Following up on my post regarding spiritual pilgrimages, and how the emerging church views “journey.”  It seems to many emergents that journey is more important than the destination.  There is a desire to know truth, but it seems like finding it definitively is something that is discouraged.  In Why We’re Not Emergent (By Two Guys Who Should Be) Kevin DeYoung wrote:

The emergent agnosticism about truly knowing and understanding anything about God seems to be pious humility.  It seems to honor God’s immensity, but it actually undercuts His sovereign power.  Postmoderns harbor such distrust for language and disbelieve God’s ability to communicate truth to human minds that they effectively engage in what (D.A.) Carson calls “the gagging of God.”  For example, (Dave) Tomlinson writes (in The Post-Evangelical), “To say Scripture is the word of God is to employ a metaphor.  God cannot be thought of as literally speaking words, since they are an entirely human phenomenon that could never prove adequate as a medium for the speech of an infinite God.”  In a similar vein, (Rob) Bell writes (from Velvet Elvis), “Our words aren’t absolutes.  Only God is absolute, and God has no intention of sharing this absoluteness with anything, especially words people have come up with to talk about him.”

Such statements fly in the face of redemptive history and nearly every page of Scripture.  The God of the Bible is nothing if He is not a God who speaks to His people.  To be sure, none of us ever infinitely understand God in a nice, neat package of affirmation and denials, but we can know Him truly, both personally and propositionally.  God can speak.  He can use human language to communicate truth about Himself that is accurate and knowable, without ceasing to be God because we’ve somehow got Him all figured out.

God has revealed what He wants us to know about Himself.  Even with all that is revealed in Scripture their is still mystery.  I don’t fully understand the hypostatic union of Christ, but I believe that Jesus came to earth fully God and fully man, (John 1;14; Philippians 2:7-9).  I don’t have complete understand of God being triune, but He has revealed Himself as such, (Matthew 3:13-17).  There is tension between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility which will always perplex us, (John 6).

This isn’t to even mention that God knows everything there was to know, is to know, and that will be known.  He knows what will never be.  Huh?  He is God.  There will be mystery, but He has revealed Himself as omniscient that gives me comfort and peace.  Also He is eternal, He existed before there was anything.  Before matter, before nothingness… there was God!  The Bible reveals Him as such, but to dwell on it long enough will keep you up at night.  I can go on and on.

Even though we have the four Gospels there is much we don’t know about Jesus’ life and ministry on earth.  The apostle John wrote at the end of his gospel:

Now there are also many other things that Jesus did.  Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written, (John 21:25, ESV).

But events were written… stories were told… He had some of His teaching recorded.  We know about Jesus what God wants us to know about Jesus.  He wants us to know Him and His plan of salvation and His purpose for His bride on earth.  The apostle Paul wrote concerning God’s word…

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work, (2 Timothy 3:16-17, ESV).

We do have a God we can know who desires to know us as well!

29 comments
  1. I like how the new set-up looks on your site – very nice.

    Kansas Bob – get used to it – you’ll find it is hard to defend many things within the Christian realm without having to repeat yourself about 5 times. Maybe it’s because sometimes we, as people, get stuck wanting to see what we think we see and have tough times seeing beyond that (none of us quite that unbiased).

    SocietyVss last blog post..‘No Religion Is An Island’ – Abraham Joshua Heschel :. Convo about Heschel

  2. I like how the new set-up looks on your site – very nice.

    Kansas Bob – get used to it – you’ll find it is hard to defend many things within the Christian realm without having to repeat yourself about 5 times. Maybe it’s because sometimes we, as people, get stuck wanting to see what we think we see and have tough times seeing beyond that (none of us quite that unbiased).

    SocietyVss last blog post..‘No Religion Is An Island’ – Abraham Joshua Heschel :. Convo about Heschel

  3. I like how the new set-up looks on your site – very nice.

    Kansas Bob – get used to it – you’ll find it is hard to defend many things within the Christian realm without having to repeat yourself about 5 times. Maybe it’s because sometimes we, as people, get stuck wanting to see what we think we see and have tough times seeing beyond that (none of us quite that unbiased).

    SocietyVss last blog post..‘No Religion Is An Island’ – Abraham Joshua Heschel :. Convo about Heschel

  4. @Kansas Bob – I know Kevin DeYoung read that book and many others. Did Tomlinson not say that? They just quoted him directly. The point is with somethings clarity is needed.

    @Society – I don’t think that is just in the Christian realm ;). I thought the above quote was pretty insightful. Sometimes when reading through a book it is hard for me to decide what to blog on and what not to blog on. I thought this complemented the last post, but I don’t want to hammer it to death either.

    Glad to see the CommentLuv is working again. Thanks for the feedback. I’d like to tweak the colors some though.

  5. @Kansas Bob – I know Kevin DeYoung read that book and many others. Did Tomlinson not say that? They just quoted him directly. The point is with somethings clarity is needed.

    @Society – I don’t think that is just in the Christian realm ;). I thought the above quote was pretty insightful. Sometimes when reading through a book it is hard for me to decide what to blog on and what not to blog on. I thought this complemented the last post, but I don’t want to hammer it to death either.

    Glad to see the CommentLuv is working again. Thanks for the feedback. I’d like to tweak the colors some though.

  6. @Kansas Bob – I know Kevin DeYoung read that book and many others. Did Tomlinson not say that? They just quoted him directly. The point is with somethings clarity is needed.

    @Society – I don’t think that is just in the Christian realm ;). I thought the above quote was pretty insightful. Sometimes when reading through a book it is hard for me to decide what to blog on and what not to blog on. I thought this complemented the last post, but I don’t want to hammer it to death either.

    Glad to see the CommentLuv is working again. Thanks for the feedback. I’d like to tweak the colors some though.

