Jesus & Lines in the Sand!

Jesus & Lines in the Sand!

Music Title: Sleep Walk

The People Called Methodist

"I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out." - John Wesley

[Works of J. Wesley, Vol. 13, Letters & Writings, P. 320]

The earth is also defiled under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
--- Isaiah 24:5 (NKJV)

It is time for You to act, O LORD, for they have regarded Your law as void. Therefore I love Your commandments more than gold, yes, than fine gold! Therefore all Your precepts concerning all things I consider to be right; I hate every false way.

--- Psalm 119:126-128 (NKJV)

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

--- 2 Timothy 4:3,4 (NKJV)

No Lines in the Sand Index

Well, well -- wouldn't you know it -- that little "no lines in the sand" seed did take root and has shown up at General Conference 2000! Among remarks made by Bishop Morgan were these words, "...Christ would not draw a line in the sand, but a circle," he said. "The crucified Christ paid the highest cost to draw a circle around us."

If you haven't been here before, or if it has been a while, do some reviewing on this issue of "drawing lines in the sand." An honest look at the statements of Jesus Christ will plainly spell out that He did indeed draw a line, if you want to use that kind of language! And then there is that interesting but oft avoided statement of His wherein He asked if His followers believed that He had come to bring peace to the earth. Then He drops the bomb by saying He didn't come to bring peace, but a sword! Oh yes, He said it -- just look it up -- it's there in plain black and white!

No Lines in the Sand Manifesto

A Necessary Response!

The "No Lines in the Sand Manifesto" circulated quite some time back by Leonard Sweet and company deplores the tendency to "draw lines in the sand" over divisive issues within the United Methodist Church.

One statement is made concerning "working alongside" those who take what can be nothing less than unacceptable positions on basic Christian doctrine:

"If we can spend our ministry working alongside some who do not believe in the divinity of Jesus or his physical resurrection, which is for us the heart of the Christian faith, we can spend our ministry working alongside some who differ with us on the role of gays and lesbians in the church."

The issue here actually gets to the heart of the problem of United Methodism's "illness" that has been in existence for decades (also refer to Theo's testimony under Door 6 of Circuit Rider's Closet and at his "special place" for more details on how this developed). To what extent is one able to "work alongside," co-operate with, agree with, or fellowship with those who deny the truth concerning the "Head" of the family, Jesus Christ (and there is heavy emphasis on family in the Manifesto)? When someone denies certain facts and realities concerning a member of my family, I will draw a line in the sand and indignantly declare that he or she is wrong! When such persons do it concerning the best Friend I've ever had, especially denying that He's God, that He did not do the miracles attributed to Him, or that He is now alive, I will draw that line even deeper! Flaunting their ignorance and skepticism in the face of my Lord and Savior will not go unchallenged!

I readily admit my radical position on this -- the Son of God went through an experience for me that I could not even begin to comprehend -- for a brief glimpse of this, take a look at Amazing Grace -- All for Us!

No one has a right to such denials and then attempt to hang the label "Christian" on him/herself! However, consider more authoritative responses to this situation as stated by Paul, John and Jude and a prediction by Peter:

2 Cor. 6:14-16: Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God.

2 John 9-11: Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

Jude 3,4: Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Pet. 2:1-3: But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

(Ref's from NKJV).

Ah yes, I know --- don't quote the Scriptures -- after all, they will perforate and demolish our humanistic value system which has de-throned the Son of God and altered God's standards for moral behavior so that what God has said is immoral and an abomination we humans now say is acceptable and good! Welcome Mr. Isaiah to the sunset years of the 20th Century --

"Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isa. 5:20 NKJV).

Jesus didn't exactly "walk alongside" in harmonious fellowship with the self appointed "tailors" in the 1st Century who chose to alter God's clear revelation. Could they, as is the growing practice today, have said that God is giving us "new revelation" -- especially in areas of human behavior and morality -- what used to be abominable immorality no longer is due to "new light" we have received -- and of course, totally forget about this radical stuff called "repentance" -- that no longer applies either!!!

Ah, I like milk -- but if it is laced with some arsenic, I want nothing to do with it, in spite of the fact that its outward appearance is still quite attractive. And if I insist on taking it into my body, guess what will happen? Some of you will get this -- others won't and will sit around and scratch your head and wonder!!! For more on the "lines in the sand" issue go to The Way - The Truth - The Life

Did you check out The Way - The Truth - The Life area? And of course, I have to admit that I've had a part in the sorry state of affairs -- my influence when I corrupted my ways resulted at times in theologians and clergy questioning the deity of Jesus, His miracle works which He performed, the significance of His death on the cross -- can you believe that there are people who claim to be Christian who say that Jesus' death on the cross isn't really important -- it is His "example" that counts etc!. And then His resurrection -- oh, how some really run away from that one -- CR says that once you become personally acquainted with Jesus and walk with Him in fellowship on an everyday basis, you simply dismiss those skeptics in a split second -- they're still in the dark!
Ah, when you have your faith really "nailed down" you can laugh at those "theologians" and "skeptical preachers" who have "problems" with the Scriptures to begin with as well as problems with a living Savior Who did all that is attributed to Him in Scripture and Who became our sacrifice for sin, and Who came back victoriously from the tomb 3 days after that brutal crucifixion, and Who said, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Think about it!

The Polling Booth

Vote "YES" or "NO"

Here's what's up -- the "No Lines in the Sand Manifesto" --- a highly questionable effort that would further undermine the basics of our faith (if that is possible) by urging persons to sign a document by that title which at one point states,
"We pledge to adopt in our churches the Jesus method for dealing with people with whom he disagreed: Jesus never 'stood against' anyone, he always 'walked alongside' them. We choose to pray and walk alongside those with whom we disagree rather than taking stands against them on the opposite sides of the street and/or standing around taking shots and shouting at one another."

The Manifesto, which surfaced several months ago, apparently is the "brain child" of Leonard Sweet and whoever else -- signers include Bill Easum, Mike Slaughter, Lyle Schaller and a number of others who are well known in UMC circles.

The Question -- did Jesus NEVER "stand against" anyone? This, of course, suggests that where necessary He compromised His position so that it might be said that He ALWAYS "walked alongside" them! Ah, remember God in O.T. making a statement through a prophet to the effect that 2 cannot walk together unless ..???? Do you know what the next words are? (See Amos 3:3).

Notice the use of absolute terms "never" and "always" as applied to Jesus in the Manifesto statement. In ALL His encounters with people as reported in the Gospels, would you agree that the statement is true and accurate or might there be exceptions in how He handled Himself with some persons and groups?

Please note your response (and Biblical evidence, if you care to) in an email to Circuit Rider by clicking here

We see and experience a very limited amount of heart ache, pain, distress, and sorrow in this present world because we are finite human beings -- we cannot begin to fathom what it must be for Almighty God to see continually the total misery and chaos which the members of the human race bring upon themselves due to massive rebellion against Him, both personally and corporately -- take a look at the price God paid to bring about the forgiveness, healing, peace, and hope which He desires us to experience -- Amazing Grace -- All for Us! -- use the "Back" feature of your web browser to return here.

Hold up - I need to look again at Lines in the Sand

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Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Clayton D. Harriger