testet för vÄr frÀlsning eller kÀllan till vÄr förtröstan, sÄ har vi missat hela poÀngen med teologi. Om vÄr teologi pratar mer om Guds handlade i vÀrlden i allmÀnhet eller om vad vi mÄste göra, snarare Àn att vara en vÀg nÀrmare Jesus Kristus, Guds Son, sÄ Àr allting förgÀves. DÀrmed inte sagt att vi bör strunta i att ha en ortodox lÀra. Men vad Àr problemet med en villolÀra, egentligen? TÀnk efter!

Ibland uttrycks det som att hela vĂ€rlden gĂ„r under om vi har formulerat evangeliet pĂ„ ett bara aningen icke-ortodoxt sĂ€tt, dĂ„ vi mĂ„ste förstĂ„ exempelvis precis hur vi blir frĂ€lsta av nĂ„d för att det skall kunna nĂ„ fram till oss. Gud blir begrĂ€nsad av bokstaven, dĂ„ evangeliet framstĂ€lls som ett kontrakt: MĂ€nniska dum, Gud arg och vill straffa, Jesus snĂ€ll och tar straffet, Gud tillrĂ€knar oss inte straff om vi hĂ„ller ovan för sant. Slut pĂ„ kontrakt. Med den synen pĂ„ frĂ€lsning blir det klart att en “felstavning” kan förstöra allting! Allting som inte klart och tydligt förkunnar det hĂ€r kontraktet Ă€r en villolĂ€ra!

Jag tror dock att frĂ€lsningen och evangeliet ytterst sĂ€tt handlar om nĂ„got annat, nĂ„got mer. Jag menar att Guds lĂ€ngtan efter kĂ€rleksrelation Ă€r grunden till allting han har gjort, gör och kommer att göra för oss! FrĂ€lsning Ă€r befrielse frĂ„n det som hindrar den relationen, och den Ă€r stĂ€ndigt pĂ„gĂ„ende! DĂ„ blir evangeliet allt som Ă€r sagt i kĂ€rlek och sanning. Dessa tvĂ„ Ă€r dock tvĂ„ koncept som inte kan skiljas frĂ„n varandra, speciellt inte nĂ€r det gĂ€ller evangeliet! Det gĂ„r inte att “rent och klart förkunna Guds Ord” (Jesus sjĂ€lv!) om det inte sĂ€gs i kĂ€rlek OCH sanning. Det stĂ„r att Jesus var “fylld av nĂ„d och sanning” (Joh 1:14), dĂ€rför gĂ„r det inte att predika Honom pĂ„ ett sĂ€tt som gĂ„r emot hans karaktĂ€r utan att ljuga om Honom! Att sĂ€ga nĂ„got “sant”, speciellt om Gud, Ă€r ocksĂ„ att vara kĂ€rleksfull. LikasĂ„ Ă€r det inte kĂ€rleksfullt att inte berĂ€tta om ondskan som finns i och runt omkring oss, som Gud vill hela oss frĂ„n!

SĂ„ vad Ă€r dĂ„ en villolĂ€ra? Det Ă€r nĂ„gonting som inte förmedlar den nĂ„d och sanning som Jesus kom med. Allting som inte visar pĂ„ vem Gud verkligen Ă€r och vill med sina Ă€lskade barn. Alla bilder av mĂ€nniskan och synden som inte erkĂ€nner att vĂ„r relation till Gud hindras av vĂ„r egen inkrökthet. Alla falska bilder av Gud, som vill sĂ€tta “men…” efter meningen “Gud Ă€r kĂ€rlek”.

Med den definitionen av en villolĂ€ra och ortodoxi, borde mĂ„nga av oss, jag sjĂ€lv inkluderad, nog ta oss en tankestĂ€llare pĂ„ vĂ„ra prioriteringar nĂ€r vi talar om Gud. Vi bör lĂ€mna de teologiska tankar om Gud som inte pekar pĂ„ Jesus lĂ„ngt bak i vĂ„rt bagage, och som bĂ€st kanske fundera lite över det pĂ„ vĂ„r fritid. Om vi lĂ„ter “den rĂ€tta lĂ€ran” i olika hĂ€nseenden utesluta mĂ€nniskor, fast den inte har en tydlig anknytning till Jesus frĂ„n Nasaret, sĂ„ bör vi ta en seriös tankestĂ€llare.

