What Fundamentalism does not want to focus on but prefers to keep in the dark. This prevents any real revival.
“What I want is love (mercy) and not sacrifice (pain), knowledge of God (as He really is) and not burnt offerings (ceremonies)” (Hosea 6:6, Prophet of Israel, son of Beeri, in love with his unfaithful wife, he prophesied after 744 BC.)
To those brothers who think primarily in terms of prohibitions, infallible leaders, and dogmas with weak biblical basis: “To you the sky is grey when it is blue. You are prohibited from seeing the Light – not the Cross! – the Light” (“Welcome to the club of the forgotten”, a song:
Always pain and prohibition for others (but not for themselves), but little clarity and little truth, in order to deceive and subjugate others spiritually and materially.
Where is it to be found?
The Spanish Episcopal Conference has a kind of obsession, like all fundamentalists, with the family and sexual issues of their fellow citizens (from whom they get taxes via the state.)
But if we read the Bible we see that this is a biased and unreasonable interest. e.g.:
– Why don’t they show the same interest in economic-political-religious corruption, fiscal offenses, etc..? (Because it would endanger their traditional cohabitation with political power, although religion does not officially play a part i the state, in practice it does.)
– Why don’t they show the same interest in the sin of pride, which all church leaders say is worse than those of the flesh? (Because fundamentalism is basically founded on pride, exclusion, institutional arrogance, stigmatisation, and persecution.)
– Why don’t they show the same interest in lying, given that Jesus Christ himself called liars “children of the devil” and describes lying itself as demonic? (Possibly because of the enormous hypocrisy that exists in certain clerical circles, where lying must be not only quite common but a whole modus vivendi.)
Let them obey what they themselves say that they believe, because if they were consistent with the spirit of their faith, they certainly would be too busy to be as fixated as they are in sexual and family matters, etc., and in the very disproportionate way in which they sometimes raise these issues with respect to others on which Jesus and the prophets placed much more emphasis.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:23-24.)
ON PLEASURE AND PAIN
As for pleasure, it is not bad in itself, as claimed by some schools of fundamentalism, otherwise God would not have created it. When creating the World, He said “everything is good.”
The “Song of Songs” is frankly very passionate, nothing like a timid sexuality; agreed that it has a spiritual and allegorical interpretation, but not only allegorical, otherwise the Spirit would have chosen a less sexual literal theme. If He did it as He did, it was for a reason.
What is bad is pleasure as the central value, that is, selfishness, or if it’s directly against what the Word says and especially what Jesus said.
Formally promoting anti-pleasure views as a spiritual standard is also a way of promoting collective hypocrisy among church members.
“Love will pardon a multitude of sins,” says the Word, which negates certain fundamentalist theology that bans and negativity are more central to Christianity than Love. Action speaks louder than non-action or prohibition. So let’s focus on dealing with everybody with love. Of course Love is more than fine words and caresses, and even more than good intentions. Love can be sacrifice, must be generosity (not necessarily material), it must be good attitude and good communication of the best of what you’ve learned. And above all, love is real deeds and consolation, knowing how to give encouragement and to share, on the best, the least selfish scale of values possible. True love can not be contaminated, says the apostle, as well. And St. James insists: “We have to be judged by the perfect law, that of freedom.” And St. Paul: “Do not be chained to endure… if they slap you for that… we were too weak” Centuries later, Augustine of Hippo (who was no “liberal”) said: “Have love and do what you want.” An ethic causing panic to the Nicolaitans who want to subdue and control the People of God, because they might lose members (i.e.: money.).
PRIDE, THE DIABOLICAL UNMATCHED EXCELLENCE, almost never gets commented on or preached about in “Evangelical” churches. Why is that?
In early Christianity, following what the Bible says, it is clear that pride is much worse than the sins of the flesh: is the gate of hell, according to the Patriarch (Augustine of Hippo) Often, religious fundamentalists fall into an intolerant spiritual pride, clearly more like the Pharisees that the feeling of Christ, more of the devil than of God, against a background of uneven practice, placing greater emphasis on issues of reduced Biblical basis and silencing and turning opaque and invisible others much more important.
