01 August 2007

The texts set for this coming Sunday, Col. 3:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21, are both concerned with the renunciation of non-Kingdom priorities and patterns of life. But it's easy to see from them how it is that asceticism and even gnosticism became so prevalent so early. Without balance from other Scriptural texts, it looks as though we are supposed to make a simple distinction: anything non-spiritual is worldly and evil.

Heaven knows, the hyperbole is necessary to shock some people and cultures into restoring balance, and we do well to feel the force of such passages. But the New Testament church did not set out to hate the world per se, only to love the Lord so very much that all else paled into insignificance -- to hate the world in a relative sense. And speaking of a 'relative' sense, this, of course, is also how to understand the passages where Jesus tells you to hate your family.
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