One of the joys of having regular bible studies as a family is the non-stop questions from my children. One topic or issue can easily bring up loads of questions that are sometimes relevant to the passage we were reading, or spin off into deep theological territory. This is pure joy – a wealth of opportunities for Christians to sharpen their own understanding of God and also to help articulate things that may have been taken for granted all this time.
We (the Christian community) are sorely lacking the skills and the mindset to engage the world around us. Instead, many are taking the approach that so outlines the whole political interaction in America at the moment: it is them or us. It is all aggression and claiming “fake news” when the other side purports information or statements that do conform to our views. It is pathetic on both sides; more on the side of professing believers because we claim to have received Grace from God.
At this point, there will always be the militant-minded Christians who questions the need to be all things to all men for the sake of the Gospel – Moses and the prophets were fiery and brought “hell” to the hearers! That is their claim. But that conveniently ignores the radical circumstance found in most of Old Testament history – God was working through a theocracy (God-leading and ruling a physical nation). The apostles would plead and instruct Christians to be gentle in our Christian engagements with the world. The Lord Himself told the parable of the cunning manager and wished that believers would learn to make use of our resources (all of them) to turn sinners into the kingdom of God.
It begins with this main point: do we allow the listener, the believer, the unbeliever, the pagan to question our beliefs? Put another way, is any question so great and powerful that it can destroy your faith? If there is – throw away your faith – for it is a WEAK and obviously, MAN-MADE faith that cannot stand the mildest push! What a relief it was to read in Matthew’s Gospel, John the Baptist’s doubt over Jesus’ identity and purpose and how the Lord responded to his question. There was no scolding or personal attack – just an assurance through explanation, followed by the commendation of John who was languishing in prison under wicked Herod.
Are you open to being questioned over a practice that you hold to? Over why the Bible is accepted “blindly” by Christians? Over why the God of the Bible IS the true and only God? If you cannot even explain why your church insists on people wearing “their best” on Sundays, or why the sermon was so confusing and boring – you really need to re-think what type of religion you have? Maybe religion in general has reached a saturation point and is now manifesting the only response it can to a time of over-population and over-connectivity: a Trumpian-religion that is full of hypocrisy, aggression and divisiveness.
Let us welcome and invite those who are curious, weak, doubting, new and opposing to ask away – as the apostle puts it at the end of his letter: “Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:5-6)