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The Social Positivists

 the society for the advancement of positive knowledge 

The Two Paths

All Scripture is valuable.  2 Tim 3:16-17 tells us: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Yet, one verse stands out as being of central importance.

This crucial teaching is Matthew 7:12-14. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The importance of Mat. 7:12-14 rests on its teaching of two gates. Scripture affirms there are two paths open to us. Scripture instructs us to go by way of the strait gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the path that leads to destruction.

The importance of this teaching is that it tells us in no uncertain terms we have regardless of what we may think only two options. Despite all of the opportunities that seem to lay before us we must see all these freedoms as part and parcel of just two paths. All action is constrained by two fundamentally different results.

If we do not understand this or if we do not accept this, if we believe all ways lead to God or that there is nothing fundamentally different about all the choices we could make believing in Jesus is not going to help us. Indeed, the non-binary will see no need to believe in Jesus or think he has anything fundamental to offer. Non-binary’s will view Jesus as a multifaceted element in an infinite variety of options. Nor will there be any need to see Scripture as anything more than another book with a message one can accept or reject, or, if one chooses, a book and a message to edit as the need and wish arises.

Until we know and fully embrace the idea there are only two ways, one being the right way but narrow and hard to find and the other broad and popular we will not take life and the options the bible give us as of vital significance.

This is what has to happen before anything else happens. We must reduce all of our options down to just two. We need to put ourselves in the position of the thief on the cross. There were two criminals, one took the broad way of ridicule and the other of repentance.

The broad way is human freedom, what we call liberalism. Human freedom has no boundaries or limits. If there is something that constrains or limits us this is not freedom. It does not belong on the path of freedom, the second path. Liberalism is about eliminating all moral boundaries. It is also about rejecting the truths of scripture and science in favor of a human narrative.

The key mechanism or social ideology used to promote this idea is the free market. If a market is free there are no hindrances in place but the price of a product or service and the seller’s willingness to sell and the buyer’s willingness to buy.

Libertarianism, libertine and liberalism all share the same root in liberty. Despite the cry, give me liberty or give me death, the sentiment is misplaced. Freedom from tyranny is one thing but to call out for unfettered freedom is to misunderstand the nature of freedom.

Many have disputed the claim we are free. Yet, to not assume we are free is to question the idea that we are responsible for our actions. There seems to be an impasse regarding the issue. The world has opted for freedom as the preferred route Not without reservation and not without countervailing philosophies it is true, but all of these complaints have more to do with whom is free and whom is being restrained than about a concern for the sovereignty of God.

Most modern thinkers will tell you gender identity is not under a person’s control, unless this is something they see as a good thing. Despite also supporting the concept of gender fluidity, in which the person picks and chooses what gender to be almost at random, many thinkers oppose the idea of sexual dimorphism as an assault on freedom. But then what is freedom… freedom is meaningless until we define what we are free from.

But let’s interpret the two paths as contrasting freedom with non-freedom. The Freedom path allows us to choose whatever we wish, except to be unfree. If we choose to be unfree it means we have converted to path one.

A person on path two might be a dictator or the subject of one. They will still think they are free but not free enough. The dictator will want more power over his subjects and the subject will want more rights to make him or her free of the dictator. Neither will believe they are under any absolute injunction to give more power or freedom to the other. Neither will accept they need to be less free. Neither will give much weight to the wishes of the other person.

The question of course becomes one of are we free and responsible for our actions or are we the products of causality? If God exists how are we free, if we are not free how are we responsible for our actions, but if there is no God and the product of causality how are we responsible for our actions?

How can we be free in either a materialist universe or one created by an omniscient God?

But we need to clarify what we mean by freedom.

What freedom has a Christian? We are free in a technical sense in that we can choose to oppose God but not in a rational or logical or moral sense because our faith means we ought to desire nothing more than to serve God. The lover can cheat but his love for another eliminates the possibility he or she will cheat. A Christian could steal but his love of God protects him from temptation. We are not free to the degree we do not wish to be free. The narrow path is the path taken by those who have abandoned freedom to be obedient to God.

If one is free how can one be bounded, if one is bounded in any way how can one be free?

The bible is clear. There are two groups of persons. Scripture refers to them as the sheep and goats. There are those who are saved and those destined for damnation. There is no purgatory or holding cell or existential void or phantom zone. One is in one group or the other and what determines this is what path one is on.

The bible tells us by our fruits we are known. We are not known by protestations of faith. Apparently, words do not cut it with God. In fact, Jesus tells us a story of two sons, one who said all the right things but did not do what he was supposed to do and another who said the wrong things yet repented, and his works spoke for him.

Perhaps the protestation of faith means more to man and made more for man’s benefit than Gods. After all, God can see our heart, he hardly needs to hear our words. Indeed, we may as well look at baptism and protestations of faith as a form of work.

It can be said that we either work for God or for Satan. If we think of the two options as two kingdoms our works add to one and take from the other or take from one and add to the other. This is called a zero-sum game. We have two competing groups which can only grow by taking from resources from the other.

A protestation of faith is only important in that it expresses our allegiance, it is saying we are committed to supporting the White Knight. But the protestation is only as important as our life continues to express or confirm this position.

We cannot avoid the reality that we must act and that each act adds value or consumes value. There is nothing we can do that does not expend energy and impact the world in some way. Even our death adds value to the world or removes it, depending on the kind of person we were. Nothing we do or fail to do does not fail to add wealth or fail to waste something. Everything we do has consequences whether it is by action or inaction, an act of commission or omission.

Think of life as an account. This account can be called our ledger page in the Book of Life. Our account is either in the red or black, it has either a positive balance or a negative one, depending on the nature of our actions.

In bookkeeping there are no middle or grey areas, every entry is a credit or a debit. The balance in the ledger is either a positive or negative sum. So, it is with life, we add value to the church or we subtract value. There are two paths, one builds the church and the other does not and in fact, if we do not build the church we inevitably add to its decay.

The Book of Life is our ledger account with the church. All the good we do if it does not contribute to the building up of God’s church is not recorded. If it is recorded it is not a positive value. Ecumenics is about creating a positive balance in our accounts with the church, and therefore in the Book of Life. To do this we need to know the value of what we do. This requires a quantified way of looking at life and our actions in life.

We have unlimited ways to waste what we do, we have only a narrow range of ways of building the church. Do not waste what you are given. Help build the church and prove God’s way is good.