It’s D day. We started our Bible in one year project today as a church body. Today’s passage was the first four chapters of Matthew. I was so pleased that on the way to my meeting i got out my Ipod and listened again to the passage while following the text in French on my Palm (yes, i still own a Palm). Then back to my Ipod to read the English text.
How do i feel? Happy, excited, grateful, expectant, words fail me. What a thrill to have the pleasure of leading a young church with new believers. To think that people who a few months back could not tell the gospels from the epistles, nor Abraham from Noah are on board to read through the entire Bible is a truly amazing thing. Already in a few short months and even weeks, they have read more scripture than many old believers in an entire year.
I came to faith in Christ by reading the Gospels while asking God in a most irreverent fashion to tell me , if He existed, whether this Jesus person was what these Christians said he was, was he the son of God, God, who exactly was he, if anything, and was there really a God? At some point in my reading, I became convinced. I said later It was my Peter experience, ‘flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven….’. Indeed I became so thoroughly convinced that i literally devoured the Bible, i shut myself in and read all day, utterly captivated. The need for church attendance i did not understand, Christians i did not like, but Jesus became reality in the pages of His book.
No doubt the many Christians who witnessed to me, sometimes aggressively, had sown seeds, though i repelled them most condescendingly, but the tipping point came when i opened the Bible for myself with the desire to know if truth existed and if it was in Christ. The pattern has continued through my Christian life, God’s Word first, seeking understanding, poring over the text, talking it over with God, and upholding it in the midst of contrary circumstances.
Intellectual and theological laziness is often prevalent in our charismatic circles. So long as we shout and dance and roll on the floor, we are happy, yet surely it must sadden God’s heart to see such neglect of a book He so lovingly communicated to us over such a long time and through various and diverse personalities, just so we can understand who He is and how He relates to us. And that is what eventually led me to start attending church and hanging out with Christians, because i recognised that the God i had met in the pages of the book was the same one they served and though they were not perfect, neither was i, and we were part of the same family.
What the Bible offers us is a worldview, a particular manner of living and being that corresponds to the heart of God. If we are biblically illiterate, we are open to being brainwashed and gradually manipulated into espousing beliefs and accepting values that are contrary to the underlying precepts of the faith we claim to hold, without even realising what is happening. It is imperative that we think biblically as called out ones, in the world but not of the world.
Our goal is to know what we believe, who we believe and as Charles Colson puts it in the title of his book ‘How now shall we live’; every man seeing for himself what the implications are for his life to have believed in the Person of Christ. We will wrestle with thorny issues, we will ask hard questions, we will pray for guidance and we will have a beautiful year. Shalom!
Spread the word