In this video, Francis Chan clearly articulates the attitude we need to have in approaching scripture and our communication of its truths. He addresses the arrogance we have amidst our many theological debates and the necessity to come humbly before one another in light of our limitations as God’s creation. What is unique about Francis’ approach is that he is able to present truth while acknowledging man’s limitations in comprehending God’s intentions. Usually, when an author emphasizes man’s need to acknowledge that “they are not God”, the truth he/she present is often flaky and obscure. The logic is that, since we cannot know what God knows, we must create a more generous orthodoxy that embodies more questions than answers. Our interpretation of scripture becomes much more subjective in order to accept our humanity. The main option is to quit trying to figure out the particulars of truth and live within the ambiguity. Francis Chan approaches humility (Isaiah 55:8-9) differently. He uses the acknowledgement of his limited mind to tame his arrogance in the presentation of the truth, rather than his conviction itself. For at the end of the day, he does present an objective truth.

The question is whether humility before God should affect how certain we are with regards to a particular doctrine. Claims to an absolute objective truth always seemed to ring with tone of arrogance to me, no matter how it was presented, but I’ve realized more and more that life really does require certainty and a strong conviction. In fact, whether we know it or not, we are all living according to particular absolute convictions. While we can claim that we are uncertain about particular thoughts and doctrines, our actions actually unearth our true objective positions. When making a decision, we form certain arguments in our mind that are influenced by a particular absolute. Whether that conviction is unshakably ingrafted into our minds or not, it’s solid enough to influence the way we live. And that is the kind of certainty I’m talking about. It’s not a certainty that is unwilling to hear the opposite argument, it’s a conviction strong enough to alter the way we live.

Although I do not think we should rush into forming solid convictions about our theology, I believe we need to eventually firmly rest ourselves on certain positions, while always being open to correction. So wherever you are on your spiritual journey, take time to formulate a position you can live by. The alternative is life shaped by an unarticulated conviction that you might not even agree with after some thought.

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One thought on “Humble but Certain

  1. All of the instances that Francis Chan says that he wouldn’t have thought to do, etc. were portrayals of God’s utmost desire for us to realize that there is Satan who, from the beginning of time and until now and until Judgment Day, deceives, steals, kills, and destroys (John 10:10) our very spirits, souls, bodies, and lives. The ultimate knowledge and wisdom that God wants that much for us to have is this: Satan is the prince of this world, watch out for that hungry lion that wants to devour you (and when he does, it’s actually infinitely worse than being killed by the priest’s swords), and use the power of the name of Christ Jesus to resist the devil so he would flee (James 4:7) – because Jesus indeed is Christ! He has crushed the devil’s head (Gen 3:15), conquering death and curse. On this gospel, there should be no uncertainty. Accepting this gospel, and knowing how we were once the children of the devil, we can only have humility before (wo)men and God. True humility can only come from this.

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