Thursday, June 08, 2006

More on Truth...

My friend John Creasy posted a comment on one of my last posts that I thought was good.  So, I’m reposting it here along with my reply to him in an email.

John’s Comment:

Thanks Brian, great critiques. A question I have in my mind now is: what is the difference between "experiencing truth" and "experiencing the revelation of God"? Does not the ultimate knowledge of truth come through God's revelation, precisely the work of Jesus Christ? If that is true, maybe we should talk more about God's revelation. I think it will take a big step for some of us to really believe that Christ is at work and that our experiences may include the reality of revelation.

My Reply:

Hi John,

(This response is going to double as a blog post - hence the tone)

Good comments.  I think you're right on.  As far as I see it "experiencing Truth" and "experiencing the revelation of God", since Truth = Jesus Christ = Revelation of God is precisely the same.  The problem that I often see when it comes to talking about "experiencing revelation" is that the work of the Holy Spirit often gets confused with our inner emotions.  We talk about God speaking through the world, fine and true, but how is that grounded in continuity with God's revelation?

There is a great quote from Karl Barth on how God speaks to the world:
"God may speak to us through Russian Communism, a flute concerto, a blossoming shrub, or a dead dog.  We do well to listen to him if he really does.  But unless we regard ourselves as prophets and founders of a new Church, we cannot say that we are commissioned to pass on what we have heard as independent proclamation"  (Church Dogmatics, v.1.1 - The Word of God, Pg. 55)

People often quote the first part to say, "Look, even Barth acknowledged that God can speak through the world!" but forget the very important second part (and the rest of the page for that matter).  I think we need to recapture the idea of Jesus Christ's on-going work and yes, revelation to individuals and the community.  We need to have the boldness to say, "Jesus revealed to our community that he wants us to be involved in ________".  But we need to make sure that we experience and believe is revelation that is in continuity with the past revelation of God and the future direction of God's work in the world (hence the important of eschatology in ministry (which will be one of my next posts).  If what you believe God is revealing isn't in line with what God has done in the world and has revealed that he will do, chances are you're missing the boat somewhere.

Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

- Brian


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