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Theologically Christian

Posted Tuesday, September 21, 2010, at 8:55 AM

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." (the Apostle Paul, Philippians 3.11-14, NIV)

The few and far-between readers of these blogs might have discerned a kind of journey in the last few pieces posted. Having suggested we are not necessarily a nation "under God" anymore, if ever, the search was launched to identify the remnant God always leaves in any nation which once sought His rule.

As previously postulated, in the United States of America one is free to claim the name "Christian" without any additional specific identification. One is born in a "Christian Nation," and if nothing else what else could one be but "Christian?" It is one's right, too, to attach allegiance to one congregation or denomination. Thus I am free to be Methodist, Congregationalist, or even the catch-all denomination -- Baptist.

The true searcher, though, seeks something more -- a search loosely called theology.

Theology is, in its simplest form, the search for knowledge about God. Thus this particular search might be called seeking to be a "Theological Christian."

There is certainly no requirement on anyone to start this search. But, if you choose to be a seeker for knowledge, now you have a problem. Now it is not enough to say. I am an American, or a Baptist, or even a lifelong conservative. To be a Theological Christian I must be willing to go beyond "this is what our church teaches." Now you must enter into the sum total of the revelations of God, His history in dealing with mankind, and what direction He has given to scholarship for these 2,000 years. Now begins a search for something to die for; and, more the difficult, something to live by. This particular search is best thought a journey, not a destination.

The Guideposts on this journey are questions, rarely accompanied with easy answers.

Where is God in all this mess, anyway?

What think you of about Jesus or Nazareth, called The Christ? Who is He? [An interested traveler on this road might checkout "Which Jesus?" at http://www.christcommunitychurch.org/fla....

Is the Bible -- as it has come down to us through Judeo-Christian history -- what it claims? Is it what others claim for it?

The overwhelming weight of statistical evidence indicates all that lives dies. What then?

Most important of all, if we seek to be Theologically Christian, how shall we then live?

I am somewhere on this search to be a Theological Christian, not sure where. Worry about those certain of where they are in the journey. Worry more about them than about my own uncertainty in this regard. Where are you?

David L. Lewis is an observer of and sometimes commentator on life who may be reached via e-mail at kayanddavid@frontier.com.

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David, I'll go in reverse order since you asked the most important last. Q.1 "How shall we live" Matt 4:4 "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.'" This makes it a necessity to abide in the teaching of Jesus as revealed by the Holy Spirit. 2 John 9. Going to far or stopping short means we will not have God with us. Q.2 "What then?" Luke 16:19-31 Either Paradise or Torment while awaiting final judgement. Hebrews 9:27 Q.3 "Is the bible what it claims?" John 20:30-31 Miracles confirmed the words, and they were recorded that we might believe. These words pertain to "life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence." 2 Peter 1:3. Q.4 "Who is He?" Matthew 16:16 "...the Christ, the son of the living God." Belief in this necessitates we obey - or we don't really believe. Q.5 "Where is God in all this mess? Romans 8:20-21 "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God." God allows the mess/futility in hope that it will cause us to look for something better and that the looking puts us on your journey that leads to Him. When in Him we are "set free from slavery to corruption" (reducing so much self-imposed hurt in our lives) and we are placed in the "freedom of the glory of the children of God" (enabling us to rise above the remaining muck because we're focused on a much better home).

-- Posted by brazilian on Thu, Sep 23, 2010, at 9:41 AM

"putting forth my best effort to make the world as it is into a better place"

To me, that is what being a Christian means. Not trying to figure out what some old guy thought it was when he wrote it in the Bible for that is what God meant to him.

I liken it to attending a book club vs attending a high school literature class. In high school if you don't "get" the message scholars, and of course, the teacher thought the author was trying to get across, you are wrong, but in an adult discussion each person brings to the table an interpretation based upon their own past experiences when they read the book. It's not the message of the book so much as what you do with it.

