Being God's Child: Event or Process? Rubel Shelly
This is part four of Rubel Shelly's Jesus Project to INCLUDE based on postmodern standards. To the above question, we answer, YES. Both. But, you don't become a DISCIPLE of the FBI without a beginning event: no event, no process. This is a quick take for now. If we have misrepresented the summary just let me know and I will correct any distortions. We simply have no vested interest in lying since we are not on the dole.
Jubilee Cockatrice Eggs Hatch
Rubel Shelly: Much of the division among Christians is over key events of Christian experience. For example, some churches practice what is called "closed communion." They restrict participation in the Lord's Supper to those most like themselves. They invite to the communion (i.e., fellowship) meal of bread and wine only those who hold membership in their own denomination or only those who have already received baptism or only those who subscribe to certain articles of faith.
That is a fact. Only KEY events are worth either preaching or perverting. Probably most postmodern preachers of denominations don't believe that Christ was born of a virgin or was God in the flesh and therefore resurrected. What shall we do? Can those who reject this KEY doctrine of the Christian religion fill the pulpit of Bible beleivers without sowing discord? There is nothing evil with people picking with whom they will spend that one spirit-evacualted hour of the week.
First, let us note that Dr. Shelly always seems to have "Wine on the Mind." The Holy Scriptures which he "narrates" as inspired makes a pointed effort to identify the Passover "stuff" as The Fruit of the Vine. And Passover meant that any leaven or product of leaven was excluded from the house. However, Rubel has already declared that he will "take liberties" with John as John "took liberties" with Christ
Rubel Shelly: At certain times and places in Christian history, one had to submit to an examination of his or her faith by a person or panel of church officials prior to a time of communion. Those judged worthy to participate were then given a token that would be presented at the communion table.
Wouldn't this have been a wonderful time to honestly admit that the old "churches of Christ" put a stop to that nonsense. Or did that have to wait for post modernism?
Dr. Shelly forgets that the Restoration Movement came into existence because Thomas Campbell was threatened with excommunication for permitting another BRAND of Presbyterians to participate in the YEARLY COMMUNION.
The sacrament of Holy Communion was precious to colonial Presbyterians (and to members of other Christian churches). Presbyterians followed the Church of Scotland practice of "fencing the table"--of permitting members to take communion only after being examined by a minister who vouched for their spiritual soundness by issuing them a token that admitted them to the celebration of the sacrament. The custom continued in some Presbyterian churches until early in this century. The tokens shown here were used in the Beersheba Presbyterian Church, near York, South Carolina.
Presbyterian Communion Tokens
Rubel Shelly: There is also a great deal of division over baptism. Because of certain New Testament texts about the relationship of baptism to Christ or spiritual rebirth or remission of sins, baptism has typically been associated with membership in the Christian community and/or salvation. Depending on the mode (i.e., sprinkling, pouring, immersion) involved or one's age (i.e., infant, young child, adult) at baptism, a given believer or group might not honor a person's baptism.
That is assuredly profound: baptism is SUPPOSED to create division. It is the division point where we are MARKED as the children of God. The view that Christianity is supposed to have everyone at peace in a community or commune as one big family is not even postmodern: it is anti-Biblical and anti-rational. Jesus said:
Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. Matt 10:32
But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Matt 10:33
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Mt.10:34
For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Matt 10:35
And a mans foes shall be they of his own household. Matt 10:36
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not wMatt 10:37orthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
This simply means that Christianity is counter-cultural: you cannot baptize pagan practices or color them Christian. Being baptized was the confession which those in love with the culture could not afford. Why? Because being a Christian guarantees that your TEMPLE will be a little building with no charismatic music or other feature to attract anyone who is not in love with Christ proven by devotion to His Word and populated by people who have no slight urge to be applauded.
The CHRISTIAN SYSTEM is a body of believers engaged in SPIRITUAL WARFARE. Dr. Shely wants to make the sheepfold big enough to hold everyone. One of his "sister" churches in Nashville tried that and found out that they invited the wolves in to consume the sheep. Sure, heaven must be total unity but we are not there and faithful Christians will never be applauded or endorsed by popular attendance.
