Is it Fear?
If you read my blog yesterday, you know that I wrote a very short post about something I'd read in an Eldredge book that is ministering to me this week.
When I did that, I neglected to mention that Eldredge is sometimes a bit controversial (it was brought to my attention by a precious friend, thank you sister). He gets accused of all sorts of things, depending on the particular group pointing the finger, but sometimes, it is as serious as heresy.
Now, I've read quite a few of his books and I don't believe that the man is a heretic, however, I do understand why he gets accused of it. I think what it boils down to is that what he writes of tends to be difficult for some people to understand personally.
He's kind of a touchy feely guy. He leans toward the mystical and that just freaks a lot of Christians out altogether. He talks alot about emotions and wounds and how all of that plays out in our lives. He speaks of the cosmic battle as if he understands it and has been involved in fighting it actively, as if he's a warrior alongside his warrior princess (that would be his wife Stasi). I've noticed over the years that such talk tends to make a lot of Christians extremely uncomfortable.
And often, when something makes a Christian uncomfortable, he's very sorely tempted to point a finger and scream heresy.
What people are uncomfortable with varies greatly from one person to the next. For example, many conservatives are very discomfitted when they see tongues being practiced in the church. Most groups are a little freaked out when people are manifesting or casting out demons. Some more liberal churches get really anxious when you begin to define sin and name specific sins. Charasmatic churches are a bit put out when you point out things about 'order in the church' from Scripture. Evangelicals wig out if a woman is ministering.
Each group has its areas where we get leary of another point of view. Have you ever wondered why?
Why are we so certain that our interpretation is right?
Why are we often unwilling to even hear another point of view?
Why are we so ready to point a finger at another group of God's children and label them as wrong, disobedient or flat out heretics when they see things from a different perspective?
Are we so very convinced that we have a corner on the market of hearing from God? That our group is the one group that has ALL of it's interpretations in proper order with the stamp of approval from Christ himself?
I'd like to suggest that it is FEAR that is the author of such suspicious attitudes. I'd like to suggest that we have given in to fear when we will not respect our brothers and sisters in Christ from other points of view enough to really consider their perspectives. We become afraid because......what if THEY are RIGHT? What if the way I've always looked at it turns out to be wrong, misguided, inaccurate or worse.....HERESY?
And so, like the Pharisees, we hide in our little Christian box. It might be stamped Evangelical Free, or Methodist, or Catholic, or Baptist (Fundemental, Southern, Missionary, etc), Lutheran, Assemblies of God. Whatever our brand, it's where we are comfortable. And the reason we are comfortable is because we are convinced that it's the 'right' way to think/believe.
Fear keeps us separated. Fear controls us, our thoughts, what we are willing to consider. Fear locks us up in a box not of God's making. Fear causes us to hate.
I don't mean to say that we should just believe everything that is out there with no discernment. But I do mean to challenge you to consider whether the reason that you won't even look at a different POV in matters of faith is really just because of fear. Our God is big enough to answer our questions when we come to Him in humility. If our goal as individuals is to seek Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, then can't we trust Him to allow us to find Him? And can't we also trust Him to do the same for the rest of His children as well.