“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete.”
~2 Corinthians 10:5-6 (NIV).
Phew, that’s a weighty Word, particularly verse 6.
I felt an equal weight when receiving an email recently from what I gather was a Christian fundamentalist—and all fundamentalists are dangerous in my view—who set to ‘lovingly rebuke’ me for taking a stance on an issue that I don’t actually have a set view on—against Christ, the Church, correct theology or whatever.
Still, thankfully my immediate response was a sort of feared effrontery—I felt for a moment I might’ve scathed the Lord, and thus, a healthy bout of the fear of the Lord set in. (I have found this is always of comfort as the Holy Spirit searches me—me ‘on the stand’ if you will—until I get to a point of either vindication or a commitment to repentance if I’m found in the wrong.)
With all conscience cleared I set to decide my relationship with this person.
Something the Fundamentalists often Forget
Fundamentalists might have their point to make, theologically speaking, but the way they often put forth or contest their point generally misses the mark completely.
They forget what Jesus said in Matthew 7:1-6. They forget that Jesus in their over-theologisation of the matters they’re fighting for. Their ‘plank’ is awkwardly in their way, as they focus on removing the little speck in the others’ eye.
When the false-teaching fundamentalist’s obedience is ‘complete’—per Paul’s charge to the Corinthians—they are most certainly more welcome to judge. The point is none of us truly get ‘there,’ and therefore judging people and situations is vicariously foolish.
Conforming our Thoughts to Christ
God says there is no reason for fear for those who love God. There are many biblical references to such a basic premise. This is the God we fall in love with.
Still, we’re to conform all our thoughts to Christ. He assures us, especially in our deeper fear, that there is nothing logical to worry about—if our moral consciences have been set clear.
There are No Real Threats for Those in Christ
The grace of our Lord is non-condemnatory in nature. God does not reverse his promises or make them conditional.
For us, those in Christ—saved by the grace of God—and repentant to the quickest and quietest call of the Holy Spirit into their lives, the status is always: no threat.
No threat is detected, for God has said through his inerrant Word:
“The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I will look in triumph on my enemies.”
~Psalm 118:6-7 (NIV).
It is the false teacher who would—through the Accuser—accuse us. When we conform our thoughts to Christ we see that the devil is trying to use God against us in a way that Jesus denounced. The false teacher should see they’re grieving the Spirit of God in their self-anointed, methodologically unbiblical ‘rebukes’ they issue, but the devil has invariably blinded them.
If it weren’t such a problem for the Church, God would laugh. Still...
Status: no threat.
Having conformed our fearful thoughts to Christ, what is coming against us, right now, that has similar status? Remember, status: no threat.
And do we now give these thoughts a second (or sixty-second) hearing in fear?
We go on with God—he alone commands our presence.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.