Friday, May 01, 2009
They begin to see controversial biblical issues in perspective. They begin to see what seemed like rather quaint laws concerning land tenure, debt release, diet and social hygiene aren't so impractical. These laws could, given a chance, show us the way out of the terrible mess we have made of our civilization with its homeless, urban poor, dispossessed farmers, hideous diseases and ravaged environment. It would not mean going back to the Middle Ages either. God's laws, when properly understood, are compatible with genuine progress. That doesn't mean there are no questions. There are always very real problems God-fearing people must face. The Bible shows that adjustments can be made in applying the revealed laws of God to new circumstances. Jesus himself showed a certain flexibility. But he always acted within the spirit and intent of the law. See, for example, Mark 2:23-28. There is a vast difference between that and deciding for ourselves what is convenient. There will inevitably be times when God-fearing persons face situations where compromise is not possible. They must choose to obey God rathe than man, and take the consequences. These are the experiences that build faith. Faith established this way is not simplistic. Neither is it naive, anti-intellectual, or any of the other put-downs. A faith built on living "by every word that comes out of the mouth of God" is a profoundly maturing and seasoning experience. There are no shortcuts, no lowering of standards, no concessions to what "seems reasonable." But the person who has chosen that road will find understanding. It is not the Bible that needs reformatting. It is us.