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There is Always a Means

January 1, 2011

I believe the Christian Faith shouldn’t be vague and full of mysticism. I don’t deny that there is always an element of mystery, but I am saying that the words of our tradition have very solid definitions behind them, strengthened by numerous connections between principles. There is a way of understanding that makes things matter. God’s word is whole. Really knowing what things mean begins to give the faith solidity. Here’s a simple word we use often. These are some very real ways God has provided sanctuary to his people.

1. We have sanctuary from the questions. All will be answered eventually. For those who believe the bible is God’s word have a special kind of peace knowing we can trust what we read. The answers are there if we search for them. Don’t ever stop searching for answers, but do evaluate if it’s crucial or not, and know when it’s time to leave the questions behind and just rest. You can return to them later if you need to.

2.We have sanctuary from other Christian’s answers — the search for answers is between you and God and provides sanctuary from other Christian’s well meaning but sometimes misguided answers. Yes we can always learn something from our fellow Christians, both those above and below us in authority. But lets face it, sometimes people are wrong. Know you are well within your boundaries to disregard some of the advice you get.

3. We have sanctuary from the wait — sometimes we find ourselves in a tight situation and we’re waiting on God.  Through examining the rich history of what he’s already done for us, we find sanctuary from the wait and anxiety about present problems. Reading the record of God’s faithfulness to those before you, peace can settle on your heart. Faith is about knowing God has come through for you and others in the past.

4.We have sanctuary from our mistakes — For Christians, Christ’s death provides forgiveness and covers our sins. It provides a real sanctuary from our mistakes and our sins. We are to repent and remedy as best we can and then put it behind us.

I believe this is  part of what God means when he said we are the temple. Through all He’s done for us, namely through the means of sending Jesus Christ to reconcile us to Him, he made it possible for the temple (sanctuary) to be with us at any given moment. Christianity isn’t vauge and mystical. There is always a means, even if it is a supernatural one. Things don’t just happen. Someone makes them happen, and uses certain methods. God is actively at work in our lives.

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2 comments

  1. I would be interested to see the doctrine of fall and salvation through crucifixion/resurrection explained in terms simple enough for a child to understand. Same for the trinity.

    Even understanding something as simple and uncontroversial as John 3:16 requires the knowledge of the translation and transcription process and the ability to evaluate different points of view about ancient languages and theology.

    The idea of ignoring questions that cannot be easily answered is one I first heard from William Lane Craig. It struck me as evasive (and perhaps even dishonest) then, as it does now. If one has assumed sweeping conclusions to be true from the outset and is prepared to simply ignore evidence to the contrary, I don’t think that any sincere inquiry can take place.

    Some say it’s a matter of faith– and that’s fine. But this treatment of unanswered questions strikes me as an attempt to disguise faith as reason, and I respectfully submit that it simply can’t be so. If one does not enter the process of inquiry prepared to revise one’s conclusions, then it is not inquiry but affirmation in which they engage.


  2. Thanks for challenging me. I don’t want to be one of those people who just repeat things they hear other people say, I want to be able to point to where in the scripture I get it from if I’m using scripture as my basis, just as I need to point to my sources if I’m using science as my base. I was sure it was in the gospels, saying something about the simplest could understand and be in the kingdom. But I wasn’t sure who exactly said it, or where it was at. This is the type of vagueness I was talking about being a bad example of Christianity. Your comment made me look for the verse, but it doesn’t exist. I guess it’s not “simple enough for a child.”

    However, I do believe that religion should make sense. (Paul tells Timothy at the end of 1 Timothy to “Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” ) Because of this I also believe there are answers even to difficult questions, and I don’t suggest we should ignore them. However, sometimes the search goes on for years. I’ve had big questions about how I should live my life, and people never stopped giving me advice that just didn’t work for me. I prayed and prayed and searched and studied, and if I hadn’t set aside time to just rest for a day or a week and put my mental energy elsewhere, then take up the search later, I would have worn myself out completely.

    Along the way I also found some smaller questions that I had to decide, “Is this worth my time and energy pursuing a question that is not foundational?” I had to pick and choose. Many resolved themselves as my regular study routine continued. Others did not. But the crucial questions I never gave up on.

    You said “If one does not enter the process of inquiry prepared to revise one’s conclusions, then it is not inquiry but affirmation in which they engage.” I agree. New information needs to be evaluated and often incorporated.



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