Sunday, December 3, 2017
"Words, Mojis, and Critiques"
Written words are wonderful tools of communication, powerful as they are, we recognize they have their limits. Mojies are a creation we have devised to assist our written words. They help us convey the emotion driving the words we write, thus delivering another piece of valuable information.
Most of us are aware of the difficulty of expressing the emotion driving the thoughts being presented in written form. Words have meaning, those meanings are rooted in human emotions. The way we raise our voice, impose emphasis on certain words, raise our brows, move our eyes, all add meaning and clarity to the statements formed with words. When those words are printed in written form much of this is lost. This is especially true in critiques.
Paul inserted an early church moji to reveal the state of his heart in penning his words. The Corinthian Church had many things wrong. They had their view of marriage wrong, their understanding of the gifts wrong, their form of worship was wrong, their practice of the implementing the Lord's supper was wrong. They had mixed their Christian worship with so many pagan practices and human inventions it was barely recognizable as a Christian Church, yet his critique of those errors was made more pliable by the state of heart presented in his writing.
When we critique the actions of our brothers and sisters this should always be the state of our heart. We must be, ourselves, humble at heart and not to set our way of thinking as preeminent. It must always be a call to Biblical thinking and practice. As it is in church discipline, the purpose being not punishment and retribution, but obedience and restoration; so in our critiquing of Christian doctrine the purpose is not to force submission by argument, but a call to truth and understanding through the ministry of His Word.
In a number of previous posts I have ventured into the area of critiquing various doctrinal practices in a number of churches and Christian circles I have in past times been associated with. Choosing to do this always runs a risk of offending precious people, and it also puts the one critiquing at risk of reviving their own pride and arrogance.
I would beseech those who were touched by my critique of those doctrines, especially those who personally know me, to understand my sincere love for you.
Rom 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Rom 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.
We must not soften the written text of Scripture. The things we practice in our churches that cannot be supported by Scripture, or is of such that Scriptural terms must be redefined to form these new doctrines must be critiqued at all levels. That means even the leadership in small churches must guard against these inventions. If leadership are the ones promoting such practices, they must be held accountable and one must attempt to reason with them. This must be done with love and patience. Paul gives us a wonderful example in his reasoning with the Corinthian Church. He so expressed his love for them, yet spoke direct and straightforward.
1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Paul gave this command in the same letter that he gave rebuke for their numerous errors. Paul brought his rebuke strongly, yet considered his audience precious in his sight and precious to God. 1Co 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
When we bring rebuke upon certain practices among us, we must do so as speaking to brethren. All the while strongly rebuking the Corinthian Church, Paul acknowledged them as his dear Brothers and Sisters. 1Co 1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ;
1Co 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;
We must do all we can to maintain an expression of love, but we must understand that most will not receive a critiquing of their doctrines. They simply have too must invested in it, too much pride to consider a careful, honest, and prayerful study bringing the Scripture to bear upon those beliefs. We live in a world with an infatuation with the supernatural and mystical. We are looking for experiences and things that affect us emotionally, that give us a feeling in order to validate its reality. Yet all these things are subjective and are to be brought under the objective rule of Scripture.
Let us take every thing we believe and weigh it against the weight of Scripture. It matters not what certain Scriptures mean to us, what matters is what the text actually says and how the ones present at the time understood it. When that is discovered we can apply it to our lives today.
Help me to discover these things in our lives so that our differences and divisions may be weakened and our love for one another increased. Let us bring our experiences and emotional feelings into subjection to these understandings. Let us strive to let the Scripture reign supreme over our lives.
May the Grace of God be upon each of you,
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