DECONSTRUCTING SALVATION

with contributions by Monte McGary II

Introduction

Salvation is one of the most debated concepts of Christian theology.  Within the institutionalized organized churches of the Protestant movement, and the Church of Rome, the idea of Salvation has evolved into a doctrine of infinitely intricate explanations.  These explanations have massive ramifications for our view on so paramount a doctrine as Salvation. The ancient Jewish scriptures possess within them the basis for the doctrine of Salvation as developed by the Church.  However, the Doctrine of Salvation is not succinctly defined within the Bible. The purpose of this paper shall be to examine the development of the Doctrine of Salvation from St. Clement through Martin Luther.  

A Few Thoughts

The apologists of the following centuries after the death of Jesus of Nazareth began to set down in detail what His death and resurrection meant.  Within the scriptures, salvation has multiple different implications and different usages. In the New Testament, the word salvation took on a meaning of redemption, but it carries many more ramifications than redemption.  The Old Testament portrays salvation as freedom from oppression or slavery. The New Testament further explains the concept of redemption mixed with the Old Testament’s idea of liberation by likening salvation to liberation through ransom.  The apostle Paul takes a more relationship based approach by likening salvation to a reconciliation of friends after a dispute, and includes in his definition the state of being at peace with the estranged party. The peace that comes after reconciliation is coupled with a forgiveness of sins.  This process is defined as justification, and the party who offended becomes right again in the sight of the offended. 

The debate over salvation that took place over the centuries has not been about the presence of these ideas within the scriptures, but rather about the way in which to interpret these ideas.  As with most other early church controversies, the apologists were the most prominent on the early scene of debate. Six separate interpretations of the implications of Salvation within scriptures began to arise:

  1. Salvation as Illumination (Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, and various early apologists. 90-150 C.E.)
  2. Salvation as Restoration (Irenaeus, Circa 150 C.E.)
  3. Salvation as Satisfaction (Tertullian, Circa 150 C.E.)
  4. Salvation as Victory (Origen, Circa 185-254 C.E.)
  5. Salvation as Deification (Athanasius, 287 C.E.)
  6. Salvation as Justification (Augustine, 354 C.E.) (McKim 74-95)

The last of these became the main thought for the interpretation of the Bible regarding Salvation.  However, all of these ideas show signs of life within the current Doctrine of Salvation. It could be easily said that the Doctrine of Salvation is a melting pot of these six ideas combined over time.  It is important to explore all of these implications, if one is to gain a full understanding of the doctrine that they gave birth to.

Salvation as Illumination

The first of these ideas is that of Salvation as Illumination.  The idea of Salvation as Illumination is one of idea, not experience.  The apologists who developed this idea were interested in the philosophical ideas of Christ as being the Logos (Word) of God.  They believed that the Word was the vehicle by which God imparted to humanity, the divine knowledge that the philosophers of the day were seeking in Gnosticism.  The difference between Salvation as Illumination and Gnosticism is the process of impartation of that illumination.  In Gnosticism, the divine knowledge is given to a select amount of people, although all people seek this knowledge. The early apologists, such as Justin Martyr and Clement, were careful to stress that Jesus is this Divine knowledge spoken about in Gnosticism, yet the purpose of Christ clearly shows that the divine knowledge is one that is open to all people.

Though the idea that divine knowledge is opened up to all people through Jesus, according to the apologists, the essential applications of Gnosticism still apply.  Because the purpose of knowledge is application that brings us into an eternal knowledge, and thus immortal existence, the salvation that comes from the presence of Christ is dependant upon the action of that knowledge.  Therefore, we are waiting upon the summing up of existence into death where we will see God’s love save us because of our knowledge. One of the early apologists who developed this idea was Clement (Behr 204)  Clement does not remove the law from grace and faith, but he joins the two so that they are dependant upon one another.  The result of this is a doctrine that supports works as the justification for faith, and thus for a true knowledge of Christ.  Therefore, the purpose for Salvation by Illumination is to respond to the ideas of Gnosticism.  The Gnostic belief supported the idea that divine knowledge was secret and had to be acquired through secret method.  Salvation by Illumination does not address sin, but instead addresses ignorance. Ignorance is the mother of sin for Gnosticism, and so the answer to this plight is knowledge.  It is clear that Christ is the answer to the Gnostic problem of ignorance because of the illumination that He provides.  However, to make Gnosticism’s doctrine of ignorance the basis for Christ is fatal to making Christ the answer for the problem presented by Gnosticism.  If the Gnostic belief supports the lack of knowledge as being the cause of man’s sin, and knowledge is openly being given in Christ, then humanity should not need Christ to begin with.  The idea that Christ is presenting knowledge of truth to a people that can only receive truth, if given directly by a secret source, supports that humanity should not be able to know who Christ is because Christ is an open source.  Christ sums up the Gnostic experience by opening truth up to everyone, but in Gnosticism true knowledge is hidden. Even when that knowledge is revealed, it is revealed in a secretive way. 

Therefore, for Christ to be the gnosis that all men seek and hear as being truth, truth itself, as being secretive, must be ill conceived.  Calling Christ the secret truth that all men hear, claims that truth is in fact not secretive at all. The natural conclusion is that truth can be heard by all men, but it is very rarely spoken.  To say this is the truth, the Gnostics would have to remove from their thinking the idea that the knowledge they have gained outside of Christ, is of value. The apologists were not seeking to redefine the philosophy of the time, but rather to more define the philosophy.  Using Christ as a filter to understand their struggle with sin, by implying that sin comes out of ignorance of the truth is lazy at best. At worst, it is a means to shift the blame off the self, and to intellectualize a problem that has little to do with intelligence.  

Therefore, Salvation by Illumination is not salvation, but in fact, a further blurring of the understanding of the human condition.

Whether the full implications of Salvation by illumination are valid, it should be noted that the reason the apologists have flaws in their logic is not because the idea is flawed.  The Bible is quite clear that Christ does provide humanity with an ultimate truth that is so unique that it can only be understood through Him (John 14:6). The problem with the idea of Salvation as Illumination is that it takes a valid concept and uses it as a platform for destroying sin.  The purpose of creating this philosophy is a reactionary one, not for the purpose of a better understanding. Its purpose is to answer the ideas that Gnosticism presents, while still maintaining Gnosticism as being ultimately flawed. To build a concept upon something that is flawed, although useful, is ultimately entropic.  The apologists were claiming that Christ was something unique, while claiming that He was better. To put Christ into the position of better, is to make Him comparable. This idea ultimately undermines the idea of uniqueness. It could be argued that this is a viable means to show His worth to those who do not understand His value yet.  This is true, but Christians who claim to understand His value as unique, should not then take for themselves an understanding that is not for the educated, but the uneducated. The apologists were writing mostly to dispel “heresies” from within the church, not from without. Therefore, the approach should not have taken into account the positions of “out of institution” doctrines such as Gnosticism, in their explanations to believers.  Likewise, the Christians should not have taken for themselves defense strategies that were devised for “out of Church” doctrines within church politics. To do this undermines the uniqueness of the Gospel within the institution. Salvation by Illumination is a result of such misjudgments on the part of the institution.

Salvation as Restoration

Salvation as Restoration is a different idea.  The idea of Restoration is a development of the theologian Irenaeus.  The idea of restoration is a concept that defines the state of humanity as being different than its intended state.  Irenaeus believed that Christ’s purpose was to relate to humanity on all levels of human existence. In theorizing this, he explains the reason that the Messiah was incarnated in the womb, and grew from childhood.  The idea that Irenaeus presents is that on every level, Christ restores humanity to its intended state as an initially created being (McGrath 328).  This concept gives way for heavy usage of the Apostle Paul’s allusion that Christ is the new Adam.  Not only is Christ the new Adam to Irenaeus, but the various icons surrounding Christ’s incarnation are given like symbolism.  The cross is the new tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Virgin Mary is the new Eve. Christ is the vehicle of Salvation, just as Adam was the vehicle for the Fall (McGrath 328).  Christ sums up in his obedience the likeness of God, and thus one man has restored humanity to its state of intention, just as it initially fell. Irenaeus describes this process as being a union of man and God, where God lowers Himself to man’s level through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.  Man is then raised up to God’s level by being in His likeness. The purpose of Christ is to restore man to the original intended state.

The issue of restoration raised by Irenaeus is a valid idea, worth the amount of exploration it given by the apologist.  Restoration to the intended state through the work of Christ on the cross is certainly an idea that is supported by the Bible.  The issue of restoration is about the issue of sin. The idea that sin caused humanity to lose his intended state of created perfection, and thus to be in need of restoration, is an idea that answers the problem of sin.  Therefore, the idea of Salvation as Restoration is different from Salvation as Illumination because the latter supports Jesus’ deity as being before, and not related to sin. Salvation as Restoration claims specifically that the purpose of the incarnation was specific to the presence of sin, and the need that it created for restoration. 

The idea of Salvation as Restoration assumes that the need to address sin is the purpose for Christ to exist.  

Salvation as Satisfaction

Restoration is not the only sin-based interpretation given to Salvation by the apologists.  The great western theologian Tertullian was a man whose theology greatly shaped many of the ideas that Orthodox Christianity holds, such as the doctrine of the Trinity (Olsen and Hall 30).  One such idea that has permeated the orthodox institution is that of Salvation as Satisfaction. 

Salvation as Satisfaction is the idea that a standard must be met for restoration to occur due to the separation created by sin.  According to the writings of Tertullian, good deeds acquire merit, but bad deeds require satisfaction. The death of Christ on the cross is seen as an act of goodwill on Humanity’s behalf (Tertullian 158).  This is the peace offering that opens the door, through reconciliation, for satisfaction.  Tertullian’s God is one who has accepted that a relationship should be maintained, but must be satisfied that the offender is genuine about his want for reconciliation.  Thus humiliation of the self, through exultation of God, is encouraged. With this said, it is not merely enough to accept Christ, but it is necessary to be baptized as a furtherance of reconciliation.  If one does not perform this sign, he is not willing to satisfy the standards of God, and is not reconciled. Once baptized, the offender may discharge his previous offenses by sacrifices of action, and even money.  The sorrow that gained from this shows God the sorrow that man feels for his sinful ways and God will one day forgive them. 

Tertullian’s idea of God is interesting, but more closely resembles the pagan God’s of Rome and Greece, than he does the God of Abraham and Moses, summed up in Jesus.  The sacrifices found within the Old Testament were not a means of satisfying God’s wrath as they have come to be understood. The Mosaic covenant did not support a need for reconciliation with YWHW; instead, it maintained a relationship through the proof presented by blood sacrifice (Robertson 173-174).  Satisfaction through blood sacrifice was never truly achieved by humanity’s ritualistic form of law (Micah 6:6-8).  God Himself declared that these sacrifices meant nothing to Him (Isaiah 1:11-15), and that He would much rather be merciful than punish man for his sins (James 2:13). The stark difference between the God presented by Tertullian, and the God presented by Jesus is one of Mercy.  Jesus’ incarnation presented the idea that God was with man – His name Immanuel clearly presents this (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23). Jesus openly forgave man of their sins because of their faith, without their sacrifice. His decree to these people was not to make a second repentance by living in constant sorrow for their past sins.  His decree was simply to, “Go and sin no more (John 8:1-11).” The Father who agrees with Jesus by virtue of their Triune nature within the Godhead would be in agreement with the sentiment of Christ on the cross to, “forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing (Luke 23:34).”  

Tertullian was one of the founding Fathers of the Trinitarian doctrine, but he seems to forget that the ways of the Son, are the ways of His Father.  Thusly, because Jesus did not require a sacrifice for sin, in order to be in communion with humanity, and thus to forgive them, neither would God His Father.

Therefore, salvation as a means to satisfy the just anger of the Father is an idea that denies the nature of God found in the incarnation of Jesus. 

This doctrine has been the forbearer of various permutations, such as penance in Roman Catholicism, and the need to satisfy God’s righteous standard found within modern Protestant Orthodoxy.  The doctrine of Salvation as Satisfaction is different than Salvation as Restoration because it places more of an emphasis on humanity’s need for good deeds than Salvation as Restoration. Although their implications are essentially different, they both stem from the same root.  Both ideas present Christ as being present due to the nature of man as sinful. The idea of Salvation as Restoration opened the doorway for Salvation as Satisfaction. Salvation as Satisfaction has opened up the doorway for several ideas to be presented. Among these are the Roman Catholic doctrines of penitence, and purgatory, and the Protestant concepts of God’s wrath and vengeance. The rise of a need for Salvation as both Restoration, and then Satisfaction continued to be picked up by other philosopher/theologians. 

Salvation as Victory

Origen, a student of Clement, believed that the ability of Christ to restore humanity to the Father, and give us a way to work through our Salvation through Satisfaction, proclaimed Jesus as a victor.  He likened Jesus’ act of restoration, as an act of Ransom. According to Origen, Jesus gave himself to the Devil, who owns all sinful souls, as an exchange for the souls of humanity. Once Jesus was taken by the Devil, the Devil found that he could not hold Him, because in Him there was no sin, and Hell can only hold those who are sinful.  It is in this way that Jesus was able to restore humanity to God, and open up the doorway for a satisfaction of God’s righteous standard. Origen likens Jesus to a warrior protecting his friends. Because death cannot defeat Christ, anyone who stands with Christ will be under His protection, although their sinful souls would naturally belong in Hell (Bethune-Baker 337).

Salvation as Deification

Athanasius, who was famous for dealing with the Arian controversy that created the Council of Nicaea (although he was not actually there.), as well as Clement, and Irenaeus also worked on another sin-based idea called Salvation as Deification.  The idea of Salvation as Deification has to do with man’s renewal and restoration to the intended state of perfection he was at during Eden. The term describes not only the act of restoration, but also the process of becoming immortal, perfect, and finally satisfactory to the Father.  Clement sums up this idea by stating that, “the Logos of God had become man so that you might learn from a man how a man may become God (Clement).”  The idea of Salvation as deification is an idea that practically applies the concept of Salvation as Victory.  Its scriptural support is found in numerous places in the Bible. Probably the most notable of these passages is Psalms 82:6 which states that, “You are gods, sons of the most high, all of you.”  The Apostle Paul repeatedly emphasizes the idea of partaking in Christ’s holiness.  This concept is not a new one, although it is very well embedded and quiet within Orthodox views of Christianity.  This concept of Salvation as Deification, and the process that it supports helped give way to other such doctrines of progressive deification, most notably the Doctrine of Sanctification, which almost verbatim describes the process of restoration which Christ as Victor made possible through Salvation, and the ability to satisfy God’s standards ultimately ending in a sort of deification.  The relationship and progression of these ideas is obvious and inseparable. Although Salvation as Deification doesn’t stress its own origin in sin, it tackles its origin by emphasizing man’s potential to overcome sin and one day be restored; satisfying God’s standard, and being victorious over sin.

Salvation as Justification

Some two hundred years of philosophy and politics brought about the doctrine of Salvation as Justification.  Augustine, who would develop the most practical example of the Trinity, and champion the causes of the Roman Catholic Church, was the proprietor of the doctrine.  Within his writings, we find allusions to the previous four concepts of Salvation, as well as the current platform from which Salvation is approached. This platform is an outright attack on the concepts of current theology of the day, as well as early Church theology found within the doctrine of Salvation as Illumination.  For Augustine, the incarnation was specifically related to sin, and the need for restoration, satisfaction, through victory, for the purpose of deification. Augustine proclaims that justification and deification are essentially the same, since it is justification that allows the sinful to become the Children of God. He states that, “if man had not sinned, the Son of God would not have come (McKim 85).”  The current theological debate against his summation of the four previous ideas in Justification was called Pelagianism. 

The namesake of this belief, Pelagius, believed that humanity was free to choose God (McKim 86-87).  In essence, Pelagianism was a logical conclusion to the idea of Salvation as Illumination as a response to the Gnostics.  Instead of humanity being enslaved by sin and therefore incapable of doing what is right, the Grace of God which is inherent in the creation of humanity (as the imago dei – image of God) and is evidenced through Jesus’ incarnation, gives man the help he needs to activate his freewill toward doing what is right.  Therefore, “faith in the first instance is reckoned as righteousness for this reason, that (a person) is absolved as to the past, justified as to the present, and prepared for the future works of faith (McKim 87).”  Pelagius differed with Augustine on the same point as the four previous ideas of Salvation disagree with Salvation as Illumination.  The issue was the idea of Original Sin.

Found within the writings of Tertullian, the same theologian to give us a better understanding of the Trinity, and the idea of Salvation as Satisfaction, is a concept called Traducianism.  This concept is simply the affirmation that the soul of the father is transmitted sexually to his offspring (McGary II).  The consequences of this concept bring all of humanity into Adam’s Original Sin.  Therefore, Augustine’s view of humanity’s entropic condition is a direct response to the theology of Salvation as Satisfaction, which is based upon Traducianism.  In the mind of Augustine, all of humanity participated in the sin of Adam because all of humanity has Adam’s soul. This became the main focal point for Augustine’s justification of the Doctrine of Original Sin, and Salvation as Justification. 

Augustine believed that humans are incapable of enacting their freewill without sinning.  Augustine was intent on proving that Grace is not merely an aesthetic to the presence of creation, but an essential act of God within a creation that has sinned.  He was worried that Pelagius’ idea of sin as being the sum of a single action and the ability of man to choose to avoid this action would leave man without a need for God. 

According to Augustine, God activates grace first (prevenient).  Grace, “predisposes a man before he will, to prompt his willing. It follows the act of willing, lest one’s will be frustrated (McKim 87).”  This means that grace is God making a suggestion, or programming man’s will to respond a certain way, although the actual event of choosing is open for the personal decision of the individual.  Justification is the act of this will choosing to do what the Father wills through the prompting of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Augustine’s understanding of Justification is, once again, almost synonymous with Tertullian’s idea of Salvation as Satisfaction.  The moment of Justification is not the acceptance of the truth, but the action of baptism, which symbolizes that acceptance.

Augustine had four separate types of Grace:

  1. Prevenient Grace: Grace that begins the act of Salvation without being prompted by the actions of humanity.
  2. Accompanying Grace: The continuing presence of God within the life of those who believe.
  3. Sufficient Grace: The Grace in the Garden of Eden, of which Adam was in possession of before the Fall.
  4. Efficient Grace: The Grace that enables God’s people to be productive for God (McKim 87-88).

Augustine’s conclusions on the subject of Justification through grace led him to the conclusion that God’s grace is always present and capable, and therefore will overcome everything.  However, since not everything is overcome by His grace, Augustine conjectured that God’s grace is intentfully willed, and divided amongst those who God chooses. Therefore, those who are saved, are saved specifically because God chose for them to be saved, and those who are not, were not chose out of intent.

Augustine’s extreme conclusion based upon the ideas set forth by the four apologists before him, and his own understanding of scripture drew much controversy.  Many people accepted some of his writings, and some of Pelagius’ writings. Eventually in 529 C.E., The Synod of Orange tipped the scales in favor of Augustine by condemning Pelagius’ views, while at the same time remaining silent on Augustinian extremes like predestination.  The Synod of Orange affirmed that the fall of Adam was the fall of all humankind through Original Sin and Traducianism (McKim 89). The Synod approved the concept that Grace precedes justification in total; that due to sin, free will in itself cannot lead one to be baptized; and that grace is favor that is unmerited and fully necessary for avoiding evil, and doing what is good.

The Synod of Orange did not close discussion on the issues summed up by Pelagius, and Augustine.  It did however provide a platform from which the Roman Catholic Church could consolidate its power over souls.  Outside of this “Institutional Orthodoxy”, controversy raged on. At the center of the issues was the question of what really happened at the Fall.  Did all men fall in Adam? Are we truly separated from God? Pelagius did not recognize the prevenience of sin, where as Augustine followed suit with his apologist philosophers and emphasized it.  The one thing that all six different belief systems held in common was the presence of works, which justified grace. 

Enter Martin Luther

Martin Luther inadvertently started the Protestant Reformation because of an error he found in the idea that righteousness and salvation are maintained by works, through grace.  Ultimately, this idea came to a head in the selling of indulgences, and penance. Luther expounded upon Augustinian ideas of Justification as Salvation, but instead of summing this up in the process of works and succinctly baptism, he emphasized the moment of belief or faith.  His fight mirrored the Apostle Paul’s words that it is by, “Grace you are saved, through faith . . . not of works (Eph 2:8, 9).” In this way, Martin Luther maintained the same emphasis on sin that his predecessors had done before him, but he changes the point of Salvation from being by grace in works, to Salvation through Faith (McKim 91). 

