Was Jesus a Fundie?

This is a quick I-have-to-get-the-question-out-there moment.    I need your help…really, I want to hear your ideas. 

I’m reading Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World.  Not because I really want to be reading it; I’m required to read it for class. 

I know reading this and wrestling with the issues is good for me…but it’s really discomforting.  Really. discomforting.

I keep asking myself questions like, “Am I fundie?”  “What would Jesus think of all these views if they had been postulated back in Palestine?”  “What kind of parable would He tell to knock sensibility back into the conversation?”  “Was Jesus a Fundie?”

Now mind you, I have a very Fundamental background, so I’m not afraid of the big, bad, scary Fundies.  I know they’re soft-hearted; but their compassions often get obscurred by their convictions in a Anabaptist similar way.  Yet, for the most part, their convictions are usually pretty right on, as far as representing what the Scriptures seem to be saying.  (Yes, I take exception to that generalization…but that’s another post, or at least it has been other posts.)

I suppose I’m displaying my naivette, but how would Jesus respond to the Normative Pluralist–the ones who believe that all ethical religions lead to God?  Or to the Inclusivist–salvation is universally available, but will lead to Christ?   How would Jesus draw them back to the essence of the cross?

I find myself drawing a hard line on this…read, a very judgmental line. (Which makes me fear I might be a Fundie!  Oh the Fundie confusion of it all!)  I believe in salvation in Christ alone.  Period.  It seems this is the line in the sand over which Jesus didn’t allow the toes to cross.  I hate it when people draw hard lines, but I think I would rather hate myself for joining them on this issue than be wrong about it.

Anyone out there wrestle with this issue?  Where do you land in the conversation and why?

Holiness: The Family Way

I love it when an idea I’ve been dancing around finally “clicks.”

This happened for me last night while I was sitting in church.  The pastor was preaching on the holiness of God; teaching how God’s holiness has implications for His people.

In short: God is holy and His holiness cannot be contaminated with anything unholy. God’s holiness requires that He be separate from anything unholy.  That’s a problem for us–because we are a most unholy bunch.  Not one among those of whom the world calls righteous lives up to God’s standards of perfection. Only Jesus.    Jesus brings a reconciliation plan for unrighteous man to be restored to the holy presence of God.  Thus, the sacrifice of Calvary–the blood shed for the institution of the new covenant…of which you and me can be a part of.

I’ve understood this on a personal level for some time, but last night my mind made an association it had not before.

Strangely, from the moment the Power Point title page of “Set Apart” flashed on the screen I started thinking about one of my favorite verses:

“God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.” (Psalm 68:6)

Family is one of the most beautiful of God’s creations. I have spent much of my adult life studying the family–what the Scriptures say about it, what makes one work well, and what makes one struggle.  My own family is dear and precious to me beyond words.  My heart grieves the loss of dear people in my life whose families are painful places for a number of different reasons.    I love that one of the names for the church is the “family of God.”  I rejoice that God’s commitment to the generations is expressed in families–be they birth families, step families, adoptive families or church families.  Recently, I’ve become involved with dog showing and I’ve noticed the familiar fondness the members of the club demonstrate for one another.   The power of family is so strong that you will find them everywhere.  Somehow as part of God’s design, families complete us.

As it was for Adam in the garden, it is not good for man (or woman) to be alone, and so God sets us in families.

And those families and their love change us.  Families have a “way” about them; a style that is all their own. My own family is quirky.  We laugh a lot–and loudly–usually at inappropriate places and times.  People stare at us, and none of us care.  We fight to the death over things we believe true, but hold on with sweet grace to one another.  My contagious case of stubbornness has been caught by my children, as has too their father’s tenderness.   To be a member of our family is to act in such a way as to represent the family name.

Being a member of the family of God works the same way.  We have been “set” into God’s holy family.  Participation in it means we are going to adopt the ways of God.  Not through effort and striving, but through the bonds of love that imitation can’t resist.  I’ve never met a woman who was “trying” to be like her mother.  No, quite the contrary!  But we can’t resist the draw to imitate those traits with which we have been most accustomed.

Holiness is the family way.  In point of fact, we were all lonely being separated from God.  “God sets the lonely in families.” Because of Jesus, we can be reconciled with the Holy One.  He sets the sinner in holiness. Not our own, but Christ’s–He gives us Christ’s righteousness and calls it ours!  And so, we can pray “Our Father in heaven, holy is your name.”    As my own children can’t help but demonstrate their belonging to our family name, so too, we children of God demonstrate His. Holiness is the family way.

How will your express the family way today?