What God declares the believing heart confesses without the need for further proof. Indeed, to seek proof is to admit doubt, and to obtain proof is to render faith superfluous. – A.W. Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy
Boy I was mad when I read this quote on my Facebook page the other day. The quote seemed to be used to excuse our ignorance and encourage us to avoid looking into the context to back our beliefs.
I recently have been part of a few frustrating conversations on Facebook. I was questioning the literalness of the Genesis story. There are many Christians who still consider the Earth to be six thousand years old. There are also many Christians who think it is wrong to question whether the Bible is infallible. Not only do the scriptures need to be divinely inspired, they must not have faults. What do these Christians use to back up their claim of the Bible’s infallibility? Well the Bible of course. This is like me saying I am without error because I say so. It doesn’t make sense. So here is where the quote comes in. We are not supposed to make sense of it. In fact, if we are to seek out proof of the Bible being infallible we are showing ourselves to be with doubt. Having doubt is a big no no in Christianity.
Well I must admit, I have my doubts about my faith. I find myself constantly questioning the validity of scriptures and sometimes even have my doubts as to whether or not God is there for me. But, to me the ones who show the most doubt are those who are not willing to ask or look into the tough questions. If one truly has faith in something he or she should be willing to test it. Instead most Christians I have encountered close themselves up. When I question one of their beliefs I am accused of wanting to start an argument. I am told Facebook isn’t a good forum for conversation or debate. Face to face conversation doesn’t seem to work out much better. I left Church about four years ago. Before I left however I sat down with many friends and talked with my youth pastor about the reasons I was frustrated. I told them about my problems with the Church and asked some tough questions about leadership’s doctrines and beliefs. My questions were almost entirely ignored. My pastors told me they would get back to me and never did. I wasn’t doing my job. I wasn’t playing my role as a mindless sheep.
Christians look at the world and say, “It needs salvation”. I want to know what is “salvation” to most Christians? Is it saying, “I accept Jesus”? Is it going to Church? Is it getting drunk in the Holy Spirit? I have seen people do all these things and nothing really fruitful has come out of it. I remember every year going to the Vision Conference with my Church’s youth ministry and observing countless people get “blown away by the Holly Spirit”. Leadership spent tons of time and resources getting videos made, surround sound working, and big name Christian speakers to come in so they could convert the unsaved youth. After each conference we heard about how lives were changed and God was going to show up and grow the numbers. As of now the youth ministry I attended is less than half the size it was when I left but they’re still preaching the same message.
An emotionally charged service can give you a high just like any other drug. I need to keep reminding myself when most Christians post statuses on Facebook like, “I am so hungry for God’s mysteries” they are not inviting conversation as much as inviting people to “like” their status or write a nice short, “Amen” or “That is so good bro”. I can’t blame them. Living on a high feels good. Seeing people “like” or complement me on my status makes me feel special. These are not unnatural things to want. However, they are selfish. What bothers me is the way some disguise them to seem noble and righteous.
I am reminded of a quote from Gandhi, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”. I think this is because where Gandhi found Christ open minded he found Christians closed off. Where he found Christ to be inclusive he found most Christians to exclusive. Jesus had no need to be in a building in order to minister. He did not go to the people who considered themselves religious; instead he went to the tax collectors, prostitutes, and those on the fringes. Jesus had us reexamine the scriptures. He built upon the teachings of the scriptures and made the people see His father outside the Jewish religion. Just look at Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 5 and the parable of the Good Samaritan.
The Bible does not become stronger when you deny its faults. Instead you are making it inaccessible by claiming righteousness where there is fault. Literally thousands of people were involved with creating what we now consider the Bible. And as of today there are several dozen different version of the English translation alone. You will read different commentaries from each theologian who writes the study notes you see on the bottom half of your Bible. This is because the Bible isn’t black and white. The Bible consists of sixty-six different pieces of writings, chosen from many other pieces that for holy or political reasons were left out.
The Pharisees could not see who Jesus really was because their religion blinded them. Let us not make the same mistake. I like the phrase, “The proof is in the pudding”. When we see religions advocating for feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and providing for the homeless, we need to stop and see where God can be seen. As Christians lets seek out the proof of our God, no matter where it takes us. We must not fall into the same trap the followers of the crusades, supporters of slavery, or those responsible for the many massacres of the Native Americans used to justify their follies. Even today the Bible is being used as support for dehumanizing homosexual relationships, justification for woman to not be allowed in leadership, and an excuse to not to take care of the natural resources of this world. Without our God given ability to reason we can make something as wonderful as the Bible support awful and destructive things. God does not want mindless followers. He wants followers who are so confident in their faith proof will only strengthen it.