I was talking today with one of the other pastors and mentioned that I think there are two kinds of martyrs out there – those who run into problems because they are doing what God wants them to do and those who run into problems because they are not doing what God wants them to do.
The first type is obvious, but the second type is much more subtle.
I think those who head out in a wrong direction get corralled by common grace (difficulty simply because they are going against the way God designed things) or by special grace. Special means something that God steps in and does (the storm that chased Jonah) and grace means that God rights wrongs for the purpose of preserving truth or building things up (Jonah’s whale and the first class cruise to Ninevah).
What precipitated the conversation with the other pastor was the realization that the guys who are in the second category (I’ve been there before) usually always think they are in the first category.
In other words, if we are facing opposition we usually take it as an indication that we are right and on God’s side (the first type) when it could easily mean that we are in error and God is trying to set us right.
Wasn’t this the mistake that many Israelites made in the Old Testament when they didn’t believe the prophets who were saying that God was going to set himself against them? The temptation to self justify is such a strong one.
Where is this all going?
One of the characteristics of my generation is to jettison orthodox thinking or sound doctrine as outdated and then chart a course for adventure, self discovery, experience, engagement and many other noble things. The problem is that the latter didn’t require the former. Relevant and meaningful engagement doesn’t require a rejection of Scripture and orthodox theology.
These guys, who go by many names and join many of the latest emerging movements, often run into road blocks, rejection by other Christians and have difficulties getting going or being understood and the temptation for them often is to feel justified, persecuted and that they are martyrs.
I wonder, however, if sometimes the difficulty and opposition isn’t just an indication that they are “kicking against the goads”?