Perhaps the Christian Warfare is just too tough for those who would make church into a pagan system of "worship" which strokes everyone's pleasure spots.
Now, to the moderns, the New Testament texts are about all that we have to define the purpose of baptism. Through the use of NARRATIVE THEOLOGY, Rubel transmorgafied the exodus as the terminal condemnation of Israel into the BAPTISM OF THE HOLY SPIRIT and A PATTERN FOR CHRISTIAN WORSHIP AND COMMUNITY (commune). However, the Word of God rests where it has always rested and it will say the same thing when Postmoderns are exposed to utter ridicule like pagans who observed days and believed that the old world passed away and was reborn.
Baptism means to thoroughly wash or totally immerse: therefore, pouring is pouring and sprinkling is sprinkling but they are NOT baptism or a burial. They are not figurative of the death and burial of Christ and therefore are not baptism.
Baptism is the conscious, repentant effort of one able to believe in Christ, die to self and submit to the NON WORKS act of baptism.
Rubel Shelly: She might be excluded from membership in a given church. Or she might be judged to be unsaved.
The Pharisees were POST MODERN but Jesus was a MODERN. Therefore, as MODERNS we have to subscribe to CHRISTIAN teachings in order to be a CHRISTIAN or DISCIPLE. One CERTAIN New Testament verse has a CERTAIN Jesus issuing a direct command which has not been rescinded by postmodernism:
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16
Until our time most of Christendom has believed that the gospel reaches beyond seven core facts about Jesus. Any good news is gospel and freedom from doctors of the Law was part of the gospel Christ preached as He "unloaded" those under the clergy burden of "spiritual anxiety created by religious ritual." Popular religious rituals don't work unless you "damage the goods" and sell pain as gain.
Paul said that salvation, meaning DELIVERANCE, is where God delivers us into the Kingdom belonging to the Son. That is, we are INCLUDED when we obey Christ:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: Col.1:13
Jesus said "my words are Spirit and Truth." Therefore, those who DRINK OF HIM have His Spirit. If we are baptized according to that ONE SPIRIT then we are baptized into one body and are therefore MEMBERS of Christ:
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free;
and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1Co.12:13
When the Spirit of Christ leads us to baptism we receive the gift of A holy spirit which means that we discern the Word according to 1 Peter 3:21. This means that those who have not requested this new consciensiousness at baptism are not part of the family and we have no right to declare that they are. This is the obverse side of the JUDGMENTALISM coin.
The JUDGMENTAL DECISION should be to ignore what level of the "circles of membership" one is and just teach the Word as an elder would HAVE to "teach that which has been taught" to be a shepherd of the flock.
Christ fully come in the flesh is denied by the Shelly teachings about a "family of gods." If Christ is not the ANOTHER COMFORTER as He promised in John 14:16-18 and people can claim that they have the ONE/THIRD Godhead living in and instructing their minds, then that denies that the Godhead indwells Christ fully. If Christ is the Spirit of Truth then we should not expect that the Holy Spirit "person" is going to teach us other than what Jesus taught.
Therefore, we are "stuck" with the original verses about baptism and being a Christian rejoices in that fact. Not too many are going to believe that postmoderns have a BETTER method of salvation just because it attracts a huge crowd of seekers of smooth things. Jesus promised to be with two or three but one doubts that He will be with two or three thousand.
For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Col 2:9
And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: Col 2:10
> In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Col 2:11
> Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Col 2:12
We are not saved by RAW FAITH. Rather, faith trusts in the Operation of God to save us when we rest in him by obedience.
The FAITH is in the OPERATION OF GOD. In Luke we see how one REJECTS the operation of God:
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Col 2:13
To quicken together is "to reanimate conjointly with or figuratively: quicken together with. Therefore, Paul says that we are INCLUDED IN CHRIST when OUR faith is in the OPERATION OF GOD. The old "modern" view would be that those who have not been baptized are NOT INCLUDED in Christ. To say so does not mean that WE EXCLUDE.
