Friday, April 11, 2008

Heretical Footprints

Just the other day, I got a response to an old, old post, where I re-imagine myself in the “Footprints In the Sand” poem. You may want to re-visit the original post for context.

Anonymous says: "This post and these comments insinuate that we are to try as hard as we can and then Jesus picks up where we leave off. The Gospel is entirely about us brining nothing to the table and that we are in need of total rescue--Jesus does it all. Unfortunately, this idea of pulling ourselves up by our spiritual bootstraps is an echo of the heresy pelagiansim. To be fair, it's semi-pelagianism."

I say:

Wow, I’m a heretic! Cool!

Hey, it’s not that I’m taking the admonition lightly; I just think Anonymous is making stuff up. As long as G-d doesn’t count me a heretic, I’m not worried.

First off, Anonymous isn’t really talking about Pelagianism at all.

Pelagius’ heresy (as I understand it) involved salvation, and my little exercise in imagination doesn’t even touch on salvation, merely how we live life. Eternal salvation is all Jesus, all grace. No question.

Pelagianism also says “without Jesus” – and my story is clear that Jesus is there all along (leaning, pulling). “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…”

So Anonymous’ complaint really is the issue of walking – that to say “though I walk through the valley” is in and of itself heresy, because it implies we walk. And, for a lot of La-Z-Boy Christians, Jesus does all the walking here.

The claim that the gospels are all about us bringing nothing to the table, that there is to be no effort in life on our part, that we aren’t to even try to act Christ-like (Jesus does it all for us!) – I’ve never seen any of that in the Matthew, Mark, Luke or John.

Cheap grace is popular – very, very popular. But it just plain isn’t Biblical.

Jesus said, “Anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me can not be my disciple.” (Luke 14)

I don’t see anywhere in the gospels where He says, “Don’t sweat picking up your cross, and don’t even bother following me – we’re good!”

Other things that Jesus never said:

“Go, and sin some more if you feel like it – it’s all on me!”

“Whosoever did this to the least of my brothers, boy were they wasting their time! I don’t care about what you do or don’t do!”

“I tell you this, whosoever looks at his brother in anger… so what? Like it’s any of my business.”

“Who was this man’s neighbor? So go, and don’t bother doing likewise.”

“Go ye into all the world, and… Just kidding!”

I don’t even want to start on the things that Paul never said, like “don’t sweat perseverance. It’s overrated.”

Just my thoughts,



Anonymous said...

It's just looking for the easy way out. Many people do it not just Christians. The thought is how can I do the least amount of work and still get what I want. Some people interpret Christianity as sitting back relaxing and letting Jesus do all the work. Some people approach parenthood as sitting back relaxing and hoping a pill will do all the work. In the end, I don't think either one is truley happy with the results. A little work and perhaps suffering makes for a more rewarding result.

Gaffney said...

Good point -- part of the quick-fix society. Like me wanting to lose weight without the diet or exercise parts...