Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Response and An Open Letter to Anne Rice

Dear Anne-

Thank you for engaging on this.  Please know that the purpose of my original post about you was not to quarrel or dispute with my brothers in Christ over at White Horse Inn.  There is a difference between biblically exhorting and quarreling...and I was simply hoping, by God's grace, to exhort them to test all confessions of faith against God's word.

You wrote to Sola Sisters:
"This article is a perfect example of the kind of quarreling and disputes that infect Christianity and Christians. Roman Catholics aren't Christian? This is precisely why my commitment to Christ demands that I have to step away from organized religion."
My response would be that I think the heart of the issue is that there are certain things in Scripture that Christians are holding the line on that you find offensive, even wrong.  But do we get to "cherry pick" only the truths that "feel" good and spiritual to us while rejecting others?

Anne Rice, Author
My pastor often makes the statement: "We are reformed, always reforming."  Meaning, we all have gaps in our theology, but we don't "close the gaps" with our own man-made wisdom....we allow Scripture to "reform" our thinking.  Let's say there is something that I hold as a "truth," something that I think has guided me faithfully for years.  I love this truth, I embrace it, I speak about it to others, it has value to me.  And let's say that in ongoing Bible study, one day I realize this "truth" to be in error.  What happens to this "truth?"  Bye-bye, is what happens to it.  It has to go.  It's been great knowing you, dear "truth," but I have something better:  Scripture.....God's truth.

What I have discovered in my own life, as I grow older and study the Bible more, is that the ideas I've come up with as I travel through life - which oftentimes have seemed so profound along the way - have always been shown for what they are in light of Scripture: Silly little nothings. Futile thinking. Vain imaginations. (2 Cor. 10:5, Rom 1:21-22).  I must reform my thinking in light of Scripture because I am a Christian.  I do not insist that its truths must "work" alongside mine.  I bow the knee in humble submission to God's Word.

Anne, I would be the first to admit that not all professing Christians speak the hard truth of Scripture in love.  But this still does not mean that these hard truths are not there, and that they do not demand a response: they do.  Your response has been to say:
"In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-Democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian."
As gently and lovingly as possible, Anne, I must tell you that I and my fellow Christians have not drawn the line in the sand on these issues....God has.  Your quarrel is not with us; it is with Him.

And I also have to wonder: have you ever heard the true gospel message?  It is not simply that there is a God high and holy - even pagans and lost people know that through natural revelation.  And I gathered from listening to your interview that you at least felt this truth pressed upon you.  But this is not the gospel.

The gospel message of salvation is that there is a sovereign creator God who has made us, and owns us, and has a righteous claim on our lives.  But we have sinned against this God who made us and takes care of us by breaking his moral laws....and without his merciful and loving intervention, we will die in our sins and be condemned to hell forever.  It is a wretched, desperate situation.  But God, being rich in mercy and loving-kindness, made a way where there was none: He has made a way for sinful man to be reconciled to a holy God. How could this be done?  It seems impossible, given God's nature.  We are sinful, wretched, depraved.....and He is pure and holy beyond our comprehension.  And after all, the Bible itself plainly lays out the bad new for us in Proverbs 17:15:
"Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—the LORD detests them both."
Will not justice be subverted if a holy God does both of these things - acquit the guilty (us) and condemn the innocent (Christ)?  And yet, God - in his magnificent, unsurpassable wisdom - found a way to do just this thing without compromising his perfect, holy justice.  He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect life, never sinning in thought, word or deed, and who, because of this, was able to offer up his life as a ransom for many. I broke God's laws, and Jesus paid my fine in his life's blood so that I could be released from the rightful condemnation of the law.  But this gift of salvation, though given freely, is narrow and exclusive.  Only those who recognize their sinful wretchedness and need for a Savior, and repent and place their faith in Christ's atoning work done on their behalf, will see the kingdom of Heaven.  The very first words of Jesus's public ministry (Matthew 4:17) were: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."  Narrow is the way, and few be those who find it. But ah, the wretched, human heart, which hugs its sin and depravity close, and would rather perish, clinging stubbornly and unrepentantly to its right to determine what "truth" is....

In closing, I am praying for you to be given "eyes that see" and "ears that hear." I also welcome your response, either publicly or privately.

(one of the Sola Sisters :) )

photo credit: lanskymob via photo pin cc

 Additional Resources 

Anne Rice Rejects "Christianity?"

Proverbs 17:15 - What Is Real Christianity? by Paul Washer

The Stranger on the Road To Emmaus

A Former Roman Catholic Priest Gives His Testimony