If you write off the EPISTLES as the product of SIFTING through philosophy and Paul's own personal agenda then you may be trying to CONVERT from faith in the OPERATION OF GOD explained only in the Bible to listen to one who has been "selected and trained by the sovereign grace of God" to be a LOCATED EVANGELIST.
MOST of history's PREACHERS have been postmodern in also denying the Word of God. Therefore, this is the same old attempt to destroy the ANVIL of history with the LAUGHINGLY-OBSCENE views of Postmoderns who even make fun of it themselves.
However, we have the prophecy of baptism, the type of baptism in Christ death, the teaching of Christ, the teaching of Paul and the teaching of all pre-Zwingli or Baptists views based on Calvinism INCLUDING the saved as the baptized believers.
Rubel Shelly: This sort of thing -- identifying a single event or ceremony as the badge of Christian identity and spiritual kinship -- is fully consistent with modernity. It provides a formula for including some and excluding others.
It draws a clear line between those deemed worthy of acceptance and those to be left out of the community.
I'm not at all sure this is how things worked in the earliest days of the church.
In the snip of scissors, the umbilical cord is cut and we are INDUCTED into an indendant life. One will go on to school but it is all made possible by a quck snip. Every change of status--and the new birth is a change of status--involves a certain defining STEP. One does not ooozzzeee into life.
We have noticed that in the postmodern world it has been popular to "infiltrate and divert" to change the church into a "theater for holy entertainment" or a "venue for Rock and Roll." That deliberately sows discord knowing that the old owners will not remain. Therefore, to add unbiblical practices which forces people to leave EXCLUDES THEM FROM MEMBERSHIP in the new style worship.
How is driving people out of community any better?
In the OLD MODERN world before the Bible got stripped of all but the CORE of seven facts ABOUT Jesus, WE didn't include or exclude. Rather, we just relied on the Spirit's message through Paul--whom moderns still believe wasn't confused--who told us how one is INCLUDED and by WHOM we are included.
And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Ep.1:13NIV
Don't stop too quickly: we are included when we HEAR but we know that salvation is not by a one-step process called hearing.
"Saved before baptism"? Then saved before the Spirit.
The Mark is:
Sphragizo (g4972) sfrag-id'-zo; from 4973; to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security or preservation (lit. or fig.); by impl. to keep secret, to attest: - (set a, set to) seal up, stop.
The promise is:
Epaggelia (g1860) ep-ang-el-ee'-ah; from 1861; an announcement (for information, assent or pledge; espec. a divine assurance of good): - message, promise.
And Peter told people old enough to sin, to hear and to believe what the promised mark is:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:38
For the promise (g1860) is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Acts 2:39
Those who were baptized were INCLUDED by the Lord because they were both baptized and saved in accordance with the only DIRECT COMMAND from Jesus.
And yet "hearing" is a discrete STEP because you cannot continue without hearing the Word. Can we logically say that those who have never heard the gospel are INCLUDED IN CHRIST and therefore are our brother or sister?
And they, continuing daily with one accord (unanimously) in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Acts 2:46
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added (Included) to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:47
The one accord allowed them to SPEAK THE SAME THINGS because they spoke or sang "that which is written." The discord possible from diverse musical backgrounds could be solved and unity exist if the assembly or synagogue was a school of the Bible. Here is a direct "musical" command:
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Rom 15:4
Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: Rom 15:5
That ye may with one mind (unanimously) and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ro.15:6
The claim to being postmodern is to claim to teach CONTRARY TO THAT WHICH IS WRITTEN.
This is self evident when contemporary songs are put on a par or rather superior to the "songs" composed by Christ the Spirit. Modern or post modern, the proof is in the pudding and if we sing Twila Paris we repudiate Jesus and if we use a "musical mediating team" then we refuse to let Jesus mediate the Word for us. That is indisputable.
