Wednesday, March 23, 2011
#227-Gnostic Pentecostals? Maybe. Hopefully Not.
There are two things I giggle at these days. This will be one of those:
A kind of gnostic Pentecostalism that forfeits itself and the Christian duty to reconcile the world and serve. By gnostic I simply mean a kind a Pentecostal who believes in a "secret kind of wisdom" that is revealed to them by God that is distinct from that which may be discerned by the Word of God (e.g. "God has revealed to my that Spirit X is attacking us and holding us back from revival.").
We all know it is Christ hanging dead from a tree that saves us. However, for the gnostic Pentecostal, they would be much more comfortable with Christ's sacrifice being done in intense prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (though that scene is remarkably moving). Christ however did not bring salvation by praying for a revival vis-a-vis breaking spiritual strongholds in the mystical "spiritual realm" that sets up a kind of Christian dualism. Instead Christ brought salvation and restoration by allowing us and our sins to kill him. We killed God and only in that innocent body of the dead God-Man can we find the awe-inspiring love that he intended for us. Yet these Gnostic Pentecostals for reasons that I find comedic, cannot grasp that Christianity is absolutely about action in the here and now. Instead they find strength in prayer and talking to God and also sometimes deluding themselves into thinking there is some authority in uncut hair other than simple obedience, if they interpret I Corinthians 11:1-16 as a universal command.
Christianity should not be an escape, but rather a confrontation with the world separated by a holiness unto God. But for gnostic Pentecostals, they avoid the confrontation with the world and escape instead to confront an enemy which nobody can see. For Gnostic Pentecostals,
To confront Satan as the problem of why our church is not growing is much easier than to actually try engaging with a culture and world that is foreign to us.
In other words, Gnostic Pentecostals live their Christianity in prayer acting like that does anything to saving the world instead of actually taking action in saving the world. It is not that praying does nothing, but along the lines of Kierkegaard, prayer doesn't change God, but rather prayer should change the one who is praying. Thus in terms of saving the world, talking with someone about God or helping someone out with a chore around their house will be much more productive in terms of redemption than simply praying for them (of course prayer is a good supplement).
The reality though, for such Gnostic Pentecostals, they preach much, pray more, tell themselves about themselves about having the full truth (which apparently resides in a "spiritual realm") and follow a strict moral code based in Biblical obedience. They do all this so they can excuse themselves from doing anything of actually acting out a love for their neighbor (other than hosting a promotion Sunday on their very church grounds).
Thus such a brand of Pentecostalism (though this is certainly the exception amongst our populous) talks much to God and to themselves so they don't have to do anything. Love for your neighbor for them is done in prayer for them and sending warm Christmas cards or a text message saying "I have been thinking about you...Love you."
Thanks for that!
I'll take Jesus and a sacrifice that isn't defined by simply dealing with love by way of a prayer and complaining about split-ends...