Thursday, August 11, 2011

He is NOT just Father

Many Christians have heard and even they themselves mouthing the same, “Christianity is about relationship with God”; yet I wonder how many of us actually seriously viewed our Christian faith in that way. Or do we regard Christianity, solely, as about our relationship with the Father. I suspect over-stressing of the good nature of the Father-personhood of God, has contributed much complacency in our handling of our relationship with God. The over-stressing of the Father-personhood of God as the prime personhood attribute of God, in itself, has also indirectly caused many to form incorrect posture in relation to our relationship with God. I am NOT saying Father-personhood is NOT a personhood attribute of God; indeed it is one of the more important personhood attribute of God, yet it is NOT the most fundamental personhood attribute, in my understanding of God. God is first of all, God! That is the most fundamental personhood of God; let us all NOT forget that.

What is wrong with the Father-personhood view!
No, there is nothing wrong with that. What I am saying is that God is attributed with multiple personhoods, and the Father-personhood is but one of the several personhoods, like God is first of all God, God is Creator, God is Father, God is Lord, God is Savior, God is King, God is Master, God is Friend, and God is Brother (by Jesus Christ).

Once we viewed God with a mono personhood view, our perspective of God is more likely to be incomplete or prone to defectiveness. Before I comment on the Father-personhood, let me illustrate what I mean using the Savior-personhood attribute. The Free Grace Christians, for example, have, as a core doctrine, that when they give over their lives to Jesus, they only accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, NOT necessarily accepted Jesus as their Lord. They hold onto a doctrine called the Separation of Salvation and Lordship. I have previously written a 2-part series on this fallacy of Separation of Salvation and Lordship. The series can be accessed from: Luke 6:46 - PART I – Salvation and Lordship are together. When we only take in the Savior-personhood, and drop the Lord-personhood, we get a grossly incorrect picture of God; and our calling of God, “Lord, Lord” would sound to God like what was stated in Luke 6:46 – “Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord” and do not do what I say?”

Concerning the Father-personhood perspective, if one views God solely from that angle, one is prone to be too strongly and negatively influenced by the person’s own experience with his earthly father (or even his own experience as an earthly father). The point is that we must be aware that our experience with our earthly father is likely to colour our lenses of viewing God, if we are NOT careful. One of the most important perspectives we must bear in mind, is that “We pattern after God, NOT the other way round”. In my separate article, “God is gender-neutral, He is spirit”, by way of a “crude” example, under the section captioned by the same “We pattern after God, NOT the other way round, I pointed how Romans 1:20 should NOT be misinterpreted. You may want to read it, for a good laugh or be upset with the crude example used!

The thrust of above paragraph, and that of the article referred to, is that we cannot form doctrines and theologies out of our experiences, but that we are to understand God through doctrines and theologies formed solely from the Word of God. Our experiences are to be used to testify to the doctrines and theologies, and that was why they are called testimonies. Because we live in this fallen world, some of our experiences, including those of our experiences with our earthly father are NOT correctly testifying to the personhood of God, including such as God’s fatherhood towards us. So, if one is concentrating too much on the Father-personhood alone, and lacks proper spiritual feeding on the Bread of Life (the Word), the wholesome perspective of God is difficult to be had by the person, and that being the case, his posture of his relationship with God, likewise, suffers from the same lack of wholesome perspective.

Understand, but don’t blame your earthly father?
Do NOT blame your earthly father; that is NOT the thrust of this article. Understanding God gives us an understanding of the imperfection of our earthly fathers, but such understanding is NOT bullet for you and I, to blame our fathers, rather it is so that we can attempt to improve the relationship with our fathers, even as we improve ours with the heavenly Father. And for those of us, men, it is also to help us to understand our current or future role as fathers to our children.

Not a teaching on the fatherhood of God
The purpose of this article is NOT to teach on fatherhood of God, and so, you will only see little of that; it is my intention that we have to recognize that God must be viewed as attributed with multiple personhoods (in addition to being with multiple nature-hoods, like holiness, love, faithfulness, etc).

