Thursday, February 17, 2011

A repost: Submission to God or human opinion

Just slightly more than a year ago I put up a small article with the words,” This morning reading in Auguste Lecerf's An Introduction to Reformed Dogmatics.” This evening I noticed someone on my feed looking for Lecerf’s Dogmatics. They had stopped to read the year old posting, “Submission to God or human opinion.” Often I can’t remember what the posting is about because I have too many so I click and read my own writing out of curiosity. This time I realized that except for a link the posting was very relevant for the present.

Minus a link to a More Light video, I have decided to repost it. I think it is a worthwhile read as we think about the future:

"This morning reading in Auguste Lecerf’s An Introduction to Reformed Dogmatics, I noted this statement, “Submission to God is the means and condition of liberation from enslavement to human opinion. If we wish to restore legitimate authority it is only the better to true liberty.” (262)

Submission to God or enslavement to human opinion, these are the two realities the Church must choose between. Choose the first and the Church will be the Church under the Lordship of Christ holding on to Scripture. Choose the second and the Church will succumb to enslavement to the world. Choosing sin, the Church will find only the world’s glory, a sorry, tarnished thing.

If we keep traveling down this same road, pushing for the ordination of practicing homosexuals as well as seeing other sexual sins as normative, the mainline churches, will find what they believe to be a haven. However, the haven will not be the Lord but rather the state.

I am remembering the Scripture where Pilate is so relieved to find that Jesus is from Galilee and that he can be sent to Herod for judgment. Now the interesting thing about that scripture text is that although Herod did not take control of the situation and instead sent Jesus back to Pilate the two leaders who hadn’t liked each other very much, in fact, they were enemies, became friends that day. (Luke 23:1-25)And why was that? They agreed with each other’s opinions.

They agreed that Jesus was innocent but they also agreed that he was bothersome and his words were hard to hear. He spoke with authority and he was too much trouble to save. Each political leader had him mocked and beaten. (Matt 27:26)

Jesus submitted to his Father. They, Pilate and Herod, were owned, each by their desires for acceptance. They didn’t want to submit to anyone who was referred to as the King of the Jews, or the Son of man, or the truth or the only way to the Father. They didn’t want to be overcome by his words. So they submitted to the prevailing opinion.

Yes, Jesus’ disciples, who continued to submit to the authority of Christ, who held on to his word which is the word of God, suffered for their willingness to preach Christ. Still, they now glory in his glory.

But Pilate and Herod? One was eaten by worms (Acts 12:23); the other became an obscure politician, whose history is incomplete. Except for this, all those who love Jesus will always remember that Jesus 'suffered under Pontius Pilate.' "

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1)”


Greg Scandlen said...

Last night we had a pre-presbytery meeting to discuss both the Belhar Confession and the replacement of G-6.0206b. Most of the discussion was on Belhar, which I won't go into here since it is not relevant to your post.

The discussion of the ordination standard was briefer but direct. Most of the people said we have considered and rejected this several times, why does it keep coming back?

I noticed that one of the arguments offered in favor of the proposed standard is that the current one "purports to apply even-handedly to all candidates but is overwhelmingly used only to exclude gay (etc.) persons."

I asked if that is really true? If a candidate proclaims himself to be an unrepentant adulterer, and proud of it, and determined to do more of it, would that person be ordained? I rather doubt it.

Someone else was even more to-the-point. He asked, "Do we still consider homosexuality to be a sin?" No one from the presbytery had an answer.

Viola Larson said...

Greg was this a full Presbytery discussion? I like your questions and answers.

Greg Scandlen said...

No, it was some sort of outreach by the presbytery (Carlisle, PA) to get feedback from people. Not sure it will have any impact on their deliberations.

BTW, I know you have done a whole lot on the Belhar and may be tired of discussing it. But one thing has been missing in all of the discussions I've seen. In my reading, it is primarily an attack on capitalism, though in coded language -- "... the church must witness against all the powerful and privileged who selfishly seek their own interests and thus control and harm others."

Of course, I would argue that "the powerful" controlling others is more characteristic of socialism than of capitalism, but I doubt if that is what supporters have in mind.

Viola Larson said...

No, Belhar's biggest problem is that it is confessing unity more than confessing Jesus Christ. A confession for the church must always confess Christ.

Belhar's lack of confession of Christ is why it can be used for so many other issues in unbiblical ways. It worked for South Africa because racism was the one issue they were concerned about. But in the PCUSA there is a multitude of issues that people want and there is nothing in Belhar that prevents its use.

Greg Scandlen said...

Of course I agree with you, Viola. I was just raising another issue I haven't seen discussed. At the meeting the biggest concern was placing unity ahead of all other values. Unity should be the outcome of acknowledging Christ as savior. Unity independent of that is worthless.

tera said...

Viola, I think less is more. Does God really need us to confess in front of every person that we believe in him? He only needs us to believe it in our hearts. Why we are told to confess it out loud to God in prayer is that it helps us to live it. We are created in a way where our mind is connected to our body and our spirit is living within us and can often reveal to us certain things we need to be made aware of by bringing what is in our subconscious to our conscious and thus allowing us to be empowered to live in a way that enables us to bear fruit - not of our own doing exactly - but by way of gaining understanding and clarity of truth that helps us to fight the lies we hear and see daily.

I'm not sure if this is actually speaking to what you wrote, but I wanted to share it with you as I thought what you were saying is related to a lot of politics surrounding what some Christians call "matters of great importance to the Faith." And I completely disagree that there are any such matters. God is in charge and we need not concern ourselves that the church is in dire need of our assistance. In fact, it is the exact opposite. We, the believers, are in dire need of assistance in correcting what is wrong in us by admitting that we have for too long now lifted ourselves up instead of being examples and lifting others up, including those we disagree with. And on that note, although I don't see eye to eye with you, I do wish you all the love of God your heart can hold and I ask God to bless you and to heal anything in your heart that might be holding you back from seeing the grace God has for you and for all created life.

Tera Billes
Sacramento, CA