Classic

I love the word, ‘classic’. It doesn’t just mean ‘old’. it means ‘fine’. It means that something or even someone is of the highest quality, outstanding or valuable. Like classic music, a classic car (my little 66 v.w. beetle convertible). A movie can be considered classic. A person is sometimes thought of as ‘classy’.

So it got me to thinking about and then discovering a book entitle CLASSIC CHRISTIANITY by Thomas Oden. Think about it. The faith that has been delivered to us is classic. It’s incredible,fine, valuable, outstanding and one of a kind classic.

Jude 1 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.(NKJV)

Wow, have we strayed away from that classic christian message or what? We have got church folks like myself living too materially with too many thoughts that don’t often align with the words and actions of Jesus. We have got ourselves liberal christians who somehow think they know better than that classic faith has taught us. So they diminish the authority of the Bible with inclusive, tolerant, universal interpretations and language that basically say it doesn’t matter how you believe or live your life as long as you are basically a good person fighting injustices here and there.

The faith that was once delivered to us through God’s revelation most particularly in Jesus has been through the wringer of philosophies and theologies that have all but pressed out the original Jesus and his powerful message of love, tough love that it is. Some church folk are even afraid to share the Gospel with people thinking that all people are somehow saved without God’s word. And then Jesus tells us to love our neighbor and we look down on the immigrant folks coming from the south. Now we are even claiming we must stop them because the terrorists are part of their company.

No, we need the classic christianity that was believed by the early church fathers…ok, some mothers too. That was a faith worth literally dying for. Read some of the accounts of people like Polycarp.

Whereas once churches were communities that gathered together now they are mega- institutions that have problems of finance and property that Jesus never intended. We need classic christianity. We need class Jesus, the one who was born in most humble estate of a VIRGIN….no matter what liberals say.  The one who gave up all for everything and died to take on himself the condemnation that was due to us all …..no matter what the liberals say. And he rose bodily from the dead, not just in a fairy tale or in our minds as…..

And while i am at it Jesus nowhere instructs his followers to go and bomb our enemies. No where! We cannot justify it in the name of security or terrorism threat no matter what Sean Hannity may say. I want what Jesus says and teaches and if I have to die for that faith I should be willing. I may be scared to death but death is not the end. Jesus said not to fear those who can only kill the body but rather fear him who can kill the body and send the soul to hell. OOPS.

The earliest Christians lived a faith that we now can term classic in the best sense. Let us strive to live that message, the one that is so clear in the Bible. Remember that song, ‘Give me that old-time religion’- well that’s what we need. A wonderful traditional, evangelical, classic teaching handed down to us in the first century.

I think I will get that book CLASSIC CHRISTIANITY…..and I hope this post I am writing doesn’t mean I have to give my classic VW away. Besides it was a gift from my wife.

Blessings to all.

 

 

IN CHRIST ALONE

So within a certain denominational church in these parts a group of ‘experts’ working on a new hymnal have decided NOT TO INCLUDE a particularly beautiful hymn entitled IN CHRIST alone. The reason they give is that line of the lyrics speaks about Christ dying to satisfy the ‘wrath’ of God. They don’t like that kind of theology.

They indicated that there might be ways the wrath of God is satisfied but not by the cross of Christ, not by Christ’s death.

Well, that’s their opinion and they are entitled to it but why not place a hymn in the book that gives an expression that many Christians believe is Biblical.

John Calvin in his Institutes of Christian Religion writes:

“Therefore, [God] loved us even when we practiced enmity toward him and committed wickedness. Thus in a marvelous and divine way he loved us even when he hated us. For he hated us for what we were that he had not made; yet because our wickedness had not entirely consumed his handiwork, he knew how, at the same time, to hate in each one of us what we had made, and to love what he had made.”

Can we not understand the wrath of God and the love of God can exist together and that God gave his own Son so that the justice of his wrath would be satisfied in his loving act through the cross?
― H. Richard Niebuhr in his book The Kingdom of God in America commented on liberal Christian theology getting to the point where the result would be:

“A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross.”

It seems that a significant portion of the aforementioned denomination would rather believe in the Christ who came to show us love by his birth and his teachings and suffering in life for justice but not the Christ who was sent by God (God in the flesh) to satisfy divine justice for the forgiveness of sin. It is a slippery slope the end of which ends in a full humanistic picture of Jesus as a nice guy, who taught good morals and then died. Happens to lots of nice people.

I for one would rather know the God revealed in the Bible say in Romans 5:

8But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.…

Think of yourself for a human example….when you have wrath (severe punishing anger) against someone how do you get justice? If you forgive them it will cost you yourself. You will have to die to yourself. Something of you dies (like your ego) in order to make things right. Try it out. You will see.

No, I am part of the aforementioned denomination and find their grievous error of omission to be so like much of what is wrong with such a liberal ‘enlightened’ theology. Give me a break and let some of us who hold to more evangelical, reformed, traditional theology and reading of the Scripture have some of our views expressed in a hymnal that must have a few other songs that express different views.

Keith Getty and Stuart Townend wrote the hymn. Give it a listen if you haven’t already. Even if it is not in the aforementioned hymnal it will be a classic.

It seems that THE CROSS OF CHRIST IS STILL A STUMBLING BLOCK.