It is also NOT possible for me to point out all the tendencies from our earthly relationship with our fathers that would color our lenses negatively with regard to our relationship with the heavenly Father. I will just speak on one or two such tendencies, to illustrate; the rest is really depending on how you understand your relationship with your father – the “lack” or “defectiveness” in that relationship, and what you can glean from the Word concerning what God said as concerning Himself as the Father to us.

He does NOT mind, He is my Father!
Whether He will mind or NOT must be understood from His Word, but NOT from our experience with our earthly fathers. Today’s upbringing in family is often such that children are given so much liberty that more often than NOT, they take their fathers (or even mothers) for granted, opening up the children to assume that we, the fathers, do NOT mind. It could be that we, fathers, should have minded, but have NOT minded, and so, the fault is ours, and children just developed to be complacent; or we, fathers, mind but did NOT put up firm enough stand, that the children just thought that they could cross the line, and get away with it. It can also be simply that the children are being disobedient, and we, fathers, just indulged them, leading to the children taking for granted that the fathers did NOT really mind, even the cleaning of the mess after them.

In the Asian context, where I am, previously, in my generation (as children) and before, our fathers hardly showed us love physically, like hugging us, and even playing with us, past the first few years (as toddlers). Love came to us, often as the provision of the basic man’s need, of food, clothing and shelter; and as instructional love, such as father instructing the children, and putting us to school to be educated; essentially, the “soft” touches were missing, a lot of the time. Now, in my generation as father, I find that fathers might have engaged in, too much “soft” love, and too little on the “hard” love of our fathers, i.e. we failed to instruct when we should have instructed, we should have corrected the child but we did NOT; overall, giving rise to our children NOT only, not shown enough due respect for us, fathers, they lack grace in society. It is even NOT wrong to say, many young people, today, live in the “Mind” and “Don’t Mind” mindset; they mind, and mind tremendously when it comes to their interests being infringed or threatened, and they don’t mind when it is other people’s interest at stake, and it all started from the home, from dysfunctional father-children mentoring and relationship.

A simple illustration is this: if nice food, which your children like, is before them, do they or do they NOT, think about leaving a piece for you to eat, or do they just eat them all? If they do eat them all, what do you think went on in their head; what were they thinking? Dad wouldn’t mind? Dad could get some on his own, any time? Dad would let me eat them all, anyway! Or they just do NOT think anything at all!

We can substitute the nice food with something else; if it is chores, of course, it flips the other way round, leave everything for Dad to do, he wouldn’t mind! Do you approach God the Father, that way? Do you take Him for granted, thinking that the Father would NOT mind? Not giving Him of your time, ok; or is it He would NOT mind, He knows you are “busy”? A little sin here, and a little sin there, is ok; He wouldn’t mind? Never mind, you do NOT need to do as you are told, He can always do it Himself or get someone else to do it; He will understand you have other “things” to do? You say, “Don’t mind”, because he is your earthly father? What if he is your boss? Sure, NOT many people are having as the office boss, their father, but God is your Father, and He is your Boss, NOT just your Boss, but the Big Boss. Think about it, the next time you are about to take Him for granted.

Is it alright to come to the Father, dirty?
I once released a word of knowledge concerning coming to worship God, ahead of a worship school (of several days) organized by the church. The word which I sensed I received was a need for people to seek the Lord for cleansing of their sins, and to stay clean in coming to worship God. This was in my earlier days of moving in the words of knowledge and prophecy, at a time that I had still to go over the word with my Senior Pastor, before I could release the word to the congregation.

