A story is told of an archaeologist returning to his work inside a pyramid and finding a man chiseling away at the pyramid to bring its internal measurement into line with his interpretation of prophecy.
So the tendency today is to look back at history and reshape it into line with our current ideas and prejudices. This is being seen today in the push to rename schools and streets and remove statues. Also the trend to write revisionist history among our academics is part of this attempt to “remove the landmarks”.
Christianity itself is not immune from this desire to re-mould it into forms more acceptable and less offensive to so-called modern man.
It has always been the case that some people would take a part of the Christian message and run with it while conveniently avoiding those things that are of no interest to him and to affronting to his own self worth.
The modernist takes the ethics and values of Christianity and attempts to conform society to his imagined portrayal of Christ as merely a social reformer.
The ritualist takes the scriptures and distorts them into a series of religious acts and ceremonies which sinful man must perform to obtain access and acceptance with God and superimposes a hierarchy he must implicitly believe and obey.
Others, to whom I have often referred, make the gospel message a source of earthly health, wealth and personal fulfillment and remove the self denial and bearing of the Cross.
While we all read the Bibles through the glasses of our own point of view we must put ourselves to one side and hear what the Word of God actually says.
The Reformers for all their shortcomings reminded those willing to hear that the Scriptures alone are the source of God’s truth. We are to believe nothing that is not revealed or is able to be reasonably deduced from scripture. In this we are to seek the help of the Holy Spirit to remove the veil and open our eyes to God’s truth revealed therein.
While there is still room to differ in some interpretations of Scripture the fundamental doctrines of Christianity must remain inviolate and implicitly believed.
A mixed bag!
We all know people whose Christianity stands out and are an adornment to the church they attend.
We also know some whose Christianity although genuine is still being formed and having the rough edges smoothed.
Then there are those who profess Christianity but are really a hindrance to the work of Christ’s church and a constant blot on the spiritual landscape.
We read that when the Children of Israel left Egypt there travelled with them a” mixed multitude” who use the opportunity to get out of slavery and get the great material benefits offered in the promised land.
Unfortunately when the way became hard and material comforts did not come up to their expectations they became the ringleaders in the murmuring and complaining which plagued Moses thus bringing God’s judgment and plagues upon the people as a whole.
Lest we be found finger pointing we must examine ourselves to make sure we are not modern day examples of these “whingers”.
Standing up for God’s revealed truth is the duty of all His faithful people but it is to be done with love and the use of reason. Zeal and passion are to play their part but governed by the love of Christ for the erring from the way.
To be found a “troublers’ of Israel” and a false professor of Christ in the Church and in the world is something we must pray we never be.
Arthur Lowe (22 September 1915 – 15 April 1982) was one of the iconic figures of British film and television. Most of those who worked with him said that his best known character of “Dad’s Army” “Captain Mainwaring” pronounced Mannering, was very like himself especially in pomposity.Statue of Captain Mainwaring, Arthur Lowe’s Dad’s Army character in Thetford.
It does make it easier when we “be ourselves” and not pretend to be something we are not and not likely to be.
The wonder of true Christianity it that it makes us into new creations without robbing us of what is intrinsically “ourselves”.
Like the work of art that needs the centuries of dirt and grime removed before it re-appears in the true and living colours with which it was painted, we need the power of God to remove the grime of sin and shame and to impart His grace to our lives, to bring us at last to our eternal state of Christ’ like perfection.