Paul and John were mighty apostles because they abandoned the old and dead way of their fathers to embrace the new and living way of Jesus Christ. Clive Hamilton writes, ‘It’s uncomfortable when a belief you have long held is contradicted by new facts. Even more so if an entire worldview comes under pressure from the evidence. Psychologists call it "cognitive dissonance" and it explains why it is so hard to change our minds even though we flatter ourselves that we base our opinions on the evidence.’
If there is any lesson in the present season it is that many people are more intent on believing what they have always been believing than adapting their lives to the facts. Not of few of them adopt the conceit that they themselves are the truth bearers and believers in inconvenient truths are the hawkers of falsehood.
BILL SMEDLEY Bill Smedley had a word from the Lord for the group he would preach to that day. It was that, they by their doctrine had separated themselves from the parent rock and that Jesus would have them re-join The Rock. The words ‘parent rock’ are ancient and are alluded to in Isaiah in the words, ‘Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn’ Isa 51.1. The ‘rock’ in the new testament age is the Gospel of Jesus and the apostles. The Gospel of Jesus and the apostles is that Gospel set forth in the Niceane Creed.
As it happened Mr Smedley’s ‘word’ was not received, on account of the group’s contention that they existed as a variation of the parent rock already. But they did not. They had retained themselves in the separation of the law and of the old covenant and unwittingly in the regime of Adam. Jesus was calling the group through this word into the life of the Last Adam who is alive with spirit and life.
In the house of the Lord we can live in the palace or the dog kennel. All who take the name of Christ belong to the Body of Christ. As part of this ‘house’ we can live in the fullness of the gospel or we can live diseased and crippled in warped interpretations and ‘other gospels.’ It was these un-gospels that Paul warned attracted a curse and of which Jesus called ‘tares’ or weeds. You can belong to the Body as a son of God or as a child of the father of lies. The latter is like living as a delinquent son in our Father’s House.
Any alteration of the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom promotes disease. Paul called it belonging to this body of death. The Gospel of the Kingdom is Christ your life. This is the revelation of Christ and the apostles known as the ‘apostles teaching.’ In Christ’s gospel we are rescued from the innate dualism/separation of the knowledge of good and evil and the law and established in the life of God. God becomes our life and we become part of Him as daughters and sons. When Christ is our life we participate in the life of the trinity.
Thomas Torrance writes, “In Revelation God gives himself to us as the object of our faith and knowledge, but because he remains God the Lord, he does not give himself into our hands, as it were; he does not resign himself to our mastery or our control as if he were a dead object. He remains the living Lord, unqualified in his freedom, whom we can only know in accordance with his acts upon us, by following his movement of grace, and by renouncing on our part any attempt to master him by adapting him to our own schemes of thought or structures of existence.” (1) Don’t attempt to mould the Light of the World to your ‘light.’
You can have an identity as an invalid or an able bodied person. So we can’t just make up a gospel and claim it as authentic because we want to. Because we need to make some claim to a special identity. Of course we can – but no one should be persuaded that what we claim has any weight.
(1) Morrison, Stephen D.. Karl Barth in Plain English (Plain English Series Book 1) (p. 26). Beloved Publishing. Kindle Edition.