By normal fundamental/evangelical standards, I “got saved” in a Baptist Church. I don’t think it goes too far to say that ‘getting saved’ has to be, at least, as important, even life changing, as ‘getting healed.’ So God used a Baptist church to get me ‘saved.’
“This happened to the tree, now bird feeder stand, when it was very young. The Good News is, Jesus can straighten us out even when we are old! :-)”
Actually, I have a preference for the “saved”of Romans 5:10.My impression, even my very strong impression, gleaned from years of observation and experience in “church” is that God and Baptists may have a rather significant difference of opinion as to what constitutes church. My personal “opinion,” (idol for present purposes)…
First a word about idols, and idol worship – “worshipping dumb idols that neither…” this that or the other thing.
Someone said in my hearing probably back in the late 70s, “worship” can be understood as “worth-ship” – giving worth or value that properly belongs to God to something or some one. To worship a dumb idol, for instance, is to give value to something or someone . This is not to say that we shouldn’t value one another. We should just not value them in ways that belong only to God.
This can often be a very fine line, we have opinions, and so does God. When we value our opinions more than the opinions of God we could be said to be valuing dumb idols. (Have I mentioned that most of our idol problems are between our ears?) There is an increasing amount of this kind of false worship going on in our present day with so many “junior achievement” religious experts down grading the scriptures to second place after their opinions. You may have noticed. :-/
So let’s say, we’re having a conversation. You have an opinion, I have an opinion, and God has opinion. All three opinions may be far removed from each other. That’s okay, just as long as we value God’s opinion more than we do our own. God’s opinion is that our conversations should be in love, “speaking the truth in love…” Those are the conversations that result in our growing up rather than our growing apart. If and when we value our own opinions too highly, they become dumb idols, and the other person and God are both shut out of our love-making. This is a big problem.
This is the kind of problem that I am writing about as “my personal opinion” as an “idol.” I don’t care much for Baptist as a system, but I don’t want to lock Baptists out of my heart or conversation. In the same way, I don’t care much for “coping mechanisms,” because I see them as distractions, from the work of the cross – offered as alternatives to the work of the cross, given more value than the work of the cross. My impression/opinion is that in God’s opinion the cross is more valuable – much more valuable than all the coping mechanisms, that are being offered as alternative ways of getting healed/fixed.
(Perhaps I need to make a disclaimer here, and I do so with some fear and trembling. The healing I am speaking about here, is the one mentioned and quoted so often from Isaiah 53, “And by His stripes we are healed…” I believe that this included physical healing, but I don’t think that is the focus of the context. [At the moment, I’m reminded of the “Officer Crumpky” song from “West Side Story.”] Everything else, being equal, I try to avoid the use of physical healing coping mechanisms, but when all else seems to be failing in that connection I will go there in a “New York minute.” There’s a lot I could say on this score, but better left for another time. This is already approaching a length suitable for deletion.)
Physical healing has a greater tendency to require us to go someplace physically. Spiritual healing does not invite us to a physical place so much as to a spiritual place.
The healing promised in Isaiah 53 comes at a very high price – the stripes and death of God’s Son. (I think I may have posted my understanding of the purpose of the stripes some time back. You just have to know that God feels very strongly about this, so much so that He is probably not pleased when we are tempted to go to other places, systems and coping mechanisms for our healing. It’s a question of value, what is it that we value/worship – God’s opinion or our own.
I have a very strong opinion about the cost of healing. I would like to be able to talk about that cost as well as live in that cost. What I have found is that doing so, seems to be very threatening to the spiritual/relational coping mechanism practitioners. Coping mechanisms have become so highly valued that there is no longer room for the cross on the marquee. Again, in my opinion, that’s a problem. In God’s opinion, I should love, and in fact have been empowered to love, both Baptists, and coping mechanism practitioners and groupies, but I freely admit, I don’t care much for their opinions. It is some where in that disconnect, that the line is found beyond which my opinion becomes a dumb idol.
What I am saying is that God just may prefer to use what He calls church to get people saved, if only we were willing to repent of what we have been calling “church.” (Still with me here?)
David Duplessis used to say, “Jesus is the way, and in this life, there is no stopping.” (or words to that effect.)
