Items posted on 8 January 2011
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1 John 5.18-19 and John 4.21 – The need for humility
Posted: 8 January 2011 in 1 John, John

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.

Although I have taken them slightly out of context, the verses from 1 John struck me because of a debate I have been having with somebody on another forum. On the basis of some verses taken from the Bible, such as the one quoted from John’s Gospel, this person has decided that he alone has now discovered the true way to worship God, and, needless to say, people down the ages have been blinded by tradition, and by an inability of the churches to discern the true meaning of scripture. I cannot recall all of his argument, which didn’t seem very coherent anyhow, but apparently we are to be guided only by what the Holy Spirit has written on our hearts.

We should, admittedly, be very suspicious of any organisation which, in the name of humility, demands our unquestioning obedience. But I would nevertheless say that humility is a very important virtue in religion. There is an ever present danger of somebody going off to found a sect, which only just stays on this side of sanity, and losing touch with reality. For Christians reality is mediated to us, first and foremost, by God’s self revelation in scripture, but it is also mediated to us through the collective wisdom of saints and theologians, writing down the ages, and from both the Catholic and Protestant traditions. We can build on what they have written, but we can’t tear it down and start again without an extreme act of egoism.

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