Re: [asa] Youth leaving churches because of old earth

From: Dave Wallace <>
Date: Thu Aug 06 2009 - 14:27:26 EDT
David Clounch wrote:
I cant do it justice here, but it has to do with legalism and/or a legalistic attitude.  Some of Swindoll's friends were missionaries who went to work in the Amazon basin.  One day a relative sent them a jar of peanut butter - something not available in the Amazon.  They very much enjoyed this.  The other missionaries (called the peabut butter missionaries later on) made a big deal out of this and  harrassed them about it - telling them how unspiritual it is to enjoy such luxuries, and how if they wanted to be dedicated missionaries they would have to become more ascetic.  This conflict - this lack of grace towards others  (or lack of a concept of grace in general) - spoiled Swindoll's friends  work  over time, and they left that particular mission field. 

The essence of Christianity is that Christ loved us when we were totally unloveable.  There is no  amount of rule-following  or works or self-sacrifice that could ever make us acceptable to God. It is God's action in  first loving us - that is what makes us acceptable to Him.   I don't know if "the peanut butter Christians" (a reference to the ascetic missionaries)  really  thought that  sacrifice was necessary for salvation - the real problem was they insisted everyone must be like them and make exactly the same choices - or not be acceptable.  This lack of grace   harmed their missionary work.  The apostle's writing about some Christians being able to eat meat offered to idols and others not - and its a matter of personal conscience - and Christians should get off each others backs - this is an important principle the peanut butter Christians completely missed.   
Interesting.  In Ethiopia peanuts were grown locally, including our own garden, so mother had the servants make peanut butter a couple of times a month. 

I understand the phenomena Swindoll is refering to, very well and am sure that with some time instances would come to mind of similar differences that hindered God's work.   I do know that some practices of the charismatics were banned by the mission field council as they were becoming divisive. 

It is too bad that fundamentalism has gone to such extremes and has such a bad reputation.  If one thinks about the creeds that ASA members are expected to ascribe to, they to my mind at least, set up a minimum standard that Christians should ascribe to in order to be members  (ie fundamentals).  That is why I tend to use the term fundy. 

Dave W

ps Let me repeat what I have said before.  For me in spite of bad experiences in boarding school I'm glad that my parents went as today there are large churches in areas where they served. 
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