There are many anonymous Christians who have never read the Bible but you can tell have the true love of God in their souls by the way they are always doing good for others. The Good Samaritan is an example that someone thought was important enough to write down but a man I know who was teaching in Saudi Arabia for years, knew that it was the Arab who got him help out on a deserted highway some 25-30 years ago when it flipped over. That Muslim man was his Good Samaritan and to this day he calls him an anonymous Christian for he lived as Christ would have wanted him to even if he did not know it or the passages in the Bible.

I do go to the celebration of mass on a regular basis, but not because I think I am better than the Presbyterian, Muslim, or Jew. For me it's a sort of nourishment and reinforcement of what I should be doing as the human part of me is so flawed that I must have that weekly reminder to make good choices and a faith family to booster me up sort of like a pep rally where all are there to support each other. While my faith tradition also has the "feel good" comfort of familiar Roman Catholic traditions for me, it may not do the same for someone brought up in a different faith tradition which I understand completely and am fine with. So long as they recognize that the traditions aren't nearly as important as the ultimate message to love one another here on earth for if we are sincere in that respect, we automatically are honoring God, whether we attend the same house of worship or don't attend at all. I just need the regular "recharging" that attending mass gives me.

Have a good day.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, Sep 22, 2010, at 7:45 AM

Am I a Theological Christian? I hardly think so as I have a hard time understanding Christian thinking or logic, however, I do believe in a Higher Power and that Jesus was a Representative of that Power to humanity.

Many people in this world would label me as a Christian, as I was born and live in the United States.

However, I have had discussions on what I'm about to say with many, many people all over the world and many of them saw my point after a while.

In Revelations, the first words attributed to Jesus is "I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End..." How else would an infinite being, both in time and spatial coordinates, describe itself to a culture that knows only boundaries?

Then, you have humanity's limitations that some people want to impose upon that Higher Power. Have we kicked this omnipotent being out of any building, human gathering, or limited it to only hearing spoken prayers? Does humanity have that power?

How would the Creator explain Creation? By whatever way you wish to measure what the Creator has done, you are limited to what humanity can do. For a limited, flawed, creature to be asked to give an explanation of what an infinite, omnipotent Power did in a past before the very race of lesser beings came into existence is as absurd as asking a squirrel to explain the Theory of Relativity.

Methinks that we spend too much time worrying about how things have came to pass and trying to define Who did them that we forget to do good works, speak good words, and love our fellow humans and humanity suffers because of it.

I saw a sign at a church that illustrates this, it read, "Who lit the fuse for the Big Bang?" and the only thing that popped into my head was "Who should care?" If I am worrying about how I came to be here, either as a man or as a member of humanity, how can I be putting forth my best effort to make the world as it is into a better place?

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, Sep 21, 2010, at 10:51 PM

I find that my whole life has been overly complicated by "Theologians" (much like Pharisees and Sadducees in true character)and their pious rhetoric. They claim to have the answer when in fact, once you truly develop an intimate relationship with the Savior and earnestly pray and ask for discernment, He makes clear the worms in the shiny theologian apple.

What you may believe honestly in your heart is a journey of "enlightenment" and study mostly ends in confusion. The Lord makes it quite clear and quite simple. This is about you, Him and His Word. Have you ever opened your Bible after praying intimately with God and asking the Holy Spirit to open those scriptures to you in a way never before? Try it and toss your Theologians to the wayside! The Lord provides all answers your finite mind seeks, He asks ONLY that YOU seek HIM and He will provide ALL you NEED. That means ALL, spiritually, intellectually and all that is in between, the blanks will be filled in.

Theological Christian? No thanks. I'll stick with the basics, I don't want to be distracted with needless rhetoric that serves nothing to give glory to our Lord and Savior. All it serves is to befuddle the newly saved in Christ and to bemuse those who anchor their Christianity in piety.

Let's remember what Satan wants: for the Church to split, and deviate just far enough way from God's Word that he can then take hold and fill your head with his false doctrines and deceit about the Lord. If your "Pastor" is taking you in every direction but straight to the Word, then you better RUN, RUN, RUN from that false Shepard.

Great blog David.

-- Posted by karenmeister on Tue, Sep 21, 2010, at 11:27 AM

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