Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Refutation: NOOMA 8

Sorry it has been 2 weeks since my last post, but I thought of this last Sunday and it has been a week in the processing.

Has anyone heard of NOOMA? It is a series of online videos done by Rob Bell ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Bell ), the pastor of a 25,000+ member shurch in Michigan. My youth pastor recently shoewed video number 8 in my sunday school class.

In the video number 8, Rob teaches on the appearance of Jesus, walking on water, on the Sea of Galilee. The focus of the message is on the sinking of Peter and why. Rob explains the process by which a young jewish boy grows up and becomes the disciple of the Rabbi. A young jewish boy must memorize, in his first years of training, the Torah, the first five books of our modern Bible. At the end of this first several years a normal boy would move on to a trade, but the best of the best would go on and study longer and memorize the rest of the scriptres and prophecies of the Jews. At the end of this next period of study, most of the young men would go out into trades and other areas, but the best of the best of the best would go after even more study to the Rabbi and request to become his disciple. The Rabbi would then decide if the man was worthy and learned enough to become his disciple and follow in his footsteps. If the Rabbi said no, the man would go out and study and train harder or find a trade, but the very best of all would be accepted as disciples of the Rabbi. This is an amazing process in itself, and I believe that it has its application in the realm of Christ selected unlearned fishermen as His Disciples. Rob takes this a step further however. He states in this video that Peter sank in the water on the sea, not because he neglected to trust in Christ's power, but that he failed to trust in himself. That is where I find the enormous mistake in his theology. Rob ends the video with a very clear statement. "God believes in you, so you chould too" (very roughly paraphrased but I put quotes in case I got it right)

My response: This is all nonsense and Christain "self help". Understand, please, that this is not a rant, I have thought about this for one week and organized my thoughts as clearly as I can and any lack of clarity is my inability to express thoughts and emotion that are very clear in my own mind.

To say that we need to trust in ourselves, and that God believes in us is not only false but it is extremely demeaning of God's character and power. God's greatest power is displayed thorugh His ablility to use worthless and unskilled people in His service and for His glory. If God used only the skilled, the rich, and the successful then we are saying only that God "knows how to pick 'em good". We are nothing without God's power in our lives.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

This verse clearly states that no skill or ability that any human has comes from anywhere except God. We cannot claim to be sufficient. Any belief that we are insufficient to attain or own salvation or maintain our state of existence is totally correct. If Peter doubted himself and his own worthiness and ability to accomplish the impossible and follow in Jesus' steps on the water, how can he have been at fault? He doubted Christ's ability to work through his human, physical body and accomplish a miracle. Peter saw hi own unworthieness and lack of education, yes; but he failed to see that God can accomplish salvation and miracles anyway, despite our own failings. Peter did not have the education necessary to become the follower and disciple of a Rabbi, but Jese was able to work around that and was further Glorified because of the ineptitude of His servant.

Despite our failings and short comings God's ability and power will always shine through and will be made greater because of the crude tools he had to work with. God doesn't just know how to pick good servants, he can make good ones out of poor ones.

1 comment:

Stripedgecko said...

isn't the point of bells video the very thing you are stating? God chose the misfits, the not-good-enoughs to use in his plan to bring him glory. The idea of believing in yourself does sound a lot like self-help junk. But you are missing the reason we can believe in ourselves. It is because God has chosen us first.

To me that is the most exciting thing about that video. God chose Peter. Because he has chosen him, and only because he has chosen him he is able to be something, or somebody. Without Jesus we are nothing.

The self-centered thing is when we say I can't do this or that because of who I am. That's focusing on only you. That is what Peter did. The thing that glorifies God is when we acknowledge that he has chosen us, and that he is the one empowering and strengthening us and then do something with that. We can believe in ourselves because God has believed in us first.

Don't let the language negate the truth of what he is saying.

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