Home > Theology > Thoughts on the Last Day of the 1st Decade of the 2nd Millenium Anno Domini

Thoughts on the Last Day of the 1st Decade of the 2nd Millenium Anno Domini

Here are some random thoughts I wrote down today. I hope they will make sense to some. I’m not sure I ended up where I wanted to, but I’ll leave them like this, and possibly I’ll work more with these later. Basically, I had this stream of thoughts which I felt I needed to put into some kind of medium. That sweet creative impulse should not be ignored when it is sparked or muted. I also had a conversation with Percival/Zooloo about refining my work – changing the format but not the message. It’s something I really do need to work on. But not during the last 5 hours of the decade.

Today I woke up to watch Loren Cunningham speak at Onething ’09 (see this video, about 2 hours in). I was at a New Year’s Camp in Kungälv organized by Credo/u-Oas for two days, but I got a flu of some sort while there… So I was in quarantine throughout the night and remained in a pretty restricted area there until 17.00 when my mother picked me up and drove me home. I’m fine now. But I’m probably going back on New Year’s Day (January 1st, 2010, i.e. tomorrow).

Anyways. I thought about quite a few things as I was watching the Onething webcast. I really appreciate Loren’s preaching/talk/exhortation, and I can definitely identify with his way of speaking. Mike Bickle, however, is someone I have a little more trouble connecting to. I mean, I do think he has a great message to the Body of Christ. I actually agree with 98% of what he says. However, as a Swede, I am sort of unused to that kind of communication. There’s a lot of… grandeur and hyperboles, which I recognize as Biblical but hard to understand in the Swedish culture. I hope Americans are better at getting his message 😛

Misty mentioned the “6,000 years of creation”, which does sort of offend reason in many ways… In one sense, I do admire Young Earth Creationists for their faith, but I do sometimes wonder if it may be misplaced faith is something that is not really the point the Bible was trying to make. I just hope Young Earth Creationism is not a doctrine IHOP encourages – I have not heard such statements beyond Misty’s words at two occasions, but I am still sort of worried.

While I am a fan of the Bible and believe it to be infallible in all matters of doctrine, I think Bibliolatry is too common in the “Evangelical” Church. There are, as usual, two extremes in the views of the Bible within the Body of Christ. There is on one side the Liberal Christianity, which places all authority on reason, the individual and the Spirit of the Age. However, on the other side are those who go beyond the actual point of the Bible, to emphasize the Bible to the point where it actually restricts God and His Church. The way I view it,  we should not teach anything which is contrary to Scripture.

However, there are so-called “fundamentalists” (a term that should be positive) who teach that we should not do or say anything with regards to God or our lives that is not explicitly expressed in the Scriptures. This is, ironically, an incredibly low view of Scripture, as it implies that only the literal and direct meaning of Scripture is to be followed. The way the Jews and the Universal Church (until the last 2 centuries) has always viewed Scripture, is that it has both a direct and allegorical/symbolical meaning, and that while the literal meaning is primary, sometimes there *is* no literal meaning, for example in the case of many Psalms.  My point is that imagination is encouraged in the Bible,  and always has been among those who call it sacred. It’s amazing to think how these “fundamentalists” must view the reality of the writers of the Bible. I don’t think they were in a trance when they wrote most of it, and in a way, I don’t think true and holy writings are restricted to the Bible. I think there are still anointed and fully true/divine creations and things being said and written today, it is just that the Church is too split and divided to come together and recognize it as it. And considering all this division, agreeing on new Scripture would only hurt more than it edified. However, that does not mean that the Bible is somehow more magical than our reality. It is as true as when we hear that silent voice from God saying He loves us.

Oh well. The site that sparked this in me was this site: http://www.bible.ca/ It’s basically one in tens of thousands of English-speaking sites that claim to have “Bible-answers”. Most of them have very, very, bad layouts, usually because it’s one or maybe two or three people that are behind it. To me, a very good way of determining if you should doubt someone to have understood the “true, Biblical meaning” of subject X or Y, is when it turns out to be the thoughts of pretty much one dude. Another good way to determining if it’s true is when it’s done using cold logic and zero humility. Considering humility and broken-heartedness permeates the entire Bible, it’s a bit suspicious when people try to take other approaches than those to understand it.

