Thursday, November 12, 2009

Culture wars:
How to Look Like a Hypocrite

[Point four of Jared Wilson's criticism of the "culture wars": (Index)]

Jered Wilson: "The 'culture war' is going to hell because . . ."

4. It is often hypocritical. It is the height of weirdness to expect people who don’t know Jesus to act like they do especially when we can’t get our own house in order. So long as large numbers of Christians continue contributing to the divorce statistics, the porn industry, and more acceptable sins like gluttony and gossip and greed, we have zero business telling the world how to act. Judgment begins at the house of God.
1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God?
Hypocrisy is an interesting subject when talking about followers of Christ. As I have been going through Romans the Gospel message has unfolded:
  • No one is worthy - no not one. No one is righteous by their own acts.
  • God, through Christ, imputed righteousness to us by our faith - not by our works.
  • Once we have been justified by faith, a process of sanctification can begin which extends into eternity.
  • During that process of sanctification, we continue to struggle with our own desires which pull us away from God.
  • It is the ministry of the Holy Spirit that gives us the supernatural help needed to win that struggle
In what one person described as "more than the mother of all Evangelical slacker verses", Paul talks about this internal struggle:
Romans 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual – but I am unspiritual, sold into slavery to sin. 15 For I don’t understand what I am doing. For I do not do what I want – instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I do what I don’t want, I agree that the law is good. 17 But now it is no longer me doing it, but sin that lives in me. 18 For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh. For I want to do the good, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want! 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer me doing it but sin that lives in me. 21 So, I find the law that when I want to do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God in my inner being. 23 But I see a different law in my members waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
All followers of Christ lose that war - far more often than we like - and then (hopefully) repent (turn away from) the sin and look back to Christ and continue that process of sanctification; and that internal war we are never free from. We are all hypocrites by Paul's lights: we all do things different from what be believe; and fail to do things we do believe in. All of us.

What is the best way to "look like a hypocrite" -- talk about "other people's sin". If you focus on enforcing morality on others by law, then you will constantly be at odds with your own inability to enforce that morality on yourself; and God has promised He will "bring you down" for that kind of self-righteousness and moralism. One can look at a long list of followers of Christ (Haggard, etc.) who were caught moralisticly preaching on a sin they themselves were continuing to commit.

However, if you talk about the Gospel (humbly of course), then you will be talking about your own failures and the only solution to that -- coming to the Cross; and allowing the Holy Spirit to change you from the inside out. I will finish as I will finish all of posts in this series:

Jered Wilson:
I choose the gospel. Come hell or highwater, come a liberal administration in Washington for the rest of my life or actual suffering. My treasure is not Christianity, but Christ. My hope is not a Christian nation but a Christ-saturated universe. I trust not in princes but in the King of Kings. I choose war on hell and death through the liberating power of Jesus in the glorious gospel of the grace of God.

For the glory of God.

it is incumbant upon Christians to work for right order and justice in the society in which we live. However, our duties to the Body of Christ, the Great Commission, and the Kingdom of God trump our requirements as Christian citizens of a nation state.

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How to debate charitably (rules are links to more description of rule):
1. The Golden Rule
2. You cannot read minds
3. People are not evil
4. Debates are not for winning
5. You make mistakes
6. Not everyone cares as much as you
7. Engaging is hard work
8. Differences can be subtle
9. Give up quietly