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The problem with being radical
- Jacob Ninan
I remember a young brother telling me how he believed in total health being God's will for everyone, quoting 3Jn.1:2. He challenged me by saying that if I didn't believe that verse I should tear it off from my Bible! The problem was not just in misquoting that verse, but a certain revelling in being radical. Certainly there is need to be radical in believing and acting on what we believe, but we tend to go wrong when we blow up a certain part of a truth to make it out of proportion to the rest of revealed truth. Or, if we focus on some aspect of truth without taking into account what the whole Bible says about that subject we become like some present day activists who are willing to let people get killed in the process of ensuring that trees are not destroyed!
'Radical Christians' usually take proof texts in the Bible to stand valid universally, for all time and in their own right irrespective of what other parts of the Bible and common experience indicate. This is to essentially give the word a precision to mean exactly what it says as if it is a scientific equation, and validity as if it is a legal document. The word of God was not intended to be read in a scientific or legal manner but as a revelation from God to man in human words. The word of God is true, and its meaning is infallible. But its meaning is more than what the words imply, and one needs to understand the local context as well as the whole context of the Bible before one can get the real spirit of each verse or passage.
"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it" (Pr.22:6). This is a proverb which expresses a general truth, and its intention is to exhort parents to pay attention to the training of their children, rather than to give a promise. Which parent can take this as an infallible fact, because he has to first make sure that he has trained his child perfectly before he can claim the result! The sad thing is when some children of godly parents go astray and some radical Christian assumes that they have failed in their training. Their godliness in unquestionable, and they have also done their best in bringing up their children. But some children still go astray because of several other reasons. But the radical Christian says, "Let God's word be true and every man a liar!"
It turns out that many such 'radical' Christians are targeting other people who don't come up to their self-created standards, without recognising how they themselves are actually falling short in their own lives in many aspects (Ro.2:1;Jas.2:10,11).
To be a true Christian is to love God above everyone and everything else and to love everyone else with the same love that God has shown towards us. When we love God we will strive to keep every one of His commandments (Jn.14;15), without being unrealistic or arrogant about it.