I’ve been overwhelmed lately with how much corporate Christianity has to repent from. Over the two thousand years of its history, we’ve managed to abandon our God-given authority to steward the earth, seriously “dumb down” the mandate Jesus gave us to be and make disciples of all nations, and pass off our “bring heaven to earth” responsibility either onto generations of believers long dead, or forward to some “heavenly future.”
In addition, Christianity has regularly attacked its own believers, including Joan d’Arc, and slaughtered whole nations (Jews, Native Americans, Moslems, etc) who were unlucky enough to be perceived as “heretics” or “pagans” by governing clerics. And we’ve done all these acts of darkness in the name of God. Why?
I’ve also been reading a novel, The Last of the Just, by Andre Schwarz-Bart, about the Jewish legend of 36 Just Men who take upon themselves, by divine election, the world’s suffering to uphold the balance of good against evil in the world. The Lamed-Vov , as the legend calls them, suffer, eventually pass the legacy on to a son, and die–usually at the hands of some “christian” official. Down through each generation, these 36 Just sons of Israel endure the wrath of Christianity in all its historic grimness.The book earned its author the Prix Goncourt in 1959 and the Jerusalem Prize in 1967.
I don’t know why I’m suddenly so aware of all the suffering we’ve inflicted on each other and the world, but with every new awareness, I find myself convicted anew and asking the Father for forgiveness. I am dumbfounded, wondering how a people so blessed and anointed for the Kingdom can be so far away, for so long, from what He calls us all to be and do.
So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding.
For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened—those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come—and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame. (Hebrews 6:1-8.)