Thursday, December 20

Hey Jude....don't be afraid....

"I felt I had to write to you and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints." Jude 3b (NIV)

No matter if you believe that this missive, this letter, was written by Jude, the disciple; or by Jude, half-brother to Jesus; the words spoken here in this short book of the Bible has one purpose and one purpose only, beyond the desires of the writer, as he states clearly in verse 3, "I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share….but"

But it was important to Jude that the Christians of the time and conversely, the modern body of Christ, heed the warnings echoed thorough Paul's and Peter's writings….false teachers. The wolves amongst the lambs. Today, as it was in the early church, there are many teachers and purveyors of the faith that are communicating smooth sounding and pleasant worded missives to the faithful and the flock is being led astray. I have been called intolerant, because I will not go beyond the line drawn in the sand by Jesus Himself, that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Light and NONE shall come to the Father but through Him. So be it.

Some things are relative to the person, place, or thing…… I prefer a Ford Mustang (current incarnation 2008) Shelby….I love Michigan Wolverines (even with Carr's departure)…..I like the color blue…….I prefer the poetic writings of one Sara Elizabeth Hutson over Keats or other better known poets. They are all relative to me; personalized if you will to my individuality and style. There are those, GASP, who love Michigan State…..or even Ohio State….. We can get into a debate over the qualities of our choices, but in the end it is our own choice. It doesn't make a difference what I believe, relatively speaking……

But the TRUTH is different. It cannot be adjusted to my own personal views or preferences. It cannot be changed to suit the circumstances….it is absolute. Beyond human preferences, fixed and sure……and therein lies my problem with movements and 'lightweight' theology. Truth has to be expressed fully or it fails to be fixed and sure….it needs to be stated with loving absolute authority, based on undeniable realization that cannot be affected by human standards and cultural shifts.

To state it clearly, when someone expresses to us "I prefer to think of Jesus as just a good guy, who gave us a better understanding of love," we cannot just shake hands and say…."That's okay, I prefer to think of Him as the Son of God." Now, standing for the truth doesn't mean that, as Christians at least, we come out with our gloves on and go for that mythical sweet spot… drop our opponent in one swing. This seems to be where most Christians get in trouble, by being hostile or even shouting at those who would believe falsehoods and lies. Instead, our reply to such untrue statements should be resounding in their absoluteness, "I'm really sorry to hear that, but you see…..the Bible, the inerrant Word of God, says that Jesus is the God the Son and it is your very future that depends on whether or not you accept that claim as truth." Sounds intolerant, doesn't it….in the age of emergent inabsolutes…..where pluralistic theories dot the landscape and man once again tries to seize control of creation to become god themselves.

Jude tells us how we should state the truth to those who would live in darkness or distorted, weak light……"Be merciful to those who doubt; snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear----hating even the clothing stained with corrupted flesh." While we should 'love the sinner and hate the sin', becoming too closely identified with the sinner that we become drawn into the sin. Yeah, I can hear the cries of 'hypocrisy' and 'foul', but listen… isn't that we should fear reaching out to those in darkness, that is not the fear I speak of……but we should be fearfully aware of our own vulnerability to sin. After all, we continue to live in a fallen world, in sin prone bodies, and should be aware of our humanity.

We should show that we care, beyond the simplistic acts of casual acquaintance, and encourage, help, through love and mercy, to bring the lost out of the sinful state they reside. Never should we condemn, as the Pharisees once tried to the harlot, but we should all come from a position that we've all fallen short of the glory of God and need Christ's blood to be redeemed.

In absolute truth……

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