Nearly a year ago, I published two articles (“What
kinda company with God is possible?“, “The
third way of life in this world“) that claimed: immediate contact
with God is in no way that commonplace as most Christians believe.
Here, I want to add some thoughts to that tradition to get a sharp
criterion what kind of interaction (mediate or immediate) we are to
expect in what situation. But note that these are experimental thoughts
Criterion statement and explanation
Currently, I propose the following statement:
Currently, there are only two things to be said about God’s
initiative activity in relationship to this world: (1) the Gospel is
true, (2) God uses some supernatural phenomena to confirm that the
Gospel is true. All other phenomena are natural phenomena.
To explain: the Gospel is
God’s single and sufficient line of action to save this world. The
Gospel was promised immediately after the fall and unfolded by the
death and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Since it is in the world,
the Gospel has effect on the world and is traded on from man to man:
there are people who hear and believe it, get changed personally, and
thereby get motivated to preach it again. This makes up for a natural,
organic propagation of the Gospel – God does not need to add to this or
to coordinate this in any transcendent way. But there’s one thing that
calls for God’s immediate interaction with this world: to confirm the
Gospel’s truth by supernatural acts, as it’s no justified reason to
believe it as a message traded on by humans, as there is generally no
justified reason to believe humans. The Bible relates that God’s
supernatural activity is for this goal (Heb
2:3-4 ISV; Mk
Here’s a list of stuff that would follow from the above statement,
and is a subset of my current set of beliefs:
- Because God’s supernatural activity is to confirm the truth of
the Gospel, it’s not primarily to help
people in their individual lifes. Though this is often the effect of
God’s supernatural acts.
- Martin Luther had no individual, special calling from God. There
were social developments that led lateron to the enlightenment, and
their result within a sincere
believer of Martin’s character was the rediscovery of grace.
From this may be seen to what degree God wants this to be our world,
saved by the Son of Man, not by God’s continuous fighting against all
the evil in this world.
- Missionaries and other servants generally have no individual,
special calling from God. I don’t exclude exceptions, but even in
apostolic times, there were 13 such cases only (12 Apostles plus Paul).
- There is a personal relationship to Jesus, but in the sense that
Jesus and me are in some definite position to each other, depending on
his and my character, history, deeds, thoughts etc.. This relationship
should be taken care of, but it should not be mixed up with personal
contact, which is the very rare case.
- The theodicee question is only meaningful in the form “Why does
God hinder less evil than he does good in this world?” With above
statement about God’s concrete activity in this world, we find symmetry
here: he’s not involved in most good things that happen (in an
immediate way), so we cannot blame him for hindering just a few bad
things (in an immediate way). Me thinks we need to understand that he’s
God and we’re men … the difference in size is that incredibly huge that it’s
perfectly adequate that God saved this world through one huge action only (the Gospel)
instead of by fighting evil in millions of actions. The latter is our
task, as these are our size of actions.
- In continuation of the last point, we might observe that God
leads the large-scale things in our individual lifes (mainly, to accept
the Gospel). But it’s our task and that of our fellow humans to
influence how smooth that works, i.e. to lead and to help in the
small-scale things of life.
- If the Gospel and its supernatural confirmation is everything
that God does, everything else is human activity. This would reveal
many of our claimed God-given and God-created things in our
congregations to be psychology only, i.e. religion. That includes all
that hype regarding callings, impressions, worshipping etc.. You guys,
let’s love each other, and if that is done, enough has been done …
[quoted from old Apostle John, according to Christian tradition].
- It’s far off to blame God for leaving this world alone. He saved
this world by the Gospel, and even beyond that, he helps it mediately
by the effects of the Gospel.
- Normally, there is no supernatural reason for difficult times. In
Acts, affliction is attributed to man, not to the devil. This means, we
should keep our eyes open to see and help those who happen to come into
affliction, so that there is help for them in just time.
- Because God confirms the Gospel by supernatural acts, and because
it’s beautiful, fascinating and motivating to see this, we may and must
expect answers to prayer and concrete guidance by the Holy Spirit. But
we must keep in mind that this is to show the Gospel’s truth to us and
others. It’s not what we can
expect to happen as the average case in our relationship to God.
- In continuation of the previous point, we should view most parts
of our prayers as “applying Gods truth to our personal life”, as
“relating to God”, not as interacting with God.
- We may apply
psychology, sociology etc. where applicable: to motivate Christians, to
determine weak points in congregations, to grant professional help to
addicts before or after their conversion, etc..
The most interesting result of “Third way cont.” is probably that
it’s the firs viewpoint (to my knowledge) that combines simplicity,
justified faith and an adequate place for human wisdom and activity.
But of course, this whole viewpoint needs o be checked against the
biblical testimony (esp. Acts) and against reality … .
Start date: 2008-05-28
Post date: 2008-06-14
Version date: 2008-06-14 (for last meaningful change)