Thursday, June 22, 2006

When they said, "Big Christian Retreat"...

...they didn't mean THIS. (w/t to the Dawn Patrol)
By 578 to 242 the House of Deputies refuses to consider, resolution D058 entitled, "Salvation in Christ Alone"
The resolution reads as follows:

Resolved, the House of _____ concurring,

That the 75th General Convention of the Episcopal Church declares its unchanging commitment to Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the only name by which any person may be saved (Article XVIII);

and be it further Resolved, That we acknowledge the solemn responsibility placed upon us to share Christ with all persons when we hear His words, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No-one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6);

and be it further Resolved, That we affirm that in Christ there is both the substitutionary essence of the Cross and the manifestation of God's unlimited and unending love for all persons;

and be it further Resolved, That we renew our dedication to be faithful witnesses to all persons of the saving love of God perfectly and uniquely revealed in Jesus and upheld by the full testimony of Holy Scripture.

In other words, 70% of delegates to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church refused to publicly commit to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Refused the Great Commission that He gave to "go and make disciples of all nations..." (Matthew 28:19) Refused to believe the most well-known Bible verse on Earth, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..."

First the Presbyterians, and now the Episcopalians... Sometimes I feel like tossing myself in front of the nearest moving object.

Listen - we are the Church of Christ. If we are ashamed of Him before men, He shall be ashamed of us before the Father in Heaven. (Luke 9:26)

And take a cursory look at the post-modern society we live in. People are hungry for meaning in their lives. How can we possibly offer them what they need if we drain the Gospel of its depths, with a Jesus reduced to nothing but platitudes? That is not food for the human soul or the human mind. He promised that if anyone opened the door to Him, He would enter and abide with them (Revelation 3:20) - what possible reason can we give to lock those doors on Him when the seekers of truth knock?

He knew that His words were true - indeed, most people are willing to admit that He was a great moral teacher - but if so, He certainly was wise enough to realize that people don't much care for great moral teaching. He came to a people that had spent 2000 years with a wonderful set of morals, a covenant between themselves and the Father, and that they had not kept it. Do we think Him so foolish that He would simply give the Sermon on the Mount and expect people to usher in the Kingdom of God? And even if they kept such rules, what of it? "...if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith ... you are still in your sins." (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17)

He knew better, and thus went further, and people noticed - "for He taught them as one who has authority..." (Mark 1:22) When challenged by the Pharisees and scribes to name that authority, He went even farther - He gave God's proper name, spoken from the burning bush to Moses. It was death for a man even to speak that name, and He gave it as His own name. (John 8:58)

He claimed not only the power to teach, but the power to forgive sins - and again, when challenged He went further. "What is easier, to say 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, ' Rise and walk?' But so that you know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins ... I say to you, rise, take your mat and walk." (Matthew 9:5-6)

He took the laws of Moses and amended them - by going further (Matthew 5:21-48). He didn't just give teachings to large crowds, He fed them in the body as well (Matthew 14). And after giving in word and act, He gave His life itself that we may live in Him. The constant example of Scripture is that He offers more than just helpful advice - He offers Himself. Without Him there is no power behind His admonitions to love, to pray, to believe; without Him there is nothing for us to be transformed by, or into. And if we leave Him out of our lives and our example, then we have nothing to offer to anyone in need that they can't get from the blargin' Desiderata and a Grateful Dead concert. If we're serious about proclaiming redemption and salvation, we can't go all squishy marshmallow about the Redeemer and Savior.

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