If you read the last post "Doctrines of Demons" this is a follow-up. If not, you can read it here. Either way, I want to ask/pose this question; "is there really safety in numbers?" Let's look at biblical history to answer this question. In looking at the scripture, I would simply say this to you; ask Noah, ask Abraham, ask Jacob, ask Joseph, ask Moses, ask Joshua, ask David, ask Isaiah, ask Jeremiah, ask Amos, ask Elijah, ask all the prophets, ask John the Baptist, ask Jesus, ask the twelve apostles, ask Peter or John, ask Paul, ask the first century martyrs, ask Martin Luther.... I could go on and on but surely you are getting the point. All significant movements in Christian History in fact suggest that one could not believe that there is safety in numbers.
So then, why are so many evangelical Christians so complacently content with the status quo, and safety in numbers. All the time I hear people ask the question, surely all the theologians could not possibly get it wrong could they? Or they will say, if you want to be safe, just stick with orthodoxy. Really? The fact is that most evangelicals revel in the idea that there is safety in numbers. I feel that I have personally been rejected by pastors and ministers many times because they feel that safety in numbers is a better way to go.
The truth is that humans in general are unsettled by change. I hear people say that change is scary. Yet, I cannot help but think of the words of Dr. Phil, "Oh, and how's that workin' for ya?" The fact is that many evangelicals have set up for themselves sure heart ache and failure. They believe in a standard of ethical behavior, that while it is an admirable goal, most fail to achieve it. And, when they do fail, they are judged, shunned, and humiliated. They end up thinking that for some reason, they alone cannot attain the standard; that there is something inherently wrong with them. They fail to realize that almost ALL people have the same struggles. The reason for this is that pastors and ministers set themselves up on a pedestal afraid that any admission of their own frailty will give an excuse to the rest of the congregation to stop trying to attain. Sadly, the reality is that the gospel of Christ/God is not centered on human ethics. Of course, it would be a better world if more people, or if all people strove to be more ethical. But that was NEVER the point of the gospel.
There is a big difference between being ethical and being loving. Some of the most ethical people I have met are likewise cold, calculating and lack any sense of love for humanity. Let's face it, read and do theology reduces one to being obedient or not. Unfortunately, the standard is to the scripture from a legal constitutional perspective. Further, some of the most obedient Christians from the legal constitutional perspective are likewise some of the cruelest, unforgiving people, when it comes to deviation from the legal constitutional perspective. It is sad that I have proven over and over again in blog post after blog post that the legal constitutional reading of scripture is just flat wrong... it's ERROR! Still for the most part I am ignored. I cannot get people to even follow the legal constitutional edict "come let us reason together."
Let me make this clear. If the legal, constitutional reading of scripture is really what Jesus and the first century apostles demanded then, those who fear that things have gotten way out of whack in Christianity are right. But the overwhelming fact is that it was not the priority of Jesus and the first century Christians. If one cannot understand nuance, and the transition that was happening within the writings of the first century, then it may be easy to believe that current evangelical doctrine is right. However, the nuance and the transition is the most important part of the first century writings. Therefore, just like all the biblical history figures that I mention in the first paragraph, those who did not feel that there was safety in numbers, but rather were willing to listen to the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we today should not be so smug as to believe that there is now safety in numbers. Because of this, the evangelical church entertains way too many doctrines of demons.