Prideful Refusals

I recently came across this article.  The subtitle of the article said, “Rice discusses decision to quit Christianity.”

The statement of most concern:  Rice said she still believed in God, but that, “In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.”

It is obvious that Rice does not understand the God of the Bible.  The God of the Bible teaches that God defines our beliefs.  We don’t define his beliefs.  We don’t get the opportunity to decide which attributes we like and which ones we don’t like. We don’t get to say things like, “I believe in God…….but I refuse.”  We may not understand the things of God until we mature in our faith, however.

The whole process of Sanctification is essential to the Christian walk.   I like how Dr. Sinclair Ferguson speaks of this in the book Christian Spirituality: Five Views of Sanctification. (edited by Donald Alexander).

Union with Christ in his death and resurrection is the element of union which Paul most extensively expounds…if we are united to Christ, then we are united to him at all points of his activity on our behalf. We share in his death (we were baptized into his death), in his resurrection (we are resurrected with Christ), in his ascension (we have been raised with him), in his heavenly session (we sit with him in heavenly places, so that our life is hidden with Christ in God), and we will share in his promised return (when Christ, who is our life, appears, we also will appear with him in glory) (Rom. 6:14; Col. 2:11-12; 3:1-3).

This, then, is the foundation of sanctification in Reformed theology. It is rooted, not in humanity and their achievement of holiness or sanctification, but in what God has done in Christ, and for us in union with him. Rather than view Christians first and foremost in the microcosmic context of their own progress, the Reformed doctrine first of all sets them in the macrocosm of God’s activity in redemptive history. It is seeing oneself in this context that enables the individual Christian to grow in true holiness.

It is essential that you understand God accurately.  I understand that sometimes it can be confusing, but not if you use a few sound principles found here.

We, the fallen human beings that corrupted the beautiful creation God placed us in, like to choose what to believe.  We make adamant statements like Anne Rice….”I refuse.”

I can think of no better passage to share with you today than Proverbs 2.

The Value of Wisdom

2:1 My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
2 making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding;
3 yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,
5 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.

16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
19 none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.

20 So you will walk in the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

Now go out and understand this chapter from the correct historical and literary viewpoint.  Don’t pick out a point you think is ridiculous.  Walk in the shoes of the Hebrew person of that era.  Discern what God was trying to tell that person.  Discern how it applies to us today.
The message is loud and clear if we open our hearts, our ears, and our minds.  Sadly, though, we often choose to “refuse” to listen – as Ms. Rice has done.  Not only that, she has done so with pride.
Don’t be caught in the middle of a prideful refusal.  Its effects are long-lasting and injurious.
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