Monday, January 01, 2007

The Safe Christian

The Safe Christian

I’ve blogged for a month now on biblical divorce, and remarriage. In doing the research for this I’ve been taken aback by a sizable minority of pastors and congregations that call for no remarriage until after death of a (former) spouse. Even for the innocent spouse. A Google search will yield many congregations that hold this view.

If remarriage is adultery and if it is an unforgivable sin it is perhaps the safest position to assure that one stays in God’s grace. As someone brought up in this manner this is an old Catholic position. It is also one held by many conservative Christian congregations.

We can assure ourselves to be sinless if we avoid all conditions that offer us that temptation. One can trace this line of thought to the ascetics that appeared in the 1st century, to medieval monastics, to radical Anabaptists shunning all forms of modern inventions, and to modern day sects and cults. We can all be sinless if we lived on mountain tops scraping by a bare minimum of an existence.

However, it this was Jesus intended? Perhaps if we seek perfection of our souls in the ascetic life how much of our glorification of God will be lost? Does the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) kick in here?

What are we burying in ourselves to stay safe and sinless?

How important is it to God that a divorced Christian, whether righteously or un-righteously but repentant stay unmarried? Does He truly intend that the divorced Christian remain unavailable as a companion to another Christian and to possibly help raise children and step-children in a two parent household?

This analysis can be applied to all sorts of restrictions on modern life that many Christians will place upon themselves. Many of these restrictions are very much valid, e.g. viewing pornography online. Some are questionable, e.g. prohibitions against drinking, smoking, and watching movies. Some will cause the Christian bury the talents given to him by his Master.

In this blog I sound a bit cynical but I think it’s important to think about when resorting to asceticism when seeking spirituality.

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