According to Luther, the forgiveness of sins and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness happen upon acceptance and faith, not baptism.  Our ability to become that which we are already, is a process that is completed at death. This process is called Sanctification. Luther believed that, “Our justification is not yet complete . . . It is still under construction.  It shall, however, be completed in the resurrection of the dead (McKim 92).”  Therefore, Salvation as Justification is not completed by humanity even though Christ completes it.  Salvation as Justification will only be complete when humanity reaches his entropic end and catches up to his justified state.  This is an amalgam of the idea of Salvation as Deification, with the concept of Salvation as Satisfaction. Martin Luther uses his Augustinian understanding of Tertullian’s Traducianism and Original Sin to support that a satisfactory standard must be met before deification can occur.  Thus, Luther both supports, and rejects the power of Original Sin, creating a new doctrine called Sanctification.

Martin Luther’s understanding of the doctrine of Salvation as Justification by faith, is not a completely new idea, but in fact is an old idea that has been passed down through the centuries by his famous theologian predecessors.  Martin Luther did not add to the doctrine, but instead changed its emphasis. The foundations found within the Doctrine of Salvation are present within the current doctrine, even in its institutionalized orthodox form. Within Sanctification, the remnants of Tertullian’s Doctrine of Satisfaction lurk.  Within Justification, the remnants of Irenaeus are buried in the form of recapitulation, and propitiation. The body of the current institutionalized orthodoxy is powered by the spirit of these ancient concepts. Upon understanding that the institution is based not upon scripture, but upon philosophy and political intent, the question is whether these philosophies are indeed scriptural, or based upon mankind’s musings. When this question is brought to the table, a modern day protestant/or Roman Catholic preacher will tell us that the ideas of the apologists are scripturally based. 

As history will show, the philosophies of Martin Luther are not based on scripture at all. His philosophies are measured against scripture when a departure from scripture is thought to be found. The basic structure of Luther’s theology is based upon the structure of Augustine’s theology. Augustine’s theology likewise is an amalgam of the theologian’s before him, most notably Tertullian. The resulting doctrines, which are now present within the church, are toted as being scripturally based, but the truth is that they are based upon the writings of the theologians before them. Because these writings do not outright oppose the common understanding of scripture, they are called scriptural even though several of these ideas are not found in the scripture. Because of this, any common idea is left alone and not checked against the scripture. If there is no checking being done, nothing is found wrong with it, and because nothing is found wrong with it, it is deemed to be in line with the scripture although it is not, at all. This is the very reason Martin Luther’s reformation was made possible. For literal centuries, the common idea of Salvation was based upon works. It was only when the convenience of seeing the doctrine of Salvation by Works became socially inconvenient, that it was challenged. Even the reformation was not a full challenge of the system that had been created through political convenience. Martin Luther did not want to leave the Roman Catholic Church, but was instead forced out. It was not the iconoclasticism of Rome that was addressed in force, but the monetary aspect of Rome. Several issues of improper interpretations of scripture within Rome’s doctrines were noticed, but remained largely unaddressed. His intent was never to lead a reformation, but in fact, he was forced to. This is the Reason that the Lutheran Denomination, to this day, maintains much of its Roman Catholic Heritage, and gives example as to how it is that a doctrine can be challenged without challenging the establishment that created it. 

The issue of fallacy within the foundation of the Doctrine of Salvation should be evident. Consequently, it is not merely the Doctrine of Salvation that should be held up in scrutiny, but the foundation of that doctrine. Neither of these issues is scrutinized by the institutionalized orthodoxy. Although the issue of Salvation is said to be based upon Scripture, it should be clear that the way in which scripture has been looked at in the doctrine of Salvation is an amalgam of various filters. Salvation, specifically, has been put through at least six different filters. By the time of the last filter of Martin Luther, it is hard to tell what is being said in the scriptures at all, without implementing these filters.

The standard for what is right according to scripture and empirical evidence, is whether what is right can be proved wrong. Subsequently, if scripture contradicts one of the filters it is put through, then either the filter is wrong, or the scripture is wrong. Since the scripture is said to be the basis for these filters, then if a filter is wrong, scripture will contain paradoxes. However, it would be impossible for a paradox to be maintained in a filter without making the filter invalid by its disagreement with its own standard of truth. 

An example of this is the interpretation of scripture given by the angel Moroni to Joseph Smith. Joseph Smith’s interpretations of the scriptures contradict what the scriptures say alone. An example of this is that Jesus is presented by the theology of the Latter Day Saints as the brother of Satan, when the scripture’s are clear that Jesus was God’s only begotten son. These two statements are contradictory. In order for the filtered version of scripture to be accurate, it cannot disagree with the scripture. If scripture disagrees, then it invalidates its own authority, and the authority of the scripture, because when one is based on another, both cannot be right, and yet one still wrong. The second must always agree with the first, although it may expound upon the first. If a paradox exists, it is because the second denies the first, which is the basis for its existence, and in doing so it denies itself.

The doctrine of Salvation has been passed down with filters attached to it. Primarily, these are the filters of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Athanasius, Augustine, and Martin Luther. To understand the scripture’s truth, we must ask the question of whether these filters are contradictory or productive. Irenaeus is the main contributor of the doctrine of Salvation through Restoration. His filter is not the doctrine of Restoration, but the means by which he achieved this doctrine. The tools he used to look at Salvation within scripture are two major underlying ideas. The first is “recapitulation”, and the second is “propitiation.” These two ideas together are largely responsible for the formation of the theme of restoration that is found within the institutionalized orthodox Doctrine of Salvation.

The foundation for the idea of Restoration through propitiation is presented by Irenaeus as an expansion, primarily, of the Apostle Paul’s theology. Probably the most systematic explanation of Mankind’s condition and relationship with God is found in the book of Roman’s. Irenaeus takes from Roman’s as well as other Pauline works to build the idea of Propitiation. Using the twenty-fifth verse of Romans, the philosopher/theologian presents a systematic theology of Restoration through propitiation.

For God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sins and to satisfy God’s anger against us. We are made right with God when we believe that Jesus shed his blood, sacrificing his life for us. God was being entirely fair and just when he did not punish those who sinned in former times. (Romans 3:25)

Irenaeus argues, citing Leviticus, that Christ is the sacrificial goat made to take the blame for our sins. He extrapolates an order of restoration, using Levitical law, presupposing a firm foundation that sin has caused a need for restoration. The order for restoration is subsequently headed up by the act of sinning. According to the economy presented by Irenaeus in Romans 3:25; Man sinned, which caused God to become angry, and a relational separation to occur. In order to satisfy God’s anger, Christ sacrificed himself, which then justified that a relationship should be maintained, and thus restoration occurs. The law which man sinned against was the Law of Moses, which then justifies the use of the sacrificial scapegoat, since this method was outlined in the Levitical Law. Therefore, according to Irenaeus, grace is necessary because humankind sinned against the Law of Moses. Because man is unable to fulfill the law, Christ came to fulfill it for him.

According to the theological order presented in Romans 3:25, by Irenaeus, grace is dependant upon the action of Sin. Accordingly, the purpose of Restoration is to bring about reconciliation. Tertullian would later develop this idea, citing the same verse, and claiming that reconciliation occurs when God’s standard is satisfied. Therefore, according to Irenaeus, the purpose of restoration is to cause reconciliation. 

The verses found within Romans chapter three, present a different economy. Verses nineteen through twenty-four are clear that grace comes before sin.

Obviously, the law applies to those whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses and to bring the entire world into judgment before God. For no one can ever be made right in God’s sight by doing what his Law commands. For the more we know God’s law, the clearer it becomes that we aren’t obeying it. 

But now God has shown us a different way of being right in his sight- not by obeying the law, but by the way promised in the scripture long ago. We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done. 

For all have sinned; all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet now God in his gracious kindness declares us not guilty. He has done this through Christ Jesus, who has freed us by taking away our sins. (Romans 3:19-24)

More than this, they are clear that fulfillment of the law does not make us right before God. This passage is the proper context for a translation of Romans 3:25. The economy presented by the Apostle Paul states that although everyone is guilty of sinning against the Law of Moses and God, following this law does not make a person right before God. Clearly, says Paul, if a person was to follow this law, it would not make us right with God. Therefore, if keeping the law does not equate to righteousness, then how is it that falling short of it equates to wickedness? Putting this question aside and focusing on the order presented by Irenaeus, another contradiction becomes apparent. 

The order of Irenaeus states that Grace is made manifest as a result of sin. This Grace is manifested in the person of Christ who came in order to satisfy God’s standard, which we offended by breaking his law. Paul states in verse twenty-one, that the way, which God provided for being righteous, was presented in the scriptures long ago. Earlier in verse two of Chapter one, Paul claims that this method was given by the Prophets long ago. In Paul’s letter to Titus, he claims that the truth of Eternal Life, through Christ, is a message that was before the creation of the world. In verse twenty-two of Romans 3, Paul states that the condition for this Grace is not dependant upon who we are within God’s creation, and therefore, what we have done inside that creation (which ultimately defines who we are) does not decide our ability to receive this Grace.

Clearly, Pauline doctrine, and economy supports that Grace is first in creation, and therefore does not exist because of sin. In fact, sinning against the law and therefore God apparently has no bearing upon the Grace of God, because, according to Paul, obedience to the Law could not make us right before God. Therefore, Irenaeus is presenting a different economy than Paul has presented within Romans. According to Paul, Grace is extended to humankind before they sinned because it was presented before the world was created. When humankind sinned, all he had to do to come to God was reconcile himself, using the knowledge that the relationship would exist because of the evident Grace of God in Christ. The reconciliation of the creation to its creator would then warrant the restoration of the creation to the position that the creation had previously held. Ultimately, Paul maintains that a position as prime creation had been compromised by sin, but not that the entire relationship had been thrown away. Therefore, it is not a relational separation that occurred in Adam, but a positional separation. In this light, salvation of position, from the power of sin is necessary, but salvation of relationship with God due to separation because of sin is not. 

The picture that Paul presents is that of a Father and Son relationship. The child may throw away his position with the Father and claim that he is no longer his son. He does this by willingly going against the standard of the Father in open rejection and rebellion which apexes in declaring his own emancipation. This is a separation of position within the family. However, the child cannot remove his genetic connection to his Father, because by natural order, he is who he is. If he were able to do so, he would be making a relational separation. Therefore the idea of positional separation does not rely on a geographical position, but a position of economy. Conversely the idea of relational separation is not defined by the kinetic relationship being severed, or by interaction between the parties being ceased. It is defined by the intrinsic connection of the parties being disturbed. 

Irenaeus was claiming that an intrinsic connection had been broken with God by the act of sinning, and in order to set things right Christ came to satisfy God’s anger over the matter, and thus restore us to our rightful position. The main problem with this thought process is that it associates a positional idea of restoration with a problem of relational separation. 

Logic dictates that in order to restore something to its original state you must first bring the estranged parties together. This is done by understanding that an intrinsic relationship exists between the two parties. Therefore, you cannot reconcile something by first restoring it, you must first reconcile it. Paul grasped this concept and presented that man is positionally separated, and therefore in need of reconciliation through knowledge that a relational or intrinsic separation does not exist. This grace was evident before sin, and is manifested in the persona of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice is a presentation of sorrow over the positional separation, and an acknowledgement of falling short of this standard, but in no way does it imply a relational separation that ultimately condemns humankind to the Lake of Fire. Because man is reconciled to God through Christ, God restores man to his original state as prime creation, giving justification to the grace presented before the creation. Thus, the doctrine of propitiation falls short because it presents a doctrinal economy, which in practicality and in logic is backwards. Irenaeus’ idea of Salvation through restoration by propitiation due to recapitulation is heinously flawed. The Pauline idea of Salvation is clearly restoration through reconciliation by faith through grace, and is absent of a need for relational or intrinsic salvation.

The book of Romans is not the only letter which presents a relational connection, but a positional separation. The letter to the Ephesians, chapter two, states that humankind is in God’s special favor, which is contradicted in Irenaeus’ idea of restoration through propitiation. Propitiation has, as foundational, in its definition the idea that humankind is no longer in God’s favor. This favor was humankind’s before the creation according to the second chapter of Timothy. Paul was very clear that Grace is first, and therefore reconciliation is primary to restoration. Paul is not the only ancestor who believed this. The unknown author of Hebrews presents a similar economy, citing the Levitical laws like his Pauline counterpart, in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter nine. The author of Hebrews states the necessity of Christ as atonement for sin in verses one through sixteen, and then explains the reason for atonement in verse eighteen, as a mere proof of death. The relevance of having a proof of death is the idea that a relationship is present, and the benefits of the relationship can be claimed. Hebrews presents that the reason for blood sacrifice is not to appease God’s anger and therefore restore us to our relationship with God. Blood sacrifice is proof that the relationship with God exists, and the sacrifice is a way for humankind to reconcile that relationship and restore man from his positional separation.

The apostle Peter states in his first letter, chapter one verse eighteen, that God paid a ransom for our sins. In verse nineteen, Peter states that this ransom was planned before the world was created, and that Christ came for all to see that this ransom was already paid before the world was created. Peter is clearly stating that at no point in creation was man relationally or intrinsically separated, and that Christ came to show this to humankind so that he may be positionally restored by Christ’s own sacrifice.

John, the beloved apostle, states the same thing in verse ten of Chapter four of his first in his triad of letters. John states that real love is witnessed in the fact that God loved us, not in our love for him. According to John, God sent his son as a sacrifice as proof of his love. Paul and Peter would say that this love, and subsequent sacrifice were before sin. The author of Hebrews agrees with Paul and Peter, as well as John, as the beloved apostle expounds on the idea that the proof that sacrifice shows about love, is that God’s love existed beyond sin. Thus the author of Hebrews, John the beloved, the main disciple of the Jews; Peter, and the Apostle Paul, are all in harmony regarding Grace. They all suggest that the economy of Grace begins with Grace itself. They present Grace as independent of sin and time, and salvation show salvation as the capacity of Grace to act within creation as an agent that reconciles the tears in a relationship with God, rather than restoring a relationship that was irreparable. Therefore, salvation is constant in creation as a reconciling agent. Salvation is therefore the agent of Grace in creation. And in concession to this point, Sin merely gave grace the opportunity for itself to be seen and manifested as salvation in creation, but salvation and grace were always present.

Despite the harmony of the biblical philosophers, Tertullian agreed with Irenaeus. What is probably more appropriate, and common of theology in general, is that Tertullian did not disagree with Irenaeus. Tertullian was an interesting man. The father of the doctrine of Satisfaction was not a static personality by the time of his death. Over the course of his lifetime he made a giant swing from absolute legalism to the feeling driven spiritualism of Montanism. It is important to understand that Tertullian was a person whose doctrine was developing. Tertullian was, by association, and terminology a lawyer. Although the evidence surrounding his career cannot be proven beyond the shadow of a doubt (pardon the pun), the arguments that Tertullian used to support his theology were legal arguments. 

An example of such style is the introduction of the terms “substancia,” and “persona” into the explanation of the Trinity. Tertullian did not associate the esoteric meaning of substance that the word has come to imply. To Tertullian, substance was not “matter,” it was the property and the right of a person to make use of something. Tertullian’s idea of “persona” is also a legal idea. Persona is not the individual, but the individual who has the substance. This allusion to the Latin legal system gave Tertullian the ability to present his beliefs as a common understanding of practical society. Thus Tertullian’s ideas on God are seen as logical because they play out in a common practically in a sinful society. This practicality does not substantiate, however, that the ideas are in harmony with the scriptures they are supposedly defending. In point of fact, Tertullian was quite prone to making use of the Latin legal system in order to substantiate theological claims, which were not actually present in the philosophies on the pages of scripture. Tertullian wrote an entire treatise on the validity of scripture as the rightful property of the ecclesiastical body due to its presence with the church for such a long amount of time. He justifies this claim in his Liber de praescriptionibus adversus haereticos. In this work, he uses the Latin legal work Praescriptio longi temporis, which says that the use of a property for a prolonged period of use gives the user a legal right to it. Although this is certainly a compelling argument for the validity of the church to a Latin governed people, it has nothing to do with a biblically governed people. The arguments of Tertullian are patterned in this manner. 

It is a legal tactic to take from circumstantial evidence to prove the point one is trying to make. In order to do this, the subject at hand cannot be addressed as being absolute in its true nature, because that is what is in question. Without proving a point based on the validity of the point itself, outside examples are used to justify the point. Thus the point in question can be assumed to be true without having any valid evidence within itself to justify its truth. Tertullian used this tactic to argue for the validity of the established theology. He did not seek to find whether what was established was worthy of its own establishment, but instead sought to defend it blindly. His method of defense for the validity of the Trinity, the scriptures, and the church follows the suit of his definitions. The apology that he makes is legal, not philosophical. In fact Tertullian was very adamant that philosophy was to be rejected. He believed that philosophy was the parent of heresy, because it brought into question the origins and meanings of ideas that the law assumed into place; such as good and wrong, and right and evil. 

Understanding the mindset of Tertullian as a legal thinker is absolutely essential to understanding his influence on the doctrine of Salvation. His contribution to the doctrine is not a philosophical one that springs from a love of scripture, and a longing to find the truths that it holds. This is not to discount everything that Tertullian gave to theology as being invalid, but it is to give it the place of authority it demands, which is considerably different from the position his theology has been given by theologians in the centuries following him. Tertullian’s theology sprung from a need to justify the ultimate standard held by the Law of both Moses, and the Romans. Using his legal background, he isogeted whatever scriptures could serve him best in order to maintain a sense of order for himself and the people around him. This assessment may seem to be a harsh statement, but consider that Tertullian would later abandon his own legalistic interpretation for the cult of Montanism. Although Church history might say that Tertullian was a well-grounded student of the law and the scriptures, Tertullian himself would deny the legalism he defended so vehemently in his earlier works.

It is this man, Tertullian, who presents the economy of Irenaeus in Romans chapter three. In this twenty-fifth verse, Tertullian seeks to justify that God is an offended party in a legal dispute, by citing the word “satisfy,” of which the apostle Paul makes use. Tertullian transliterates satisfaction into the legal definition of the word. By doing so, he claims that God’s anger must be satisfied, as the offended person in a legal dispute would have to be satisfied in Roman law. Tertullian does not look at the economy presented by the apostle Paul to see the truth presented in its full hermeneutical context. According to established theology, which is filtered through the superstitions of the area and political interests, God not only has every right to be angry at humanity, but also in fact should demand satisfaction. This was common practice in the community of Rome, just as it was common in the mythology of the area. 

Because Tertullian did not delve into philosophy, he did not question whether this point should be taken through the filter of his upbringing and surroundings. Tertullian, more than likely, found this fact to be helpful in helping people to relate to a “common sense” idea of who God is. Therefore, rather than looking at the economy of Grace presented by Paul in Romans, Tertullian perpetuated the same economy of sin Irenaeus presented, stating that satisfaction for God’s anger was common sense to the Hellenized mind, and should not be questioned. Tertullian did not pay attention to the implication of the passage as being absolute and unattainable by humankind. Romans presents satisfaction as something that was achieved, absolutely, and not because of a relational or intrinsic separation. However, the book of Romans presents a positional relationship being offended. Satisfaction for that relationship is presented as something that was accounted for before the world began. The concept of an economy of Grace makes satisfaction of an offense, something that is continually happening. It is like a wound that heals on its own. Grace is the vehicle by which Jesus came into this world, to show humankind that the separation between Man and God is a gap that repairs itself through the infiniteness of God’s grace itself.

As Tertullian understands the idea of Satisfaction, humankind is forever doomed to live up to a standard that is impossible for him to achieve, even through Jesus. According to the economy of Tertullian, and Irenaeus, Jesus restores humankind to a relationship with God, but does not reconcile him. Humankind in his constant state of sin acquires a debt of satisfaction that continues to count against him, until it is paid at death, so that the judgment is ripe upon his death. According to the apostle Paul, Jesus reconciled humankind and thus restored him to his position as Prime creation. This reconciliation satisfied absolutely the fact that mankind had fallen short of his position as Prime creation, and in fact, will always do so. Therefore humankind can be assured that God will never desert him in his sin, because satisfaction is immanent, and yet absolute in the Grace witnessed to us through Jesus Christ.

It is this one idea that has plagued the common Christian for centuries. The acquiring of debt, due to God’s unreachable standards leaves Christians feeling hopeless in their hope. The current incarnation of this idea in Sanctification holds Christianity’s absolute victory over the power of sin off to the side. It becomes a victory, which can only come into existence when life is finished. What is worst about this concept is that its uncertainty is never extinguished upon death for those who are living, for they never see whether the person who has died has received their victory. The power of salvation by restoration through justification by faith, or works, ultimately does not matter. Whether by works or by faith, restoration through justification empowers humankind to feel ashamed of their sin and work toward a goal which they could never achieve on their own. 

