Murmurs and Antagonisms

Orthodoxy via Heresy

Month: August, 2013

On Exchange

Previously I began to address the radical nature of law vs. gospel within the scriptural context. But, did not set out any nuance (mainly because I am not fond of nuance-ing everything). This post is an attempt at that.

If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(L)”> established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come,<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> one in the order of Melchizedek,<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> not in the order of Aaron?

Not only did death come via the Law but perfection could not be attained through it. The Law was created to pass away. 

For when the priesthood is changed, the law must be changed also.

The priesthood is no longer with Aaron and his heirs but is now with Melchizedek and his heir. And with this heir there comes a change in the Law. But saying the Law has changed seems okay. It’s kosher within Christian circles to say the nature of the Law changed but isn’t set aside. Yet, the bible leaves us no room for the comfortable. 

The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless…

The Law was created to pass because it is weak and useless. The goal was perfection and the Law was useless in achieving this goal. Ergo, it has to pass. 

and a better hope<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> is introduced, by which we draw near to God.

This hope is one of an indestructible life. Again, the tension of death vs. life. Death in and by the Law and life in and by Christ. 

Through whom we live and move and have our being. 

On Law and Gospel

Now if the ministry that brought death,<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory,<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(N)”> transitory though it was…


The Law had a temporary glory, one which passed away into a newer, more full one. The language we use to discuss this is that of law vs. gospel. While accurate it isn’t quite as blunt as the language of the bible. 

…For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 

What are these letters? …The ministry that brought death,<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(M)”> which was engraved in letters on stone… 

The letters that kill(ed) are/have passing/passed away, and are now gone/going. 

…The same veil remains when the old covenant<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(U)”> is read.<span class="crossreference" style="background-color: white; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 0.65em; font-weight: bold; vertical-align: top;" value="(V)”> It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away.

In Jesus there is freedom, a radical freedom, from these letters, this Law. It’s not about a bunch of laws and some euangelion but about death and life. The Law brought death, but no longer because it is taken away. In its stead there is the Spirit which brings life to all. 

Love – Antithesis

Love is kind – “I wanna kill people so I’m gonna join special ops,” guy at school.

Love does not dishonor others – “God hates fags,” Westboro Baptist Church.

Love keeps no record of wrongs – “We will never forgive, we will never forget,” Anonymous.

Love is patient – “Come quickly Lord Jesus.”

God Suffers

God the Father suffered loss.

God the Son suffered physical and emotional pain.

God the Spirit actively suffers.

There is plenty within scripture to suggest that God suffers. When we see the lowest of the low, the least in every way within society, there is Jesus, suffering along with them. When the Church suffers in some way God suffers. In the garden of Gethsemane we see a suffering God.

Only a God who suffers with us actively is a God who can truly save us.

On the Abuse of Truth

I feel bad for truth. It’s been so abused of late. And more, I feel anger at Churches. There’s this mentality that biblical faithfulness should trump all. “I want to be faithful to the bible,” and the statement which underlies that one is this, “so I’ll trumpet the biblical text from the rooftops exactly how it’s stated therein.” No, no, no. Can I say it any more clearly?

We, as Christians, tend to treat the lifestyles or actions we call sin as if they are some abstract idea/entity/thing/whatever that has taken hold of some group of people. This is where the problem lies. We, too often, tend to address the sins of people (when we also fail to have a clear, and effective definition of sin) without realizing they’re still (shocker) human. They have feelings, emotions, reactions, thoughts, desires. They feel pain. The reason why people become so outraged at Christian ideals and call us bigots is because we forget their humanness in the desire to be faithful to a book.

Last I checked Christ calls us to be gracious in our speech. He wants us to speak with truth and grace. When we fail to speak truth with grace, in some ways, we fail to speak truth at all. It becomes a clanging noise. Just empty words which we shout in the name of biblical faithfulness and, therefore, words without meaning.

More Thoughts on Doubt

In light of a previous post on the subject it seems appropriate to attempt to clarify or expound further upon the issue raised therein. Where is the line that Rilke seems to be drawing between a doubt that is a worker in your life and the implied giving in to doubt that becomes skepticism?

Doubt is the natural outpouring of the soul when confronted with the pain of reality, not even the pain necessarily but simply reality itself. It’s simply wonder at what you do not know, or cannot know. More clearly, doubt is the experience of the soul. 
The line between doubt and skepticism is one of questions. With one the questions find their origin in a wonder that has been disciplined; in the other the questions are asked incessantly without ever disciplining and tailoring them to your needs, to becoming useful. Discipline and questioning, this, it seems, is the line.