by Philip McPherson Rudisill (4/23/98 & slightly edited 10/13/2016)
Note: Here I have used invented terms to represent both male and female, e.g., heshe for he and she, and manwo for man and woman, and such.
1. To be acceptable to God, manwo's fundamental principle of action must change from the Heart of manwo, i.e., selfishness and minimalism (with regard to giving) to the Heart of Christ, i.e., selflessness and maximalism, i.e., hisher heart must become that of a cheerful giver; but this is impossible in any natural way, and especially given the scope of neighbor, namely that the conception is to encompass all people and, therefore, more than what is merely natural and expectant like the love of family and friends.
2. The destiny of the hearts reflects a certain moral physics, namely those with the selfish Heart of manwo will eventually gravitate to a common realm of like spirits known as the Realm of Satan or Hell, while those of the giving and loving Heart of Christ will find themselves in a common realm known as the Kingdom of God and, after death, Heaven. And so kindred spirits will be together.
3. How do we get out of the impasse (on 1 above)? By means of Jesus. Jesus comes and performs two tasks:
a. he lives the life of love and thereby shows us
1. what the loving and cheerful heart is, and
2. what the scope of neighbor is (exemplified by dying for Barabbas); and then also
b. he shows us that God wants every person to be included in the realm of the loving (which is the other purpose of 3.a.2. above);
and in this way his life and death are pleasing to God.
4. Now (given 3 above) the manwo is able to want to be like Christ in that
a. heshe knows what that life entails (per 3.a.); and likewise
b. heshe is able to call out to God in faith (per 3.b.) to change himher into that same character (of Christ). See Awakening Atonement.
5. God is self-restrained in God's miraculous transformation of any given manwo by that manwo's own reluctance to, or lack of comprehension of, transformation of the heart; and so now, due to the conscious call of the manwo (per 4.b. above), God is able to enter the manwo's heart in the person of the Holy Spirit and
a. implement immediately the supreme principle of action of God in concert, i.e., in a group, namely the Golden Rule; and, at the same time,
b. begin overcoming the natural inertia of the flesh such that there is (eventually) a natural and spontaneous joy in compliance with the Golden Rule.
6. As long as (and only as long as) the manwo sincerely wishes the character of Christ, that long will the Holy Spirit rule the mind and implement changes in the flesh to conform to the Golden Rule and Love of Neighbor. And while the achievement of complete sanctification will be attained during earthly life, it is most often attained only shortly before earthly death.
7. God is now satisfied, for each person who is a believer can now finally achieve to the state of the blessed (sanctification/holiness) and obtain the character of Jesus, the Ever-living Christ; and this has always been the intention of God from the beginning, namely that
a. all people would come to know what it means to love as God does; and that
b. all people who sincerley desire it might actually become like Jesus.
8. The guide for the Christian is now entirely the Golden Rule (or the Law of Neighborly Love) as understood via the Friends Commandment of John 15 (and Romans 14), namely that while one's own behavior is personally and subjectively justified via the Golden Rule proper, if the conscience of another Christian is offended by virtue of a different understanding of Golden-Rule behavior, the follower of Christ will seek to avoid revealing such behavior to the sight of the offended one.*
* This constitutes one of the most telling components of the Christian ethic. There are two modes of hidden behavior, namely:
1. the hypocritical and secretive, which Paul attributed to the Jews (in a sterographical manner) in Romans 2, where a person gladly engages in sin and relishes it, but would speak self-righteously against that sin for the sake of appearances and especially in order to remain in the good graces of God; and
2. the Christian, which entails respect for the conscience of other Christians where the Christian would not speak at all (if not prompted), but would practice that which were not wrong in his own eyes secretly from the eyes of the others if those others felt that such conduct were wrong. See Romans 14.
9. The role of the scriptures is to help all understand the extent of the effort of God to reach us and this effort is expressed in the lives and perceptions of those of the Jewish faith whom God touched. The scriptures, both new and old, are given for our edification, and they present in particular the understanding of the man/woman under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and so while the understanding of each may be different from our own with regard to causes and effects, the spirit will be one and the same (Acts 15 and especially 15:37-39).*
* An exceptionally clear case is that of the divorce regulations of Moses. According to Jesus, Moses was obligated to positively prohibit divorce, the so-called 11th Commandment, but refused to do so in order to make concessions to the Hebrew freedmen, presumably in order to elicit their cooperation in beginning the story-telling tradition known as the Sedor and commemorating the Passover. Likewise while Paul deplored long-hair for men, the derivation of this behavior from the Golden Rule escapes the understanding of the modern Christian and so therefore is not compelling in the least.
In a word: the role of scripture is not that of a law book for the Christian.
10. Following upon the scripture we find a continuation of the confrontation, if you will, between Holy Spirit and Christian in the lives of the saints, e.g., Joan of Arc, Francis of Assisi, John (Wesley) of England and Edmund (Rudisill)* of North Georgia; and again with the diversity being explained by diversity in understanding of causes and effects and not in principle of action (which is universal love). This is the tradition.
* My own saintly father.
11. Nothing in scripture or tradition can in any way be construed to conflict with the inner witness which belongs to every Christian who has been touched by God. This witness is manifested in a two-fold way, namely
a. the witness of the spirit of the individual that there is a sincere desire to manifest the love of God through the Golden Rule to all persons whomsoever; and
b. the witness of the Holy Spirit which is manifested in our individual capacity to cry "Abba Father" in any situation of distress or at any time.
12. Reason itself, as the human manifestation of Logos, rules the life of the Christian and nothing demanded by the Holy Spirit can conflict with the requirements of pure reason when considered in a practical sense (which is precisely the Golden Rule and the manifestation of the truth of Genesis 3:22).*
* Actually one of the moral law formulations of practical reason (whereof the Golden Rule is one) is more comprehensive in a scholastic sense, namely that each person is to act in such a way that the principle from which his actions are derived might serve as the principle of an entire world, whereof heshe were also an inhabitant.** It was Immanuel Kant who first formulated this moral law as a natural product of practical rationality for manwos.
** Incidentally it is only by means of this moral law/Golden Rule*** that it ever occurs to us to question the moral authenticity of any command whatsoever, be it of scripture, tradition, internal voice or worldly authority (like that of the state). Thus by means of this discerning power we hear Paul rail out against long-hair for men, and we seek an explanation for this, while it never occurs to us to question his abhorrence of murder and mayhem.
*** The Old Testament describes how manwo obtained the moral law in Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve eat of the fruit of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
See also Christian Liberty concerning Paul and homosexuals, and Wesleyan Theology and perhaps even the Wesleyan Fantasy.