Friday, July 23, 2010

Cranmer's Curate: The consequences of sidelining Paul

The writings of Paul are every bit as important for the church as the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospels. This may come as a shock to the so-called "Red letter Christians," but the Word of God is the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice. This morning, from across the pond, Cranmer's Curate warns against the disturbing trend of "sidelining Paul."
So what is likely to happen when a professing Christian makes a deliberate decision to dismiss Paul’s commands as purely culturally conditioned and not authoritative for the Church in every century? The Protestant Churches in the West have already done that in relation to Paul’s teaching on male headship and are increasingly doing so on sexual ethics.

When a professing Christian deliberately sidelines Paul to the 1st century he or she becomes vulnerable to the very activities Paul warns against in Romans 13v13 and the list does not make pretty reading. That vulnerability is exacerbated when these activities become commonplace in a particular culture.

It surely will not be long before a prominent church leader in one of the liberal denominations finds compromising photographs of him or herself in a tabloid newspaper. Furthermore, churches in which Paul is being sidelined are likely to be places where there are serious abuses of power because the human tendency to quarrelling and jealousy is not being resisted in the power of the Holy Spirit.

There are lurid and shameful consequences of refusing to listen to Paul.