Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Spiritual Freedom, Part V

I am not saying the idea of freedom is wrong. Please do not misunderstand. What I am saying is the freedom is only right when there is a knowable absolute truth. That is when we can have true freedom. 

And God is a God of clarity and freedom, not of chaos and confusion. 

So, where do we go from here? I tell you my idea of absolute truth and you tell me yours. I say that you misinterpret scripture and you rejoin with "the scripture doesn't need interpretation, it is simple and obvious to those with the Holy Spirit." And then you walk away believing I am deceived for clearly Calvin or Luther or Joseph Smith or Ellen White or you alone were given the infallible understanding of scripture and I walk away thinking you are deceived. 

This is the perpetual ending to these discussions.  

And yet, stirring in all of us who call ourselves Christian, we hear a distant calling to our souls. We hear the heavenly song of unity and truth and beauty somewhere, we just can't precisely place it, somewhere out there soft and full of hope. Its song competes with the blaring sirens and commercials and carnival barkers until it is almost completely obliterated.

For a moment think about this, suspend all defensive responses for a moment and let this glorious thought cascade over you like rainfall to a parched desert. 

What if God gave us a route to knowing absolute truth, but it wasn't through a direct line of the Bible, the Holy Spirit and me. (Which has made a true mess of Truth.) What if He gave us a Church that has survived the centuries of personal interpretation and human corruption. 

What if the Truth was entrusted to a tattered and torn, battle weary Body encrusted with grime from two thousand years of spiritual war with the Devil? What if there is absolute truth, a knowable absolute truth given not to a woman of polished steel with arm held high upholding a flame of liberty, but an old woman whom the Devil has so caked in blood and sweat and mud that this truth looks more like a woman in labor or a kingdom of wheats and tares, like a field hiding a pearl of great price or a mustard seed that grew into the biggest tree or a dragnet full of edible and inedible fish? 

What if infallible truth has been entrusted by God to a Body of fallible men? What if God sent the Holy Spirit to guide a church into all truth rather than separate individuals? What if God gave truth to one strong rock rather than billions of little grains of shifting sand? 

Most Americans don't like that idea. We prefer a personal error to a corporate truth--or at least the right to a personal error rather than a right to an absolute truth. For the right to freedom cannot give both to us. Either we have a right to freedom based on absolute truth or we have a right to believe what we want to believe based on the freedom of lies. What we cannot have is both no matter how much we demand it and how much we think it is unfair and unjust for God not to give us both our personal truth and personal freedom. 

And there in lies the dilemma of Truth and the dilemma of Freedom and the dilemma of America. 

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