IMonk posted a very interesting message concerning God’s will and knowing it. See it here.
My tiny contribution there is this:
This post is a more eloquent description of one of the reasons why I reject most if not all of evangelicism.
God is not some big vending machine in the sky so that if we deposit enough coin (faith, tithes, obedience, etc.) then push button B and 6 God is obligated to give us our Twinkies (put your own desires in here).
God is sovereign.
The only clue I have as to His will are the very simple things that are told us in scripture.
To paraphrase Jesus, be nice to each other and worship God above all others.
To paraphrase Paul, go tell other people.
I won’t be putting out any fleeces or any of the other gyrations to know God’s mind. I can’t know it.
I can trust God’s mind.
So I am free to live and move within that mind of God without the constant struggle to make sure I’m making all the steps 1 through 12a to live.
Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty free at last.
Strangely, thinking about this has led me to at least the beginnings of another answer in my life.
I don’t want to be a Roman Catholic.
I am certainly attracted to the beauty, tradition and majesty of the Roman church.
But, believing as I have stated above, how can I be apart of a fellowship that teaches that if I confess to a priest and say 10 Hail Mary’s then my sin of lusting after a new guitar is expiated?
I realize that is an unfair simplification but it is what it is.
This leaves me with rejecting both orthodoxy in most forms and absolutely rejecting the evangelical church.
What’s a fellow to do?
Constructive comments welcome.
This past Easter weekend two of my dearest friends were formally taken into the fellowship of the Catholic Church.
This in and of itself is a little amazing but not shocking given that many evangelicals and former evangelicals are moving towards Orthodoxy in one form or another.
There are, however, a few things that I believe make this extraordinary at least for me.
Bryn and Sandra befriended my wife and me many years ago when we were perhaps not newly minted Christians but were certainly not deep in the faith.
Bryn in particular was and is a mentor to me as well as my friend.
I want you to imagine that person or one of those people that were there for you and helped guide you through the early days of your walk with Christ or “the Christ” as Bryn is fond of saying, becoming Roman Catholics. Think of it.
Those of you who are regular readers of the internetmonk have watched and in some detached way seen what Michael Spencer, an ordained Southern Baptist minister and educator has gone through during his wife’s conversion the Roman church.
Bryn was one of three older men who mentored and were spiritual guides for me.
Bryn and another dear and departed friend lead my brother and me to a men’s spiritual retreat and training that I still look back upon with deep appreciation for the many lessons learned.
Both of the other men have now gone on to be with the Lord.
Bryn and Sandra also opened their home to us and several other couples for a home bible study/worship service that to this day has not been equaled in my experience for its depth and warmth.
These are not flighty church jumpers.
Bryn is a 71 year old semi-retired architect and Sandra has raised two beautiful daughters as well as put up with Bryn for a long, long time.
Sandra, being clearly much younger, could possibly be looked upon as doing something out of the impetuosity of youth. Bryn has no such excuse.
I spoke to both of them at some length last week and the single question I had was this.
Both talked at some length about things that they liked or didn’t like about the churches from their past and their new church home.
They both talked to some degree about the theology and apologetics.
When it finally got down to the basic truth they both were looking for authenticity in their worship experience.
This is a reason that reverberates with me.
This is reason I understand I believe many evangelicals can identify with.
Our churches and the worship experience have turned into extravaganzas and circuses meant to attract the “unchurched” and entertain the masses.
I wish my friends all of the happiness and blessing possible in their new spiritual home.
They may soon be joined.
A lot to digest and think about.
One of the comments said the following,”…However, I would argue that to the extent that the decline reflects reality, the decline has already happened. You say you see a future of Moralistic-Therapeutic-Deism, but that is exactly where the American church is now.”
I couldn’t agree more.