Thursday, October 21, 2004

I KNOW GOOD AND EVIL, AM I ARROGANT?

I am sure many of you out there have heard about the Rev. Canon V. Gene Robinson who has recently been ordained a bishop in the Episcopal church. There is a great stink about the whole thing where members have broken away in large numbers, ultimately dividing the Episcopal church, in protest to his ordination. The reason for the controversy for those who do not know, is due to the fact that Mr. Robinson is an open/practicing homosexual. On his website is listed his biography info and other stuff about his church. Take note of the sermon in particular (you can download a pdf here) I read it and found it wanting in clarity of truth. I want to make mention of the points he makes which seems to really stand out to me and, I think, sums up this man's character ,or rather, lack thereof, pretty well. Apparently Mr. Robinson believes that no one can know what is evil and if one does profess to know good or evil then he is being arrogant. His sermon is taken from Matthew 13: 24 - 30, 36 - 43, the parable of the wheat and tares, although, he doesn't really stay on point and pours into this passage a meaning that, obviously, it was not intended to have.

Not unlike the parable Jesus told about the kingdom. In it, the servants note that two kinds of plants are growing in the field: Wheat, and something which (at least in the first few months) looks like wheat. In fact, it?s a weed which grows in that part of the world called ?bearded darnel,? which looks exactly like wheat for a long time. When it finally heads out, its seed head is smaller than that of the wheat, and upon harvest, it can be sifted out ? which is a good thing, because this weed can cause mild nausea in those who eat it. In Jesus? parable, the workers, in their exuberance to purify the crop, want to rush in and pull out the darnel. But the Master says, ?No, you?ll uproot the wheat. Wait. We?ll take care of it at harvest time. It?s going to turn out all right. The wheat will be gathered in the barn, and we?ll burn the noxious weeds.? And by the way, you can almost hear the Master saying, ?How are you going to tell the weeds from the wheat?!?


What he fails to realize or acknowledge is that the servants in the parable did immediately recognized the "weeds" or evil growing alongside the wheat and the point of the master ordering them to not pull the weeds up was due to the risk of harming the actual wheat while doing so because their roots were intertwined, for isn't that what weeds do, they choke what they grow around? A good example of what I mean is when the Apostle Paul speaks about God using pharaoh for the purpose of subjugating the Israelites and then demonstrating His glory to the same, by delivering them from Pharoah's armies.

Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?


In addition, when Jesus explains the parable to the disciples he mentions that "and the enemy who sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels" (emphasis mine)So the reapers are angels, and were not referring to us as followers of Christ. This was a parable about the end times and nothing else.

"And now, this wonderful and great country of ours, which has always championed democracy and sought to deal with democratically elected leaders, has now, unilaterally, decided that democratically-elected Yassir Arafat is the wrong leader for the Palestinians. I don?t know if he is or not! But I am alarmed when our President declares that he KNOWS that the Palestinians would be better served by a different leader. What if the next person elected is from the militant group Hamas?! When we stop having an opinion about something, and start claiming to KNOW it, we are on a slippery slope.
(emphasis mine)

I won't even get into the comment about Arafat! Correct me if I am wrong, but is he saying that we cannot know the difference between good and evil? Is he relegating opinion above actually knowing good and evil? If that is the case then my opinion about anything trumps whatever can actually be known about it. How is it that we can be on a slippery slope when we actually profess to know something to be evil? Amazing!

He continues...
Don?t get me wrong. There IS evil in the world. I flew into New York City on the morning of September 11th, and with my own eyes I saw evil crashing into those two towers of steel and humanity. We?re apt to see it again. And we must protect ourselves from it as best we can. But in our war on terrorism, let us be careful that the violence we do in routing out the Al-Qaida ?weeds? of the world doesn?t destroy us in the process. We want to be safe, but let?s not give up our values and ideals in doing so. Let us not, as a nation, arrogate to ourselves the infallible knowledge of good and evil. Only God can fulfill that role."


So what exactly is he referring to when he states that he saw evil "with my own eyes"? Is evil the plane itself, the pilots, passengers? How did he know it was evil if no one can know what evil really is? I find it interesting that one can put evil ,and truth for that matter, into this ambiguous thing to deconstruct it, so that it cannot be defined, this way no one can truly tell anyone else whether or not they are wrong. Stating that truth, good, or evil cannot be known allows anyone to step in and profess "truth" or "evil" or "good" using any definition available at the time to serve their own purposes and claim that it is special knowledge from God. Do you see where I'm going here? It is not surprising that a practicing gay "Bishop" would have such an untrue and ambiguous idea of evil and truth. To redefine evil is the only way he can resolve the obvious conflict between his lifestyle and God's word.

Am I wrong on this, can no one know good or evil but God? Is it not possible for God Almighty to reveal good or evil to us? Even Paul states in Romans 1 that God has revealed Himself to us through creation so that no one is without excuse. If that is the case then how do we know that God is good?

What about the Commandments, are they good? How do we know? There is another question that needs to be asked that he has not considered but would definitely trump this entire sermon. I hope someone out there thinks of it.

Well, I would love to rant on this more but I don't have much more time and I would rather here from my fellow bloggers out there what you think about this sermon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right on Brother. I take heart in the African congregation that have also taken issue with this post-modernistic bent. Robinson doesn't know evil, or more aptly takes a relative stance by picking and chosing certain text and further bending God's Word in order to justify his sin On the other hand, the Africans know evil when they see it and don't hesitate to call sin sin

God Bless

Andy