Christian Anti-Intellectualism: A Work of the Flesh Scholars Aren't the Enemy

man pondering 150x150 Christian Anti Intellectualism: A Work of the Flesh

Christian Anti-Intellectualism

Whenever I bring up the topic of the importance of culture and context in understanding the Scriptures, folks sometimes respond with: “What about new converts, or uneducated people?” Aren’t you putting the gospel out of reach of the “non-scholar masses?”

EMPHATICALLY, NO.

However, Christian anti-intellectualism is a work of the flesh just as much as sexual immorality. Only it is more dangerous as it has been given tacit approval under a form of perceived superior spirituality in large segments of the Body of Christ.

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The Hard Work of Christian Unity Romanticism and Idealism Hinder the Work of Unity

Hard Work Ant 150x150 The Hard Work of Christian Unity

The Hard Work of Christian Unity

There’s an old saying that if we ever saw sausage being made, we would never eat sausage! Saying you favor Christian unity is like saying you love sausage.  Anyone can wax eloquent about the philosophical virtues of ideal sausage. The question is, do you have the stomach for the process of making sausage? Yielding to the processes of God that will actually yield John 17 Christian unity rather than cheap counterfeits is an entirely different matter than agreeing about the eternal priority of unity. How unity is defined, implemented, and embracing its cost will separate sausage lovers from sausage producers. God has called us to produce sausage, not just rhetorically extol its virtues. It is not for the faint of heart.

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The Blessing and Curse of Being . . . Charismatic! Jesus is the Pattern Human for All Time

treasure 150x150 The Blessing and Curse of Being . . . Charismatic!

Your Inheritance in Christ

You do not have to be a member of the family of God for long, before you will be exposed to one of the major divides in doctrine and practice among believers: the division over the continuation of all the gifts of the Spirit, and all the gifts of Ephesians 4:11-13 until the return of the Lord. This blog is the first in a series that examines the implications of the full humanity of our Lord on charismatic issues, and many other foundational facets of the gospel. There is much at stake.

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Laodicea: Are We Healing or Refreshing to Others? Guest Blog by MIchael Rose

hotcold 150x150 Laodicea: Are We Healing or Refreshing to Others?

Laodicea: Hot or Cold?

The city of Laodicea was founded around 260 BC, in the Lycus River valley in what is now Turkey. It was a bustling city known for its great wealth from medicine, textiles/wool and finance. Laodicea was so wealthy that when it suffered a major earthquake in 60 AD, they refused the support of the Empire and financed their own rebuild.

Laodicea had it all – except water. So they constructed two aqueducts. One sourced from the cold mountain water of Colossae, and the other flowed from the hot springs of Hierapolis. However, by the time the cold fresh mountain water from Colossae and the hot, healing waters from Hierapolis flowed through the aqueducts, the water had become lukewarm. This provides some context for the images that John writes concerning the Laodicean Church in Revelation 3:14-22.

The Spirit of the Lord challenges the citizens of Laodicea on their self-sufficiency stemming from their wealth. They think they are rich because of their finance, textile and eye medicine, but the Lord sees them as blind, bankrupt, and threadbare. We also find this strong statement: I wish you were hot or cold but because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth!

The image of cold speaks of the refreshing that cold mountain water brings. Likewise, hot speaks of the healing, therapeutic aspect of the hot springs. They are neither refreshing or therapeutic – they are lukewarm. The religious elite of Jesus’ day had some lofty thoughts about God, they knew the scriptures well and lived with moral excellence. They had become comfortable, all about their traditions, interpretations, practices and knowledge but missed the very Messiah they had been anticipating. In spite of their religious prosperity, they were neither refreshing to others (cold) nor were they healing and comforting (hot).

Laodicea: What could this mean for us as a church today?

What if lukewarm is where we are no longer refreshing to others, or no longer healing and a comfort to folks? Is this the same as salt losing its saltiness? Could it be that sometimes despite all our great doctrines, practices and traditions we have subtly lost sight of Jesus and His mission? The place where to love God and love others as Jesus loves us becomes a mere platitude or a sappy sentiment? To do so is to be lukewarm.

I am not diminishing the importance of healthy theology or healthy practice, but they are not an end unto themselves. They posture us towards Someone and something greater – Jesus and His mission. This posture helps free us from the trap of self-righteousness that is often so darn intoxicating and yet makes us so lukewarm. Like the Church in Laodicea, we are invited deeper into a relationship with King Jesus. It is here that we discover what it means to buy gold refined in the fire, to be clothed in the garment of Heaven, and to buy medicine for our eyes so that we might see, really see! This is to be hot and therapeutic or cold and refreshing for a world that longs for good news that is actually Good News!


