A paradigm is a point of view that serves as a pattern or model. The following is a description of paradigms from Wikipedia: For well-integrated members of a particular discipline, its paradigm is so convincing that it normally renders even the possibility of alternatives unconvincing and counter-intuitive. Such a paradigm is opaque, appearing to be a direct view of the bedrock of reality itself, and obscuring the possibility that there might be other, alternative imageries hidden behind it. The conviction that the current paradigm is reality tends to disqualify evidence that might undermine the paradigm itself; this in turn leads to a build-up of unreconciled anomalies. It is the latter that is responsible for the eventual revolutionary overthrow of the incumbent paradigm, and its replacement by a new one.
One paradigm we Protestants may be familiar is the Catholic theological perspective that Martin Luther challenged. In short it was one of works: Do what the church says, in ritual and ceremony and you will be right with God. The new perspective, or old depending on how you look at it, was opposed by the Church not based on its reality and truth but its difference. It was not what they understood to be true based on their bias.
The Mormons, JWs and Muslims all have a paradigm of the Bible. Their founders gave them their perspective. They read their “Holy” texts and used them to explain the Bible, Ouch! But we have had the same done to us.
Ours started with believe in Jesus and your sins are forgiven and you go to heaven; case closed. Everything else is extraneous. In our case it is worse, worse in its effect. We have the right Book and Leader…Jesus…yet have been given an unholy paradigm by those who unknowingly assaulted us by the first words of revelation. It was that well intentioned preacher that first gave us the Gospel, or a type of Gospel. It is now the paradigm that makes us unable to hear: It is The modern Americanized version of the Gospel.
Just like other religions,
we drag others to Hell with us by offering them a false hope, a deceptive convolution of truth to give solace: the opiate that Marx appropriately mentions when referring to religion. We are in a similar state today in the Protestant Church as the Catholic Church is.
Luther brought the clear truth of the Gospel but today we have wandered from this refuge of truth. We have left the Bible’s teachings of salvation to new dogma and ritual, and thus teach that the congregants are right with God if in good conscience they believe in Jesus and are in good standing with the church, submitting to the religio-cultural norms of the church. While we have wandered from the truth exposed by Luther, he is often quoted to support our aberrant view point.
This modern Americanized version of the Gospel is only transmutation of the Gospel. This gospel has been spiritualized and made to rely on feelings. If you feel you believe, truly in your heart, then you are saved; “God knows my heart!” we say. We can only speculate about the forces that moved us away from the Gospel of Jesus and the Apostles. The modern gospel is one of “belief.” If you believe you are saved by Jesus you are saved. Having the right beliefs makes you right with God we add. If you believe in Jesus and his sufficiency to cover sin and the imputation of His righteousness, you are saved from Hell and on to Heaven you go.
Because of your belief, God will change you is what we are taught. This happens by His power; while most wouldn’t say it, it is generally believed the change will come “naturally.” What good is a heart that resides in your being that is without beat? Much like faith without works is dead! But even as you read this modern view, I’m sure you have begun sensing the anomalies; contradictions.
We feel and we are changed and the change comes naturally. Remember “we are a new creation in Christ, the old is gone and the new has come .” But if the change is natural why try? If God does it, why put on Christ? If belief is that which accomplishes this, then I need to do nothing is the obvious conclusion we draw. Why go to church? Why read my Bible or pray? Why be good?
If believing draws me to Heaven, then why do I need to persevere? Why the warnings not to turn as Israel did? They were rejected; not allowed to enter the Promise Land. Why all the statements by Jesus warning to turn from sin and Paul’s warnings of the destruction of church people who live to please the flesh? What about John’s warning, if you do not love you are not His?
What if I must exert effort to love and obey? Does that mean I’m not saved? If it comes naturally for the saved then am I damned because I struggle with sin?
If it is without effort, then why the command to repent from deeds that lead to destruction? Judas believed, did he go to Heaven? What about wondering from the truth? What if I believe in Jesus and not the virgin birth? Why does it say it is by grace you are saved through faith but also say in James that is by works? Why in Matthew 25 where it says “when you didn’t do it unto the least of these you have not done it unto me.” does He cast them into Hell? Weren’t those “believers” who were cast out? They did call him Lord!
Why will many who call Him Lord be called liars? It is because they didn’t do the will of the Father.
This is a short list of anomalies. Most never notice them because of their modern-gospel-paradigm and sadly will perish still in their sin, expecting a warm welcome from Jesus. I first fought vehemently against any gospel that hinted toward works. I worked hard to see from the scriptures that we were saved by faith alone as the church described.
I finally read in Romans that Abraham was credited righteousness because he believed God. I thought “Wow, he did nothing but believe and the righteousness of Christ was given to him. “ It was an amazing epiphany! It was settled, I was now a modern Gospel believer.
