A serious responsibility.

I enjoy studying of God’s word. I enjoy meditating on it and chewing over it until it penetrates deep within. I enjoy talking about God’s word. And I enjoy preaching God’s word. In saying this, I have to be honest, that there are times I struggle to read the Scriptures. There are times when my eyes glaze over, my mind goes foggy and I struggle to really understood what I have been reading.

I have been reading and reflecting on the first chapter of Galatians the last few days. This morning this verse jumped out at me.

Gal 1:8  But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that person be condemned!

Its a verse that every student, teacher and preacher of the ‘Word’ should take note of. It lays a serious and heavy responsibility onto our shoulders as to the message we preach. It causes me to stop, pause, think and reflect as to the serious nature and responsibility I have every time I step up and share the word of God.

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “A serious responsibility.

  1. Wouldn’t it be nice if the instructions were a bit clearer rather than so vague as to invite all manner of interpretations?

    • I don’t know what you mean by ‘vague.’ The New Testament is pretty clear as to what the Gospel message is. And while some may try and make out there is a dichotomy between what Paul and the other Apostles preached; there is no dichotomy at all.

      Paul knew full well what the other Apostles preached. It was the reason he persecuted the church in such a vicious manner. His encounter with the living God changed his life in a radical way: so much so it caused him to start preaching the same message.

      Nothing vague there at all.

  2. By ‘vague’ I mean the contrary messages, specifically about the carrot of god’s love and stick of eternal damnation, but generally to the vitally important role interpretation plays trying to lubricating fit the square pegs of the gospel accounts into the round hole of today’s understanding of the universe. Surely an omnipotent god with such a hankering and ability to hide from us could do a better job spreading one irrefutable consistent message about his reality and the intentions and purposes he has for us than the scribblings from Iron age goat herders (I’m being unfair, of course, but only to make the point that this god-sanctioned effort is pretty anemic… for an omnipotent critter holding our eternal damnation if we get it wrong in the balance.).

    • I don’t see anything conflicting or vague about that. I tell my sons all the time that I love them. With my hands I will reward them, give them gifts, hug them and place a arm on their shoulders telling them how much I love them. They also know that if they misbehave, they will also receive a smack to their butt.

      There is nothing vague and nothing unloving about that communication.

      Within your framework of understanding you are wanting it one way. You promote a Godless message. You want nothing to do with Christ and forgiveness of your sins. You want nothing to do with God at all. Yet you also say that you should have the right to the heavenly reward.

      As for God hiding from us. I only have to walk outside of a morning, listen to the birds sing, look up at the sky and the trees and the majesty of the mountains in the distance: remember the life transforming encounter I had with the living God to ask what do you mean by hiding from us. The fact is that Christ lived, Christ died, Christ rose to life again….I don’t see any hiding there.

  3. Well Craig, I think you’ve confused the environment with evidence for god. A mountain is a mountain, subject to all the forces of chemistry and physics. A mountain with god and a mountain without it are exactly the same. That’s why I include the hiding bit.

    A godless message looks exactly like the very best any religion has to offer in the here and now in this reality in this life and you don’t seem to want throw that away I notice.

    As for your parenting skills turning to corporal punishment and thinking that an omnipotent god uses these same demonstrably poor skills known to be the least effective out of just the human arsenal, well… again, what does that say about your god? Your claim about “The fact is…” about Jesus’ magical reanimation is not true as far as I know because dead matter does not reanimate without catastrophic cellular damage. This, Craig, is the biological fact you seem quite willing to simply ignore while pretending your beliefs about Jesus are a a stronger case than what reality offers you in the form of evidence you can test for yourself. Put the power of your god to the test and go reanimate some dead matter to full restoration to see if your faith is warranted. Do I actually need to say that?

    Of course the communication is vague and based on interpretation… the number of christian sects alone shows that to be the case in practice and obviously they can’t all be correct. That’s a pretty good example of some very significant problems when omnipotence is at work and yield so much confusion, wouldn’t you say?

    • If I look at a sculpture or a painting, it often tells me about the artist who created it. The same goes with looking at God’s creation which speaks of his glory.

      • Bad analogy, Craig.

        You can determine independently whether or not a sculptor or painter actually exists and actually produces these works. Then you can look for characteristics in the work that reflect something about these real people.

        You make nothing but an assumption that there is a creative shaping force causing effect in nature. This assumption stands contrary to what we know is true about nature: that mindless, agency-less evolution is the ‘creative’ force you see laid out before you. This is true and requires zero faith that it is so. The evidence for this is absolutely overwhelming and much more so than, say, germ theory.

        Sticking to an assumption that is factually wrong is not a virtue, Craig. It is a fault. It is an intellectual capitulation and a rejection of what’s rational. It directly undermines anything else you have to say about anything because it shows you are willing to honour your assumptions first and foremost in place of respecting what’s true in reality. And It draws into question your ability to know the difference.

