The difference between a well and a cistern is the source of the water. While a well is drilled deep into the groundwater, a cistern sits on the surface collecting rainwater. God continuously showers us with cruciform love, unconditional grace, continuous mercy, and wise guidance. The rain falls on the just and unjust. Showers of blessing. Former and latter rain – Springtime and Autumn.
We come to Christ. Jesus storms the citadels of our hearts and apprehends us, binding us to his divine heart with cords of love.
Churches, pastors, teachers, seminaries, and denominations form the cisterns of our Christian lives. Often, they leak. Some of the cracks and leaks in my theological cistern have included:
- Warrior gods
- Civil religion
- A flat Bible in which every verse carries equal weight
- Religious triumphalism
- American exceptionalism
- White supremacy
- Conservative politics
- Secular progressivism
- Pretribulation rapture eschatology
- Limited atonement
- Literal eternal torture
- Young earth creationism
- Intelligent Design (irreducible complexity)
- Biblical inerrancy
- Prosperity gospel
- Guaranteed faith healing
- Routine miracles
- Brands of spirituality not based on the Sermon on the Mount
A cracked broken cistern not only leaks, but also allows pollutants in. The pure life-giving water that fell from heaven becomes tainted, even toxic. A high school student tastes of young earth creationism, then studies biology. She spits out the tainted water and abandons her faith. The native Hawaiian tastes of white supremacy, vomits the toxic theology, and embraces traditional Polynesian gods. The desperate mother latches onto a health and wealth gospel, but her child dies, and she rejects God. A hippie searching for the dawning of an age of harmony and peace comes to Christ and is taught that he will be raptured away at any moment. Nothing happens. He gives up and becomes a stockbroker.
All of them mistake the tainted water in the cracked cistern for the pure rain. They throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.
To make matters worse, some churches, pastors, and denominations double down on the cracked cisterns, insisting that they are divinely installed and incapable of leaks.
There’s nothing wrong with the Bible. Often, however, there is something wrong with my interpretation of the Bible. The life-giving water from heaven is glorious, affirming and healthy, but my theological cistern needs to be dug up and replaced.
Thank God for the excavations of the Holy Spirit. I have nothing to fear.
Posted on August 9, 2020, in anabaptist, apologetics, Bible, Bible Teaching, bodily resurrection, Christianity, creation, Jesus, Justice, Kingdom Life, kingdom of God, parables, Peace Shalom Hesed, Poetry, Prayer, Prophecy, Spirituality, The Cross, Worship. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.