I believed and had the right perspective. I was Heaven bound! By the way, I lived a very religious life that would be approved by any church: No chewing tobacco anymore, no drinking beer, no TV or rated R movies. I no longer said nasty words…the S-word, F-word and such. I said my prayers before meals, shared my faith, read my Bible…even more a student of the scriptures. I prayed daily, fasted and even extended this many days. But, I had anomalies and contradictions that rang in my head much like you do.
After many years, I gave into the blaring ring from the scriptures. I was a trusted minister in the church, I worked with the youth, started a prayer ministry for the pastor. I went to all the meetings; prayer conferences, and work parties; it mattered little that others didn’t, I was full-on. I witnessed to everyone convincing them to believe in Jesus. And then my wife and I became international missionaries! But the anomalies that continued to ring, low and distant at first…and they grew.
I could no longer ignore them. I could see. But, if I changed my paradigm, I thought ”I would be a considered a heretic.” If I exposed what I had discovered, I knew, I thought I would be rejected and I trembled. The weight of the scriptures crushed me into submission. My old paradigm was shattered by many of the questions I previously mentioned. I began piecing together a unifying theology of salvation that would clear up the contradictions. It wasn’t a new point of view, but just a reconstruction of an ancient city in ruins. As I grew to understand, I began preaching it.
I did a great job, I think, because I upset many and not a few left the church. I began being isolated from many people I respected, but not all. Eventually, I had people who had heard me speak the Gospel say. “How did you figure it out?” I responded “I could see it!” It was a perspective given in the scriptures. But the difference with me was, I wouldn’t settle with the contradictions. The cacophony was too much, too loud and I refused to cover my ears.
Once one is fully indoctrinated by the modern Gospel it is easy to desire to defend it. We ought to feel this way. But, really how long will you stay deaf? How long will you ignore the scriptures that are counter to your understanding?
Let me show you this paradigm; it is for new wine skins and those to be born again. It is very simple and strangely obvious. Love: the command upon which all hang or are set free. Believing Jesus causes you to change your behavior from self-service to that of caring for humanity.
He sacrificially gave His life for the undeserving and now we do. We are like him but different. He does it to save us and we do it to point others to the Savior. It is as simple as someone offering you a job and you showing up the next day to get it. The scripture “Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteous” is still convincing. I drew the wrong conclusions previously due to the old paradigm fed to me as an infant in my faith. My spiritual mothers and fathers unconsciously fed me what they thought would bring life but only gave dysentery.
Re-looking at the Abraham scripture in Genesis we understand what really happened. Abraham meets God and God tells him to leave his land and He would bless him. Question: If he stays home does he get what was promised? NO! He gets nothing. Is it earned? No! It is God’s grace that gives the revelation and the hope of the promise. Jesus says live this way or you’ll perish in you sins. You can stay home and you won’t get the promise. Or…do what he says. Who is the believer? If you have read my other blogs you have seen a strong tendency toward service; giving your life, goods, time, sweat, and talents. It is a directive to give it all for the service of Jesus; to do His work in His stead under the power and guidance of the scripture and Holy Spirit. Isn’t this why he left the Twelve? Isn’t this what discipleship is? Is it a part time job? Or is the this our profession…catch the double entendre?
Does this mean you are saved by works? No! you could no more jump over the moon than get yourself to Heaven. You’ve already violated God’s law and am condemned; no work can redeem you. But you must go to the place He will show you. You must leave your Abrahamic home of self-interest for the Promise Land of service in Christ! We grab ourselves up and make our flesh comply with the will of the Spirit.
We no longer live in fear but freely and bravely give our lives up to the world. We are ignored, mocked, thought foolish, considered extreme, and wasting our lives. Should the gospel result in less? Look at the prophets. John the Baptist, the Apostles, the early church and martyrs through the ages that suffered for love. What about those who defied authorities to help the Jews in World War II and died and were imprisoned? And what of those in the Muslim world who suffer now?
Is ours is imply a decent religion of well groomed, well dressed, superiorly clean people? Is it enough to be as righteous as a Mormon or JW? PTA, walks for breast cancer, Boy Scouts, giving to the United Way or the Salvation Army all seem to suffice to the religious: Give a token and keep your life. But Jesus was on sight, in touch, personal, and sacrificial. He died penniless as most of the original followers of the Way. If what is at stake is Hell and Heaven, could we do any less?
We send our boys off to war for our physical security; why would God not expect a similar commitment to rescuing souls? Really? Is it really different today? Does He expect something different? Are Americans or those affected around the World by this seditious, destructive Gospel of demons, excluded from the life style of the Cross?
Is your perspective that which you like, an undemanding paradigm of preference? If you believe in Jesus and what He said, you’ll live like He did? Wow, that’s from the scriptures! Yet for those intoxicated by the seduction of life; the scripture…excuse me…anomalies…are mere nuisances.