      • There are two types of art critics. Those who know the artist. And those who don’t actually know the artist, though they might think they know something about him / her. Nothing you can say or do will shake the confidence I have in having personally met the creator of all. You see, on the 17th Mwrch, 1997, at 10:30 am, I personally met the creator of the universe. My life was radically changed in so many ways I can’t describe.

        I pray for you Tildeb, that you too will one day come to know the love the creator has for you, and that the knowledge of that love will fill you to overflowing in your inner man. I pray that you will know the resurrection power of Christ, the infilling and experience of the Holy Spirit, that you will know the power of the Holy Spirit. And I also pray that you will have such a radical experience of the Love of God that you will stop persecuting Christians and talking about things you don’t and become a mighty preacher of the word of God. Father God, I pray that you will help Tildeb with his unbelief, let him meet you tonight, allow your spirit to wash over, through and cover over him. In Jesus name I pray.

      • Come on, Craig. I don’t persecute anyone. But I do draw attention to truth claims made about the universe that are based not on reality but faith. Your assertion about meeting the creator of the universe is one such truth claim that has no evidence in reality and looks identical in all ways to delusion. This is why it was so fascinating to put three men who, like you, were convinced of the truth of their belief in their own claims to have to face reality: all three claimed to be a reincarnated Jesus Christ. What transpired over the course of two years allowed all three to understand that self-imposed cognitive dissonance inhibits and reduces their acceptance of reality as it is. You know that your prayers seemingly directed towards having an effect on me are actually aimed at helping your beliefs to be validated. And the reason why you search for this validation, dedicate yourself to promoting your faith-based beliefs, is because reality fails to do this.

        To take another tack, do you realize just how extraordinarily arrogant you must be to honestly believe that the creator of the universe took the time to make his presence known to you on March 17, 1997, at 10:30 am local time? To do this means this creator of yours entered our time and space and caused an effect on you (as if you had nothing to do with it), one of nearly 7 billion people, many of whom were suffering and dying needlessly at that very moment, many probably calling on this creator to give them aid and comfort. Does that arrogance seem justifiable to you? Does it make sense to you, that this creator would take this specific time out of all the universe to come to this speck of compacted cosmic dust to seek out 1 in many billions of humans, one out of trillions of life forms on just this planet to make his presence known… to you? You’re okay with this conclusion, claiming to be humbled and made meek in the wake of such a momentous singular occasion?

        You are asserting without evidence that there is no other possible explanation for your experience, knowing as you do that the brain in your head is susceptible to all kinds of slight variances that we know can and does project on to reality that which does not exist in reality? You attribute the greater possibility to a personal visit by the creator of the universe – without evidence – than you do any other reality-based possibility? Should I not be utterly gobsmacked at this claim, or should I just take your word for it and shrug off the need for extraordinary evidence? Because I’m sure you know what an extraordinary claim it is.

        What does your willingness to embrace this conclusion without doubt say about your willingness to be self critical and exercise critical thinking when examining your faith-based beliefs? It tells me that you will not undertake any such exercise. You have rejected reality’s role in determining what is and is not true in reality and have substituted your beliefs to be sufficient. What you then preach from this basis is strictly and solely your own beliefs while you continue to attribute them to some other agency that intervenes in the here and now to cause effect – for you, anyway. This is intellectually dishonest, Craig. These are YOUR beliefs that YOU project on to the world but you claim otherwise, which upon examination reveals no independent verification and no external evidence. On this basis you then reject a branch of science upon which your healthcare regimen is based! And you assert that me pointing out this hypocrisy-in-action is ‘persecution’! no, Craig: it’s simply speaking reality’s truth to power.

      • You might want to consider where the notion originates that you think I persecute anyone.

  4. Hey Craig, (& Hi, Mr T :)

    Just a little thought from me… I know you already know the letter to the Galatians well, but when you see that verse on its own it sounds legalistic. Kind of like it’s saying “get your doctrine correct or burn!!”. In fact, the letter to the Galatians is pleading with the followers of Christ in Galatia, to remember the freedom of the Gospel, and not to turn back to legalistic (and condemning) relligion.

    In context, it’s saying “no matter how great they appear, if anybody preaches condemnation & legalism to you – don’t wear it. Let *them* be condemned!!”

    • Hi Kerry. My reflection was more to do about the responsibility that is on the shoulders of those who preach God’s word and not to take that responsibility lightly.

      I love the book of Galatians. It speaks against works that make us right with God. Or more succinctly within the historical context its talking about the male privilege of circumcision. Within the Jewish framework there was a male prayer that went – I am thankful I am neither a gentile, slave or woman. Hence Paul saying that in Christ there is neither Jew / Gentile, Slave/ Free, Male / Female.

      It’s also worth noting that while Paul was a preacher of grace and stood totally against legalism; he also stood against licentious behaviour and fully taught that the Gospel experience allows for neither.

  5. Pingback: I am arrogant enough to believe the Gospel message. Are you? « Trinitarian Dance

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