6 On Implications of a Dualistic World

Robert Wheeler: If I believed in a dualistic world, spirit above vs matter below, and in the notion that humankind lost its “image of God” to Original Sin, Frank’s argument (hmm . . . man’s logic getting in the way of living?) might be appealing. I see “righteousness,” not as a passing grade on God’s rules of the game test but as living in right relationship. We, again, will have to lovingly agree to disagree?

Of course we can disagree and I’m glad we’re both in agreement that disagreement does not equal hatred. But you have to admit, Frank accurately reflects what the Bible actually says, he didn’t make this up.

Dualism can mean a lot of things, not at all sure what you intend. Spirit above vs matter below seems to have a bit of a yin-yang connotation that is not at all how God reveals himself in His Word. By definition we are different from God, though uniquely created to be a reflection of God’s image, according to the Scriptures.

SMS: I haven’t had time to read any of the sermons, but hope to do so soon. However, your comment about humankind loosing it’s “image of God” to Original Sin is an interesting perspective. I think I can agree with that. Also, whoever is judging those who are homosexual had better be careful of their own sins. A sin is a sin is a sin is a sin!

SMS, you’ll find that you share Frank’s perspective that sin is sin, that’s critical to Frank’s point. The Gospel makes no sense apart from seeing what God reveals as his perspective of sin. His perfect holiness and perfect justice could only be reconciled with his love in Christ on the cross. The message of Scripture is not that SOME sins are not okay, but that ALL sin is not okay and we all have a problem of eternal magnitude in the coming judgement. Jesus said we are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect – we all miss that mark and eventually discover we didn’t just miss, we were aiming the opposite direction. Unless God himself does something we’re doomed, and that’s exactly what he did do in Christ Jesus…offered to all who will repent and rest their hope in him.

According to Scripture we aren’t to judge those outside the church, we are to declare truth and offer them the hope of salvation and deliverance from their sins. For those in the church, we are commanded to build each other up in the grace and knowledge of God, encourage each other to holiness, obedience and dependance on Christ alone with an attitude of thanksgiving. Judgement begins with the household of God, says Paul.

 

Next blog post: 7 The Gospel Message That I Hear               https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/507

6 On Implications of a Dualistic World

3 Compassion, Accountability, and Forgiveness

Robert Wheeler:  In the discussion of this past weekend some issues were raised about unconditional love, forgiveness and sin. The question was whether, under my definition of unconditional love, there can be any meaning of forgiveness. It IS a problem of definition. A few years ago, my brother, Richard, referred me to a book titled Philosophy in the Flesh, by Lakoff and Johnson. It posited the problem, as the authors saw it, of philosophy, and I would also say theology, treating ideas as though they were objects like any other physical thing that we can manipulate. I see a number of religious ideas as subject to that problem. I have been asked what I have meant by certain statements. Indulge me to explain my meaning of my statements concerning compassion by starting with definitions.
Sin: “anything that separates us from the love of God” (thank you, Dr. Nida)
Compassion: “the ability to see, to be sensitive to, and to share the joy as well is suffering of another”
Forgiveness: “a gift we give ourselves to restore us to a relationship with another”
Accountability: “a just, dispassionate adjustment of accounts through rational, generally accepted practices ”
And finally, one of my favorites, Righteousness: “a dynamic of right relationships, and not a ‘thing’ to be possessed.”
From my view, Jesus, the “love of God,” and “the kingdom that is at hand,” have everything to do with right relationships; and meaningful relationships are compassionate ones.
Albert Schweitzer was once asked about his notion of “respect for life:” do you use antibiotics? “Yes I do, but I do not use them lightly.” Elsewhere he has been quoted, “By having a reverence for life, we enter into a spiritual relation with the world. By practicing reverence for life we become good, deep, and alive.” . . .

Forgetting has nothing to do with forgiveness. Forgiveness and accountability are two separate matters. That is the reason that we can “discipline” our children and still unconditionally love them (which does not have to be a negative action, and must not be destructive). After we have disciplined our own children, do we go about looking for other children to discipline? No. They are not our responsibility although it may be our responsibility to protect other helpless persons that we see harmed with no power to protect themselves. Even that has some limits of social responsibility. This is what I meant when I suggested that the only person who has the right to decide whether their sexual orientation or how they act upon it is sin or not, is good or bad, or is right or wrong is that person and the one with whom they are in relationship.

 

Next blog post: 4 On Adam Hamilton: Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White                   https://wordpress.com/post/lovejudgenot.wordpress.com/500

3 Compassion, Accountability, and Forgiveness