Is Doctrine that Important/ The Distaste of Doctrine (Part 5)

QUESTIONS – (I recommend you read part 1,2,3 and 4 before this, unless it makes sense first time)

A Christian with a faith grounded in reality doesn’t steer clear of questions, he runs to them because He knows that God invaded the human world and became a man. He knows that God gave a perfect revelation of Himself in His word so we could have all the questions we need answering answered.

Questions are not daunting

What is daunting is when there are no answers.

What is heartbreaking is a faith that can’t stand up to them.

The other day I was sitting in a university first year philosophy lecture, I got into a conversation with a guy next to me, he saw I was reading a book which argues for the historical proof of Jesus and His resurrection. This guy told me how its good to ask questions about these things but His church doesn’t really let him ask those kind of things ( some churches want questions, just for the fun, but they don’t want to answer them, just enjoy not knowing). He went on to explain how the philosophy classes had made him think, that maybe Jesus wasn’t real, maybe God wasn’t real. After I said that there are answers, he got real excited, for the rest of the lecture he wrote down questions instead of listening, to ask me after the lecture ended.

He asked:

How does one become holy?

How do you know what is right and wrong?

How do you know if your interpretation of the Bible is correct?

Some other questions I have had asked:

Why do good people die in tragic ways?

Why do evil people prosper and good people suffer?

Why is there war and poverty if God is loving?

If God will forgive us when we ask, why not life any way we want, and ask him for forgiveness in our dying moments?

Since God controls all things, why is there evil, does God make evil happen (that sounds terrible right?) or do we have free-will and God has no control (cause that is also rubbish)… What’s going on.

These are a few questions, I have had hundreds upon hundreds thrown at me in my short life. I’ve spoken to heart-broken people, angry people, humble people, intellectual people, philosophical people. Let me tell you, the joy I have knowing that my God invaded this messed-up, crazy, painful, really real world and He didn’t bring a placebo, He brought the truth, a truth that can set us free from the pain, anger, lost-ness, intellectual burnout-ness.

This is why peter goes out of his way to point out that this is all real, he said, “For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” We were eye-witnesses? He saw it, it was real it happened. What an amazing truth.

Am I saying that I know everything? No.

Am I saying that God has given me everything I need for life and godliness while I’m here on earth? YES (2 Peter 1:3)

I remember at school when I was young, they always said that there is no such thing as a stupid question, but as I got older, they started saying, that smart questions make one smart.

The truth of God’s word being a freedom, a freedom that I’m not lost without answers in a world that is full of questions. However some people ask questions like that ad, where the child just keeps asking ‘why?’ for the sake of it, not really to learn anything.

A question that doesn’t come out of the hunger for an answer is not a real question, it’s a heart with no blood.

Humility is saying, God you have the answer, I’ll accept what you say, no matter how hard it is, because you are the potter and I am the clay.

Trying to deny that there is an answer in the name of humility is like a student who doesn’t want to show his marks, or see anyone else’s, because ignorance is bliss, and I don’t want to know if someone is better then me, and I don’t want others to know I’m not so good.

Oh, that we would humble ourselves like little children and come to God to learn from Him.

Most often God brings questions to our lives about reality so that we have to throw ourselves at Him and learn more about Who He is? Like with Abraham in Genesis 18, God goes to Abraham, and by God’s actions brings a whole lot of questions up in Abraham’s mind, and each time God answers, Abraham knows God a little better.

Central to our Christian Faith, is that we have the truth incarnate. And so we bring our dead daughter to Christ and ask Him to bring healing, we bring our confusion about meaning and hope and ask Him to answer, because that’s part of why He came, to show us the way, the truth and the life.

Robert Brownings wisely said, “I thirst for truth, but shall not reach it till I reach the source.”

The Christian faith is something which makes a difference and is real, but more then that… its true. Otherwise it would be easier to just believing something else, if there was some natural nobility in believing something.

Pauls said that we should answer each person (Col 4:6). The problem is when people sometimes attempt to answer back to God (Rom9:20).

Many people today would like to turn Christianity into a mystery, they would like to turn God’s revealing of Himself and His answers into mystery…

And to be honest, it is, as we saw earlier, the natural man does not understand the things of the spirit! They are foolishness to him. It was once said in the Scriptures that no one understands (Rom 3:11).

But what does it say to believers? 1Co 2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.” Wow, what a gift, we have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).

