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Let it begin

October 15, 2006

We’ve got a new category going on here at ’81 Hutch. Heresy Horns. A heresy horn is given, either in jest or full seriousness (context will make it obvious I hope), when someone or some group spouts of supposed truth that is clearly heretical (read: contrary to the Bible). I’ve written about such things before, but perhaps not declared them quite so boldy. In an increasing effort to be forthright, so comes this new category. Full credit goes to “Trť”: who taught me regarding the giving of heresy horns in college. Happy memories.

Today’s heresy horn stems from an article I glanced at via our good friend, “Drew Goodmanson”: The article is a “review/critique”: of John and Stasi Eldredge’s _Captivating_. The female version of _Wild at Heart_.

Now before I start I must say two things:
1) I am slightly hesitant from bringing this up because my wife is reading through _Captivating_ right now and seems to be enjoying. I don’t want to put a damper on any insights she might pull out of it.

2) I greatly enjoyed and benefitted from _Wild at Heart_. It completely changed the way I look at masculinity and the relationship between fathers and sons. I know it changed many lives, even in my circle of friends. Heck, I was in a discussion group that went through the workbook associated with it. Great book. BUT… _Wild at Heart_ was guilty of the same fallacy. The “article”: touches upon multiple points of contention, but I will stick to one: how we determine what the “image of God” is and means.

Both _Wild at Heart_ and _Captivating_ say that the image of God is discovered by looking at men and women. We are created in His image, therefore if we look at the general/overarching characteristics of ourselves, then we can therefore determine characteristics of God. *HERESY HORN*

I was first made aware of this fallacy in my ACS class taught by Dr. Brad Harper. His simple point was that if you start with humans to discover the image of God, you will end up with a God with flaws. That class was many moons ago. Left of the back burner for a while, it didn’t come up again in my mind til my Theology Survery class from GC. The first time the “image of God” is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 1. Any discussion of what the image is must begin there. It cannot start in ourselves. It must start with God. And since we have His permanent Word, we must begin there.

Jotted down the following a couple years ago:

bq. The key to the image of God must reside in man’s ability to have relationship, both with God and with man. The only thing we know about God by the time we get to Gen 1:26-28 is that God is Creator, that there are multiple persons to the Godhead and that these things are good.

Man is created in the image of God. Male and Female. We cannot understand that image by examining ourselves for that defines God by aspects of humanity. We must then ask what else is significant about the distinction of male and female. It must be relationship. Also, dominion over animals and creation, though that seems to take a back seat. This would also account for the two greatest commandments to
love God and to love others. Relationship.

This would also explain the greivous nature of sin. Sin is the defamation of the image. Christ was sinless, thus he never tarnished the Image. He was the perfect image of the invisible God and the
firstborn of Creation. Christ on earth defines the perfect image. He is the restoration of the image. Man never lost the image. He
continues in relationship with God and with man. It’s tarnished and hurt, but not destroyed. That is why solitary confinement is so terrible. Also why murder is so terrible (Gen 9) because it prevents relationship ever again. Also why slanderous tongue (James 3) is so bad… hurts relationship.

Reading over that, I’m not quite sure I would still word it that way, but I think the gist is there. Also, not sure I would downplay dominion as much (I now think it comes into play more than I originally gave it credit for).

Thoughts on the Eldredge’s book(s), the review or what I’ve written? Would love to hear them.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. October 15, 2006 1:06 pm

    Hutch, thanks for the wonderful topic, one that is very near to my heart and a great conversation to enter into especially as it becomes increasingly relevant for any ministry. I haven’t read Captivating, but have read Wild at Heart. Very large impact, but I cannot recommend it to people if I’m not going to be able to talk with them afterwards. Eldridge puts too much hiking/rock climbing is what men are/do, therefore getting in the way of the overall message. There are many great things that Eldridge has contributed, primarily the realization of the father wound. Trent & Smalley get into that with the importance of affirmation in The Blessing. I’ve recently been recommended Christopher West’s (a Catholic theologian) Theology of the Body as the best theological look at masculinity/femininity. I havenít read West yet, but itís next in line.

  2. slothboy permalink
    October 16, 2006 11:50 am

    Good call on that Hutch. That is similar to something I always try to point out when people start getting in a twist over referring to God as “He” or “She”. It stems from the same problem, we are using human traits to understand God because that is all we can conceptualize. Is God really limited to being a He or a She? God is God. Does God have a penis? He (and I use the pronoun out of habit, not to contradict myself) could if He wanted to, I guess. But He could just as easily have the girly parts too.

    If someone then makes the “God the Father” argument then again, they are treading on Hutch’s Heresy Horn. (The triple H) God is also the Mother, isn’t She?

    If we try to put God in a box we are just going to end up with box splinters in our eyes and butts. Yes, BUTTS.

  3. October 16, 2006 2:59 pm

    Thanks Slothy. Well said that we can only conceptualize so much and so that limits our name calling. BUTT, I would interject that God chose to have us refer to him in the masculine and, quite frankly, that’s what Jesus called Him, so there ya go. Not sure how that argument deserves a HH since I’m starting with what God referred to Himself as, not some human invention.

    Explain yo self, before you wreck yo self.

  4. slothboy permalink
    October 16, 2006 3:17 pm

    Sure, I’m not saying you can’t call God He, just pointing out that even though that is how God told us to refer to Him, it was for the purpose of giving us humans a frame of reference. Also you have to look at human culture and the connotations associated with the worth of women and their places in society. If society was female-dominated in the Biblical times, would God have said, Call me Mother?

    Of course, then you have to ask if humanity was male dominated due to God’s plan or general human free will?

    And you also have to ask if I’m wearing pants. Cause you never know.

  5. October 16, 2006 3:47 pm

    Point granted (x3).

    And I’m very glad I wasn’t drinking soda at the time I read that last line. The bubbles hurt when they go up your nose.

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