Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Problem

The problem is finding a church that we feel comfortable with --- where we can hold to our truth without being viewed as weird or an outcast.

I think novelist and spiritual teacher Joseph John (JJ) Dewey says it well:

It is interesting to watch a debate between a "new ager" and a "born-againer" [Born Again Chrisitian]. The "born-againer" will quote scripture after scripture to back up his beliefs and the new ager will smile as if the guy is from the stone ages and preach back his philosophy quoting no authority, but his heart. Consequently, the two are not speaking each other's language and both go away from the discussion feeling that the other is as far down the enlightenment scale as you can get.

One of the problems is that the sincere religious person has felt 'soul contact' while reading the scriptures and because of this is not about to drop his belief in the closest link he has to the Spirit. On the other hand, many "new agers" have not even read the scriptures, or had them forced upon them while they were young, and do not identify with this feeling. Instead, many of them have received some spiritual contact while reading other books that teach enough 'truth' to draw the inner voice.

What the true seeker must realize is that God has spoken to many different people in many different ways and even though the vocabulary and definitions may vary, the core truths are the same.

Here are a few examples of religious issues that concern me because I disagree with the "traditional" mainstream view:

The Cross. I am skeptical of the mainstream view that Jesus "died a Penal Substitutionary death for the sins of the world" . Call me a "new ager" if you want, but this is not consistent with my understanding of God.

Salvation. I believe salvation is available to everyone because Christ lives in all people, knocking at the door of their hearts. They may not call this presence "Jesus" but it is essentially the same. This position is not quite a "philosophy quoting no authority, but (my) heart" because there is plenty of support for it. However, my view is not what I am calling "mainstream".

Eternal Hell. I believe in "hell", both in this life and in the life to come, but I do not believe in an eternal hell that someone might be condemned to because of what they did or did not do or believe during a relatively short human lifespan. I believe that God is good and that this goodness is not consistent with that kind of punishment. I do believe that some things are temporary and that these will be destroyed. As Jesus said:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21)

1 comment:

Philip said...

On or about 07-01-08, on mystical seeker blog:

Harry said...

"Not believing in penal substitutionary atonement is not at all new age. It is very traditional to not believe it.

"The Catholics screwed that one up because of a poor translation choice of St. Jerome (who is in other ways a very fine fellow)."