Where do we discover the mystery? Where do we find the answers? Paul said, “Eph 3:8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ,

Eph 3:9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things,

Oh, Christians, are you left on earth to reveal in questions? Did the all powerful, loving God decide that the best answer for mankind would be mystery?

Build the boat!

Take the cruise!

It will save you!

Two possibilities: One; oh, wow, God is so big, I don’t understand how he is going to save or bring hope or life, I’m trapped in despair, and now I feel free to share it with everyone.. its so exciting to be lost without an answer and hope!

Two; Rom 16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages

Rom 16:26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith–

Rom 16:27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

This has always been the understanding of Orthodox Christianity, a group of God loving holy theologians put this in a plain way in a great Christian confession, they said:

The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word

This tell s us a very obvious thing: If we are going to travel the distance Jesus traveled, if we are going His way, we need to make sure our ship has the right equipment to travel across the ocean. Then we can take our feet off of the firm ground of this worlds sinful and dangerous ideas, and put our faith in something ‘more sure’, we are aliens and travelers on this world, it is not our home.

In a world where the pieces don’t matter, and the focus is more just about the journey, we would be led by a group of people who are very much like kids about to go on holiday with their parents. They don’t know to pack the spare tire, or fill up, or do checks on the car, or pack medicine.

Now, as I have said, somethings are not as important as others….

Whether Jesus comes back before or after the tribulation, or after the millennium, is not an important issue… whether Jesus is coming back at all,, is a very important issue….

This is why Paul under the control of the Holy Spirit wrote these heavy words: Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

  3 comments for “Is Doctrine that Important/ The Distaste of Doctrine (Part 5)

  1. May 19, 2008 at 3:40 am

    Ran across your blog.
    Good post.
    Thanks,
    Mark

  2. Nils
    May 19, 2008 at 6:55 am

    Hey dude,

    Great post, I wholeheartedly agree, it’s very often easy to sit in a comfort zone, and ignore the questions both easy and hard that come your way… ‘Thats theological stuff, leave it to the pastors and theologians’. Yet we are called to be constantly transformed by the renewing of our minds. That being said I think theres a delicate balance in learning/question pursuing thats controlled by motive.

    I know of quite a few people who learn doctrine for the sake of learning/for the sake of fitting in (myself occasionally included). This kind of learning quite often results either in a sense of futility further down the line or in a distortion of scripture, seeing things in scripture which are so far removed from the plain and apparent meaning it’s not funny. Stemming from pride.

    I think we should be pursuing questions (as you said) for the answers that lie behind them, and consequently a better understanding of God. Which should then ultimately result in greater glory for Him through our lives, not for the sake of being able to answer every man on the street.( let me guess – always be ready to give an answer for the faith you profess? ) I.e. those questions relevant to our lives, e.g. those raised in church, bible study, by friends, and society in general, xenophobia etc. ? comments?

  3. oxysmoron
    June 3, 2008 at 4:47 am

    Yes. ” whether He is coming back is the important issue”. Amen.

    “aliens, strangers… this is not our home”.

    oddly enough I was just talking about this today. While young in my youth I use to think having 60 years to go possibly on this earth seemed like too little time… I wanted more. Now being in Christ Jesus I think to myself with a slight giggle… seems like too much time.

    I don’t say this feeling any sense of depression. I believe we long to go home; even embracing the idea. Not that everyone christian does, but in recent years I do.

    Thanking Jesus you took notice to:

    “I know of quite a few people who learn doctrine for the sake of learning, for the sake of fitting in. This kind of learning quite often results either in a sense of futility further down the line or in a distortion of scripture, seeing things in scripture which are so far removed from the plain and apparent meaning… it isn’t funny. Stemming from Pride.”

    Honestly never fell in love with the Word of God until I came to know Him. I tried hard to understand, but could not really get it. Yes the principals, yet He has a way of teaching us when we ask Him. I do understand that many things in His Word are telling us what took place physically, yet I found a better understanding to those things only His Spirit can teach.

    Sometimes pastors and theological pastors avoid those questions. I am dealing with this at this time. Been patient… for several years, but now I am back to just reading for myself again and asking God only about those questions. It is good though to see what others are saying… may be that question will be answered from reading blogs like this one. Smile

    Blessings are in seeing, hearing, and responding to the Word of God. Thanking Jesus.

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