Monday, February 25, 2008

Thoroughly Modern Metaphors

Someone asked the following on another blog: "If Paul says those who are in Christ are a new creation, why are there so many old creatures in the church? Why is this going on?" I would like to tackle this subject from the perspective of someone who is an older person (66 years old), but not an old creature (in the 2 Corinthians 5:17 sense).

The answer that springs to mind is an obvious one, but not the only one. Being "in Christ" and being "in the church" are not the same thing. If you sit in a garage, does that make you an automobile? If kittens are born in an oven, does that make them chocolate chip cookies? To my anabaptist way of thinking, this is the disagreement I have with covenant theology (and also with what used to be called "the universal fatherhood of God and universal brotherhood of man crowd"). Our natural offspring are not just automatically part of God's flock. People who have been sitting in church all their lives out of habit or family loyalty but have never made a conscious decision to follow Christ or ask Him to be their Savior are like the kittens in the oven. Even if somehow they manage to look like chocolate chip cookies, they will never taste the same.

I don't think all roads lead to the same place; I don't think we're all headed for the top of the same mountain from different sides. If I get on a train for Los Angeles sincerely believing that I have boarded a train for New York, it doesn't matter how sincere I am, I'm going to end up in Los Angeles, not New York. Unless, of course, I change trains. We can change trains with our last breath.

I know this must sound horribly modern (meaning old-fashioned) to all the emerging and postmodern folks, but it's what I believe.

2 comments:

Jeannelle said...

Amen, brother! I'm with you, but don't tell my Lutheran pastor. They don't believe a "conscious decision" in favor of following Christ is humanly possible. They believe humans can only decide NOT to follow Christ.

Thomas Beukes said...

Hi Jeanelle, run as far away as you can. We have freewill and that allows us to choose between right or wrong. How can we only choose NOT to follow Christ. So what they are saying is that when we are born we are born without SIN whilst the Garden of Eden episode caused us to be born in SIN!!!