By Fred Pruitt
All that “What ism are you?” is basically distraction. Not that there is not truth or there is no error, but it is deeper than the ism one adheres to. It all goes back to person — how do I “know” God?
Everybody is always trying to figure out this peripheral stuff and debate which side of the fence we are on with the other side, or focus on eschatology, or legalism vs graceism, universalism or the evils of “religion,” and all that does for the most part is serve as a distraction from the one central issue out of which all those others pale in comparison, and that is who are we?
Even “no independent self” can be an ism, until we have in ourselves experienced the full agony of Rom 7, and through that the Spirit carries us out of bondage into the glorious liberty of the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” (Rom 8:2)
We do not get there*[see note below]* except we lose ourselves, [“Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath cannot be my disciple.”] The rich young man couldn’t part with his riches, going away sorrowfully, and Jesus finally exclaiming that it was easier to put a camel through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go into the kingdom of God — which he did then say was impossible with men, but all things possible with God.
So we ask, what riches keep us out? It is the riches of puffed up self! A wrong consciousness of independence, that cannot let itself go, and it is true it cannot, as Paul found out in Rom 7, but Christ can and does pull us through from “wretched man” to Rom 8:2. The Spirit does it.
This is really kind of getting to first base. Anything less is walking in the wilderness of separation afraid to touch the smoking mountain. But as the adage I recently heard says, there is a place where there are two doors. One door, “Heaven,” stood open and hardly anyone was going in. The other door, “Seminar on Heaven,” was busy and the room inside was full of people.
Isms are of the seminar. Life just IS, and isn’t contained in an ism, but in the wide impregnable country of Christ. That’s the “heaven” door, and few it seems to be who seek it, but God knows what He is doing, bringing us along day by day.
*”There” refers to the fulness of “Christ formed in us,” or “the Promised Land,” and not meant to reflect on a person’s “salvation.”