Welcome marathoners in and for Christ. (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1; 2 Timothy 4:7) Exhausted, depleted from running the Godly, good, and being-a-blessing-to-others race? Welcome. Sit. Relax. Let’s feast.
Feast of the Heart exists to help bring about Christ-centered “reformation, revival, and constructive revolution” (Francis Schaeffer, Death in the City) so that God will be glorified and people blessed.
Reformation… we seek to abide by and serve up the true truth, pure doctrine of the Bible
Revival… we seek to model biblical Christians living in word and deed
Constructive Revolution… we seek to spread the true gospel right where God has planted us with urgency, compassion, and radical self-abandonment
Series Preface: If You’ve Not Yet, Please Take a Moment to Remember the Context of “DON’T Let Sleeping Dogs Lie”
[In part, “The Proverbial saying, “Let sleeping dogs lie.” means we should avoid interfering in a situation that is currently causing no problems—but might do so as a result of “interfering”, speaking up, shedding light, judging between right and wrong, or making an uncomfortable, revealing observation in any way, shape, or form.
Please spend some time chewing on this claim: a) In a culture where [radical, unresolved] emotional ambivalence—defined as “the coexistence of opposing attitudes or feelings toward a person, an object, or an idea; warring, contradictory, incompatible emotions remaining unresolved in a person’s spirit; particularly complex emotions characterized by tension and conflict that is felt when someone experiences both positive and negative emotion simultaneously”—is the NORM… b) the vast majority of people make an unspoken covenant between each other to “Let sleeping dogs lie.”… Or, in other words, AVOID bringing up ANYTHING that reveals the rampant and disturbing emotional imbalance, warring in BOTH party’s spirit. Breaking this pact can be accompanied by high relational risks.
Discomfort, dissonance is the enemy of the emotionally unintelligent, worldly, conflicted human being. So let’s not stir one another up! Rather, just let sleeping dogs lie. And yes, regarding this dilemma, the church has taken on the same attributes as the world: Don’t go bringing up “the messy stuff.”” (John Dozier, The Training Table, November 8, 2017)]
WE MUST BREAK THIS HABIT OF THE UNEXPLORED, VULNERABLE, FEAR-FULL, NEEDY HEART.
The Sleeping Dog for Today’s T.T. Feast: “Do All Roads [Really] Lead to the Same God?”
I’m certain you’ve discerned a pattern in the first three parts of this series by now: fallen Image Bearers, all of humankind, prefer to fashion lesser god’s out of our OWN marred, self-centered, and self-perpetuated image. Each of the awakened, now-cantankerous dogs include humankind’s hope that God would lower the bar for His acceptance of what is needed for us thoroughly stained sinners to stand before a Holy God.
Whether we will admit it or not, there’s a still-small voice emanating from our fallenness that sounds like this: “It’s my responsibility to be free to do as I please, and it’s God’s responsibility to accept and forgive me regardless of my free-will choices.” End of story. But one-sided responsibility never works… in any relationship, does it?
So, by saying, insisting, or standing on the truth of a worldview, belief, and behavior akin to, “We’re All Children of God”, “God Loves Us Unconditionally”, or “All Roads Lead to God”, what we’re really doing is reshaping God’s PERFECT-HOLY identity, attributes, character in order to make as much room as needed for our own FALLEN-UNHOLY identity, attributes, character. Or idolatry by any other name.
That’s what all 2,800++ man-made religions do: a) we fashion idols into lesser gods, and b) we construe all manner of means and bizarr-o, nonsensical systems whereby we have to earn, vie, work, scratch, claw, vie, grovel, bootlick, wheedle, compare, did I say vie?!, apple-polish, lie… MERIT… our way to God’s favor. Ergo, we must bring God down to our level so that God can’t come near and see us just the way we are… which, of course, He does anyway—indelibly stained and in dire need of a savior TO COME DOWN. Our very dangerous subjectivity within MUST be effected on an OBJECTIVE source from without.
You’ve likely seen it hundreds of times. Does it give you a warm and fuzzy feeling of relief, bliss, and oneness? Or does the notion of all religions boiled-down, symbolized, and smashed together provoke, “BS! That’s from the pit of hell!” in you? Too strong? Think again… please, think again. It’s the perfect icon for what we’re here to weed out: “All Religions, Roads, Worldviews [What-the-Hell-Ever] Lead to the Same God” … oh, and “Peace-Out!” of course.
Here’s the rub, Beloved of God, in Christ, and by the Spirit:
- In an age of rampant relativity, we abhor “exclusivity”. But every religion makes exclusive claims about God—and they CANNOT all be equally true. Even though non-contradictory logic has been thrown on the trash heap of our relativistic age, it’s still alive and well: denying it doesn’t change that; it only eats us up from the inside-out: Trying to live a life chocked full of rampant contradictions does that.
- To lump all religions together for the purposes of “all-road-ness”, peace, unity, brotherhood, fairness, and Kumbaya-ness—is equally insulting to ALL religions. Ever had a chat with an even remotely devout Jew about “the New Testament Jesus”? Or a “completed Jew” [born again of Christ] telling you about how his or her family is treating him or her?
- An easily accessible “Religion 101 course near you” will make it obvious—each religion is different and each is based upon some way, shape, or form on the shaky foundation of works-righteousness. Sin-born and habitually-sinning human beings cannot span the infinite chasm between themselves and a perfect, unblemished, and holy God. Try as we may, it’s beyond impossible… But we try, try, and try again; God is polite enough to let us indulge ourselves in this insanity; His offer of the “It is finished…” cross to span the gulf stands; but when Christ returns all bets, man-made bridges, boasts, and blasphemies will be over… forever.
- Wars, and wars-upon-wars, have been fought… are being fought… will be fought… because there exists DEEP DIFFERENCES between religions! Man’s meddling in God’s salvific affairs CANNOT help but lead to war: they are, by nature, COMPETITIVE. Existentially so. Man-made religions vie for supremacy as the Only Supreme God, in Christ, and through the Holy Spirit stands as the only viable Way, Truth, and Life.
- The God of the Bible’s Plan of Redemption is the ONLY theologically, reasonably, philosophically, and anecdotally [how one’s religion intersects with everyday life] TRUE, and the most EXCLUSIVELY INCLUSIVE way (John 3:16) to resolve the utter, thorough, and heartfelt brokenness of the universe: our works cannot work… only grace, God’s unmerited favor, works God’s manifold wonders… in all the needed detail… in time and for eternity.
Let me be really frank: do you hate religious syncretism—the blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, or the incorporation into a religious tradition of beliefs from unrelated traditions—motivated, carried out, and taught to avoid the living God of the Bible… as much as God does? (Rom. 1:18-32)
All roads do not, can not, lead to the same God: but the world, the flesh [our own sin], and the devil would just as soon we stay on THE BROAD ROAD which leads to hell. Please, do not allow your sin, or anyone else’s God places in your midst, to bypass THE NARROW GATE. (Matt. 7)
Celebrate and praise God every minute of your life, in word and in deed, that He has made a Way, a Truth, and a Life in Jesus Christ—no one comes to the Father except by Him. If any of us have a complaint of any kind that God has made His only way too exclusive, hard, unreasonable, narrowly defined, or unkind… well, allow me to simply say that a complaint of this kind is a reflection of our denial [based upon ignorance and/or arrogance] of the depth of our sin AND the heights of God’s love. Amen.
See you all at The Training Table next week and we’ll feast by way of poking the sleeping dog, “Don’t Judge!”