For those who finish the race we call life, there is no physical evidence of their victory in Jesus, for they simply die, and then they are gone. The victory of Jesus found in these people is ultimately found in how they lived their life for him during the race. A sad and ironic twist considering that the only thing the runner should be caring about according to this doctrine, is escaping his less than satisfactory performance in this race.  Indeed, anticipation is all that is in the minds of the runner of the race of restoration through Justification by faith or works. In some ways, works makes more sense than faith in this regard, because works does not pretend to find victory in this life, and does not give off the impression that it can rest in working toward their goal of finishing the race. The idea of Justification by faith parades runners who claim to have already won the race yet still feel they must run to win. 

Whichever is more accurate to scripture has been the debate of centuries, but neither side is found in scripture. Scripture presents apostles who were victorious in this life. They withstood ridicule and torture with grace and poise. They were men of conviction who could not be swayed. Their miracles were legendary just as their master was. These were men who were not running a race to win it. These were men, who had already won it, and now were watching and waiting for race to be completed. They gave instructions to the athletes who needed advice, healed those who had been injured, and took the place of those who could not run any longer.

The emphasis of their writing is not on the power of sin, or even the presence of Sin. Their emphasis of their writing was full of grace and hope and peace. Wherever they addressed sin, it was with an economy of Grace before sin. They did not address sin as an issue that humankind needed to resolve, but instead as an issue that humankind needed to remove. They address sin as an issue that is universal not to condemn all men, but to show men that they are all in the same situation. “For all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God,” is not a means for all humankind to wallow in his sin, or even to pay for it. It is a means for all men to come to the same conclusion, for the context of this statement is true in every place it is found in the scriptures. God’s economy states grace before sin. Therefore this statement of all have sinned is not for the purpose of saying to all who hear it, “Therefore you must be saved because you have offended a just God who now sentences you to hell, but if you satisfy his standard, or sanctify yourself by recognition of his Son, he will save you.”

This statement misses the point of the verse. The point of the whole sacrifice by a person who was offended cannot be for himself. God was clearly proving a point by sending his son to die, but scripture does not support the idea that it was for restoration. Salvation as presented by the scriptures, old and new, is the agent of Grace in creation. It is something that never has to restore a relational separation, for Grace never allows any sort of intrinsic separation. Therefore salvation is never necessary for creation, although it is always immanent in creation. A good example of this is the gardener/garden relationship. A gardener will tend his garden despite the yield of the garden. In fact, the less the garden yields, the more the gardener tends. Another example of this is a doctor to his patient. The more the patient does what is hurtful to his body, the more the doctor pays him attention. The problem with institutionalized orthodox salvation is that it in essence claims that God is the one who causes the body to break down. It says that God’s just standard must invoke punishment for sin and this punishment is death. Salvation creates a need for itself. This is the same redirect Adam used with God in Eden when God confronted Adam (without condemnation) about his knowledge of his nakedness and Adam blamed God for giving him the woman. 

In this one accusation of Adam, we find the way in which man deals with God; the pattern of his neurosis. And it is from this pattern that God sets out a plan of Salvation, which ultimately removes any way in which blame can be used as a means to avoid where man must grow. The pattern that he sets down is one in which man can see that God wishes to reconcile the relationship. This is why the Jews were capable of believing in Salvation without believing that God had cut them off. The Jews continued to refer to themselves as God’s chosen people although they constantly had their sin made evident to them. This relationship culminated in the birth of Christ, which brought about the physical, tangible evidence of God on earth, communing with creation, despite the idea that God could not be with anything that was so full of sin. Apparently this evidence was not good enough for humankind. Clearly, they still chose to believe that God could not commune with them. They believed that sacrifices and rituals were the only way in which humanity could come before God, and so they killed the man who said otherwise. And in doing so, he became their sacrifice, and gave to the Jews the possibility of restoration through reconciliation, and from them he gave us Paul, so that this message might spread. Despite this, humankind does not seem to understand what Abraham understood before God had appeared in human flesh. Man does not need to be restored, only reconciled through Salvation. This is a message that does not cheapen the work of Christ on the Cross. 

The institutionalized orthodox view of Christ on the cross is a message of much pettiness and sadness. It says that God is a God of two faces. It claims that God condemned his creation for making one mistake and threw them away. And he did this because he couldn’t get over his own standards; because he couldn’t, in essence, swallow his pride and allow his creation a second chance. Hypocritically, it then turns around and states that God found a loophole to his own standard which makes him willing to compromise his idea of Justice, and sent himself as a sacrifice for that standard, which is essentially doing for us what he refused to do for us in the first place; humble himself and allow us a second chance. It claims that this is the ultimate standard of truth and grace, when really what is presented is a God who is petty, and prideful, and self-compromising. Grace is presented as giving freely to something that is undeserving, when grace in fact is giving freely regardless of how deserving they are. And truth is presented as a standard that God must act within, rather than a standard that he defines by his actions. Ultimately restoration as salvation by justification, through faith, by grace, is petty, and shameful in its picture of truth, grace and the God they are from.

The scriptures paint a picture of a God who saw that his creation had a neurosis. He listened to his prime creations inability to get over his own guilt, and made a path of reconciliation based upon that. When he saw that man had become to dependant upon the guilt offering, he presented to them a clear and tangible evidence of his continuing love for them in Jesus. But man would not let go of his guilt. Just as in Eden, humankind needed to place blame, and so knowing that his death would prove his power over death and their punishment, he allowed himself to be killed providing them with both proof of their intact relationship, and proof of his sovereignty. 

This is not a picture of a God who created a box of laws that he had to abide in at risk of being unjust. This is a God who humbled himself to work within the box of law’s that his creation needed in order to abide with him. This is a message that makes God’s Christ more powerful than institutionalized orthodoxy ever gave him credit for. The church has taught that Christ came to die because it was necessary for the satisfaction of God’s just standard which is indeed powerful, but consider how much more powerful it is that Jesus came as the Christ, acting within the only standard mankind would understand though he did not have to.

The true Gospel is found in the famous verse:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

This message is powerful when you consider that God did this to accomplish his will and yet satisfy his standard, but it still remains petty. This message only takes on its fullness when the standard of man’s sin is removed from the interpretation of the verse, and you see God giving his son though there is no standard he must fulfill. The true Gospel message is not that we needed restoration and we have that through Christ. It is that: Though we did not need restoration, Jesus reconciled us as Christ by dying for us, because death was the only thing we would accept. To believe anything less is shortsighted, petty, and shameful on our parts.

As followers of Christ, we must learn to look with open hearts and open eyes for the true meaning of Salvation, and bring honor to Jesus, who died so that we may have it.

Bibliography

  1. Behr, John. Ascetism and Anthroplogy in Irenaeus and Clement. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  2. Bethune-Baker, James Franklin. An Introduction to the Early History of Christian Doctrine. To the Time of the Council of Chalcedon. London: Methuen & Co., 1903.
  3. Clement. Exhortation to the Greeks. Vol. I. n.d.
  4. Mateo Seco, Lucas F. and J. A. Riestra. The Mystery of Jesus Christ: A Christology and Soteriology Textbook. Trans. Michael Adams. New York: Scepter Publishers, 1994.
  5. McDowell, Josh and Don Stewart. Handbook of Today’s Religions. Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1983.
  6. McGary II, Monte R. Myspace.com Blogs – On The Origin of the Soul – II MySpace Blog. 1 March 2005. 29 November 2007 <http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=7865083&blogID=16865415&Mytoken=DF9BF14F-519B-4678-A4C2D52DCD493DA219824926&gt;.
  7. McGrath, Alister E. Christian Theology: An Introduction. Blackwell Publishing, 2006.
  8. McKim, Donald K. Theological Turning Points: Major Issues In Christian Thought. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1988.
  9. Olsen, Roger E. and Christopher Alan Hall. The Trinity. Grand Rapids, Michigan/Cambridge U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002.
  10. Robertson, O. Palmer. The Christ of the Covenants. Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1980.

Tertullian. “The Five Books of Quintus Sept. Flor. Tertullianus Against Marcion.” Ante-Nicene Christian Library: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325. Ed. Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson. Trans. Peter Holmes. Vol. VII. Edinbourgh: T & T Clark, 1868.

MT. TERRA HIGH

ANOTHER SECOND LOST

SOPHIA

Vapid. The hallway was filled with students of varying stations in life with every veritable food group represented in rare form, and the smells careening about the hallways whisked a putrid concoction of teen spirit and cafeteria food into a heavy invisible mist welcoming all who would enter the halls of the school. Vapid was the only thing Sophia felt when she stood amongst the mass of sensations. As Sophia took her first steps over the threshold of the doorway, she paid attention to the eroding linoleum tile bracing her left footfall as she left the concrete steps behind her. The hall felt empty, a luminous chasm with fake tile floors meant to maintain the illusion that the cold, dense concrete world of real life was somehow outside the world of education. It was empty, save the mass of students passively floating the invisible currents tirelessly floated by generations before them. Some seemed aware that they were floating, while others struggled to control variations on the theme. They would speed up, or slow down, some with books, some without, but all walking like zombies toward their goal, to get brains. Sophia laughed, as she walked past the bodies of her classmates. She kept her eyes fixed on the tile. Though it hid the truth from the student body, the lines drew her toward her destination. She kept her strides timed to the rhythm of her heart, skipping a tile with every step.

The predetermined path, complete with grooves worn into the tile floor led Sophia to a glass office doorway. Sophia mused to herself about the ladies sitting behind the three desks. The triad were dressed in variations of the same ideal.  For an office so open to the world, what was inside was so closed. She took a breath and steped into the office.

“Hello dear.” said one of the three. The other two ladies perked to attention.

“Hey,” Sophia slipped a half greeting to the middle-aged woman. 

“Oh, you must be Sophia? Isn’t that perfect? If you just take a seat over there, your counselor will be right out… mmkay? Thanks hon.”

“Whatever, thanks.” Sophia took a seat on the red and black bench up against the wall. The bench was a wood synthetic straight out of an ikea catalogue. The suede moaned as she sat into it and Sophia laughed to herself as the women looked at her in mistaken disgust of the sound. Like everything else in the school, the theme of the day seemed to be fakeness.

KENNEDY

It wasn’t the first time that Kennedy had walked the main hall of Mount Terra High with a cursory glance to her surroundings. She had made an art of passing people, like a messenger bicyclist on a deadline. Straining through the crowd of people with precision, she allowed her eyes the narrowest freedom. They scanned the way ahead of her just enough to see the obstacles, giving her brain a steady stream of clear contrasting imagery to avoid. Rather than seeing faces, connected to massive strands of information, the dramas and traumas and details of relationships and repoirs seemed much to inconvenient when weighed against the need to get from one hall to the next. Kennedy brushed against a boy; a boy she once had a crush on, named… he had no name. Kennedy brushed against an object as she moved toward her goal. As she arrived in the office, the nile blue accents pushed against the inertia of her tenacity. She had made it from point A to point B in record time, she could feel it. The clock on the wall confirmed her hunch. Kennedy had effortlessly managed to float the halls of Mount Terra without any real effort, and she had done it in record time. She paid another cursory glance about her surroundings and found an awkward girl sitting on the unnecessarily vibrant red bench. In other circumstances the girl may have been extraordinary, but Kennedy didn’t have the energy to waste any unnessecary resources on another freshman. This girl was the fifth lame freshman Kennedy had lead to classes in her two year tenure at Mount Terra. Kennedy’s energy was rationed perfectly for these circumstances. This ration included a quick thirty second respite of activity for assessment and recognition of the frosh, and two seconds for a non-verbal motion to follow her. Introductions would be made in the hallway, along with a tour guide esque description of the schools idio-syncrisies.   

“You don’t look like your captain of the debate team.” flipped Sophia.

Kennedy looked at the clock, another second lost.

THE DELUGE OF REALITY

It is the dream that first inspired the waking world.It is a reality which is veiled hidden by the confines of a dimensional barrier… a wall that holds in the potential of all who would express it. Life is a fight through the endless limitations of physicality and time… and death is the only reality. 

We fell captive to this life, ensnared by what we percieved as boundaries; Laws and instinct, logic and truth. It forced us to exist in nothing, and so nothing existed. Or so we were told. We were told that the body was witness of the mind; that if we seperated what wasn’t the true essence of being, then we could be free… and we believed them.

Like children we thought to make our reality free of limits, free of sorrows and free of death. We funded their experiments, we listened to their great swelling words, and one day… they delivered.

I don’t know how long it’s been.

How long isn’t an issue in a world without boundaries of the mind. In fact, there are no constants except that of perception. I percieve and therefore it is.

It took me only a lifetime to realize evidence of the freeness;friends growing old, but never dying. Fears coming true and taking no effect on anyone but the dreamer. It wasn’t long before I realized that people were accepting this reality as if they were awake. Their every thought; their  free mind consuming life. They created everything; a utopia of the psyche, beautiful anarchy mixed with no boundaries… until it happened.

The corporate dream was existence.

People lived life according to what they percieved to be the ideal and everyone agreed. This was life. This was reality. It wasn’t a dream, it was being truly awake… free. 

Someone disagreed with the corporate dream. This one person stood alone against the machine, but the machine was so strong that few people listened to the one man against the night. For this prophet of reality, a cell was created; a prison to hold this man and his few followers who knew that no walls existed. They were banished, to live in quiet and peace focusing on the truth.

Time passed without knowing it.

Sanity derailed perception. The passing of time led to anger, and maddening frustration, “Who were they to think they could cage us?” These resolved to end the insanity of the dream and they furthered their exploitation of no limits. Some developed godlike abilities capable of everything but nothing.

They became products of their own perceptions, 

And some percieved that they were in fact gods. These decided that instead of destroying the dream, or simply living in it, they would shape it. Like an artist molds his clay. And so, they became deity, in a world of their own creation; imprisoning the weak who had chosen their own imprisonment by accepting this reality. 

They were ironically imprisoned by their own freedom.

I was seventeen when I entered the dream and all I know is time has passed…

I am one of few who still perceive the dream to its fullest. There is only one other like me and I cannot see his involvement any longer. My Grandfather is said to have passed a year ago… but I know of no physical boundaries as death or time… and so I simply put him out of my current frame of thought… This is what he taught me.

That I can will anything in or out of existence by acknowledging its truth in reality… and so there is only one truth… this is a dream… a state of limbo where I exist until I am aweake, and I must never believe otherwise lest I fall prey to my own imprisonment of the pyche. Like those who are called Lucid, or the ones they control.

Day and night I labor to keep myself aware, waiting for the dreams end. I have been focused on this task since my inception. The day will come when it ends, and I will not have lost my godlike abilities, or my hordes of slaves, or my life… I will have had a good rest with nothing lost.

I want that.

I live every moment of present in anticipation of living… of having consequences and boundaries, and of knowing it is all outside of my control. 

One day, I decided to wait no longer.

“If perception is reality, than what is, is what I perceive…” This was another one of my Grandfather’s lines of logic I had memorized. With this in mind, I began to practice seeing what is there, or rather making what I see appear… and that is when I saw it.

In the dream I had a normal life in the utopia. I was a schoolboy in my senior year of highschool. I had an after school job, and a girlfriend, and a car. The dream had me.

Everyday that I can remember, I taught myself to be aware, to live this life with lucidness. That day after school was no different. I trudged through the sterile environment of a placid suburban home. Transforming my books into a mass of jumbled words on the floor, I practiced the same daily routine. I would practice the realization techniques my Grandfather taught me. “Stare at the half empty glass, and realize it to be half full. Hold in your hand a red ball and conceptualize that it is the red ball holding your hand.” To some this is pointless and completely illogical. It is like a holy man, or a magician of old, and for a long period time I was deceived by that deception. It was a specific practice that changed all that, and solidified myth into reason. 

“Believe that the window pane does not exist. Feel the air flow through its passage. See the other side. Know that the space between is not segregated by the realm of the physical.”

I had heard this speech a thousand times in our practice together, but my grandfather to this point had never participated in the activities. He merely instructed. That day was different. There was something about him that was urgent and rushed. His eyes gave away his impatience with me, and for the first and only time ever, he acted on his own teaching before my very eyes. The exercise involved placing my hand on the window pane, feeling its cool touch. I was to pay attention to the vibrations of sound, to try to witness its tangibility. Then I was to take those observations and to force them into the recesses of my mind; to hide them where you would put perversions and grotesque secrets that could never be told. Eventually, I was supposed to lose touch with these observations, and I would no longer feel the window pane. Despite this conditioning, I felt the window everytime.

Patiently, my grandfather would encourage me that the window is not the truth. This time, his breathing increased and his tone changed, and as he repeated his familiar mantra, “The window is not the truth,” He thrust his hand passed mine into the blue sky behind the window pane. The look on my face must’ve been amazingly blatant because he immediately withdrew his hand passed mine which was still touching the solid glass pane, and he sighed. “The window is not the truth.”

In the space of a second, forever went by as I stared at the blue sky. For a split second, I ventured to believe what I had just seen. And as I extended my mind to the truth, my hand extended to touch the sky. The familiar touch of cool glass shattered this epiphany instantly. I am knew what I had seen, but the truth of the experience was something that could not yet know me.

Despite my inability to follow through, this day, in my contemporary house and stale room, I saw for the first time what I knew. I had just finished the exercises to no avail and I was enjoying my favorite television show when I noticed it.

My reflection was hidden in the glow from the television screen.

In the colored, flashing images streaming from the screen was a duplicate of me, exact in every detail but one. His eyes were closed. The curiousness of the image grasped my attention just enough for me to catch it before I blinked. When my eyes reopened, they were greeted with a return look of curiousity. The sleeping doppleganger had been replaced with a now exact reflection of my image, baffled stare and all. The normalcy of my reflection brought me back to lucidness being a concept, but for the first time, I had personally experienced its reality taking hold.

What I saw could best be described as a waking dream, the type in which you wake up to see yourself do something strand and bizarre. Perhaps I was simply tired or had eaten something that didn’t agree with my psyche, and so I decided that rather than hallucinate about sleep, I would make it a reality. I hadn’t slept much since my Grandfather showed me the truth of his faith. I was sure now that many years had gone by without tasting the subconscious realm that is R.E.M., but my grandfather had instilled in me the idea that we were already within a state of rapid eye movement, and so therefore we simply needed to uncage the conscious by bringing the unconscious out into the dream world. 

Seeing what I saw did the opposite of what it was apparently accomplishing in me. I became emotionally tired and did what came naturally to me. I slept. It was a deep sleep like no reality I had ever experienced before and within the sleep I dreamt. I dreamt of horrible and wondrousw things. Things which are unimaginable and unexplainable. Things that the tounge cannot utter. When I awoke from these dreams, it was a cold sweat. And as I awoke in a cold sweat and shaking from the intensity, four words loomed over my bed.

“just a bad dream.”

I wandered from my bed to the tiny bathroom adjacent to the room and placed both hands upon the sink. I could feel the cold porcelain mass against my palms. This was tangible. It was something I could feel. It was perceivable, and I turned the knob towards the red with one hand as the other splashed water through my hair. I looked up past the water in my eyes to the mirror and what it had to show me. 

“I am not asleep!”

I yelled at the piece of reflective glass,  but It knew better and it let me know. Withing the mirror on the medicine cabinet stood me asleep. My eyes were fluttering violently in full R.E.M., and as I stepped backward away from the truth, I watched my body fall backward into the wall behind. As he fell, his eyes opened mocking my every expression. His body shadowed my movement. Wasn’t I still dreaming?

The pressure of the blow to my head proved otherwise as I landed on the floor. I stood up and shot the mirror a quick glance, but it did not look back. The man in the mirror stood asleep and I pushed away from him. Stumbling through the bathroom doorway and into the bedroom. I flung the door open and went for the stairs. I ran for the door, my sleeping double haunting me in every pane of glass, and every mirror, my reality was screaming a blood curdling wake up call.

What I knew as being mythical in nature now would no longer allow me to see it that way. There is a grave difference between knowing something and experiencing it. For some the transition is intended by them. This was thrust upon me by the dream itself. My mind couldn’t take the truth. My reality as I knew it was shutting down, and so my brain followed suit. I collapsed at the bottom of the stairs just in front of the door. I lay at the welcome mat like a child about to be born, no longer innocent of the world around him and vulnerable to all of its hidden agendas.

Time Passed. With time, shock and disbelief faded as well. I raised my head and searched for the nearest mirror, a shiny object, anything that would carry my reflection; that would show me the true picture of something to say to me tha this epiphany wasn’t real and only a dream. Evidence that I was wrong was everywhere. It was in the bathroom mirror and the crystal surface in the water of my sink. It was on clean window panes and in the bottom of my  coffee mug. They all told me that I could sleep no longer.

Do you know what it is like to be consumed with truth? It is a force so great that you cannot hold it, or contain it behind the veil of your mind. Like a dam, you attempt to filter its essence out and release the pressure while its deluge is drowning your soul. You cannot. It is uncontrollable and unfathomable and you are left but no choice than to succumb as the floods of its honesty rush over you.

