Here we sit. 500 years after Luther’s nail (source). Christianity was once a useful vessel to bring goodness, hope, and love to the world. At best, Christians now are often offering lamentations. Instead of boldly being a beacon of freedom and a shelter from the storm of life, our churches tend to be either a lightning rod of political agendas or a foreboding house of judgment, both of which keep people like me outside the gates. It appears to me that perhaps Christianity itself is becoming obsolete.
It is in this climate that I take up blogging again. The last time I entered the blogging world, I was desperately seeking answers to a litany of questions about my former cultic religious organization. I was reforming and reshaping and rethinking everything I thought I knew about the Bible and Christianity. That was 10 years ago. Now I blog in order to find my theology. I am seeking to explore what I call mercy theology.
I begin with questions and seek answers–foundational questions related the the Law and the Spirit. Questions such as: Must we continue to live under the old covenant, with its rules and regulations? What is the new covenant and how does it relate to the old covenant?
I have learned that even the great preachers and theologians from the past 500 years are divided over these questions. One of the more popular theologies divides the Law into three categories: moral, civil, and ceremonial, and then claims that we must be bound only to the moral parts of the Law. I find these “divide and conquer” theologies to be most unsettling and unreconcilable with major parts of the Bible, such as the book of Hebrews. The Law seems to be an all or nothing proposition; either obey it all or you fail even if you stumble on the smallest of the regulations. In the end, none of the theological systems satisfy what I find in the Bible (yes I’ve spent thousands of hours reading the Bible in multiple theological systems!).
I am beginning my blog series with the book of the Bible entitled Hebrews. Below is the outline I’m intending to follow in future articles.
The author makes several major and minor claims and sets up a logical conclusion of those claims, provided the claims are true. The author exhorts the reader with multiple severe warnings about rejecting the claims.
- Claim: Jesus is the Son of God who has universal authority (authority)
- Claim: Jesus is the Son of Man who builds a greater house on earth than Moses (certification)
- Claim: Jesus is the High Priest who offered himself for humanity (experience)
Foundational Statement – Hebrews 8:13
In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
A Visit from God
A Deliverance from Fear
An Invitation to Rest
A Priest of Mercy
A Power of Discernment
A Promise of Hope
A Change in the Law is coming
The Law is Obsolete
The Law is Symbolic
The Law is Shadow
Following Christ is by Faith, not by Law
Following Christ is a Welcoming Golgotha, not a Fearful Sinai
Following Christ is acts of Love for others outside the Camp, not acts of sacrifice in a Temple