IDOLATROUSNESS . . . When it hurts us and others

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.” (Reference: 1 Corinthians 10:12-14 )

Dirk Philips wrote, “For the friendship of this world is enmity with God, 1 John 2:15, and whoever would be a friend of the world must become God’s enemy, as the apostle James says, James 4:4. Christ also says the same in the Gospel, that is, that which “is exalted among men is an abomination before God,” Luke 16:15.That is the reason we are not inclined to observe all human institutions of the world, all false worship and ceremonies of the Roman Church which are opposed to Christ, Matt. 15:3; 1 Cor. 10:14. Rather, we desire in our simplicity to remain and abide, for good or ill, in the teaching and example of Jesus Christ and to allow ourselves to be guided by the first apostolic congregation insofar as the Lord gives us grace, Eph. 2:19-20; 1 Pet. 2:21.”

First let me be clear beloved – according to modern Anabaptists/Mennonites, the Roman Catholic church is not the enemy. All religions and denominations have their spectrums of beliefs, based on the foundational tenets of those beliefs. If there is ANY disagreement, it is only at those particular points on that spectrum where our beliefs and other beliefs have conflict. And we do not hold it against the whole religion/denomination for those individual conflict points. And even then, if the conflict points are minor, it does not mean we cannot come together in ecumenical harmony. I have many fond memories in my childhood of the three diverse churches in my hometown coming together for joint worship.

Sadly, historic Anabaptists were “friends” with no one else but their own. And in some cases (mostly in the past) that held true for contemporary Anabaptists/Mennonites. It was realized at some point (praise be to God!) that we Anabaptists/Mennonites were missing out on something beautiful and spiritual by averting our eyes from other faiths true to God. We “repented” of that and tendered apologies to those faiths, as had those faiths tendered apologies to us for the persecution that their forebearers might have committed.

What I suspect our Anabaptist forebearers were fleeing was not so much the symbols, icons etc as it was the control of the established state church at the time. And those sins are not ones that should be held against the descendents. God would not tolerate or condone that. This has been something I have longed to tell and share with you beloved, that in our history we unfairly wronged a Christian denomination based purely on the actions of those in power at a certain point in history.

As to the the rest of this passage in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, I am not convinced that God does not allow us to be tempted past what we can bear – because we fall into and are succumbed by temptation! How can God be omnipotent if the Lord cannot save us from temptation?! The answer is, God does not stop the temptation but warns us in many ways not to succumb. If we do so, it is on our heads. What God does is, once we have ignored the warnings, provide us a way to receive forgiveness and redemption – blots away the sins we committed. Through God’s mercy we are made whole again, and hopefully next time will not succumb to temptation.

I like the fact that the writer of 1 Corinthians was giving them hope. And giving them good advice, to keep away from falseness and its lure. May you beloved chose the good that God intends, joining in thanksgiving with ALL fellow believers that God’s mercy, forgiveness, and redemption will sustain us when we fall away. Selah!

About Carole Boshart

I have blog called "Pondering From the Pacific" and it is based on my reflections on the world - sometimes religious/spiritual, and sometimes not so much. Some days roll along smoothly and some days are like rocky shale. But always I cling to my faith . . . . and my sense of humor!

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