Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Is Living the Questions a Faith Journey?

Emergings/liberals like to talk about the journey that is the Christian life. No doubt, the Christian life is a journey. It has always been seen as such. The Pilgrim's Progress describes it in allegory. We are moving, but we are moving toward Christ through believing, rather than doubting, the truth the Spirit has revealed in Scripture, and that is something I don't hear often.

The journey is not about discovering what is true. We have revelation for that. The journey is really discovering all of the implications and applications of the truth and how to live them out in our worship toward God in the becoming of the image of His Son.

We know what is true by faith. And this leads to another misunderstanding by the emerging/liberal crowd. They think that not holding to something absolute with certainty is a life of faith, but that's completely backward. Not holding to something revealed in Scripture as an absolute truth with certainty is a lack of faith. It is a life of doubt. That's why all the questions as to what is true come.

The liberals cannot see the truth themselves, and so they cannot be certain, they cannot know something is absolute. This is because they are assuming that certainty of knowledge must come via sight. But it is faith that believes what God says and becomes certain of it, not based upon one's own experience in seeing it, but based upon one's faith/trust in what God has said, believing that He is good and able to communicate what is true to us despite our finitude and sin.

I can know because I believe. I can know with absolute certainty through faith. I cannot know with absolute certainty through sight. The liberal solution to this problem is to say, then, that one cannot know with absolute certainty; but that is to trust in oneself and have humility of truth because the Self does not experience it for itself. The Christian solution is that absolute certainty can be had through faith, and that it is only doubt that gets in the way of living the Christian life, applying the truth and all of its implications in life because one is always second-guessing what the truth is.

The Christian life is one of questioning, but not the type of questioning that liberals do. It is a life of questioning the ability of the self to know the truth apart from revelation. It is not a life of questioning God's ability to give revelation of the truth through His Word. It is a life of questioning how to apply the truth and what it means for every aspect of life. It is not a life of never coming to the truth to begin with because one is too busy questioning whether it is true in the first place.

Since the liberal cannot see, he cannot have absolute certainty that something is true. But to call this a life of faith is odd, since faith is believing that something is true apart from seeing and experiencing it for oneself. One does not need to come to experience that something is true on his journey in order to believe it is true. Otherwise, he is living a life of sight, not faith. He must experience the truth for himself in order to be certain that it is true. This is why liberals are often so certain of physics, but not so much of metaphysics. But this isn't faith toward God and His ability to communicate to His people the truth they need to live the Christian life and know Him. It's doubt that hinders that life. It hinders the journey toward applying and living out the truth.

And of course the obvious observation is this: One must absolutely believe all sorts of things as true and certain in order to use them as the standards by which all other things are questioned. So the whole enterprise is a facade. No one spends his life in the questions when it comes to what is true. He already has all sorts of certain beliefs by which he forms those questions. They determine what else is true or false for him because his life is a matter of working out smaller things he believes with the bigger things he believes. So the real questioning of the Christian should not be a matter of wondering if he can know with absolute certainty, but rather that since he already believes he knows absolute and certain truths, are those absolute and certain truths in accordance with what God has revealed through His Spirit in the Word of God or are they in accordance with the zeitgeist?

One can take a journey anywhere. It doesn't mean they'll all end up in the same destination, since not all paths take a sojourner to the same destination. There is a journey to be had in the Christian life, but not all paths lead to life.

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