Thursday, June 24, 2010

Blaspheming What They Do Not Understand

Jude 1:8-13 (ESV)
Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. [9] But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, "The Lord rebuke you." [10] But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. [11] Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion. [12] These are blemishes on your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, looking after themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; [13] wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

“But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.”
It is the difference between understanding that is taught, and understanding that refuses to be instructed. It is not that the Trinity is totally incomprehensible. It is that people do not want to understand at all. If they did they would understand that there are limits to our finite logic that knows by experience nothing but the finite. Some things must be believed because they have been revealed. God is God, and he does not have to explain himself to us. And yet he does because he has mercy, and loves.
But people blaspheme God, even as they presume to speak for him. And they blaspheme in such a way that even at times sounds pious. But then here in Utah, they refuse to believe him. They refuse to hear him explain himself. Their god must be smaller than them, must be comprehended in total to them and their 19th century minds, and first grade math. That is Mormonism, a cult that knows nothing of math beyond 1+1+1=3. So they feel free to blaspheme God and his glorious ones, the apostles who have given us His word, that we might understand without comprehending fully, realizing that God is greater than our finite logic.
Yet this isn’t just a problem within Mormonism. This happens day in and day out in what was once able to be called Christendom. We don’t understand why God forbade women the office of holy ministry, so we feel empowered to override him there, and then wonder what has happened when we wake up with a hangover to find our church has broken out into an orgy of sensuality. Yet we love our granddaughter, our cousin, our niece so much, we cannot rebuke her for usurping an office and presuming to speak in the church. And she is straight! She is married to such a wonderful husband… she can’t be the problem, it is all those people that St. John calls dogs in the 22nd chapter of Revelation, they are the problem. Not her. Try again.
When it goes against our instinctive understanding, we must remember that our instincts fell with us. If we set the precedent to follow instincts why would we not wake up with a hangover surrounded by an orgy of sensuality? This is no longer church.
There is a reason God instituted the pastoral office and set the strictures he did on it. Everyman for himself worshiping as he pleased, was not pleasing to God, therefore he set up the Aaronic Priesthood, set the Levites apart to be trained for that office, and put an end to the general sacrifices of the people. This was at the heart of Korah’s rebellion. They refused to accept the authority God had placed in Moses and Aaron. Yesterday they were priests, today they were not. They rebelled. God put an end to it. For they did not want to worship him, as anyone who takes the office for themselves despite the word of God has no interest in worshiping God, but would worship whoever and in whatever manner they see fit. And it does not bode well for the sheep when this happens.
So Jesus in the New Testament has set apart an office, has given instruction on who can be in that office and who should be. When we ignore him, then we have problems. It isn’t exactly the same as the office of Old Testament Priest, but it is not completely divorced from that idea either. There is continuity between the Old and New Testament reflecting a God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, whose laws do not change with every whim of society. And this is not something to be jealous of, but thankful for.
Yes we are a royal priesthood, and no one would dare take that priesthood from you if he is a true servant of Christ, but we as a royal priesthood are thankful for the gifts God bestows on us. One of those gifts is faithful pastors who proclaim God’s true and faithful words of forgiveness, of which our base instincts no nothing.

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