Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Which "R" Word Do We Want?

Day 2 in a "Right Reason and the Princeton Mind- an Unorthodox Proposal by Paul Kjoss Helseth.

Though the intent of this book is to challenge the critics who have relegated the Princetonians to a 'rational' only theology, I'm finding it to be a summary statement on the nature of saving faith- the capability and limitations of the unbelieving mind- and philisophical foundations of apologetics.

Today's chapter used the writings of BB Warfield to advance the premise.

But it only continued to press me a little on finding subtle but crucial distinctives between historical, speculative, and saving faith.

Eventually, most of this will be put into application in my work with teens. But the fundamentals will not change if they are based on truth.

I would have to confess that many times, my faith is of a speculative or historical nature. I see it as a slight wandering into an area where I love ideas or concepts more than the presence of the Living God.

C.S. Lewis mentions this in his book, Miracles:
An impersonal God- well and good.
A subjective God of beauty, truth, and goodness inside our own heads- better still.
A formless, life surging force...a power we can tap- best of all.

But God himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps  approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband- that is quite another matter.....

There comes a moment when people who have been dabbling with religion suddenly  draw back. Supposing we really found Him? We never meant to come to that! Worse still, supposing that He had found us?

This then is what we desire- we want to move beyond a historical or speculative faith into a saving faith. And the reality is this: it has to be a regenerative work of God's Spirit.

I thought it was interesting that Warfield saw value in the historical faith. He saw part of apologetics as staging the ground for saving faith. I see this in my work with students. I am not trying to argue them into the kingdom- I am actually demonstrating that my faith is reasonable. But mere reason will never produce saving faith just as writing/speaking about fatherhood serves as a substitute for the actual birth experience.

At some point- we ask that God intervene and pour out His Spirit on an individual and change their inclinations- a heart that responds in repentance and saving faith.

This is where I am the silliest- I prepare my chats- my words- my writings- my arguments- my analogies and stories- but how often do I pray? Have I ever fasted for it?

I end today with a sincere question- Do I want revival? It seems like a simple question. But I am not so sure. A.W. Tozer argued that a revival of the current Christianity would be a tragedy which would set the church back a hundred years.

So let me re-think this. What 'R' word do I want? Reformation? Renewal? Restitution? Revelation? Realization? Resolution?

No- let me start with regeneration. Lord, keep regenerating me- Holy Spirit empowered sight and hearing. Let this regeneration lead me to repentance. Let repentance lead me back to You! Then there will be reformation. Then there will be renewal. Then there may come revival. I will drink in deep refreshment!

Move our faith/ my faith off of the merely speculative or historical- I'm tired of 'holding to a form of godliness but denying the power' (2 Timothy 3:5).

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