We’ve heard a lot about the growing number of “nones” and “dones” in America, but what about the undones?
Who are the “undones?” They are those whose hearts are captured by Love, caught up in the mystery and wonder and reverential awe of an overflowing life in God.
Like the ‘dones,’ many of the ‘undones’ have experienced the abuse and disillusionment of religion; they’ve walked through the valley of doubt and even anger at God. But unlike the ‘dones,’ rather than walking away from God, they found what they were looking for in Him. They found it by leaving their orphan-hearted, performance-based religion for a life in their heavenly Father’s embrace and unforced rhythms of grace in Christ:
28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matt.11:28-30 MSG)
The ‘undones’ are not waiting to escape this world; they see Christ’s mission is to transform it as He makes Himself known through them:
14 But thanks be to God who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and who makes known through us the fragrance that consists of the knowledge of him in every place. (2 Cor.2:14 NET)
Their confidence is found in knowing their true identity: not by intellectual assent but by revelation knowledge. They know because they are known. They know who they are, whose they are, and where they are. They live from heaven to earth as fully-affirmed sons and daughters, compelled by other-centered love and not fear (2 Cor.5:14-15; Eph.2:6; Col.3:3; Phil.3:20; 1 John 4:18-19).
They find their strength in the power of God’s love found in intimate communion.
As Steffany Gretzinger says in the clip below in talking about her album, this undoing is a really a lifetime process. We are progressively being undone and changed into His nature. And we know this is happening because the tangible fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal.5:22-23).
As Richard Rohr said about mystery, it’s not never-knowing but ever-knowing. The ‘undones’ are the ones with unveiled hearts, being transformed from glory to glory as they participate in the divine nature (2 Pet.1:4):
18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Cor.3:18 NIV)
Glory is an interesting word. In the original Greek it’s δόξα (doxa): appearance; the opinion which obtains respecting one; reputation, credit, honor, radiance, splendor, magnificence. As John Piper has said, it’s God’s true nature on display.
So, we followers of Christ are to become windows of God’s true nature to the world around us. As the early church fathers stated in many places, “God became man so that man could become like God.”
29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Rom.8:29 NIV)
The ‘undones’ don’t have a fear-based, world-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket theology. They’ve been awakened by True Love’s kiss, and while some would see the world becoming hopelessly dark, their heart-gaze is fixed on the light of God’s glory shining in the face of Jesus Christ:
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.(2 Cor.4:6 NIV)
And, as their transformed lives reflect that Light, they become light and hope to the darkened world around them. This is God’s undoing.
“Arise, shine; for your light has come,
And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
2 “For behold, darkness will cover the earth
And deep darkness the peoples;
But the Lord will rise upon you
And His glory will appear upon you.
3 “Nations will come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isa. 60:1-3 NASB)
“The ‘undones’ don’t have a fear-based, world-going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket theology. “
Well, that’s encouraging! 😉
BTW, those that you describe as “reflecting Light” are pretty few and far between. I’m sure many would like to think they’re a reflection but unfortunately, their actions prove otherwise.
Sadly, Nan, I have to agree with you. What’s often reflected is pretty ugly. And it’s that version that’s the most vocal.
My sincere hope is that will change as we grow up in the other-centered, self-giving love of Christ.
To be clear, I mean that it’s sad that your assessment is true, not that it’s sad that I have to agree with you. 🙂
Not to worry. I understood what you meant.
Revealed? By whom?
And you reference 2 Peter. A known forgery!
Revealed by God in relationship with Him through the Holy Spirit. Of course, since you don’t believe in God, you would not get this. It’s spiritual revelation, not natural understanding. This revelation knowledge bears tangible relational fruit in a person’s life, like love, peace, joy, patience, etc. (Gal.5:22-23). This is what Paul said about it (in an epistle that’s accepted by almost every scholar as Pauline):
Ark, there you go with your certitudes, channeling Ehrman and Bauckman and others. It’s THOUGHT by most critics today to not be genuinely Petrine. And it is admittedly one of the most controversial books, other than Revelation, and late to be accepted, but that doesn’t prove it’s not genuine. There are other possible reasons for that. Here’s an interesting article that looks at the controversy 2 Peter and refutes the common myths surrounding this letter:
But, either way, the concept taught in 2 Pet.1:4 is biblical, as it’s taught in other places.
Well, anyone can say that (their) god revealed something to them. Mohammed said Gabriel revealed the Koran to him.
And you have no way of refuting any claim, now have you?
No. Of course not.
So such claims can be regarded for what they are: delusional, misguided, a sham? You choose.