At the time of relating the word to my Senior Pastor, the invited speaker for that church service, was right besides the Senior Pastor. When I was told to release the word (to the congregation), as I related it, to the head of the church, I went ahead, but to my surprise, when the speaker took to the pulpit, he began to use an example of his own kid, being dirty (ice-cream all over, or something like that), and approaching him when he, the speaker, then was painting the interior of his house, to hit at my word of knowledge, with himself, focusing his eyes on me (I was seated in the 1st row). He said he yelled for his wife, but his wife did NOT come for the dirty kid, and he got down from the ladder that he, the speaker, was on, and picked up the kid, and continued on with his painting job, apparently (That day was before the worship school, and it was a church service, NOT the worship school session, but the head of the team [the said speaker] for the worship school, had arrived ahead, and was given the chance to speak at the weekend service).

Apparently, by his illustration using his own dirty kid, he was saying that God welcomes worshipers as we are, dirty or NOT. Now, this speaker erred on several counts (my views do NOT represent the view of the church; I am NOT aware of any stand that the church took concerning this; only that I was gracious and humble enough to have NOT confronted the speaker):

One, the speaker has no respect for the Senior Pastor, as the head of the church who invited him. Now, he was right there when I cleared my word with the Senior Pastor. To openly come against that word, since it was released with the approval of the Senior Pastor, was surely out of line.

Two, he, the speaker, being a church leader himself, coming from a spirit-filled church, and have had the experience of seeing many learning to operate in the spiritual gifts, and he, himself, was here to equip the church, and others in the nation in the school of supernatural worship, ought to have known a “L-plate” prophet was at work; must he do what he did, censoring over the pulpit!

Three, the speaker, in my view, had grown in haughtiness, and began to form his own theology of out of his own experience. It was NOT just that he shared using his dirty kid as an illustration that pointed to that, I believe it was his successes in coming into high praise and worship unto God with manifestation from God, that he began to postulate everyone could come as he was (without reverence). Clearly, the Word of God does NOT prescribe such a posture (complacency and irreverence) in coming to worship God.

Needless to say, I was hurt, so hurt that I had to complain him to God, and that night I complained to God concerning the speaker. I told God I just did my job to honor Him, and deserved NOT such rebuke over the pulpit. The speaker could have just expressed his disagreement privately. Furthermore, I was NOT wrong. The word was NOT wrong, and I did nothing wrong, I sought agreement by the head of church before releasing. I told God vindication belongs to Him, and I was letting go of the hurt, for I could NOT operate bearing resentment and unforgiveness.

To cut the story short, the speaker went back home before the worship school ended, and another from the team took his place, and this another was an anointed worship minister of the Lord, and in his preaching to the church after the end of the school, at weekend church services, he said almost word for word what I have prophesied previously, although he was NOT present when I released the word; and so, I have been vindicated! This second minister was full of humility, and sincerity to bless; he was loved by the church congregation, and he had continued to be invited for the last few years to minister in our longer term supernatural school of ministry.

Allow me to do a second sharing of one account related by this second minister, let me called him DMC, who came back to minister at our weekend church services recently, before I put down a couple of lessons that we can learn from these 2 accounts. DMC related this: He knew of a mighty servant of God in Asia who moved powerfully in supernatural works of God, but as time went by, the servant began to slide into immorality, and before long his immoral life-style was known to the church leadership, and he was approached to stop his life-style and to repent before God. According to DMC, this servant refused, citing that his life-style was NOT disapproved by God, for God was still performing signs and wonders and miracles through him. But the church leadership went back to the Word, and by the Word of God, what the servant was engaged in was wrong; and they collectively decided to again approach the servant, insisting that he stopped and repented, and threatened to withdraw their blessings on the supernaturally performing servant. Again, the servant refused, and the church leadership prayed to withdraw their blessings from the servant. Guess what; the miracles ceased; the servant was NO longer able to move in the supernatural anointing.

These few things become clearer by the 2 accounts above:
One, viewing our relationship with God as solely as a relationship with the Father, can give rise to, too narrow a perspective of God, and can give rise to us acting in ways NOT pleasing to God. In fact, the failure to recognize that God is attributed with multiple personhoods, and multiple nature-hoods, can give rise to us NOT pleasing God, and stumbling others.