  7. I think the Tomlinson snippets that you have posted seem to misrepresent the context of what he was trying to say in the book.

    I have not read the “Why We’re Not Emergent” book so I have to ask if you think that the authors would fall into the fundamentalist/literalist camp. If they do then I can understand their take on Tomlinson’s book as he presents alternate ways to understand faith and the scriptures.

    -Bob

    PS: Nice updates to the blog Shane!

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Seven Random/Weird KB Facts

  8. I think the Tomlinson snippets that you have posted seem to misrepresent the context of what he was trying to say in the book.

    I have not read the “Why We’re Not Emergent” book so I have to ask if you think that the authors would fall into the fundamentalist/literalist camp. If they do then I can understand their take on Tomlinson’s book as he presents alternate ways to understand faith and the scriptures.

    -Bob

    PS: Nice updates to the blog Shane!

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Seven Random/Weird KB Facts

  9. I think the Tomlinson snippets that you have posted seem to misrepresent the context of what he was trying to say in the book.

    I have not read the “Why We’re Not Emergent” book so I have to ask if you think that the authors would fall into the fundamentalist/literalist camp. If they do then I can understand their take on Tomlinson’s book as he presents alternate ways to understand faith and the scriptures.

    -Bob

    PS: Nice updates to the blog Shane!

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Seven Random/Weird KB Facts

  10. @Kansas Bob, thanks for the feedback on the blog updates. I like it. I noticed when I was at my parents’ house that the theme I had before was messed up when you looked at it in Internet Explorer so I felt it was time for a change. I need to update to the latest WordPress as well.

    Regarding the authors – they are both Reformed Evangelicals. I’m not so sure literalist and fundamentalist should be lumped together. I would say that they are like me who see Scripture as something that is to be read literally while realizing that figurative language is used as well and that we are not the original audience. Not everything is Scripture is to be taken figuratively though.

  11. @Kansas Bob, thanks for the feedback on the blog updates. I like it. I noticed when I was at my parents’ house that the theme I had before was messed up when you looked at it in Internet Explorer so I felt it was time for a change. I need to update to the latest WordPress as well.

    Regarding the authors – they are both Reformed Evangelicals. I’m not so sure literalist and fundamentalist should be lumped together. I would say that they are like me who see Scripture as something that is to be read literally while realizing that figurative language is used as well and that we are not the original audience. Not everything is Scripture is to be taken figuratively though.

  12. @Kansas Bob, thanks for the feedback on the blog updates. I like it. I noticed when I was at my parents’ house that the theme I had before was messed up when you looked at it in Internet Explorer so I felt it was time for a change. I need to update to the latest WordPress as well.

    Regarding the authors – they are both Reformed Evangelicals. I’m not so sure literalist and fundamentalist should be lumped together. I would say that they are like me who see Scripture as something that is to be read literally while realizing that figurative language is used as well and that we are not the original audience. Not everything is Scripture is to be taken figuratively though.

  13. Hmmm.. fundamentalism and literalism.. how about this passage in James 5:

    13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

    The literalist and some strands of fundamentalism literally interpret this passage in a formulaic fashion and then begin to look for sin when the formula doesn’t work and people are not healed.

    A non-literalist way to understand the passage is that:

    1) God wants us to pray when we are sick or in trouble
    2) It is a good idea to have others pray for you
    3) Confession of sins brings (inner) healing
    4) Prayers of righteous folks are powerful

    How would you interpret the passage? Make a literal formula out of it or look for a less literal interpretation?

    Formulas often arise when the view of scripture is a literal one. What say you?

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Gumpisms

  14. Hmmm.. fundamentalism and literalism.. how about this passage in James 5:

    13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

    The literalist and some strands of fundamentalism literally interpret this passage in a formulaic fashion and then begin to look for sin when the formula doesn’t work and people are not healed.

    A non-literalist way to understand the passage is that:

    1) God wants us to pray when we are sick or in trouble
    2) It is a good idea to have others pray for you
    3) Confession of sins brings (inner) healing
    4) Prayers of righteous folks are powerful

    How would you interpret the passage? Make a literal formula out of it or look for a less literal interpretation?

    Formulas often arise when the view of scripture is a literal one. What say you?

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Gumpisms

  15. Hmmm.. fundamentalism and literalism.. how about this passage in James 5:

    13Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 14Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

    The literalist and some strands of fundamentalism literally interpret this passage in a formulaic fashion and then begin to look for sin when the formula doesn’t work and people are not healed.

    A non-literalist way to understand the passage is that:

    1) God wants us to pray when we are sick or in trouble
    2) It is a good idea to have others pray for you
    3) Confession of sins brings (inner) healing
    4) Prayers of righteous folks are powerful

    How would you interpret the passage? Make a literal formula out of it or look for a less literal interpretation?

    Formulas often arise when the view of scripture is a literal one. What say you?

    Kansas Bobs last blog post..Gumpisms

  16. @Bob – there is middle ground in between that (which is a prosperity gospel belief) and what Tomlinson advocates. That view is not the result of sound biblical interpretation. My point is that not everything is figurative and that we can know God. That doesn’t take away mystery – we’ll never have him completely figured out. But we can know information about God.

  17. @Bob – there is middle ground in between that (which is a prosperity gospel belief) and what Tomlinson advocates. That view is not the result of sound biblical interpretation. My point is that not everything is figurative and that we can know God. That doesn’t take away mystery – we’ll never have him completely figured out. But we can know information about God.

  18. @Bob – there is middle ground in between that (which is a prosperity gospel belief) and what Tomlinson advocates. That view is not the result of sound biblical interpretation. My point is that not everything is figurative and that we can know God. That doesn’t take away mystery – we’ll never have him completely figured out. But we can know information about God.

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