Sunday, July 12, 2015
Getting to know the unknown God
I'm going off into deep outer space on this one. Most of you will want to skip over this post. Today I attended a very interesting sermon in the United Church of Canada by a minister who quoted a Vancouver Sun article about a United Church Minister named Gretta Vosper who is a self professed atheist. I had missed both the article and the controversy surrounding Gretta.
The Minister claims the article in the Vancouver Sun accused the United Church of terminal kindness by accepting Gretta's insanity. I have to agree. However, I will say that there are many worse causes of death in this world than terminal kindness. Although I passionately believe in the life of Christ, I am not very big on doctrine. I don't care if the pearly gates swing or slide. What we need to concern ourselves with is living the kind of life here on earth that will see us pass through those gates in the hereafter. To that end I think the United Church has a lot going for it.
Yes we can be too tolerant of sin and crime for that matter. Yet we can be too intolerant as well. Martin Luther King coined the phrase that the old law of an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind. That is very true. However, Gretta has gone a bit over board. I'm all for the freedom of religion. People have every right to be atheist. It's just that if you are going to proclaim to be a United Church Minister and deny the existence of God as well as the existence of Christ, then you are clearly in the wrong profession. Denying the existence of Christ isn't what Christians teach. It is what the Anti Christ teaches. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Historically we know Jesus of Nazareth existed. Josephus recorded that fact. People can debate the resurrection all they want. Josh McDowell addressed that quite well in his book More than a Carpenter. Yet Christ's life, mission, death and crucifixion are historical facts. Denying that as a United Church Minister is somewhat out in the realms of deep outer space.
The minister today asked some insightful questions in a children's story and made references to Moses' interaction with God in his sermon. Fist Moses spoke to God in the form of a burning bush. The problem was, no man can see God and live so God revealed himself to Moses in the form of a burning bush. Yet God can do all things. If he wanted to reveal himself to man he could. The Minister today admitted that eventually Moses saw God's hand and his back. Yet the scriptures go beyond that. Later on Moses spoke to God face to face as a man speaketh to his friend.
It wasn't until Stephen said he saw Jesus standing at the right hand of God that he was stoned for what the religious leaders at the time thought was blasphemy. Ever since the martyrdom of the original apostles, the doctrine of Christ has changed and has been watered down with the ideas of man. King Henry was a nut and we have clearly gone down hill from there.
Ever since King Henry people have been arguing about some stupid point of doctrine and starting up their own church over it. The United Church of Canada reversed that trend. They took three churches and amalgamated them into one. That church has a history of coming together instead of driving apart. Yet clearly things have gone too far. It reminds me of what Paul found in Mars Hill. He found an alter that said "To The Unknown God" and declared "Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." Acts 17: 22-31
In contrast to the apostasy of the men of Athens, John taught, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." John 17:3 Eternal life is to know God and Jesus Christ who he sent and to strive to become like them and live a more productive Christlike life. This is where the term Christian service comes from. The life that Mother Teresa exemplified.
There are a ship load of fundamentalists out there that I can't even sit in the same room with. Christ spelled it out in the parable of the Good Samaritan and the parable of the sheep and goats. How you live your life is more important than what you claim to believe. The United Church's focus on service and tolerance is one of it's strengths. The United Church's tolerance of Gretta's insanity is one of it's weaknesses. Just sayin. Peace.