Thu 07 July 2005
Andrew began to talk about misconceptions that discourages us to join in God’s story:
- Bible is a set of timeless truths.
Unfortunately, takeway from this is that believing Bible won’t change anything fundamental about the nature of our life. We live in a timeless vacuum and in the end the only way I’ll know if I succeeded is to compare myself to these abstract principles of good living or succes of others. Bible is therefore just a set of principles, which leads us into our rat race to run slightly faster than other rats.
This stress on abstract concepts and theoretical truths is according to Andrew coming from the Greek philosophy (which was all about searching for the timeless truths and their application for the practical life) and it was totally alien to the original Biblical Hebrew thinking. Unfortuantely, this stress was renewed in the Reformation (Calvin). Opposition to this trend is postmodern theology (and some of its precursors, e. g., Jonathan Edwards).
- Old Testament was the first way God tried to relate but it didn’t work.
- Takeaway is that we have little to offer that will make a difference since we are so below standard.
- New Testament is about this free gift that costs us nothing.
- OK, this what made Bonhoeffer to write “The Cost of Discipleship” and of course the main takeway from this statement would be that nothing we do in our lives will significantly impact cosmic history, so that the only question in our life is that whether we’ve got the ticket to heaven and the rest of the life doesn’t really matter (maybe we can give the same ticket to others, but that’s it).
- Early church was perfect embodiment of church
- We are part of the ship that is going down. You can try hard to do things better but good luck. The glory days are over.
The alternative Andrew has to these statements (and who of us did not find herself believing at least some of them?) is understanding Bible as a story, or as a report about part of the story God creates in the history (from the beginning till today and still further until the end).
Beginning of the story is before the begining of Bible itself—God lives in perfect unity and harmony within itself (Trinity), but wants to extend this unity, love, and fellowship with other creatures. So he creates first angels and then humans. Unfortunately, angels first misuse freedom he gave and under the leadership of Lucipher they make revolt against God so that Lucipher may take some of God’s glory. Then the Lucipher’s revolt is broken and he is rejected from the heaven to the earth. Why is then the world as it is and what should we do here—obviously we should fight and these little us can help the world to make at least small difference in the war (story of Abram).
Therefore, what was around the Garden of Eden? Huge wasteland [Ge 2.5] and the land under the rule of Satan (which is how it happened that a serpent was around the Garden of Eden). Adam and Eve were not sent to the Earth to be happy, enjoy each other, and name animals, but as a paratroopers to the area occupied by the enemy. (Which reminds me of John Wimber's comment on church: if the church is a ship, then it is not a cruise ship ready for departure to Carribean, but battleship leaving for war.)
Andrew’s conclusion: Rather than wanting a people who never make mistakes we learn that God is looking for weak, fallible people who are willing to take risks on God to provide for them exclusively. People experiencing God’s incredible goodness directly through their radical dependence on Him become unbelievably motivated (using all their resources) to bring as many others into this same place of radical dependence on God. Radical dependence leads to experiencing God’s radical goodness, which leads to involvment in God’s radical purposes.