After The Bible I typically go to A.W. Tozer, then to Fenelon (whom I learned about years ago via reading Tozer) and from there to a huge, vast and wide array of writers ancient and contemporary.
In this, one of my several morning devotionals came yet another amazing quote from Tozer I’ll riff on farther down. Interestingly enough, in my own personal study time last night I specifically read through the chapter he quotes… in this a.m.’s devo… hmmmm…
“Instant Christianity is twentieth century orthodoxy. I wonder whether the man who wrote Philippians 3:7-16 would recognize it as the faith for which he finally died. I am afraid he would not.” -A.W. Tozer
I so tire of what seem to me foolish, mostly testosterone-laden arguments in social media and elsewhere regarding orthodoxy. That term by the way, in itself is flawed to me due to thousands of years of fighting and in-fighting (sometimes to the blood and death) by people who are so focused on what -they- have determined IS orthodox or not. Of course the question is “Whose ‘orthodoxy’ are we talking about??” We can be so certain it is our own when I suspect Jesus Himself would disagree with us re. some of our deepest-held summations.
Love? Mercy? Justice? “The Golden Rule”? Nahhhh… ORTHODOXY is the claim as we climb up the parapet wall with our weapons, boiling oil and self-righteous assurances that others are heterodox indeed.
Paul writing to the church in Philippi, chapter three of Philippians gives an amazing bit of input to all this. He talks about who he was and what he trusted in prior to trusting in Jesus, and the context of the Christian life being FAR more than “instant” much less without mess!
7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,
9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;
11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;
16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.
I am reminded that the term “perfect” in the New Testament typically means “mature, complete” rather than “flawless, absolute.”
That term “attitude” looms large when we talk of doctrine and orthodoxy as it well should!
Ohhh for humility, love, grace toward one another whether we agree or not!
Verse 16 seems to tell us that which we are presently assured of, at least the core and most essential, faith in Jesus Himself for our salvation, THAT is the “standard” and that relationship to Him is the rock upon which we must stand. There is plenty of sand around that rock… and some quicksand as well.
The “iron” must “sharpen the iron”, it is in the community of the saintS, churchES that we learn best. There is so much “bunker” mentality among believers and local churches in our time. We can do better. We must do better.
Depth takes will, commitment, effort and time, often more of these than many wish to give to the Lord and His Church. May we learn to slow down, be quicker to listen, slower to speak and a lot slower to anger! Cheap shots in social media do not work the righteousness of God.
Things to consider perhaps?
As always, thanks for stopping by. -Glenn