Readers write: May 7, 2018 issue

May 2, 2018 | Viewpoints | Volume 22 Issue 10
Various Contributors,

Resurrection feature re-opens old wounds
Re:Is belief in Jesus’ resurrection necessary?” feature, March 12, page 4.

The final sentence in Michael Pahl’s feature notwithstanding, both the title and content turn out to be an occasion to re-open wounds from the splitting apart of congregations over the very question of the resurrection. I have myself been wounded by such an event in which the definition of resurrection was cited as one reason for a split.

We use the terms “belief,” “doubt” and “faith” loosely, as if our understanding of what they mean is obvious and held in common. A question like, “Is belief in Jesus’ resurrection necessary?” is rendered absurd for this very reason. “Believing in” and “believing that” are disparate concepts which, unfortunately, we too often treat as one. “Believing in” the resurrection is different from “believing that” Jesus bodily rose from the dead.

A part of the problem for me in articles like this is the assertion that it’s theology that’s being done here, when, in fact, it’s not theology at all, but apologetics. True theology would focus on “the God of all things,” not just the “God of my things,” and so the point theologian Karl Barth raises in his essay, “Evangelical theology in the 19th century” in The Humanity of God strikes me as highly relevant: “Productive theologizing [is] possible only from a lofty place ‘above’ Christianity.”

The last sentence in this feature might be a usable text for a church banner, but I doubt it would do more than encourage us once again to pick at our navels, and contrast and rank the quality of the lint. Believing in Christ and the crusade that bears his name can spare no time for chronic, ubiquitous inward-gazing.
—George Epp, Rosthern, Sask.

 

Doubt is ‘not the way of Christ’
Re:Is belief in Jesus’ resurrection necessary?” feature, March 12, page 4.

The author of this article did a reasonably good job of presenting the subject of the bodily resurrection of Christ until he came to his conclusion.

The verse of scripture that he makes reference to is Matthew 28:17. “And when they saw him, they worshipped him, but some were doubtful.” With those three words, “some were doubtful,” the author’s last few comments, along with Barb Draper’s “For discussion” questions, legitimize doubt.

We all may have moments when we doubt. But we know that if we allow doubt to have a legitimate place in our thinking, our careers, sports teams or leadership, we will not stay the course for very long. We may have questions about certain things or may feel the need for corrections, but that is not doubt.

John writes in his gospel: “These things have been written that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.”

He did not say that he writes these things so the doubters have a valid reason to go on in their doubt.

Paul never left a legitimized place for doubters in his presentations. He states that the doubter is, of all people, the most miserable.

James called doubters double-minded people, and they are always wondering why they have no peace.

Persecution in the Scriptures and throughout the ages very rapidly sorted out those who loved Christ and those who did not. Martyrs Mirror is a source of many testimonies of how the believers were separated from the doubters.

We can legitimize, sanitize, popularize and institutionalize doubters. We can even create a new category of church membership for the doubter—call them the Doubterites—but it is not the way of Christ.
—David Shantz, Montreal

 

‘God judges differently than we do’

With all that is going on concerning sexuality, it all comes down to this—”The Fall of Man” as recorded in Genesis 3—and that should be it. Nothing more. The Fall is the one and only reason Christ came to us. All of us have been dented by the “first Adam.” We now need the “second Adam,” and that’s who Christ is!

We cannot find perfection in any church we join, whether it’s “affirming” or not. It cannot be done. If you happen to join a church that has an open mind, go with it. Follow your own faith and be open to others, since they are struggling too. But keep in mind that God judges differently than we do.

Here’s what I’m going to do: Follow Christ the best way that I can, and help others the best way that I can, no matter what they practise or believe. I have no authority whatsoever to judge who is wrong or right. None.

But I will follow and “lock in the Son,” who I know has died for us.
—Jim Demers, Windsor, Ont.

 

A heart full of compassion

It was field day, a day to celebrate another year of study with either softball or volleyball. After the young ladies had a successful win, they must celebrate by rushing to the ice cream stand. Only one young lady chose to sit all by herself on the park bench. Her friends responded, “Didn’t your father give you an allowance to spend?”

After a moment of silence, she answered, “Yes, he did, but as I was walking through the park I noticed an old man sitting all by himself, and he looked so lonely and sad, so I gave him my allowance.”

“You gave your allowance to an old bum? Maybe he was just waiting for a handout!” they responded.

As the girls told their fathers what their friend had done, the men seemed to see it from a different point of view, so they simply took a collection among themselves, and the young lady had more money than she had in the first place.

In her silent way, she had shown compassion to someone who could be lonely and might be hurting.

We will always have people in our society who have compassion for others who are poor and deserve compassion. The church is really God’s kingdom on earth to exercise compassion and agape love.
—Jacob Unger, Boissevain, Man.

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