We don’t deal in ”proof”,Mel, remember?
How many times are you going to insist that we do?
Evidence. And the evidence is stacked high enough against that the consensus is the book is a forgery.
You seem only to eager to accept whatever fits your presuppositional worldview.
Do you not have any regard for integrity and honesty?
Do you not care one iota for the vast body of scholarship that rejects you fringe take on Christianity?
Your ”either way” closing sentence demonstrates just how far you are willing to bend the supposed ”truth”
to ensure your presuppositional standpoint will always take precedent.
But then, who really cares about truth when you have faith, right?
I really don’t care what you think about this, Ark, and I’m not going to argue about it. This post is not an apologetic post and it was not written to you because you wouldn’t believe even if there was proof. As Paul said about you, you think it’s foolishness. There’s nothing I can do about that, so it a waste of time for me to try.
And the current popular scholarship is not conclusive proof. It’s an educated opinion. And keep in mind, almost half of textual scholars are not Christian, so they wouldn’t understand the spiritual implications anyway. Nonbelievers can only legitimately argue over historicity and textual authenticity. My faith is not based on scholarship; it’s based on my relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s not that I don’t pay attention to scholarship, I obviously do. But it doesn’t prove anything. And, again, the concept of 2 Pet.1:4 is biblical regardless of who wrote it, so it it’s a moot point anyway.
Mel, you wrote “they wouldn’t understand the spiritual implications”. That pretty much sums up the Christian perspective. No matter how much evidence is presented, believers will not (cannot?) see it for what it is because their worldview revolves around the supernatural.
I totally understand where Ark is coming from … and I also understand his frustration. He sees things in black and white while Christians see only the rose colors.
Even so, I think it’s good that he continues to probe and ask questions. If a Christian is worth his/her salt, s/he should be able to defend the faith with straightforward responses (and not some airy-fairy jibber-jabber). I think you will agree.
I understand what you’re saying but this post is not meant to be an apologetic or for unbelievers to believe something. It’s for believers (which means they believe in the supernatural). This is why I don’t use revelation knowledge as a defense in my apologetic posts. I stick to logical arguments and philosophy and natural theology. These spiritual things won’t be understood by someone who doesn’t see no matter what I say. Actually, there are many things that won’t be understood until you take a step of faith. It doesn’t make it less legitimate, it’s just not naturalistic.
I would disagree with your depiction; at least from my point of view. It’s not black and white versus rose colors. It’s a different way of looking at the world. We’re no less realistic about life; it’s just we believe there’s more to it than what science can prove or what we can observe. And most of my relationship with God cannot be proven by science, but it’s still just as real as anything else in my life. Science cannot even prove why I love my wife, let alone my relationship with God. 🙂
I do agree with that, but also understand that spiritual things are not “airy-fairy jibber-jabber” to us. It’s life giving and transformational. And it has tangible fruit in our lives. But it won’t be explained naturalistically, at least satisfactorily. And I’m not going off on any rabbit trail just to answer every question that comes up when it’s not even the subject of the post. It wastes what little time I have. And some of these arguments will never resolve themselves here. It comes down to we either believe it or we don’t. Anyway, thanks. It is helpful to see it from your perspective. I hope you understand mine. I’m not trying to be evasive. I just need to stay on topic for the best use of my time. I tend to give a little more latitude on the apologetic posts but my time is still limited.
Out of curiosity, which books of the New Testament do you consider to be forgeries?
If you mean by “forgeries” as false or not biblical, I don’t believe any of them are. If you’re talking about who authored each book, I don’t know for certain on some of them. But it doesn’t matter to me. Their spiritual authenticity is all I care about.
And if you want me to go on another one of your rabbit trails and argue about the Bible on a post that has nothing to do with that, you’re wasting your time. Believe whatever you want. You will anyway.
So you do not accept that any of the books are pseudoepigrapa?
I thought you just wrote you do pay attention to scholarship?
Ahhhh, beautiful Mel! This post is just like a breath of fresh air. I am definitely one of the “undone.”
A bit funny, this guy once came up to me and said, “So you’re one of the ravished and ruined, too?” I was thinking, “Dude, that is so inappropriate and personal!” But yes, in a spiritual sense, quite true. 🙂
Yes, it’s funny how something sounds so inappropriate and even foolish, but then again, it pretty much explains it!
Probably why the ancient Greeks thought falling in love was a form of insanity, btw. 🙂
”To us” being the operative words. And something similar is no doubt offered as the reason anyone not involved in any particular religion is unable to grasp what those on the inside are talking about.
This is classic Mystery Religion speak.
