Sunday, October 12, 2014

Asleep, and awake

I used to avoid Thomas Merton because I thought he had evolved out of Christianity and Christ by his explorations and experimentation with Eastern religious and philosophical thought. Consequently, I've read very little of what he wrote. In the final analysis I think what he did was confuse a lot of people, and blur the distinction between following Christ and merely believing in Him.

Now, I don't avoid Merton for any such reasons, but just because our paths are not probably going to cross. I have found Christ sleeping in the boats of the non-Christian religions and cultures, and all I want to do for the crews of those boats is awaken Him for them, and let Him awaken them to the Truth.

Now, I also find myself written off by some people because I am not afraid to go among the non-Christians and learn of them and from them. It startles people that I should know about the gods of India, for example, and that I don't think it is blasphemous to visit their temples or even to sing or hear their songs.

But there is only One Divine Nature, One God, to whom all paths do not lead from our end, but by Whom all things are possible from His end. And there is only One Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God from before the ages who came to us as a little child, and as a young man died for us, and not only for us, but for the whole world.

And not the gates of Hades or its captors could keep Him down, or out, or defeat Him in any measure, for He takes it captive, and releases all who seek Him from its darkness, all without asking our leave. And where I walk, following Him, takes me on many journeys 'where angels fear to tread,' and yet I trust Him. As I often say, there is no loss with Jesus.

No loss, nothing and no one. ‘I have saved everyone You gave to me, except the one who chose to be lost,’ says Jesus.


Jim Swindle said...

Brother, I know you love the Lord Jesus.

I don't understand why you would think it OK to sing the songs of a false god, since the Apostle Paul said that what they sacrifice to idols, they sacrifice to demons. I do realize that the idol in itself is just wood or stone or metal, and that the song itself is just music, but there are demons behind the idol and demons behind the musical worship of the idol. Do you disagree?

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

I do not go out of my way, or on my own initiative, to visit non-Christian cultic worship, but when sent I have gone, and I have acted appropriately as a Christian. I do not believe in a demonology as such. The demons behind pagan religions are in our heads, ideas that have taken over our minds, the same way that extreme heresies such as Mormonism or Islam have taken people over mentally to such a degree that they can no longer think rationally about God and Christ.

The spiritual culture of non-Christian peoples arises out of their desire to find and to know the One true God, who is hidden to them until we tell them who He is, and show them how He was present in their dreams, calling to them and preparing them to know Him when the time comes.

I do not believe that singing a non-Christian devotional song (which I never do in their worship, but only alone, when I am at work singing other spiritual songs, psalms and hymns) is blasphemous, if I am singing it to the One true God, the Holy Trinity. I am sure many if most Christians would not agree with me, but I am okay with that.

Paul says that 'anything done in bad faith is a sin,' but what of things done in good faith? You and I will differ substantially on the subject of salvation: who is saved, when, and how. That is the tragedy of the Church, that we who believe in Christ put our ideas about what He does and how He does it ahead of the simple fact that 'Jesus saves.'

But the fact remains that there is no salvation through any other name but His on earth or heaven. Now, our job is getting the world, or even our next door neighbor, to grasp that truth, and clinging to Life Himself, receive all that He can give.

Thanks for your challenge and your comments.

Jim Swindle said...

Thank you for your response. I believe you're wrong about the demons. We don't need to be hunting for demons behind every action we don't like, but the scripture never gives hints (that I've found) that the demons are only in our minds.

As for singing songs which have an idolatrous origin, if the song has sound words (or is re-written to have sound words), and if we sing it to the Lord, not in the idolatrous worship situation, I don't see that there's a problem with that--so long as our use of the music isn't causing others to stumble.

And as for who is saved, I think we'd both agree that it's those who trust Jesus. We'd make different guesses about whether certain people really do or don't, and we worship in different ways, but we know that the Lord is wiser than either of us. Like you, I desire to be his and to affirm others who are his.

Thank you for sharing your life in Christ with those who care to pay attention.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Yes, trusting Jesus is salvation, and there is no other. Thanks, brother, as always, for your comments and your gentle but firm wisdom (all by the grace and to the glory of our God).