Why all the doubleness in the world? Why has hypocrisy been a perennial human problem? Why do human beings settle for less than genuine? Why is the Church especially sensitive to charges of hypocrisy? Why do individuals wear masks? Why do not more people insist upon Wholeness/Oneness?
The simple answer is humanness. Doubleness is humanly doable; Wholeness requires a divine work inside of man, a miracle. Most humans are unwilling to pay the price for the miracle which delivers the Divine Answer of Wholeness. The world is broken and human beings know it. In disillusionment people settle for the lower standards of Doubleness because Doubleness seems to be the only way the world works. Wholeness would be nice but most people are resigned to Doubleness. Thus, Doubleness gets constant reinforcement from business, education, politics, entertainment (especially movies and drama), and polite society.
In the beginning Adam and Eve were created as Whole human beings, totally True, Beautiful, and Good. Sin destroyed that wholeness in our first parents and introduced them to the embarrassment of nakedness. Adam and Eve understood that their Wholeness was lost; their remedy – Fig Leaves. Their fix was insufficient. God’s remedy provided animal skins as clothing, animal death being the necessary price. Not since that time has mankind lost its consciousness of the shame of nakedness, of exposure. Something must relieve the burden of nakedness. The loss of the True, Beautiful, and Good was profound.
Clothing prevents exposure but it does not restore the Human Being to original Wholeness. A huge gap remains between what is and what is supposed to be. That gap is the reason for Dualism. To be naked, to be exposed as False, Ugly, and Evil, is simply unacceptable to human beings with distant memories of True, Beautiful, and Good Wholeness. What should be done?
God has one answer and Man has an alternate answer.
God used the entire Old Testament period to prepare the world for His Answer. He used history, Tabernacle/Temple rituals, Law, Prophets, and stories of judgment in preparation for His Answer, the Person of Jesus Christ. The story of Jesus Christ involves His miraculous death and His miraculous Resurrection. This God-Provision is the only, repeat the only, way Wholeness happens to the human family since the Fall. Divine Miracles are essential for Wholeness to happen. Wholeness will happen in no other way.
Humanity resists miracles; humans do like miracle showmanship such as magic and ventriloquism. But humans know that sleight of hand just makes magic look like miracle and they are not deceived by the facts. Nevertheless, humans really do resist genuine miracles. The world seems to operate on a working system based on cause and effect, the laws of logic, and naturalism, miracles being absent. Some people deliberately resist the miracles of Creation and the Flood as well as the miracles of Christ and His bodily resurrection. Everybody expects life to flow along in concert with the laws of science. Everyday social and emotional life does not have place for miracles. The flow of social currents winds downstream without a ripple; the water runs deep.
What then should be done with apparent Doubleness? How should the gap between what people instinctively understand as True, Beautiful, and Good and the obvious failure of humans to model these virtues? The gap is embarrassing!
Since Miracle must be avoided, humans have been quite creative in their endeavors to close the gap. Creative arrangements with “fig leaves” color the pages of history. While history records various efforts to close the gap, this article will focus on just two. These two have controlled the mental paradigm of the Western world for several hundred years. Today, we feel the pressure to adopt one of these same paradigms.
First, the Roman Catholic/Orthodox method has been to create a religious system whereby the Holy Mother Church controls seven sacraments which it can use to make humans feel better in their worlds of Falseness, Ugliness, and Evil. The Church dispenses sacramental grace in its effort to deal with the Fallen World. Grace is dispensed by the Church to the False, Ugly, and Evil. The Fallen World is not really fixed, the individual sinner is not really fixed either, but the participants feel better. No one should really raise questions about the apparent doubleness because such questions could destroy a working system. And work, it has. It continues to work quite well for millions of people in the world today.
Several hundred years ago, some courageous individuals did raise questions about the system. And as history readers have learned, those same individuals also raised the ire of the controllers of the system. But the Protestants did break free from the enslaving system. But simply being free from the system did not fix the Dualism problem. What should be done?
To fix the system Martin Luther and other reformers noted the New Testament answer to the ancient problem, especially as that problem is laid out in the Book of Romans. The just shall live by faith. Upon the exercise of human faith, God would declare a person righteous, recording that declaration in the Books of Heaven. Forensic righteousness. Declared righteousness. Human behavior naturally should match the declared faith. But what would happen if it did not? No problem, the human name was already written down in heaven. Works should match faith but humans being what they are, the discrepancy could be minimized. Forensic righteousness, declared righteousness, was what really mattered. And thus, another form of Dualism/Doubleness was born. This paradigm remains in place today in the minds of millions of people, providing comforting feelings for them. It continues to work well today.
