Published On: 01/14/14||0 Comments||Categories: James' Journal||

This post is a little outside the scope of what I want to post here, but it addresses a common flaw in our thinking as believers. It speaks of the proverbial “box” that we as believers try to mold every other believer into. We even try to put God in this “box”. The quote below is a response from Lead singer Jon Foreman after being asked if Switchfoot is a “Christian” band. Here is that response:

“To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple SF tunes. In true Socratic form, let me ask you a few questions: Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s Christian? What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds. The view that a pastor is more ‘Christian’ than a girls volleyball coach is flawed and heretical. The stance that a worship leader is more spiritual than a janitor is condescending and flawed. These different callings and purposes further demonstrate God’s sovereignty. Many songs are worthy of being written. Switchfoot will write some, Keith Green, Bach, and perhaps yourself have written others. Some of these songs are about redemption, others about the sunrise, others about nothing in particular: written for the simple joy of music. None of these songs has been born again, and to that end there is no such thing as Christian music. No. Christ didn’t come and die for my songs, he came for me. Yes. My songs are a part of my life. But judging from scripture I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing. I am a believer. Many of these songs talk about this belief. An obligation to say this or do that does not sound like the glorious freedom that Christ died to afford me. I do have an obligation, however, a debt that cannot be settled by my lyrical decisions. My life will be judged by my obedience, not my ability to confine my lyrics to this box or that. We all have a different calling; Switchfoot is trying to be obedient to who we are called to be. We’re not trying to be Audio A or U2 or POD or Bach: we’re trying to be Switchfoot. You see, a song that has the words: ‘Jesus Christ’ is no more or less ‘Christian’ than an instrumental piece. (I’ve heard lots of people say Jesus Christ and they weren’t talking about their redeemer.) You see, Jesus didn’t die for any of my tunes. So there is no hierarchy of life or songs or occupation only obedience. We have a call to take up our cross and follow. We can be sure that these roads will be different for all of us. Just as you have one body and every part has a different function, so in Christ we who are many form one body and each of us belongs to all the others. Please be slow to judge ‘brothers’ who have a different calling.”

The lie here is “absolutism” which can also be considered legalism. Absolutism is the exact opposite of relativism. As believers we shy away from relativism because it declares there is no absolutes and that all things are relative to the individuals experience. If you want to consider the sky blue then it’s your life, do what you want. Absolutism is the other side of the spectrum. Absolutism or legalism says that there is no variation for anything. Everything and everyone should do something in a certain way and to do anything contrary to the absolute is a violation. God never changes in character and virtue but He does change in the way that He uses His people. Jesus healed blind people in several ways. God is a creative God and we can see diversity throughout His creation and diversity as Foreman alluded to is how the body of Christ is to function. So open the boxes that you have created for yourself and others. As paul put it, “don’t ruin the work of Christ over food.” In other words, stop letting your personal convictions dictate the lives of every other Christian you know. If God tells you not to participate in Halloween then don’t. However, if someone else does, don’t judge them as weak Christians sucumbing to pagan rituals.

“Now you know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”

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