Sep
05
2012

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but the end of knowledge is the courage to act. John Eldredge

Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want; whatever you feel, be sure that is what you feel. T.S. Eliot

If you asked me now who I am, the only answer I could give with any certainty would be my name. For the rest: my loves, my hates, down even to my deepest desires, I can no longer say whether these emotions are my own, or stolen from those I once so desperately wished to be. Evelyn Waugh

Some years ago, I read an article by a guy by the name of Andrew Sullivan in Time magazine. Andrew Sullivan is notorious in the blogging world and is a popular writer on this front. He’s known for writing a lot about politics and his topics bend toward what he’s termed as South Park Republican issues (i.e., he’s gay, conservative, and a practicing Roman Catholic). What he wrote in that article really frustrated me, because what he said is so misleading. Listen to what he had to say:

God is unknowable to our limited, fallible human minds and souls. If God is ultimately unknowable then how can we be so certain of what God’s real position is on, say, the fate of Terri Schaiavo? Or the morality of contraception? Or the role of women? Or the love of a gay couple?

First, he’s proclaiming from the roof tops that God is unknowable. Where did he get this? How did he come up with this claim? Those words have absolutely no biblical truth to them at all. As I have been trying to point out over and over, God is ultimately knowable. It is his chief aim—God greatly desires to be known. This is the entirety of the biblical story—God pursuing man to simply be known. From the beginning of time, He has been trying to speak to a people who he has created. But here’s a guy who states the entire opposite. There are probably many reasons for this—probably the main one is that when one takes on such a premise, there is no need to have a moral compass. Morality, what we do in our lives is entirely subjective and relative. What you believe is okay and what I believe is okay. It’s all good. So therefore with this concept that God is ultimately unknowable, Andrew Sullivan is thrown by the wind in a whirlwind of beliefs that have no founding on biblical truth. And this is often what a believer is—easily blown by the wind with regard to their beliefs.

Many passages in the Bible speak about the person who does not have any convictions, and therefore, is tossed about in terms of what they believe. One comes to mind as it soundly states:

Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. (Ephesians 4:14)

Because believers don’t know who they are and because they are attempting to straddle two worlds, they are not decisive in how they live their lives. This was my problem in my early years of being a Christian. Because I had not made a full commitment to God, overall, I was not committed to much of anything. I went wherever the wind took me. My ideas about who I was went wherever. My ideas about God went wherever. My ideas about anything went wherever. I had no center to call my home. I was thrown by the wind.

Early on, this can be an especially dangerous time for new believers if they are confronted by cultish or legalistic elements in the church. The most opportune time to become a Christian is between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five. It’s a time of transition and instability in a person’s life and God often uses this to reach those who are living in this awkward time. But with this openness, and for some, this place of ignorance, it is also a ripe time for those who would wish to lead others astray. Cults or other religions can be extremely enticing at this point. I can remember when living in Chicago going to the beach at Dearborn Park one Sunday afternoon and being handed tract after tract from different groups that believed some of the strangest things.

  • If you want to read the real Bible, you HAVE to read the King James Version.
  • If you want to go to heaven, you have to go to OUR church and be baptized by OUR elders.
  • If you want to live for God, you have to follow all of the rules which are outlined on this piece of paper.
  • I even heard this one once from a fellow student when I was in college: if you want to do God’s will, you will marry Joseph on Saturday. This literally happened at a religious community on the north-side of Chicago. Because the woman was thinking about going to another church, the leaders tried to manipulate and control her by having her marry one of the more “established” men in the church!

Too often those seeking faith end up in groups that push them away from the freedom, grace and forgiveness that Jesus offers. They get brainwashed, trusting fallacies about God and themselves. Cults or legalistic churches are about control and keeping you and your faith in a box: mindless, robotic, and unquestionably obedient. Jesus didn’t make you as a puppet; he gave you a mind and a will, and its okay if you have a question or two about your faith. Believers sometimes don’t have what I once heard a pastor call a B.S. (i.e., bullsh-t) detector. When one hears something that rings false and untrue they need to listen to it, process it, critique it and then challenge it. God gave us a mind and he desires for us to use it. Believers usually check their minds at the door and when they hear something like what Mr. Sullivan had to say, they simply shake their head up-and-down and remark within themselves that, “Yeah, I guess that must be true.”

A lot of people that I’ve spoken with who are new to the Christian faith believe that any doubt is a sin. In this regard, I like what Thomas Lynch wrote: “Faith is for the heartbroken, the embittered, the doubting, and the dead.” And you know what, God can handle our doubts and we often have many of them. This opens up the possibility of having a dialogue with him; asking questions, raising concerns, and then waiting to hear the answers. Remember, God can always handle our honesty and our doubts. Look at Abraham or Elijah and notice how they lived out their lives: realistically, being brutally honest, and entering into a relationship with God that had candor, conflict and reunion. They were always letting God know what was really on their mind. When we put on a happy face, and act like we have everything understood, yet really don’t have a clue—this is what frustrates him more than anything. It can also get us in trouble and connected to people who do not have the purest intentions, who just want to be in our lives so that they can control them in some manner. We must remember what George MacDonald proclaimed, “A man may be haunted with doubts, and only grow thereby in faith. Doubts are the messengers of the Living One to the honest. They are the first knock at our door of things that are not yet, but have to be understood.” Remember, it’s okay to be honest with God.


In: Friend to Jesus
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