Home > In Christ, Ministry > Letting Go of Our Security Blankets

Letting Go of Our Security Blankets

What I believe has changed dramatically over the years. I grew up with Presbyterian determinism. It never sat well with me mostly because of youthful rebellion. My concept of God was an old, angry, overbearing, dictator who simply wanted to control my life. I grew to be an agnostic and to love the power of science. Science would hold all the answers. Through it, I might find some control over my life. At some point, I began to dabble in astrology, which gives the illusion of science. Astrology seemed to explain the random, meaningless, occurrences of life. I soon discovered that the explanations offered were just a meaningless as the random occurrences seemed to be.

When presented with the reality of the Gospel message my belief system shifted again and based on that belief I placed my faith in Christ. That faith has remained constant while I have reevaluated what I believe repeatedly. I have not doubted the fundamentals of Christianity, but I have questioned the institutional interpretations of what it is to be Christian. The traditional doctrines bothered me and I have studied them extensively. The older I get the simpler my belief system. Christianity is Christ. There is a great deal behind that statement, but it all points to that terse expression of truth.

Like a child with a soft security blanket, we cling to our belief systems. We defend them with a passion that is beyond rational. We will not let them go. They become the end all of our Christian experience. Christianity rests in correct doctrine. If you hold a different doctrine, you cannot possibly have the same quality of Christian experience I have. So we think.

We forget how radical Christianity really is. From the beginning, it was an attack on the existing Orthodoxy. A change was coming that was far too radical for the orthodox to accept. They even killed the messenger. The early church struggled to keep the message pure. The temptation has always been to mix Old Covenant with New Covenant reality and the modern church has failed in this miserably. The reason rests in our systems of belief that have never let go of the Old Covenant law. Both Calvinism and Arminianism hold to a works based sanctification that points to the Law of Moses as its moral imperative, its guide. We are steeped in it. Most sermons exude the message that our good works, our obedience, our human effort (with God’s grace of course) makes us righteous and holy.

The concept of a works based sanctification gives the Church power over its congregants. It opens the door to behavior modification, to fund raising appeals based on guilt, to an “I am a sinner saved by grace” attitude that gives excuse for continued sin in our lives and for continuous confession. The church keeps us coming back for more. It creates a hunger it can never satisfy. Many of today’s churches offer a false hope. They imply that our doing good will overcome the evil that surrounds us. They preach a love separated from God, implying that we can be the origin of love in the world. This is false. God is love. His character expression cannot be separated from his being.

When we confront fellow Christians with the truth of the Gospel we create a crisis of belief. We are not used to having our security blankets (our orthodoxy) pulled out of our hands and we resist both mentally and emotionally. The crisis is made more extreme when the hearer of the Good News realizes that all his crutches, all his measures of his rightness before God, all his moral efforts, are being stripped of their power and meaning. Laid bare, they are shown to be an empty charade. Then one more layer is added to this new way of being a Christian. We are free in Christ, we rest in Him and we have a new living reality within in us that is willing to be our guide, Spirit speaking to spirit, our inner man right with God. The new reality asks us to believe in something beyond our senses and well beyond our control. It is unseen, unfelt, and very much an unknown way to walk in this world. Not only is our belief system crumbling, but also our faith object is changing from what I do, to what God is doing in and through me. This is so foreign to us that is frightens us.

How do we move the Christian beyond this crisis of faith and belief? Scripture says that faith comes by hearing. John says that he wrote his Gospel so that in its reading the readers might believe. There is no formula. There is no right way. There is no magic potion. We wish it could be that easy. Press a button and a conversion occurs. In our hearts, we know the freedom we have in Christ and we long to share that with our fellow Christians who are working so hard to please God. We preach and teach the Word and we pray for the Spirit to give them open minds and hearts to receive the truth.

One emphasis might help. Those who teach us need to show the place of our belief systems, both in the history of the Church and in the personalities and times that produced them. How and why they developed tells much about their content. When our belief systems go beyond what Scripture warrants we need to be told. We need to confront our orthodoxy as we study Scripture and mature in the Lord. We as congregants need to learn that it is healthy to question our orthodoxy and for it to change over time. We need to realize that Christianity is not a belief system. It is far more than that.

Letting go of our security blankets is a scary, but necessary if we are to experience all God desires for us. As our beliefs are challenged, our faith will not waver because if rests in the one who keeps us to the end.

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Categories: In Christ, Ministry
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