Wednesday, September 02, 2015

For the Bible tells me so

Triune faith believes that God speaks. As Paul speaks about his conversion: God was pleased to reveal his Son... and Luke tells us that God isn't something we can work out, but rather we know the Father as the Son makes him know to us. A wonderful fellowship as the Father introduces his Son, and the Son his Father, in both cases by the Spirit.

The Christian faith doesn't accept that God is silent, nor that the heavens are silent. Though God does, in some senses, hide himself, there is revelation to receive for those who would hear it. He speaks through many means, through creation, people, and through spiritual gifts and many more pathways.

But this is not a license for subjective spirituality where my immediate experience can trump any other claim. Many are the shipwrecks in that ocean.

Rather, we claim: the Scriptures make one wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:14-16). All claims to hearing have to be tested and weighed and referenced to Scripture. That's not to say Scripture speaks to all issues specifically - at times prescriptive, in places it closes down options, in others it leaves many ways open without fear.

And so, we build our churches on hearing from the Bible.
So, Tydale and his heirs translate the Bible into the languages of the world.
So, the various traditions of the church all include some "liturgy of the word" in their services.
So, we preach and teach and talk about what the Bible says.

What is heard then needs to be believed, applied, equipping us for life.

Each day a fight to believe "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so." 
Each day an opportunity for those around me, outside me, to walk me back to the loving embrace of the crucified Christ.
Each day an opportunity to repent and believe this good news.

The road is long. The progress is often slow.

But, we press on - praying that God would shine into the hearts of people by his world-creating word and upon the face of Christ.

As I look at the term ahead I look forward to time with people - the big crowd on a Sunday morning, our Sunday lunchtime student Bible study, evening seminars, casual conversations, deliberate meetings, individual opportunities to disciple. I look forward to teaching through Romans over 20 weeks of group Bible study with students... I look forward to four evenings walking through the Bible from beginning to end... I look forward to helping people to kick start their personal Bible reading...

My work with UCCF often meant I was working with leaders, and I think that's led me to over-read maturity, to assume people know their way around the Bible, and can feed themselves. I'm getting over this, and I'm struck that Peter wasn't told to help the sheep feed themselves, but to feed them. I think there's a place for both - but it would seem against a tide of decreasing literacy, biblical and otherwise, there's much work to be done to give people access to the Scriptures, and thus to Christ.

In the short term there might be fabulous growth, which then whithers... their may be only the smallest shoots of growth which then explode into lasting fruitfulness. Ours is not to judge or measure in the short or even medium term. But, rather to offer Christ and so taste and participate in the life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for the Bible tells me so.

Image: David Wright - Creative Commons.

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