Saturday, September 3, 2005

God of Grace or Judgment

God of Grace or Judgment?

I received the most disturbing email this week that I may have ever gotten based upon a theological construct. A person sent me an article from a website, www.repentamerica.org that essentially implied that hurricane Katrina was God’s act of judgment upon New Orleans and the Gulf coast for allowing a large conference promoting immorality. I could not believe my eyes when I began to understand the basic premise of the article to be that God pulled a Sodom and Gomorrah, or a deluge like Noah’s on N.O. and that all the innocent people died because, well, every war has casualties. My stomach got sick at the thought.
Now, I grew up informed by some pretty judgmental theology. Having been raised in radical Armenian Pentecostalism, I constantly doubted my salvation every time I had a wayward thought. I lived under a gospel of fear and trembling. I served a God who was out to get me. I worried that I would die after committing an incidental sin and burn in hell just because of an error in cosmic timing. That is the flawed and bewildering theology that this article is based upon.
Proof texting is when you look in the Bible to find what you want, not to let the Scripture find and transform you where you are. You pull a verse here and there to prove your point without being informed by the whole canon of the text. If you do that, you can justify almost anything. You can easily develop a theology of judgment and fear.
Is that the God you serve? Now, don’t get me wrong. I believe that God calls us into accountability and judges us. I also believe that only God is fully capable of judging us. What I also believe is that Christ died for all of our sins. The sins of the past, present and future are forgiven. The more I have been informed by the whole canon of Scripture, the more I realize that what God seeks is an open and contrite heart earnestly seeking Him. That God is not out to get me.
That is still, to this day, a hard concept for me to grasp. I play those soul tapes of condemnation and fear whenever I slip. I look up and await fire and brimstone to fall from heaven and consume me. Slowly the Holy Spirit as been able to crack my bad theology and fill my soul with grace based theology. I am being taught by two different people who have a fuller developed grace theology that are helping me grasp the amazing fullness of the Gospel. I am finally beginning to understand what it means to be…

Lost in Grace,
Marty
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