Subject to Revision

Image

Tonight, just before heading into my room for the night, I am in my office reading a book “The Skeptical Believer”.  While reading, one paragraph in particular, caught my attention.  When speaking on the issue of truth or rather the question “what is truth”, the author commented that the answer to that question is “likely to be answered in many different ways, that the answer is less likely to be one enormous assertion and more likely to be a mosaic of many little answers, each hard-won, each subject to revision…”.

The part that really stood out was that our assertions were subject to revision.  How many times have I failed to commit to something on the basis of fear that I might get it wrong.  This fear of failing, of getting it wrong, often paralyzes me and prevents the learning that results from trying and getting it wrong.  When I let the fear freeze me, then I have failed.  What I should understand is that we make decision using the best knowledge we have at the time.  If it turns out that a better decision could have been made, then we adjust where we can and get on down the road.  

That is what creates success and sustains our momentum in this life.

P.S. This is a second revision to what I wrote tonight in my journal.


The Challenge of Leading Someone to the Truth of Christ

Today, as I was preparing for my first test the Introduction to Theology Program, I ran across a statement regarding our postmodern culture.  For those who do not understand the term postmodern, it espouses that there is no ultimate truth.  This thought methodology leads the culture into relativistic beliefs of truth.  In other words the postmodern would say, “what’s true for me is true for me and whats true for you is true for you, even though my truth may disclaim yours or yours mine.”

Here is the statement:

Christians today cannot work with the same assumptions that we did just 20 years ago.  At that time, people would join you in your search for absolute truth.  It is different now.  Today, before we begin to lead people to the truth of Jesus Christ, we may have to lead them to the truth of truth.  Common ground must be created before the Gospel can be proclaimed.  (Introduction to Theology, Credo House Ministries, 2011)

I think that as we move along in time, we should be educating ourselves in such a way that prepares us to face these types of challenges head on.  The truth of the statement was confirmed for me while flying at the airlines.  I would have many conversations with people about my faith and a higher percentage of the pilots I flew with had a postmodern, relative mindset.  Because of this, it was difficult to reach them with respect to the Christian faith.


Skepticism and Me

I would have to call myself a skeptic at least on some level.  This is the way I have described myself for a while and its because I question everything.  I want to know the who, what, when, where and why of almost everything.  Basically, I want sources to back up claims of fact and claims of truth.  Does it make me guarded?  Yes.  Is that bad?  Well, it depends.

The following word picture describes this best I think.  It is not my own but it came from a lecture in a theology class I am taking.  

Think of having your property surrounded by fence both front and back.  There is one gate and it is usually closed with a guard standing there ready to defend against unauthorized entry.  A long line of people, beliefs, theories etc, are wanting in.  Indeed there are already some who are inside the fences.  The ones who are standing outside wanting in must be thoroughly evaluated for their worthiness to be allowed in.  Once proved worthy, the gate opens enough to let that one in and then promptly shuts to block the others out.  In some cases the ones that are inside must be kicked out and re-evaluated before being allowed back in.  

That is my process in a nutshell.  I am best served by not allowing the gates to be wide open (naivety) and by not allowing the gates to remain firmly shut forever (strictly dogmatic).  Instead, I must find that middle ground where every single thought, idea, claim, whatever wants in, must be examined.  My gate can be opened but whatever it is opened for and that which remains inside, must continue to pass the test.  As my instructor put it, “My beliefs are too important to give in so easily”.

This leads into one of the other books I am currently reading called The Skeptical Believer by Daniel Taylor.  In it he wrestles with what he calls his inner atheist, that doubting voice.  He calls himself not just a skeptic and not just a believer but instead a combination of the two.  He is a skeptical believer and I would say that I am as well.

The Theology Program that I am enrolled in and the books I am reading associated with this course of study is helping me come to terms with my doubt.  It has, to a certain degree, been a weight lifted knowing that doubt is alright so long as it is kept on a leash.  This course of study is already reshaping my mind, allowing for a more mature approach to scriptures and the beliefs that follow.  Though for a while I bought in to the idea that I should follow my heart, there is quite enough evidence from the world and in scripture that suggests the heart is a poor guide at best.  

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer. 17-9, ESV)

I’ll end this with a few quotes from The Skeptical Beleiver:

“I am going to argue that doubt is entirely compatible with faith.  In fact, it is required.  If you doubt nothing, you are not exercising faith at all, because you think you have certainty.”

 

“To skepticism, I say ‘sometimes, but with reservations.’”

 

“Be as skeptical about skepticism as skepticism is about everything else”

And Finally:

“…take some comfort that the water walker and the doubter and the denier and the apostle and the martyr are all the same person.  Peter was both skeptic and saint–a combination that holds out hope for me.”

 

Image


Taking on Theology

So I began to work on this blog as a way to build my knowledge of the Bible.  As I got into it, I began to realize that I do not have the proper tools to deal with scriptures accurately.  I do not have any formal training in how to approach scriptures and therefor have nothing more than an elementary method for studying the Bible and nothing more than elementary understanding. it

Enter the Credo House in north Oklahoma City.  This place has caught my attention because they are offering seminary level training in their coffee shop.  While it is no replacement for seminary, it gives me structure in studying basic seminary level material.

I am excited because while only in the first class of the series, I have already shifted my perspective on several topics and am currently resulting with several others.  It has opened my eyes to see that we “…have to distance ourself emotionally from that which binds us so that we can see if what we cling to is worthy” (Micheal Patton~Credo House Founder).

The classes are 10 weeks long each and are as follows:

  1. Introduction to Theology
  2. Bibliology and Hermeneutics
  3. Trinitarianism
  4. Humanity & Sin
  5. Soteriology
  6. Ecclesiology & Eschatology

These classes have been developed by the founders of the Credo house and are used in hundreds of churches for the staff.

Books I am reading right now are as a part of my studies in Introduction to Theology are:

  1. Systematic Theology:  An introduction to Biblical doctrine by Wayne Grudem
  2. The Mosaic of Christian Belief:  Twenty Centuries of Unity & Diversity by Roger E. Olson

 


Food Eaten in Secret


the-secret_seal

Last night as I read I stumbled upon this verse.  Proverbs 9:17-18.  It reminded me of a dark, dark place.  A dirty, mind numbing, heart killing place where no one would want to be.  Yet some of us are there anyway.  Is it our fault we are here, in this place where the soul goes to die?  Yes.  Yes it is.  But we are not the only one to blame.  We were led astray.  Because we lacked wisdom, we answered the invitation into a place that was decievingly appetizing yet devilishly torturous.

“‘Let all who are simple come to my house!’  To those who have no sense she says, ‘Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!’”  (Romans 9-17 NIV)

As mindless servants we entered, hoping for a taste of that precious morsel we were salivating over.  And while at first it was very sweet indeed, seconds later we vomited.  Because of our simpleness, our tongue quickly forgot the unsatisfactory taste and again desired the abundance before our eyes.  There we remained.  Trapped.  Returning again and again to the very thing that’s slaying us.

“But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.” (Romans 9-18 NIV)

Take some time to think of what the place in Romans 9-18 above looks like and realize that many of us are flirting too closely with it.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 131 other followers