Hoping you’ll take some time to reflect on the ideas we’ve been considering lately, I’m sort of “switching gears” briefly. If I’ve done my work even half-way right and if you’ve considered Peter’s life, you’ll have encountered some very thought-provoking, perhaps life-changing ideas. And you only need ONE of those things to alter your direction permanently. But, your mind must be open to that possibility.
Along this line of thinking, I remember Martin Luther’s discovery of the great principle set forth in the book of Romans that “The just shall live by faith.” There aren’t but six words in this sentence. Count ‘em. And they are just words. But words express ideas. And ideas, once understood and incorporated into our lives, have consequences. Ideas have power to change us. In addition, that change can have lingering, expanding consequences. It wasn’t too long after Luther “stumbled” upon the truth which ignited the Protestant Reformation and the re-vitalization of the entire Christian faith, that a young idealist named John Wesley read some of Luther’s words, felt his heart “strangely warmed,” hung around some devout believers “too long,” and became one of the most influential Christian thinkers of his day. Not to mention the fact that it is out of his commitment to Lord Christ the Methodist Church was born.
My commitment continues to be to approach Scripture as a seeking, teachable follower of Christ. While I enjoy life and hope you do as well, it isn’t my intention to “entertain” or merely “inform.” What I’m trying to do is see and show how human the ‘saints’ were, and how much they’re like us. And we’re like them. If we can grasp that concept and understand some of the principles which were operative in their lives, we can be warned and challenged, and can learn from their mistakes. And, like them, we can rediscover the wonderful grace of God in Christ. Just as their failures and mistakes were forgiven by God, so we today can be candidates for the same treatment. We can recover. We CAN come back!
More on the “Comeback Kids” later. For the time being, I’ve given thought to another idea which I wish I’d known early in my spiritual and intellectual development. Young and naïve with no real instruction, I sort of assumed that Faith was something only “funnymentalists” had. The really smart people relied on REASON. As an eager young Christian, that assumption sort of put me on the defensive. Apparently, it was quite commonly held that once you really become a Christian you “leave your mind behind.”
That isn’t the case at all.
I’ve admired some of my “fellow bloggers” who address some important issues and have told them so. I hope you’ll visit some of their sites, find others, and let them know you appreciate their efforts. While my “vision” and focus remain unchanged, I wanted to briefly verbalize some thoughts I’ve had. I wish every young Christian, especially, could fix in their minds the difference between fact and opinion. And not feel their position as a Believer is in any way intellectually inferior to the “Faith” presupposition held by even the most brilliant scholar.
Here are some random thoughts on “apologetics.” After some years of reading and thinking, I’ve come to an opinion which I believe is correct. The “Faith” doesn’t need to be defended so much as it needs to be proclaimed.
In my youth with Christ, some of my training time was spent in a less than friendly theological climate. I can remember brilliant young pseudo-intellectuals and even professors around whom I often allowed myself to feel intimidated. They spoke with confidence that bordered on arrogance of the superiority of Reason over Faith. As if they had the corner on the market of Reason, and people of Faith were intellectual midgets. What I didn’t “get” at that time is the fact that everyone has unproven and unprovable faith presuppositions. EVERYONE.
Stated as simply as I know how, that means even the most brilliant “atheist” BELIEVES (Yes, BELIEVES, HAS FAITH) that there is no God. He can no more prove there is no God than he thinks you can not PROVE there IS GOD. He believes his notion is correct. In other words, he has faith. If he believes or says otherwise, he’s being intellectually dishonest. He may mislead others with his “antics with semantics” and “intellectual gymnastics,” but all his conclusions are built on faith presuppositions. However brilliant and compelling his logic and conclusions may appear, they are deduced from an initial premise which is based on FAITH. Plain and simple. For anyone who has faith that there is NO god to disdain or disparage anyone who has faith there IS GOD, is question-begging to say the least.
And, although there are some difficulties and apparent contradictions in almost every point of view, I believe a genius who believes (he cannot prove it with calibrated certainty) there is no god has far greater difficulties defending that position than does the simplest minded believer in the God of the New Testament! In my opinion, to believe this present universe with all its complexity just spontaneously erupted and over aeons evolved requires a vastly greater exercise of blind faith (not Reason) than for an uneducated, ignorant simpleton to accept Bishop James Usher’s chronology of the earth being created in six twenty four hour days and completed at 2004 B.C. at 9:00 a.m. I don’t remember the day!
Over a period of time, I also came to a conclusion that in almost every instance with which I was familiar, the rejection of Christian faith and teaching was done on moral, not intellectual, grounds. I make no claim to being a scholar. But I do claim to be a student and have read and listened to many points of view. With an open mind. I’ve concluded that some of the brightest and best minds, the warmest and best spirits, and the most talented, gifted and productive people who ever inhabited our planet were (and are) devoted disciples of Jesus Christ. Men and Women of Faith. More specifically, faith in the God of the Bible.
Honest people cannot simply dismiss Christian faith as being intellectually indefensible, or irrational. When it comes right down to the crux of the matter, they simply refuse to believe because they are unwilling to admit sin, repent of that sin, and through an act of faith accept Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior. In that foolish unwillingness, their pride collides with the Creator of the Universe, who is also the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God’s servant, your friend, brother, and fellow student