Lutheran – Primitive Religion (Part 2)

Hi again – I just want to return to a topic I brought up a few posts ago. The full post can be found here.

“Some anthropologists have suggested that religions were created to give humans a feeling of security in an inherently insecure universe. Primitive humans were the first species to be aware of their own impending death. They were also frightened of harm from storms, lightning, floods, hail, famine, etc. Fertility was critical — both of the crops and families.

The first primitive religions gave people security and a sense of control. By performing specific rituals, they felt that they could appease the Gods and/or Goddesses and get them on the side of the believers.

This need for security and control continues today. This is particularly true among followers of religions like Christianity, Islam and others that teach the existence of life after death in the form of Heaven and Hell.”

I concentrated on this feeling of “security” last time and put it to the reader that our fear responses were an indication that our “religion” is not in the right place – I maintain that we are returning to a primitive religion that Jesus came to get rid of.

Hebrews says: “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”    Elsewhere it says that God does not desire sacrifice.

An important characteristic of the primitive religion is the concept of wrath. This is common to many religions. Often when I talk about the nature of our Heavenly Father with Christians I am stopped mid sentence and told “Don’t forget that God is also a God of wrath”  It seems important for us to remember that God is wrathful towards sin – we see this as an important revelation, perhaps we think that if we forget this fact people will just go around doing whatever they feel like. This concept of wrath is from the “primitive religion” I reckon that to try and resurrect God’s wrathfulness is damaging to the Gospel. Was it God’s wrath that took Jesus to the cross? I see it as man’s need to scapegoat, man’s hatred and sin that ultimately nailed him to a tree. What was God’s role? Was it wrath? No he lay down his life and took everything that man and satan had to throw at him. I don’t see a wrathful God, I see a God who lay down his life for undeserving stupid, angry, violent people. I see salvation and forgiveness freely offered, I see God revealing his true nature in the work of Jesus. And this nature is not wrath. Mike Semmler tells us that the commandment is holy and just and good – no problem there – but then he says “If our sexual impulses were given free reign we would quickly move outside of marital boundaries”  I’m curious, it sounds as though he is suggesting it is the law that guides us to right ways of living, the law that draws the boundaries? I challenge that – this is not how it is meant to be. If a man was to tell his wife that he would dearly love to follow his passions – but the law is keeping him faithful – I can not for the life of me see this as faithfulness. The law has nothing to do with “living in the spirit”,  a man is faithful when he loves his wife. It is the same with God.

To be absolutely honest – I am still trying to figure out the intricacies of law and Gospel – but the above I believe to be true.

Mike Semmler makes these statements:

“Pastors are called to proclaim salvation from the wrath of God….”

“We cannot afford to dilute the grace of God by being less than clear about sin, repentance and absolution.”

Salvation from the wrath of God – or salvation because God loves us unconditionally, so much that he bore the brunt of humanities hatred and sin, becoming a sacrifice to do away with notions of trying to avoid God’s wrath. Is he not saying that the law leads us to a knowledge of sin which inturn brings about repentance and absolution which then assures our salvation? That’s not a free gift in my book – it depends on the genuineness of our repentance. As I said earlier, Martin Luther translated the word arsene-koite to mean “masturbaters”  (see this post here)– I wouldn’t mind betting that Luther went through hell in the monastery fighting against these “sins of the flesh” – to no avail, failing time and time again. He was stuck in the primitive religion stuck under the wrath of God……….then he discovered something that I believe we are losing. Grace.

PS. If homosexuality is a sin, I can understand (to a certain extent atleast) what Mike Semmler is saying – I guess my next post is going to begin tackling this issue. Sin or not? Stay tuned.

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Comments
One Response to “Lutheran – Primitive Religion (Part 2)”
  1. I came here expecting something else, but this enlightened me regardless. Interesting stuff!

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