Therefore, rather than ONE ACCORD the postmodern preachers deliberately sows discord because of their irrational views are MORE IMPORTANT than the Words of Christ.
Even the postmodern Pharisees grasped that allowing themselves to be baptized even unto a carpenter made them pledge to follow the carpenter as master teacher.
NO ONE is included as a DISCIPLE until they die to self and submit to the MASTER TEACHER.
Therefore, Christ INCLUDED us in the ONE BODY at the time and place of Baptism. Those who deliberately reject baptism reject the counsel of God and CANNOT be, if Scripture has any meaning, a Child of God. By definition, a SON follows the instruction of a FATHER.
The ONE ACCORD as family existed in the Jerusalem church ONLY among the baptized believers because those who were not baptized REJECTED THE COUNSEL OF GOD for their lives.
Therefore, Rubel Shelly is wrong about the UNITY IN DIVERSITY in the early church.
Rubel Shelly: In a postmodern world, lines of demarcation are a bit more blurred than they were in the period of modernity.
And in its most extreme forms, that blurriness is a bad thing. No action is really good or bad; everything is relative to a culture or circumstance. There is no ultimate distinction between truth and error; you have your truth, and I have mine. In these extreme forms of postmodern relativism, Christianity is neither better nor worse than Islam or Buddhism, agnosticism or atheism. One should remember, however, that moral and epistemological relativism was embraced by modernity as well.
Rubel Shelly: He (John) takes the sort of liberty you and I have encouraged this church to take with the slavery, redemption, wilderness trek, and other aspects of Exodus.
Rubel Shelly: I think they were responding to time and place by writing what they wrote.
They had their own personal, theological, pastoral, and evangelistic purposes in mind when they planned and wrote these documents that survive to us in the New Testament.
In the interplay of their free wills and the direction of the Holy Spirit,
they came up with an answer to their version of the question to put to you a few minutes ago.
They had to strain the story of Jesus through philosophical sieves. They had to create and clarify special terms. They made entrance into their circles a matter of "enlightenment" as reflected in peculiar vocabulary and interpretations.
In the meanwhile, the core gospel has survived two millennia now in its narrative form of telling the big story through collections of little ones about Jesus.
Sure. The Core Gospel defines the epistles which claim to be inspired to be sifted by philosophy and the personal agenda of the writers. There really is nothing new in POST MODERNISM. If Scripture can be "narrated" to fit the times or persons, then don't we say that Scripture is neither good nor bad but depends on HOW IT FITS ME?
Any bluring of the record is simply the most ancient heresy. "True for Me" IS the meaning of Narrative Theology. In the end, those who reject the "modern" conclusion that TRUTH OUT THERE exists independant of Me are usually written off as afflicted with having the head stuck in the belly button. The insanity is confirmed as suspected when postmoderns believe that they can construct an ideal Jubilee-like society which cures all ills. Wish that it could be but the true believer knows that he is living in a world almost entirely hostile to Christ unless He can be "colored" in a "respectable" form.
What we believe is that the demarcation is between what some of Rubel's friends identify as the old CHRISTENDOM ERA and the new Post-Christ, virtual pagan or witchcraft era. You might want to click to see how Lynn Anderson and others speak of the SPECTACLE OF WORSHIP.
What Rubel Shelly identifies as the OLD, DELITERIOUS MODERN WORLD was B.S. (Before Shelly). As a rider of the Pope's harlot call for THE ATONEMENT in the Jubilee, many preachers got caught up in the old pagan superstition labeled as Y2K and believed, like one postmodern told me that "Truth got sucked up into a black hole" and we are looking for NEW TRUTH. Well, the Virgin of Quadalupe didn't materialize to kill all of the pagans and masons according to one VISION, but once you deny the TRUTH of God He sends you strong delusions.
Rubel Shelly: The healthier side of postmodernity's rejection of rigid formulas in favor of blurred lines of distinction is not difficult to see and appreciate.
