Wow. Only one question into this series and I’m already struggling. If you’ve read the previous post, you know that my response to the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism doesn’t really lead into the second question the way the prescribed response does. What to do? It seems that I have two choices: a) rephrase the second question to dovetail with my response to the first one or b) do my best to answer the second question as it stands. I think I’ll try option “b”.
Q: What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
A: God has spoken to humanity at different times, in different ways which have been recorded in both the Old and New Testaments, but the greatest communication of the mind and person of God came through the man Jesus of Nazareth whose life and teachings are recorded in the four gospels of the New Testament.
1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God[b] may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The first question is about purpose; why are we here? The second question is about guidance; how do we know what to do? The short answer is revelation. God has revealed Himself to us and the Scriptures record specific revelations so that we may know who God is, who we are, who Jesus is and how to behave accordingly.
As you might have noticed, I’ve really enjoyed listening to Mark Driscoll as of late; particularly the series of lessons called “Religion Saves + 9 Other Misconceptions“. In the series Mark addresses a set of questions put to him by the members of the Mars Hill community (and beyond?). By the time I post this, I will have heard lesson #6, but before I do I thought that I would tap out my own response to the question.
01/27: #6 “Of all the things you teach, what parts of Christianity do you still wrestle with? What’s hardest for you to believe?”
The parts of Christianity that I still wrestle with are the ones that are transparent. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is not eschatology (end times), soteriology (nature of salvation) or any other hard to grasp “-ology”. Sure, we could hold forth on the various types of love signified by different Greek words and then try to identify exactly who my “neighbor” is, but in the end we would find that the statement stands as is. Love others as I love myself. I wrestle with that…and I often lose. There are lots of other teachings that are equally plain like; “husbands love your wives as your own body“, “fathers, do not exasperate your children“, “give to him who asks of you“, “bless and do not curse“, “do not store up treasure on earth“, “be doers of the word and not hearers only” and the list goes on.
As trite as this may sound, the hardest teaching of Christianity for me to believe is that God loves me. When I first began to think about what I would write in this post, this thought didn’t occur to me. Originally, I thought that that the hardest thing for me to believe was that God is more interested in my conforming to the likeness of Jesus than my “sound doctrine”. Then I asked myself why I spent so much energy on “getting it right”, that is pursuing right-thinking and I realized; at a gut-level, I still think that God will love me (more? better?) if my theology is right/good/sound. In short, after more than 20 years of belonging to Jesus, there’s a place deeper than my intellect where I don’t believe that God loves me…really…”Just As I Am“. While I know that God loves me (and all of His creation), this truth has not so fully penetrated my heart that it keeps me from emphasizing “sacrifice” over “mercy”.
Check back with me in another 20 years and maybe by then I will have finally gotten it.