January 15, 2011

Thee Won't -Not- Thee Can't

When those that have any understanding of the terminologies in Christian theology speak to one another it is often lamented that many, even those in the church environment do not even know what words like sanctification, glorification and justification mean. I recently made a serious inquiry concerning this with people in and outside the church. I guess the real questions is: When have people ever been familiar and comfortable with these words or ideas? I believe understanding and comfort using these words has never been an issue of being "comfortable". I do not believe that these words just recently fell out of fashion and are no longer used. I believe they were never fashionable and no one except a few enjoyed using them.

It is the following same excuse in a different form, "I don't read the Bible because it is to hard to understand". The old style English is confusing, who talks like that anymore? My answer is that these people are right, the older versions are harder to read, so go get a new one like the ESV or NASB. These people do not complain because it is intellectually too hard to understand. It is too hard because it is (1) spiritually discerned and (2) it is too hard because they are sinful. For people to accept and use these terminologies there needs to be an ascent to what they mean.

To ascent to what these words mean or agree that words like this need to exist...is to describe an existent reality in a person's life (theirs in particular). That means that anyone who ascents to these terminologies also ascent to the reality of the thing/things the words describe. Examples below:


The truth be told...no one wants to admit they are any of these things: Sinner, reprobate or wicked. So it is easier to say, "I don't understand what it is trying to tell me." In this situation ignorance of the law/God's Word is an excuse in their minds. People figure if they don't know it they will not be held to its exacting standard. The problem with this is not true. They are without excuse.
So...this is why people need...

To be made righteous in the eyes of God or God's act of declaring or making a sinner righteous before God. Why? Because man is clearly not. Justification is done by faith in what Jesus' did on the Cross it is not by works lest any should boast of their own efforts

A need to be made holy. Why? because man is anything but holy...if anything just the opposite.

It is the completion, the consummation, the perfection, the full realization of salvation. For Christian it occurs after death of the person. The elect become perfected in Christ.

So there...I've just given you a bunch of the definitions of these words and you have read them....you now have no excuse for being ignorant of them.

"...the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked."  ~Luke 12:48

I do not buy the excuse that it is too hard to learn. We as sinners do not like the words. It is not an issue of not being able to understand or learn them. It has nothing to do with turns of phrase, idioms or colloquialisms of a given time period or century or a label given by a denomination. If people want there are plenty of pieces of reference materials to go back an reconstruct what people meant when they see all those "thee" and "thou". If anything is going on here, it is an unwillingness to learn them. It is an issue of "thee can't" or "thou won't'". The concept is simple, the ability for a sinful mind to be accepting of them is not. When you tell someone that they are lost you are telling them they have a need to become "unlost" and they need to seek and accept a Savior. People's sinful nature is to not like being told what to do or to admit they are wrong.

The concept is called perspicuity or the perspicuity of Scripture. As defined in Theopedia this is:
The doctrine of the clarity of Scripture (often called the "perspicuity of Scripture") teaches that "the meanings of the text can be clear to the ordinary reader, that God uses the text of the Bible to communicate His person and will...ordinary people, who approach it in faith and humility, will be able to understand what the Bible is getting at, even if they meet with particular points of difficulty here and there.
Many will have us believe, including the Roman Catholic church that Scripture is actually imperspicuous(unclear) apart from the interpretative framework of the Catholic church and tradition. This is nonsense and the Bible is quite clear about this. I will mention only two in the New Testament.

"For we are not writing to you anything other than what you read and acknowledge and I hope you will fully acknowledge--just as you did partially acknowledge us, that on the day of our Lord Jesus you will boast of us as we will boast of you." (2 Corinthians 1:13-14)

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

The farther we go into the past the more we realize it wasn't an issue of not even being able to read...most could not read. It was that they wouldn't even listen. These people couldn't even use the excuse that it was too hard to understand when reading because they were illiterate. Then then just ended up blaming the preacher or teacher for his failure to convey the intent and the meaning of passages. We are beginning to see this again in today's culture also. The infiltration of postmodernism tells us the we can not be certain of any meaning anymore.

The words of the Bible have never been incredibly popular with culture and the closer the words of the Bible come to telling the truth about the sinful and depraved nature of the person they are discussing the more likely they will be "too hard to learn". In my mind the issue has never been with the medium or method of communication but with the recipient of the message. Most people's "inbox" are purposely set to either filter this stuff out and quarantine it. People mentally filter what they do not want to hear and purposely play dumb to have plausible deniability. They treat the Word of God and God's statutes like junk mail. Their storage capacity is deliberately set so low so they have an excuse that they were overwhelmed and didn't have enough memory to receive and understand the message. Yet when you ask them a question about it they have an opinion. The truth is that they find the Gospel offensive and we are told specifically by the Gospel that this would be the case. People would find if offensive and foolish.

Sorry folks, its too hard to understand doesn't float with me. Especially if you are intelligent to have an opinion of it. Sounds more like willful ignorance or purposeful blindness. I believe the unwillingness to learn starts with the Scripture itself and extends to the surrounding terms around the Bible that help us understand concepts in the Bible such as sanctification and the like. If it requires any effort or any thought, it is too hard. Its the same problem that those folks have that complain they have to go to Church once a week on Sunday and how much of a struggle it is to "fit it in" to their schedule. Priorities people. It isn't about "how smart" its about "how willing".

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