What If?

PigWhat if God wanted to do something new – something that contradicted the Bible? God wouldn’t do that, you say? Peter might disagree with you. The Holy Spirit gave him a vision and told him to eat unclean food, and then showed him that uncircumcised Gentiles were therefore meant to be a part of the community of God. He had to admit that God was doing something new that contradicted what the Bible said. Every piece of sacred scripture that Peter had in his possession said that this was impossible.

It took a while for the church to come around, didn’t it? Even Peter appears to have wavered back and forth on the issue in the years that followed. That wild-eyed liberal, Paul, just wouldn’t let it go, though. He kept pushing Christianity to be more inclusive, more oriented to grace, and more acknowledging of the universal nature of Christ’s work.

So how do we know when it is God who is doing something new instead of us just going off the deep end?

  1. God’s new works are works that expand our perception of how broad, and wide, and deep the inclusive love of Christ really is.
  2. God’s new works may contradict rules, commands, and ethical restrictions in the Bible, but they are in harmony with the underlying principles of those rules: principles such as love, freedom, and inclusion.
  3. God’s new works start small, like mustard seeds, and slowly grow until almost everyone understands them. Some will see it right away and some will fight against it.

Here are some other examples of people who have been treated like unclean Gentiles by the community of God until the Holy Spirit intervened: slaves, immigrants, people of color, women, gay people, lesbians, and the transgender. For all these groups there was a time – and in some places there is still a time – when they were treated as unworthy of full participation in the community and the Bible was used to prove it so.

Thank God that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are free to do something new.

~ Jonathan Stepp

2 comments so far

  1. Dyann Clark on

    Thanks, Jonathan. I always enjoy your posts.

    (Really miss your weekly messages)!!!!


  2. Jonathan Stepp on

    Thank you Dyann!

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