Voice of strangers – Zophar
Few years back, I was attending a Bible study for college students. Around 24 students, including me, would attend the Bible study every Friday night from 6 pm to 10 pm. Apparently, we didn’t have any life .
One day, one student asked a question to the study group: is it necessary for her to take baptism? Another student said, “NO, you don’t need baptism. We are saved not by our deeds, but by faith in Jesus Christ”.
I raised my hand and objected to that. I pointed out that, yes, in his epistle to Galatians, Apostle Paul did mention that we are not saved by works, but by faith in our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ; but we should not forget who his audiences were. Paul was writing to Galatians who had one specific character to them. Paul himself mentions that in the same letter: for all of you who were baptized…
But when I pointed it out, I was in for a surprise. Out of the remaining 23 students, 22 of them started shouting at me, almost on my face. To be honest, I was actually scared. Fortunately the study group leader was trying to understand my position – but then later he proclaimed proudly how he himself had not received baptism. This was met with thunderous applause and I was met with more jeering.
After 2 hours of my “fellow Christians” jeering at me, making snide comments at me, I reached home around 11 in the night (as no one wanted to give me a ride back, I had a very long walk back), I had nearly 40 emails waiting for me – attacking my character, questioning my salvation, accusing me of working for the other side (that would be for the devil, of course). They also had started an email campaign informing the study group leader that I was not welcome to the Bible study group anymore. If I attended it, they all would boycott. I informed the study group leader that I would not attend the study group again. I didn’t realize then that I have met Zophar for the first time in my life.
Zophar was one of the three friends of Job. He was the most dogmatic of all three, he was the first one to accuse Job directly of wickedness; he even claims that Job has got it easy (Job 11:6). He represents the concept of odium theologicum.
If you are a true Christian, trust me, you must have met your Zophar already; if not, don’t worry, Zophar is on his way to meet you.
They are ready to condemn you without knowing you. They could be fellow Christians, sometimes even pastors. “Oh, you are having trouble in life, that means you are a sinner and you are going straight to hell.” “Oh, you are sick. That means the LORD has forsaken you. There is no forgiveness for you.” “Oh, you sinned few times. That’s it. You are done. Not even the blood of Jesus Christ can blot out your transgressions. Get ready to be roasted in the hell for the rest of eternity.”
Odium theologicum. Though, this Latin phrase denotes intense hatred or anger that arises because of difference in theologies, nowadays, the same can be seen from people who don’t believe in God. People who are atheists and those who call themselves liberals, who accuse us of such an outlook – just try to point out the mistake in their arguments, you will see the spirit of Zophar coming out of them with vengeance.
Condemning you. Calling names. Intense hatred. Ridiculing your view points. We are right, so you are dead wrong. Sorry, I don’t have to listen to you, because I know I am right. There are so many ways, Zophar would try to attack you. But, dear friend, don’t lose heart. Even in the Bible, we see that both Eliphaz and Bildad spoke 3 times, Zophar could vent his anger only twice. Yes, they would lose their steam soon.
Instead of getting hurt at the words of Zophar, let us focus on the words of our Savior. There is no condemnation in His voice. No accusations. No blaming. That soothing voice tells us just one thing: “Come to me, and I will never turn you away.”
|Psalm 119:60“I will hasten and not delay to obey Your commands.”
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Posted on July 25, 2013, in Daily Manna, Strong Tower and tagged baptism of believers, Dogmatic, Galatians 2:16, Galatians 3:27, intolerance of views, John 6:37, my way or high way, odium theologicum, right or wrong, Science vs religion, suffering, voice of strangers, white or black, Zophar. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.