1/9/2023 1 Comment
January 9, 2023
This Week's Teaching | Prayers
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This Week's Teaching: "Do Not Go Beyond What Is Written"
Our culture lusts for certitude as if it bolsters truth. It must make us feel more secure. Like, if we believe something hard enough, it must be true. Or, at least, we can claim it as "my truth." And if anyone wants to challenge us, we can use certitude like a billy club to shut up our critics — including our inner critics.
But certitude is just as apt to make a display of foolishness as it is to reveal brilliance. In fact, it would appear that many use it to short-circuit difficult conversations or the tedious process of critical thought.
It's easy to see it in politics, but does it not also describe the theological conversations that have long divided the Church? Certitude asserts itself as faith and knowledge, but what if it's more like lust than faith? What if it's a desire for certainty where God wants mystery?
Certitude means "absolute certainty or conviction that something is the case," typically about things that can't be proven. That can describe faith to a certain extent, which the Bible calls "confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." (Hebrews 11.1) Let that describe our certainty and conviction about the essential things. But when it comes to opinions about peripheral things where the Bible is vague, ambiguous, or silent, we need to practice meekness, gentleness and humility — and with confidence that what God has said is enough.
1 Corinthians 4.6 says "Do not go beyond what is written." The context of that is to stop dividing the church around different teachers and leaders. It certainly applies to our context.
Let's renew that conviction. Start being aware of how much you crave certitude. Name it and renounce it. Choose conviction about foundational truths, and allow humble curiosity about all the other things — but stay humble and gentle in it. If we give ourselves to this, the light will shine brighter on those truths that are essential.
Pray for the ministry of X242. Pray that in 2023 we are able to minister the gospel in new communities through the planting and encouragement of new microchurches. Pray for wisdom and discernment.
Pray for those who are sick and in need. May it be said of us that "there were no needy persons among them."
2/5/2023 09:11:17 am
Great thoughts! Humility is so lacking in the church today.
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Roger Shenk is the pastor of X242, a network of microchurches.