Friday, April 3, 2015

Λαζαρε δευρο εξω!

Lazarus, come forth!

Don't you just hate it when someone who doesn’t even have a college diploma challenges trained seminary graduates ‘who has letters after their names’ (as Spyros ‘Amerikano’ Chalkiopoulos tried to explain to Mrs. Durrell in the film My Family and Other Animals) on points biblical or theological? I know I do, because it really shouldn’t be necessary. Why don’t the seminaries teach them these things?

There is no Catholic way of salvation, there is no Protestant way. There are only explanations and interpretations, and these are undoubtedly human. These are not what is meant by the concept of παράδοσις, parádhosis, ‘the handing over’ of the truth of the Gospel.

The παράδοσις is what was handed over verbally and practically by Christ and His holy apostles to the believers. Most of what is meant by this term has ended up in the New Testament. In fact, if you believe in the divine economy, all of what was handed over by the apostles is in the New Testament. The problem seems to be all about interpretation. It is this human failing, the desire to ‘be right,’ that has tried to rip asunder the seamless robe that clothes the Body of Christ.

Staying in the Word, reading, hearing and living it as it is, we will have returned to that place where we again put on that seamless robe. There is one faith, one Lord, one baptism, as we know. It is mankind in its argumentative and speculative vanity that has tried to tear the robe to shreds, while all think that they have gambled for the entire robe, and won it. The seamless robe is intact, but only for those who really want to wear it, and who want to share it with Christ's holy and pure Body.

Like Lazarus, we are still tangled in our strips of mortuary linen like dead men. Jesus still calls out to us, ‘Come forth!’ We don't have to remain dead, unless we want to. Like Lazarus, once you know for sure that it is the voice of Jesus calling you out, who would want to stay in that tomb?

Wake up from your sleep,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.
Ephesians 5:14 Jerusalem Bible

There is only one way of salvation, and it is simply but amply testified throughout the scriptures. We need to really believe that the Word of God, not our interpretations of it, is what constitutes the Truth. That is the παράδοσις. That is what the apostles handed over to us. That is what makes our faith, if we believe their testimony, apostolic.

I am for tearing off the costumes we wear in front of each other as we go into battle. Why? Because our battle is not with each other, but against the powers of wickedness in the heavens. If we really want to fight each other, let’s strip ourselves, and see—we're all the same! Then, let’s put on the only garment worth having, because He gives it to all who believe in Him, His own skin! All who have been baptized have put on Christ, as the scriptures say. And what baptism is that? Being buried with Christ in His death, so as to rise with Him in His glorious resurrection.

I’m trying to move beyond thinking about God, to just living in Him. I’m trying to cut through the knots of tangled lore that have kept us encamped on the devil’s playground so long, fighting each other.

What would happen, if suddenly the various Christian missions and denominations in a majority Muslim country like Indonesia or Malaysia (which still allow the existence of Christianity) suddenly were seen to absolutely and without reserve support each other in everything, even without coalescing into one uniform institution? Everything that they disagree about, they would agree to just pray and ask the Lord to intercede for each other’s folly, and then, with that out of the way, just ‘go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them.’

Hey! What if we can’t agree on how and whom to baptize, and when? Well, that’s just some more folly that we have to ask the Lord to forgive and correct. Meanwhile, let’s all just go in to the harvest field, and work, because night is coming when no one can work, and because ‘the time is close.’

But what about groups like the Mormons, who say they are Christians, but really aren’t?

I’ve thought about groups like the Mormons, and of course, there are others besides them who straddle a ‘gray area.’ I think the fearful divide is the question whether one accepts the Holy Bible as the only divinely revealed scripture on earth. If the answer is ‘yes,’ then we start from there, if we must, to peel people ‘off the salvation list’ by testing them on other things.

But do you see what that makes us? Judges, and corrupt judges at that, because we can only see as through a glass darkly and have no view at all of what is happening in a person's soul, where they meet God face to face.

We have to learn to trust more in God and in the Word of God, Jesus Christ, and simply follow His directions and instructions without adding to them. Look where we have ended up by adding to the παράδοσις: ‘The world’ drives past mega-churches and through intersections where there’s a different church on each of the four corners. Shameful, and blasphemous, that we who say we believe in Jesus Christ trash His words and His prayer so boldly, thinking it will not bite us in the end.

One more time—what would happen if we all supported each other (barring those groups, I suppose, who deny the Word of God is the sole divine scripture on earth) and defended each other against every attack from ‘the outside’?

Overnight, the non-Christian world would be astonished and possibly fall like a house of cards, because at last, they have seen what Jesus said, ‘They will know you are Mine because you love one another.’

This is not a plug for the ‘ecumenical movement’ which I do not believe in. This is a plea for obedience to the word of Jesus.

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