What people think matters. I think we cannot ignore tradition, nor can we ignore human experience throughout history. We need to honour or predecessors much more than many in the West are doing right now. I am not Catholic, nor am I Orthodox, but I do think it is disrespectful when Protestants claim that all tradition is hogwash and to be ignored. I also think they need to remember that it was the ancestors of the apostles, not the Apostles themselves, who canonized the Scriptures. Before that, they were just letters. And yes, I know 2nd Peter calls some of those letters “scripture”, but ironically, if the author indeed is Peter, it can’t have included later works like the Gospel of John or Revelation. Sidetrack. What I’m getting at is that we would not have the Bible had it not been for tradition, it was thanks to people who put faith in the person the book spoke of, not the book itself, who canonized the Scriptures.  I belong to a Lutheran Church, and I’m learning how to identify myself as one. I want to honour my background and my tradition, although I cannot claim to think the Lutherans have got it all right. Nor have I got it all right.

God does, however,  have it all right. But I honestly do not think 100% correct doctrine among Mankind (until His 2nd Coming) is even that high on His agenda! I think we humans are too broken, too unsanctified and simply too limited to write down some kind of rational systematic theology on everything in the Universe.I am very Lutheran in this sense, as there are places I come to in my theological struggles that I simply cannot understand with my reason. I think the Orthodox have got a good idea of this with their concept of Mysteries – A truth that we cannot understand. I refuse to explain Biblical doctrine beyond what the Bible is explicit on. That is not to say we can’t talk about it, but almost all heresies are derived from trying to use logic to “fill in the gaps” and to let logic override revelation. Also, the focus needs to be on God and His love.

This takes me back to where I started, with Mike Bickle and Onething. I think Mike’s got it right on this point. The First Commandment, to love the Lord our God with all one’s heart, soul and mind (Matt 22:35-40), needs to be central to all of Christianity. A closeness to God, and an openness to His transforming love and power, should be at the absolute core of everything a Christian does. Everything, and I mean everything else, comes second. However, the fact that it comes second does not mean one is free to rationalize away other parts of the Law – because “if you love [Jesus], you will keep [His] commandments” (Joh 14:14). All of the Law, all the things He has ever required of His people, have been out of love.

The Law is a guide to Love. It is a cause for concern when the two do not mix, and usually the solution is neither “ignore it and continue, or you’re an apostate”, nor “let’s throw that doctrine out, it doesn’t fit with ‘my’ god”. Usually, there’s something wrong with how we read and interpret it, and I would say that those who say they are orthodox but do not radiate God’s love, probably do not have the First Commandment as their focus either. And in a way I understand them – I can’t claim to have it myself either. In fact, I should erase what I just wrote – no human can police another human being for not being pious enough… But at the same time, the pattern is all too obvious, when the fruits of the Spirit are not shown through some particular Christian ministry. All I can say is that in my own life, I have experienced an enormous change in my own ability to live out the SECOND commandment (love your neighbour as yourself) by coming back to the FIRST commandment. Emphasizing the second over the first, ironically has the opposite effect of the intended. I am getting more and more allergic to using the word “Liberal Christianity”. However, I believe what that loose term is trying to describe is any theology that puts other commandments, from God or from Men, before the First one. And that is why I am not a Liberal.

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  1. March 1, 2010 at 07:15

    Hello, Peter. You left a comment or two on my blog so I thought I would come and see what you had to say (by the way, I am replying to your comments and questions at my wordpress sight. 😉 )

    I was not intentionally going to read this post but something about it gripped me and so I find myself having to make some comments on what you’ve written, which I might add was well thought out. It is obvious you have put some major time into thinking on all of this.

    I first want to say that I am so happy you don’t agree with everything Mike Bickle says! 😀 He encourages this. You are indeed like the Bereans which I am DESPERATLY trying to learn to become–to weigh what scripture says rather than just accept everything men says (I feel from experience and observation that a great percentage of the people in the Western church accepts every word spoken on Sunday and during every conference whether biblical or not). So yes, that is commendable.

