"My old Reformed Baptist pastor once said that if the Bible is really the inerrant Word of God, then slavery is not morally wrong in and of itself. If that sounds outlandish, consider that well known confederate/slavery apologists like Douglas Wilson do exist in mainstream conservative Christianity. They very honestly acknowledge that in both Old and New Testaments there are no explicit denunciations of slavery as an institution, and there seem to be repeated affirmations of it. So, if every word of scripture is God-breathed, then owning other human beings as property and forcing them to perform hard labor and menial tasks is fundamentally OK (as long as you don’t overtly abuse them).
This only serves to highlight the fact that upholding the inerrancy of scripture often leads to a hermeneutic of oppression."
I hate when people’s theological views are described as liberal, because that doesn’t mean much. What comes to mind for when I hear that is Schleiermacher, denying Christ’s divinity and the Trinitarian Godhead, as well as a critical view of the Gospels’ portrayal of Jesus. But so often people use this word to describe gay-affirming Christians, or Open Theists, or even evolutionists, despite the fact that they can often recite the Nicene Creed passionately and honestly.
What also annoys me is when people describe their own theology as progressive. It almost seems kind of pretentious. Like, okay, we get it, your theological views are groundbreaking and you’re offering such a prophetic critique of the Church, hallelujah.
Maybe I’m mean.
Amos Yong, a Pentecostal theologian, spoke at a Society of Vineyard Scholars conference last year on ‘Christological Constants in Pluralistic Contexts’. This really blessed me so I thought I should share.
I am not saying we ought to fondle our oppressors and let them live out their deepest sadistic fantasies on us, but we need to not confuse people with systems. As we desire to dismantle the destructive systems of this world, we need to remember that the people who are obedient to such systems are… people. And as people, they are passionately loved by God and Jesus laid down his life with them in mind. A witness to oppressors isn’t one where we reply out of the desire to be right or out of pure anger, but a witness that reflects Christ is a reply out of love. May we not copy the world in its twisted, broken ways, but may we truly follow Christ’s example and instruction. May the Sermon on the Mount come alive to us day by day, and may the witness of our lives be bold and unchanging, just like this glorious gospel we have been caught up in.
Even on the Gentiles?
44 While Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who heard the word. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astounded that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on the Gentiles, 46 for they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter said, 47 “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 So he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they invited him to stay for several days. (Acts 10:44-48)
Last year, as I painted a sign for the farm market I worked on, I felt what I discerned to be God speaking to me. I was overwhelmed by pictures and clear phrases, and I cannot say I was fully pleased with what I perceived to be revelations.
I felt him say something along the lines of, “You will be offended by who I shall use and where I shall pour out my Spirit.” And the truth is, I have been offended many times this past year by how God has been moving, and with who, without even looking for it.
Like the circumcised believers, I have seen people express and practice their faith who I once rejected as impossible cases and I thought, “they, too, can know Christ?” I was shocked. I was shocked like many Christians were when black and white believers worshiped and ministered together during the Azusa Revival. I was shocked like many Pentecostals were when even the Lutherans—even the Episcopalians—oh, and even the Catholics—were being baptized by the Holy Ghost.
God is truly beyond our paradigms, and his grace is even sweeter, greater, and all-consuming than our religious egos would often like to acknowledge. The story of God, the story of the Kingdom, the story of Jesus… is really good news.
And… I am thankful that Christ will baptize his Spirit ‘even on the gentiles’ when we would not even consider baptizing them in water.
I say all this so that we may have hope for mankind because Christ is King and Shepherd who desires none to perish. He cares for every single sheep. And I assure you that God did not make man as impossible cases. Let God offend you.
"Time perhaps to rediscover the sacred space within, where two become One. From this place of Union, this inner knowing that we matter, we set out once more to touch humanity, not as a Self-less slave but as a fellow traveler in the Divine Flow."
In college I didn’t have many white friends. I was friendly with a lot of white people but for various reasons I was kind of disconnected from white people. One time I was with a group of friends and I realized none of us were white. Everybody was black and Hispanic, but myself and a Navajo girl. I asked everybody, probably 12 or so people, if they ever wished they were white. Everybody, one by one, said yes. And I wondered how often white people desperately wished they were another race, and not just so they can be “smart” or “athletic” or “funny”, as they often fondly caricature other ethnic groups. I wondered how many of them cried when they realized their race and longed with all that they were to be another race. Idk. Thoughts.
"For me community is the relational space whereby we share our mutual brokenness and Divine life flow. My community is constantly changing as folk touch my life and move on. I see it more as a river than a reservoir. A running exchange of Life flow rather than an institution that tries to keep the Divine Energy locked in its deep organisational wells. Of course some folk will become close friends, at least for a time. I see these as the Two or Three gathered into Yeshua’s name, a micro-community with a heart open to life and the changes that Spirit breath brings."
John Crowder on the Evangelical “Passive Aggressive Jesus”