What is it that defines our walk with God?
- A modernity rationalistic reading of the bible? Trying to figure out the rules, the biblical way to live. (Often seen as a literalistic approach to biblical interpretation)
- Approaching the bible as a history, the narrative of the people of God? We see an example, not of right belief but of right living.
More and more I am getting away from the tyranny of believing right. It does not matter as much what I believe about Jesus and Father, but what I do with them. Jesus was an example to be followed, not a source of doctrine to be dissected.
For the past 500 years of protestantism, we have found ourselves in a swirling sink-hole that has been sucking us in deeper and deeper into a state of division. The Reformation fit in well with the rational ideas of the enlightenment.Because of this, we suddenly found ourselves having a heavy reliance on a book and the science of dissecting and resembling that book in a systematic manner. This systematic theology heavily ignores the narrative and the historical context the scriptures came to life in and cuts and pastes sterilized verses into rational doctrines often far removed from the life of the spirit.
This new science of bible study, combined with the rationalistic idea of ultimate truth and personalized study has done more for creating a spirit of disunity and division than any thing we have seen before. 30,000 + Protestant denominations!
Even though the bible is sliced up, much like a legal document, with chapters and verses, it is not a contract that we have to mine out the meaning in order to be able to judge our beliefs (and others) rightly. The bible is a narrative and can only be understood in reading it as a story. And because languages change, and individual words take on different meanings depending on the context, so even if we perfectly understand Greek and Hebrew, could the meaning of the word have evolved to take on different emphasis or meanings? Could not the use of words, though they have the same meaning, take on a different spin depending on the context and understanding of different audiences?
Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, ‘Come, and let us go to the seer’; for he who is called a prophet now was formerly called a seer.
1 Samuel 9:9
Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers. Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word[rhema, spoken or written utterance – story] of truth. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness
2 Timothy 2:14-16
It is better for someone to never have heard of Jesus but follow in his steps, than someone who believes in right doctrine but doesn’t follow the life.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 John 1:6,7
True faith, and thus a true and healthy walk with God, has more in common with doubt and uncertainty then it does with having confidence (and placing that confidence in the understanding that there is an absolute truth, and that we have parsed life and the bible rightly and have a good, solid handle on what that truth is).
”No matter how good a cause, when you think you are on a mission from God, you eventually get crazy”
And much of evangelical and charismatic Christendom has been on a mission from God!