Monday, May 15, 2006

Our Fallen Icons...

Christianity has many heros of the faith. People who have grown beyond their rotted corpses, to a larger than life existence where they are no longer mere men, but are revered like the gods of ancient mythology.

Their legacies are held up as examples to follow. Their writings are the prized possessions of masses of young, aspiring theologians and pastors. Their morals, uncompromised; their discipline unmatched.

Hold Up.

Why, oh why, do we fail to remember the whole story. In all of the praise and admiration for these geniuses of old we forget of the great atrocities committed in the name of Christ... Great attrocities committed by some of these very same god-like men.

I understand that ideas do not equate personhood. When a guy with great ideas about how to solve world hunger problems is convicted of having kiddy porn on his computer, his ideas remain great even though his person is marred with moral corruption. So when we have men who have written great works about God and His revelation, we should not toss out their works, even in spite of the great atrocities they comitted or endorsed.

I have heard it said that these great men, as great as they were, simply had blind spots. They were human!

Alright. I understand humanness... Believe me, I have a firsthand understanding of it. But humanness does not justify actions. I am left unwilling to associate myself, or my Lord, with the horrendous things done in His name.

If all labels must point backward to men and movements of old that bringing a clear and marked fallenness to the image of my Holy God, then I will not be labeled. I will serve Him label-less. As I serve, I pray that all of the imperfections that I bring to the picture would fade, leaving the image of a Holy God to any that may see me.


Rielly said...


Thanks for sharing. I really appreciated your thoughts. I am so tired of people quoting this person, and quoting that person; they explain and exegete these great theologians of the past like ringing a bell; but they CAN'T communicate anything of their own walk with God, testimony, or how God is speaking to them in their innermost place.

By implication, your post is a call to get back to the Bible. Those that are the most interested in being labelled this or that, are usually people that could quote John Piper, Brian McLaren, Aurelius Augustine, or Soren Keirkegaard more efficiently then they could quote their own Bible.

Thanks Jon,

1 of the 7

JLF said...


Thanks for the thoughts... it's good to see you blogging.

I can totally understand your hesitance to be associated absolutely with any one camp or label. Believe me, I know firsthand the frustrations of being written of as "one of those..." even by friends and people I thought knew me better.

That being said, there is much benefit in reading church history and citing great heroes of the faith. Why reinvent the wheel? I've heard people before who have argued that we should use the term "Trinity" since it's not a "biblical" term. Well, sure... but then how DO you describe God's three-in-oneness? It's just easier sometimes to use phrases and thoughts as they've been expressed before. This doesn't mean that we don't think these things through, it just means that we accept them as being accurate representations of what we find in the Bible.

Also, you made some rather unsubstantiated claims in your post. I'm not saying that they can't be substantiated, just that they weren't. What did you mean when you said that "great atrocities" have been committed by these same men?

I'd also like to see you develop this thought a little more: You discuss the concept of accepting ideas without associating with the person, but I'd like to know what that actually looks like. How does it work out practically?

Thanks again, Jonny,

1 of the 7

JLF said...

Jon, I've responded a little bit here as well.

Thanks again.

Mark D. Smith said...

Good post Jon. It reminded me of how I have read a quote by Luther saying how much he hated the thought of people using the term "Lutheran" to describe themselves. Not that I'm about to give up all labels (if for no other reason than for the sake of brevity), but I appreciate the post and the thoughts.
And Rielly, I really appreciated your comment as well. It reminds me of reading in Surprised by the Power of the Spirit how Jack Deere was so dissappointed when it came time to interview prospective students and he would ask them a question about the gifts of the Spirit and they could quote B.B. Warfield on it but they couldn't quote the Bible on it.
"when one says, 'I follow Paul,' and another, 'I follow Apollos,' are you not being merely human?"

JLF said...

Jon... are you ever going to post again? :)