hullabaloo controversy that erupted* over Rob Bell’s upcoming book and another book by Rachel Held Evans which has not been out much more than a year, we are becoming aware of the reality that many, especially younger people, but not excluding some of us older, are asking questions about issues that may be troubling us. And for now many young people are opting for answers that make sense to them while holding on to their profession of faith in Jesus.
I think it is good to ask such questions. The alternative is to bury them and try to live as if they don’t matter. But they really do matter to us. Our faith is not undermined or destroyed by asking the hard questions. Such as how many are going to be saved in the end. Our view of gays who profess faith in Jesus, and in many cases somewhere along the line would have gladly left behind their orientation for a heterosexual one. Faith and science. Etc.
We’re told in the Proverbs that it’s the glory of kings to search out a matter. That means we need to keep praying, reading and thinking. One needs to keep asking those hard questions.
But for me, I’m settled into an openness that acknowledges I simply am not going to know all the answers. Basic and of first importance in that stance is a commitment to faith in Jesus and a reliance on scripture. So that we have to go on what scripture says, acknowledging that both our understanding of its message is incomplete, and we say more and less than what it actually says at points. In the end our faith is completely in the god of the word, God revealed in Jesus and made known by the Spirit. Scripture leads us to that stance. So that while we don’t know the answer to a host of questions, we do know the One who does.
It is good though to work through to some provisional answers. Open ended yet closed enough so that we can proceed with grace, accordingly. In such matters we do so with the utmost humility, ever ready to find a better way of understanding. And yet with the humble conviction that we do so with the best knowledge we have, in the way of Jesus and in keeping with the Jesus Creed.
It seems that God has not given us all the answers in a Book for a good reason. God wants us to have not a Book faith, but a living, interactive faith in him that is worked out in community with others in Jesus. So that we are kept guessing on some questions, or on how to apply the truth of scripture which we do understand. Of course there are many answers in God’s word, so that it is not only what we don’t understand which can be troubling, but even more so much of the time what we do understand plainly enough. And yet God wants us within the commitment of faith in Jesus to continue on in fresh need of the salvation he gives us, a salvation that includes our understanding. We are ever dependent on God, and that dependence does work its way out within the interdependency of community in Jesus, the church. As we seek in all things to live in the Truth himself, and to help others find their way to him.
*The italicized words, “controversy that erupted”, replace “hullabaloo”.