There doesn’t seem to be a lot of repentance going around yet, even in the “apostolic – prophetic restoration movement,” so God – Very Gracious God that He is, occasionally sneaks into what’s calling itself, “church,” and “saves” people. That’s very nice of God, but it can also be very confusing for us, because what’s been calling itself “church” has a very strong tendency to take that as some kind of validation. (There are a lot of places we could go with this observation, but I’ll try to stay on task where coping mechanisms are concerned)
When we offer substitutes for the will of God, it is no longer PART of the truth. It is an AFFRONT to the truth. (In the moment I am reminded of the old hymn: “… I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus Name… blood and righteousness…” What I want to share is that I believe we have not properly understood the promises of God or the transaction of the cross. My concern is that what’s been calling itself “church” is more than the worship of dumb idols, it is over into the “leaven of the Pharisees.” What we’ve been calling God; attributing to God; what’s been calling itself “church” has a yeast infection – the kind that includes, at a very minimum, “hypocrisy” – pretense – fraud.
As I understand it, the cross was supposed to put an end to all that stuff.
The intimacy/relationship that God is after, cost the life of His Son. The price for us is the same. When a person or persons do not want to be intimate, that is symptomatic of a yeast infection. All the coping mechanism systems mentioned here are offered at arms length, and limited liability. That’s just not the way blood works! The blood of Christ is bad for business.
But, of course, that’s just my opinion.
As I see it, God’s place of healing is the cross. The cross can be seen from everywhere. (Colossians 2:13-15 talks about this open display aspect of what happened there.) It all happened “long ago and far away,” (Thought I would borrow that borrowed line from The Shack. :-) ) but we can still see it from here, if only we could stand on our tippy toes and peer over the skyline of man’s doing.
“When I was saved…” Aye, there’s the rub! Evangelicals and liturgicals, for that matter, have grown so used to systematic salvation, and evangelicals, to our own spin on confessional salvation, that far too often we have been guilty of altar rail retardation, birth control, or even abortion. At the point of spiritual fertility, perhaps even pregnancy, people do our stuff, and we send them out with delusional salvation, and still stuck with all the baggage they came in with. Do you or we really think that’s the way God does life – old or new???? (Well, here we are with dumb idols again. :-/ )
Sounds like the fruit of what’s been calling itself “church” to me.
Let’s take theophostic, heaing, for instance:
Now suppose, instead of “getting saved in an orphanage – (what’s calling itself “church”) God had placed you in a family. (That’s in the Book) I think that is an important part or aspect of what God calls church. (happens to be the kind that is much harder to find due to all the man made litter, (the work of man’s hands) in the vineyard.) Then what do you think might have happened?” When it’s working right – dying right, it is not dysfunctional, hypocritical, prostitutional, (in business), training for preeminence, multi leavenable. :-/. It is “… death in others that life in you…” That’s how family works. (It’s in the Book)
Perhaps I should just cut to the chase: while “saved” in a Baptist church, I don’t promote Baptist churches, don’t get me wrong, I love Baptists, (they make really good practice for lovers in training) I just try not to promote their stuff. I got my own stuff, and Baptists tend to be a little hostile where my stuff is concerned. Perhaps it’s that old Macy’s – Gimbels thing. (There’s a whole lot more that could be said, but I don’t want to stir up any latent Baptists or “latent friends of Baptists” that may be lurking here.)
Lest I be confused with MACYS or GIMBELS, I should say that I’m not either, in fact, unlike MACYS, I would like to tell GIMBELS something, but my impression is that GIMBELS is so up to its eyeballs in business. It has neither time nor inclination to listen. (even rails against the possibility of demonstration – I’m so glad stoning is no longer legal, at least, not here in America)
I think we need to get a life, I don’t think that needs to be rocket science, but I do believe its bad for business where what’s calling itself “church,” and even where the coping mechanism practitioners are concerned. I think we need to get a life, and both what’s calling itself “church,” as well as the coping mechanism practitioners, at some level, know that would be bad for business.
And so I return to what came to me some years back – “To what then can I liken the Kingdom of God? It is like a drop dead gorgeous woman walking into a room full of less than women… … gender neutral.”*