Monday, August 31, 2015

Hurts, Habits, Hang-ups, and Contrived Means

It's been a while hasn't it?  Yes, I was blogging, and then my life got busy with working at my church's school and doing music and generally tending to my husband and family.  Such is the cycle of women who have blogs.

But I have a thought that I want to think out loud.  Over the summer, I decided to start attending my church's Celebrate Recovery program.  CR is a place where people can come sort out their "hurts, habits, and hang-ups."  It is basically Alcoholics Anonymous but it's based on Jesus and it's for people with all kinds of issues.  In fact, only 3% come needing help with alcohol or drugs.  I've never been on drugs, alcohol, and mostly kept all my sin on the inside my whole life.  I'm just there because I was born, I'm a sinner, and I've been redeemed by Jesus.

That's not the point, however.  It's only a tangent.  This past Saturday was Charles Finney's birthday.  The infamous preacher who influenced many people such as Billy Graham and Keith Green in their evangelistic methods.  The problem with Finney, however, is he was not a believer.  He did not believe that Jesus's death on the cross paid for the sins of redeemed man.  In fact, he did not even believe that man had original sin.  He only needed to find the right path for living, and Jesus provided that example.  Billy Graham and Keith Green, while true believers who preach the true Gospel, followed the methods of this man who never went to seminary and only believed that revival was not a work of the Holy Spirit but in his own words, a result of "contrived means." 

I think that if Finney had a true disciple today, it would be a man that the world loves and who impresses me from time to time.  That would be Rick Warren.  Rick knows the Gospel, and loves Jesus, but sadly, his methods can be boiled down to things men and women can do to improve their lives with Jesus simply as a sponsor and a guru and nothing more. 

Why pick on Rick?  Because I genuinely love the guy and I think he has good ideas.  Why bring up CR?  Because it started at his church, Saddleback. 

I like CR because it provides a safe place for me to talk about all my past issues and find healing.  It's like having a counselor but, it's free and I don't need insurance.

Where can CR improve?  As a woman who follows Reformed theology, a la John Calvin, and who believes this theology truly follows the Bible's teaching, I want to take what I like from CR, and include it in what Jesus has already established in his Church. 

CR already involves creeds and memorized prayers.  Granted, they are their 8 Principles based on the Beatitudes according to the Message Bible, the 12 steps based on AA but with Jesus as the focus, and the Serenity prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr who had terrible theology (but don't get me wrong, I like the first half of the prayer, the part that ends up in greeting cards).  Martin Luther thought it much better to simply pray to the Lord by remembering the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed (not Scripture but a precise nutshell of what we believe), and the Lord's prayer, and to pray to the Lord for his grace in following his commands and living out his Gospel as a result of his saving work in our lives.

Perhaps I can examine all of this and see how it could simply lead to true recovery in the Lord and not just following his principles without looking to him.  I suppose I can start such a series on my blog but you must also remember that I don't blog consistently these days.  May the Lord help me.