Sunday, February 28, 2010

Corinthian Conversation II: What Happened To the Corinthians?

I am not up on Corinthian history.

What did they end up doing?  Did they end up hearing what Paul was saying about the centrality of the person of Christ and his cross?

I fear sometimes.  Just how much of this are we getting?  I am afraid that technology will be the great slayer of the would-be Christian soul.  I feel this pressure every day, as the Internet and e-mail beckon, and take us further and further away from our ability to wait on God.  Who can wait on God when we're striving to get faster and faster communications devices and methods with each other?

But letting the Good News sink in in a transforming way depends on the ability to trust God over time, and with many difficulties.  Pilgrim didn't get to fax himself to the Celestial City.

Can we please assist each other in seeing that it is about a person, namely Christ.  And put the servants of God in their rightful place--messengers.  Nobody goes around claiming to have allegiance to the errand runner.  Now true ministers of the Gospel are greater than mere errand boys due to their calling, but in another sense, they fade in personal magnitude compared to Christ.  That is to say, I believe, if we spend more time thinking about how great a particular pastor is than time saying what Christ has done, we are out of balance.

Back to this "true ministers" notion.  There are not a lot of them.  We mean those who stick to the cross and Christ as the grand subject of life.  And that is easy to get off track, even for the best of them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Corinthian Conversation I: Intellect Is a Tool To Bring Us To Love, Or To God

In response to Dr. Josh Moody's exposition of I Corinthians 2:6-16:

Did you ever feel like the Word of God was like a friend who knew everything about you, and was telling you some ugly stuff in love? That is what I Corinthians is like so far.

God knows everything there is to know about James E. Quattrochi--and you. And yet, he loves us. Simply amazing, that he would do that. If you can read this, and I can write it, we are not in hell. And that is astounding if we think about it.

Specifically, I am gathering a notion I have suspected for some time. That the knowledge of God is categorically different from any other kind of knowledge. God does not just give that to anybody.

We are used to the classroom idea of knowledge: that it is something we should memorize for a test to come. At that point we simply regurgitate that information, collect our "A," and move on.

What I see is that proceeding like that causes people to crucify the Lord of Glory. And that is not good. Kierkegaard championed the Christian faith because he felt that its beauty was that it didn't make sense. That is not exactly where I am coming from. A crucified man 2000 years ago as the source of joy today does not make sense to those without the Spirit. And even those whom God will save stumble over it at times. But in order to know what God's message to us about reality is, we must get that from God himself. Which means that the old "Read your Bible pray every day, and you'll grow, grow, grow" sing-song chant is actually a good but simple start.

People like me trip over simplicity, though. We like lofty philosophical speculations and revel in conjectural thoughts about God and the Bible. Again, later in I Corinthians 13, Paul is going to demolish the "knowledge as candy" orientation of the Corinthians. And the same tendency of philosophers like me. Do you remember "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love...?" Paul goes on to say that even if he could fathom all mysteries, it would be meaningless without love. And love is the old, old story of Jesus. So here we can tie I Corinthians 13 into chapter 2.

So how should we view our intellectual capacities? As leading to and supporting love. And love begins at the cross. The very cross our Lord submitted to when we proceeded in our common view of wisdom and knowledge. May he do a great work to awaken real love and wisdom in us today!