March 29, 2006

Perfect Love Casts out Fear

(Already mentioned by Crystal I John 4:18)

That to me is the fundamental answer to the problem of Ananias and Sapphira. It seems rather clear that the church in Acts 4, notwithstanding the tremendous spiritual experiences they had undergone, was not perfect in love. Power, domination, coercion: all these things stem from fear. These two unfortunates were sufficiently infected with it to succumb.

If Peter had said that God would require their souls forthwith, he would have been mistaken IMHO; God doesn't do that. It's the fear that infects the church today that causes people to say dolorously, "It was God's will". "God called them home" is a bit better.

It's fear that causes people to say, "we have to attack Iraq in order to make ourselves safe". Only God can make us safe, and not with the weapons we spend so much on.


At 3:00 p.m., Blogger crystal said...

It seems almost as if once Jesus was ascended, the importance switched from being a follower of his teachings to being a member in good standing (following the rules) of the church. Negative reinforcement is an inefficient way to get people to do what you want.

At 5:35 p.m., Blogger david said...

For me -- getting behidn the text can be problematic. I don't know whether Peter and Ananias had gone spiritually to the point of perfect love catsing out fear.

The narrative presents presents Ananias and Sapphira fearing community disapproval so much they lied and hid the truth and then being struck dead as a result. That Luke saw their deaths as divine retribution suggests Luke is in a different spiritual place than most of the folks in the scripture study.

The early church doesn't have a problem with Ananias and Sapphira's deaths. We do. Are we sure who's enlightened?


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