And so they did.

Tell the world what you know. Make them awake

I stormed the nearest place I could think of, an environment filled with those who were the most in need of a lucid revolution. The economic  center of the city… The circle square projects. This was everything that the corporate dream had idealized. It was perfection. Even in metaphor, it carried Vitruvius’ theory of humanity embodying perfection, and all who spent their time dreaming in its halls and corridors spent out their dream seeking its name sake. They wanted to make themselves the perfect beings living in the perfect environments… and environment that was nothing more than a dream.

I was naïve to try to destroy their glass menagerie, but I tried nonetheless. I dawned my goth attire complete from head to toe in black as a remider that I was not one of them. I wanted them to look at me differently, to ask the question of, “What is his problem?” and let the floods come pouring down on the world as I watch them safe in my ark.

I picked my first target. I’m not sure why, but her eyes caught my gaze. They were aware and wanting, yet they were still searching. She looked at me, and I saw a reminder of my true state in the reflection that her stare returned to me. Was it possible that she might understand the madness that was tearing through the chasms of our souls.

 I sat directly across from her and planned my descent into madness when she spoke to me.

“You’re the one who’s asleep.” She didn’t make eye contact. “You’ve been asleep for close to a hundred years.” I wasn’t planning on taking such a direct approach but apparently she was. “Or maybe you’ve only blinked.” As she looked up at me to smile, I could feel her looking into my soul. It was a curious smile that did not suit her pale complexion. Her flat dark hair streamed down the sides of her face, gracing the curvature of her high cheek bones like a dark waterfall on a dangerous yet pristine mountain face. The smile lit up her entire essence as if the sun had just risen, but her beautiful green eyes showed none of its warmth. Instead they were aware, and anxious… and almost suggestive of a hidden agenda, but then her tone gave that away as well. The Cheshire smile broke into a laugh.

“I was wondering when you’d get here.” This was familiar. She was familiar, and her eyes, they knew me. “You’re suppose to finish the code.” She wasn’t laughing anymore, her green eyes were probing me, looking for a familiar response. “Damn it Christian!”

 I hadn’t told her my name. 

“This isn’t a game…. Say the code Damn it!”

‘What code?’ I thought it, but I didn’t say it, instead I said the furthest thing from my mind. “Row, your boat.” What the hell was that? As unfamiliar as it was to me, it sparked something in her. A look of recognition lit up her face along with her beautifully odd smile.

“Good to know that your lucid coding is still working Christian.” She followed that odd statement up nonchalantly with a devious stare into my eyes. “Let’s get one thing straight… It’s important that you remember who you are… You’re Christian, the leader of a group of individuals who are charged with the protection of the dream state.”

I pushed the table backward and stood up. Her look was not one of disagreement, but rather annoyance. She reached across the table and grabbed my hand. This was familiar as well, it was almost comforting and almost real, I had felt this touch before; it was like the wind was kissing the sail of an ancient sea vessel. This touch had been an inspiration to me before. It was both gentle and forceful, and in action and sentiment it forced me to sit back down and stay.

“I was worried that you might forget… We formed a group Christian… the Lucid.” Her grasp was light and her hand rested on mine. I thought about this for what seemed like an eternity. “Damn it Christian! Do you even know who I am?” Once again the smile had faded. 

“I’m sorry, I guess I don’t… I’m just a little confused… I mean I recognize you, but I don’t want to lie… I mean…” I stopped, and she stopped. I was following her gaze, and it was following something else. When her gaze returned to my eyes, I was staring back at the same face, but a different person.

“My name is Saylor. It doesn’t matter that you remember my name or even what I mean to you except to know that our missions in the corporate dream are kindred.”

Her eyes gave away more than her words betrayed, but I gathered that was for my sake. She, or apparently we, had some sort of agenda to complete and she obviously felt that personal revelations at this time might complicate that. 

“Christian, you are lucid. Capable of practically everything and anything, and the rebellion wants you gone because you are capable of stopping them.” Her tone was determined. “This is a corporate dream controlled by a single dreamer with more power in his lucid stated than a god. If you could remove God, than wouldn’t his world collapse? Christian, five minutes ago…. You asked me that very question, and now you truly don’t remember any of this?”

My head started spinning as I tried to look into the depths of her soul. I swear that I walked over here and sat down next to a complete stranger less than two minutes ago.

“We’ve been sitting here for twenty minutes drinking tea and eating Chinese food, and you keep forgetting who I am Christian!”  she was getting angry.

“No! I walked in here only two or three minutes ago…” The spinning turned into aching, something was about to give. 

“If that’s true Christian, and we’re complete strangers, than why did you know the confirmation code? Why do I know your name? Why do you have a half eaten plate of chow mein in front of you and a fork in your hand?” Her words were mind numbing.

The questions being posed turned the aching into throbbing. Their was a fork in my hand, a bit of underchewed noodle stuck between my teeth. Her look changed again from frustration to one searching for something. 

“Why did you sit back down when I touched your hand?” My world had just been rearranged from underneath me. I don’t know what had happened, but she was right. In this reality I was a member of the most elite of this corporate dream, and the rebels wanted me dead.  If everything I stood for in my mind moments ago, was to keep me from becoming a member of this corporate dream, than why would I be one of its leaders? I came into this mall with the opposite intentions in mind, and now I have no intentions but to know the truth. I looked to my apparent ally for an answer.

“Was my life all a dream then? I was taught that when dreaming fades into reality, the veil of the subconscious is slowly removed, but both this reality and that one not only felt real, but feel real. My Grandfather taught me that there is no reality but that of what you perceive… was he even real?” She seemed to hear my frustrations through my silent stare.

“No Christian, your grandfather is not real, he is the product of a dream within a dream.” She had a look of concern over her revelation.

“But this is a dream!” I countered in defiance.

“Yes Christian, one that we are going to save. Christian you taught me how to be like you, and then you asked for my help to protect the corporate dream. You made me learn conditioning and created the code so that I would know if you could still remember your loyalties.” Her tone changed. “You need to focus!” She touched my hand again gentler than before, but my gaze was watching something else. Someone else had grabbed it.

“Christian, you bastard! How’re you doing?” A large man dressed in black stood out in the ever flowing crowds of dreamers. Her grip tightened and she whispered at me frantically.

“He’s not one of us Christian! He’s an enemy. We have to leave.” She pulled me back from the table, and the man’s demeanor changed.

“Christian! You can’t hide from the Lucid… We watch everything!” I thought Saylor had said that I was Lucid? 

“You said I am Lucid, Saylor.” I questioned her with as much intensity as I could muster with the increasing throbbing in my head. 

“Christian, you’re doing it again!” Saylor’s grip became as frustrating as her tone.

“What’s going on?!!!” I asked, looking to both parties for an answer.

“Christian, we have to leave now!” she commanded.

“No, I need to think this through.” She remained in her seat opposite me and her eyes furrowed in disgust. For some reason that I could not fathom, the man who moments ago had been harassing us had now disappeared into the sea of dreamers. The words that came out next made me nausceous.

“Christian, Katharos is trying to kill you… his men are everywhere… that was one of them… they want you to go with them so you’ll be alone and vulnerable… Trust me, and I and the other Lucid will protect you.”

“You said that I lead the Lucid earlier, and then you called him Lucid… What does that mean?” I needed facts, there was to much concept and not enough formula. How can I perceive with no picture?

Her eyes gave way to a coming revelation. She was choosing her words. “A man named Katharos caused a rebellion among the Lucid inside the corporate dream. The Lucid divided into two factions of Lucid, you were the leader of the unified Lucid before Katharos’ time. When he came, his forces tried to eradicate you, us, the true Lucid.” She took a deep breath and managed a small awkward smile. “I don’t know why you thought you had a grandfather or what that is about, possibly a mechanism to keep you safe from whatever Katharos’ men have done to you, but be assured Christian… You don’t have a grandfather, but his message is the same as reality… You have to stop the Lucid rebellion.” 

I stared hard into her jade eyes. “I’m a little confused so you’ll have to bare with me, but I think it’s coming back to me.” This was of course a bold faced lie. The truth was that I didn’t remember Katharos, or fighting against an uprising. I could be certain of nothing except what I could currently perceive in this woman in front of me. In her voice was a desperation that plead with my fears for her trust. The desperation had such a violent tone in it that the slightest disrespect, or leanings toward the wrong decisions could clearly cost me my life.

“Tell me what the rebellion did to me.” I demanded.

“ I’m not sure Christian, I can guess…” That sounded like a question, and so I nodded my head in approval.

“ You told me before you disappeared that you were going deep into Katharos’ operation and that you would use Lucid cuing to bring you back to this place… the circle square, at this time. You made me promise not to be late. When you first sat down, it was like you were in a daze, it took about half an hour to snap you out of it. If I had to guess… I would say in the year you’ve been gone, they brainwashed you somehow. Your Lucid cuing was to strong though. At the right time, you came back to me, naturally. You’re probably just disoriented because your still coming out of that daze.” This made sense, but I still had questions.

“The man in black?”

THE UNDEAD

Forget what you know. Garlic, stakes, sunlight, even beheading. None of them work. The only thing that works against the undead is faith. I don’t mean a cross held up to the face of a dead man with fangs… Although certainly, if you believed it enough, you might convince them enough of it that it would work. It’s true faith. It’s believing without question, the way that a child would, that you don’t even need salvation to is come bustin down that door.

Believe it or not, the idea of a vampire, and the various myths and lore surrounding them are nothing more than propaganda. At some point in time, the legend became so powerful that the undead actually believed it to be so. Soon after the first legend came about, followers starting rising up, they tested the boundary of the myths. They burst into flames when in the sun, because in their minds they doubted that they wouldn’t. They feared that death would come in the touch of a stake, and so when a stake touched them, so did death. It was all a lie. They run rampant across our world due to a heinous lie. The truth is that everyone is dead. Or rather everyone is undead. The vampire, is nothing more than a way to explain that idea. His power, his strength and ability, even his bloodlust are all a lie designed to keep his focus off the truth. It’s a cage, a menagerie of lifestyle. It is the same cage that everyone else in the world lives in. They pretend to live their lives, fighting for a place in this world. Fighting for survival, but what they don’t understand, is that they are just as dead as the undead. They fear death, they fear life, they fear the undead. It’s all a lie, it’s a diversion from what we should really fear. 

There are three types of living. First there are the masks. Their entire lives are bent upon hiding their nature. They go through life being what they are not, afraid of what they are. They prey upon those that will let them. When the call to arms is sounded, they fall in line, not knowing why they are there. The mask steals the respect of his society. He drains his power in secret, and in the dark, and when the lights come back on, he is just as surprised as everyone else to see that something evil happened. Most people are the mask. He is a social vampire; pretending to be the count in the castle when he is nothing more than a monster.

Second is the demon. The demon is the man who is in rebellion. He is not concerned with anything but himself. He rebels against any and every type of authority, and when it comes down to it, he will raise hell. Have you ever seen the biggot hooded, hiding behind his burning cross? Or the bald headed gang toting the propaganda of an ancient race? The rapist, the murderer, the list goes on and on. Everyone of these preying upon any who are less than themselves. Their bloodlust is for fear. They are vampires of power. They are the warrior spirits consumed with nothing but the pulse of humanity. They rip it from the neck of any who would come near. This vampire doesn’t need a mask, he has accepted what he is, and what is insane, is that he likes it.

However, when all is said and all is done, these two have yet to sum up what lurks in the heart of men. The last of the living, sums up the life of the dead. The scum of the earth who spend their days sifting through the trash of society. They prey on the scraps of the masks, and the demons. They are the brooding vampires. Not aware of anything but their situation, waiting and crying in the refuse of humanity. Preying on garbage and small animals. 

These three living, they are exactly the same as the undead. Vampires. The world is a farce. My name is Jude. Twelve years ago, I was murdered. A vampire of mythic nature took interest in me. I of course had no idea what he was. First of all, the idea of a vampire was pure insanity at the time, and even if I had understood what he was, he understood it better than I had. He walked in the light, and enjoyed extra garlic on everything he ate. I would never had known by the classic signs. I was fifteen, and a street rat. Mr. White made the mistake of leaving his car running outside of his hotel. Everyday it was the same, Mr. White would pull in front of his hotel, leave his car running, and sit inside for a good ten minutes with the desk clerk before he got back into his car and drove away. I observed this for a month before my hunger, and my curiosity got the best of me. A jaguar was a whole lot of money to a penniless street rat.  I drove that car at least ten miles away before I noticed the tank was on empty. Pulling into the gas station, a sudden cool rush flooded the air. This wasn’t my first theft. I felt like it was though. All the hair on my neck stood up as I opened Mr. White’s car door. There was no one in sight, but I felt like I was being stalked. The gas tank could wait, this station was not a good place to fuel up. It was cold and stale, and I was scared. I pulled the car door shut and turned the engine over. The engine however, disagreed and lay dead.

“She’s out of gas you know.” A calm voice from beside me spoke.

“Holy Shit!” I was sitting next to White. My body instinctively pushed against the door. “Shit Man! Where the hell did you come from?!” White did not return my amazement at his sudden appearance.

“You are very intent on living.” He spoke quietly. At the time, I wasn’t sure the point he was making. I would soon learn that Mr. White enjoyed being enigmatic in his speech. I replied as best I could to such an odd question.

“Hell yeah man.” Later on I would realize that his question was a statement, not a question.

“Why do you play this game.” Again a statement rather than a question.

“What the fuck?… How the hell did you…” White cut me off with force.

“I believe I have been quite gracious to you in allowing this situation to continue to the degree it has, must you persist in your disrespectful language young man?” He fixed his gaze upon mine. I heard the words come out of his mouth and rest upon my soul. They burried themselves deep into me, until I heard them in my voice, asking myself why I was so rude.

“Why do you play the game? Is it because you want to live? Is this what you call a life?” Although Mr. White’s eyes remained fixed upon mine, the thoughts conveyed in his words seemed to carry out their intent. His words looked me over. They made me feel dirty, like a street rat. His eyes grew.

“Do you want to see what living truly is?” His words were not calm, they were rushed, like hot blood gushing out of a freshly severed wound. 

“What is living?” 

Mr. White was a well groomed man. He had a pale complexion, devoid of age. The one quality that stood out about the man next to me were his eyes. I couldn’t tell if they were blue, or green, or yellow or purple. What I could tell, was that my image consumed them. My reflection grew more and more the larger his pupils grew. His stare gave way to something even more prominent than his eyes. Teeth. He had pearly white teeth, with insanely large canines. They created for me a grim smile.

“I will show you.”

What followed next was normal by any means of conventional lore. Mr. White sunk his teeth into my neck with a piercing intent that shattered my composure. As much as I tried to fight it, his will became mine and everything that was individual to my existence had no more meaning than the tears I cried as a child. They were all swept away with my blood, until the only thing I could hear was the sound of the blood pulsing through my arteries. When the memories of my tears and joys started to take shape, and I could feel my life passing, Mr. White let go of my limp body and asked me a simple question.

“Will you drink?” his eyes glistened with anticipation.

I could feel my mind being exposed to a great blight. What came through the doorway was so powerful that I could not look upon it, because it blinded me if I tried.

“Yes.” I said. He took a moment to pierce his wrist with his large canines and placed the exposed wound in front of me. I was lurched forward by a force that was stronger than death, and stepped into the world of the undead ferociously. I savored his sweet blood until I was fully replenished from the blood he had stolen from me. I fell back into the car seat, and lay still. My eyes were open and hot with the fire of living, though my body grew cold.

That was twelve years ago. Twelve years is infantile in comparison to some of the undead creatures who roam this city. But then, as Mr. White always says, “Age is how many years you’ve had to apply knowledge, but wisdom is what you’ve done when you stop applying age.”

Mr. White buried me in the tomb that he had  been buried in when he was first sired. It was an ancestral home built on a plantation in the Victorian era. In the vast yard of this Plantation was a graveyard where family was buried. In essence Mr. White had given me his family, in return for my life. In the last twelve years, Mr. White always emphasized the necessity of giving back something for life. He claimed that it was part of the natural order, and what keeps “our kind” from being more than animals. It even separates us from being merely humans, for most humans never give to the circle, although they take with wanton abandon. This was Mr. White’s way. He took me from my life as a street rat, and set for me a path. 

Now in the main annex of his plantation was a statue of three brothers. This statue was what Mr. White called, “wisdom captured in stone.” According to Mr. White, the artist was a firm believer in the harmony of humanity, and the natural order of things. This statue was the embodiment of these ideals. One of the brothers wore a mask that resembled the masks of the theatre. It was divided in two halfs. One of which was sad, and the other which was happy. He stood in the middle of the two proudly. The brother to the left of the masked brother, was wearing a lion skin and he stood ready to pounce upon something which was off in the distance. And the third brother was wearing the clothes of a peasant. His garments were worn, and full of holes and in hiding to the right and just behind the masked brother he held something in his hand. I walked around this statue to see a little girl captured in a typical child like innocence. It was her hand that the peasant brother was holding, and it seemed that in his grasp she was safe. Underneath the statue lay the inscription. “reciprocity.”

Mr. White constantly referred to this statue. In all lessons, and in all musings, this statue was his canon. It possessed in it something so intrinsic that everything he observed and experienced after its inception had in it the mark of the statue.

One day, Mr. White brought me to the statue for a lesson in philosophy. “The girl is hiding behind her protectors, Jude?”

“Certainly she is hiding from her protecters Mr. White, but why?” I said.

“Are you sure that she is hiding, or being hidden?” asked Mr. White.

I studied the look of innocence upon the girls face and the way her hand was safe in that of the peasants and decided that the three brothers were indeed protecting her.

“From what then is she being protected from?” I asked.

“It is not what she is being protected from, but why she is being protected that matters.” Stated Mr. White.

He stopped looking at the statue and caught my eyes. “Why are they being protected Jude?”

“Who is the little girl?” I asked. “What does she mean to them?”

“Who are the protectors?” asked Mr. White.

“They are vampires. The three types of vampires which you have taught me about.” I said.

“Then who is this little girl, Jude? Can you not answer this question.” He responded.

“She is there food.” I said ashamed.

“Do you hold the hand of your food before you take from it its life?” He snapped. “Listen to what the statue is telling you.”
“She is there pet.” I was grabbing for an answer.

“ I will not dignify that with an answer Jude.”

“She is there hope.” My answer caught his attention.

“And why do you say this.” He asked.

“Because hope is what pulls everything together. It gives us a reason to fight.” I said. I was sure that whether my answer was wrong or right, it was impressive.

“Then why will they take her life?” he said with piercing eyes. I could see now that the questions answer was more complex than the answer I gave him.

“Why do they drink her blood?” he asked again, this time with a grizzly smile.

“Because hope cannot defend herself, and they are hungry. They figure that it is helping her by killing her, and siring her?” I asked.

“We do not sire them, they sired us.” He turned his eyes from me. “Bring me your hope, and sire her. See then what you believe.” He lifted his hand in that familiar motion which said leave me, and I did.

Late that night, I went into the city and sat in a local twenty-four hour diner thinking about what Mr. White had said. The extra rare steak had only wet my appetite for something a little closer to the real thing and I was getting increasingly agitated and hungry.

A waitress named Reba came over to fill my cup with some more drudge they called coffee and to pointlessly banter to pass the night hours. 

“So if your just gonna sit here for a little while longer, I’ll let Anne know to come out and fill your coffee. I’m going home, my shifts over… alright hun?” She phrased it as a question, but it was definitely a statement with no room for change or growth. In a couple of minutes, Anne was going to come over with a pot of brown drudge and fill up my coffee while making banter about what a beautiful night it is. The truth is that is wasn’t a beautiful night. 

A heightened sense of smell, and taste made the coffee extra bland. And the extra bloody stake I had ordered only made me more hungry. The void of any real living was amplified by the stench of sweat coming off Reba, the current waitress. This was only broken by her low gutteral demand for an answer to her statement. “So is that gonna be okay there buddy… Don’t worry Anne will be here any minute now.” At this, she apparently was tired of waiting for another opportunity to ask me a statement, not a question, which ironically I never even answered the first time, so she turned and walked into the backroom. I could hear her rolls of fat bouncing with every step. It was all very disturbing. 

As she walked out the door in her after work clothes, and purse in hand, I thought about eating her, but thought that my time would be better spent brooding. Sometimes getting off just isn’t worth it.
“Hi my name is Anne, and I’ll be taking over where Reba left off. I’m gonna be covering the whole place tonight so if you need me, you’ll have to holler.” 