It is a way of saying there is a dragon in my garage and you can only see the dragon if you first acknowledge you believe in the dragon.
Eternal life is offered but first you must admit you are a sinner and recognise that this character in these books called the Gospels was a real person and a gods and although he was crucified came back to life and levitated all the way to heaven.
Of course, if you do not beleive this you will spend eternity in Hell.
Of course I said “to us” because this post wasn’t written to you. Most of the people who read this blog are believers. I would not use this language if I were talking so someone who was an unbeliever because they wouldn’t understand it. This language is a different kind of understanding.
To be clear, it’s not saying you’re too stupid to understand it, but that it’s spiritual truth that is spiritually discerned. It sounds like foolishness to you. Somewhat like you wouldn’t understand certain cultures totally foreign to you. It doesn’t make it gibberish. It’s just foreign. And this hasn’t changed in 2,000 years. Yet, there’s been billions of people who do understand it because their hearts are open to it.
That’s a bad analogy. It would be more like a stereogram. The hidden image in the picture is right in front of your face, but it remains hidden until you see it. Once you do see it, you see it all the time. Likewise, nothing changes with God; He never wasn’t “there” right in front of you before you see. It’s just that the eyes of your heart have been opened and now you see it.
First, this is simply not true. Contrary to modern additions to the gospel, you don’t have to admit you’re a sinner first; eternal life is accepting the invitation by faith. We are “saved” by grace through faith. Period. What you have to do is trust God with your life first. Admitting you’ve sinned should be obvious to anyone who’s honest with themselves, unless you think you’re the only person on earth who has never sinned, then you’re just delusional. What God does is He transforms us from the inside-out, renewing our mind, changing us into His likeness as we cooperate with Him working in us. Second, of course you must believe that Christ is real and alive from the dead. It would be very hard to accept the invitation to participate in the life of someone you don’t think is real and is dead! That should be self-evident.
Eternal life is NOT about your destination when you die, it’s about accepting the invitation into God’s life in Christ…now, tomorrow, and forever. When your very brief existence here on earth comes to an end, your life will just change forms and continue on the same trajectory into the ages to come with God as it does now. Conversely, one way to look at “Hell” is simply refusing the invitation and continuing the trajectory away from Him. Only you don’t benefit from the grace and love you enjoy everyday now on earth. And you’re still not escaping Him because He holds all things together in Him (Col.1:16-17). In my opinion, that’s not a smart choice, no matter what “Hell” actually is.
Even if you just go “poof” when you die and cease to exist, it’s still a total waste of God’s gift to only live a mere 70-80 years, more or less, and not live forever like you were meant to, never to see your loved one who’ve died again. Sorrow and injustice in this life never satisfied. No resolution. It just ends. I personally would feel ripped off. If it were a movie I would want my money back. Bad ending! 🙂
The bottom line is, our choices have consequences. This is true even in our everyday life. But we cannot blame other people for the bad choices we make. Likewise, we cannot blame God if we refuse to accept His free gift of love and life. That part’s up to us.
and then …
So, is it a prerequisite or not?
Why would I want to be loved by a make beleive character in the first place, and especially a genocidal monster?
And exactly what evidence do you have to make such a definitive claim?
Why would I blame anything on something I neither believe in or for which there is no evidence?
”Only a fool says in his heart, okay, I’ll believe without any evidence … sign me up !”
No. That prerequisite is an evangelistic invention after the Reformation. We are saved by grace through faith. But are you saying that you’ve never sinned?
What exactly do you mean by “evidence,” Ark. In other words, what evidence would Hamlet show for believing in Shakespeare? But we do have tangible evidence in the person of Jesus Christ, as I have explained before. And you live and breath in this complex and beautifully fined-tuned world. You are the one denying the evidence. Only a fool say it’s not designed.
Mel, you ask Ark this question: But are you saying that you’ve never sinned?
“Sin” is a word used in religious circles (as one definition states, it is “an act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God’s will”). But “substitute” words are blunder, goof, drop the ball, or commit a faux pas or a fault or make a serious mistake. Of course, we all have done some of these things, but they are not “sins” as defined by religion. So to ask if someone has “sinned” is a misnomer.
You consider sin to be action or words against your god, do you not?
Again you make the claim, you should have the integrity and honesty to provide the evidence to back it.
Not once to date have you shown either.
Sin is simply “missing the mark” of being fully human. We sin against God’s intent for us by sinning against one another. According to the Scripture, it’s committing any act contrary to other-centered, self-giving love. Have you ever done this?