 

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Copyright 2014, Michael Rose. Michael is a spiritual director and the author of Becoming Love, Avoiding Common Forms of Christian Insanity

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Becoming Love

His passion is to help others to learn to live loved and live lives of love.  He  blogs at IamSignificant.ca

Addicted to Ministry Syndrome When Ministry Becomes our God

addicted 150x150 Addicted to Ministry Syndrome

Addicted to Ministry Syndrome

Ministry is a word that evokes many strong feelings. Our individual history and experiences likely shape our definition and expression.  I don’t define ministry by clergy-laity distinctions. All of life is ministry. The effort anyone engages in, at any time, in any arena, for the sake of Jesus’ kingdom and His interests in people, is ministry. Ministry can be diversified and specialized in the sense of Ephesian 4 callings, but everyone does “ministry” (or should!) and everyone needs to be free of addicted to ministry syndrome!

When Ministry Misleads

Those called to engage in ministry (especially, but not limited to, Ephesian 4 types) must learn a difficult lesson of the Cross. Ministry can be a church-world-acceptable veneer for carnal drive, ambition, and general psychological unwellness.

Our identity, soul wellness, and sense of fulfillment in life must come from our status of being His beloved sons and daughters, not from what we build or accomplish in ministry.

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Perfectionism and Legalism The Lock and Key of Bondage

Perfectionism and legalism Perfectionism and Legalism

Perfectionism and Legalism

Perfectionism is the state of soul of a person bound by legalism. The perpetual striving to perfectly live up to “principles from the Bible,” not only empowers legalism, but also  spills over into how a person engages the universe and others. It is a relationally destructive power. The legalist is in some ways a perfectionist, and deliverance from perfectionism is often an element of freedom from legalism.

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The Mars Hill Controversy The Problem is Deeper than Mark Driscoll

MH 150x150 The Mars Hill Controversy

Mars Hill Controversy

The mess at the Mars Hill Church and  the “network” led by Mark Driscoll, spurred some thoughts today.

I pray for the day western evangelicalism gets free of celebrityism, but I am not holding my breath. The Mars Hill controversy makes a case for my one line summary of Rene Girard’s mimetic theory of scapegoatism: “We make kings so we can tear them down when they fail.” How many times will this scenario have to play out before we understand that the entire SYSTEM is flawed. The dependency on the pope, priest, or Protestant mini-popes/pastors/ministers/bishops/apostles/prophets/superintendents/general big-dog-chieftain . . . whoever . . . is intrinsically flawed.

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The Appeal of Legalism Why is Legalism and "Torah Observance" So Appealing to "Christians?"

the appeal of legalism e1406662971317 The Appeal of Legalism

The Appeal of Legalism

The Galatians did not wake one morning with a surprise case of spiritual apostasy— infected with some unseen virus. They had witnessed not only conversions, but also miracles in their midst (see Gal. 3:5), yet they took to legalism like trout to PowerBait. Why did the Galatians, who had “begun in the Spirit” (Gal. 3:3), so readily take the bait of an alternate reality? What made them bite?  There are at least six ways that performance-based religion, including mandatory Torah observance,  appealed to the Galatians and continues to appeal to believers in every generation.

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Love Never Fails – It’s Just Not Practiced Often Love is the Context and Currency of the KIngdom

image7 150x150 Love Never Fails   Its Just Not Practiced Often

Love is the context and currency of the kingdom

I have been a lifelong charismatic believer. This is declarative, confessional, repentant, and pejorative all at once. I have given my life for the issue of continuation of all the gifts of the Spirit, and the Eph. 4:11 ministries. However, the adjective “charismatic” has a lot of unfortunate baggage because of the debris it has accumulated over forty years of use.

To my fellows: There is a reason 1 Cor. 13 is between 12 and 14. Love without power is impotent piety. Jehovah’s Witnesses can be “loving” after a sort. We are supposed to be able to deliver something of a foretaste of a quality of existence that others cannot.  Power without love is utilitarian. People become commodities for an expression of a phenomenon, rather than the phenomenon serving people. It does not have to be an either or matter, rather, both and: power contextualized and administered in, through, and by love.

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