When I was a teenager I loved reading C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Once when I was home sick from school I read Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Silver Chair complete through in one day. As good as the stories themselves were though, the reason for my complete love for the series could be summed up in one word…
Aslan, as many of you know, was the lion king who the series centers on.
As I read a book I always was flush with anticipation of when Aslan would enter the story and later I would then re-read the parts of the book where Aslan figured in.
I wanted to be where Aslan was and where Aslan was I wanted to be!
In Narnia, no other part of the story was half as interesting as when Aslan was involved. He brought the life…
At various times of the story different though, followers of Aslan would differ about Aslan’s intentions when he wasn’t around. Some claimed to have saw him while others scoffed at the idea. Some feared Aslan, others loved him. All of them at some point were sure they had Aslan figured out yet inevitably when he showed up, they were always a little off in their understanding either of his nature or of his intentions.
It isn’t any secret that Aslan, was of course, Lewis’ representation of Christ in Narnia.
Recently my good friend Paul over at Escape to Reality got called a number of not so Christian names for a post he did explaining the Grace of God…a topic he is well versed in. He states on Facebook:
Names I have been called in the past 24 hours: a heretic, a wolf-in-sheep’s clothing, a devil. This is how some “Christians” respond when you declare God’s love is greater than your sin. No wonder Jesus chose to hang out with sinners. They were about the only one’s who weren’t trying to control him, shut him up or kill him.
Why do people get so mad when another person’s understanding of Christ is just a little bit different?
When did the message we are told to proclaim become more important than our unity around the messenger who asked us to declare it?
That’s why I appreciated Paul’s follow up post on doing away with “camps”.
There is no “grace” camp or “law” camp. There is no “faith” camp, “signs and wonders” camp, or “deliverance” camp. There is no “camp” at all.
The Apostle Paul dealt with this issue often:
You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?
1 Corinthians 3: 3,4
Anytime you identify with a camp you are identifying with the message and not the message sender! When you join a theological camp you will inevitably put on that team’s jersey and fight for that team’s position on the field of battle.
Our identity must be in the King who asks us to deliver the message and not in the message itself!
If you have considered yourself in the “grace camp” you will ultimately find your identity in Grace and not Jesus. Then if someone declares a love for Jesus but views “grace” slightly different than you, they become not a “brother” or “sister” in Christ…but “suspect”.
The enemy is so sly…and he LOVES camps!
Jesus has asked us to demonstrate to the world the love he as shown them by modeling it in the love we have for each other.
* Yes, we don’t see everything the same way.
* Yes, we interpret verses of the Bible differently
* Yes, some teachers and teachings may resonate in our individual hearts more than others
But can we wrestle through these issues in respect and love knowing that when Aslan (Christ) returns again we are ALL going to have been wrong about God and his original intentions to various degrees?
Knowing this can we humbly extend grace to a brother and sister in Christ who’s ideas differ from our own?
Lets face it, the interesting part of the story is Aslan’s arriving and not Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy’s bickering beforehand on the beach.