Beware Of False/Faulty Theologies. 

Beware Of False/Faulty Theologies. 

*Beware of False/Faulty Theologies.*

(Homily for September 16, 2018).
_“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” *(Mark 8:34-35)*_

We may have very good intentions to serve God. Our love for God may even be unparalleled, we may be the holiest kinds of Christians but so long as there is a problem with our theology, we cannot really claim to be true followers of God. In fact, we may even be hindering Christ unknowingly and acting as stumbling blocks in the salvation of others if we do not properly examine our theology. 

In today’s liturgy, we are made to understand the danger of holding a false theology while claiming to be close to God. Peter was called satan for his false theology. St. James lambasts Christians who due to their false theology refuse to provide practical help to the poor and needy. Isaiah in prophesying about the Messiah, highlights the aspect of suffering thereby exposing as false any theology that is totally against suffering.

Is it possible that I am holding a false theology about who God is? Is my understanding of Jesus Christ correct? What are my expectations for living a Christian life and are these expectations in line with God’s expectation of me? How does my Christian Faith affect relations with the poor, the homeless, the weak, the neglected, the naked, the imprisoned and sick in the society? Do I worship God so He can provide my needs or so that I can become a blessing to people? In a bid to answer these questions, some lessons immediately pop up for reflection.
*Lesson One: The Importance of Questioning Our Theology.*

It was Socrates who said: “an unexamined life is not worth living.” This means if we simply wake up each day and go about our activities without pausing to ask why we do what we are doing, we would be living a worthless life. If an unexamined life is not worth living, then an unexamined Christianity is not worth living. 

Jesus himself teaches us the importance of questioning our theology when he asked his disciples two very vital questions in today’s Gospel passage: “Who do people say I am?” and “Who do you say I am?” Each of us must not only ask ourselves these questions, we must answer them and be sure that our answers are correct! 

It is not enough that we pray when others are praying or go to church because everybody is going to church, we should ask ourselves: “Why am I even praying?” “What am I doing in church?”, “Who is this God I am praying to, what are people saying about Him and what is my personal opinion?”

*Lesson Two: Our Theology Speaks for Itself.*

Just as the disciples provided false answers, there are many Christians today who see Jesus as a Miracle Worker, a Bread Provider, a Security Man, a Charm, a Swear word, and so on. That is to say, we see Jesus as a means to an end, (something to be used to achieve some material comfort) rather than as God to be worshipped. This explains why there are lots of Christians who pray very well, go to Church regularly and even hold high positions in Church but do not believe Jesus has a say over what they do with their bodies. Jesus for many is more of a service provider than a Father! 

If I cannot give Jesus that respect of allowing His words guide my daily choices, whether in public or in secret, it is because I have a false theology; I do not see Jesus as the Christ but as something lower; a magician who does my wish and works for me. When Peter answered correctly, Jesus charged them to tell no one. Why? There is no point in announcing our theology to the world, our actions are enough; they speak volumes!

*Lesson Three: A Theology without Practical Love for others is a false Theology.*

This is where our second reading today comes in. St. James says: “show me your faith apart from your works and I by my works will show you my faith.” The works James was referring to in this passage is not church attendance, not speaking in tongues, not casting out demons, not performing signs and wonders, not even evangelism. No! The work that shows our faith is charity to the poor, the needy, the sick, the helpless and those who come to beg from us. Jesus himself said: “whatsoever you do the least of my brothers, you do unto me.” Matthew 25:40. 

No matter how holy we may claim to be, if the poor do not feature in our scale of preference, then our understanding of God is faulty. If we simply believe God is there to provide for us without also bearing in mind that we are blessed to be a blessing to others, then we do not yet know God. It is a shame that we Christians believe that Christ died so that we can live a life of luxury, a life of abundance, a life without stress while we turn a blind eye to the poor who cannot afford what we waste.

A theology of “give me, give me, O Lord” without “how do I give to you O Lord” is a self-centred theology; a fake theology. A theology that gives in expectation of reward is a business/investment theology. 

