Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sometimes we oversimplify and sometimes we over complicate.

I have been having trouble in my life keeping to what is really true. I try not to make my faith academic and overcomplicated but at the same time I have a thirst. I’m thirsty for Truth, truth about scripture, truth about life. I can’t be satisfied saying that there are a few things I need to know and to study further is unnecessary.

I believe it to be wholly crucial to study and learn the deepest level of truth you can reach. It’s not enough to read the bible. People in my life have said (this includes myself at a younger age) that the bible is all they need and I’ve even heard that it’s better to not read anything else. I’m open to the possibility that is might be enough to read the Bible and nothing else (though I am reluctant) but I cannot at this point be content in saying that it is better not to read anything else. There is an abundance of information available to us about scripture that reveals truth that would not be found by an individual submerged in our western culture. The cultural exegesis of scripture is in many cases exclusive. To evolve the scripture to conform to relative culture is a no-no, it is oversimplification. We must read and listen. It’s not enough to read scripture without any kind of wise council. Oversimplification may be the explanation for many of the things I personally am most annoyed by in Christianity; Alter Calls, Sinners prayer, our obsession with the afterlife, our self absorbed interpretations of God’s purpose for us, etc.

But when have we gone too far? I believe that when truth has become purely academic and does not come out in action there is sufficient substantiation for an over-complication of faith. We often get so “nit picky” about trivial things. We have no grounds for arguing the essentials of Christianity until our heart has sought God’s. Why do we argue? Why do we debate?

Arguing and debating is good. A more positive designation for arguing would be discourse. If division is created within the discourse it’s a bad thing. It is trifling conflict. Let not our faith become so complicated that the fact is more important than the person.

My friend Jesse and I are good friends. We differ slightly in our theology. Jesse is slightly more “orthodox” than I am. We constantly dialogue our view points and it will sometimes get a little heated but when it comes to action we can work together great. If we see someone in need we both share compassion. Jesse and I can work together despite our trivial differences.

May our theological ideas be as full as we can make them but may their importance not exceed the bonds of Fellowship in Christ.

5 comments:

Ashley said...

Wes, this is a great post. This is something I have been wrestling with for quite some time. I think it is great that you have brought up points like this. Rather reashuring I must say. You are so intelligent!! Forgive me for my cheezy anaoligies, but studying the Bible is like a war, both dangerous and vital, all at the same time. We need to study to really know and understand out faith and the truth, but at the same time, studying can almost cause things to become only academic.

May we all be thoes whom study, but for all the right resons!!!

WES ELLIS said...

Amen, sudying for the right reason... motive over action. I love it!

Flip said...

Good post Wes. Food for thought.

Maryellen said...

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom. One of my Bible teachers once said, If Science begins to contradict scripture, then we must rethink science. I believe studying is important, I am after all a teacher, but we need to be careful and pray for the gift of discernment as we study books about the Bible. Some scholars would tell us that the prophesies of Isaiah are not about Jesus, or that Jesus didn't really say what the Bible says he says.I agree with your post, but, I am reminded of my brother as he was studying to become a J.W. They were told never to read the Bible on their own, always with a teacher/elder or at the very least with an approved study guide. They were told that statistics showed that when a JW read the Bible on their own they were most likely to fall from the faith.

Pastor Art said...

study experience study experience lets see study experience which one will it be?

Dead Sea Sea of Galilee Sea of Galilee Dead Sea lets see Dead Sea Sea of Galilee which on will it be?

For those of us who have heard a few teachings the contrast between the two bodies of water feed by the Jordan comes to mind. One has an outlet one does not one is fresh and the other is not. Living water exemplified by one can be used for Baptism. The other is needed for the sacrificial salt representing Covenant agreement of the one sacrificing. Too much contrast I will stop!?

What do we need to take into account in this vital debate? Has anyone thought of learning styles? Tactile, audible, kinetic, and my mind fails me here there are more. Lets see I learn best through books. She learns best through interacting with the problem. They learn best talking it out with one another. Which is…? correct which one conveys better? That depends on how you were wove in your mother’s womb. Each of us gathers information differently. This part of the reason that we are in a community and not a cave monastic. Some equip some do the work of ministry. Eph.4. However, all I said all have tasks to undertake experience to gain through work with the information we have no matter how we gain that information. A living body of water has an inlet and an outlet. So must we. One without the other brings death!
Pastor Art Hi guys I hope I have not twisted your brains too much??!!!