Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The God of All Comfort

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. (2 Cor 1:3-7)

Defending the faith can be a thankless, discouraging job. The people who happen to disagree with your views somehow feel at liberty to engage in hate-fests against you personally. To respond back only incites them further in a never-ending and futile attempt to get them to read your views rightly (gasp!) rather than constantly distort them as they always do. Outside of the few thoughtful comments I receive from time to time from those who have benefited from my efforts in the arena, I have learned that comfort and encouragement must come directly from the Lord Himself. After all, he endured the very same "hate" from those who sought his theological and physical destruction:

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." John 15:18-20

Indeed, the "world" in many of these instances refers not to the secular world at large, but to the religious world. This is certainly the case in 1 John 3:13, "Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you," where the "world" is personified in the Gnostics. This is also true of John 16:2: "in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God."

But there is comfort in that treatment:

"Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets." Luke 6:22.

I was going to respond to the grossly uninformed hate-fest that is taking place against me at the Crowhill discussion forum--where both Roman Catholics and Roman Catholic wannabees are dining sumptuously on slander and gossip--but Pedantic Protestant beat me to it. Instead, I'll be focusing my attention on "destabilizing" the "unworkable" epistemology of a certain post-modern "catholic" wannabee.