I won’t point fingers at narrow-thinking others who overtly influenced me to see the world in black and white as if now I’ve been enlightened to all the richness of the grays in between. I wonder if we all must struggle with the either-or before we can appreciate the full spectrum of color. Some of us are born into black and white cultures and others are born into shades of gray cultures. God created LIGHT, and in light there is neither black nor white — there is color. Lots and lots of color. But, I digress even before I begin.
That said, I firmly believe that there is plumb and not-plumb — that we either align with God or we don’t. That God Himself is absolute truth (and “white” is not an accurate descriptor of that truth, though “light” is).
Jude (self-described servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James) wrote a simple letter to “those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ.”
In that letter he describes the misaligned, un-plumb. Jude says they are like…
- dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you
- shameless shepherds who care only for themselves
- clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain
- trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots
- wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds
- like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.
He goes on to say that “These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.”
Jude’s warns his audience (look again at how he defines his audience) because these particular un-plumb influencers are inside the church–apparent insiders who are creating divisions in the church because they do not have the Holy Spirit living in them. They are dangerous NOT because they are not aligned with God but because they are not aligned but in some way claim to be so.
When the local church includes both those who are aligned with God (His Word declared and His Word incarnate), we must be all the more careful to not align ourselves with those standing in the church parade with us. We must rely on God’s Word to establish plumb.
I do note that there are not instructions to eradicate the un-plumb from the local church carte blanch. Rather the warning is to be discerning about those who claim to be plumb and strive to influence others to align with them. That is the issue.