I have found church folks are sensitive to blasphemy. Blasphemy steps over a line. A line of grace freely given, to eternal damnation justly deserved. And eternal damnation goes hand-in-hand with hell. And whilst hell might be good for a moment of testing or two – it is not nice – not for an eternity. Not when the alternative is the life of a lottery winner for all eternity (as heaven is usually referred to). Because heaven is the earned and just reward for not blaspheming (because every other “sin” is already forgiven if I have been saved). So who – in their right saved mind – would want to jeopardise that?
And here is the proof:
“And the teachers of the law who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul! By the prince of demons he is driving out demons.” So Jesus called them over to him and began to speak to them in parables: “How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.” He said this because they were saying, “He has an impure spirit.” Mark 3:22-30
“ … but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin … “
Seems “eternal sin” is a game-changer. A “go straight to hell” and do not pass the pearly gates – and most definitely DO NOT collect your eternal lottery winnings!
– – – – – – – – –
Yet I never hear these (following) lines taught in all the paranoia …
“If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.”
Or maybe like this …
If a Faith is divided against itself, that Faith cannot stand. If a Church is divided against itself, that Church cannot stand. And if Love opposes Love and is divided, Love cannot stand, and Love’s end has come.
Divided against itself … cannot stand.
Because I see that every day. At every annual denominational conference reported in the news. At every church gathering of policy-making that results in acrimony. At each church get-together used for “essential” networking and gossiping. In the practiced smile to your face and the private dismissal behind your back – unless we agree of course.
And I wonder why those these verses are ignored in favour of just one verse about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (and, anyway, just how does one differentiate between the different elements of The Trinity on such occasions?) …
Because more and more I hear reasons justifying why division and dissent are okay – are even “healthy” – in the Church. And less and less am I convinced of the reality.
More and more it just seems like any other corporate organisation. More concerned with its own profitability and growth, its own influence and power, its own brand and market share.
– – – – – – – – –
Someone in the church, in a conversation about reaching-out … connecting all with a loving God in the broadest sense of the word “love” and the consequence of that for those who wanted more faith in the broadest sense of that word … once said:
“Why would we want to even invite them to go to (the local churches) – what would they find there that helped them?”
– – – – – – – – –
And the teachers of the law … said …
I am curious – why does teaching focus on “blasphemy” … focus on dismissing those who ask questions … focus on the status-quo and earned (eternal) lottery winnings –
Even to the point of justifying and defending a Church divided against itself?