Disclaimer: I do not profess to have a corner on the Truth. No one person does. The Bible clearly states that there are things that are only known to God. These are pretty much just ideas that have been assaulting me as of late and I am expressing them here in an effort to congeal them into something more solid for my intellect to digest. Please feel free to comment. Honest and open discourse is frequently key to understanding things more fully due to the nature of containing more than one way of thinking. Neither is this an attempt to display self-perfection. I have none.
This world is so steeped in extremes, it is about to drive me nuts lately. It seems that the general consensus is that someone must be one thing or its totally polar opposite. This worldview does not make any sense to me. Logically, I have observed that there are always two sides to everything. The truth, however, is generally found somewhere in the middle. Though I clearly am no expert, there are only a handful of times in which I have found the truth to be an extreme. If I thought very hard about them, I would probably be able to number them without running far (if at all) into the double-digit range.
Granted, I do have some extreme beliefs. Here are some of them:
1. There is ONE God Who created everything. He has specific attributes.
- God is Holy.
- God is all powerful (Omnipotent)
- God is all knowing (Omniscient)
- God is always present (Omnipresent)
- God is the source of all things good (Including grace and mercy)
- God hates sin
- God always keeps His promises
- God never changes
2. Jesus Christ was fully human and fully God. He is the only Son of God. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was born of the Virgin Mary.
He is the long-awaited Messiah of Old Testament prophecy. He died WILLINGLY to atone for our sins and break satan's power over us (death) and to set the captives free. On the third day, He rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. He makes a place in heaven for all who would believe in Him and at an unknown time to come will judge all creation. Because He is and ever will be the only One Who is without sin, He is and ever will be the only One who could pay the price for our sin. Thus, He is and ever will be the ONLY way to God the Father.
3. The Holy Spirit is a part of the Godhead. He is the third Person of the Trinity. He is the great helper that Jesus sent to dwell within His people until the appointed time of His return. The Holy Spirit firts marks us as belonging to God upon acceptance of Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior and dwells within our hearts to lead, guide, and protect us in this world of trial and tribulation. This is the security of our everlasting salvation. The Holy Spirit also brings specific gifts to each believer that are to be used in fulfilling the specific calling that God places within each believer and serves to constantly intercede to God the Father in our behalf.
On these things I base my faith. These are the things I KNOW to be true. I know them, I live them, I will not budge in my belief of them. Most of the rest of theological debate is exactly that to me: a debate. Scripture has been twisted, contorted, distorted, etc, etc, until it has become very unclear to most people what truth actually is. The people that believe each doctrine, for the most part, believe in it with their whole heart and can rarely be convinced against it. There are just a few guidelines that I try to stick with myself.
1. Be not swift to judge.
How can I be sure that I am right about anything outside of the basic tenets of my faith? Everyone else is completely sure that they are right. God is the judge. I must strive to seek God's Truth in the best way that I know how and pray that others will do the same. I may not even realize that I am the one who is misguided and even if I am right, in the act of judging, I may discourage a fellow believer into unbelief. Then, I will be judged more harshly because their stumble sits upon my head. Oh, and for crying out loud...if you know me at all, then you know I HATE to be labeled. Don't label people. People (and God) are way too complex to be stuffed into a box. Stop it. It's annoying.
2. Pray and seek God's face.
I pray frequently and sincerely for God to reveal His Truth to me. I believe in the concept of "ask and you shall receive" in this context.
I make sure that I study more of the Bible than anything else. Commentaries and theological debates can be a good tool in understanding and revealing Scripture, but we must be careful to make sure we are using them merely as supplements. We must constantly be aware of the danger of using the Bible to back up theology rather than using theology to back up the Bible. It is very easy to unintentionally distort the Bible. Those of you who know me can feel it coming...Patricia's quotable quote! "We MUST seek the Truth and work to understand it rather than distorting the Truth to fit what we understand."
4. Stay OFF the broad road that leads to Destruction
The Bible states that the path to heaven is narrow and few find it. If I see countless multitudes of people following the same teaching, I am very wary and suspicious of it. If the path seems broad and well traveled, beware!
I do believe that faith is a logical and intellectual pursuit. I do believe that faith is an emotional and deeply spiritual pursuit. In other words, I refuse to align myself with either camp because both are lacking. This is a good example of why I positively hate to be labeled. I believe that as deep and wide and unexplainable as my God is, so is my Christian faith. I believe there are things that we do not understand because we can not comprehend. I do not believe in throwing rocks at people who worship the same God just because they serve Him in a different capacity as me. That is the equivalent of our United States Navy shooting our United States Air Force with their anti-aircraft missiles because they think that the Navy is the only true military. Sounds pretty ignorant when I put it like that, huh? So, I guess the point I am trying to make with this whole rant is this: STOP. OPEN YOUR HEART. OPEN YOUR MIND. PRAY. LISTEN. then you may act or speak!