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THESIS FOR THE YEAR
 

 



II.   STRENGHTS OF NOMINALISM

  • Nominalism – a Fact of Life. Remember only in Heaven, there would be no nominalism. Even at the risk of being labelled a pessimist, I would like to shout from rooftops that long after we are laid to rest (unless our Lord’s Final* coming precedes our demise), Nominalism would still continue to exist till the day our Lord comes & separates the ‘Good wheat from the tares’( Matt 13 : 24-30, 37-43 )
* Let us dispense with the word II, as though there would be His III & IV Comings-& so on & so forth
 
  • Where Nominalism scores over Godliness : Godliness cannot be inherited, in this lies its inherent weakness. While Godly parents at best can create a conducive climate in their homes for their offspring also to ‘accept the Lord’, they cannot as such, make their children forcibly inherit Godliness. There is a good chance that their children may not come to the Lord, at all. Conversely in a nominal home, there is a good chance of the children remaining nominal, all through their life with no push coming from their parents to be ‘God- honoring’ in their priorities. Ofcourse, there is no rule that in a nominal home, a child –to- be-a- saint would not be born (Godly Hezekiah was born to the wicked King Ahaz – II Chronicles 29th Chapter). But after seeing many, many homes over a period of more than 2 decades now, applying the theory of probability, I am stating that in the inherent strength of nominalism lies the weakness of Godliness. Boy, would I like to be proved wrong!
  • How it all started & remains till date ? Let me continue to sound pessimistic, all the good starts, God has given, like I am pencilling a few here below, have faltered… after sometime

 
  1. Eden: Should I need to say what happened in the Garden of Eden?
  2. Deliverence of ‘His’ people from Egypt : How soon, did their warm love for Him after having been liberated from their ‘physical slavery’ to Pharaoh, wane? (Jeremiah 2:1-8)!
  3. Christians : Their lofty love for their ‘Redeemer’ who saved them from not only their ‘physical but also spritual slavery’ to Sin & Satan (as Christians, are we not more indebted to the Lord, than the Jews who received only ‘physical’ deliverance?) came down a few notches & was close to registering sub-zero temperatures, as in the case of the Church at Ephesus (Rev: 2:4 & 5). But, to their credit, they hung on & revived.
  However, as per the prophecy of our Lord in Matt 13:24-30, at one time or the other the tares had to be sown amongst the choicest wheat seed, if it did not exist already* (*Philippians 3:18,19), & both had to ‘grow together’ till the great day of His harvest (Final coming). Mind you, as per the prophecy ‘not only the tares would be planted amidst choice wheat but that they had to & would grow together’. Even as the Church in the early part of the Ist millenium AD , till 4th Century AD was successfully warding off some satanic attacks from within by way of heretical teachings of Gnostics, apostasy as highlighted by Jude in his epistle etc, besides coping with its greatest indirect friend ‘persecutions’ (I call it indirect friend for reasons, I would elicit, as we go along) came the danger from most unexpected quarters, in the form of conversion of the Roman Emperor Constantine to Christianity.

History says that Emperor Constantine’s conversion triggered a mass reaction amongst his subjects to embrace ‘religion of their Emperor’ blindly without experiencing any inward change in their hearts. So we saw a sad situation unfolding in Church History of people thronging the Churches merely ‘to follow the religion of their Emperor’ with or without out any ‘born-again’ experience.

Till then the Christians mostly were fulfilling their call to be the ‘Salt of the world’ & I would also like to believe, they were mostly (completely? No sir!) passing on their faith to their children, like in the ideal setting brought forth in Psalm 78:4, till this event took place. With the conversion of Emperor Constantine (good for him, of course), the decline of Christianity started, so say, the Church historians. While their critical observation that “in this apparent victory of Christianity, were sown its ‘ seeds of defeat ' would be historically difficult to disprove, as was evidenced from the events that followed, we would be well served to tread a cautious path here & try to understand as to why Nominalism crept into Christianity in the first place. Could not have the omnipotent God prevented it? (Wait till, I go into the subject…Nominalism & the Cosmic battle)

Should the Church have been selective in allowing people entering its portals? Yes, it had no spiritual ‘X’ ray machine, to check & screen as to wheather the people wanting to become Christians were really ‘Born again or not (Rom 8: 9) but the Church elders to their credit at that time, perhaps were taking a more lenient & a accommodative view in line with the spirit of Apostle Pauls writings in I Corinthians 7: 13 & 14, ‘that the faith of the Saved ones while living with the unsaved ones could rub off on the latter eventually & in due course even the unsaved ones would also come into the sheepfold of the Lord’, though Paul’s remarks were more in the context of a marital relationship.
 
  ‘Early Church leaders, should not have permitted all & sundry into the Church & waited for their ultimate transformation’, we may observe critically because soon ‘ the Salt really started losing its flavor’. In this context, I cannot state anything definitively but our Lord has made me stretch the horizons of my vision & imagine what really could have transpired. The Christians of that era, by virtue of their personal evangelism may not have changed all the unsaved or should I say the nominal ones, having allowed them into the Church in the first place, as hard as they may have tried despite being outnumbered (mind you, Nominalism in its totality would end only on our Lords’ final coming) but their offspring even before their personal transformation could have been influenced by the offspring of the unsaved ones, with whom they may have grown up (talk of Peer pressure!) & remained unsaved unlike their parents. Talking of peer pressure, mind you it was in that era the Church instead of meeting in the homes of its members, as it had been doing historically till then started to have separate buildings for people to congregate & worship, whereby providing more opportunities for different types of people to inter-mingle. Quite likely, intermingling, exchange of ideas’ about different lifestyles, priorities of life etc amongst the children of the saved ones & the unsaved lot would have influenced the former for the worse who till then had not known the Lord personally (Refer also once again to my comments on the subject ‘Where Nominalism scores over Godliness’). One generation living without God can undo all the hard work of the generations gone by.We see that in the history of the Nation of Israel repeated cyclically especially in the book of Judges. A ‘boom’ time of great manifestations of Faith is invariably followed by a time of ‘doom’ marked by trips down into ungodliness.
 
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