People often hang around after I preach, talk or even simply share some thoughts, they leave with an understanding that in my journey I have come to a place of, experience and pursuit of God, and realise that my deliverance, liberty and freedom in life, comes down to a basic statement “my view of God determines how well I live”. For yourself, try removing the ‘my’ and the ‘I’ and replace it with ‘your’ and ‘you’. The way we picture God in our minds, determines our liberty. Before you go down the avenue thinking about what you picture, God is faithful, just, or generous, this is not the picture I am getting at, I don’t mean the concepts mentioned which we could go on listing, but I literally mean, what picture of God do you see? Do you see, a great judge in the sky, the wonderful teacher, a Father, and nurturing Mother?
Whatever picture you have will have an implication on the way you live and conduct your affairs; it will have a formulating hand and could bring a new freedom and liberty.
Your view will colour your pursuit and your research into understanding your Father God. Our theological journey, our study of God is meant to serve who He is and his purpose in creating this world. Theology is to be a servant of the gospel and the church. Pursuit of understanding and experience of God, is meant to clarify the truth we proclaim, helping us to re-examine what we believe and equip us to practice what we believe and preach in a more consistent way.
Eventually all this pursuit is a reflection of God and is reflected in life. Good teaching produces a healthy lifestyle bad teaching produces distorted living. For the theological pursuit to perform its servant ministry we must learn to address the central biblical truths and relevant social and cultural issues. We do not deal with our faith in a removed monastery, but in continually changing societies, that shout for relevance at us daily. Our View of God will equip us to practice faith with relevance and integrity in our changing world.
The world in which we live is undergoing considerable social change, our view, our theology, our experience of God is intrinsically bound to our personal and corporate worldview. We live in a world that is inventive on its sin and brings new thinking and practices to old human issues (Romans 1:21), the one thing that has not changed is human hearts, what we find is more modern ways of repeating cycles of sin. Surely my living faith should help and inform me as I view changes in our world? There are some, who will consider any change in secular society as negative, because of a fundamental negative view of the world and an eschatology that we are waiting to be removed, to escape, saved from a fallen world, this broken world. There are others who have grasped a Kingdom view of creational transformation (Romans 8:18-22), grasping that all things are spiritual, that God is aiming to have everything displaying his Christ “…fill all in all…” (Eph. 1:18-23), filling everything with his essence, along with “…the Earth is the Lords…” realising he dwells everywhere (Psalm 139:7-12). Therefore seeing every “progressive” step in history as an act of God, a direct result of the God of creation in our world. Today it is paramount that we discover a balanced biblical view of these two poles, while no changes in society can be given utopian status because of the condition of mankind, yet it is true that many changes in society are to be welcomed as God indicated his “…so loved the world (Cosmos)”.
My personal desire and aim is to uphold a high view of the word of God, seeing the scriptures as authoritative, as it speaks about salvation and speaks intentionally on issues. I am not sure it speaks intentionally on everything as we wish it did, it would certainly make life much simpler and easier if it did, easy to order into prescribed boxes of thought, but this is not our Father God, who longs to bring his son’s into liberty and not prescribe everything for them, all of creation is actually longing to join the liberty (Romans 8:21).
I have arrived at this position of my view of scripture not because I am oblivious to life’s challenges, or having my head in the sand, hiding from realities, but we are all aware of the difficulties that exist in scripture. History has demonstrated time and time again that the moment we set ourselves up as the judge of what is essential or non-essential within the word of God, we begin to slide towards a rejection of scriptural authority and the enthronement of the human mind.
My journey to date has caused me to end up where I stand at present; history has pushed and pressed me formulating my way of thinking. Have you ever been challenged by others asking, “…have you had this or that experience…”, or “…do you experience God like this…”, and of course “…this is the way…”, or better said the “…higher way…”, suggesting a superior way, O God help us. Let me give you an example from my journey regarding a controversial issue, my view on male-female. Are you a ‘complementarian’ or an ‘egalitarian’? I have been asked do you stand on this side or that side of the argument, well here is a shock or a truth, I am not sure that all, or better said, every biblical text fits either view. Here is another “Are you pre-tribulation, post-tribulation” etc., etc., again I am not sure if scripture fits neatly either position, every one would have to admit that there are gaps in each and there are scriptures that do not fit in any view. So what do we do?
Can I appeal to us all that we mature in our views of scripture, before you say “he wants us to become liberal” I began by saying I have a high view of the scriptures, the word of God so hold on! However I do believe that there is a new reformation upon us, demanding a gospel that relates to our streets and brings Gods biblical view into life daily. I know its makes some of us uncomfortable, lets not react, but rather see what the Holy Spirit is doing in bringing forth a better grasp and a clearer view of God and understanding of God.
One helpful practice, I would suggest to all who are journeying and being led by the Spirit, which makes us son’s of God, is, we must avoid getting hijacked along the way by asking some good questions in order to become word based and led by the Holy Spirit here is one good question and practice
When a fresh idea, thought, teaching, a revelation, an insight arrives and captures people’s imagination, ask what direction does it set us on?
Every missile, every aircraft, every vehicle of transportation has a direction, it will conclude, if it’s not knocked off course or its course changed. Ask then, what course does this thinking, this theology, this experience set us upon, where will its full trajectory take us?
As we consider the issues of our day along with scripture we must ask this question in relating to the arguments take the issue of gender, homosexuality, abortion, youth euthanasia etc., where does the theology take us to if we take on board that way of thought and practice? If the destination of any way of thought, or new experience, or old experience that is coming around again, etc., replaces the Trinitarian God of scripture with anything we must be careful. If Christ is not lifted up at the center of every trajectory adjust the compass, change the course.
Trajectories – Where is it going? – An important question, if any destination replaces the Trinitarian God of Scripture with anything they must be careful.
Lets get our View of God sharpened, enlarged as this where our freedom and liberty and equality of life lies! Happy adventures in Christ and life!