Blacks and whites, rich and poor, scholars and illiterates, citizens and refugees -- all can have a seat at the same table of opportunity. There will be less class consciousness. There will be fewer acts of unjust discrimination and intolerance.
Jesus made baptism a rigid formula for those who hear the Word. There is no way to put a meat tenderizer on that CORE DOCTRINE of Jesus and His gospel.
Rubel and his friends substituted a PARADIGM to replace old PATTERNS. But adopting synonymns will not make changes. Rubel's "rubber wineskin" is just as rigid as the old "wineskins" because it EXCLUDES those who don't believe that Christianity is a pluralistic commune.
The fact that blacks have a seat at the table is based 100% on the Blacks TAKING the rights guaranteed by the constitution and the Word of God.
One doubts that those who claim that schizophrenia is part of being MAD in the postmodern "paradigm" had a jot or tittle to do with the blacks TAKING their rights. There is nothing in any postmodern's WORLD VIEW which will allow a non-Phd to teach in the seats of "higher learning." Therefore, the "scholars" have carved out one of the most MONEY DRAINING ghettos which excludes those who preach the Dictum that God commands, examples and infers and any disciple should long to catch the Mind of God.
One suspects that there is as much SPIRITUAL slavery in postmodern churches where, like the towers of Babylon, their giving and living are ordered around a ministry system to keep them occupied in a FAMILY or COMMUNITY diluting the church by minimizing education.
Rubel Shelly: Within the context of Christian discussion, I am encouraged rather than frightened by what I have called the "healthier side of postmodernity's rejection of rigid formulas."
It could very well move believers in Christ away from institutional models of church to an organic model.
Christians might think less about institutional religion and more about the body of Christ, less about denominational distinctions and more about organic ties to one another.
"Not too long ago, intolerance meant rejecting or even persecuting practitioners of other religions. Not any more.
"Now, intolerance means questioning the validity of any aspect of another's religion.
To the majority of Americans below fifty today, questioning the truthfulness of another's religious views is intolerant and morally offensive.
"This prohibition against differing with other's viewpoints is postmodern. The Postmodern Method: Religion Jim Leffel and Dennis McCallum
An institutional model can be found in any mega-churches which preach the social gospel and have a PYRAMIDAL MINISTRY SYSTEM like that which God cursed Israel with when they rejected Him as their King and Teacher. A mega-church cannot exist as an organic or family relationship. We have heard of one church which fired the vocational deacons and turned their work over to HIRED MINISTERS (deacons) with a berth on good ship lolly pop for a MISSIONARY IN RESIDENCE. Such churches cannot exist without being almost 100% an institution. Some even do commerce as Scribes of sellers of books.
An ORGANIC model is a group who ASSEMBLES which means SYNAGOGUES. They come together to preach Christ in the supper and to make church into A SCHOOL OF THE BIBLE. All of those programs destroy the true church as an educational institution. It is an alive organizm because they allow Christ to be the head of the body.
It is reasonable that one is NOT frightened by one's own view of the Bible as totally sifted of historical fact. However, when Shelly has John writing ONLY AT THE INSISTENCE of the Ephesus Presbytery, he is using the POST MODERN VIEW. In the evaporation of ethics in the post-modern 90s it is not considered wrong to rearrange historical and biblical facts to make a point:
The MODERN VIEW: FACT The POSTMODERN VIEW: FICTION
- Eusebius speaking only of the ORDER of the gospel accounts:
- But, last of all, John,
- (himself) perceiving that the external facts had been made plain in the Gospel,
- being urged by his friends,
- and inspired by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel
- Rubel Shelly: Eusebius of Caesarea was a church historian who claimed in the early fourth century that the apostle John wrote his Gospel
- only at the insistence
- of his disciples and fellow presbyters at Ephesus.
- Eusebius, Church History, 6. 14. 7.
Do you grasp what POSTMODERNS do to the MODERN and ANCIENT documents just to claim that the gospel of John was in part inspired by and VALIDATED or given the imprimatur by the PRESBYTERS in Corinth? And that proven FACT means that we VALIDATE our own version. But if the FACT is not a FACT then the conclusion is FALSE.
