An Apology and a Reply

I came across a little exchange which is a wonderful model of true conversation and graciousness (amongst Christians in our country). With their permission and in the words of the one who replied in another email to me, “Use for the furtherance of God’s people and the building up of his people to be salt and light.” I think in Malaysia this kind of tone and exchange is needed. We offer this up for those who would like to hear and do likewise.. (I’ve taken the liberty to change their names to two fruits loved and easily found in Malaysia *grin*)

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Dear friends,

First of all, I would like to apologise for my outburst. After reflecting on what I wrote in my last e-mail, I felt it was really unchristlike and unedifying. I truly am sorry.

I would like to plea for some understanding on the part of those who feel it sporting to go heresy hunting and theology bashing. There ought to be some breadth given to differences of opinions without resorting to ad hominems; which seems to have been the norm of late. Many of us have our own experiences with the Church and with Jesus as the Church presents Him and while many have been good and edifying, a lot were not so nice and space has to be given for those to work it out.

For many of us, answers have been sought in the formulas and these formulaic solutions have failed. Now some of us try to seek the person and deity of Jesus instead and ask some difficult questions along the way. Stereotyping such seekers and jumping to conclusions will only serve to cleave the already tenous unity that we have as the body of Christ and allow more casualties to fall along the byway.

God bless and the peace of the Lord be with you all.

Brother Durian

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Dear Brother Durian,

Thank you for taking this huge step. May forgiveness arise from our hearts and be extended to you.

Yes, we need to be encouraged to have a generous spirit among those who say Jesus is Christ and is Lord and Saviour of our lives.

While we may desire to have orthodoxy (=right doctirnes) so should we call for orthopraxy (=right living as disciples of Christ) as well lest we fall into the legalist trap of the Pharisees.

I think everyone is to be encouraged to find their own theological understanding (which I believe is dynamic) as we learn Scripture and Christ over one’s lifetime. We are unable to fathom the depth of “God’s love” theologically and even practically fully as yet. But each day by God’ s Spirit we are being led to explore this territory of who God is and we ourselves are. We then ought to extend grace to one another even as we begin to articulate our theological beliefs and practices and allow everyone to change his or her views in time.

Nicodemus took some time to know fully who Christ was but in the end he is there lovingly preparing the Lord’s body for burial along with Joseph of Arimathea another Sanherdrin member. Check out the the three instances Nicodemus is mentioned in John’s Gospel. First as “the theologian” (‘ho theologein”?? marks him as “the theologian” of the ruling council) visiting Jesus at night (John 3). Then as one who cautions the Pharisees and Sanhedrin who desire to get rid of Jesus (Jn 7 : 45-52). And finally as one who prepares Jesus’s body for the typical Jewish burial (Jn 19 : 38- 42).

All of us are on a theological journey of knowing Christ (=the Logos) fully and walking in the light of God. Those who are ahead are to extend the hand of fellowship/friendship to those on the road to God. For indeed we stand on the shoulders of the giants of old and so we see but a little further in our time.

Let us hold our theological systems lightly for they do not save us. They are but a human understanding of what we read and interpret in Scripture. All our theological systems are not foolproof. They have strengths and weaknesses.

The Peace of God be with you.

Older Brother Mangosteen

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