Is There A Real Conflict?

There are times when I wonder whether people are truly serious about faith. In our group this past Sunday morning, the leader wrote on the board, “Do you really believe what you say you believe?”  I’m not certain exactly where he was headed with that question, but it prompted some questions in my own mind.

First, do people who hold certain convictions really understand what those convictions are or simply adopted them because someone, somewhere, said that is what they were expected to believe?  Do people, once they adopt certain beliefs, not examine them ever again for accuracy or truth? Should they?

Second, is academics some how in conflict with faith?  It seems, under certain circumstances, when a serious question is raised about traditional beliefs that some how those questions are relegated to “academics” as though that discipline is contrary to understanding faith. Scot McKnight, when commenting on the supposed collapse of evangelicalism made this observation, “I do fear the theologically weak, intellectually vapid, and pragmatically oriented faces of many segments of evangelicalism.” In other words, evangelicalism may not be dying, but it does show signs of malnutrition.

Do pastors go to seminaries simply to reinforce something they already believe or to expand their understanding of scripture and the tenants of their faith? Do churches shy away from Bible study and only slam sermon after sermon on people, ignoring interaction and questions so they can perpetuate “faith” or simply ignore it.  Are we a people fearful of hard questions? Or challenges to longstanding beliefs?  Does longstanding equate with truth?  If that were the case, the world would still be “flat”.

Part of the mornings discussion centered around perspicuity and it’s influence on faith. Our instructor commented that “the main things are the plain things and the plain things are the main things” or something like that. His example, among other points, was the atonement. Now it may be true that “atonement” is a main thing. However, that concept has no power unless one understands or seeks to understand the influence or affect of the atonement.  I can use the term atonement, but do I mean universal atonement, the atonement of the elect only, atonement of those “born again” and on we go. Now one might say that distracts from the “main thing” but what value does the main thing have if it is not defined?

Now it’s true that not everyone will agree on the affect of the atonement or even its scope. But does that mean we don’t engage in that discussion? I don’t think it does. Having said that, it is without question that mining the truth of scripture is no easy task. One might like it to be as simple as “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” however there is more to it than that. There must be.

It is true, I don’t have the necessary skills as a proficient exegete, but I do have an inquiring mind; often an unsettled mind about the things I have believed, the things I choose to believe, and the things I must believe in order to be true to the text of God.

You have commanded your precepts to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes!  (Psalm 119:4-5 ESV)

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3 Comments

Filed under Bible, Discipleship

3 responses to “Is There A Real Conflict?

  1. I have often asked this question, “Do believers really believe?” We have this God who has come down from heaven to save us from our sins by dying for us. We have this great news about salvation and about our Lord and husband and most of us are like Peter. A time or two, myself.

    To me, if we really believed the miracle of salvation, we’d all be on the corner using the three foot rule: everybody within three feet, heard about Jesus, and what he has done for me. It’s absolutely amazing and wonderful what He did for us. We should all be jumping for joy.

    My dad was just such a believer. He was dramatically changed when he came to the Lord. Sometimes he was a little bold but by golly, he really believed and told those around him. Although he is with Jesus and mom right now, I am still proud that I am called his son.

    This all might sound a little harsh and I apologize for that but I am afraid that that has been my observation. I too, have denied Jesus by lack of approaching people and professing Him as all mighty God and savior. But I love Him more than anything.

    Good job Norm.

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  2. Norm

    James, your comments – though personal – strike a strong cord. One that is heard often from evangelical pulpits…”go and tell, go and tell.”

    It seems that Jesus’ command was “make disciples, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” From what I can gather, those instructions were to his disciples/apostles. Moving that to the general body of Christ is something that we don’t see a lot of in the NT. Seldom, if ever do we read about the body “going and telling.” I’m not sure what I’m inferring by that, except perhaps the role of evangelism may be a bit more isolated in the body than we might think. Uhm….seems like another blog is taking shape, or perhaps an article.

    Gee, maybe all the rain here in NC is water logging my brain!

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  3. Sounds like it to me Norm. Go for it brother. I would guess that that is a problem with the body today. I can only speak for myself, but I see all these clicks in the church and you try and make friends and you get snubbed. Not always, but enough times that, to me, it is a problem.

    You’re right, telling everybody of the Good News is mandated by Christ, whether your a foot, a hand, a leg, or whatever. It is all our jobs, right. It’s called unity.

    I just spent a whole day preparing myself with material for my own blog. I plan on posting once a week. Between my three writing projects, plus articles, AND school work, that’s about all the time I can afford. I have enough material for a month and a half. I have a couple questions for you. I’ll see you on Facebook.

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