Monday, March 10, 2008

Communal Carrot People with an Internet Connection, coming soon to an email inbox near you!

So I get an email yesterday from someone I don't know. Normally I don't click on those but the subject line was interesting ("The Fruit of Cain Multiplied: The Murderer John Calvin‏") so I did. Here's what it said:
"The following paper will be of interest and pertinence to you for possibly several reasons among many. It has been our great honor to discern and identify the error and spirit of John Calvin, whose rule is yet propagated in the hearts of men with evil consequences for all. The Lord Jesus Christ has visited us with the Light of His countenance to put an end to this evil, justifying His servants whom Calvin murdered, and His Name in the sight of all. Show me whom you follow, and I will know what manner of person you are or will become. If you do not know whom you are following, don't you think it is time to find out how and where you are being led? Do you think you will altogether escape the consequences because ignorant? Think again. You already suffer them. John Calvin was one of the most vicious of wolves ever to pose as a lamb of God. His supremely self-righteous spirit lives on in those who lionize and follow him, even unbeknownst to themselves. Truly, "that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God."

In my feverish, flu-ish state yesterday, I actually thought the subject line read "the murder of John Calvin". Obviously, after reading the email I realized that's not what it said. Ahem. Yeah, like I've never gotten an email like this before? I get them quite a bit, in fact. Usually though, they come from anon emails that have no website or anything attached. This one had a website to go along with it! They also list a bunch of other false teachers (Kirk Cameron, John Piper, and everyone else under the sun, except for them, of course), false teachings (the list is huge), and some section all about farming/communal type living. w00t... communal carrots! It was all very exciting. Like watching paint dry.

Here's the thing. I get being concerned about the purity of God's church. I am concerned about it myself. I get being concerned about holy living and doctrinal truth, I care about those things too. I can even understand putting together an entire site to point out the errors out there, that's what Emergent No was all about. What I don't get, and will never get as long as I live, are professing Christians that have so much seething hatred for other professing Christians that you question if they might not spontaneously combust at any moment. In other words, where's the grace? Where's the understanding that YOU or me or the guy down the road confessing the Lord as God isn't merely a sinner saved by God's grace? I'm no better than you, and I'm no better than the meth junkie peddling his goodies on the street corner. All men are made in the image of God and all men are called to repentance. His sins might be different than mine but he needs God's grace just as much as I do. I don't get to sit on my high horse and look down my self-righteous nose at him because he's not saved, or at anyone else because they're in a different doctrinal place than I am. What I do get to do, purely by God's grace, is exhort fellow believers to take a high and holy road (standard for living), exhort them also to take a high view of Scripture, and share the gospel (in whatever context He puts me in - which is usually not dealing with meth junkies) with the unsaved.

So loosely translated, here's what that email actually said:

"We picked you special, because you follow John Calvin and he was a demon, wake up you moron! We're really smart and we've been told by God Himself that Calvin was evil, and He put us in charge of putting an end to his evil teachings. You're ignorant, and you can't see that following a murderer is going to turn you into one, and since you already follow him, it's really important that you wake up now! Hurry, read our webpage and you'll be enlightened like we are, and will no longer follow evil murderers. Love always, communal carrot people."

Yep, that's what it really said. No grace, no real interest in educating anyone, but a clear focus in enjoying exposing what they believe is the wickedness of John Calvin (among many many other current and former names among the Christian church). This, coupled with the idea that anyone who can appreciate anything Calvin ever taught, is a follower of him. What if Calvin grew carrots, then what? Would these zealous communal carrot people then become dogmatic, communal snow pea people? Somehow, I get the feeling that they would, just so they wouldn't be associated with him at all, even agriculturally.

So the bottom line...

Don't ever send me email like this when I have the flu. I will blog about it. Wait, that's not the bottom line, but it's close. Here's the bottom line:

1. I don't follow John Calvin, and I've never read The Institutes, so there.
2. God's grace is for all who heed the call to repent, and follow Christ. Even Calvin, and carrot people.
3. Joy - where is that? Is it in God, or is it in tearing down people? Give that some thought.
4. I still have the flu, and I may regret posting this, when I'm better. Although I doubt it right now.
5. I prefer snow peas anyway.