Friday, September 16, 2016
See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.
(Jeremiah 1:10 KJV)
It is time for a little deconstruction. It is time to root out, pull down, destroy, throw down. The goal? To build and to plant. I used the word deconstruction aware of its philosophical meaning, and yes, it is appropriate, but I am also using it in the sense of the opposite of construct. In this sense construct means to build and deconstruct means to tear apart or unbuild. For roughly two thousand years now, orthodoxy has been constructing Christian doctrine. It forms the presuppositions that most theologians adhere to. I realize that there are those theologians who have deconstructed in the strict philosophical meaning and have also deconstructed much of Christian doctrine in the way I mean. However, to use an appropriate overworked cliché… they have thrown the baby out with the bath water. My purpose is different. I want to present a cleansed baby. I do not want to remove the mystical. I do not want to diminish the Holy Spirit to superstition. I want to try to uncover the significance of the cross, the gospel, and the resurrection within the frame work of the meaning of the first century authors. I want to identify their cultural beliefs, their historical context, grammatical context, and from that recover their intended meaning.
I do not simply believe that Jesus of Nazareth was a good man, a prophet, and an agent of social and religious change. I believe that there was spiritual significance to his death, burial and resurrection. I believe that it held significant benefit for mankind. I believe that Jesus was indeed the Savior of the world. I also believe that while he brought a way of natural salvation to the first century Jews, one many of them rejected, he, on a larger scale, brought spiritual salvation to all. I believe that he accomplished this by the working of the Holy Spirit in conjunction with his death, burial and resurrection. In fact, the Holy Spirit used and uses his death, burial and resurrection as a means of assuring us that we have been reconciled to God. Further that we have been brought back to the awareness of God’s view of mankind that was expressed in the ancient text in Genesis 1:31.
However, the larger problem looming today in Christian circles is the doctrine/dogma that so many have called orthodoxy. Much of Christian doctrine was constructed over the years to simply control people for the benefit of the clerics. We should not be surprised by the multimillionaire televangelists of today. After all, the popes over the years had wealth at their disposal way beyond anything that the modern day wealthy religious leader have. I should add that not all of the control is meant to acquire wealth in the name of Jesus and the church. A lot of it is to simply sustain the clerical position of control over people to get them to do what they want them to do, whether it is to pay for buildings, or attend services. A whole lot of the dogma is there simply to sustain the institution.
It is because of this that deconstruction is so important. Many advocate just letting the Holy Spirit direct people to the truth. The problem with this is most are so indoctrinated that it is difficult to even hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit. The doctrine and dogma is so entrenched, and so debilitating that it is very difficult for anyone to break free of it. Most people sadly believe that they too must throw out the baby with the bath water to get free of the clutches of Christian doctrine. There are so many people in bondage to the way that orthodoxy has interpreted scripture. It is difficult to escape for most people. This is why I have devoted so many key strokes to presenting a paradigm shift that will allow one to read the scripture and reject the oppressive rule of men and women. There is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a way to look at and interpret scripture that will present the baby cleansed and vibrant.
Sunday, September 4, 2016
Revelation 5:3-5 NKJV “And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it. (4) So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. (5) But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals."
One of my presuppositions is that evangelical Christianity specifically, and all Christianity in general, is really the strong delusion of 2Thess 2. In other words, there has been a great apostasy from the faith of the first century found in the pages of the New Testament. This happened in the second century as the early church fathers adopted the leaven of the Pharisees to control people. It was solidified and codified at the counsel of Carthage in 397 AD. This being the case, there is really no amount of reformation that can solve the problem. Only in the restoration of the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42) will the strong delusion go away.
We see in the above passage from Revelation chapter five the prophesy of the problem. There was a scroll that no one on earth or under the earth could open because it was sealed. Many have speculated as to the nature and content of this scroll. I believe it is very simple. In the Greek it says that it was a *biblion* bible. Yes, the sealed scroll was the sacred scripture. In Matthew 16:12 Jesus identifies the leaven of the Pharisees as their doctrine. This would include their view of the scripture as a legal constitutional document. They viewed the scripture as God’s constitution with Israel. It was a covenant with God that to them was legally binding. Jesus on the other hand taught that the scripture was a redemptive narrative that pointed to Him only (John 5:39-40.)
Now, what about the scripture being a sealed biblion/bible? In Luke’s gospel chapter 24 we find that the risen Jesus actually fulfilled the prophecy of Revelationn5:3-5. Luke 24:45 NKJV “And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.” Here you can see it plain as daylight. Prior to this no man on earth had really understood the scripture/biblion/bible. Jesus opened their understanding. The leaven of the Pharisees would never allow one to truly understand the scripture. It would be as a scroll that was sealed. This was prophesied by Isaiah. Isaiah 29:11-13 NKJV “The whole vision has become to you like the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one who is literate, saying, "Read this, please." And he says, "I cannot, for it is sealed." (12) Then the book is delivered to one who is illiterate, saying, "Read this, please." And he says, "I am not literate." (13) Therefore the Lord said: "Inasmuch as these people draw near with their mouths And honor Me with their lips, But have removed their hearts far from Me, And their fear toward Me is taught by the commandment of men,” Here again is a prophecy that showed that the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes, and any other sect of the Jews would not understand the scripture because it was like a sealed scroll.
When Jesus told his disciples to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees it was a prophecy. It is not that it might happen. It was simply that it would happen. Jesus and his followers taught that the word of God was the gospel. The Pharisees taught that the word of God was the bible. The early church fathers allowed the leaven of the Pharisees to slowly slip in to church doctrine and went back to teaching that the scripture, and not just the gospel was the word of God. They returned the legal constitutional reading of scripture to the church. I think for the sake of control. In any event, it is the source of abuse that goes on in churches today.
Jesus opened the scroll 2000 years ago. Oh that we would begin to search out and allow the Holy Spirit to rid us of the strong delusion once and for all.
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