The voice was young. By the sound of the vocal chords, I would say twenty to twenty-two. One of the tricks Mr. White had taught me was how to stretch and skew my vocal chords in order to mimic people and even throw my voice. Naturally, I became a student of language and I learned to tell almost instantly which region, state, county, or country my prey was from. Mr. White claimed that the best person to prey upon was someone who was not from “these parts,” as they say. Anne, was certainly not from these parts. 

There was something about her that was not the same as others. I know that this statement in itself is very cliche. But it is all I can say to adequately express what I saw. There is nothing that I can’t say that hasn’t been used before to describe people of her essence. There is a point where a truth that is so absolute tries to reason itself into existence, but existence can’t just ease this truth in. Such truths are mysterious and paradox. They catch your eye and never let it go, and if you stare long enough into the ether, you can find yourself. Anne was like that. Something about her was peculiar, and disturbing without being disgusting or morose, like the waitress before her. She had a handle on something I didn’t even have a name for. 

In the time I spent with Mr. White, he had encouraged the study of my prey. He instilled in me the idea that it is not worth killing something you don’t know intimately. According to Mr. White, the ability to give life through siring, and to take life through killing was not a curse, but a gift. It was the freedom to be without side or boundary. The curse was the responsibility of choosing wisely, for the consequences of an eternal being are felt eternally. “If you kill. Be sure that it is not the blood lust that kills, but it is you. Ask yourself if the circle of life is greater served by their death? If you drink of your lust, you are no more than an animal. But if you drink of your choice, you are a man. Even so, if you do not drink, though you lust, you are more than animal, and more than man, for these will die if they do not satisfy their bodies, but you can never die.” He would muse.

Mr. White’s philosophical ramblings aside, he instilled into me something that was intentional. The undead that I am, is not beast nor man. I am not a predator, though I prey, and I am not a killer, though I kill. These distinctions were, as Mr. White called them, “transitory.” As I watched Anne, I decided that what she had in her was a truth that could neither be preyed upon, or killed. She smiled at me from across the way, and continued about her business, and I sat in my chair for the rest of the night bewildered.

Vampires are afraid of the Sun. Sunlight is illuminating. It beats down on those who oppose it, and reigns in those who dare to challenge it. According to Modern science, the Sun is a ball of swirling gases. Its perhaps overly dramatic, but I prefer the occultic slant. The Sun is the initiator of the circle of life… in short, you don’t fuck with it. For some odd reason, vampires have instilled this idea into their own societal lore. 

For the vampire, the sun is God. What’s more is that God is angry. We don’t play in the sun, we don’t look at the sun, and we sure as hell don’t dare to get in its way. We run from its voice, and hide from its heat. At least, they do. Mr. White believed that the sun was vital; its grasp could not be escaped by anything so base as darkness. He believed that running from the sun is as pointless as running from your own shadow. This was one of the first lessons he taught me when I woke up from my death.

As I clawed my way out of the coffin into the open air, I was greeted by sunlight, not darkness. In the light was Mr. White’s thin frame. His frame was all I could make out as my eyes slowly adjusted to the light, but his frame was vivid and striking. There was no way that this man could be mistaken for anybody else. He was clearly the Man who had killed me in the car that I had stolen from him. The sunlight was warm and Mr. White walked in it as if it was his favorite thing to do. His walk was regal, and intentful. It basked in the glory of himself, and made everything about him acknowledge his greatness. I followed him in a stupor back to the mansion of his vast estate where he sat me down to explain who he was, and what I had become.

“My child, do not be afraid. You have been given something beyond your wildest dreams,” he began. I wasn’t the most receiving of the concept at first, but it was that first experience as a vampire in the light, which he used to prove the power of belief. From this one experience, I now have the strength to do what other vampires dare not think of. 

The light began to pour in the window lighting up the polished diner bar stools. As it raced across the table toward me, I took solice in its impending heat. I have found that the night is cold, for those who must steal their heat from others. Anne walked over to me and stood over me with an air of anticipation. I could smell the tinge of deodorant masking her sweat. It was an odor of anticipation. The normal human would not have smelled it coming off of her, so clearly she was about to involve me in an experience which was either dreaded or out of the ordinary. But in my experience, the two often go hand in hand.

“Sun’s coming up stranger, shouldn’t you be getting home.” Anne said anxiously.

I looked into her eyes, “The night is still young ma’am.” Her eyes were watching the light. 

“Don’t you hate going to bed after the sun has risen?” she asked. Her eyes were still fixating on the light which was now creeping closer to my hand. She was anxious to see the light touch me, and I decided to play her farce. I lunged my hand into the light, and watched her eyes intently. Her pupils fell deep into themselves as she let out a barely audible gasp. I could see her muscles flexing in anticipation. She had become poised to react, and was expecting something specific. She was expecting that I would burst into flame.

“I love the feel of fresh sunlight in the morning.” The smile I gave her was an echo of Mr. White’s grin. It was void of emotion, but full of intent. Her body slowly loosened up, and her eyes began to focus on mine.

“Sorry, what was that,” she had not yet come to the conclusion that I was not a vampire. Her mind was catching up with her eyes. “I mean, yeah, I like the sun too.”

“You’re right though, I should probably get going.” I said. The question in her eyes was captivating. I suppose that any number of things could have been in her mind. She could have been zoning in the direction of the light, but then again, she did start the conversation with me. The girl new something of vampires, and all though that was not uncommon in this giant city of unsolved mysteries and morose and macabre crimes, most who knew would never approach a suspected vampire. As I gazed into her eyes, I found her voice and pulled it out. ‘I was wondering if you would like to get dinner sometime?’

I asked.

She looked into my eyes and began speaking my thought, “I was wondering if you would like to get dinner sometime?”

“I would love to.” I mused.

Mr. White had done this to me as a human. Listening to my voice, he spoke to me what he wanted me to say, and I said it. It’s hard to understand at first. When Mr. White was teaching this to me, he explained it as a parent to a child, or a wife to a husband. If the relationship is strong enough, the child will know what the parent wants without the parent telling them. That form of suggestion is as to a servant. The marriage is the better example though. The relationship is so understood that no words are necessary. According to Mr. White, if you look deep enough, and find the voice of your subject, they will hear and follow. 

Anne didn’t know what hit her. She stepped back, and looked surprised at her proposal. “I’m sorry, that was forward of me.”

“Yes it was, I’ll pick you up tonight at seven.” I stated.

“See you then?.” She said confused.

I  smiled at her and put down on the table a twenty. “Keep the change.”

Walking out the door into the sunlight I headed for the White Estate. I had a few questions I needed to ask Mr. White, before I talked to Anne tonight. If Anne knew something about our kind, then why wasn’t she afraid? Mr. White would want to know about her.

THE MENAGERIE

WEAPON

Wendy mayer stood blankly in  front of the movie store… an add for a new classics collection was playing on the large flat screened television hanging from the ceiling of the store… beckoning all shoppers to come inside and catch a glimpse of the magic of Hollywood… perhaps even buy a little… take it home with them.  Now that’s entertainment.

“Lets go inside Wendy.” The asian eyes grew wide with anticipation…. “They’re playing your mother’s promo again.”

“Not interested kim.” Wendy raised an eyebrow as kim undetoured grabbed Wendy’s arm.

“Stop being so childish Wendy…. These movies pay for your home in the West Hills… You’re mom’s a star… you should be proud of her.” Kim smiled wide; her eyes reflecting back at herself in Wendy’s thick cold glasses.

“I think your probably proud enough for the both of us…” Wendy snarled under her breath. Then resolving to herself to get the experience over with, she started for the door. 

Entering the movie store was like entering a new world. The cold recirculated air blasted a slight fog onto Wendy’s glasses, and the sweat on her forehead was cooled from the near boiling temperature outside. It was a welcome change. It wouldn’t have taken Wendy nearly as much time to reach the donut store next to the movie store if she hadn’t had brought Kim with her. But her psycho of a mother insisted that Kim needed friends, and wouldn’t have Wendy galavanting around the city without her jujitsu trained, new housemate. 

Kim’s knowledge of martial arts was about the only thing that Wendy found interesting about Kim. But the one thing that would’ve saved both girls time, and bus fare, would’ve been a quick ride through the back streets of Grand Mall avenue on a pair of skateboards. Ironically for all of Kim’s skills in the martial arts, her balance was never good enough to grind the concrete jungle. Knowing Joe’s rules for his store, Wendy checked her backpack at the counter and raised an eyebrow at her skateboard neatly tucked under the flap. A self drawn portrait of David Bowie on the underside of the board stared back at her like he knew her pain… hardly Bowie… hardly.

Kim snapped her back to reality.

“Listen Dee.  You hear that?” her pupils dialated with excitement. The sound of Wendy’s mother’s voice resonated in laughter across the store. A famous scene from a famous piece of trash that her famous mother had shot back in her hey day was playing on the big screens.

“you know what that is Wendy?” Wendy didn’t have time to answer. Kim Chi, never asked a question to hear its response. She only wanted to know that you were listening. “It’s “The Puerto Rican Sunrise” Dee.” That’s the movie where your mom has to stay alive till morning, or she will be killed by those assasins…. The one with the famous guy… Dean Maxwell… ya know… the guy from all the detective movies… he was hot.”

“He’s like old and grey kim, besides… he was an asswipe… he treated my mom like shit.” Wendy’s eyebrow raised as she scanned the room for better topics, and new editions to her collection.

“dude… Bowie’s old and grey too…. Besides, weren’t people saying Maxwell’s  your father?” Kim smirked waiting for Wendy to react. Wendy spun her body backward, landing her fist into Kim’s face. Kim fell back into a rack of ninety nine cent cassettes and knocked it over spilling REO Speedwagon and Atlantic Starr on to the linoleum along with Kim herself.

“Back off Bitch…. Its none of your business who my father is!” The man at the cash register looked at Wendy with knowing eyes, and smiled at her. He walked out from behind the counter and helped Kim to her feet, turning to her, he said,

“Wendy… you gotta clean this up.”

“I know Joe… I just got some issues… can I get a donut for you from next door, and then come back and clean this up…. I promise to behave.” She managed a half smile… she wasn’t angry at Joe… in the years she had known him, he had always been good to her.

“Yeah, donuts on me…” he reached into his pocket and threw her a waded up five… “Be back quick… Speedwagon’s a big seller.” Wendy turned to the glaring Kim and held up a finger in defiance.

“Don’t fuck with Bowie bitch.” The door shut hard behind her… and Kim Chi glared at her in disgust.

“I don’t know why you put up with her Joe.” She looked at Joe as if wanting an answer, but Joe knew better. “I swear she’s got some power over you men.” Kim picked herself up and strutted toward the door like a princess… the rush of hot air as she opened it, only solidified the thought in Joe’s mind about her origin. “I don’t have to take this treatment. If the street rat wishes to be in my presence, have her call my cell.” She threw her head up and never looked back. The door closed behind her and the temperature became cool again.

“Don’t worry princess, she won’t.” Joe waited for his donut patiently… it occurred to him that this was the fifth time this month that Wendy had decided to use his store as a boxing ring. “She must have some power over me he thought.” A thought which was immediately followed by the thought, “Oh well, I wonder what type of Donut she got me.”

A CALL TO ARMS

We are the freaks. We know something is wrong with the world and we refuse to sit idly by and watch it slip into oblivion taking with it humanity and the things that we hold most dear; the things that we love. Nature calls to us that life is about survival of the fittest and humanity echoes it without thinking, but we know better. Death haunts us day in and day out shaping the way we live our lives down to the minute details. We all lived to escape something the mass consciousness has deemed as the very act of living; death. In spite of this, we rebel in seeming disarray of the design; we are anomalies of the system. Seemingly thousands if not millions of us exist connected by a single acknowledgment, a statement of faith, hope, and love summed up in what becomes the standard of truth. 

The truth of our rebellion lies in its simplicity. It lies in its ability to be absolute. No extensive hypothetical or theories could give credence to our particular pathology. The one supposition  that we follow, the one fact presented by our ranks is perhaps the most unforgiving and judgmental reality ever presented, and it is with such sincerity and conviction that it must be presented. It is the essence of truth that those who agree with it are either with absolute certainty correct, or they are unmistakably insane. This is the position we adhere to, this is the line we walk. Believe what we believe and nature and all of its facets will seek your destruction. Live the way we live and you will be a foreigner in your own country.

We are the outcast, dispersed by intelligent design from the system, that there might be a remnant until the nature of death turns on itself, that even in death there might be life. Our battle begins in the soul and extends to all of its parts outward. After the soul agrees with the truth, the mind must be taught how to restructure human nature to its original state. The soul fears in reverence and awe, and the mind acknowledges its proclamation, and what was once a life of dying, becomes the practical outworking of life everlasting. We emphasize the soul and its need for the truth, and we demand the body evidence this conversion, but we leave the mind to wage its own battles with temptations and lies, usurping its purpose and cheapening its functions. Our minds must be ready at all times to give a defense for what the soul knows as truth, but how many of our people know why they rebel against death? How many people know what the truth is? How many of our people stand at the forefront of battle with an outstretched sword but not the knowledge of how to hold it, or the skill to wield it. 

When we were an openly persecuted people, we had no choice but to understand the nature of the battle, its weapons, and its beast, but its methods have changed. The once outrageous and blatant atrocities became things of myth and legend and eventually fiction, but they are very real. With less and less need for defense of brutal attacks, there was less and less need to learn the defense stratagems and skills to defend them, until they too faded into fantasy, but they too are a reality. The brutality of the beast didn’t disappear, it merely assumed a different form, one of subterfuge. Instead of outright engaging our ancestors who walked with our Lord, he waited until they died leaving a generation of soldiers who had only their faith to uphold the lines of defense. He has been waiting and waiting, and he is still waiting. He has waited so long that most within our tiny rebellious camp no longer see him for what he is, but a red devil with a pitchfork and horns or a being of pure darkness, and when he finally attacks, we will not recognize him without much discernment.

The need to be prepared for what was once urgent, to know why and how and when to fight are now no longer seen as a need, but as a choice. And as one of the billion choices processed every minute, it is often swept to the wayside. We may have dropped our guard over time, but make no mistake when the beast attacks, he will not have an army that is untrained and unready for the fight. Within their camp, they have been learning the skills necessary to fight us on a different plane… a mental one. 

We believe that our salvation lies in the soul, and indeed it does, but the soul can not be accessed by just any means. The beast cannot fight for your soul because it is to guarded. You would never give that up willingly, but the mind is readily accessible, meant to assimilate any information that it is given, and it is on this front that the battle is waging. It is a front that is hidden from both your soul and your body.  Thusly if you take the mind, then both soul and body are revealed.

The beast has not come out and revealed himself, but through his followers he is actively seeking to delude and convolute our minds so that they will be ripe for his coming. When he comes, how many will have such control over their entire assimilation process, that they will be able to make their claims with lucidity? Better yet, how many of us soldiers are ready now? What responsibility do we have to our fellow soldiers?  I would submit that we have a responsibility to wage war here and now (militis est pugnares) with our minds, in our minds. We must teach our soldiers to see with lucidity if they are to fight with lucidity. The war has already been won but the question is how many of us will be left standing when victory is tasted. We can watch God’s plan unfold, or we can be unfolded. We can affect the world for the will of the Father with purpose and conviction or we can succumb to our own desires. We do have a choice, but it is not whether “to fight or not to fight?” but rather on which side we will fight. Our plight is nothing more, and nothing less. We cannot escape our involvement in the outworking of God’s will but we can choose whether to be Judas, or Peter. This is the time to stand up and choose what you will be counted for. The time is now. This is a call to arms. This is Lucid Apologetics.

CHAPTER ONE

The Idea of Truth

Part one WHAT DO WE FIGHT?

As Christians, we believe that the Bible is the absolute authority on the condition and fate of mankind, and that reality itself rests on the shoulders of its messiah, Jesus. The confession of faith is doctrinal and essential to the validity of the bible and it is this point that must be examined. At the central issue of any argument lies its truth in life, and our ability to give in to that proposition is called faith. Thusly faith as the central outworking of truth requires that an absolute value( or truth) must be established. In other words, a true discussion of faith and its implications would not necessarily be whether the object of faith is worthy of it, but instead, whether there should be anything that is worthy of value. Since value maintains an absolute judgment of worth, a true discussion of faith is not at all about abstract theological ponderences, but rather about truth itself.

This is witnessed in the implications of every Christian ideology or doctrine. It is present in everything from the fall of man, to the resurrection of Christ, and apologists have argued these points for years by virtue of faith and scripture recitals. Their work was instrumental in helping to further doctrinalize ideas such as the “Trinity” and the “deity of Christ.” They were not arguing at the heart of the arguments, but rather on the basis that what they believed was, and is in fact a more superior wisdom than what was philosophically present. To put it differently, a person does not always propose an argument believing that he is correct, but rather that the other party is wrong. Thusly to argue that your position is right only seeks to justify the position that the argument which you are opposed to is not right, but does not in itself address your position as the plaintiff as being right. If someone argues against you faith, but cannot prove, or provide a viable replacement, he very rarely succeeds in his attempt to educate you. Although this is beneficial to leaving your faith in tact, it will not dissuade the plaintiff, but probably encourage him that there is no sanity in your logic. The only time that this may have a different effect is when the plaintiff has already come to the same conclusion as us, and is seeking holes in the theology itself, which in itself is an acknowledgment that he agrees in the existence of such things. An example of this is Atheism which denies the existence of anything related to a god of any type, and yet is consumed with justifying that idea. This is illogical because if God didn’t exist, than they would already feel justified in their stance and would not need to prove it true, but in trying to justify their claim, they have made themselves into a reaction when they claim to be without a catalyst. In like manner, the agnostic claims to not have defining knowledge on god, but purports to be an authority on his lack of knowledge, on the very subject he claims to know nothing about. There must always be something to react to if a reaction is to occur. Thus, these people they already know the truth of the theology, but like the plaintiff they simply don’t like it. To these people, the writings of the apologists apply. These were people who were angry with what they had been told, and through miscommunication and hypocritical actions were told something wrong. Their problems were addressed in a way that was necessary for all to hear who had faith, acknowledged or otherwise, but the argument of scriptures validity is a very different enemy, and thus a very different fight..

We as believers have been addressing since our existence the issues brought up by these people, by reaffirming our theology but very few of us have tried to address them using their reality. They ask us questions to toy with our psyches and reaffirm theirs like, “Could God create a rock that he can’t move?” and then they laugh as we try to illustrate to them a faith based answer. The problem with that question is the same as the problem with our answers. Simply put, you cannot imply one reality while enforcing the rules of another. Questions like this are faithless, they are bent on destroying absolutes, not dealing with them; thusly, a faith based answer would never be an appropriate answer.

The Christian community at large is stunned and horrified to even try to deal with such questions. They cop out with statements like, “The Bible just doesn’t teach us certain things,” or “We just have to have faith.” These answers in no way address the needs of those who need God, they in fact dissuade even more the questioner, who is now convinced that the church does indeed lack the absolute truth. It is my firm belief that it is our responsibility to these people, over and above those who know the truth, whether acknowledged or not, to seek to answer these questions. Christ himself said that he was here for the sick, not the well.

My mentor, a semi-gray haired Irish preacher, who happens to be my father, terms these types of questions as “theological nonsense.” I would take that concept one step further to call them “logical nonsense.” Not because the question itself is preposterous, but because the building blocks of the question are lacking sense. This observation is almost always the key to answering a question of this sort. It should give us an idea of the way that we should answer it. When something is nonsense, it is devoid of sense, as in what can be determined by the senses. We thusly have the form of the question, and the path that it breaks down. We can follow this path by deconstruction to find the true meaning and thus the answer of the question. When a question of this nature is asked, it has been my experience that one usually points out that the person asking doesn’t truly want an answer. I would say to those who would believe this that the very presence of a question demands that some sort of justification for a point is being sought out. I believe that they are looking for an answer, but what is more likely is that they don’t believe that they will get one that makes sense, and this is because their question is built on a faulty premise to begin with. 

Therefore to answer this question without showing the faults in the question, is to not give an answer at all, but rather to encourage the faulty premise it is built on, as if there is no answer to obvious paradoxes. Deconstruction is then the first step in answering any such questions. In order to demonstrate this, let us use the earlier question of, “Could God create a rock that he can’t move?” as an example.

The first step of deconstruction is observation of the construct itself. What is the question asking with all of its hidden intended clauses in place? If I were asking the same question a different way, I would phrase it like so, “Could an all powerful God, bring something into existence that He is powerless to control, such as a rock?” When stated this way, a couple things are brought out about the question. Firstly are the contradictory intended clauses such as, “all powerful,” and “powerless.” Second is the existence of two realities coexisting at an equal level: There is the reality of faith, and the reality of empirical truth. The intended clauses are obviously set up in the construct of the question in order to create a seemingly contradictory reality which is witnessed by the equal existence of power, with impotence concerning a rock.

