Thursday, May 8, 2008

Why Some Doubt God Can Communicate with Us

I particularly like the post Robert Easter put up on Monday at Sanctifusion. When I first read the first paragraph, I didn't understand it. But now I am thinking that he is saying that there is something inside of us that doesn't want us to believe that God can communicate with us. That something inside of us wants to be a god, and therefore, doesn't want us hearing from the real God.

I was thinking about people who say we can all be gods because of yesterday's Lectionary reading from Ephesians, particularly the final verses of the reading, Ephesians 4: 11-16:
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds [7] and teachers, [8] 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, [9] to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, 14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

In a draft of the Anglican Covenant, I noticed that people can pull out a piece of these verses to say that we are called to grow into the full stature of Christ. This is dangerous because it can be understood to mean that we can each, as individuals, grow into the full stature of Christ. I used to be a sweet naive soul who doubted that anyone believed that. But consider these sentences from the Diocese of Northern Michigan's response to the Dar Communique:
We seek and serve Christ in all persons because all persons are the living Christ. Each and every human being, as a human being, is knit together in God's Spirit, and thus an anointed one – Christ.

Reading these sentences within the context of the whole statement, we can see that they have extrapolated from the truth that we each are created in the image of God, and bear Christ's image within us, to the idea that we are each "an anointed one - Christ." How we understand that concept seems to be at the heart of this wrong way of understanding Christianity. And Robert Easter is articulating the right of understanding that in his post.

Where, I differ with Robert Easter is that he thinks it is the desire to be a god that keeps us from believing God can communicate with us, while my experience is that those who desire to be a God do believe God can communicate with us. In my experience, their problem is a failure to discern between communications from God and the "devices and desires of our own hearts." (from the General Confession in the 1928 Prayer Book)

In my experience, the ability to receive communicate from God is denied by many faithful Christians who are concerned about personal desires masquerading as communications from God. The book Charismatic Chaos by John MacArthur is a good example of this. So, I think I didn't fully appreciate Robert Easter's post because my experience is so different.

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