Monday, February 27, 2012
Toxic Gnostic Christian Victory
Where do you take your pain? "Heman the Ezrahite," in Psalm 88, took his pain directly to God. And he was satisfied to leave it there.
I was talking with a friend of mine about all the "victorious Christian living" and gnostic dualism floating around, and how people use it to manipulate, hide and deceive themselves and others. He mentioned that there was a Psalm out there that addressed this, by ending not in a victorious stance, but in a somewhat angry and seemingly defeated way.
As luck/providence would have it, I opened my bible to it today! It's the Psalm I quoted above by Heman. I believe he would be very puzzled by our need these days to claim that everything is good, God is good, and we are living victoriously above our sin or at least trying to. He knew that sin and pain are things that must be taken to God and left in his hands, and this means waiting.
Hmm. Maybe that's why there is so much victory language in our culture. We hate waiting.
And to address what I mean by "gnostic dualism" - it's the claim that the spiritual world is good and the physical world is bad wed to an idea that we can conquer this physical world by claiming spiritual promises. The spiritual and physical worlds are in tension. Thus anything that ails the Christian can be explained spiritually and healed by spiritual means.
I've learned a lot about "gnostic dualism" by a prolific blogger at thechristianmonist.com. I recommend him highly. He's one who has suffered a lot of abuse at the hands of "gnostic dualists" and is well equipped to deal with the false spirituality that has run rampant in American evangelicalism.
So back to Heman, he's still scratching his head at our spiritual culture. How could we reconcile this philosophy of gnostic dualism with biblical spirituality? Obviously we can't. And it's going to take digging into God's word constantly to root this dangerous philosophy out. So there's another plug for rigorously studying our bibles.
On a closing note I'd like to learn to be satisfied with leaving my pain with God. It is so comforting to know that I can express it thoroughly, and then simply leave it in his hands while I hurt and wait. For the Christian life is about living in realities, not living in denial, even spiritual denial.
I think that Heman the Ezrahite would "high five" me on that one. "Thanks for including your problems in my bible Heman and simply leaving them there."