The second part of this process of communication is the actual deconstruction itself. It is safe to say that the question itself does not work semantically as it has been constructed, and that the nature of the implied clauses support that not only does it not work, but that its inquisitor asked it for the reason that it appears to show that faith and truth cannot work together. Thusly the question that is being asked is not, “could God create a rock that he can’t move?” but rather “Why is an all powerful being seemingly powerless in certain areas?” This is the lucid reality of the question, not weighed down by the disguise of needless verbal dressings and unrelated inanimate objects. When the question, broken down to this level, it can be reassessed and addressed in such a way that a useful answer can be given to a question that is seemingly nonsense. The question, of “Could God create a rock that he can’t move?” is a question not of faith, but of truth. Within the question is an implied idea about power; that power cannot be held back, or in submission to anything else, and thusly God would be powerless if he could and or couldn’t follow through with the task in the question. Therefore the truth being presented by the question is that God is powerless because power cannot be submitted. Herein lies the fault of the question. The answer doesn’t lie in our faith in God, but rather in our understanding of power through empirical truth. Power is an ability, a freedom to apply a constant, and an “all powerful” being, would be that constant. Submission of that power does not change whether that power exists or not, it simply implies whether that power is being enacted to show its domineering abilities. It should also be noted that power has other ways of expression besides its ability to domineer, and one of those is that of submission. Therefore, the idea that something could be devoid of power simply on the basis of its ability to submit its own power to itself is preposterous. If its loss of power through submission to itself is thusly a flawed concept, then giving an answer to the question is no longer a no-win scenario in which the believer can be entrapped by. It becomes an opportunity to show the truth of both faith, and empirical observation to our inquisitor as a truth that is harmonious. We do this through reconstruction of the construct, to a construct that can be understood. The dialogue would be similar to this:

Them: “Can God create a rock he can’t move?”

Us: “Yes, I believe so.”

Them: “Then God couldn’t be all powerful.”

Us: “Why not?”

Them: “Because an all powerful being can’t not be able to do something.”

Us: “Power has nothing to do with how a being enacts it or not. Not doing something is often times just as much a show of power as doing something.”

This answer forces the inquisitor to see things differently, and thus his mind is open to a restructure that is based upon a truth that accepts that faith is in harmony with empirical truth. 

For to long, the fight for scriptural supremacy over mankind’s wisdom has been fought with our faith through the use of the scriptures alone. Our own scriptures tell us that faith is a shield, but truth is the weapon. Empirical truth is where they are fighting with us. We cannot any longer rely on the belief of the truth to simply be right. We must know what that truth is, broken down and inside and out. With everything, we must assess it, deconstruct it, and then reconstruct is to find every possible flaw. For too long we have allowed the “Trojan Horses” into our gates. We must take the doctrine and dogma and scrutinize it thoroughly, and we must not fear the outcome, because if it is the truth, there’s nothing you can do to change it. We must be well versed in our faith, and why it is empirically relevant. With this said, we move on to finding the real story; to answer the question that so few have dared to ponder without their shield down and their weapons out. We will learn to trust our sword as we answer the question of “Why?”

Part two WHY DO WE FIGHT?

Apologetics, as it applies to Christianity is quite succinctly “the art of defending the faith.” This defense is of the faith by the faith and its tenants. Lucid Apologetics, as it applies to Christianity is true to this cause, but it is not summed up in this alone. To be lucid is to be aware, and have a sense of clarity; the type that is specifically obtained by allowing light to shine through it. It is a moment of clarity within an otherwise insane environment. That sense of lucidity is what is being defended with lucid apologetics. It is a defense of a clear concise outline of reality, not so much dependent upon the staples of faith, but rather upon the staples that faith is based upon. It is to this end that we explore the tenants of faith, not in order to strengthen our shield, but that we may become a master of the spiritual sword.

We do not apologize for our faith, because our faith is in itself its own defense; we apologize for the truths that every man connects with. These truths are self evident, but are being challenged despite their evidence because they are being justified by faith, but not by empirical evidence. In order to carry out this task, we must have an in-depth knowledge of the tenants of faith, but also of the empirical evidence and reason that they are necessary and useful to every human being. The truths that we will learn to defend have been called “self evident” because they show themselves in nature and life all around us. 

This is our advantage in this battle. If a person is truly looking for truth, they only need to pay attention to find it. Our problem is not that the seeker can’t find the truth, but that he can’t see it. Something has been altered in a person’s perception when they cannot tell a truth from a lie; that person’s ability to recognize that truth is either impeded or done away with all together. This is the problem that we run up against in the current social climate. Central to this issue is the debate on truth itself. “Is there such a thing as truth?” If a seeker of the truth follows this question through to its fullest logical conclusion, he will be startled by its implications. If there is no truth, then there is no right or wrong, with no system of values, there is no consequence. With no consequence, we lose the need for judgment in Hell or Heaven. With no destination, there is no point to the journey. Since life and death don’t matter, there is no need for salvation from death. With no need for salvation, there is no need for a savior. Without a savior, we can only depend upon ourselves, and finally with nothing out there that is beyond us, there is no God.

With this startling realization, the seeker drops into a state of denial and then anger. This is a common psychological truth. After a loss is realized, it is first denied and if acceptance of this loss cannot be achieved, then the item lost must be replaced in order to maintain a semblance of structure. This is the case with those who realize that they have lost God. They fight to believe that they have truth, when it is clear by its attributes that truth is not what they have. They fall deeper into denial by giving their truth a different name and this gives them enough sense of structure to stay alive, but with the reality of their loss easily thrown in their face. These people often become angry when the reality they’ve established is brought into question, because their true condition is exposed, if only in brief. Soon depression takes over and they must accept and resolve, or seek a more drastic replacement. The extreme replacement for the initial lost object becomes more and more intense, driven by an almost euphoric and surreal form of wishful thinking coupled with the memories of past experiences. This leads to delusion regarding the object of interest, and once delusion sets in, the need to express something that has become a part of the person, coupled with the need for self expression as well as the need for punishment of the object for leaving, can cause the person to develop a sort of multiple personality disorder. They begin to slowly believe and act like they are the very object that they lost, because the loss was to much for them to accept. In short, they begin to believe that they are in fact God.

I am not purporting that every person who denies God believes that he is God in practice, but rather that given encouragement, he will come to that conclusion. We see evidence of this delusion within the teachings of every religious movement and school of thought to date. The movement of the social climate is toward finding the good in yourself and or humanity, and the Bible teaches us that a time is coming soon where this theology will manifest itself in the shape of a man, “the Man of Lawlessness.” Using the observations we have made about the need for law and truth, is a reality where a man claims his is God such a far fetched concept?

The social climate has already widely accepted its responsibility to evolve into the God it shall be. We cannot in good logic or conscience assume that the day is not coming when one man will lead people in the consummation of that lie. The book of Jude describes such a time when the conscience of mankind will be seared off with a hot iron. This will be a time when wrong and right will be burned away, and in place of the man with law in his heart, there will stand a man of lawlessness. Our current newspapers and news programs tell us that exact same story; all that is missing from it is the man, the antichrist. Although the condition of the lawless heart personifies itself in a single individual, it is evident that the condition is preceding its avatar. A cause needs a leader, but before that leader comes, he must have a cause to lead. That cause is spiritual lawlessness, and when he finally makes himself manifest, there will already be a people to fall in line behind him. All of this will occur because the current social climate has been conditioned in such a way that they cannot tell a truth from a lie. This is where the battle is held: in truth, for the truth, by the truth. Now that we know why we fight, and what we fight for, the question through deconstruction of our own reason for fighting is why we believe; what inspires the reason for fighting?

Part three WHY DO WE BELIEVE WE SHOULD FIGHT?

When a faithless person asks why we have faith, he is not asking “what we believe?” so much as what makes us believe it. If I said “I believe that the world is flat,” the person would not ask me again what I believe, but “Why?” Therefore it is not necessary so much to explain the “what” we believe unless there is some dispute on that matter. The truth of the situation is that most who are without faith are already aware of the facts of it, they simply don’t understand how it relates to them. Just as a leader needs a cause to exist before he can lead it, so must a cause to believe exist before you can believe. It is a sad reality that more without faith than with faith know the “what” of  Christianity. 

This is why apologetics proper is necessary within the church. It equips the believer with the “what.” However, we are more concerned with outreach and the “why,” so we must start where we always start. What is the deconstruction of the statement “I believe.” The implied clause within this statement could rephrase the sentence to this, “It is necessary for me to think this certain way.” The statement of necessity in “I believe,” begs the question of “what makes belief necessary?” It implies a condition wherein an absolute rendering of reality must be established. Absolutes imply truths, and truth is something the faithless lack. This is why a faith based answer does not work for these people; it means nothing to them. When a faithless person asks, 

“what do you believe?” and you reply,

“I believe that Christ died for my sins and rose again on the third day.”

This means nothing to them because it does not answer their question. Their question is not “what do you believe?” but rather “why do you believe?” and this question is a cry for understanding. “Why” is a question that implies justification. It is a question that asks for a personal response, and anything that is personal toward the receiver is just as personal to the initiator. Thusly the question could be understood to mean not “why do you believe?” but rather, “why should I believe?”

We often confuse this question with “what should I believe?” and thus alienate the initiator from our answer. Clearly this is not the response to take with someone who has opened their personal questions up to you. They are clearly looking for a personal response, to a personal question. They are not looking for something so textbook that it is degrading and belittling to them. 

Earlier I stated that the question, “What do you believe?” implies a personal question regarding a necessity that we have. That necessity is clearly outlined within scripture as being the result of sin. The scriptures teach that we were created perfect and in one act of self above God’s will, we lost our communion with him, and our perfection. If I were to tell someone what I believe, I would give him the story that is personal and that he can relate to. The story would be about my lack of perfection; the fact that I know that no matter how hard I try to do right, I can only do wrong. I would tell him that I was hopeless and might as well have been dead. This may seem morose, but it is the reason for my belief. If I didn’t know my need to have faith, I would never have it. Clearly this is the first part of an answer to the question. They would ask me:

“What do you believe?” and I would tell them.

“I believe that I need something other than me, because alone, my life is pointless, and I might as well be dead.” 

With this said, the next question they will ask will show its true personal tone. The question they will ask is “why?” They will either ask “Why do you feel hopeless?” or they will agree. Either way, you have successfully established a premise to build upon. The building itself will be the hope that comes from knowing Christ. This as well cannot be expressed in terms of facts in Christ’s life, but rather facts of what Christ has done in your life. Show them how it is that Christ addresses your life in a way that no one else can. Let’s examine the three basic truths of your condition without Christ. First of all it is a hopeless one, that ends in death. There is nothing that you can do to escape it. Secondly because you lack any ability to effect its change one way or the other, you are powerless. Lastly, because you don’t have the power or ability to enact your free will, you are insufficient as a lone being; and thus missing a part of you.

These three points articulate the condition of the individual as well as the society in whole. Issues of greed, envy, resentment, even a sense of belonging and love all come from these three issues. They are universal in their nature, and yet personal and hard hitting in their application. With the exception of love, all the means by which our condition reveals itself try to answer this dilemma to no avail. For instance, Greed seeks to affect the sense of “want” by filling it with something finite and fails because “want” as it pertains to our condition, is infinite. Every one of these is a witness to a desire for the three things every one lacks. Improper outworking of this loss has been described in various lists throughout scripture. The book of Galatians has a thorough outline, describing in general any sort of immoral actions one could come up with. The list is as follows: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasures, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, divisions, the feeling of elitism, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and so on. The scripture directly preceding this passage states that these actions are a result of giving into your desires. In short the cause of the actions is a wanting for one of the three things all people desire. These actions are described as sinful and the Bible clearly states that sin does not save, empower or fulfill, but rather further entraps man in his current condition of death. All of these out workings of our condition have one thing in common; they all pertain to the self. They are focused on finding a way to remove the condition that the self is in, by exploring and participating in the outworking of that condition. I would liken this to a man with bad vision heading to a cliff. He knows that the cliff is fast approaching and his hope for survival lies in his ability to see, and change his direction, but instead of taking any measures toward this, he closes his eyes so he won’t have to see the end is near. 

Actions that are selfish have the same conclusion as the man approaching the cliff. His eyes being closed does not effect this eventual demise, but only takes his mind off of it. Love, however, is different. The attributes of love described in the book of I Corinthians are distinctly lacking one element; that element is self. Love is selfless. The man approaching the cliff would not be concerned with falling over the cliff as much as with another falling over it. His need to stop others form doom, would cause him to block the path. This would not only ensure the life of others, but his own life as well. Humankind is aware of the need for this kind of selfless love. Even the Greeks were aware of it, giving it its own special classification as a verb, not an adjective.

We write songs, books, and movies about the struggle to attain it. We spend most of our adolescent and adult lives in search of it. It is an undeniable reality that we want love, but the question is who really has it? The truth is that we do not. This is the outworking of our loss of God, and thusly it is the one thing we want the most. It stands to reason that this “agape” love must also be the same as the truth we want so badly to find.

If a faithless man asks me why I believe in something, then he is asking for its truth, so that he may believe in something as well. If he finds the truth, then he will know what it is to have faith. Love is that truth that he can have faith in, and it is always that truth which he is seeking. It is therefore unnecessary to show the faithless what faith is, because they can’t recognize it for what it is. Show the faithless love, and they won’t be able to resist the truth before them. This will establish a relationship of faith between you and them based upon your love for them. Once a relationship by faith in your love (an extension of God’s love to you) is established, it becomes an active example of the necessity for faith. It is only after a person can relate to a direct show of grace that he can accept its effects on his life. It is at this point that we begin to restructure the current social thought on faith to something more accurate than a “feeling.”

“Faith is evidence of things unseen,” and so it is often believed that you cannot see, or must be blind to have it. In actuality, the reason it is evidence of things unseen is because it proves the truth of itself once it is already had. No one faithless would boldly make a statement of such paradox. It is impossible to know faith without seeing the truth of your need to have it. We have already stated that the way to show faith is through love, and love is the truth that we all are lacking. Therefore truth can be a catalyst for faith in the same vain that love is. And if love is truth, and love is faith, then faith is the truth.

The social climate disagrees with this concept. They make faith out to be a dated concept that relies to much on hope in something other than yourself and therefore it can not be accurate and trustworthy. They claim it is not based on fact, but opinion. Firstly, love itself has the same definition when understood in the context of man’s entropic condition. And secondly, fact itself is based upon empirical evidence of the truth, but not the truth itself.

If I have found that every time I fall forward with my leg out, I was able to walk, the empirical evidence of these occurrences would be classified as a fact. If I was to ask “How do I walk?” I would be told that walking is the act of controlled falling, matter-of-factly. However, if I have found that every time I fall forward on to my face, God picks me up and starts me off again, the empirical evidence of this is called faith, but it could be just as easily called fact. Some may make the distinction between the two examples. They would say that I am aware of all of my limitations, but God is not me, and his existence is in question, therefore the two examples cannot work together. To them I would point out that first of all, I am not my father, yet I have no doubt that he exists. Nor do I have doubts as to why he helps me. And secondly, if I am incomplete within myself and I know this, then any fact that I myself have observed must also be incomplete and therefore on the same level as a fact that comes from outside of my personal existence. With this said, the question then is “How can we be sure that anything is true?”

Scientific method purports that we know the truth based on what is wrong. It teaches that if you test and get an undesired outcome, than it is not the desired outcome and you must test and retest until you find the desired outcome. Hopefully, through process of elimination of the test used to accurately define the undesired outcome, you come to a conclusion by what is left. This conclusion is called a fact and is published in textbooks until twenty years or so later, more tests are developed to test the accuracy of what was once scientific fact, and it becomes nothing but science fiction.

By its own standards of fact and fiction, scientific truth is nothing more than faith that there are no more tests left to throw out the accuracy of the current conclusion. The truth is that fact is merely established faith, and that is why faith is the evidence of things unseen. Evidence of things, seen or not, amounts to fact. The truth of this definition is not about blindness, or the blind man, it is a concise statement that “Faith is Fact.” Thus the need for faith is clear. Faith is how we come to a conclusion of what truth is, and we know that truth is love. Therefore you will never find love without faith. This is why we believe, because we know that if we don’t then we might as well be exactly what we are; hopeless, powerless, and incomplete.

Earlier I stated that a person only asks “why?” because they are looking for a truth to believe in. This is the undeniable question of all humanity. We need faith in order to address this question. It gives us the ability to conceive a stable reality, to then understand what that reality is, and finally to live in the real world, productively and fulfilled. We may be alive, but faith is truly living. This is the truth behind faith. This is what you tell the faithless, first by action through love, and then by personal revelation through open conversation.

CHAPTER TWO

The body of truth

Part one JESUS AS CHRIST

When the question of “Why do we believe we should fight?” is asked, it comes to some interesting truths about faith itself. The answers point out that faith is in actuality the same thing as truth and that having that truth is a necessity for human beings. The truth that we must seek out has a specific form which answers three paradox’s of mankind’s entropic condition, in such a way that he escapes death and finds life.

In order to find truth, faith, and love, these three paradox’s must first be corrected. Otherwise, our perception and reception would simply remain fixed on death and we would never find the truth of our condition. As Christians, we believe in Christ as the Messiah, but how many of us know why it is important to think so?

First of all, having the three dilemmas of our condition; hopelessness, powerlessness, and insufficient ness, we obviously cannot save ourselves. The fact that we believe in Jesus as a Messiah implies that we have found that he can save us. This fact is readily accepted within the Christian community, but do we know why we believe it to be so?  People ask me all the time why I believe in Christ, and I have been taught to tell them one of two things. First it is the old favorite of “because he believed in me first,” and secondly, there is a sort of “12 step plan,” which neatly outlines man’s condition, and his need for God.

  Although it was Christ who first loved me, and thusly gave me the ability to believe in him, it is not accurate to say,  “I believe in him because he believed in me.” In all logic, I do not believe that the supposition that Christ believed in the ability of a hopeless, powerless, and insufficient being can be justified from scripture or logic. What is probably a more accurate idea is that Jesus knew that we needed something, and so because we had nothing worth believing in, he gave himself to believe in; this is not because he believed in me, but because he believed in himself as the only thing that could fill my need. This idea certainly points out that I needed a Christ, but it doesn’t tell me why it should be this one. 

The “12 step plan,” makes the same error. It outlines precisely my condition as a human being, but it doesn’t outline Christ’s condition as the answer for our condition. I may have faith in Christ Jesus, but if that faith has no stable reason for existence, it is misguided and misdirected and therefore useless. We do not believe in Christ because he first believed in us, or because we need a Christ to believe in. This type of logic would lead me to believe in any David Koresh, or Sun Yung Moon that paid me attention. We do not give Christ a different kind of attention because he is the same as Gautama, Mohammed, or even Moses. 

Jesus of Nazareth is given special attention, not because he claimed to be a savior, nor because he understood mankind. These things were not special to Jesus then, and they are not special to Jesus now. The only logical conclusion is that he was treated differently, and acted differently because when all was said and done, he simply was different. Therefore, my faith in Christ is not as a result of his belief in me, or my need for a belief in him. My faith works solely on the basis of himself. It is His uniqueness that both creates and completes my need for a savior. This is important to understand about our faith because it shows our dependence upon Christ, without making him somehow dependent upon us and our need for salvation through atonement. To believe in anyone because they can save you is to imply that at best, a fraction of their power comes from your belief in them. It is important to believe in someone or something because it is a fact, rather than on its intention to be that fact. Buddha taught an eight fold path to enlightenment, the Pope teaches that doing deeds will earn us our way into heaven, Mohammed believed in jihad. All of these men were saviors in one way or another, and all of them harnessed a universal passion for more out of life than death. But this does not change the fact that not one of them could assure anyone that their faith had secured them anything. 

The best that these “saviors” could offer was a possibility. We teach salvation to our fellow believers and non believers alike, as if death has some chance of defeating us. The paradoxical reality of our faith is that we believe that death has no hold over us, and thus it loses that hold. Thusly our salvation does not lie in our need for something other than death, but merely the acceptance that death, and its hold, are not as powerful as they appear to be. Faith in God, because he saves is missing the point that the Salvation, Atonement, and Sanctification processes are making.

Let me try this another way. Three brothers are going to jail because they cannot pay the fines they have accrued, and they turn to there rich father for help. The first son asks his father for help, pleading,

“If you love me, you’ll pay my debt because you wouldn’t want me to suffer.”

The second son then throws in,

“You’ve said that you love me unconditionally, and so I thought I would take you up on the love you offer.”

But the third son says,

“I don’t deserve your love, or your help.”

All three sons agree never to put their father in the same position again. The father then looks at all three of his children lovingly and explains,

“I loved you all before you were born, and I will always love you that way. Because I never want you to suffer again, I will give you the money you need to pay your debt, with no strings attached.”