Adding -2 and +2 comes up as 4 and this gives us authority to hear those unspoken words of Jesus. However, John York stutters but claims IF SO then--------
"I know that's a bit of overkill on something quite insignificant! But there are other double meanings here that are significant.
IF # 1: What if the testimony that is true, that to which "we" bear witness does goes beyond John to his original audience --
IF # 2: and even to us?
IF # 3: What if the many other things done by Jesus not written in this book
are to be heard as the ongoing activity of Jesus
in the life of those Spirit-filled followers?
If you are a MODERN you might think that this is dishonest, but postmodernism allows us to BLURRRRR the truth of God and make the terminal sin of Israel in the Exodus into a pattern for Christian worship and community.
You might call it MAD but schizophrenic postmoderns call it MAGIC! The millennium is here, we can disregard the "Christendom era," and we can write our own SCRIPTURE to fit our own times. Eve did that in the garden when attacked by a musical enchanter.
Rubel Shelly: If that should happen, we might learn to think, speak, and live more as the church did in its early history than it has of late. If it should happen, we just might be more like Christ's original vision for his church.
That is a fact but that will empty all of the PROFESSIONAL roles unless they are willing to GO and preach "that which has been preached." Without the clergy with turf to protect it would be possible for diverse opinions to meet together to synagogue or read and discuss the word of God.
However, when you FACILITATE the introduction of pagan worship teams then those who follow Paul's direct commands are DELIBERATELY EXCLUDED from being part of the "family."
Alfred T. DeGroot claimed that those who took liberties with the Bible were called CHURCHES while those who followed the Bible were SECTARIANS. He can, with a straight face, pervert the Word just to make his point.
The "original" church had no located evangelists. The "preachers" were the Pastor-teachers which were recognized to be the Spirit Equipped elders and deacons who didn't get a salary. Restoring that would solve MOST of the division.
And for who was permitted to take communion we think that the EARLY church will not validate the conclusion that WE are exclusive because we exclude those whom Christ excludes:
Justin Martyr: Baptism
Chapter XIV.-Righteousness is Not Placed in Jewish Rites,
- But in the Conversion of the Heart Given in Baptism
- by Christ.
"By reason, therefore, of this laver of repentance and knowledge of God, which has been ordained on account of the transgression of God's people, as Isaiah cries,
we have believed, and testify that that very baptism which he announced is alone able to purify those who have repented; and this is the water of life.
But the cisterns which you have dug for yourselves are broken and profitless to you.
For what is the use of that baptism which cleanses the flesh and body alone?
Baptize the soul from wrath and from covetousness, from envy, and from hatred; and, lo! the body is pure.
The church was primarily for members who never took the communion with musical elevator music in the background. Non members were excluded.
Justin Martyr: -Administration of the Sacraments.
But we, after we have thus washed him who has been convinced and has assented to our teaching,
bring him to the place where those who are called brethren are assembled, in order that we may offer hearty prayers in common for ourselves and for the baptized person, and for all others in every place, that we may be counted worthy, now that we have learned the truth,
by our works also to be found good citizens and keepers of the commandments,
so that we may be saved with an everlasting salvation. Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. [No clergy prayer leaders here.]
There is then brought to the president of the brethren ("to that one of the brethren who was presiding.") bread and a cup of wine mixed with water;
The early church assemblies WERE NOT tools of evangelism. While outsiders were invited to the assembly, some held it to be sinful to sing hymns to God in the presence of unbelievers. Others almost always had the members go into a private room to eat the supper. Justin implies that the evangelist goes out and teaches. Only after he has been baptized is he part of the assembly.
Rubel Shelly: In particular, what if -- in good biblical and postmodern fashion -- we thought of salvation more as a process than an event?
What if we understood spiritual transformation as something that takes place over time rather than instantly? What if we used biblical figures of speech like "pilgrimage" and "birth" rather than "church member" and "getting saved"?
