Jesusians

A Courteous Contrararian

Religion of Peace Part 6

Written By: Jon Jaroszewski - May• 18•15

I ended the last post with a sarcastic quote, a quote that I have actually heard in real life, and more than once. “Oh, you have some new understanding of Scripture that no one has grasped over the last 2000 years?”  How can anyone answer in the affirmative without seeming prideful and arrogant?

The answer to that rhetorical question is: slowly and carefully. That’s what this series has tried to be, slow and careful while answering yes.

We started with the biblical; how God changes his methods for dealing with us when we are capable of understanding differently. He can make us capable of understanding differently because he is God. We have examples of God acting in a cruder manner earlier in the narrative we call the Bible, and even then he would talk about something better for us, and promise it was coming: the wonderful and/or terrible Day of the Lord.

Then we looked at Jesus, who tells us he copies his Father. What we see, I hope, is the underlying core of who God is rather than just what he does. But even Jesus told us he worked in parables so that some might not understand. Yet others did, and we do yet today because of the timelessness of the example.

Paul told us that those who saw but didn’t perceive couldn’t perceive. Then he told us of those who could perceive, Christians. Hebrews told us of a day when all would know God, from the greatest to the least. If we take away predestination (as I tried to do in my series on Predestination, see side bar) as a reason why someone can or can’t perceive, becoming someone who can perceive can fit nicely into the vacuum.

Then we looked at statistics and anecdotes from the last two thousand years. Despite frequent aberrations, we are becoming slightly more civilized. Less murder, less violence, less racism, less sexism, less harsh working conditions, less xenophobia. We still have plenty of all those things but statistically we have less than before.

 

I have one last puzzle piece, a last point to my argument, and it is personal. As I studied the Bible rather than what people said about it, tentative ideas I had began to group themselves into something more cohesive. They supported each other, made each other more valid. The result better matched reality as I experienced it. That, in my mind, made it a more successful theology.

But still, there were crazy ideas in my burgeoning theology, things no one had ever thought; things I had to keep to myself. Like the idea that God doesn’t know the future and plainly tells us so.

And then one day I heard a radio preacher attack something called Open Theology! I was so excited I could barely wait to get home and do a Google search (before smartphones).  There were thousands of people, maybe more, who thought that God doesn’t know the future! I wasn’t alone anymore. Links led to other links. To process theology and limited universalism, to all sorts of ideas I had gleaned and a few I hadn’t. To ideas I had thought and ideas I didn’t agree with, to ideas that fit my theology and ideas that just tried to tear down the old conservative scaffolding.

The important thing for me was that I was no longer The Lone Idiot, who’s ideas were so outlandish that he had to keep them to himself. I was part of a movement. Knowing the heavy role the Holy Spirit played in my personal development, and so the role he must have played with these other alternative believers, I can’t help but think of it as a movement of God.

And now, if someone asks me that question again, “do you have some new understanding of Scripture that no one has grasped over the last 2000 years?” I can answer, “Yes I have, but it isn’t only me who thinks this way.”

And to think it all started with the Amalekites.

 

Oops. I almost forgot the point of this series.

Can we say, based on all we’ve thought about, that we might be a bit better than we were before? Is Christianity different than it was two hundred years ago, or five hundred, or fifteen hundred? Yes. Is it better? Yes. Is humanity better for having us in their midst? Yes. Are we a more peaceable religion than we have been? Yes. Yes we are becoming, slowly, the religion of peace.

For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes. 

 

 

 

 

 

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