Posts Tagged ‘ Doctrine ’

Black Mark

There is the belief among most Christians that since Adam and Eve all of humanity is under the curse of sin. Many argue that it is inherited through birth. Many others argue that it comes through our own decisions in life. Many others still do not care enough or feel they are not smart enough to grasp the concept; it is enough for them to know that the Bible says we are sinful (see Psalms 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccles. 7:20; Romans 3:9-12) and in need of a Savior.

How could it be possible to carry forward sin?

Is it not as though God is condemning everyone for the fault of two?

Consider:

A woman does drugs for years. In a time of desperation, she has sex with a dealer to get her drugs, and this act led to pregnancy. The woman is so dependent on drugs that she continues abusing them throughout her pregnancy. Her baby is then born addicted to those drugs. The child did nothing wrong, but must suffer for the sins of the mother. It was passed along.

A man acquires AIDS through his promiscuity, but he does not realize it until he is married. He and his wife now have AIDS and then have a child. This child is also born with AIDS, again at no personal fault. It was passed along.

A single dad plays the lottery with the dream of making the life of his family better. He squanders his money on lottery tickets to the point of neglecting bills. He dies as his child comes of legal age. The child inherits the father’s debt and follows the example given and gambles to attempt to raise the money needed. The child did not create the financial mess. It was passed along … as well as the behavior that created the mess.

Is sin something that is genetically passed on? Quite frankly, I do not know. However, we can see evidence that a sinful nature is present early on in the way our children only think of themselves. Granted, they cannot help it too much. Children are born rather powerless to change their situation and require a lot of help.

A friend of mine shared a story a few years ago. His family runs a business making plastics. People have to help the system along and inspect the final product. Part of the process is to move some containers from one part of the machine to another, but they have to be careful to not touch them with their hands otherwise a black mark appears on the plastic. It is also possible that touching part of the machine that handles the plastics can cause each of the containers to get identical black marks. Another part of the process is for the inspectors to watch for damaged, misshapen, or tarnished items and pull them off the line. If they miss one, it ends up going out on the market where someone buys it, takes it home, and discovers the problem. The only way to remove the stain or fix the impurities is to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of cleaning the machine and sending the product back to be melted down, refined, and sent through the process again.

Our actions always have consequences. Sometimes they are good, and sometimes they are bad. Our ancestors took an action that they technically knew was bad. Ever since, we are all stained with a black mark. It is as though they took God’s creation, us, and handled it improperly. Their fingerprint stained us.

God, however, inspects every single one of us. He was not content to let us remain with that stain. He sent His Son to show just how rough the remaking process would be. He took the time and paid the price. His blood cleansed the dirt. Our part is to let Him work us through the furnace that removes that black mark we carry, to let Him reshape us in the image of His Son.

One in Heart and Mind

There is a lot going on in the world today. There always has, but there are definitely more ways in which everything can happen.

Also, we often have almost instantaneous access to the news about almost everything.

We are also able to say what we think about everything almost instantly. Sometimes mistakes are made (such as John Piper bidding a “Farewell, Rob Bell” to the wrong Rob Bell), and sometimes toes are stepped on (such as Rob Bell’s, as of late).

Rachel Held Evans talked about this very thing in relation to the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed. I completely, 100% agree with what she said.

She also is encouraging some fun and togetherness. Rachel was inspired by our nation’s two favorite “news authorities” – Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert – to declare this week the “Rally to Restore Unity” for Christianity. We are even trying to help our world’s water needs with Charity: Water. I have failed to make a sign, but here is my contribution to the blogging part:

D.O.C.T.R.I.N.E.

People have a tendency to forego reason if for only a moment to voice their opinion. Sometimes they are right. Sometimes they are wrong. Sometimes they think they are right for one reason that is actually wrong even though they are right. Sometimes … we just can not know.

Sometimes there are good reasons for coming to the reached conclusions. Sometimes conclusions are reached simply to go against what is commonly held. It is never a good idea to disregard history. Many Protestants have done this in the last five centuries, often to their – and our – detriment, but of course not always.

Hank Hanegraaff came up with an idea for agreeing on church doctrines that should work in unifying believers. I have modified it slightly, but you can find the original article here (subscription required). Using the letters of doctrine, he made an acrostic:

  • Deity of Christ
  • Original sin
  • Canon
  • Trinity
  • Resurrection
  • Incarnation
  • New creation
  • Eschatology

Basically, we should all agree that Jesus is God (John 1, Colossians 1, Hebrews 1, Revelation 1), all humans are sinful (Romans 3:23), we have divinely inspired scriptures on which to base our understanding of God and ourselves (2 Timothy 3:16), being one God is also three (1 Corinthians 8:6, Hebrews 1:8, Acts 5:3-4), Jesus died and rose again and will resurrect believers (1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), God became man – fully God and fully man (John 1:1, 14), we are a new creation and all things will one day be made new (2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 8:18-25, Revelation 21), and this world will one day cease to exist as it is – even non-Christians believe this, we just hold that God shall renew it (mentioned in Resurrection and New creation).

We might disagree over what sin is, what “divinely inspired” means, what exactly “canon” and “scripture” entails, or how and when this world comes to an end; but that should be secondary. The only thing that comes from arguing about these meanings is division. The only arguments that are valid are those that bolster truth and unity. If we resort to declaring all angels have wings and only 144,000 people get into heaven and blue carpeting is better than beige (for a couple examples out of countless others) and declare it as ultimate truth, we are saying we fully understand God how His plan works. This is blasphemy and unscriptural (yes, I declared an absolute truth that can offend, and we should not dare to presume we understand God. See also here and here). The first believers were Jews who could not agree on whether or not the scriptures should be read in the original Hebrew/Aramaic or Greek, yet the Bible says that in Christ they were united in one heart and mind.

We should agree our God loves us. Everyone, even Osama bin Laden, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush. Even you. Even me.

We should agree God is God and we are not.

We should agree that we need God.

We should agree that we need each other.

We should agree that only God knows what is truly happening and will happen.

We should stop bickering and fighting: Jesus said so. Paul reminded us. At least twice more.

Love one another. Please, for Christ’s sake. Literally.