Last week I started looking at what may seem an anomaly, but is more typical than we'd like to accept. "We" being Christian believers who hold the Bible as authoritative in matters of faith. Over the past few years there's been a cultural shift within the church in America, impacting both beliefs and practices. This has been addressed by many, and in one instance given a term—moralistic therapeautic desim. Here's a link that explains that term— http://goo.gl/RvllH
The real issue is the impact this has on people in the church. What people belive is directly connected to how they live. Not what a person professes as beliefs, but what is held in the heart, that's what affects behavior. You've likely heard the expression, "do as I say, not as I do," but the reality is that actions speak louder than words. Perhaps the question to answer is—Why is there a disconnect between what is believed and how one lives?
It's not unlike what cross-cultural missionaries contend with when sharing the gospel within another culture than their own. Here's what Philemon Yong said in his article about the Gospel and animism http://goo.gl/2Cxtl —
"The gospel comes not as a story that has a beginning, middle and end. The parts, though true, are not always connected. Worse yet, the content of the beliefs is never defined, and the relation of the gospel to specific cultural practices is often left untouched, leaving the hearer to decide for himself what it means for him to now follow Jesus."
In western culture, thinking is more linear—a line of thought as in a logical thought process. Piecing separate bits of information together to understand a larger truth comes more naturally for well-educated people in western culture. People who are not so analytical in their thought process don't piece things together the same way. Consequently, the less analytical thinker hold bits and pieces of truth that can also be associated with other information, or supposed truth.
What does this have to do with altars and thrones? Altars are erected as places of offerings, often sacrificial offerings. Thrones are places of authority. Things offered on altars cost a person something (typically). There's effort involved in presenting what's offered. People sit on thrones—people in authority. Those who approach whoever sits on the throne acknowledge their authority (the one sitting on the throne) and show some type of submission, allegiance or honor.
Get where I'm going with this question—altar or throne? When you come to God, are you coming to His altar or His throne? Next week I'll try wrapping this up...I promise.