The first son goes to pay his debt but on the way decides to make more of the money that his father gave to him by gambling with it, rather than using it to pay his debt. He soon gambles what was completely sufficient for all his needs away, and decides to head back to his father to explain his plight and get more money. His father listens intently to his first born son, and then explains how he perceives the situation.

“Son, it occurs to me that you didn’t respect the value of the gift that you were given. In fact instead of doing what was intended with it, you gave my grace away to your own desires, hoping to get more than you needed. If I gave you more, you would simply squander it like you have already, and until you realize this, it is better that you work with what you have. Come back to me when you can appreciate the value of the gift I gave you.”

Just then, the second son comes through the door. He walks past his brother and straight up to his father in exasperation. 

“I have been thinking about the bountiful amount of money that you gave to me, and I appreciate it greatly. I still have it, and it is great, but I was thinking that since you love me so much, and you wouldn’t want me to get in debt again… maybe I could hold on to this gift, and you could give me a little something more so that I could set up a little something for myself?” 

The father looks at his middle child lovingly and explains,

“I gave you everything you needed and still you want more? Although it is true that you have not squandered the grace that I gave you as your brother has, what you have done may be worse. If you are not satisfied with the amount that I have given you, an amount that is sufficient to make you pure again and free of debt, than how could you ever find satisfaction?

Just then, the third son walks through the door broken, but hopeful. The father walks past his two older sons and makes eye contact with his youngest son. 

“My child, why are you sad?” the father asks.

“I have done with the money just as you said; I paid my debt.”

“Good son, but why are you sad?” the father tries again.

“I didn’t deserve to be free, and I know it. I deserved to pay the price that I earned, and yet you freely released me from that. I accept it, but I don’t understand it, and in all this, I can’t help but think that I have taken advantage of your love.”

The father smiles at his youngest child as the two older ones look on.

“You didn’t come to me in order to get my money or take advantage of me. You didn’t come to me expecting that my money belonged to you. Instead you came broken and desperate to the only one you thought had more of a grip on your situation than you did. You didn’t come to me seeking control because you recognized it was to much for you to control. In believing in me, you have found salvation. Your brothers although different from each other, both came to me seeking salvation itself rather than a return to the perfect state they once were in. They appreciated the gift rather than the giver, and the gift rather than the reason it was necessary. Thus, they didn’t appreciate any of what I did for them, or even myself. Sooner of later their attitudes must change, or they will push themselves so far away, that they won’t be able to find there way back. It is a sad irony that  they may never find the one thing they were looking for because they couldn’t see beyond themselves. But, son, it is a wondrous mystery that you have found yourself, though it was away from yourself that you searched.

This story illustrates three distinct types of people with three distinct types of faith. The first brother believed his father owed him something based on the fact that his father was loving. He exploited his fathers gift, the same way he had been exploiting everything else and his own exploitation created the perpetual and never ending condition he found himself in. The brother placed his faith in the tendency  of love to care for its object, but not in the originator of that love. 

The second brother placed his faith in the knowledge of his father’s good intentions but flippantly addressed his own behaviors in relation to his fathers goodwill. His statement of  “You say you love me unconditionally, and so I thought…,” accurately addresses the intention of the father to help the son, but it presents the idea that the son has no need for the goodwill and that in fact the goodwill has a need for an outlet, which might as well be the son. With Christendom, this sort of prosperity theology runs rampant. Believers come to God flippantly addressing his gift as being somehow necessary for their condition and go on to treat God as if he is some sort of bank. The actuality of our interaction with God is that his love is not dependent on having us to show it to.

This type of thought process lead the second brother to the belief that he deserved more than he was allotted, and his attitude lead to his constant loop of always feeling entitled to having more than he needs. He placed his faith in loves tendency to give unconditionally but again, not in the source of that love. The two brothers have succinctly summed up the nature of faith in Christendom since it became lawful under Constantine. Faith and belief in Christ has been taught to us as being a necessity of our entropic condition, but this type of faith lacks both guidance and direction. To put it bluntly, as the third brother did, we have faith not in God’s ability to save us, but that God doesn’t need saving. True faith in God has nothing to do with salvation as atonement. It has nothing to do with heaven and hell, good and wrong, or right and evil. True faith in God is the knowledge that God is beyond anything; and is coming before him humbled by that knowledge. This faith is based on something different than all the other degrees of faith, Christian or not. This is the reason we have faith in Christ; and all the statutes of that faith are merely amendments, or addendums to that point.

Part two CHRIST AS JESUS

It should by now be a self evident fact that our belief in Jesus should not be dependent upon his status as our Christ, but rather on his ability to be Christ. This is evidenced by the simple observation that Jesus would deserve our faith even if we didn’t need salvation, and this observation should actually be the reason our faith exists. Now if Jesus deserves faith out of his sheer uniqueness beyond any other thing or being, than we imply three things about him which the scriptures agree to.

We place faith in Christ’s ability to be beyond everything. This includes entropy and death, and since death is the most prolific side effect of sin, anything that is not bound by death is also not bound by its cause. This point consequently has three interesting effects. Firstly, it asserts Jesus’ power and sovereigness over everything including death. This point is substantiated throughout scripture regarding Jesus. Not only is his resurrection of himself and others from death recorded, but the keys of both death and its associated destinations are said to be held by him. This point is important to faith because faith admits that man is three things in comparison to God, and one of those is hopeless. Christ’s ability to be sovereign automatically implies that in himself lies an infinite and perpetual hope. This is the first substantiation of faith. This point is a clear defining difference in the long succession of “saviors.” Every one of them died from Gautama, to Koresh, but Jesus lives. This simple point of record is our faith given form. It is the one point that proves his uniqueness; his difference. Because of this, he is his own hope, and thus fulfills one of the criteria for breaking man’s entropic puzzle.

Secondly both our faith and hope take the sovereignty and give it a fuller definition. The second implication of faith in Jesus is that if he cannot be overcome by anything that mankind is overcome by, than he is in fact beyond mankind and in relation to mankind is thus a being with power. This power is demonstrated in his sovereignty over death, because death is the most powerful thing in our experience. Death is so powerful that it has crept its way into being the very definition of life. This point of record does two things. Firstly, it assumes that if Christ is truly powerful, he would have to be beyond death’s hold. And secondly it assumes that the most powerful force in existence defines existence itself. Therefore Christ’s difference in regard to death claims that he is both all powerful and holds in himself the very meaning of life. In Jesus there is hope and there is power. This hope and this power cause the paradoxical breakdown of entropy, which thus allows us a new insight.

Our condition of insufficiency to enact our freewill is based on the idea that freewill comes from a perfected state, and we are within a state of decay, or imperfection. With this in mind, we presuppose that the enactment of that freewill must also then be good. I would point out that all throughout the scripture, we have been taught to submit our freewill to the Father’s, and in fact that Adam’s submission of his freewill to his wife’s will was the very first of human sins. Therefore our condition of freewill that keeps us from enacting it in the way we want to is not necessarily the result of entropy. In point of fact, entropy is the result of our freewill being enacted.

The truth is not that we are powerless and hopeless to enact our freewill, but rather that our freewill, acted upon, made us powerless and hopeless to enact anything but our freewill chaotically. Freedom without structure is chaos, and chaos is the natural conclusion of entropy. Humans, by nature of being created in God’s image, were created to operate within structure, but our actions do nothing but destroy this structure and thus we are incomplete in our ability to enact our freewill. This is because we have lost our method to do so. Within sin, we now operate as completely free agents; we have no purpose, and all that we can do because of this is the exact opposite of what we were created for.

When Christ died on the cross and submitted his will to God the father’s, he implemented power and hope as well as sufficiency, all within one sweeping movement. His willingness to complete the fathers will despite his personal longing to live, was the method that made his freewill do what it was intended for: the completion of God’s will. This effectively points out that Christ himself was a being who was more than the sum of his human parts, and with that summary exists a very real answer to the condition of man’s entropic state. With this said, another implication about the nature of Jesus must then be true. If man’s condition became entropic and destructive, and he was powerless, hopeless, and insufficient to anything but cause chaos, than that is all that he would be able to do. This concept  seems a simple one, but behind it is the supposition that if any man could break entropy, than he could not have been held by it in the first place.

This is an important point of fact, due to the growing “new age” and “humanistic” views invading our people. It is now common to hear that Christ was the first man to show us the path that we must follow in order to overcome anything. We are taught the adage to believe that Christ believed in our ability to become like him. As I had stated earlier, this is preposterous. The scriptures state something completely contradictory to this concept. Therefore, the second difference about Jesus was that he was not an entropic being. This is substantiated throughout scripture in references to his virgin birth and the allusions to his likeness with innocent animals. Moreover, it is established by pure logic. 

A being that knows nothing but death, could neither want for anything more, nor achieve things beyond death’s boundaries without himself being free of them. Thus Christ did not become hope filled, power filled, and all sufficient while he was living that famous three day period. Rather, that three day period personified those three things that he already was, by the third day, in his thirty third year of existence.

Christ was not only different from anyone who may have been a savior, he was different from everyone. Therefore, we cannot escape death simply by living as he lived, or following his commands. To think that way would be to neglect the concept behind the formula, or the reason behind the action. Many churches today try to make Christ and his statutes into a handbook for evil and right without questioning the purpose for the ideals he presented. That is the reason for the outrage amongst our young blood in the institutionalized orthodox church. All of us are taught that if we, “read our Bible pray every day, then we’ll grow, grow, grow.” Half of us try to do this and fail miserably, while the other half watch their counterparts fail and stay just as immature as when they weren’t reading their bible and praying everyday.  Everyone is either depressed by the state they are in, or repulsed by the fact that this formula is supposed to work but doesn’t. This is the cause of rebellion in the church. Look at the statistics regarding the reasons why children rebel in the church. Perhaps even more startling are the statistics regarding how many people of other faiths started out as believers. Christ is not a manual for life, or a genie in a bottle. The dynamics of our salvation, and how it was achieved are meaningless facts when next to who provided that salvation and why he could. Christ was capable of providing salvation because he was never, himself, in need of it. This difference is apparent in scripture, and its point is made to substantiate faith in him, through submission to the idea that he is the only being that could possibly deal with any and every situation.

Part three JESUS CHRIST

“Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God.” This statement given by the apostle Peter summed up the perception of Christ in relation to the condition of man. Up to this point, I have written to establish only the “God” aspect of Christ, which is not dependent on man. With this now established, we can move on to the question presented by this Chapter, which is, “Why do we believe we should fight?” Firstly, we have made the distinction between faith in a savior, and faith in a God. Secondly, we went on to establish that this God is in fact Jesus. The third step is then to explain how man’s condition fits into God’s will in such a way that the man known as Jesus becomes Jesus Christ.

The problem with coming to Jesus as a savior is the idea that salvation needs to be attained by Jesus. Implied within this idea is more than the concept than man is in need of salvation, but also the idea that Jesus has yet to provide the service of salvation itself. The thin line of truth and lie in this logic can have startling consequences for your faith, as witnessed by the story of the three brothers told earlier in the chapter. The bible teaches us that when Christ, on the third day, rose from the grave, it was a witness to the plan that God had instituted to save man from their demise. That plan was completed in the work of Christ on the cross, as he aptly committed his spirit to the Father claiming, “It is finished.”

At that moment in time, salvation became a reality. Death, which was once the reality became a consequence again; a consequence of choosing to follow any will but God’s. Everything hence forth was in a sense given the ability to be Adam again, to choose for himself to take part in his creator, or die in himself, just as Adam chose freely outside of sin, in the Garden of Eden. It is important to understand that death itself wasn’t the consequence of sin. In common understanding, consequence implies sufficiency of an ability to choose freely. This, however, is a misconception when applied to mankind’s entropic condition. As discussed earlier, everyone is insufficient to make any choice that breaks entropy by himself, and therefore we could not make the choice to act productively or not, unlike our common forefather, Adam. Adam was both the first and the last individual before Christ with this ability. His choice did not carry a consequence for us as we have come to understand it, so much as an effect for us. This effect was death itself.

This is a different thought than the current institutionalized orthodox theological climate would suggest. It is largely believed that all humans are individually responsible for their sin, and thus deserve to die. To those who would argue against this position, claiming not everyone knows the law so not everyone is capable of sinning, the church quotes Romans, and refers to the law written on the hearts of man. 

I believe that sin does in fact breed death, but this fact does not imply that  death must exist simply because sin does. For example, I do not exist simply because my father does. What is more accurate is that I am the natural outworking of my father’s sexual nature. Therefore death doesn’t have to be solely the result of sin. This idea does, however, cause a problem in regard to accountability.

If this is true, and the wages of sin is death, but the consequence of sin is not death, then I would not be able to be held accountable for sinning by death. If I am not held accountable for what I have done wrong, then how is justice to be served? The answer to this apparent paradox is revealed in the question’s perspective. Justice is based upon the outworking of moral value. This moral value is defined by what is good, not what is evil. Accountability for the sins I  commit, in spite of the law I have, is accountability not to what I have done right, but to what I have done wrong. In different terms, if I am only judged by my crimes, but required to follow a law that allows no crimes within it, then I will always be a criminal because the law only see me when I am sinning.

But the point of the law was not to make us criminals, it was to provide us structure for our freewill to operate within. The law was intended not to judge our wrongs, but to be a standard for our rights. Therefore we are not judged by the sins we commit, but rather by the productivity of how we live, or by what we do right. When Adam sinned he destroyed his, and our ability to choose God’s method for our freewill. Whereas once we could complete the standard of right that we were judged by, we became incomplete to complete anything that was right. Rather than the law changing to become a snare for mankind, as it has been suggested, it was mankind who changed so that he could see the law as nothing but a snare. 

Adam was no longer able to enact his freewill to follow the law, and so because he could not escape what was written on his heart, and could not follow through with what he knew to be right, the law became a constant reminder of his failure. Everything he did was sinful, and everything he did reminded him of his loss of the ability to be productive and right. Driven by his own inner paradox, he chose to dwell on his sin, and thus defined himself as a sinful being. And although he was a sinful being, he neglected in his despair to realize that he was never meant to be a failure, and that God loved him despite this, because God’s standard is not one that looks for what is evil, but what is right.

The truth is that man is held accountable, but not upon whether he sins. It is whether he enacts his freewill by submitting it to God’s will that he is judged. It has always been mankind’s neurosis to judge and condemn himself rather than submitting his freewill to the Father’s.

This is the truth of Jesus Christ. It is quite possible that if man had humbled himself in the garden of Eden, rather than dwelling in his shame, and hiding, than it may never have been necessary for God to show mankind how to be humble. But because of mankind’s stupidity, pride, and neurosis we wouldn’t understand that his love transcends the depths of even our own sin. Thusly, we had to be taught this love by someone that could relate to us. God the Father, seeing our state of despair humbled himself to the condition of a mere creation, so that we could reconnect to him. He did this so that we could see that God is among us, and that he hasn’t left us. This, however, was still not enough for us to believe in the love manifested before our eyes. Our neurosis and shame needed proof that his love was stronger than our failure, and so knowing this, he proved it to us by allowing all of our hate, and fear, and shame, and pride, to nail him to a tree, and when this was finished, he gave in to them and allowed these disgusting things to make their home in him; but the darkness could not overcome him. On the third day, the power that had always dwelt within him made itself manifest as he walked the earth openly free from the most powerful thing that this reality could throw at him. This is the truth of the Christ, the son of the living God. We cannot follow a will that we cannot perceive, but in Jesus we can see. We could not bridge a gap that our chaotic spirits would not be led across, but Jesus leads us. Adam killed us, but Jesus brings us to life.

This is the point of faith. Faith is not based on some theological abstract concept. Faith is knowing that God is who he has always said he is regardless of who we are. Faith in Jesus is knowing that Jesus is who he said he is, and that because the truth within himself defines all existence, he lowered himself to our level so that we could see it. In him, there is hope, there is power, and there is fullness. He not only bridged the gap that we couldn’t possibly bridge, but he showed in himself the one and only way to achieve life. We must believe in him. Living beings must live, soldiers must fight, we fight for Jesus because in him, we find not only a reason, but reason itself. In Jesus, there is a purpose for our existence and without him, all existence is meaningless.

CHAPTER THREE

The Motion of Truth

Part one SPIRITUAL WARFARE

Jesus died for our sins so that we might come back to the father and in him find meaning and purpose. In doing so, he restored the necessary condition for mankind to choose to follow God’s will. This gave mankind the ability to choose sin as a consequence to action, rather than to live sinfully as a part of their nature. Thus the sinner who knows about Christ, yet decides to follow the nature of sin, is always choosing to sin. Conversely, the person who chooses to follow Christ over sin is always making a conscious effort to do so. Now this concept may be mistaken to mean that a person is capable of falling out of grace because once he has been saved he can now choose sin. Christ death on the cross should be enough to prove to us that God will always extend grace beyond the choice or the nature of sin.

To get a fuller understanding of this concept, we must explore “grace.” Grace is undeserved merit or favor. Within sin, there is only action dependent upon self, but grace has nothing to so with the self, but rather the person extending grace to the self. In other words grace is not dependent upon my actions. Therefore the choice not to do God’s will cannot revoke his gift of grace to me and thus my salvation. The truth is that no matter how many times I sin, the nature of grace will always protect me, because of my choice to submit to the giver of that grace. Remember that we are judged by the submission of our freewill, not be how well we submit our freewill. If I turn that grace away, than because it is now a choice to do so rather than an oversight caused by Adam’s sin, Than I will suffer the consequences. The wages of sin is death, but the consequence of sin is the lake of fire; a fate specifically designed for those angels who chose to impose their will over God’s.

The outworking of what you believe in, is actions that support your belief. Therefore, those who choose the grace, rather than the grace giver, will not receive that grace. Think of it as a present. Would you really expect to receive a present from a person you will not invite to your party? These people may believe that they will reap the benefits of being saved, but the truly saved understand that the benefits of salvation are ours already.

We act not based on our old selfish nature, but upon the new nature we have been given. People say every Sunday and Wednesday how God is moving in their lives to bring them to a point where they can accomplish something for him. According to the scriptures, a more accurate perception would be that “God has moved.” In Christ, God’s plan was finished. Being a Christian gives us all  the necessary skills to be a Christian. We have the “Armor of God” at our disposal, and we have the “Sword of Truth” to protect us. Yet the question is once again, “How many of us stand at the forefront of battle with and outstretched sword, and not the knowledge to use it, or even hold it?”

We teach our young blood about the salvation and the grace of God without teaching them how they should relate to it. We know all about how the gift relates to our condition, but next to nothing about how the gift relates us to the giver. This negates the very purpose of the gift, and ensures that our people would have a hard time knowing God if he were standing next to anyone wearing his clothes. This is a major issue because for every spiritual truth, there is a counterfeit spiritual truth. For every spiritual gift there is a counterfeit gift. They are not opposites holding parallel values. They are different producing very different fruit. Understanding the difference between those two types of fruit is paramount to knowing spiritual truth. The last two chapters have focused on explaining how it is that the gift relates us to the giver. We have defined the reasons we have faith, and grace, and ultimately truth. And now that a firm foundation for everything we believe is defined, we must use it in such a way that it begins to define us. We must heavily scrutinize the armor we wear, define the gifts manifested through us by the spirit, and use these tools to further the kingdom of God which will thus produce the fruit of the spirit. 

The current social theological climate is concerned with the formula for how this is done. They sight the apostle Paul’s definition and list filled epistles for confirmation and authority, yet they negate the concept behind what Paul was teaching us. The apostle Paul was not teaching us the method to achieve a theocratic society. He was not teaching us how to achieve anything. 

The scriptures clearly teach that a believer is spirit filled the moment he accepts salvation. The spirit has a certain personality which is represented in its fruit. Within that personality is a list of traits, but all of them create one singular fruit. The fruit itself has a protective armor which it manifests with separate parts, but a singular garb. Paul was not giving us four spiritual laws on how to be a Christian, he was telling us who we are as Christians.

In Christ, there is nothing needed. If there was something needed, we would still be incomplete. In Christ we are complete and sufficient to do everything that is good and necessary to complete the task before us. This is not the message that the current social theological climate would have us believe. They teach us that everything is a spiritual warfare, that we can and will lose if we do not change our wicked ways. On the matter of such things, we are taught one of two concepts. The first and most prominent is that spiritual warfare is waged with demons for the good of mankind. We are taught that this battle is one that is invisible and cannot be seen, and within this context there are two extremes. Firstly, that the war for our souls is in the hands of the angels, and secondly that through Christ’s power we are somehow a type of demon hunter, and we should gallivant about casting them out wherever we can find them.

