Wednesday, January 23, 2008

An Exposition of the Gospel: Anticipated responses

Anticipated responses:

NT Wright once said that the problem with writing is that you have to say everything all the time. Lacking any sort of literary omnipresence I have written and responded to some anticipated responses.

How does CIU take the blame for someone perverting the standards for self-justification? How can you call that sin?

I would point to Matthew 23 as biblical precedent. Jesus calls them children of hell, and says that the fruit of their missionary labor is that they have made them twice as bad! Paul says in Galatians to those who preach a different Gospel, “Goddamn them to hell forever!”. James warns about how teachers will be judged more strictly, if, this is not compelling enough to say that is sinful, all can rest assured that those who have bound the consciences will give account before God for it. People's misunderstanding about the Gospel is their sin yes, but attempts for precision must be made.

The standards are community rules, so how does your argument still apply?

There are a few problems with the idea that the-standards-are-just-community-guidelines-so-we-all-can-just-get-along. If the standards are community guidelines, first of all I have never heard any CIU staff or administration articulate this position, in fact quite the opposite that CIU is a “boot camp” or “testing lab” and that the standards are to be practiced for all of the Christian life. Where are all the standards about how I spend my money? Where are questions about procreation? What about effeminate guys who are prolonging adolescence? How I treat my parents? What about how I treat the environment? The selectively of which particular questions and standards are included is undeniably rooted in early 20th century southern American fundamentalism.

Secondly, if they are just guidelines than why am I asked about my prayer life, diet routine, views on miraculous gifts? Why am I required to go to entire days of prayer? These rules are nothing like U.S.C or the government trying to enforce a speed limit. I think there is a great bait and switch going on here. Corporate times of worship, prayer days, imposed accountability, “looks like a church, smells like a church, oh wait it’s a bible college”.

You should exercise integrity because you signed the form saying you would”

Scripture commands us to throw off the things that so easily entangle us, so that we may run the race with endurance. I happen to believe that more than throwing off immorality, deceit, covetousness, and pride, we throw off the need to meet the demands of the law. My personal experience has been that works righteousness is much more of a snare than pornography. Believing that my actions can help achieve spiritual growth and maturity is much more subtle and in that way more dangerous than smutty websites.

Well if your so smart why don’t have you a plan to replace the standards?

I would suggest one of two routes. Throwing all “spiritual” rules out the window and pushing for an actual academy. The second would be to throw out all rules that are not New Testament imperatives. Even the most staunch dispensationalist would find that commands of the NT are impossible to attain, and this too would miss the thrust of those commands.

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