When a man of God tells you to sow a seed so that you can get back double or tenfold returns on your seed, and even embellishes it with examples, just know his theology is faulty. It is not a sin to sow a seed or to give a sacrificial offering. Your seed might build a church where millions after you will worship God, your seed might help many to become saints, your seed might affect morality in society for good etc. but if sowing that seed is done only with the mindset of getting it back yourself, then it is no longer a seed but a business. Give to promote God’s work, give to become a blessing to God’s children, NOT to get it back.

*Lesson Four: A Cross-less Theology is a Fake Theology.*

Jesus tells us today; “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34. True Christianity involves self-denial, self-discipline; suffering; embracing lack; giving away one’s life for Christ’s sake. A few days ago, we celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and we noted the following:

As powerful as the Cross, so powerful are those pains, insults, ridicule and shame we have to put up with for the sake of our Christian Faith. Just as we can no longer look down on the Cross, so also we dare not look down on what we have to suffer if such suffering is due to our desire to serve God. Do not despise your sufferings, do not reduce your Cross, do not abandon the narrow path; do not try to be like everyone else, do not get tired of doing good even when your goodness seems unrewarded and unappreciated by others. Cherish the pains and sacrifices you have to put up with for Christ’s sake.

Indeed, we should not be ashamed of or pray against the sufferings which come to us as a result of our decision to stand for Christ. Not only should we expect to be maltreated, insulted, hated or misunderstood, we should be happy when we experience it. We should be able to say with Isaiah in today’s first reading: “I gave my back to those who struck me and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from shame and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6.

Peter, like many Christians today had a cross-less theology; a theology that says “God forbid” to sufferings that come as a result of our desire to serve God; a theology that always seeks an easy route; a theology that desires glory but rejects self-discipline; a theology of pleasure; a theology that convinced Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit saying they would not die; a theology that gives false interpretation to the scriptures just to suit the audience and make them happy. Such a theology is nothing other than a satanic theology and it is the theology behind the upsurge of churches in our society while evil multiplies daily. Could it be the case that my theology is satanic?

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me carry my daily cross joyfully and save me from falsehood. Amen. 

*Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year B. Bible Study: Isaiah 50:5-9, Psalm 116:1-9, James 2:14-18 and Mark 8:27-35)*
Fr. Abu.

Comments are closed.
Beware Of False/Faulty Theologies. 

Beware Of False/Faulty Theologies. 

*Beware of False/Faulty Theologies.*

(Homily for September 16, 2018).
_“If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it; and whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” *(Mark 8:34-35)*_

We may have very good intentions to serve God. Our love for God may even be unparalleled, we may be the holiest kinds of Christians but so long as there is a problem with our theology, we cannot really claim to be true followers of God. In fact, we may even be hindering Christ unknowingly and acting as stumbling blocks in the salvation of others if we do not properly examine our theology. 

In today’s liturgy, we are made to understand the danger of holding a false theology while claiming to be close to God. Peter was called satan for his false theology. St. James lambasts Christians who due to their false theology refuse to provide practical help to the poor and needy. Isaiah in prophesying about the Messiah, highlights the aspect of suffering thereby exposing as false any theology that is totally against suffering.

Is it possible that I am holding a false theology about who God is? Is my understanding of Jesus Christ correct? What are my expectations for living a Christian life and are these expectations in line with God’s expectation of me? How does my Christian Faith affect relations with the poor, the homeless, the weak, the neglected, the naked, the imprisoned and sick in the society? Do I worship God so He can provide my needs or so that I can become a blessing to people? In a bid to answer these questions, some lessons immediately pop up for reflection.
*Lesson One: The Importance of Questioning Our Theology.*

It was Socrates who said: “an unexamined life is not worth living.” This means if we simply wake up each day and go about our activities without pausing to ask why we do what we are doing, we would be living a worthless life. If an unexamined life is not worth living, then an unexamined Christianity is not worth living. 

Jesus himself teaches us the importance of questioning our theology when he asked his disciples two very vital questions in today’s Gospel passage: “Who do people say I am?” and “Who do you say I am?” Each of us must not only ask ourselves these questions, we must answer them and be sure that our answers are correct! 

It is not enough that we pray when others are praying or go to church because everybody is going to church, we should ask ourselves: “Why am I even praying?” “What am I doing in church?”, “Who is this God I am praying to, what are people saying about Him and what is my personal opinion?”

