Monday, August 18, 2008

God's Smuggler?

Since I began blogging a few weeks ago I have been considering where today’s Christians got started on the wrong foot. So much of what I once was so sure of is not in doubt. Oddly, it is not doctrine that concerns me. I have been blessed with some very fine instruction. It is application of sound doctrine that is the roadblock. My struggle of late goes back to last week’s blog about ranking sins and oddly, my Masters Dissertation. I literally wrote a book on church discipline. Don’t bother looking it up, it isn’t worth the read. It only has the tried and tired clichés that were accepted as good practice in the 60’s. It is institutional to the core and of little value in actual life. Back then I accepted an authority structure that is based on scripture. The problem is there is no real authority in any institution that is volunteer based. I cannot make anyone do anything and I certainly cannot keep them from sinning, try as I might. Here is the rub…As pastor I am expected to. I am not prepared to rewrite the book because I don’t have any answers but I would like to share some preliminary thoughts on discipline.
True authority requires some sort of stick to enforce it. I have no stick, just a soft covered Bible with pages so fine it won’t even give a good paper cut. It contains a power that is sharper than steel and cuts where no knife can reach. The temptation is to use the fencing “thrust and parry” to stick the point into sinners at large. That doesn’t seem to be working so well. When I do that I am trying to be the surgeon removing sin and the patient keeps jumping off the table. (If you didn’t get the subtle inference, the erring party just leaves). Here is where I think I have used the sword I have incorrectly. Oswald Chambers counsels “One thing is certain—He will never throw our past failures back in our faces”. Discipline as it is typically practiced in the institutional church has a tendency to stick our nose in our sin. Jesus never did that so why should I. Discipline is still an important part of the body of Christ but I am thinking I need to revisit HOW. My heart is settling on a more relational approach, ie what will facilitate reconciliation best? It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict of sin so I can forget that part. Sin carries its own consequences, so that is not my responsibility either. Do you agree that loving a sinner to repentance is NOT accepting, encouraging or condoning his sin but reconciling him to God? After 40 years I want to retire/resign as the head of God’s Gestapo. I’m thinking about becoming a smuggler. God’s smuggler. Will love smuggle sinners into God’s kingdom? What if their sin encourages others to sin? I’ll likely get into trouble with the Gestapo and the SS (super saints), but they gotta catch me first. I’m not all that worried. I already know for a fact there isn’t a thing they can really do to me anyway. Hey, maybe we could use this blog to start a new kind of underground railroad. We could smuggle some slaves to freedom. What do you think?

7 comments:

Aimee said...

I think it's a fantastic idea! I was just pondering this yesterday...exactly how is it that I never understood this until now? I spent my whole childhood and much of my adulthood not experiencing the true freedom of Christ. I lived under the bondage of "Christian institutionalism," believing the whole time that I was I was right. Now looking back with 20/20, it baffles me that it took this long! Well, I'm rejoicing now and eager to share Christ's amazing love with others. Love you Dad:).

Don Z said...

I love you too Aimee, always did, always will. As you know I wear glasses becasue my eyes are far from 20/20. Even with the corrective lenses I am still not 20/20 and have to change the perscription from time to time. Ususlly it is not much of a correction but still necessary to see as clearly as I can. I am thinking the eyes of my heart have a similar problem and will need continual adjustments. It is ok. I know a really good heart/eye doctor. Dad

Doni Brinkman said...

I started off laughing reading this and then ended with teary eyes. I love you Dad. I feel better being a smuggler too. I keep hearing Ty's little voice looking at me saying "What more can you possibly do to me?" :)

Aimee said...

Wonderful analogy(sp?) dad:).

Rick said...

Sign me up, I'll run interference. Glad to know you need a heart/eye doctor, all of us do. Grateful too, that he is accepting new patients. Again, Love You Brother

jolleyzoo said...

I'm with ya all the way. Great idea!!

Brooke said...

Its dangerous work, smuggling. Weilding a stick sounds better sometimes. It is of course, a great plan, one that will free the willing and worry most. But all in all, God is really quite fond of us.