Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Things I Wish Jesus Never Said: the Unforgivable Sin

What should we do with the fundamental disagreements that exist in churches? I struggle with this question. There are disagreements on worship style. Some people experience God's spirit in the context of a 3 hours worship service while some experience God's spirit in a one hour service. Is both experiences fundamentally valid and a real encounter with God?

We have these conflicts in our own churches. We have them over music. There are some that experience the richness of God's presence in songs that were written centuries ago. While there are also people who experience God's presence in singing a song that was written last year. 

And yet if we don't experience God in a certain way as our brother or sister does... we tend not to mutually affirm their experience but instead, we criticise how someone experiences God. A traditionalist might say to someone that appreciate contemporary music, "I don't want that music in my church!" Are they denying one's experience of God?

This is the context for which we will talk about the unforgivable sin. Most Christians define it as the rejection of God's Holy Spirit. Here is a little context to these words... Jesus is accused by scribes of being the Chief of demons. The scribes think that  Jesus casts out demons because he is the chief of demons. 

Essentially the scribes are saying that it isn't God at work in Jesus... it is the devil. It isn't God's spirit... it's an evil spirit. 

Jesus then pulls his disciples to the side... and names a red line. The red line is that we shouldn't call the work of God's Spirit the work of the devil. 

This message wasn't necessarily for the scribes it was for us. How often does someone have an experience with God... and yet we refuse to name it... because we haven't had a similar experience of God's spirit? 

Yet what God invites us to see and comprehend... is the myriad of ways that God is at work in each of our lives. My hope in the midst of quarrels, conflicts, disagreements (particularly within the walls of the church)... we might learn to affirm the ways in which God is at work in each of us.