Postmoden and biblical must be an oxymoron.
Jesus said "go make disciples." Therefore, baptism must be seen in the normal proselyte or commercial baptism.
In order to become a DISCIPLE of John the Inventor to learn his trade, you first have to AFFIRM or justify the teacher. If you refuse that POINT ACTION John doesn't speak to you.
In the Biblical world you could not begin that process without baptism.
Jesus won't let you hear His Word until you ask Him for a co-perception at baptism.
1 Peter 2:21 says that baptism is where our bodies are washed and we REQUEST a clear conscience or consciousness from God. That word means to become a CO-PERCEIVER. And in 2 Cor. 3 Paul told the Jews that the veil would not be removed until they TURNED TO CHRIST.
Therefore, any DISCIPLING process BEGINS with one small step: if you don't pledge to keep secrets, the CIA doesn't take you as a DISCIPLE and your PROCESS of "salvation" never gets off the ground. ALL action begins with a discrete step but because we are not brain surgeons when we sign up for the course does not mean that we can be accepted in the family of brain surgeons just to prove that we are broad minded.
In the same way, Jesus said that BAPTISM is the mark of discipleship and whatever preachers decide, Jesus says that HE will not take you as a disciple if you REJECT THE CONSEL OF GOD FOR YOUR LIVES. And why should He. And Y2K doesn't change God's mind.
If one doesn't go through the CIRCLES OF MEMBERSHIP of the Purpose Driven Cult or the Willow Creek Cult, one is accepted as a dues paying member just like any COMMUNITY CHURCH. However, none of them, including Rubel Shelly, will allow you FULL fellowship and the key to the pulpit at the Holy Place until HE has certified you as NOT gonna teach against musical worship teams as Christ's replacement as the "mediator between man and God." Or in Rubel's word, "lead you into God's presence."
And postmodern ecumenical sentiment will not pull any wool over the Christian Church's eyes: they will accept Rubel in fellowship AS LONG AS Rubel CERTIFIES their instrumental music practice OK. Rubel's brand of ecumenical buddy bonding ALWAYS leads to the Christian Church confiscating the property and EXCLUDING the old owners from teaching against music on the grounds that NOW, that would be sowing discord. We have some first hand proof of that.
Rubel Shelly: In other words, what if we retrained ourselves so that we no longer looked to a single event like the sinner's prayer,
or a church vote to validate someone's status as a Christian but to the direction and tone of his life over time? What if we looked for direction rather than perfection in one another's spiritual life?
Jesus told the Apostles to go preach the Word and to
Make Disciples by
Further teaching the WORDS of Jesus Christ.
Thes DISCIPLES (students) were known as Christians or Christ followers.
Therefore, only a baptized believer is a CHRISTIAN.
If the "church" is a synagogue where Jesus, the ONLY Teacher, instructs us in twos or threes there will be no LINES drawn.
Paul defined the assembly as the synagogue in Romans 15. This would solve the intrusion of extra Dionysiac or Orphic "music" to bring down the presence of the gods. Then, all kinds of diverse opinions could meet in the SCHOOL OF THE BIBLE. There, everyone can glorify God with one Mind and one MOUTH by using "that which is written."
Only when "church" is ritual temple must lines be drawn to protect the PULPIT from vipers.
Lumping the sinner's prayer and a church vote with immersion puts them on the same par but immersion is commanded by Jesus and practiced by the apostles but the other COMPARABLES have no Scriptural foundation.
Therefore, the ploy of rejecting the sinner's prayer and voting into membership DOES NOT at the same time reject IMMERSION.
The reactionary conservative and the radical liberal are obverse sides of the SAME COIN. The once urge to exclude now wants to include. As Chico would say: "Not my job." However, even Rubel will continue to teach until HE is convinced that a disciple has SATISFIED his requirements to be a voting member controlling his salary. Most churches don't presume to make that judgment but continuing to teach implies a process of growth. We believe that the Bible calls that sanctification and not salvation.
