It’s Getting Awfully Crowded in Purgatory…

I’ve had to ask myself a question recently that I didn’t care to answer… which is more important to me, 100% pure and sound doctrine, or a vibrant and alive spiritual life with a few quirks?  I didn’t want to ask this question, and I desired even less to answer it.  To be proper and all, I didn’t suddenly ask myself this question instead of doing something productive (IE, being at work).  Rather, I had to ask myself this question because of a conversation I was having with someone on the internet (as usual). 

 I was on my regular haunt (the message boards I use) and someone had started a thread about John Hagee’s new book that he is selling.  Now, I’m not a fan of the man personally… or even doctrinally for that matter.  Hagee leans a heavily towards the dispensational side of doctrine and has just written a book about Jesus and Israel called “What have the Jews missed?”  In the 60 second sound byte Hagee makes the assertion that he will prove that Jesus did not come to be the Messiah of Israel.  Now, the idea that Jesus did not come to be the PHYSICAL saviour of the nation of Israel is actually quite true.  Hagee has a very unfortunate way of saying it in a single sentance, but the idea is actually true to a certain degree.  However, for his poor choice of words, there were a large number of people decrying him as a heretic.  Me being me, I felt a need to restate Hagee’s actual position and attempt to clarify that this is just dispensationalism at it’s finest.  Because I didn’t jump on the “bash-Hagee” bandwagon, I recieved some rather agressive attention from my fellow members.  Add to this the heat I was already getting because I refused to denouce all Word of Faith preachers as heretics, charlatans, and wolves in sheep’s clothing… and my meekness kind of disappeared.

Finally, after taking much judgement and stern questioning, I finally had to say something for myself.  Until this point, I had only been defending the people that were being attacked… not their doctrine, not their methods, not even the genuine theatrics that can follow some who hide under the Word of Faith banner… but it was time for me to make my veritable slam dunk.  I just sat up straight and said “I would rather be counted with the heretics and have a heart that is alive in God, than have perfect doctrine, be loved by all, and be stuck in a dead form of religion.”  Not my meekest or proudest moment.  I will admit, I found it rather freeing to not be afraid of the heretic lable… not that I actually am one, but the idea that somebody thinks I am means I don’t have to worry about trying to impress them, change their mind, or even really listen to what they want to tell me.  Somehow I think God will forgive me my doctrinal indescretions much sooner than another Christian will.

The verse that really set me off?  “For the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”  Matthew 7:2  My thoughts?  If the measure I use is the measure I will get, then I want to use the broadest standard of grace that is biblically allowable so that I will the greatest standard of grace available.  I keep thinking about what James said… “Let not many of you become teachers, for don’t you know that we will recieve a harsher judgement?”  Whatever you teach and say as the truth will hold you accountable before God… ouch.  I think that is why God only gave us ten commandments in the old testament… any more and we might not think it is possible to follow them.  Maybe I’m just preaching to the choir on this one… but I know I’m feeling convicted.  When all is said and done…. what is true?

Jesus came born of a virgin.  Jesus lived a sinless life and died for the forgivness of sins for the “whosoevers”.  Jesus rose three days later because of His victory over sin, death, and hell.  Jesus is returning again to this earth, no one knows when except God Himself.  Forgiveness is available and open to all, but narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life.

When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?

Adam

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~ by xristosdomini on November 4, 2007.

7 Responses to “It’s Getting Awfully Crowded in Purgatory…”

  1. Mind if I nitpick a little teensie bit?

    1) Jesus did come to be Israel’s physical, political Messiah… just not at the First Coming. He wanted to deal with that sin (AKA enmity with God) issue first, so they could actually be in His kingdom.

    2) IMHO, “Sound doctrine” basic, solid stuff, kind of like you’ve got listed there at the end. We’re all going to be mistaken about something at the end of the day, so I agree it’s arrogant to assume that you can precisely nail down every point of theological minutia. There’s some stuff that is just debatable, period, and we’ll have to ask the Man Himself when He comes back.

    But I believe that sound doctrine — meaning a basic, good biblical grounding — is necessary to having an alive heart in God. And I’m talking about more than the bare bones that it takes to be saved. For instance, if I’ve got my theological ducks in a row as far as salvation, but I am under the mistaken notion that God is cranky and unhappy with me most of the time, my heart will not be alive. I can be saved — just not happy. If I think God delights in me, I understand and have received salvation, but have the mistaken notion that the Sermon on the Mount is not for me, I don’t think my heart will be very alive in God.

    BUT, I agree with you 100% that we need to do a whole lot less finger pointing at teachers we disagree with. I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are really, honestly trying. I disagree with Hagee’s eschatology as well, and am very unimpressed with the wording he chose for his book. But, by the grace of God, I never want to enter into a Hagee-bashing session.

    Would it be fair to say: “Let he who has flawless theology cast the first stone…”?

  2. Yeah, I agree with what you have said…. a few keys to unlock my actual idea….
    (1), Note that Jesus did come to be the Jewish Messiah, just not at His first coming. Since He hasn’t come back yet, from our perspective He didn’t come to be the Political/governmental Saviour of the political Nation of Israel. The Sin issue was first, and since it required His death, He wasn’t going to save them while still in His unglorified body, IMO.

    (2) The definition of Sound doctrine isn’t as open a phrase with everyone as it is between you and I. Many people think that if anything you say is ever at odds with their denominational concept of doctrine, it isn’t “sound doctrine”. This is why I safely say that I would rather be counted with the heretics and have a spiritual life that is actually live than have perfect doctrinal understanding and be a non-factor in changing the world. I think the way I said it was something to the tune of, “We need to stop interrogating the sheep to find a wolf and let the Shephard find the predators.” Myself, I seem to remember saying that there are a few basic pillars of Christianity that cannot be moved without bringing the house down, beyond that is just cupboards and carpet.

  3. Wow. Your metaphors leave me gasping in awe.

    So, how does your post title tie in to what you have written here? Please explain for the benefit of my poor old befuddled self. I’m so curious…

  4. hehe… the whole purgatory thing is (A) being not counted as “pure doctrine” meaning I would need to spend time in purgatory and (B) since purgatory isn’t true it fits rather nicely. So it is a pun, a metaphor, and hyperbole all rolled into one. Freaky, eh?

  5. i like the beatties. just sayin’.

  6. Lol, we like you too, Kacie… join the bright side of madness with the Beattie clan…..

  7. I second the liking Kacie part.

    As for the “bright side of madness” part, speak for yourself.

    I mean, about the madness, not the bright side. I mean…

    So okay, you caught me. Me too.

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