finding the right wording to be saved

1. Emily and I are moving, again, our third apt. since we moved here! it is insane, and I hate moving BUT, our new apt. kicks some serious behind. We are saving a ton of money on rent, which is good since I can only work part-time till the middle of september and emily is still looking for a new job. It is right on the path of the gold line (the public transit train) so we can ride into LA with ease, and I can ride it to work and school in pasadena.

2. Emily has a job interview today at a charter school in pasadena to teach english, she is nervous about it, i am a little too, I hope that it goes well for her its a big deal to do this kind of stuff. I know because I also applied to teach in a high school, a catholic one, and to be their religious studies teacher. I am a bit nervous thinking about that as a prospect, I have no teaching experience other than for youth groups and stuff, but its not much the same. I would love to teach at a catholic school though, and i think the experience would be wonderful.

3. What is it about me that always gets into these theological discussions? Granted yesterday It wasn’t about Quakers but still – this guy ambushed me at work in the bookstore and asked me if I believe in the oneness of God or the Trinity. I said, I believe in both…hoping he would take the cue to leave me alone. but i am not so lucky. rather, after he found out that even though I have “been baptized in the holy Spirit” i still am not saved because when I was baptized someone said “i Baptize you in the NAME of the father, son and holy spirit” which according to him is a heresy and expresses disobedience to God therefore rendering my salvation null. DANG IT – why didn’t i know this earlier? I have wanted to do so many terrible deeds but couldn’t because of this thing called the inner light of Christ. Why was it that I seemed to already have the SPirit? I was disappointed to learn that I am not a Christian though, wouldn’t it come as a shock to anyone?

The crux of his argument is based on semantics, When matt. says the NAME of the father, son and spirit, he is expecting us to do the math, therefore the NAME = Jesus not the Father, son and SPirit, those are names those are titles as he told me about 60 times. Therefore I was baptized into titles, that render no power whatsoever and according to him God is not the kind of God to make those kinds of allowances and overlook a semantic mistake – because it was disobedient. After listening to about 40 min. of nonstop proof-texting (the best kind of torture to offer me) I couldn’t take and started to pull out my own guns (but mind you I was trying to avoid debate hoping he’d just go away). I think he was sent as a missionary to Fuller’s campus, considering how it all went down, and how he ripped off 25 verses in about 10 min, quoting them all off the top of his head (an impressive feat for anyone, heretic or not) made me think he was sent on a mission.

My main points are 1) at the end of the day, if him and i are both baptized in the Spirit, speaking in tongues or whatever, living the life that Christ calls us too, and one of us is a trinitarian and the other a oneness – what difference does it make. It seems as though God is faithful beyond our point of view on the matter. 2) If i quote Matt. 28:18ff vs. “doing the math” to get the name Jesus and I really going to be punished by God (Jesus I mean) I have always been under the impression that for pentecostals quoting the scripture is the best medicine…3) Jesus never baptized anyone, nor did he command anyone to baptize people in his name Matthew 28:18 says “the son.” But to assume that he meant himself in that verse is doing mental gymnastics, thus breaking a Hermeneutical rule of Dispensational Pentecostals – reading the Bible rigidly-literal for all its worth baby. 4) Jesus never explicitly called himself God. My friend did not like the fact that I pointed this out to him. 5) Jesus is only an english translation of our Lord’s actual Aramaic name Yeshua. So in fact if it is a matter of semantics, none of us are saved unless we are saved under that specific name.

I pointed out to my friend that his entire argument was more divisive than anything, because both camps are producing spiritually obedience followers of JESUS – but actually we are followers of YESHUA. And that at the end of the day what is most important is an inward move toward God, an earnest seeking, the actual event of longing for God, Longing to be changed by his forgiveness and love – not a prayer you prayer, or whether you are ever baptized, or what not. the move is more important than the method of the move. but this is where i could have started down the road to Quakerism and I stopped, he left, and I thanked God for how ever convoluted a faith I have…and I hope my friend settles down a bit, running at that kind of extreme will end him up in a lifestyle of bitterness towards God real fast.

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Wess

...is the William R. Rogers Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.