Two, if we view our relationship with God solely as a relationship to the Father, we are more prone to our experiences creeping in to color our lenses of how we should behave, and get the better of us.

Three, we pattern after God, NOT the other way round. So, the safest approach is to base everything on the Word of God; when in doubt, go back to the Word. I repeat: doctrines and theologies are to come solely from the Word; experiences serve to testify to the truths of the Word.

Four, the spiritual gifts of God are NOT necessarily irrevocable. Be careful of mistranslation and misinterpretation of Romans 11:29. The message of Romans 11:29 should be gifts of God is without repentance, and NOT irrevocable; for a full exposition of this, read my April 2010 article, “It may be wrong to say that God’s spiritual gifts are irrevocable”. The 2nd account above actually testified to my interpretation of Romans 11:29 as NOT referring to spiritual gifts of God cannot be revoked. By the way, DMC was sharing how he viewed that, when we are serving, we could be serving with the blessing and anointing of the church, in other words, there can be a corporate dimension to spiritual gifting, a concept I too subscribe to, which you can read my article on Romans 11:29 (link given in this paragraph); God can take the gift off you, and give it to another, within the body; corporately it is still there, individually it is being removed from the person.

Before I move on to another tendency, let me say that I am NOT saying God will NOT accept your praise and worship; what I am saying is that we do what pleases Him. God does have expectations on us, different on different ones, and different at different times and seasons. What the Word prescribes, we do; that is the way to go.

I can always come back later, counting on the Father-son kinship!
A Father-son kinship is forever, it is always there; I can always fall back on it later; this is another tendency of us, if you subscribe to it, you run the risk of your luck run out on you.

Don’t you think such an attitude is not much different from a non-believer who has come to understand the gospel, but does NOT want to choose to believe, but still wants an insurance policy, just in case, the gospel was really true (understand and believe are separate matters, I hope you know that), and so, just go through the motion of saying the Sinner’s Prayer, especially the gospel was revealed to him as simply as, “You just need to say the Sinner’s Prayer, and you will be saved forever.” Entering into salvation is NOT like taking up an insurance policy! It is NOT in case you go to Hell, Jesus saves you; it is you are surely going to Hell unless Jesus saves you. Some others, though understood the gospel, but would NOT do such a thing, but they were unable to “let go of the world”, and had wanted to “enjoy the world”; and thought to themselves, they would come into salvation in the nick of time in the future, to save themselves. Yes, they postponed the receiving of Jesus. For a believer, if you likewise rely on the Father-son tie, think that you can do what you want, and then in the nick of time in the future, to come back to the Father thinking that He will accept you on account of you are already His son, you better be sure, you have more than superb timing. If a non-believer can miss it, and die without entry into salvation, so can a believer miss the chance to come back to the Father.

It is naïve to think that just because you are a son of God, you can do what you want. Mind you, I am also a son of God, so are Peter, John, Ah Kow, Ali, and so many millions and millions of people; in fact everyone who is a believer or a Christian is a son. Do you think you, as a son, can plunder another man, another son of God? Even if the man is NOT a believer and therefore NOT a son of God, you mean you can do what you like with him? It cannot be. But you may say, “But I am NOT necessarily be wronging another when I ignored my relationship with the Father in the meantime.” When you ignored the relationship, you are likely to be NOT walking in the light, and when you are NOT walking in the light, you are wandering in the darkness, and when you wander long enough there, you will fall, and you will wrong another, whether or NOT you realize it or NOT.