*Lesson Two: Our Theology Speaks for Itself.*

Just as the disciples provided false answers, there are many Christians today who see Jesus as a Miracle Worker, a Bread Provider, a Security Man, a Charm, a Swear word, and so on. That is to say, we see Jesus as a means to an end, (something to be used to achieve some material comfort) rather than as God to be worshipped. This explains why there are lots of Christians who pray very well, go to Church regularly and even hold high positions in Church but do not believe Jesus has a say over what they do with their bodies. Jesus for many is more of a service provider than a Father! 

If I cannot give Jesus that respect of allowing His words guide my daily choices, whether in public or in secret, it is because I have a false theology; I do not see Jesus as the Christ but as something lower; a magician who does my wish and works for me. When Peter answered correctly, Jesus charged them to tell no one. Why? There is no point in announcing our theology to the world, our actions are enough; they speak volumes!

*Lesson Three: A Theology without Practical Love for others is a false Theology.*

This is where our second reading today comes in. St. James says: “show me your faith apart from your works and I by my works will show you my faith.” The works James was referring to in this passage is not church attendance, not speaking in tongues, not casting out demons, not performing signs and wonders, not even evangelism. No! The work that shows our faith is charity to the poor, the needy, the sick, the helpless and those who come to beg from us. Jesus himself said: “whatsoever you do the least of my brothers, you do unto me.” Matthew 25:40. 

No matter how holy we may claim to be, if the poor do not feature in our scale of preference, then our understanding of God is faulty. If we simply believe God is there to provide for us without also bearing in mind that we are blessed to be a blessing to others, then we do not yet know God. It is a shame that we Christians believe that Christ died so that we can live a life of luxury, a life of abundance, a life without stress while we turn a blind eye to the poor who cannot afford what we waste.

A theology of “give me, give me, O Lord” without “how do I give to you O Lord” is a self-centred theology; a fake theology. A theology that gives in expectation of reward is a business/investment theology. 

When a man of God tells you to sow a seed so that you can get back double or tenfold returns on your seed, and even embellishes it with examples, just know his theology is faulty. It is not a sin to sow a seed or to give a sacrificial offering. Your seed might build a church where millions after you will worship God, your seed might help many to become saints, your seed might affect morality in society for good etc. but if sowing that seed is done only with the mindset of getting it back yourself, then it is no longer a seed but a business. Give to promote God’s work, give to become a blessing to God’s children, NOT to get it back.

*Lesson Four: A Cross-less Theology is a Fake Theology.*

Jesus tells us today; “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34. True Christianity involves self-denial, self-discipline; suffering; embracing lack; giving away one’s life for Christ’s sake. A few days ago, we celebrated the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross and we noted the following:

As powerful as the Cross, so powerful are those pains, insults, ridicule and shame we have to put up with for the sake of our Christian Faith. Just as we can no longer look down on the Cross, so also we dare not look down on what we have to suffer if such suffering is due to our desire to serve God. Do not despise your sufferings, do not reduce your Cross, do not abandon the narrow path; do not try to be like everyone else, do not get tired of doing good even when your goodness seems unrewarded and unappreciated by others. Cherish the pains and sacrifices you have to put up with for Christ’s sake.

Indeed, we should not be ashamed of or pray against the sufferings which come to us as a result of our decision to stand for Christ. Not only should we expect to be maltreated, insulted, hated or misunderstood, we should be happy when we experience it. We should be able to say with Isaiah in today’s first reading: “I gave my back to those who struck me and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from shame and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6.

Peter, like many Christians today had a cross-less theology; a theology that says “God forbid” to sufferings that come as a result of our desire to serve God; a theology that always seeks an easy route; a theology that desires glory but rejects self-discipline; a theology of pleasure; a theology that convinced Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit saying they would not die; a theology that gives false interpretation to the scriptures just to suit the audience and make them happy. Such a theology is nothing other than a satanic theology and it is the theology behind the upsurge of churches in our society while evil multiplies daily. Could it be the case that my theology is satanic?

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me carry my daily cross joyfully and save me from falsehood. Amen. 

*Happy Sunday. Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Year B. Bible Study: Isaiah 50:5-9, Psalm 116:1-9, James 2:14-18 and Mark 8:27-35)*
Fr. Abu.

Comments are closed.
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