Thursday, April 30, 2009

First Principles and Ants in yer pants

I remember hearing Carl Armeding (from Regent College, Vancouver BC) speak about the believer and doubting. He was speaking at the old assembly NW Bible Conference in Portland. It was Labor Day '80 or '82. His message has stuck with me because I had recently gone through a season doubting that had even made me physically ill.

Dr Armeding asserted that a degree of doubt is a natural (re)occurence for the believer and helps us to know and reaffirm first principles of our faith. The quote I remember (and use with delight whenever I can find an excuse -- it just rolls off the tongue) was for the believer in Christ "doubts are the ants in the pants of faith."

A favorite passage from that time I still return to is II Peter 1:16-21 Read it.

You catch that?
v16 "For we did not follow cleverly devised tales...
...but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
v19 "So we have the prophetic word made more sure,"

Peter's belief in scripture was the foundation for his belief in Jesus Christ. However, that belief was "made more sure" by his experience.

He didn't start with his experience or feelings and try to understand questions of faith and eternity. He started with "the prophetic word," aka the Old Testament Scriptures.

Put differently for the fans of big words: his faith and message was based in objective truth of scripture and validated by his subjective experience on the Mt of Transfiguration (and I'm sure the rest of his personal experience with Christ).

I believe (and cling to) Peter's testimony because Peter believed even to the point of dying for his belief. I believe he was a rational man. No high falutin' private college education for Peter. Just a hard man of the sea with hard hands who dealt and lived with hard realities -- not fantasies. I have no reason to believe Peter was a nut job of the sort who believed 9/11 was an inside job.

Jesus Christ Son of God Savior. ixthus to you

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