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.