    You said, “I hope Young Earth Creationism is not a doctrine IHOP encourages.” I would have to say that I highly doubt it is and I’ve been listening to their teachings since 2007. I also participated in the Fire in the Night Internship and found that belief to be very scarce. 🙂 I actually believe that in the context of the way Misty and others have spoken about the earth possibly not having been created in seven 24 hour periods but rather different stretches of time is because they simply are using their imaginations and saying they don’t know if God was operating in the context of man’s agenda for time or his. Honestly I don’t know where I stand on that yet. (Correct me if I misunderstood what you are saying.)

    I like seeing someone of like-mind when it comes to using your imagination to, to use an analogy, put flesh on the skeletal structure set before us. Because God is a God of diversity, I think he enjoys peering into our imagination when we read the word and seeing just how we imagine it.

    I agree with what you said that, “there are still anointed and fully true/divine creations and things being said and written today.” BUT I do not agree that these writings should EVER take the place of the Word which is living and sharper than a two-edged sword as opposed to other works which tend to always point back to the Bible as their source of revelation and inspiration. From what you said I don’t believe you were implying that, I just thought I would make my thoughts clear on the matter.

    You said: “I belong to a Lutheran Church, and I’m learning how to identify myself as one. I want to honour my background and my tradition, although I cannot claim to think the Lutherans have got it all right. Nor have I got it all right.” While that is admirable and makes me tap my chin in thought concerning how I perceive my own denominational beliefs, I don’t want my identity to be found in my label–this is a recurring fault amongst the Western church today. A vast majority of people I know can take their pride in who they are denominationally and stick to the tradition they were taught by man rather than by the Word of God. They refuse to step out of their man-made lines thus forfeit a great portion of their own blessings and inheritances for the sake of tradition. That disturbs me and it is the only reason why I have to put some more thought into what you are saying. If there is anything I want to be identified as, it is a lover of God saved by the blood of Jesus. (I will be thinking more on this subject since it has sparked an interest in my heart).

    “The Law is a guide to Love.” I absolutely agree and love the wording of that statement. 😀

    I normally NEVER debate or post my thoughts so liberally especially to strangers but something about this just made me stop and think and form my own opinions–and this happens rarely. 😛

    But thank you for writing down your thoughts in a way I could understand it. It was quite an eye-opener. 🙂

    ~Rose

    p.s. I attended the One Thing Conference and Loren Cunningham’s messages was one of the few I missed; I went back and watched the archive and was stirred in my spirit concerning a specific nation. Now I’m praying for strategies on how to act out on it….

    • March 1, 2010 at 20:26

      In case you don’t get notified of my response, I’ll make sure I “reply” to your comment here too 😛

  2. March 1, 2010 at 19:21

    Hello Rose, and thank you for the comments! 🙂
    It’s delightful to see that I was able to make someone think with my writing!

    As for Young Earth Creationism, that’s good to hear. Basically, I actually sort of like Creationists, they have so much more faith than I do! However, as I said, I think it’s a sidetrack. I’m sure they would claim it’s to do with being faithful to God’s Word and all, but I think they are being faithful to their own extremely literal interpretation of a text that I don’t think was written to be read in a literal way. I think MOST of Torah is primarily literal, but Genesis 1-11 are partly of another character… So while I don’t disregard the possibility of YEC (I’m not exactly a Darwinist myself…), I do think people have the wrong focus when they spend more time talking about how dinosaurs lived with humans than they do talking about Jesus! More or less every second person I talk about faith issues with in Sweden ask me what I think of “Big Bang and evolution”. The fact that I’m open for different ways God may have created the universe in removes a huge barrier.

    As for the rest, I should say that when I wrote this document, I was in a period where I was thinking a lot about what Scripture means for me. It’s always been a big issue for me, deciding how I view the Bible. I do think it is infallible, inspired and canonized. But I don’t think it is magical and divine in itself – I think it must be read in the Spirit for it to give life, otherwise “the letter kills” (2 Cor 3:6). One of the things this lead to for me is that I am partly bothered by the phrase “Word of God” used of the Bible – not because I don’t think it is sanctioned by God, but because I don’t like to use a title for Jesus Christ (Joh 1:1, Rev 19:13) and apply it to a book, a creation.

