Musings, Nits, and Praises: The Faith of Faith: Part II (Finally)

Musings, Nits, and Praises

A farrago of all things deemed blog-worthy by a music-loving, poetry-writing, humor-seeking English teacher


The Faith of Faith: Part II (Finally)

I said a while back that I'd conclude the thoughts I began in my "The Faith of Faith" post. Well, at last, I'm finally taking the time to do just that. For anyone who didn't read the "Faith of Faith" post, I asserted that we cannot prove the validity of our faith in an empirical, scientific sense, nor can we prove the validity of our faith through personal testimonies. The best apologetics can do is to make a solid argument that it's reasonable to believe in the validity of Christianity and to debunk misconceptions/distortions of our faith. (I'm a big fan of C.S. Lewis and contemporary Christian writers like N.T. Wright and John Polkinghorne.) No matter how air tight we believe our apologetics to be, though, we make a leap of faith, a leap beyond empirical knowledge, in professing our faith in Christ.

For some non-believers, the necessary leap of faith immediately nullifies any claim of truth because they believe scientific knowledge is the end-all and be-all of truth. I suspect, though, that many of the staunchest materialists' rejections of Christianity do not rest solely on their insistence upon empirical proof but are combined with their experience with Christians who are close-minded, judgmental, and hypocritical. In short, if a lack of empirical evidence doesn't solidify their atheism, then Christians themselves seal the deal.


This brings me to the question I posed at the end of my first FoF post: If we can't prove our faith, then how are we to reach the world? I believe the church in America has spent far too much time avering the idea of having a "personal relationship with Jesus" and far too little examining what it is to be an imitator of Christ. The call of Christ is not a call to let Jesus be our buddy. It is not a call to a pursuit of our ambitions and material whims, with the assumption that God wishes the fulfillment of such things for His people. It is not a call to condemn the non-believer. It is not merely obstaining from sin. It is not a call to provide philosophical or scientific proofs of His existence. It is not a call to feeling good all the time. It is not a call to attend corporate worship three times a week, observing traditional practices and elevating them to divine commandments. It is not legislating morality.

What is it then to imitate Christ? It's nothing less than emptying ourselves in love. In John 13:34, Christ says, "A new command I give you: As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." If we pray "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven," then we need to recognize our role in furthering God's kingdom. Christ showed compassion to the hurting, welcomed the rejected and outcast, extended mercy and grace to the sinner. He emptied himself, and we are called to do the same--Philippians 2:5+

Father, fill us with your Spirit. Transform our hearts and minds into a likeness of Christ. May the fruits of our actions be sweet nourishment for the suffering, the searching, and the lonely, not something bitter or rancid they spit out. May we love with abandon.

4 Responses to “The Faith of Faith: Part II (Finally)”

  1. # Blogger Cat

    Excellent post.  

  2. # Blogger geoff

    hey, I came across your blog via Richard Beck's blog and just wanted to say that I'm in total agreement with you here. I've been thinking about these very same things lately... good to know I'm not alone! :-)

    Take care,

    Geoff  

  3. # Blogger pastorkes

    Well said. Matt Sanderson (who has become a member of the Immanuel Community) and I were discussing similar stuff just the other night. The best apologetic we can offer (and are called to offer) is the embodied apologetic of Christian community. We are called carry the Spirit of Christ around in us and into contact with those who need Him. I appreciate your thoughtful and thought provoking words.  

  4. # Blogger Jason

    You're right. I wonder what keeps us ("us" being Western Christians) from doing that more effectively? I suspect it's because it's easier/more comfortable to philosophize, study, debate, etc. than to get our hands dirty imitating Christ.

    As Bonhoeffer said, "Humanly speaking, it is possible to understand the Sermon on the Mount in a thousand different ways. But Jesus knows only one possibility: simple surrender and obedience - not interpreting or applying it, but doing and obeying it. That is the only way to hear his words. He does not mean for us to discuss it as an ideal. He really means for us to get on with it."  

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