Christian, Conservative, Republican - in that order

The Democrats are eating it up. This whole thing is reminding me of the Jerry Falwell and the Baker debacles. When i was a fairly "young" Christian i remember my boss listening to Rush Limbaugh while we were working (i was a carpenter's apprentice at the time), and i couldn't help but think, "why are we listening to this guy". I still think that about his audience in general. To be up front, i have not listened to him in a long time. Other than the news clips, that are pretty much everywhere right now, i cannot remember the last time i heard his voice. I am not sure what he has been saying of late, but i can almost feel the 'tone' of his message - whatever that message might be. I've said this before but it bears repeating here. Communication is a two party process. You have a sender, and a receiver. The sender has to take the message they want to share with the receiver and attempt to communicate it in such a way that the receiver understands the intended message. The sender then communicates that message across whatever medium they have to work with at hand. The receiver then has to receive said message from said medium, and then they have to translate the message and "filter it" through their own life experiences and learning. If the receiver does not understand the message the sender attempted to say, then communication has broken down - either in whole, or in part. Our lives are pretty much spent working off of partial information. Some more complete than others. If you spend your time insulting, or intentionally filtering through personal bias (everyone does the latter, just some more so than others) so that you don't hear what is being said... communication is not going to occur and things cannot get worked out. Yes, there are times when someone needs to raise an alarm. There are times when dirty laundry needs to be aired out so that a proper cleaning can take place. But when you no longer look upon another person as a peer or someone you can respect enough to enter in a dialog (meaning two-way form of communication), then you are not leading anyone. You are causing division - which is not helpful in my opinion. To be fair, Rush Limbaugh is not the only person out there that does this. I am only using his name because he is in the media of late - and boy is the media, and the Democrats, exploiting it. I know i have been considered a closed minded person because i refuse to see the 'Liberal' side of things (a very broad use of the word right now). I consider myself an Independent, but i most definitely lean to the 'right'. Just like i did not align myself my Jim and Tammy Baker, Jerry Falwell back when, i do not align myself with Rush Limbaugh. I know there is a general perception that since i am a Christian i must believe the same things as the Bakers and Falwell, i am sure that since i am a registered Republican i believe the same things as Rush. If that is how i am looked at... i don't care. I am pretty comfortable with who i am and if someone wants to make a snap judgment about me... i can't really stop them. While we are on the subjects of labels i thought i would "label" myself in regards to my Christian beliefs. This is how i would broadly label myself: "Fundamental, Pentecostal, Reformed, Charismatic, Christian Hedonist". There are many derogatory stereotypes of some of these labels, and that's ok. I can live with that. I consider myself a "Fundamentalist" because i believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ - i believe that before the world was formed Christ was and He choose to lay that down and become man. I believe in the inerrancy of scripture - across all available sources of text there is a greater than 95% agreement, better than the works of Plato or even Shakespeare. I believe that Christ was born of a virgin - and her name was Mary. I believe that Christ's death on the cross was a propitiation, or payment in full, for my sins past, present, and future. I also believe that He then rose from the dead on the third day and thus defeating death. I believe in the miracles of Christ - I believe he feed the 5,000 and walked on water and healed the Centurion's servant and raised Lazarus from the dead. I believe that Christ will someday return to the earth the same way (but in reverse obviously) he ascended. I consider myself "Pentecostal" in that i believe my life is transformed by the Holy Spirit. That i am not the same person i was before the day i accepted Christ into my heart and life, and although i continue to struggle with sin in my life, the Holy Spirit is here with me to help me continue to walk out my ongoing sanctification. I believe that the Bible is the deffinitive source of authority in my life concerning my faith. I consider myself "Reformed" in that how we should walk out our faith is akin to the early church. We need to live out our "church experience" as a dedicated body of believers, committed to the local church - whether that is the group of believers that meet at the church building on corner, or few families that meet in a basement of a house. We need to live lives that are intertwined with other believers where we can speak into each others lives and help share one another's burdens. I also do not believe that traditions can ever form a basis for my belief, instead the "Word of God" (aka The Bible) is my ultimate source. I consider myself "Charismatic" because i believe that my relationship with God can be experienced in my response to His Word. My emotions can be a valid part of my experience in the worship of Christ. I also believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for today. I acknowledge my agreement with these statements with the following caveat: It must be tested by the Word of God. Finite man can't possible be the final authority in regards to the relationship with the Infinite. Even though we know our experiences better than any other our flesh is corrupted and we can feign an outward appearance in order to deceive the world... and a lie told often enough will eventually be believed by the liar. The same can be said of the gifts of the Spirit. I think this "label" is the most often rejected by others because it is so easily abused and misused. But how can my emotions not be affected as God reveals His glories to me? How cannot i despair and fear when i see the depravity of my soul without Christ? As for the gifts of the Spirit how can one deny the healing of the sick, or "words of wisdom" spoken by an unknowing commenter that say just the right thing? But, do not allow these things to be the final authority in your life. I am a Christian because i do believe in Christ and i am His disciple and follower. I consider myself a "Hedonist" because i feel that the ultimate goal of my life is to glorify Christ. For me John Piper is my hero in this regard. As a human being it is only natural to desire to seek out what is best for me. To seek out things for my best interest. I want comfort, peace, security. I want prosperity and i want what is what is best for me! As a Christian gets to know Christ you slowly begin to realize that all of these things are ultimately found in Him! If we live our lives for Christ he provides us with everything that is indeed best for us! Therefore it can be said that by dying to ourselves we live in Christ. God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. He is our joy, our peace, our security, our prosperity (if you will). The best thing for us, the thing that is in our best interest, is to be found in Him. Overall i am very grateful for the teachings i have received from men like C.J. Mahaney, John Piper, Robin Boisvert, Bob Kauflin, Jeff Purswell, and many others... if it were not for these men and their desires to glorify God in all that they do i would not be the man i am today. I know that the day i stand before the Throne of Heaven there will be many things i am mistaken about, but God has used each of these men (both named and un-named) to produce a foundation of bedrock in my life. I encourage anyone who may stumble across this blog to delve into what you believe, and why you believe it. If you do not have a joy and a passion for what you believe - you need to revisit it.

1 comment:

BigMama said...

Loved that last statement. I think the "whys" of what we believe can say a lot more than the beliefs themselves. I find that when I look more into why someone holds a given set of beliefs, I have a much greater insight into those beliefs. When someone is unable to adequately explain why they believe/support a certain statement, I think it diminishes their believability.

Great thoughts!