On the matter of the lesser opinion, never do we have an example in scripture of demonic entities being cast out because they are simply present, nor one where they are sought out. In fact, the angels are not lesser beings to be thrown about at all. Their power is to be respected just as Michael the leader of God’s armies refused to confront Lucifer, but rather submitted authority to God in their dispute. This is because he was being respectful of Lucifer’s abilities, whatever they may be. Scripturally, humans are even lesser beings than angels and although through Christ we are more powerful, a disproportionate perspective on that point could have grave consequences. Take the apostle Paul for example. Paul was followed by a demon for a number of days before he finally cast it out, out of pure annoyance. There are only so many conclusions that can be drawn from this story about Paul’s stance on demons. 

Either Paul didn’t truly care about the presence of the demon and only cast it out from annoyance simply because it was getting in the way of his ministry, or Paul didn’t want to engage it at all, and only when it annoyed him did he. No matter what way we choose to look at the story, the same conclusion is evident. The message is clear that the battle Paul is fighting is not about casting out demons, though he has been equipped to do so. The Bible gives no procedure for casting out a spirit because there is none. We have the ability to do anything in Jesus’ name, but this does not imply that we should do everything there is to do as if it is Jesus’ will. The truth about demonic spiritual warfare is that it is only fought in scripture because they, the demons, engage us. We were not meant to engage them, although through Christ we are certainly able. 

The more prominent of the two views of extremes, regarding spiritual warfare, is angelic in nature and is an invisible battle that we can’t see. Contained within this idea is the implication that the battle wages all around us on the earthly plain, and that the price for losing it is the loss of our very souls. This idea is flawed. It is filled with nothing but destructive heresies that lead to spiritual immaturity and infancy, and the loss of the very battle it seeks to win.

Firstly how can a spiritual battle with a spiritual consequence, be rooted in a physical plain? And Secondly, if the battle is an invisible one, than how are we aware of its presence? Lastly, control over one’s soul cannot have the equal potential to be controlled unless its ownership is in question. On this issue exists a common misconception. A fight for the literal control of one’s soul is an impossibility. This should be an obvious fact, since Christians should believe that the soul belonged to God despite “the fall.” Salvation should thusly be looked at as the mere acceptance, and submission of that ownership. With this truth, the souls ownership is not in question. I liken it to a piece of art that I have created. Although I may place it in my garbage, its ownership does not change. It still resides within my garbage, and its ownership is not open to whomever wishes to take hold of it. Logically, even if we go to the Lake of Fire, did not God create the Lake of Fire as well. There is no escaping God’s possession of us.

Therefore, ownership of a soul is a farce, probably designed by the devil himself to preoccupy us with something that is a non-issue. This type of preoccupation renders us useless with our freedom to choose productivity. This is the key to spiritual warfare. If the truth that is being presented about the battle is a false one, than it should show us where the true battle is being held; on the mental plain. This battle is about truth and lie. Convince someone you are going to seek control of them, and they will fight that control head on. However, if you can convince someone that you already are in control of them, than their fight to take that control back from you will in fact make them controlled by you. This idea that sin made us belong to the Devil is such a bold faced lie, that most definitely is one of the most heinous lies ever introduced to the human race.

Part two SPIRITUAL WARFARE TACTICS

The lie that we are in need of salvation, from Satan, is one of the most effective ways to take a believers mind off of Christ. Firstly it makes him unable to recognize his enemy which in fact is himself, and secondly, it disorients him to the battle field which is neither spiritual nor physical, but mental. Third, it makes him scared and unable to fight.

This satanic battle tactic exists within the social theological climate of both the Protestant and Roman Catholic schools of thought… It does not, however, exist within the Bible. As mentioned earlier, the scriptures clearly state that the work of Jesus upon the cross made us complete to do his will, and essentially invincible in regard to Satan. As I have stated, it is more than likely that Satan knows he cannot win your soul. However, if he can take your mind, then perhaps you will, of your own, choice follow his to the lake of fire. Obviously, his attempts to do so have always been creeping their way into the various Judeo Christian theologies since it began being developed. The apostle Paul waged war on several different ideas, ranging from Gnosticism to the Law of Moses itself.

The slow but effective slaughter of our minds has opened the door to more perversions of the truth than one could count, but when these are broken down, certain elements make themselves present in all of them. The “Fruit of the Spirit” is evident, but so is “the Fruit of the Self.” These plans to usurp God’s authority all have counterfeits to the work of the Holy Spirit, but in the end their fruit is nothing but bitter envy, divisions, and selfish ambitions. This should be obvious in the outworking of the idea that your soul can be bought. The Protestant reformation itself was fought over money, because if Christ had to pay a price to Satan for our souls, certainly the peasants could be able to give Christ money to do this with. Satan doesn’t give us the full plan; he just provides an outline. It is man who takes the reigns and rides himself into Hell all on his own. 

In the case of the Roman Catholics, someone had decidedly realized that it takes money to build giant basilica’s and cathedrals and so purgatory was born. This was for the purpose of selfish political ambition and vanity, which caused bitter envy so that everyone left and right was buying there way into heaven. The division of class soon became a natural conclusion. After all, how can a poor man pay money he does not have? The apostle James teaches us that where bitter envy, divisions, and selfish ambition exist, so exists demonic wisdom.

This fruit is within all church politics. The Catholics are certainly not the only example. Judeo Christianity willingly agrees to disagree about trivial issues regarding the ideas of Calvin or Armineas, splitting up into thousands of denominations. Each denomination is bent on its own selfish ambition over the working together and benefit of the itself, and this is achieved through monetary gain. If one massive church is built by the Baptists, than the Lutherans must make a bigger one. This is the Fruit of the Self, or demonic wisdom.

The arguments are trivial petty arguments that have no bearing on faith, whatsoever. The arminiast would argue that this argument is not petty because agreeing with predestination negates the freewill of man to choose God. To those who would put any stock in our freewill I would say that their faith is misplaced, but even more pertinent is the issue of conflict between the two views. A person who advocates freewill is going to die and be judged for what he did with his life. This is not any different than the person who believes in predestination. Both of these arguments amount to the same thing. Drawing a distinction between the two is the same stupidity it would take children to fight about whether a green crayon is more blue, or yellow. While we fight amongst ourselves about these non-issues, we neglect to live out our Christian responsibilities properly. 

If these issues have no relevance in regard to responsible Christian living, than why is there such an issue regarding these things? I would submit that the push to be right beyond our Christian brothers carries no logic of the Spirit’s fruit, but is surprisingly logical according to the fruit of the self. Put bluntly, according to the self, to be right gives us power over those who are wrong. In being correct, we look better than those who are wrong and thus are thought of as being better. Allowing the idea that we are better to persist, is due to a type of envy that is bitter and thus wants to make the person that is wrong appear worse than they are. The idea that anyone is better than the other is not scriptural and therefore no one can be a standard by which to judge another. This type of mentality causes people to rally around either the right, or wrong individual in order to, themselves, feel part of the worth that is being toted. The argument that causes this type of fruit is not some righteous indignation on the part of the right. It is a bold faced lie from Satan that purports points like this should want to be argued, even though they are at the expense of fellow believers.

I am not saying that every argument that takes place is an outright act of warfare on Satan’s part, and therefore unjustified. The act of warfare is an attack on the mental perception of truth and therefore everything that attacks this standard must be stopped from running its toll on our minds. The argument of freewill versus predestination is an argument that does not change the status of our faith. Our faith is not based on our ability or inability to choose God, but rather God’s sovereignty in all things. On this point, there is no grievance and no challenge to the truths presented about our faith. A valid issue for grievance is one that does alter the doctrine of faith. For instance, the most prominently existing example of this type of justified conflict is the issue of faith versus works. The reason that this is a viable dispute is that if works could earn us favor, than we would not need Christ. Our faith is based on the understanding that, by ourselves, we are hopeless, powerless, and insufficient to do anything in accordance with God’s will. When the two ideas are put together, they are not the same but in fact are intrinsically different. A belief in the ability of man to be hopeful, powerful, and sufficient in himself is the fruit of the self, and has completely different attributes than the Fruit of the Spirit.

In this chapter, we have discussed three points of spiritual warfare tactics which Satan commonly uses in his fight against the father. These three styles of mental combat point to three different targets. Firstly we discussed the idea of selling souls. Then we discussed the dispute of freewill versus predestination, and lastly faith versus works. Within these topics , we have discussed their obvious conclusions and pointed out their flaws, but there is more within the attack to be discovered. 

The question of why we are under attack is easily responded to with the idea of Satan trying to take as many as he can to the Lake of Fire with him. Although this is probably accurate, I believe that this is a given idea and therefore not a very pertinent question. A more productive use of being attacked would be developing a method of defense. For this, the question that must be asked is “why have we been attacked in the way we have? And subsequently, “what was Satan’s purpose for these types of attacks rather than a more head on assault?”

As discussed earlier, we know that the attacks are mental ones, but are they alike in all other aspects? I believe that the only thing different about them is the way in which they affect their intended targets and that they clearly all have the same result. On the issue of selling souls, the target is made to refocus off of God, onto salvation. This refocus renders the target busy with doing works, but not with developing his relationship with Christ. This is the same of faith versus works, except instead of the individual focus being shifted, it is a corporate focus change. Instead of the individual simply acting out inappropriate theology on his own, the entire body of Christ itself is thrown into disarray. This division renders the target useless in pursuing his own relationship with Christ, but even more so, it causes him to persecute the rest of body by various value judgments based upon status and money. 

Lastly is the dispute of freewill versus predestination. Possibly one of the most effective forms of subterfuge, it introduces a non doctrinal dispute into the body which ultimately renders the body itself to be broken into separate entities. This makes the body less effective as a whole unit, and breeds resentment from those who see the lack of unity in what claims to be unified. 

All three of these tactics take different approaches, but every one of these has the exact same conclusion; the body of Christ ends up as a useless vehicle of the Father that is filled with bitter envy, selfish ambitions, and divisions within itself. If we consider the current social theological climate, can we really suggest that it is any different? The denominations of Judeo Christian politics certainly point out Satan’s victory in this area, as do the statistics regarding why people choose other religions. It is not such an unbelievable reality that Christianity is the primary cause of atheism, so much as an unbelievably sad one.

In essence, not only has the Devil found a way to neutralize our effectiveness, he has tricked us into helping increase his. We have been so busy looking to him for blame, and to ourselves for blame. And we have been so concerned with finding a salvation that is already ours, that we have perpetuated the demise of our loved ones as well as ourselves.

 The reality of spiritual warfare is that our tactic should not be to fight. This is what all of the tricks and mind games have been about; fight for your soul, fight for ideas, fight amongst yourselves. Our method for spiritual warfare should be to live. We should live to enact our freewill in such a way that it furthers the Father’s will. This is the point that the Devil wants us to miss. In Christ, ideas of freewill and predestination do not effect the outworking of God’s plan. Remember that Satan’s primary goal is to hinder us from doing that. The fact remains true that Satan’s plan has its own method for achieving his goal. His style of combat is the mental degradation of human kind , and its fruit is evident. The Father too, has his method as well which has been outlined in Christ and witnessed by the spirit. Whereas the battle is fought in the mind, so it is there that we should fight it. Not by attacking one another and seeking a salvation we already have. We must use the truths God has equipped us with, and live. Doing this is true spiritual warfare. It is certainly cliché, but living for Christ is the ultimate warfare tactic available to us.

Part three APPLYING SPIRITUAL WARFARE TACTICS 

The Fruit of the Spirit is different than the Fruit of the Self. Aspects of the fruit can be counterfeited such as tolerance to patience, or self love to unconditional love, but when all is said and done, the spirit moves toward productivity through love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control, whereas the self moves toward entropy through bitter envy, selfish ambitions, and division.

In ourselves we have the ability to be those three attributes, but in Christ, we have the ability to enact those nine attributes of the Fruit of the Spirit. This is where true spiritual warfare takes place; on the mental level in the choice to be what you are. There is no great esoteric battle for the  soul, and there are no great metaphysical wars to wage. Spiritual warfare is day to day life. It is putting aside freewill, and choosing to manifest the Fruit of the Spirit. This is how we fight Satan and his demons; by fighting ourselves. This is the reason Christ died. His sacrifice gave us the choice to be what we were made to be, rather than what we made ourselves into.

This again is against the social theological climate. They would have us believe that spiritual maturity is based upon the temporal knowledge of Christ and the longer you’ve known him, the older you will be. To children, we teach children’s stories and to adults we teach the deeper truths. In my limited lifetime and studies, I have seen children grasp concepts that people fifty years their senior couldn’t even conceive of, let alone grasp. My friend who is chronologically a three year old Christian, daily stands by my side and defends his beliefs as faithfully and firmly as I do, although I have known Christ for some twenty chronological years. In both the physical child, and the spiritual child, it is evident that the Lord’s wisdom has no concerns about age physical, or spiritual. Proverbs reaffirms that the path of wisdom is fear of the Lord, not age. Earlier I stated that my friend who has known Christ for three years stands with me though I have known Christ for twenty. This clearly proves that the amount of time is not an issue to God. My friend is unfortunately not the standard, but the exception. What I more commonly see is Christians who have known Christ longer than I have been alive, who are incapable of giving the witness that my “spiritually infantile” friend gives. Once again we must examine the statistics regarding  those who believe other things and ask ourselves “why?” 

Once again, the answer to the question of “Why?” is because of us; the Christians. Our institutionalized and orthodox theological ideas have stumbled both the believers and the non-believers alike. At one time in our history, this would be a natural outworking of our sinful nature, but this is no longer true. The fact that we have Christ frees us to choose, and thusly to suffer consequence. We chose to miss the mark. We chose to teach people that they were incomplete, even in Christ, and we still do. We teach the spiritual elders that they should never be afraid to face trials, because God will never give you more than you can handle, yet teach the spiritually infantile that they can, and in fact should, take they’re time in growing because their to young to drink anything but milk. People call us hypocritical because we teach our young blood hypocrisy. Teach a child why fire is bad to touch, and if he gets burned, then he will learn what he knew all along. However, if you teach a child  not to touch fire without any explanation, then when he gets burned, he may learn not to touch fire, but he will never understand it.

This is the message that Satan peddles, and it is the message that the theological community believes. They believe that living for Christ is a process that takes time and maturity to implement. It is the accepted theological doctrine that we are being made perfect, but we are not perfect yet. If this is true, than Christ’s work on the cross was only in the process of becoming sufficient. To put it another way, earthly bodies are  like a cage that our spiritual bodies are enslaved within. If I paid the price for you to be free of your earthly boundaries while you were still enslaved to them, then the choice of whether or not to stay enslaved in the prison becomes your choice. 

However, if I pay the price to release you, but wait to give you the choice to use your freedom until after you are dead, and no longer enslaved to your body, then what good came out of buying your release from your cage in the first place?  Remember, the point of buying your freedom is not the freedom itself, but the choice to do God’s will that comes with it. If you are not free, to choose to be free, from your cage at the moment of salvation, then there was no point to your salvation at all. If we believe that we are not free to choose to be completely productive in Christ, then we deny the very reason Christ died for our sins, and thus we deny Christ himself. Therefore we must believe that maturity in Christ is a choice, and the idea that we have been taught to believe; the idea that we must grow into our abilities as a believer, only hinders the very growth it purports to perpetuate.

We who teach, cannot continue to teach this paradoxical and blasphemous idea; that to be productive in Christ, we must slowly wean ourselves off of our entropic state. We must confront who we have made ourselves into with the truths that Christ’s sacrifice show us, and then choose to accept it. In Christ we are made perfect to complete God’s will in our lives. This means that I am equipped with the things necessary to do so. I have the ability to choose to be loving, and have joy, to have a peace that transcends all understanding. I can choose to suffer for long amounts of time with no thought to myself. I can choose to be kind to others, and to be gentle, and good and faithful. In short I am in control through submission to Christ. All the tools to create productivity are present in all believers. The choice to be more than dead at every moment of our lives is present in all believers

Don’t believe for a second that we are unable to enact God’s will and wisdom simply because we lack the time in life. Remember that time itself is merely a means to define a series of events. And this understanding is one that comes from entropy. In other words, the reason we judge the age of things is because they are not constant and at some point they will not exist. Think of it like this, if someone were to never die, he would not think of age as an issue to him. In fact the only reason he would give age a thought is in regard to relating to things that do age. Therefore, the only point of age, and time is to give definition to our lives while we still have them through entropy and the passing of life into death.

If the scriptures are true, and we will live forever, than we are not bound by the confines of time. In short, time should not define us. In truth, Christ himself is the only thing that should be our definition. This is what we should believe, and this is how we should act, with this truth in mind. We should not act as incomplete children, simply because we have only recently accepted the truth. We are complete in Christ and in him we have always been a part of the truth though we have only recently discovered our role in it. And so, we come to the end.

Our role in Christ is a simple one. Everything in this book has been leading to this declaration. Everything discussed has been for the purpose of understanding how we apply ourselves to the position we have been given. The simple truth of our situation is that our role is to choose. Our responsibility is to understand why what is right is right. Our burden is to daily put aside the convenience of non-authoritative  living, and bear the consequences of all we do with a heavy heart. We must break the institutionalized and orthodox theological climate of its ability to dictate dogma and we must determine the relevance of their findings for ourselves. We must always filter the established and non-established doctrine through Christ. We must manifest the fruit of the God we serve, by choosing to do so. 

No longer should we believe it is acceptable to base faith upon preconceived notions that bear no relation to what is real. No longer should we place our responsibility to grow in the hands or our teachers. No longer should we teach anyone that the need for God comes from a need to be saved. We must teach the body to live as the artist lived, passionate, and not afraid to show and explore what he was. For thousand of years we have lived as infants waiting to be born, we can live like this no longer; in Christ we are free. We are free to choose, and reap the benefits and consequences of that choice. This choice is something that we never had, and that the world doesn’t have. It makes us different. In Christ we are hopeful, powerful, and sufficient. In Christ, we are the freaks.

We know something is wrong with the world and we refuse to sit idly by and watch it slip into oblivion taking with it humanity and the things that we hold most dear; the things that we love. Nature calls to us that life is about survival of the fittest and humanity echoes it without thinking, but we know better. Death haunts us day in and day out shaping the way we live our lives down to the minute details. We all lived to escape something the mass consciousness has deemed as the very act of living; death. In spite of this, we must rebel in seeming disarray of the design; we are anomalies of the system. Seemingly thousands if not millions of us exist connected by a single acknowledgment, a statement of faith, hope, and love summed up in what becomes the standard of truth. The truth of our rebellion lies in its simplicity. It lies in its ability to be absolute. No extensive hypotheticals or theories could give credence to our particular pathology. The one supposition  that we follow, the one fact presented by our ranks is perhaps the most unforgiving and judgmental reality ever presented, and it is with such sincerity and conviction that it must be presented. It is the essence of truth that those who agree with it are either with absolute certainty correct, or they are unmistakably insane. This is the position we must adhere to, and this is the line must we walk. Believe what we believe and nature and all of its facets will seek your destruction. Live the way we live and you will be a foreigner in your own country.

We are the outcast, dispersed by intelligent design from the system, that there might be a remnant until the nature of death turns on itself, that even in death there might be life. Our battle begins in the soul and extends to all of its parts outward. After the soul agrees with the truth, the mind must be taught how to restructure human nature to its original state. The soul must fear in reverence and awe, and the mind must acknowledge its proclamation, so that what was once a life of dying, is the practical outworking of life everlasting. We emphasize the soul and its need for the truth, and we demand the body evidence this conversion, but we must not leave the mind to wage its own battles with temptations and lies. Our minds must be ready at all times to give a defense for what the soul knows as truth and, our people must know why they rebel against death. How many people know what the truth is? How many of our people can we allow to stand at the forefront of battle with an outstretched sword without the knowledge of how to hold it, or the skill to wield it. 

The need to be prepared for what was once urgent, to know why and how and when to fight are now our choice. And as one of the billion choices processed every minute, it is often swept to the wayside. We may have dropped our guard in the past, but make no mistake when the beast attacks, we will not have an army that is untrained and unready for the fight. Within our camp, we must learn the skills necessary to fight on a different plane… a mental one. I would submit that we have a responsibility to wage war here and now (militis est pugnares) with our minds, in our minds. We must teach our soldiers to see with lucidity if they are to fight with lucidity. The war has already been won but the question is how many of us will be left standing when victory is tasted. We can watch God’s plan unfold, or we can be unfolded. We can affect the world for the will of the Father with purpose and conviction or we can succumb to our own desires. We do have a choice, but it is not whether “to fight or not to fight?” but rather on which side we will fight. Our plight is nothing more, and nothing less. We cannot escape our involvement in the outworking of God’s will but we can choose whether to be Judas, or Peter. This is the time to stand up and choose what you will be counted for. The time is now. This is a call to arms.