Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Proxies and Responsibility (Part 2)

God meticulously controls everything, right? Nothing escapes His knowledge and will, right? So, when a tsunami hits the coast of Indonesia killing thousands upon thousands and everyone wonders why...God had a plan, right? And our response should be just like the serfs of past kingdoms of Earth...thanking their lord that they weren't the ones that he decided to kill off.

Because, of course, the creator of the universe who values love in the charitable sense as the greatest character quality, who leaves the inheritance of the earth to the meek, and who shows Himself to those whom are poor in spirit...is justified because of our sin (though we had no control of being born under that corruption either) in burying us anytime He chooses to lash out in divine retribution. Then those same people will preach salvation through Christ and encourage people to come to repentance and faith in God...knowing full well that they believe God already has chosen all those individuals who will specifically be saved before the creation of anything.

Perhaps people who advocate this think they are being compassionate by expressing this plea to come to Christ because of this, but in reality, regardless if they realize it or not...they are fearmongering.

Aren't there hundreds of times in the Bible that people are told to fear the Lord? Yes indeed they were. But it is a question of what kind of fear you are talking about...as there isn't just one type of 'fear'...and because in many cases I think that Bible translators were correct in not merely saying 'have reverent respect for' instead of using the more severe word 'fear'. We aren't supposed to fear the Lord, as in walking on eggshells before Him at all times...instead we are told to approach the throne of grace boldly. God set up the model of fatherhood that we earthly fathers are supposed to take example from, so are we supposed to make our children fear us via the punishments that we deal? Are we supposed to fear the Lord in the manner that creates scorn because of His not being approachable at all?

Now...I'm not talking about those who misunderstand the love of God, or the times when God did indeed warn people of the consequences of their actions, and then laments as the course of happenings that humanity demanded by their own actions. (Often the classical theists pass those comments about God as the author merely anthropomorphizing God...and God didn't actually have negative feelings carrying out whatever action He took against His rebellious creation.) I'm not talking about making God into a lovable teddy-bear, permissive daddy that looks the other way for everything that we want to do, be it sin or not.

So, are we to believe what we read in Scripture or not? Can I believe that God pleads with His creation to change their ways, and then is heartbroken at their responses, or that He is heartbroken of the actions that had to be taken? What responsibility do I have in my promotion of God who values love and wants us to be part of this kingdom He has established on Earth for people to live according to His ideals?

Frankly, when someone goes to their friends and approaches them for the kingdom of God, but delivers a message of fire-insurance and fearmongering...what responsibility do they have there? Many people who advocate a classical-theist/predestination position think that they are merely fulfilling the obligations that Christians have, and once they have delivered that message...that the recipient's response isn't necessarily their concern. People, not Christians and people not Christians, are passed off as being 'stuck' or 'just not ready' (or perhaps also 'not chosen').

And this very much colors the way they see other people and interact with other people, for Christians who believe in predestination and other classical-theist positions. And it isn't in a good way. Someone could go and accuse me of being pompous and arrogant in my faith and promotion of the Scriptures, the ways of God, and God directly...and they might be able to think that I'm wrong in what I promote. But I will never treat someone as second-class or look down my nose at them and think they are 'stuck'. And that is the colored view that is an example of what classical theists often do. They seem to have friendships more out a sense of obligation than they do out of genuine love for people. In the manner that they might believe that God is directly putting people in their lives, it is completely counterproductive and cold to then treat them as people they are merely obligated to.

And that feeling of being blown-off comes from that skewed sense of community that seems to be prominent not only in the classical-theist or Calvinist type Christian churches, but also generally in program-centric churches as well. Sorry guys...but you talk to people like you are blowing them off, or that you always invalidate people's feelings. It sucks, and you are responsible for your being cold when you are...i.e. it isn't providence when you are being cold.

Again, this is not to say that many program-based churches aren't wonderful. I know many people who prefer them, who are great people, and who don't disregard friendships as makeshift obligations. I'm referring to a more specific mindset in this post.