However, not everyone was impressed with the sanctioned Dualism of Protestant Christianity. Religious “nakedness” continued to disgust people who understood that the Bible taught Wholeness. (Who would relish knowledge of immoral preachers?) These true-hearted people were seeking that which was actually True, Beautiful, and Good. These Bible readers understood that God’s plan insists upon actual Wholeness; any kind of Dualism is/was the spirit of antichrist as referenced in the First Epistle of John. But how was Wholeness obtained?
They noted that the Protestant Reformers taught part of Wholeness, the first part. Humans are not made righteous by obeying the Law; God does justify a believer who exercises his faith in Christ. Forensic righteousness does happen as the Book of Romans explains. But these discerning people insisted that if a believer does not live righteously, then the faith is not genuine. They noted that the Reformers preached Repentance for sin but sin continued to happen in the lives of the Repenters. And so these discerning people spoke of finished repentance, a life that actually demonstrated the fruit of repentance. Repentance was real when sin was continuously repudiated and shunned.
But how is this possible? Human beings are very weak morally. Romans 7 illustrates this fact by saying, “I do what I do not want to do and fail to do what I know I should do.” God has designed that Wholeness can only happen when humans come to end of themselves in the matter of sin itself and also in the matter of how to deal with it. Human effort simply falls short; humans cannot be righteous in their own power. They need to come to a complete end of themselves, to lose their lives for Christ’s sake. Dying to themselves is like dropping off the end of a rope gripped for dear life. But the drop is into the arms of Christ who miraculously raises that person up with power to live above sin on a daily basis. The dropping happens time and again; the miraculous raising happens time and again.
The Apostle John made a special point to emphasize that Jesus Christ had both a physical body in addition to His spirit. When Jesus walked the earth with His physical body, His body did not sin. Since that was true for Jesus, that must also be true for His disciples. Not sinless perfection, of course. People who claim that position “lie and do not the truth.” But those who experience both the Justification miracle and the Sanctification miracle live in Wholeness. These two living realities liberate the soul in ways that Dualists cannot understand. The miracle is actually a Miracle! Freedom to treasure and live into the True, Beautiful, and Good! Upright lives demonstrate to onlookers the “way it should be.”
But Dualism is not happy with Wholeness. Why not? Wholeness shows up the falseness of Dualism, its emptiness, its lie. Thus, because unrighteousness cannot tolerate righteousness, persecution happens, including all kinds of name-calling (such as “legalist”) in an effort to make Wholeness seem wrong. One person said to an Anabaptist one time, “Why can’t you be bad like all the rest of the good Christians?”
Dualism’s response to Wholeness is best illustrated by the scribes’ and Pharisees’ response to Christ while He walked among them. He called them out on their Dualism, asking them to clean both the inside as well as the outside of the cup. He called them Hypocrites (Dualists) and asked how they could escape the damnation of hell. Jesus encouraged His followers to do what they taught but not to practice what they practiced. This insistence upon Wholeness infuriated the Jews. Thus, the Jews could tolerate Him for just three and one half years, and then they were ready to kill Him. Interestingly, the Romans asked, “What evil did He do?” The Jews had no answer except, “Crucify Him.” Dualism cannot endure living in the presence of Wholeness.
Nothing is new under the sun. Today, Dualism is still defended by both the Sacramental System as well as by the Faith Alone System. Scripture is mustered to prove Dualism’s validity, its necessity, and its reasonableness. Dualism is encoded in official doctrinal statements. The religious world cheerfully lives dualistically every day! Most people understood that Dualism is the way human beings live in the world. To insist otherwise would upset multitudes of people, creating a religious uproar. Thus it is, that throughout history Wholeness has been resisted both subtly and not so subtly. Yes, people readily acknowledge that Wholeness is the way Christianity is supposed to be but such a standard is simply not practically attainable. Humanity is what it is.
But God is still God; His standards are immutable. Wholeness has raised a Prophetic voice in every generation. In every generation Wholeness has been resisted. Today, Wholeness continues to be resisted. Tomorrow, it will be resisted again. On that Final Day only Wholeness will hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”
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CONTRIBUTOR: Chester Weaver