Standardized Salvation

Standardized Salvation

That many people have a moment in time were they have an epiphany about God or their spiritual nature is a beautiful thing. Some of us like Abraham mark that spot in our life with a name or a sign, heck today you might even take a picture with your cell phone. That moment was unique and just for you but the problem comes when we try to standardize our event for everyone else. Things even get worse when we go back into our holy texts and find proof that our experience is mandatory for all others, without exception.
Such is the condition that the Evangelical Church finds itself in at the very beginning of the 21st century. The Industrial Age taught us among other things in America was how to mass produce a product with great speed and efficiency. This does not however produce the best product which General Motors discovered here recently, neither does it produce a truly spiritual and noble human being. Standardized Salvation made famous by Charles Finney, Wild Billy Sunday and of course without a doubt the greatest Billy Graham, produced masses of Christians in America.
Now the idea of uniting people with God is a noble idea and one that Holy Messengers have been doing for thousands of years. Lets face it though Standardized anything and especially when it comes to spirituality does not produce the quality product that Jesus and many others demonstrated. What happen is exactly what happened with No Child Left Behind people only learn to pass the darn the test. This creates both shallow knowledge at best and an inability to integrate the information with real life.
So here we are today with people who are Born Again by Standardized salvation but no nothing of the wind of The Spirit and how to integrate their spirituality holistically. Have no fear however for they can “Pass the Test” is asked how one produces a Christian and fill the pews of Churches. Wait a minute thought the generations coming up can see what Standardized Salvation produces and they are rejecting it in great numbers. Much like the Federal Government though it is hard to stop and piece of Passed Legislation and so the Evangelical Church continue to teach to test.
There is good news though there are groups of people everywhere asking questions and interested in spiritual discovery and renewal. Standardized Salvation with all its assumptions and mandatory production methods is being challenged from within by those tired of the substandard product it produces. Keep seeking and asking questions my friends there is a move of God which will not be directed from Church Corporate Headquarters and you are a part of it!

anzaholyman 

ps K Cars suck!

Hypocrisy

Hypocrisy

So the other day I was talking to a gentleman who was quite firm on the idea that only Born Again Christians can avoid the fire of Hell, and that all people must be saved in this manner. It seemed a good question to ask him how many souls he had actually saved using this method. He responded that it was God who saved and the truth was the truth whether he actually led anyone to Jesus or not.

I told him that he had just told me that the only way to save fish in the ocean was to go fishing for them, but that he personally did not own a fishing poll, tackle or boat. It appeared to me I told him that he was a hypocrite of the highest order, if he believed in an eternal hell but did nothing to save souls from it.

This is what I am afraid passes for belief with many people who hold this view of salvation, when you ask them hows the fishing they tell you the ocean makes them sick.

 

anzaholyman

One way to understand John 3:16

For God so loved the world that He gave His on begotten Son: 

This is not a Statement that is the first stanza of a divine Salvation formula, 

It is also a statement dealing with the world at the time it is communicated.

Therefore it’s primary import is to those hearing it then and their response not to this statement,

but rather what this statement represents i.e. the Messianic Promise.

In like Manner the primary understanding of the Word “World” should be The Roman World,

now don’t worry gentiles you are included in the Roman World just not the Top Messianic focus.

That whosoever believes in him:

Primarily pointed to those who respond to this messianic offer in that time and space context.

To project this as an absolute requirement beyond that Time and Space context

is an abuse of the Incarnational narrative and urgency of the moment. 

Also believes in Him must be seen as a unified work of the Father and the Son and not separate.

Shall not perish:

There is no need at this point to project any Jewish Messianic promises beyond the earthly ones,

promised to the Nation Israel by her prophets. 

Israel’s promises from God have always been conditional upon earthly performance and faithfulness.

There is no reason to conclude at this point that all of a sudden Jesus is introducing a new concept,

that concept being a punishment of unlimited duration in a place called Hell. 

He is however staying true to the conditional nature of God’s covenant with the Nation Israel,

and punishment for disobedience being and earthly matter as well.

but have everlasting life or (age lasting life)

At this point and in order to stay consistent we do not need to make the protestant stretch,

and make this phrase about eternal life in a place called Heaven. 

To remain relevant to the Jewish Messianic prophetic context of this entire phrase,

we need only see the promise of the life of God fully implemented into the life of His people.

Further that as the prophets promised this life of God following through his people would,

change the whole world starting with Israel and without end.

Shalom

Image

ANZAHOLYMAN

The Love Gospel

Image

You see my friends this is the word that best explains the true nature of the Gospel of God and of His Christ which is Love agape style!  The church has been running from the teaching and implications of this self giving love for far to long, and there is a movement afoot to reclaim the Gospel for Love!  Actually there have been people proclaiming this message since the beginning but they where always marginalized or worse, in fact the original messenger of this God message was crucified.  The last stronghold of the enemy is the same as it has always been fear, fear of Hell that is and judgment for not obeying the Gospel of Man in all it’s forms. 

Jesus said:  “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”   Remember these are not just the words of Jesus but also the mind and very heart of God a heart of unconditional Love.  I hope you see the implications of The Love Gospel here my friends for as the prophet said “Salvation is of the Lord.”

Jesus also said: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  Is it any wonder while many Christians are not really full of joy and peace of mind?   Believing as many do that God’s Love is so puny as to only rescue a few of his children the rest sadly to be tortured forever, with no recourse by the God of the universe helpless in the face of a Man made Gospel of religious works.

