Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Heavenly Mother ?!

I was at Starbucks at Metrotown mall a few hours ago, feeling the need for a hot chocolate after having made it out for my driving lesson in -10 degree weather. So I'd decided to sit down in the foyer, sip for a bit and get warm before going back outside to catch the Skytrain home. While I was sitting there, this well-dressed chap holding an iPhone came up to me, asking if he could give me a presentation for some 'homework' he was doing for his church. Curious at being approached by an apparent Christian and wondering if he was doing some kind of evangelism with his iPhone, I agreed. He started off by telling me that the earthly reality that we see in this life is a shadow of things in heaven, which is the true reality.

Things were going fine until the I saw the first slide of the presentation at the end of his first sentence. I inquired which church he went to, which I shall leave unnamed. I guess they didn't go in the direction he was expecting after that.

It was the picture on the first slide that didn't seem right. The lower half depicted an 'earthly' family with a father, mother brother and sister. The upper half showed a corresponding diagram of a 'heavenly family' with a corresponding Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, Heavenly Brother and Heavenly Sister. The Heavenly Mother entity had a question mark above it, implying that we needed to figure out who this was. 'Heavenly Mother? What the...', I thought. Things didn't make sense and a little bell in the back of the head was beginning to tinkle.

It ramped up from there in the next two or three slides. He attempted to stitch together Revelation 22:17, 21:2, 21:9-11 and Galatians 4:26 to make his case that the church is the Bride and therefore the entity that corresponds to the Heavenly Mother in the first slide. By this time, the tinkle had turned into a fire alarm and things were feeling distinctly uncomfortable, so I hit the brakes and asked him to explain how he arrived at his conclusions.

When we got to the root of the issue after a lot of back-and-forth inquiry, it really emerged from his understanding of God as the Trinity. He didn't believe that there were three distinct persons in the Godhead, but just one being adopting different roles, putting on different 'masks' as a Father, then Son and finally Spirit at different points in the recorded history of the Bible. Since there was only a monad in the entity of the Heavenly Father, he could comfortably assume the 'Bride' to correspond to the Heavenly Mother in his family diagram.

I don't remember too much of the conversation after that. However, the more we conversed, it turned out that he interpreted various parts of scripture to mean among other things, that:

  • God was male and female in nature, as inferred from Genesis 1:26-27
  • Christ would appear again in His original earthly body at the time of His second coming
  • The 'baptism' Christ was referring to in Luke 12:49-50 referred to Him coming again as the Holy Spirit at Pentecost
  • There were 'Feasts of God' that Christians should observe post-Cross and Resurrection, such as the Passover, Pentecost and others
  • Passover in the Old Testament corresponds to the Lord's Supper in the New Testament
  • It shouldn't be called 'Communion' because it was a man-made word not found in the Bible
  • It should only be observed once a year at a specific date, because Passover was celebrated in the OT only once a year

There was a whole lot more we could have talked about, but it was past noon and I had to go home and get on with my day. On the ride home, I reflected on how so much could go wrong in doctrine, interpretation of scripture and ultimately the outworkings in practical life with one wrong assumption.

The triune God forms the core of the Christian faith around which any framework of doctrine is built. Discrediting and eliminating the existence, evidence and implications of the Trinity means that one really has no 'Gospel' to share and no good news to tell, because the "God" being talked about is a phony; we're not even talking about the real Person anymore.

- The Wisdom Seeker