    I guess you could say I’m in a process of questioning my Protestant roots. As you very correctly said, my identity does not lie in my denomination, but in Christ Jesus, as his beloved and God’s child. The fact that I acknowledged my Lutheran roots here should be contrasted with a statement I made (on Facebook) a few months ago, saying “I am no longer a Lutheran” – because at the time I did’t agree 100% with the Orthodox Lutheran view of predestination, hell and baptism. Since then, however, I’ve realized that almost no one in my denomination/church even knows about those issues. So what I said here had more to do with the fact that I should not deny what part of the Body of Christ got has put me into. I am more Lutheran than Reformed/Calvinist/Pentecostal in my theology in many other issues, so it works as a label. But a label does not have to be bad, as long as I know what it means for me!

    This has really gone hand-in-hand with my thoughts on the traditional churches, namely the Catholic and Orthodox churches. A few years ago, I barely considered Catholic people Christians. Today, I am still concerned about many things in their theology, but I’ve also realized that I doubt God stirred those ~160 million Charismatic Catholics for nothing. They don’t seem to be flooding out of the RCC, so I guess maybe God actually WANTS them there! While I am still nowhere near joining any Orthodox or Catholic Church for many reasons, I’ve realized that I am perhaps not as Protestant as I used to be. I’m sceptical of the idea “sufficiency of Scripture”, for example. I do think that a Christian can learn all the essential doctrines and ideas for a good Christian life from the Bible, and that all teachings must be subordinated under Scripture. However, if we silence the Spirit and the prophetic voice today, and refuse to allow new revelations (after discerning), we may very well be living outside God’s will for our generation! Do you get what I’m saying with all this? I want to honour all God says, and I doubt the authors of the Bible thought God would stop speaking to believers in the same way after the Book of Revelation was written… Really, we’d probably have more Scripture today if it wasn’t for the fact that the Body is so split up today! We can’t canonize anything more, because all it would do would be create more division…

    —-

    Anyways, thanks for responding… I made a huge comment here, but hopefully it will answer some of your concerns. I’m glad that you felt you could express yourself freely – I’m always interested in others’ perspectives!

    Also, cool about Loren’s message stirring you! What nation?

    /Peter

  3. March 9, 2010 at 20:47

    I see. I suppose it can be a bit of a distraction; I tend to stay out of discussions concerning questions without answers.

    I think I need to think about the things you said before I can spurt another opinion on top of that one, or decide whether I agree with it or not. But I do believe you made an excellent point about reading the word of God in the spirit. And 2 Cor was a great way to back up what you said. I found that to be very insightful!

    As for the rest, I have to re-think these things over in the light you cast on it before I can say more.

    Yes, I believe that God did stir the Catholics during the hour of the Charismatic movements but in light of how the movement ended and the beliefs still entrenched in that part of the church, I don’t think God’s full purpose in how he wanted to use the Catholics was completed. Now what his full purpose was, I don’t know. All I know is that there isn’t that much of a difference between Roman Catholics (I suppose you call them) and the Charismatic Catholics at large. Both exist in my extended family and it’s difficult to tell their beliefs apart other than a few things here and there. If God wants them there, that’s hard to say. I can only pray something greater than what has already passed spiritually will begin to sing over them again.

    – – – – –

    Yes, it did help. Thank you! I appreciate the time you spent on answering my musings.

    Germany. I have always, ALWAYS been interested in their history, culture, and language but it was for different reasons before. Now God has given me specific prayer burdens to pray for concerning their destiny in Him and the end times. I would absolutely love to go there as a missionary of some forms (mainly Herrnhut, Berlin, Hamburg…any part of it is appealing at this moment) but how that plays into my future, I don’t really know. I have some ideas, but I want God’s will not my own.

    It may sound odd but I actually get this (sometimes overwhelming) homesick feeling come over me whenever I think about the nation, and I’ve never even been there before. I suppose time shall tell whether I am meant to just pray for her or actually go there.

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