Monday, March 13, 2017

The Revelation.4

"He who speaks only his own ideas, does so to gain honor for himself. But he who works for the glory and honor of the one who has sent him is true, and there is nothing false or vainglorious in him."
--Jesus
"No opinion, I repeat, is Christianity." 
-George MacDonald


1199_hf-dep.jpg (800×795)My wife and I were deputized after joining a county Sheriff's Posse.  How exciting to be fitted with a uniform and badge! It was, however, mostly ceremonial: parades, fairground parking patrol, fund raisers. No search & rescue or chasing bank robbers on horseback... And, rather unceremoniously, we were un-deputized after being told we failed to get the proper identification.  Another posse member was removed after it was learned he improperly used his badge to intimidate a local convenience store attendant! Choosing whom you want to represent your office can be difficult business!
 

Our friend George MacDonald wasn't shy about what he thought it took to represent the highest office revealed to man:

"...how many of us are such as God would choose to represent his thoughts and intents by our opinions concerning them? 

Who is there of his friends whom any thoughtful man would
"depute" to represent his thoughts to his fellows?...

I reply, that none can understand, still less represent, the opinions of another, but such as are of the same mind with him— certainly none who mistake his whole scope and intent so far as in supposing opinion to be the object of any writer in the Bible. 

Is Christianity a system of articles of belief, let them be correct as language can give them? 

Never."
MacDonald, George.  Unspoken Sermons II, The Truth In Jesus 

Is there any other way of knowing if a person is "of the same mind with God" than what their actions reveal about their faith?

Recently, pollster George Barna conducted an extensive research campaign called the "Worldview Measurement Project".  The objective was to determine if people who consider themselves Christians actually live out their beliefs. 

According to Barna: “It’s very important to know how many people have a biblical worldview because peoples’ behavior is driven by their beliefs – we do what we believe. In other words, our worldview determines the choices we make and the resulting actions we take,...Everyone has a worldview. The critical question is which one people have embraced. If we want to transform our culture then we will need to change the choices people make that produce that culture. And in order to change those choices we must identify the beliefs that led to those choices.

...in developing this instrument we discovered that someone may claim to believe something, but if their behavior does not reflect those beliefs, it is doubtful that they really believe what they claimed to believe,” Barna noted. “Jesus taught His disciples that the right beliefs are good, but the real measure of where you stand is what He labeled the fruit of a person’s life, referring to the product of applying one’s convictions. As a result, we created this measurement process with the intention of blending both core beliefs and core behaviors to estimate the biblical consistency of peoples’ worldview. Because that process involves both beliefs and behavior, with the intention of being an imitator of Christ, we chose to call such people Integrated Disciples. They are effectively blending their beliefs and behavior into a Christ-like lifestyle.”

So what did Barna discover?  Is there a significant gap between those who claim to be followers of Jesus, and those who, like Him, work to bring glory to the One they represent?  The results, sadly, speak for themselves:

"The survey of the general public revealed that 10% of American adults currently have a biblical worldview. That pales in comparison to the 46% of adults who claim to have such a worldview. How big, numerically, is that difference? With the adult population presently at an estimated 244 million, the 10% of the general public with a biblical worldview represents about 24 million who are Integrated Disciples, compared to roughly 112 million who would classify themselves as such – a gap of 88 million people!" (excerpts from https://www.culturefaith.com. Emphasis added.)

Still think that arguing your opinions about doctrinal issues will change the world?

Never!