The Good News though is being reborn in the hearts of many who are beginning to speak up and reject with boldness the lie that has been told for so very long to so very many!  You see it is the Gospel that includes all although all do not know it, the enemy and well as the stranger in the land, it is beautiful because it is all big God Love of the Agape kind.  It’s a Radical Grace which rejects the notions  and theologies of men who would without hesitation by those same theologies, do condemn the whole world to save their own souls and the souls of their friends and family.

Jesus said this:  “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  Now the perishing is here and now in this world for those who don’t understand that God’s loves the whole world, do you know that, do you believe that unconditionally, for the children of God surely do! 

Don’t you see any Gospel that is conditional, changing and self-seeking is a false Gospel as Paul so keenly warned us about in many of his letters. 

This false Gospel is conditional because it puts man’s ideas of God’s holiness and justice above the truth taught by Jesus, Paul & John. 

It is changing because as some believe you can gain it and loss it at your own choice, with God a mere bystander to the will of man.

It is self-seeking because in many places it has become all about going to heaven in order not to go to hell, what could be more self-seeking than that message?

The Apostle Paul teaches us that God’s love is self emptying in the Philippians 2, and it has always been this way before creation as well as in the eons to come, when all shall confess and finally know as they are known by God in Love. 

The beauty of this simple blog post is some will read this and for the first time get a taste of The Love Gospel, and shall repent for the Kingdom of God has come to them today.

ANZAHOLYMAN
a recovering Hell Fire and Brimstone preacher

The Original Gospel @ Mars Hill (my journey) part 4

Image

One thing we see in Paul’s Gospel message @ Mars Hill is the tremendous flexibility Paul employs when sharing The resurrected Christ Jesus with the Greek & Roman world of his time.  In fact a study of the early church shows a great diversity in thought and practice concerning this transcended Lord of the created Universe and His Father in the liberty of the Spirit. 

In Christianity today there are basically two methods the “born into” method and the “born again method, I had the benefit of experiencing both during my lifetime, being “born into” a Catholic family in upstate N.Y. and becoming a “born again” Christian in my youth in California.  It is this later method of God realization that I want to focus on for the purposes of this article today.  

Becoming a born again Christian was traumatic for my Father seeing it as a bit of a betrayal of our Families religious tradition, and in hindsight I wish I had been more sensitive to his heart.  It did not help that I was immediately taught to doubt the salvation of my entire family and that indeed their eternal destinies were on the line.  Is there any doubt that as a born again neophyte I was absolutely insufferable to be around, spouting bible verses at the speed the Thompson machine gun.  Not to mention my obsession with the ends a coming anti-Christ and Hell for all who defied this Bible inspired truth for these last days.  I think by this time you guessed that I was “born again” or saved if you like during the early 70’s in Southern California, the hot bed of pre-trib, Dispensational, rapture, end times madness country.  I share my story or rather my journey @ 56 because I believe many can relate to it and just maybe it might help whosoever put the pieces together in their own mind.  

Let me take a moment for me to share with you how I was taught to “share” our gospel and I say our gospel because I now understand it was not the Original Gospel.

1st You were born a Sinner & Dead spiritually

2nd God is Holy and can’t look upon any sin

3rd God sent his son to pay the price you owe Him

4th If you receive this gift then God can let you into His holy Heaven

5th if you don’t receive this gospel message you get the only thing you deserve, eternal separation from a Holy God in pain and agony. 

So you can see why I was so insufferable?   This is very serious stuff here and if you know me at all you know that I truly love people, especially the strays or what we called the lost.  I will tell you this with all my will power I proclaimed this message believing it to be part and parcel with the word and will of God.  What of the billions that would never hear of this Holy God who paid the price but needed them to confess he did it in order for them to benefit from it?  I wasn’t sure but it didn’t sound right but everyone I called friend assured me this was the Gospel Truth, bible verses included.  All the books I read told me this, the Pastor on Sunday told me this, as well as all the Anointed guys and gals on TBN.  How could they wrong and more importantly how could God’s word be wrong, I guess I better keep my doubts to myself and say amen.

It wasn’t until I began to study and read other points view beyond my biased presuppositions that I began to realize that The Gospel was a story of the Love of God in Christ and not His Holiness making demands on humanity they could not keep.  It was during this time that I say the Gospel of the Love of God in Christ was far more flexible then I had been taught or that I was teaching others because by this time I had become a Pastor of an Evangelical Church.  Now what was I to do, talk about being between a rock and a hard place I now longer believed what I was preaching?

The answer came to me but I knew it would be a long a painful journey I had to discover Jesus all over again, I had to unlearn and relearn, I had to ask better questions and think much bigger then my indoctrination would allow.  None of this of course can really occur in a bubble and you guessed it, I began to be watched as I searched for this Bigger Love Gospel I was sure was at the heart of God’s plan.  I was asked why had I begun to stray from the script, the one enshrined in the Church bylaws, with a long list of verse citations to back it up.  It all came to head one Sunday afternoon when while walking into my inquisition it came to me that I followed God and not man.  That I knew I had just begun to discover the real Christ the one my heart had desired for so many years, the Jesus Christ beyond doctrine and dogma and the certitude they create.  So I walked out unemployed by man but fully ready to follow the leading of the Spirit in my heart.  So this brings us to the flexible Gospel I actually promised to share with you from Paul’s Mars Hill Gospel proclamation, but that I am afraid will have to wait until my next blog. 

ANZAHOLYMAN