Again, you keep saying “evidence.” Define exactly what you mean by evidence. Ark. I have answered your questions, yet you continually make these baseless accusations without answering mine.
I do not believe in your god, or any gods and you not demonstrated the existence of your god. In fact, we know only too well that Yahweh is a fictional character.
Evidence that unequivocally demonstrates your point beyond any shred of doubt.
But that wasn’t my question. My question is, have you ever done anything that does not demonstrate other-centered, self-giving love? You don’t have to believe in God in order to answer this question.
Do you believe anything that is unequivocally beyond any shred of doubt, Ark? Do you know you’ll be here tomorrow without any shred of doubt? Is this how everything in life is determined, nothing can be believed unless it can be proven without a shred of doubt? Ironically, that’s not even scientific! It’s the “religion” of scientism. And since you don’t have unequivocal evidence for the non-existence of God (or designer) that’s beyond a shred of doubt, is that not also a faith statement? What evidence would you use to prove there absolutely can be no God? According to your own definition of evidence, your position is self-refuting. The truth is, there are many things you probably believe by faith.
I never use this term. What does it mean?
Then provide adequate evidence that would convince a neutral of the claims you make.
And your pejorative use of the word ”scientism” is nonsense and your allusion to religion is equally as ridiculous.
It is a sham that you continue to claim you are not religious yet you attempt to drag the non believer down to your level at every turn.
It has become a bit of a joke I’m afraid. You should probably stop it if you wish to
retain some measure of integrity.
It means the opposite of living selfishly or doing things at another person’s expense. It includes all acts of injustice, hatred, and prejudice, whether in thought or deed. As Jesus said, this is the whole of the Law and the Prophets (Matt.22:37-40). So, have you done anything for selfish reasons? Ever lied to anyone for any reason? Have you ever done anything for your own advantage at another person’s expense? Have you ever loved selfishly, or refused to change for another person you say you love who says you’re hurting them? Or have you used a another person for your own self-gratification, again, whether in thought or deed? Stolen anything from anyone? Or coveted something that belongs to someone else? Have you ever put financial gain over the best interests of those you serve? Have you ever been envious? Have you ever withheld from someone who came to you in need when it was in your power to give? Have you ever hated someone and held on to unforgiveness toward them? Have you ever not forgiven someone for things you yourself have done? Do you judge other people’s weakness based on your strengths?
Have you ever made baseless accusations against someone, calling them liars and deceptive, just because you disagree with them. 🙂
This is just a very partial list, but if we are honest with ourselves, we will get the point. We’ve all done some of these things, and continue to do them. To say you’ve never done any of these things is delusional.
I hate nothing, ( maybe Manchester United FC on a really bad day) as I consider hate to be a waste of emotion. I would consider myself a man who does not have prejudice in general and I try to abide by the laws of fair play.
See? No gods required.
I would offer a general ”no” to most of those accusations. Although I did steal a gobstopper( candy) when I was eight years old from a newsagents.
I also took a penknife from an empty house I was selling when I was an estate agent. I t was in an empty (open) kitchen drawer and I only took it because it has a screwdriver attachment which I needed to unscrew something on my car that afternoon. I still have it. It’s red.
If ever I meet the former owner of the house who was an ANC politician, who moved to Cape Town he can have it back.
Not that I am aware of.
I’m not asking if you are generally a good person. Everybody has their own scale on that notion. Are are saying you’ve NEVER done ANY of these things…ever, and you have unequivocal proof, of course.
And I will tell you, you’ve called me a liar several times and it wasn’t true.
Again, I have confessed to those things I am aware of stealing.
I do not lie.
I do not hate
Granted I undoubtedly make mistakes. But your notion of sin seems to be one of knowingly going out of one’s way to unjustly malign another on purpose in one form or another.
I don’t do that, It is not in my nature.
Yes, I have said you have told lies with regard the position you have taken concerning your religious beliefs and your assertions.
Confessed to whom? And why do you have this standard? Why is it wrong for you to steal or lie. This is not intrinsically true in all cultures.
And exactly what lies have I told with regard to my position, Ark? I’m certainly not aware of any myself. You must be a higher power! 🙂 Of course, prove your accusation with unequivocal evidence beyond any shed of doubt. I’ll check on your irrefutable evidence later.
You weren’t answering my question, just making more accusations. Do YOU believe anything that’s unequivocal and beyond any shred of doubt?
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You wrote, God became man so that man could become like God. Sadly, many would call this blasphemy. Nevertheless, it is truth.
It is sad because the church fathers up to Augustine said exactly that. So, they would be accusing the early church of blaspheming, too.