Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: BOYCOTT (11/01/18)
- TITLE: The Authority of Scripture and the Foolishness of Man
By Tia Phillips
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There have been times in my own life when I have read scriptures and been left wondering.
The swine, Uzzah and the Ark, Moses in the cleft, Balaam and his donkey â€“ all stories of a God holier than we are astute. These things assail us at times and make us want to dig deep, to find out whyâ€¦to use our mental faculties to make sense of that which is spiritual and perfect. And when we canâ€™t make sense of it? We boycott it, reject it, as untruth.
When we are confused, we must decide if we are going to believe anyway or if we are going to reject that which we do not understand. Is our faith strong enough to believe that which we cannot comprehend? Or even that with which we inherently disagree?
Choosing to read Romans and believe it even when we donâ€™t â€“ praying to God for a measure of faith beyond what we possess â€“ this is faith in action. This is what glorifies God the Father. When we have questions about the Bible, where do we turn for answers? Our own hearts, deceitful above all things, or to the Word of God?
A book that calls itself â€œGod breathedâ€ and with which the very Son of God unites Himself completely (â€œI am the Wordâ€) cannot be half true. As our mothers all told us, a half-truth is a lie. And the Bible is either a lie or it is Life.
Itâ€™s a kind of simple faith, that which embraces the unfathomable in the wake of doubt. The kind of faith that says, â€œI do not understand, but I believe.â€ Paul himself said in 1 Corinthians:
â€œâ€¦Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.â€ (1 Corinthians 1:20b-25)
Our God, in his infinite wisdom, knew we would try and parcel out the scriptures, one Greek or Hebrew word at a time, to try and understand theology. And he says to us here, through Paulâ€™s letter to the Corinthians, â€œMy Gospel is not to be deconstructed by the wisdom of man, for the wisdom of man is foolishness â€“ my gospel is but Christ and Christ crucified. Hang your life on this end, and let the world work out their wisdom in their own hearts.â€ John Calvin, the renowned theologian, said even of the doctrine which bears his name:
â€œFirst, then, when they inquire into predestination, let them remember that they are penetrating into the recesses of the divine wisdom, where he who rushes forward securely and confidently, instead of satisfying his curiosity will enter in inextricable labyrinth. For it is not right that man should with impunity pry into things which the Lord has been pleased to conceal within himself, and scan that sublime eternal wisdom which it is his pleasure that we should not apprehend but adore, that therein also his perfections may appear. Those secrets of his will, which he has seen it meet to manifest, are revealed in his word--revealed in so far as he knew to be conducive to our interest and welfare.â€
If something is not revealed in His word, then according to Calvin, it is not conducive to our interest and welfare. Instead of using the foolishness that is the mind of a feeble sinner like me, we can cling to that which is made abundantly clear in His scriptures. Above all else, we can say with a faith that moves mountains: He is wise and I am but clay. Let me believe and refuse to boycott the scriptures given to us by a Perfect God on the fallacy that confusion is synonymous with untruth.
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