The article Betting on A Generous God, by Peter W. Marty in the latest issue of Christian Century has so many lines I love, I decided it was worth a blog post. He perfectly captures my hesitation to join churches. It’s also a review of the book Love Wins by Rob Bell, which looks like something I must read.
When Christian people convert their spiritual confidence into theological certainty and then apply that certainty to their account of God, faith becomes ideological. Humility all but vanishes.
The truth of this is striking to me mostly because last Sunday my pastor did just the opposite. His sermon was about Jesus’s statement in John 14:1-14 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” These words have been used by many to exclude those from the kingdom of heave who do not accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior. A phrase and practice that makes my blood boil – that’s for another post!
But he stood up in front of us and said, “I don’t know.” I don’t know if this is how it really happened. He couldn’t say if that’s what Jesus really said or if it was written to speak to an audience over 2,000 years old. When was the last time you heard a pastor say they didn’t know something about a bible passage? For me, I think it had been never. It was so refreshing, because his admission in no way detracted from the message, and it made it okay for me not to know, for all of us to have unanswered questions.
More from Marty:
Have you ever noticed how love takes a backseat when self-righteousness is behind the wheel?
When the focus is on absolute certainty in knowing the mind of God, the journey of faith quickly becomes impoverished. All that is incomprehensible and all the unanswerable questions have to be ignored or shortchanged. The wonder and glories of mystery get shelved. God begins to be more domesticated than our favorite pet.
Seriously, I love this stuff.