Al Miller, Guest Columnist
I read with interest an article ('It's the Church that needs salvation') carried in the In Focus section of The Sunday Gleaner of November 25, 2012 written by Gordon Robinson, where he cited that he lost faith in the Church, a man-made organisation, and then he sought to define its purpose.
I wonder if he knows of any God-made organisations, and how he would recognise such if he saw one, since he obviously has no relationship with God but by his own acknowledgement, a concept of belief which may be a good starting point.
The amazing thing is that there are many thinkers like Mr Robinson who speak with such authority about spiritual matters of which they are grossly ignorant. On the contrary, wise men ask questions in search of understanding before making utterances that express folly.
Notwithstanding the flaws in men, the Church is still the Body of Christ in the world which was established by Christ's own words: "On this rock I build my Church."
The Church and its representatives who have a relationship with Christ are still the primary carriers of the mind of Christ in the world and it is through them that Mr Robinson and all men need to be guided. Sorry, Mr Robinson, you cannot get around us, as we are the only true, authentic reps on the planet. I, for sure, and many others have the history, evidence, lifestyle and character to back it up; in your words, we are a "motley crew".
Mr Robinson, in your reference to the authenticity of the Bible being used to guide behaviour, you said it is "the centuries-old random collections of articles by a 'motley crew' of authors in a book called the Old Testament". Like it or not, it is the authoritative Word of God. The same God who creates all things gives you life and provides the air you breathe. It is the same book that forms the base and informs all the law books in your library and the nations of the world. The "motley crew" is a perfect reflection of what God can do with ordinary men who trust Him.
The Bible is the collection of time-tested and proven principles that have never failed to work; its accounts are factual; scientifically supported; historically true and have withstood the scrutiny and survived the criticisms of academics.
Mr Robinson, please be advised that what you loosely called the Church may not be what the Bible or many of us call the Church. There is a major difference with religion without a relationship with Christ and a faith based on a relationship with Christ.
What I am unapologetically part of is faith based on a relationship with Christ. It is that which enables me to gladly be a chauffeur to any person in need of my help to do what is right (your reference to 'Prezi', a fugitive). I bear no shame and will continue to serve all in need because my relationship with Christ drives me to love all with His love imparted to me, regardless of consequences.
A fundamental tenet of my faith relationship is as Christ loved us and laid down His life for us, so we must love others and be willing to lay down our lives for them.
I would be happy to chauffeur you, Mr Robinson, to help you in your ignorance of spiritual and moral issues and introduce you to our God, the creator, who has the right to instruct His creatures on how to live productive lives and inform us on acceptable and unacceptable conduct and their consequences.
Sadly, Mr Robinson and the thinking he represents appear to resent divinely imposed standards and, as such, he wants no challenge to negative sexual behaviour or orientation. He does not want 'absolutes' that will say a particular behaviour is wrong. He suggested that persons should be free to follow their natural sexual urges. He castigates the Church for saying that some sexual acts are an abomination. Personal discipline, self-control and commitment to moral standards are important to all areas of life, including our sexuality.
Regardless of my views, Mr Robinson and others, the fact is that God has still clearly said in His Word that some acts, such as witchcraft, deviant sexual behaviour, injustice and idolatry are an abomination to Him, and as the Sovereign God, He has the right to state His position on all matters. He says we must control our sexual urges, as we should our temper and other behavioural responses. If we cannot, we are no different than the lower animal forms, such as dogs, etc.
Man, unlike other creatures, was made in the image of God with a mind, will and emotions and the ability to choose. Sorry if some men share the sentiments of the popular 1990s lyrics, 'ol' dawg like me'. We can, and must, control all urges to live in society in peace and good order.
By the way, Mr Robinson, I loved the story you told about the arrival of three souls at heaven's gate; the Queen and the Pope were surprisingly placed in the second and third rows, and then Fred, the Jamaican taxi driver, to the dismay of the Pope, was placed in the front row, because, as it was Peter told the Pope, "He is the drunken Jamaican taxi driver. He drove the fear of God into more people in a day than you did in your entire career." I wish he could return and give you a ride.
The Rev Merrick 'Al' Miller is pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.