Saturday, December 10, 2011


The final chapter of “A Place for Truth” is a “sermon” delivered by R.J. Sider, a controversial Mennonite professor of theology identified with the Christian left. He opens with a short statement regarding his having long ago conquered, as a historian, all his religious questions and doubts, all, that is, except one: the church. Naming two specific areas where he finds the Body, as a whole, to be “messed up” (our views of both the Creation and the Gospel), he immediately proceeds to share his own perspectives, reducing the first to being an Edenic work of the Creator and proclaiming it to be every believer’s divinely appointed to duty to restore wholeness unto it. He defines “Gospel” as “the kingdom of God already being in our midst, therefore repent and participate” (my attempt to shorten his words), equates Israel’s idea of a “Messianic order” with a society transformed both vertically and horizontally by a relationship wherein it knows shalom, justice, and a completeness, adding just after that bit of enlightenment how the way we enter into this community of believers is “by sheer grace”. My biggest problem with him boils down to his seeming lack of providing any real “identity” to the Holy Ghost, his “drive”, righteous though it may be, borne more out of his own determination than by any Spiritual tug on his inner man. I will admit, however, that I find most of us guilty of the same accusation, even to the point of confessing my own liability in such transgression. In this day and age, pointing to the Third Person of the Trinity in such terms might well tend to associate me with all the radical extremes that television Pentecostal evangelism has produced; but my own journey, while having encountered His presence, here and there, in enough depth to convince me of an inner re-connection with the Savior, nonetheless never has brought me to consider an authority other than His in the flow of things. Christ saves, heals, and corrects us as we go. It is a stumble down the path wherein He remains my rod and staff, my anchor-line, indeed my very source of life……

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