Friday, July 20, 2007

Holiness is Wholeness: According to Universally Understood Virtues

In place of the words, universally understood virtues, you could place the words, world-wide understood virtues. At one time in history a philosopher proposed the following as a list for the world-wide recognized virtues: beauty, goodness, justice and truth. I would like to propose a new list. It is new only in the sense that it needed to be dusted off so it can be clearly seen. They have been there all along for us to discover. It would be wholeness, justice, truth, love and goodness. Wholeness would be what holds the four together and keeps them in perfect harmony with each other.

I have yet to find a sound theologian, anywhere in the world, who did not or does not recognize and understand all of these virtues. What is also wonderful about this set of virtues is that they are easily understood by adults, even if not ideally so. Most adults could define any one of these fairly well. For justice they might decribe fairness, for truth they might describe reality, for love they might describe service, for goodness they might describe concrete goods versus the evil choices of this life. For wholeness they might describe the necessity of all these together. Again, not ideal, yet still very real.

I am convinced that ultimate reality is made up of these ideal virtues or values. What is comforting is knowing that these virtues are universally known by the people who live by the virtues of the Bible. The words of the Bible include these virtues, but they also penetrate each of us and point to things that are realities in our lives, however clouded our understanding might be. We may know only in portion, yet we universally know, these are virtues.

In Christ,

Pastor Jon

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Holiness is Wholeness: According to C.S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis had this to say about holiness: "How little people know who think that holiness is dull. When one meets the real thing (and perhaps, like you, I have met it only once) it is irresistible. If even 10% of the world's population had it, would not the whole world be converted and happy before a year's end?" I want to meet the real thing every day. The first time in 2004 was great. Let's make it happen every single day that the Lord has made!

Recently, an author has put together a book that argues that even more key to understanding C. S. Lewis than joy is holiness. The author says that Lewis had a view of holiness that fits with wholeness. I am not sure he adequately proves it. But what Lewis says about what happens to words is very applicable to holiness.

What I really enjoy in the book about Lewis' view of holiness is the explanation for what happens to great words like that of holiness, that make it rather dull instead of exciting. Good words, in Lewis' words, suffer "verbicide." Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "Life and language are alike sacred. Homicide and verbicide - that is violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life - are alike forbidden." Lewis further says: "We cannot stop the verbicides. The most we can do is not imitate them."

I am afraid that it is obvious that holiness has suffered verbicide in the past. I am now trying to not imitate it and to avoid what is forbidden, not just by law but also by Scripture. May we all want to know what this word meant before verbicide. God bless your day!

In Christ,

Pastor Jon

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Holiness is Wholeness: The Purpose of My Work in this Blog

I ran across this quote that really struck my heart as I was working on something other than my chief passion of holiness.

"Keep about your work. Do not flinch because the lion roars; do not stop to stone the devil’s dogs; do not fool away your time chasing the devil’s rabbits. Do your work. Let liars lie, let sectarians quarrel, let critics malign, let enemies accuse, let the devil do his worst; but see to it nothing hinders you from fulfilling with joy the work God has given you. He has not commanded you to be admired or esteemed. He has not commanded you to get rich. He has never bidden you defend your character. He has not set you at work to contradict falsehood (about yourself) which Satan’s or God’s servants may start to peddle, or to track down every rumor that threatens your reputation. If you do these things, you will do nothing else; you will be at work for yourself and not for the Lord. Keep at your work. Let your aim be as steady as a star. You may be assaulted, wronged, insulted, slandered, wounded and rejected, misunderstood, or assigned impure motives; you may be abused by foes, forsaken by friends, and despised and rejected of men. But see to it with steadfast determination, with unfaltering zeal, that you pursue the great purpose of your life and object of your being until at last you can say, ‘I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do’." AUTHOR UNKNOWN

Add to this:

He [Thomas Cranmer, major contributor to Anglican and Episcopal churches] continually had to meet and overthrow error and he did not always have enough time or energy to adequately state and discuss the truth. If that is an exaggeration, perhaps we can put it this way. He could not state and discuss the truth in such a way that it is seen in its right perspective, as a positive thing and not merely in the defence against something else. And it cuts deeper than that. For even when he does state and discuss the truth, he is inhibited to some extent by the fear of misinterpretation and misunderstanding. The fear was not illusory, .... But it is not always a help to the free and positive expression of truth to have to keep a continual watch over the shoulder at possible misinterpreters. .... For after all, the best answer to error which is a perversion of the truth, is not a negative of the error, but a bold affirmation of the truth." G. W. Bromiley, Thomas Cranmer Theologian

And finally add to that:

"... means that we have to give it careful consideration, but it is no guarantee of validity." G. W. Bromiley, Thomas Cranmer Theologian.

I see three key purposes for people to understand in reading this blog about holiness is wholeness. They relate to each of the quotes above.

The first purpose of this blog is to publicly make available my work on holiness is wholeness. It is written to allow people to have access to that view. If I am to work on that subject, it is paramount that I not get sidetracked by being a storehouse for all the views out there. I am willing to guess with my education that you can find all of them on the internet!

The second purpose of this blog is to biblically support the view that holiness is wholeness. It is not to criticize the view that holiness is separation alone, or the view that holiness is separation with a secondary idea of wholeness or the view that holiness is wholeness with a secondary idea of separation. If the view that holiness is wholeness is good, then it will have plenty of positive examples from the Bible to support it.

The third purpose of this blog is to show that holiness is wholeness deserves careful consideration as a biblical stance before moving on to guarantee its validity as a biblical stance. My point is that holiness is wholeness is not a strange novelty bursting on the scene and made popular only because the lessons of the past are unknown. Instead it is itself a past lesson that has been that has been unknown only because it was forgotten. I want to bring holiness is wholeness back to memory for careful consideration and then I want people to look to the Scriptures as marching orders for whether it is a biblical stance. I am only asking for serious consideration of holiness is wholeness when I compile the quotes or create links to quotes from Christian leaders. Then I am asking for people to follow up this careful consideration with biblical examination.

Biblical examination is now my work that I must not be distracted from, it is my task to support it with postive evidence without trying to answer all negative criticisms and it is my focus to look at holiness is wholeness through biblical examination.

Please pray for me and help me stay accountable to this effort.

In Christ,

Pastor Jon