I am a Chinese, and we Chinese have a saying, “The King’s son shall face the same punishment if he breaks the law”, meaning you do NOT escape punishment because you are the King’s son. There is such a concept as true son of God in the Bible; do you know that? Who are the sons and who are the true sons of God? Very briefly, Heb 12:8 says this: “If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons.” What are you doing if you ignore or opt out of the relationship? You are taking yourself out of the Father’s discipline. The verse says that, then, you have become an illegitimate son! Romans 8:13-14 says this: “13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

The Spirit of God or the Spirit of the Father God is the “living law”, only when you are led by it, you are the (true) sons of God. Many naïve Christians argue that there are no more laws in this era of grace. The Old Covenant does NOT apply anymore; the Mosaic Law or The Law, as a whole, does NOT apply anymore, BUT laws, commands and precepts are NOT done away with. It is crazy that people portray the era of grace brought in by our Lord as the era of law-less-ness! No, it is just that the laws are NOT necessarily written in ink, they are in the Holy Spirit, the “living law” I call it; we no longer live by the written law as such, we live by the living law, the Holy Spirit (Another day, maybe I will put up an article on this, the place of laws, Holy Spirit and love in the gospel).

When we stay away from the Father-son relationship, i.e. when we opt out of the discipline of God, we are saying we are NOT going to listen to the Holy Spirit (Who adopted you? The Holy Spirit) whom God placed in us to reveal to us what we are to do and NOT to do, in other words, we are NOT wanting the Holy Spirit to let us know the law applicable for the moment; do you know how dangerous that is? Read Romans 8:13 again.

Those who argue that we do NOT need to be concerned, for the Parable of the Return of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32) was indicating that the father was very forgiving, and even longing for the wayward son to return. They forgot one thing, the father was longing, but the son had to decide to come back and actually made his way back. Yes, the robe, ring and sandals (v22) meant a restoration of the son to full dignity and authority, back to a true son, which meant before that, when the young man was away from the father, he was without the same dignity and authority. You want to be without dignity and authority? You may be deceived and be trampled upon, even devoured, you know!

What if I could overcome the incorrect tendencies?
Even if you could overcome all the incorrect tendencies from a mono father-son view, still you will NOT have as nearly a complete picture of God as one who views God as one attributed with multiple personhoods and multiple nature-hoods. There are some important aspects of God, NOT discernable from the Father figure; for example, holiness is NOT, and majesty, being omnipotent and wisdom are NOT necessarily.

What is the more excellent way?
Understand first of all, God is attributed with multiple personhoods and multiple nature-hoods. Learn from the Word, the various personhoods of God; and the various nature-attributes of God. It is NOT necessary to rank all of the personhoods and nature-hoods in hierarchy, but it is important that we know the number one or highest attribute in each of the 2 categories.

The fundamental in the personhood category is “God is God”. What is meant is that there is none like Him, one and only one, and He is the greatest, strongest, almighty, omnipotent, sovereign, He is wisdom, deserving all homage, what He says is law (hello, how many believers do NOT realize this, when they erroneously claim that there is no more law in the era of grace). This is who God is, first of all, and we must approach with reverence. If He signals He is coming to us (on occasions) as a Friend, well, that is fine, but it is He decides, NOT us.

Although, it is NOT my intention to cover nature-attributes of God here, let me just briefly say that the most fundamental in nature-attributes of God is holiness (NOT love, as believed by many); if you do NOT get this top nature-attribute right, it is even more difficult for you to understand some difficult passages in Scriptures, like, “Why the Flood?” In fact, to understand our faith more, we need to secure key understandings in a number of areas, including the followings: About God, about Man, about the Fall of Man and about the Gospel. On my blog, there are insightful articles under such captions, and I welcome you to read them, at your leisure, to gain some of the key understandings.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions – Father God, you know I do NOT mean to demean those who love you as their Father. But it is my hope that more would give you the honor due you, The God Almighty. Seeing you as our Father is NOT big enough, we must acknowledge you as The God of ALL. It is also my desire to point to, as I have revealed in brief, that you are NOT just The God Almighty, you are The Holy God Almighty; and so, we must accept, ultimately, you can only love us unto righteousness. God, it is NOT that I have arrived, you know that, and I know that, but your holiness, I must declare. Amen.

Comments are welcome here. Alternatively, email them to me @: ... {click on it to reveal complete address}

Or just email me your email address so that I can put you on my blog (new entry) notification list. To go back to blog main page, click here.