No church looks for perfection but everyone has and ASSUMES the right to decide who will be authorized as a teacher. Church leaders were awake in the modern era, have heard all of the stuff the post moderns have and will not fall for the sucker bait that a CHURCH SOCIETY has no right to limit its membership. Dr. Shelly's COMMUNITY or FAMILY OF GOD should suggest that not everyone can become a member of a FAMILY except by birth or adoption.
We are aware of none of the old rotten "modern" churches of Christ which makes a test of who can attend, who can sing, who can pray, who can listen to announcements, who can take communion, who can eat potluck, who can work on behalf of the property or anything Rubel's straw man assumes. What everyone does and what Rubel does is to decide who will be authorized to teach or serve. Even then, most churches take the new member's word that he is a "member."
You simply cannot be a CHRISTIAN and reject the counsel of God as Rubel seems to do with every "counsel" but his seven CORE facts:
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. Luke 7:29
But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. Luke 7:30
Dikaioo (g1344) dik-ah-yo'-o; from 1342; to render (i.e. show or regard as) just or innocent: - free, justify (-ier), be righteous.
Jesus not only said that the DOCTORS OF THE LAW reject the counsel of God but they are active EVANGELISTS in taking away the key to knowledge. Therefore, Jesus fired them all.
Rubel Shelly: After all, I've known some people who have been baptized but who use God's name in profane ways or abuse their children or mouth and model racism. Is the event of their baptism enough to offset their way of life?
I know some baptized people who take God's name in vain by repudiating the ONLY record we have of the MIND OF CHRIST which Paul identified as THE HOLY SPIRIT (1 Cor. 2). I know other baptized people who TAKE AWAY the property of other churches and brag about it. However, that says nothing against baptism.
If every person on the earth were baptized, and every person took the Lord's name in vain that would not change ONE JOT OR ONE TITTLE of the inspired Scripture. To claim that the post modern view as a product of philosophers bull sessions changes the WORD OF CHRIST is a bit of madness as postmoderns sometimes confess. And there are lots of PM joking about PM on the internet. Unfortunately, some preachers have too much time on their hands and just lap up any garbage current view and make it into a MONEY MAKING MACHINE.
Rubel Shelly: Is church membership sufficient to compensate for moral and spiritual failure? On the other hand, I know people whose baptism is defective on my understanding of the Bible but whose passion for God and uprightness of character left no doubt that they were light-years more spiritual than I am. Should I judge them to be lost? Doubt that God's grace is sufficient to cover any defect in their theology while praising it to offset my pride or selfishness?
Only Christ adds us to the church. I'll bet that if Satan met at the coffee shops and bull sessions, all of us would mark him as the most saintly person in the world. How can Dr. Shelly identify who is what? He might batch with friends who do SPIRIT SPEAK but Jesus would probably identify the vocational preacher who hates baths out packing food for flood victims as spiritual. He sure fooled the doctors of the law on the first trip!
"Spiritual" relates to the WORD of Christ because the MIND OF CHRIST is the Holy Spirit. And Jesus said "don't look at the flesh: my Words are Spirit and Life." Therefore, one who plays dice with the Words of a Holy God can have no SPIRIT and certainly does not have A holy spirit.
Jesus didn't say, "Go judge hearts." He said, GO preach the gospel and Paul never put people through a TEST OF SPIRITUALITY before he began preaching. Jesus preached to the clergy as did Peter. It is JUDGMENTALISM to decide who is or who is not a Child of God other than the test laid down by Jesus and practiced until Zwingli.
The task of Rubel Shelly is to PREACH THE GOSPEL which includes more than seven facts about Jesus. Then, with this GOING AND PLANTING we can trust God to give the increase.
That will free the FAMILY to develop all of the junior males to become pastor-teachers who are less likely to soak up the latest fad and therefore sow less discord.
They don't train you to be a warrior until you enlist. But enlisting doesn't make you a warrior.
Note: Only summaries of the lessons in this series will appear online in text format. The full content of each sermon will be available in audio format.