SÄ lev i Jesu kÀrlek, och lÄt oss vandra vidare med Honom för ögonen i allt vi gör!

Being freed from sin

September 5, 2010 1 comment

A few years ago, the gaming community “Pure Pwnage” was a huge part of my life, and it remains a part of my life that is dear to me. However, since mid-2008, I haven’t frequented it much, but I made a reply to a specific question I was asked by a “theistic satanist” on the boards. I wrote the reply, and thought I might post it here as well, in case anyone else would be interested in it 🙂

Out of interest why do you feel Jesus frees you? Is it the high amount of sins you’re not supposed to commit or have? The thought of having to go to church every Sunday?

Well, first of all, we have very different concepts of sin. According to today’s society, “sin” is basically synonymous with “fun”. This definition derives from various Puritan and policing movements that have claimed association with the teaching of Christ in various ways. The very original sin from which all other sin derives is the idea of taking the judging of good and evil into our own hands, and making ourselves gods. This mindset has driven and is still today driving people, perhaps especially religious people, to “police morality” from above, to force people into various standards of morality. This is not what Jesus did – He served people, and searched for the broken and rejected to heal them and restore them into the life they were meant to have – but only if they WANTED TO! This behaviour is supposed to be the model for the Church today, but unfortunately we’re not that great at following it as a whole…

So, I don’t deny that believers in Christ have, throughout the ages, done horrible things in the name of Christ, including murder, torture, lies and all other kinds of sin. I confess that *I* have done horrible things in the name of Christ throughout my life. Confessing such acts and turning away from it is part of following Christ.

Anyways, to get back to your question, I define sin differently from the common thought. I see sin as a disease, a black cancer on the creation that God made us to be. I might add that I do not think the first humans were absolutely perfect, as evolution shows. However, I do think the relationship to God that the first “life-breathed” Homo Sapiens had, was intact and whole, until they, however many, went their own way, collectively.

This is sin, to turn away from the source of Life Himself, and instead to rely on oneself. It’s not the image of an obsessive parent trying to micro-manage our lives, and then gets mad when we stay out past 9 pm or something. That’s not the sort of control or the kind of relationship God wants to have with us.

A better picture of God and Man is that of a father and a young son (or mother and daughter) out on a hike together, and walking in moderate distance from a deep ravine, when all of a sudden the son runs away, starts tumbling down the slope, hurting and bruising himself in various ways. The father cries out, tries to stretch out his hand, while the son refuses, instead deciding to jump further down. As this happens, the father climbs further down, all for the love of his son, who would never survive without the support of his father. It’s not about control, it’s about love.

So why do I say that Jesus has freed me? Well, as I said, I define as sin all the things in my life that separates me from a true and real view of myself, from a loving and harmonic view of all others and most of all, the beautiful, living, colourful relationship with God I’m supposed to have. As for what particular actions exemplify sin, I’m have no reason to list – it’s the heart attitude that Jesus is most of all after (see Matthew 5), and then it is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict believers of these things in their own lives. Only in close relationships between believers are we to “judge” or rather discern sin in each others lives, with love, and not with condemnation. But it is not my job as a Christian to point out to non-believers what I find to be sin.

But the attitudes that lie behind our actions are really the root of all evil. Egoism, hatred, judgement, desiring after things that aren’t mine to desire (be they people or things), and all other things of self-indulgence that only leads to further egocentrism. All these things, I abhor.

But my faith, trust, life, love in and for Jesus Christ as the one who defeated sin, death and suffering with his self-sacrificial love poured out by his death on the cross, has, is, and will continue to restore these broken relationships in my life. Being continually saved/healed from my sins, frees me to love others as Christ has loved me. And that is the ultimate expression of freedom that a human being can experience: to love others in the same ways and that Christ loved us. It’s a life project, but it is SO WORTH IT.

Categories: Theology Tags: , , , , ,