At Crossings Community we bulldoze right into all of the difficult issues that spring up when someone is journeying through a relationship with Jesus. One of the core tenets of our identity is that we let the Bible speak for itself. We believe it is the only truth to which everything else is compared. This means that even our own feelings and intellectual understanding has to be measured against the “plumb line” of scripture. In other words, as we often say, we believe all of the Bible is true regardless of how we might feel about it or how well we can systematize its logic.
Some examples of these issues are things like the supernatural activity of God today amidst our current surroundings. There is the issue of spiritual warfare and the battle against those under Satan’s rule. Those crazy spiritual gifts can be intimidating for us today as well. There is the huge discussion of the sovereignty of God and his loving election of those who are His children. That issue along side of our responsibility in our obedience and our responsibility to carry the gospel story to those around us. One that comes up often in our current age is the way God has called men and women to different roles within marriage and the church. These are all issues we have wrestled with as a church in various contexts.
At the end of the day, amidst all of those discussions, I have always seen it boil down to a single issue. If we truly believe that ALL of the Bible is true and we are allowing ALL of it to inform our thinking, then the issues seem pretty clear. There are some ‘second tier’ issues which are not clear in the Bible. That is okay for us to admit. God has told us exactly what He wants us to know in His Word. Therefore, in the sum of my conversations the underlying issue has always been how a person responds to what they see in scripture.
The responses usually fit within one of these categories:
- I’m not sure what the Bible says but my understanding of goodness and love demands that God must act in *this* manner.
- I have read the Bible and these passages must mean *this* because of my understanding of goodness and love.
- I have read the Bible and these passages must mean *this* because this seems to be the only way they make sense to me.
- I have read the Bible and these passages must mean *this* to me because the God I know would not do *that* to someone or respond in *that* way.
- I have read the Bible and these passages mean *this* because it is the simplest and most obvious solution even though it is different than I thought and I still don’t understand how it can be that way.
The difference in these approaches is very clear. The first four have us as the limiting factor regarding who God is and how God works. The fifth is the only option that concedes to the reality that God is bigger and greater than myself. Another way to think about it would be to say that the first four shrink our God into working in ways that can only be understood by our feeble minds. Now, I know some you are really intelligent people…. REALLY intelligent. But I’m going to be honest, I do not want to give my life to a God who is no smarter than you (or myself for that matter).
Do you really want to worship a God whose ways can all be neatly understood by the limitations of your mind? I find great joy in worshiping the God whose ways are so far beyond my understanding that it places me on my knees in amazement at a moment’s notice. Therefore, regardless of how I might feel about it or even if it all makes sense to me, His Word is where I place my faith.
Question: Are there specific issues in the Bible that you have struggled to believe because they do not fit your expectations of God?