Yesterday, MacDonald made the point that he agrees with a well-known skeptic, who criticized the following understanding of Christianity: “The visiting on Adam’s descendants through hundreds of generations of dreadful penalties for a small transgression which they did not commit; the damning of all men who do not avail themselves of an alleged mode of obtaining forgiveness, which most men have never heard of; and the effecting of reconciliation by sacrificing a son who was perfectly innocent, are actions which, ascribed to a human ruler, would call forth expressions of abhorrence; and the ascription of them to the Ultimate Cause of things must become impossible.” MacDonald's point is that the skeptic is critiquing a false notion of belief in Christ.
Rather than believe a single point involving the spirit of such a system of belief as represented in the quotation [in italics above], even with the assurance thereby of such salvation as it offers, I would set myself with hopeless heart to what I am now trying, with an infinite hope in the help of God: to get rid of my miserable mean self, comforted only by the chance that death would either leave me without thought more, or reveal something of God which it would not be an insult to hold concerning him. Even such a chance might enable one to live. And if had I to do with the writer, I would ask: if he will allow that there was a man named Jesus, who died of the truth he taught, can he believe he died for such alleged truth as these abominable dogmas? But it is to those who call themselves Christians that I would speak.
Of those whose presentation of Christian doctrine is the same as the writer’s, there are two classes: such as are content it should be so, and such to whom those things are grievous, but who do not see how to get rid of them. To the latter it may be some little comfort to have one who has studied the New Testament for many years and loves it beyond the power of speech to express, declare to them his conviction that there is not an atom of such teaching in the whole lovely, divine utterance; that such things are all and altogether the invention of men—honest invention, I grant, but yet not true.
by Dale Darling
I wonder if those at Pentecost who were filled with the Holy Ghost could imagine, would have thought, of returning to their Pharisaic ways. They knew, whether they understood or not, that they were free indeed from the traditions of men which had clouded the righteousness of God, behavioral mores founded on layers of teaching that was firmly cemented on the opinion of that day. Habit.
The contentment of those that remain in the sludge of such a tradition, of such habit, is false, as is all that we hold tight which is not found in obedience to God. God is will, and man's will is obedience. Love thy neighbor. So much muddles so much.
Paul, met with these reports in Ephesus, confronted those he had taught otherwise for having returned to their former manner of life. Oh boy. What a mess we sheep can make, even when we are in green pastures, but especially when we think we are there when were actually in the dryness of the desert of self. How did I learn Christ? He taught me. I heard Him. He drew me in as He revealed Himself. The confusing mix of slogging and soaring comes out of returning to the old manner of living. Thy will be done, O Lord. His will Is, how my spirit longs to obey. The flesh is weak.
Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ my Lord.