"God help me always to seek the truth.. and protect me from those who have found it."
"We all have a hunger for certitude, and the problem is that the Gospel is not about certitude, it's about fidelity. So what we all want to do if we can is immediately transpose fidelity into certitude, because fidelity is a relational category and certitude is flat, mechanical category. So we have to acknowledge our thirst for certitude and then recognize that if you had all the certitudes in the world it would not make the quality of your life any better because what we must have is fidelity."
"Certainty is highly over-rated, and is the favorite bastion of every brand of fundamentalism, whether expressed in politics or religion... Certainty puts me in control. Most of us are addicted to control at some level. But if we are willing to let go, we can discover a new level of dependence on God. "
- Len Hjalmarson
"We end up worshipping doctrines about God, more than the God the doctrines are about... At it’s core, the Gospel is not about correct doctrine, but about these several different layers of relationships–God, the faith, our community–lived out over the long haul. Lived out in fidelity over the long haul. I am reminded of Eugene Peterson’s phrase “a long obedience in the same direction.” That obedience, or that fidelity (for the two concepts are integrally related, I believe) is right at the heart of the Gospel."
We want certainty, we want stability; we want a system, a model, a plan to follow. Jesus is that. As Christians, Christ is now our life. We follow him now. The problem for some of us is that Jesus is not in a box, so to speak, on earth. The way to have certainty is only in Christ. The only model, system. or plan is in Christ.
God deals with each of us in relationship and through Christ. God is real and God is a person, three persons; and everything in our lives hinges on our relationship with God. When we want gifts, anointing, knowledge, or prosperity outside of ongoing relationship with God; we're in trouble.
People who studied the Bible and went to religious services constantly, rejected Jesus. Bible studies are good and services can be edifying and wonderful, so why was this so or how could these people reject Jesus? One way to answer this question is with another question. What do you hold dear or what are you holding on to?
Some would say that they are of course holding onto God and Christ, so what is your point? We hold onto our knowledge that is certain and we want more and more knowledge and more certainty. We then take this knowledge and our certainty into the world and live on it. We confuse knowledge that gives certainty with relationship that depends on fidelity.
God is looking for faithfulness. Someone might say, "that's right, faithfulness in doctrine: doctrinal purity." I would reply, that God is looking at how we live. It is all about relationships. Your relationship with God and your relationship with others.
There is a common saying that goes against fudamentalist certitude that goes, "the more you know God, the less you know." I believe that and I would add to it, echoing the Thomas Moore quote above, that those who embrace certainty as the main thing are not on a personal quest to know God and are in danger of becoming against what God is for.
To know God is to be uncertain. We only gain true & pure knowledge and wisdom through our hunger for God himself. No matter how intelligent or learned we are, we have sore limits. That is why God gave us imaginations and dreams. People who are focused on God in their lives realize that God is not logical.
Western culture is Greek influenced and God is not Greek or Roman or American. We got this non-God, non-Biblical idea that knowledge is power. So we seek knowledge and we exercise power with knowledge. Many church people, for example, have taken this path. We judge and view (evaluate) the world and the church through the lens of knowledge. We are not partnering with God when we do this.
God evaluates based on love. God looks for faithfulness and God looks at our relationships, starting with our relationship with him.
Besides moving from emphasizing knowledge to growing in relationship, knowledge seekers also need to embrace the fact that God is mysterious to us. "God moves in mysterious ways", my mom always used to say. Apostle Paul wrote, "behold I tell you a mystery", in first Corinthians, fifteen, verse fifty-one.
Stanley Grenz wrote: "we must make room for mystery.. as a reminder that God transcends human rationality. Central to the task of thinking through the faith is an obligation to rethink the function of assertions of truth or propositions. Christian truth is more than correct doctrine. Truth is both socially and linguistically constructed, and at the heart of Christianity is a personal encounter. Propositions may serve that encounter [but the map is not the territory]."
The map is not the territory. The menu is not the meal. The cookbook is not the meal. The book is not the author.
The certainty that we have is that,
Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so,
Little ones to him belong, they are weak, but he in strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me.
Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.