DOGMA AND THE HOLY SPIRIT
We can draw certain conclusions from reading the Bible, yet God still eludes us because He is sovereign and superior to our limited theologies, however orthodox or detailed they may be. So we must also understand that the action of God with man is dynamic and historical, not static and dogmatic as fundamentalism wishes:
“From a dogmatic point of view, David and Job were in the wrong to argue with God. From the dogmatic point of view, the author of the book of Esther was wrong not to write a word of praise to the God who had wrought so great a deliverance for his people. From a dogmatic viewpoint, John the Baptist was wrong when, in prison, he questioned the fact that Jesus was the Messiah. The dogmatists could even find fault with Jesus himself. But life, even religious life, does not stop because of dogmas. It pursues its own course, a course that at times seems crazy to our sense of reason” “Have those who thought out these theological systems and wrote them down in such perfect order ever carried a cross?…A man cannot think systematically even when he has a bad toothache. How can a man who is carrying a cross think systematically? But a Christian has to be more than the bearer of a heavy cross: he shares Christ’s crucifixion. The pains of Christ are his, and the pains of all creation. There is no grief and no suffering in the whole world which should not grieve him also. If a man is crucified with Christ, how can he think systematically? Can there be that kind of thought on a cross? “Jesus Himself thought unsystematically on the cross. He began with forgiveness; He spoke of a paradise in which even a robber had a place; then He despaired that perhaps there might be no place in paradise even for Him, the Son of God. He felt Himself forsaken. His thirst was so unbearable that He asked for water. Then He surrendered His spirit into His Father’s hand. But there followed no serenity, only a loud cry. Thank you for what you have been trying to teach me. I have the impression that you were only repeating, without much conviction, what others have taught you.”~Richard Wurmbrand, 1909-2001, founder of VOM, “With God in Solitary Confinement.
Richard Wurmbrand (1909-2001) was a German-speaking protestant pastor of Jewish extraction in Romania, who spent 14 years in Romanian isolation prisons and was tortured by fascist and communist political police.)
God is sovereign and uses anyone He wants (including atheists and religious fundamentalists) for whatever he wants. And He fills with His grace anyone who is receptive, aside from many other considerations (being a prostitute, homosexual, fundamentalist or atheist, because God can do many things in many senses at many levels and in many ways, and never will cease surprising us), nobody has the right to tell God how to act, no believer can claim to be more orthodox than God Himself.
BIBLICAL CENTRALITY OF THE MERCY OF GOD
God does not love the sin but does love the sinner, and is patient and merciful and speaks intelligently to us a step ahead of where we are, sometimes with humour, others with pain, with dramatism or with soft and serene inspiration. How wrong the people who believe that faith is something dull, when it is the most intense, transformative, dynamic and deepest thing that we can imagine!
Another fundamental idea is that God “has mercy on those who have mercy.” [“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy”] (Christ in the Sermon on the Mount) and “because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!” (James 2:13), says the Word, and judges us as we judge and treat the most needy (Sermon on the Mount) . That is, the way is very clear: the World is full of people without a shepherd, who need us, maybe desperately, who need some help, understanding and selfless love. It isn`t so difficult to give it, to listen a little to people. That is even more important than sins, otherwise Christ would not have said so emphatically to the Pharisees that prostitutes would go ahead of them. Grace is more important than the devil, love and mercy are more important than sins, so let us focus on the positive, not the negative. In practice the Gospel and not in lists of prohibitions which more than avoiding sin promote it. The Pharisees had a list of about 300 prohibitions according to the Torah, which automatically turned impure the peasant masses of Judea, illiterate and unable to learn such lists, so they appeared as “those separated for God”, that is the meaning of Pharisee; and the poor had to wait for Christ “to feel compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” Thus, “He has a right to criticize, who has a heart to help.” (Abraham Lincoln.) And those fundamentalists so picky and straight-laced… do they have hearts disposed to help? Maybe some, but many maybe not.
PROHIBITIONS AND PROPORTIONS FOR LIVING IN TRUTH OR IN THE FALSEHOOD IMPOSED BY FALSE BROTHERS
“For you the sky is gray when it is blue. You are forbidden to see the light – not the Cross! – the Light” (“Welcome to the club of the forgotten,” a hiphop song.).
Let’s see if we have got clear for once that which is primary and we prioritize it over that which is secondary, and we will not be confused by emissaries of worldly power (false brothers), where Satan reigns, as is the case with so many multimillionaire televangelists, professional holy men indifferent to the most elementary justice, noisy miracle workers or book publishers such as the Spaniard César Vidal, on the payroll of the chain of Spanish papist bishops. ” You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!” (Mt. 23:24) in the words of Jesus. “Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him. (Matthew 21:31b, 32). “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mat. 9:13).
“Jesus did not say that we would be known by the replies we give to public opinion, but by our fruits.” (Philip Kenneson.) The Gospel in the West is highly controlled, commercialised and dosed out in the interest of the dealer and the consumer. Especially in America there are preachers in rich churches that have good mansions and ask for more money. ‘Fundamentalist’ televangelists – mannequins – who change clothes three times a day – and mark this: designer brands!, they possibly are paid for the propaganda – and preach -properly-biased and clouded – the Jesus of the stable. These professionals feel worthy, not only of their salaries, but of the compound interest on their bank accounts. They manipulate and fleece well-intentioned people with emotionalities, with immediate Apocalypse, with the “Bad Olds” rather than the “Good News.”
In short: we must go beyond the clichés and the superficial and hackneyed “reasoning”.