Never are Christians more guilty of doublethink than when it comes to the issue of the Ten Commandments. In fact, the place of God's law in the life of a Christian is a source of much debate, confusion and error. Yesterday Mr. Driscoll posted a blog post on this very topic and it certainly provides food for thought. In many respects it is a perfect example of reformed charismatic teaching: a strong root of reformed thinking which is then corrupted to something less.
Case in point: Driscoll refers to the Westminster Confession of Faith on understanding the law of God and proceeds with an excellent very short summary of reformed thinking. For the purposes of a fuller explanation I'm going to write my own longer summary.
Old Testament law is spilt into three types: ceremonial, civil and moral. The ceremonial law refers to all the laws about the sacrificial system: the priesthood, the laws of being clean, the tabernacle, and so on. The book of Hebrews is all about how these laws are fulfilled in Jesus, he is the sacrifice that all the animal sacrifices pointed to. He lived the pure life all the laws on cleanliness pointed to. The Old Testament system wasn't good enough to save; only Jesus could bring salvation.
When it comes to worshipping God the immediate reality which springs to mind is the necessity for being led in worship. For I know my own heart, how cold and stubborn it can be to the gospel reality; how distracted it can become from thinking heavenly thoughts and how blurred and far away God can appear when the worries and cares of this life loom large. When worshipping God I know my heart should melt and overflow with love and joy and a holy awe but instead there can be nothing but doubt and unbelief. Christ should be my all in all not my occasional vague thought.
I need to be led into worship: my heart coaxed into a better frame of mind, my eyes taken off this world and set upon heavenly things and my faith stoked into greater flames that burn away the shards of doubt so that zeal for the Lord overcomes me.
This is no small task. And it strikes me as odd that there are people who would claim to be worship leaders. For it is not a position easily filled. Indeed, it is a position with only one qualified person available for to fill it. Our only worship leader is Jesus Christ.
In many ways I would love to be able to support theistic evolution for it would allow me to say that God is creator and yet still maintain my intellectual credibility in the eyes of the world. It would sidestep a debate that often gets bogged down in insults, anger and misunderstandings and it would avoid arguments that can often detract from talking about other issues of greater importance. If there is one view that I hold that will regularly result in insults (from both non-Christians and, tragically, Christians) then its being a six day creation literalist.
But my own 'intellectual credibility' forbids me from taking that path. It boils down to a simple question of ultimate authority: is it man's reason, as found in 'science'; or is it God, as found in his Word? Given that, as I will explain, theistic evolution is not supported by the Bible, how then can I accept the ideas of men above God? That is why my argument against theistic evolution is theological not scientific - the Bible is our ultimate authority on this matter.
At its essence I see the creation/evolution debate as no more than a choice between God's description of events or man's description. It would be foolish to accept man's opinion of creation above the Creator's opinion on creation!
This is hardly an unusual position to be in. Academic thought and biblical thinking have often battled with each other in various fields. After all, the resurrection is a subject where we happily reject the notion that it is a scientific impossibility and accept the truth of the Bible on the subject. The point is, being scorned for truth is not surprising, the world scorns us for the truth that homosexuality is a sin, abortion is murder and Sunday is the Lord's day. Why should we be concerned when a similar thing happens with creation?
As we venture into this debate let us bear in minds the words of Jesus: "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5 v 11 - 12)
Given that the internet sensation ‘Gangnam style’ has had over a billion hits on Youtube and spawned more parodies than I would care to mention then it got me thinking: what would a version of the song about Christianity look like? Regrettably, I am no lyricist so my answer will have to be given with ponderous words; lacking, to the relief of us all, any form of dance moves.
By Christian Style I mean a certain way of doing Christianity, a way that has no substance, its light and frothy, comfortable in the wrong sense, a way characterised by show, a pretence at the real thing. It’s when we say we’re Christian but we do not act like Christians, it’s the easy path not the hard path of obedience, and it is often our default setting for the Christian walk.
The following list is by no means exhaustive but I hope it is challenging, I’ve found it hard to write. As we begin this, at every point then I encourage you to ask yourself: do you have Christian style?
On December 29th then I came across a story in the telegraph about the decision of a judge that Christians have no right to refuse work on Sundays because, and I quote, “Christians have no right to decline working on Sunday as it is not a “core component” of their beliefs.” It gets better, he went on to say: The fact that some Christians were prepared to work on Sundays meant it was not protected.”
First it is a really stupid decision, surely the issue is not what other Christians are doing but what the Christian teaching on work on Sundays is? Even if the matter was uncertain then her managers initially agreed to respect her decision that she could, in clear conscience, work on a Sunday. It’s not as if she deceived them and yet her stand for what she believed right is branded wrong because according to a secular judge, who seems to have little understanding of Christianity, working on a Sunday is not a core element to the faith.
I suppose it is to be expected and rant aside there’s a bigger issue to talk about. This isn’t just a testament to the foolishness of the judge; far worse it is a massive rebuke to Christians in Great Britain. The judge was correct in saying that many Christians are prepared to work on a Sunday - the disobedience of these Christians heaps problems on the head of their brothers and sisters who are being obedient!