Thursday, 24 November 2011

Jim's heresy of the day.

2 Tim 3:16 -  "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness". 

Which scripture was Paul referring to? Obviously not the New Testament because it didn't exist then. So he's talking to Timothy about the Old Testament. Timothy's mother was a Jew, father a Greek, but he was raised with knowledge of Jewish traditions and scripture. Paul preached to the Gentiles, Timothy was working amongst the Greeks, they had no Torah nor were they encouraged in any Jewish traditions. So all a bit odd given Paul's other statements about the law.

I did quite a dig around about the word for Scripture used here. Its a particular form that isn't used often in the Greek and basically means the entirety of all God's breathed Word - or something along those lines. Given the context of Paul's other writings and his emphatic statements about doing away with the law, the only conclusion we can make of this is he wasn't speaking about a bunch of written laws, rituals and prophecies, so much as the entirety of Jesus, the living word. Seeing as this letter is addressed directly to Timothy he would have been very aware of what Paul was saying and its implications. Of course, we mustn't forget  Paul had Timothy circumcised early in the piece, which was totally against Paul's own teachings. In studying this point, there are a few fumbling reasons put forward as to why this may have been, but we seem to forget that Paul made mistakes (gasp!) and Timothy's circumcision may have been one. 

So going back to a bigger picture, why have we included the New Testament in the same category as the Old. The Old was a strict set of written laws, codes, messages from God to a people who didn't have the indwelling Christ. They had to have it written down and preserved! The early church had no scriptures! The letters and other documents weren't regarded as Holy Scripture until many, many years later, they were just letters floating around mostly correcting churches that were going off the rails. It seems that if we were to have an infallible set of written documents that were to be taken as the literal instructions of God on how to be Christians, Jesus would have organised that before the ascension so there could be no doubt that these instructions were from him! But no, all we have is a set of hodge-podge ambiguous writings that have been tacked together and presented as the infallible Word of God.

Now I know you are looking around for the biggest stones you can find to throw at me... but those documents were inspired by God! Each was to a specific audience - a church in trouble or need, a struggling leader, a group of people in a region needing encouragement, whatever... Were they written to us? Of course not! Are they inspired by God? Yes! Can we learn from them? Yes! Can we apply every little thing in them for our lives? No! So what de we do with all this? Horror of horrors - we have to have a personal relationship with God, our loving Father, with his son Jesus who by his Holy Spirit lives inside us in all his power and glory. He has to be intimately involved with our very being, all that we are and do. He is our Word, our wonderful living Word. The Scriptures should just support what Holy Spirit is already doing in us. If we are constantly walking in greater revelation of God in us we are less and less likely to even be sin conscious, less needy of being propped up by an instruction manual - of being less dependant on trying to figure out which particular scripture fits our particular need at any given moment - of finding a promise to hang on to - because the living Word is IN us already.

Just remember those poor old gentile christians wandering around with no scriptures to guide  them, and some of those Jewish christians berated by Paul for telling others they had to live by the Torah. It seems that the last thing Paul wanted was a bunch of scripture fanatics wandering the countryside!

You may have noticed I've been on about all this for a while now.  The reason is obvious (to me). Our current understanding of all these things just doesn't work. We happily say if we know enough scripture and understand it all, everything will all fall into place - but it doesn't - it just gets worse! More doctrines, more denominations, more splits, more discord, hatred, lies, envy, pride, you name it. And we keep blaming each other's interpretation of scripture - when will we see that this will never stop until WE stop and realise there's something wrong with this picture?! 

Could it be that scripture was never meant to be used like this???

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Words for Thought

I posted this in Facebook but thought I might put it here as well for the odd passerby!

So Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples split up and spread the gospel with amazing passion, Paul got zapped, and things got even more outrageous - spreading like wildfire for years with no written doctrines, handbooks, tracts, Torah, just a simple powerful gospel that was the love of a passionate Father wanting to pour that love out on his children.
So they started to get the odd letter tossed around when one of the apostles found something not going to plan. We really aren't too sure about what they were responding to, we can only surmise that from the letters themselves. There were some accounts of Jesus life from a few different viewpoints floating around. Some of the letters were details on the work of Jesus and all its implications. All had a purpose and an intended audience, but they were all over the place. No one used them as doctrinal statements, but over time they began to be venerated until a couple of hundred years later it was decided for the sake of unification and sorting out who was in and who was out, as well as defining orthodoxy, the church fathers of the day decided to pick the best of them and bundle them up together.
So the first church had no bible. Some of the Jewish converts still liked their Torah, but nothing at all for those Gentiles. Seems they had to rely on the Holy Spirit. Maybe they knew something we didn't? Maybe there was a depth to their faith that we have lost? Maybe the whole revelation of Jesus death and resurrection, unity with God and trusting that relationship was all they needed - gulp! treading in thin ice here!
Of course our wonderful Father inspired those amazing documents we now have - they contain descriptions of the depth of his passion and how that was made real in us. But maybe he never intended them to come first? Maybe they were meant to be supportive to the life of the indwelling Christ, the words that confirmed what we should already know in our hearts, the touchstone of the simple truths of the gospel.Is it possible we've got it round the wrong way? Could it be we are trying to figure out this awesome life in Him by a handful of letters rather than using those letters to bear witness to the Holy Spirit in us? Maybe we are so scared of the personal responsibility that would bring, that it outweighs the freedom? And possibly we just can't handle the thought that its not our problem to "guard the faith" - maybe God can do that better without our help?
Hmmm, can't help wondering...

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A prophesy?

It is with much fear and trepidation that I dare to call this a prophesy. I have never had the guts to put something in this form before, but it is what I feel Father is saying. I make no claim to being a prophet, it just seemed right to express it as if it was Father's heart. 

You've longed for a revival.
You've hungered for more of me and seen the pain in yourselves and my creation.
The cry for holiness and justice.
The outpourings of my spirit in past times creates a yearning for my presence and power.
To see broken hearts mended, lost ones found, repentance, remorse
Miracles and healing, passion for my word and truth, the glory!

But its not coming on your terms, my reformation is coming instead.
It has started in sparks everywhere, no one person, no one movement,
Fires beginning to spread from one end of creation to the other
But not revival fires, they are freedom and passion fires!
Love fires, a declaration of my heart and passion for you
A new light that shakes each of my children to the core
A reformation of my life in you, of our unity, of your identity
Its a quiet fire that is my doing, born only of my desire for you
Nothing you have done could bring it, nothing you could pray will release it
I will open eyes to plainly see what has been hidden
To see the simplicity and power
To experience freedom unimaginable
To know love indescribable
It doesn't look like revival, it looks like division
It doesn't sound like the roaring of holy fire from heaven
It sounds like the whisper of my breath as I draw close
It is radical, bringing you back to the roots
Back to the childlikeness that sees my kingdom
That sees my love

No, there will be no revival
But the world will be changed by my heart
One person at a time.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Alphabet soup

Maybe the bible is like a bowl of alphabet soup.

Lots of letters that you can spend hours arranging into words and trying to make into something meaningful. Like kids we could have fun and discover many interesting things. We could keep playing with that bowl of soup, day after day, trying to find more and more different words. We could start to grow up and forget it was fun and still keep pushing those letters around. The soup could get really old and mouldy, but we might still be tempted to try for a few more things, or just keep arranging those same old ones we like to find every day. Of course, the soup would be pretty disgusting and we might not be able to see any letters for all the mould and yucky stuff!

Or we could just eat the soup when it was fresh and nourishing, the whole lot, yum! All those letters floating around and we could smile and laugh at the words that form, but the soup is too good to sit around for long. Just eat it up!

And tomorrow we can have another big bowl, made fresh for us with lots of lovely letters ready to have fun with! Yay Dad - more soup please!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Just Jesus

I've been thinking a lot lately, and more so after some comments today, what a complicated mess we have made the gospel, what a horrible burden of half truths and complicated theolgies that all contradict each other. A huge quagmire of methods, principles, doctrines, and of course every one is right ;-)
But if a child can't understand it, its just all crap!! You can read the bible like its an intruction manual and study every little nuance of Greek and Hebrew, but so what?! It was never meant to be an instruction manual on how to "do christianity".

It took many years for me to realise that its just Jesus, Jesus plus nothing. Father's unbelievably outrageous love for us that defies all logic and cuts through all theology. I don't care if I never hear another doctrinal statement in my life. I have the complete life of the truine Godhead living in my right now. He loves me to bits and never lets me forget it. The more I realise that the more that love just comes out of me, I can't help it. And it doesn't matter what doctrines I believe or don't believe because I can trust Him in me, I can trust Him with every thought that runs through my tired brain.

God IS love, nothing else, it all comes from there. I am finally realising what it is to truly love God, because he is loving me first. I will only operate from that place now, even if I stumble because my mind is still being renewed, I will not take my eyes and heart off Him. I won't look to doctrines and principles and fads for help. Just Him, Jesus plus nothing!!