Thursday, May 10, 2007

Good Triumphs over Bad: Not Really

Star Wars probably typified this normal human construct to explain dualism. In episode III, Revenge of the Sith, we see Anakin Skywalker take the final steps to completely turning over to the dark side. Jedi masters were to trust the force but only the light side. The idea was that the good side didn’t control you but aided you in your quest for justice. If you turn to the dark side you will be controlled.

East Asian thought has the same idea using the words Yin and Yang. They are thought to be complementary with Yin being earth, female, dark, passive, and absorbing; Yang is heaven, male, light, active, and penetrating.

Western thought is a little simpler; we just talk about the battle between good and bad. The idea is getting more stuff in the good column to overcome the stuff in the bad column. At the end of the day if you are successful in doing this then you are granted the privilege of being called a good person.

Christianity sometimes falls into this trap of thinking in this pagan thought form. Even witnessing tools get you to understand that you need Jesus because of your sins (the bad stuff). The simplistic and wrong idea is that if you eliminate the bad stuff by having them forgiven you will only be left with good stuff which is pleasing to God.

To all of that heathenistic thinking let’s just say YUCK!!! It almost gives the impression that if someone really did fill in, only the good column, then they would be OK. The rationale is that we know that’s not possible, so we need Jesus. But what if someone did manage that feat? Would they need Jesus? It is simply the wrong question.

Watchman Nee in "The Normal Christian Life, tells this story to better understand that it is not what we do but rather about our very identity.

In China one day I called on a Christian leader who was sick in bed, and whom, for the sake of this story, I shall call 'Mr. Wong' (though that was not his real name). He was a very learned man, a Doctor of Philosophy, and one esteemed throughout the whole of China for his high moral principles, and he had long been engaged in Christian work. But he did not believe in the need for regeneration; he only proclaimed a social gospel.

When I called on Mr. Wong his pet dog was by his bedside, and after speaking with him of the things of God and of the nature of His work in us, I pointed to the dog and inquired his name. He told me he was called Fido. 'Is Fido his Christian name or his surname?' I asked (using the common Chinese terms for 'personal name' and 'family name'). 'Oh, that is just his name', he said. 'Do you mean that is just his Christian name? Can I call him Fido Wong?' I continued. 'Certainly not!' came the emphatic reply. 'But he lives in your family', I protested, 'Why don't you call him Fido Wong?' Then, indicating his two daughters, I asked 'Are your daughters not called Miss Wong?' 'Yes!' 'Well then, why cannot I call your dog Master Wong?'

The Doctor laughed, and I went on: 'Do you see what I am getting at? Your daughters were born into your family and they bear your name because you have communicated your life to them. Your dog may be an intelligent dog, a well-behaved dog, and altogether a most remarkable dog ; but the question is not, Is he a good or a bad dog? It is merely, Is he a dog? He does not need to be bad to be disqualified from being a member of your family; he only needs to be a dog.

The same principle applies to you in your relationship to God. The question is not whether you are a bad man or a good man, more or less, but simply, Are you a man? If your life is on a lower plane than that of God's life, then you cannot belong to the Divine family. Throughout your life your aim in preaching has been to turn bad men into good men; but men as such, whether good or bad, can have no vital relationship with God. Our only hope as men is to receive the Son of God, and when we do so His life in us will constitute us sons of God.' The Doctor saw the truth, and that day he became a member of God's family by receiving the Son of God into his heart.

If you would like to read more by Watchman Nee and other great Christian writers you can find their books at:

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