Friday, December 18, 2015

Nadab & Abihu and The Terrorism of Pattern Theology

Leviticus 10:1-11
What if I said to you that I feel peace and comfort when I think of Nadab and Abihu?

If you've been taught a legalistic pattern theology, then you may respond with:

"What? Those dudes were put to death by fire from God Himself! Are you kidding me?"

No. I'm not. Bear with me.

In Philippians 4:4-8 Paul instructs Christians to think positive and healthy thoughts:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Painting by Noah Bradley
We can't follow Paul's instructions to rejoice and avoid living anxiously while thinking about God damning us to Hell if we disobey one command of God for worship like Nadab and Abihu. 

A while back, I came across three articles that I think, when all put together, will bring us some comfort as we better understand our blessings in Christ and that even Nadab and Abihu can bring in spite of the fact they have been used to terrorize faithful Christians for decades in Churches of Christ.

This peace and comfort comes from a better interpretation that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable and excellent.

The first article came up when I was searching for information on demonizing one's enemy. It had to do with jumping to conclusions why the Boston Marathon Bombers killed civilians. 

No one really knew at that time, and the article's point was to explain that not all acts of violence are "terrorism," and that many of our freedoms have been infringed upon because the media immediately characterizes every act of violence as "terrorism" based on the U.S. Government's definition "which often expands... to demonize violence originating from ideologies and movements that oppose U.S. hegemony."