I suppose it’s time I get a little personal.
Most of the time I write about theological mysteries, controversies, and questions. Why? Because it is just about the only way that I can learn. Unless a message is peppered with questions, I find it nearly impossible to stay engaged. Therefore, I learn through a series of questions. I need to have the questions repeated and asked in a variety of ways. For me, the most rewarding questions are the ones that don’t have an easy answer.
Sometimes, the challenging questions put my faith through a ringer. At times my faith has been crushed. However, I’ve learned to embrace those crushing moments when doubt has almost overwhelmed me. Why? Because that is when God helps me to find the holes in my theology and change. I wouldn’t suggest this method as a means of study for everyone. I just know what works for me.
What happens when I find holes in my theology? I can either walk away from God, or ask Him for help. He either helps by letting me see an alternative answer, giving me a fresh idea, or giving me an experience that replaces mental theology with experiential faith.
Theology is thinking about God. Faith, on the other hand, is having an experience with God. You may be thinking, “But Brother Dan, Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” That’s exactly right! Abraham was the father of our faith, and every time he heard from God, it was an experience for him. Hearing from God is an experience. It doesn’t have to be dramatic. Yet, real faith is marked by a change. It might be a subtle change, but it is a change. It may just be a change of mind. Even the faith of a child has substance to it. James says that, “Faith without works is dead”.
So what holds me together when my faith gets crushed? What holds me together when it takes six weeks of groveling with questions until the “light-bulb” goes off?
It is a mix of beliefs and experiences. Right now, I will share one belief.
What is my anchor belief? I believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Why? Because of the witness of the Apostles. I’ve examined both sides of the argument for the Apostles’ existence. There is some satisfying evidence for the existence of the Apostles, and the writings indicate that all but John were martyred for their beliefs. Prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, these Ten Witnesses were not the bravest bunch in the world. They were executed individually and didn’t have a gang mentality giving them strength at their deaths. If it was all a conspiracy, at least one of the Ten Martyrs would have spoken up and said, “Don’t kill me, it’s just a hoax”. If it wasn’t true, one of them would have folded. The Romans hated Christianity at that time and would have broadcasted that news throughout the Empire.
Jesus is alive, and I have seen Him change many lives…including my own. This is just one reason why I believe.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”