Friday, February 25, 2005

Eternal security....maybe not the point

If you're a Christian, you've proably had the question, "can i lose my salvation?" Many people hold fiercly to both sides of the debate, and I have been in many arguments on this topic. In the last couple of months, I have realized that the issue is much deeper than whether we can or cannot lose this gift of salvation.

First of all, I do not believe that any group of Christians would say that you can lose your salvation; that God looks down upon you and says you've done enough wrong, now you're not a Christian. But that we have the choice whether to or whether not to give up our life in Christ.

How we look at this topic is deeply interwoven in the fabric of the issue of salvation. What exactly is the salvation that we as Christians believe we have? If to you salvation is something that is delegated by God, a judicial view of salvation, where the focus is man's sin being forgiven so he does not go to hell, then it would be illogical for man to be able to lose his salvation.

But if your view on salvation is a relational view, that God forgives your sin so not only you can be saved from being damned to hell, but so that you can be in communion with him. And the relationship between God and man is the reason, then I believe that it is possible for man to dissolve the union of that relationship.

I have given two paths to take down the road to understanding just what salvation is; but which one is right? Are there some clues to the purpose of salvation? Hmmmm. I think the only way we can truely know the purpose of salvation is to find the purpose of why we were created in the first place. Is the point of man to soley give glory to God? or is the purpose of man for God to show perfect love.

I believe that both options are correct but I think that one with the most emphasis is to show us love. John 3:16 says "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son...". While God does recieve glory from his creation, because it will happen no matter what happens, I believe that God does not act out of concern for this.

I'll admit that I have leaned in the direction of my bias, and if another person were writing this, no doubt the arguments would be the complete opposite. But I believe that the position that i take is not on the extreme left or right. I believe that the position of a relational view on salvation is the middle. If you think that my view of salvation is way to the extreme, I say to you that there is another view on what salvation is. We have God alone doing the saving work, man and God coming togeather into a relationship, and the final way of seeing what salvation is is man saving himself.

Of course that view is not an option, as it is discredited by the Bible. The nearly universal understanding of salvation (I say 'nearly' because there is a very small contingent of people who believe that you can work your way into salvation (yes i think they're wrong)) is that God is the one who does the work of salvation. If you are going to make me choose between either side of my belief, I will choose to say that God is the only part alone who does the work of salvation.

If you believe that God does the work of salvation completely independent of man, what is your understanding of man's role in the process. Because by the defination of what side you're on, man does not have a role, accept to be saved. This position very quickly leads to a lack of responsibility to be moral, not only for the reason that God is the one doing the acting, but because a changed life is not the point. The point becomes God saving you from hell.

This "point" does not seem to line up with the verses that talk abotu living transformed lives. This "point" also does not deal with verses that call us into living life in Christ. If all that God's purpose was to save us from eternal damnation in the afterlife, why did Christ come to earth and die as a 30 year old human. If he wanted to do that, all he needed to do was become a baby and die. If all that he wanted to do was give us a way out, why did he go through the ups and downs of life? Was there a purpose for the three years of teaching about a right way of living, if how we live our lives does not matter?

Think about it.....

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Anorexic Christians

With the modern mdeia, we have been able to see starving children from africia and asia. It's shocking to see just how disfigured that they are, and how horrible it would be to not have enough food. America has no understanding of how poor and hungry these countries are; look at all the McDonalds that are within 30 minutes of your house. There is no lack of food, even people who we consider poor are head and shoulders above the rest of the world.

The biggest oxymoron in our Western Culture are people who are anorexic. Here these people are, in a world where they know no suffering, and they totally reject what is put before them. Because they are worried about their looks, that they're fat; that they starve themselves. They are the exact opposite of the people who are starving in 3rd world countries, if you put food infront of these starving Africians and they devour it. But with anorexic people they completely ignore the food.

Now I say these things about anorexic people not because I make fun of them, nor because I do not realize their sickness; but because I want to point out how foolish what they're doing is. To deny the body what it needs to stay healthy is nothing short of idiotic. Eventually if a person continues to starve their body this way, it completely breaks down.

This to me is almost the same way that Christians are in North America. We have so many options, so much "spiritual food" to nurish our bodies that it is almost sickening to see the rest of the worlds lack. Yet we look at all this "food" and we ignore it. We have the resources to be the strongest church in the history of the world, but we try and keep the food at arms length. There almost is a sense, that we think we'll become 'fat' and 'unattractive' that we starve ourselves.

Maybe we're not worried about becoming fat, but we think to ourselves "the food will always be there, we can get food anytime we want to. This is my problem. I attend a christian college, attend church, help out at youth group, have more Bibles than I can remember, and countless books talking about spirituality and theology. Yet one of the biggest struggles that i deal with is to actually sit down and eat.

This to me is just as even more illogical than anorexic people, at least they have a reaon (yes it's a bad reason) to starve themselves. I just am not taking time to feed myself when I know that it's what I need. HOW SENSELESS CAN I BE?!?!?

So what? Are you anorexic? Are you scared of what will happen to your life if you eat? or are you even worse, and just don't eat? Lets take some time and eat, eat alot.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Is being relevant really revelant?

In order to expand our youth groups we're in the midst of a struggle to become relevant to the youth culture. I believe that this is important, and in no way am I diminishing this aspect but I do not believe that this is the entire problem. In fact, I believe that part of the problem with youth group attendence is the fact that the church does not keep up with youth culture. The other side of the problem is that the church focus' too much attention on the fact that they are not keeping up.

I think that the result of tring to be "hip" or "cool" leads to creating just a hangout enviroment. I contend that youth groups should have some of that atmosphere, but there needs to be more than just a hang out time. There needs to be something that makes youth groups different than any other social club.

The fact that Christians have the hope of Christ should be what keeps people curious about our lives. We can have joy in the good and the bad, because we know that God still loves us and wants the best for us. Those who do not have a relationship with Christ do not have that hope, that ability to see through the bad. This is what should distinguish those in the church from those not in the church.

This is why when I hear people talk about how excited that they are about a new building or a new program that the church is working on, I become somewhat critical of what they're thinking.

Conversely, I do not like it when people say, "We just need to be spiritual" because while it is important to be spiritual we must be relevant so people can understand our spirituality. We cannot focus completely on how spiritual we are and become monks living somewhere in the middle of the woods. While monks definately are very spiritual, when they isolate themselves they help nobody but themselves.

So what can be said of this blog? I think that there is a balance we as Christians must have. First we must focus on developing our spirituality. Secondly we must have an emphasis to stay relevent in our world. We must have both, and both must be taken seriously if we as Christians expect to change those around us.