I have once again become aware of the fact that in our search for truth and meaning about our Christian faith or world view—we will indeed bump into some thoughts that are not popular and yes even some stuff that is not true.
I was told at one time that Corrie Ten Boom said that reading Christian books was like eating fish in the sense that you had to remove the meat from the bones. I googled it this morning and couldn’t find it but the thought remains—these are perilous times that we live in and we have to be careful to not be taken in by false beliefs and doctrines in our search for truth and meaning.
In a book I am currently reading entitled “Velvet Elvis” by Rob Bell, he states that whether or not one believes in a literal 7 day creation event or simply sees this as metaphor has nothing to do with the ulitmate truth that God created the world and all that is in it. And trying to fit the dinosaurs into all of this and not being able to figure it all out has not made me any less convinced that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. There are mysteries all around us.
However, Rob does begin to push things a little to far when he suggests that if the virgin birth is not what we traditionally have thought it to be—if Christ had a earthly DNA father—that this would not affect the rest of our historic Christian doctrines. He likens this to be just one of the springs that holds the trampoline together (his analogy) and not the trampoline itself (God created the heavens and earth and all that stuff). Two paragraphs later he makes the statement that he affirms the historic Christian faith, the virgin birth, the trinity and the inspiration of the bible and so forth.
The point I believe he is trying to make is that some things we believe or ascribe to are flexible and others are not and that since God is real and Jesus is real, one piece of the whole can be removed or thought of differently and that would not change the whole. I don’t think the virgin birth is one of those pieces that can be thought of differently but I can finish reading the book without too much hesitation or the feeling that I am falling into heresy by doing so.
But this does bring up a good point—there are many out there in blogland who feel that Rob Bell has gone to far as well as Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Church) and others. Follow the right links and you can get every type of opinion and read about stuff that you were not even aware that has been going on for years and years.
My bible tells me that if I am seeking God and begin to stray that a voice behind me will direct me toward the truth—so I will not be fearful about investigating some of what is out there that pertains to me looking at the church and what it is doing in a different light. I guess the question is should I not talk about the trip until I finally reach the safety of total comprehension and understanding of all that I have sought after? Or put a warning label on all posts that include references to books that I am only part way through?
The point is that I believe that Jesus died on the cross for far more than most of us are living today and that the church has actually hindered many of us from even reaching the low bar on the exercise equipment of an examined life.
I believe the first statement in the Westminster Catechism is where we should all be heading and that is:
Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
And we can do this in a more satisfying way if we take the time to discover what it is we really believe in rather than just mouth the words that have assembled themselves in our minds over the years of liistening to sermon after sermon.
All mysteries have a certain amount of danger associated with them. Paul was certainly no stranger to danger as he talked with his peers about what he knew of Christ. But it is the glory of kings to uncover the truths that are out there to be found.
So I will not be so quick to tell you that I have found it if you will give me the grace to poke around a little bit—each of us knowing that our ride will take us over some smooth pavement and some rutted out dirt roads and maybe even to places that don’t even have but a little impression in the ground of a few footprints that have gone before us.
Enjoy your ride.