Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rom. 5 -- access

A parable comes to mind. I showed up late for an organized bike ride one July 4th. Unloaded my bike, and discovered that I had a flat tire. Purchased and installed a new inner tube, and took off, on my own, 45 minutes after the rest of the happy cyclists. An hour after that, I pulled into the first rest stop -- and all the snacks were gone. "Well," says I to myself, says I, "today is a good day for being a Calvinist!" An understanding of God's sovereignty comforts those who believe in God, and assures them that every trial has its purpose. The universe may not be structured for our comfort, but it is filled with meaning.

This perspective has real-world, and even political, implications.

Although America is reputed to be a Christian nation, filled with Christian people, in reality a different faith covertly hijacked our national existence a century ago. This other religion, which "captured the robes," the judiciary, academia, and churches, is called by some "liberalism," by others "modernism," and more recently "secular humanism." J. Gresham Machen was an early alarmist about this tendency. The church he belonged to had been infiltrated by perjured cynics who did not believe their own ordination vows, but did believe that they could use the religious words and institutions of Christianity as a vehicle for advancing their own agendas.

ANYHOW, Machen had this to say about the contrasts between the faith he forthrightly embraced, and the religion of those who were corrupting his church:
Here is found the most fundamental difference between liberalism and Christianity—liberalism is altogether in the imperative mood, while Christianity begins with a triumphant indicative; liberalism appeals to man's will, while Christianity announces, first, a gracious act of God.
Liberalism is characterized by a grim moralizing, a determination to remake the world for the convenience of the remakers, no matter how much of Europe's young manhood dies in the barb wired trenches, no matter how many millions of Iraqi children starve to death. Liberalism is a messianic hope, that permits the liberals to pretend to the role of messiahs.

The cure begins with awareness: "The emperor has no clothes!" Our would-be saviors are blindly dismantling all that is sweet, noble, wholesome, and good in life. Everything they try to fix, they break. Are they really that stupid? Or just the pawns, the "useful idiots," of malign secret powers? Gotta be careful, here. It's too easy to camp out in this negative mode for decades on end! Some folks study "conspiracy theories" in an attempt to fix the blame for their failures on something other than themselves.

You can't fight something with nothing. Ultimately, the only way to fight a corrupt faith is with a better faith. Let's look at the way Paul expresses this perspective:
Rom 5:1 Böylece imanla aklandığımıza göre, Rabbimiz İsa Mesih sayesinde Tanrı'yla barışmış oluyoruz.
Rom 5:2 İçinde bulunduğumuz bu lütfa Mesih aracılığıyla, imanla kavuştuk ve Tanrı'nın yüceliğine erişmek umuduyla övünüyoruz.
Rom 5:3,4 Yalnız bununla değil, sıkıntılarla da övünüyoruz. Çünkü biliyoruz ki, sıkıntı dayanma gücünü, dayanma gücü Tanrı'nın beğenisini, Tanrı'nın beğenisi de umudu yaratır.
Rom 5:5 Umut düş kırıklığına uğratmaz. Çünkü bize verilen Kutsal Ruh aracılığıyla Tanrı'nın sevgisi yüreklerimize dökülmüştür.
Even our trials make our lives better, by making us better -- as we trust in the One who calibrates each test, each decision point, of our lives.

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