OK group, break’s over, let’s get back on the bus! Our next stop is at a place called Precepts, Premises and Regular Guys, as we continue on our journey. Here’s the theory again…
“Christian theology is not particularly difficult to understand. Its precepts and premises are fairly simple, it was given to “regular” guys to share with the world, and they did it. Yes, of course they had a lot of help from the Holy Spirit, but then so do we. Yet we love to argue, follow tradition and form to avoid spiritual growth and reaching out, because they are counter-intuitive, and the fact that they are counter-intuitive is exactly the point of all things being new, for our human intuition isn’t new, it’s the old thing that Jesus died to free us from.”
When I posted that short paragraph of Christian basics, remember that really simple one last time? Well those were actually theological conclusions. Now don’t freak on me, I’m not going academic on you, no sir, not on this trip. It’s just that that’s what they are. Conclusions are built upon precepts or premises. These are also sometimes called presuppositions, assumptions or preconceptions or even preconceived notions, but to keep it simple, let’s just say premises today… OK?
Good. All conclusions are built upon and based upon their underlying premises or assumptions. So, if you see somebody who has a conclusion that is different from yours, you will never change their mind by attacking their conclusion, because they have probably arrived at their conclusion logically, but with a different set of premises backing it up. That’s just a little bonus tidbit for you at no extra cost, by the way.Anyway, the point is that these premises are the reasoning behind the conclusions that I stated in our last stop. I’m not going to list those premises here; this isn’t that kind of post. This whole journey is a thinking journey more than an analysis; we’re just having some fun together.
My set of conclusions is pretty much the standard Christian bundle of basics, offhand I can’t think of a major group that would be Christian who would argue with any of them… but there’s probably somebody I’m not thinking of. There are more conclusions that I could have listed, but I didn’t because I want to keep our “theology” at a point where there is very little to debate. However, when debates and divisions pop up, they always pop up in premises that lead to logically arrived at but erroneous conclusions on someone’s part. Sorry, this is already getting fuzzy for some of you, so let’s move on to the main point.
The simple basics of Christian theology are based upon simple premises that you’ve heard many times before. God did not make our faith complicated, but so many of you feel lost in theology, and this is because we add to it because we are looking for, in fact we insist upon a complicated answer to the simple question of : “What is the meaning of life.” (Or something similar) These premises, as I’ve mentioned above are simple and you have heard them all before. Consider a couple… There is one God who is the maker of heaven and earth. Another one is that the Bible is His Word. Now, you can either believe them or not, but if you take either one or the other out from under your logic, you can’t accept any of the conclusions I mentioned last time, because they will no longer work.
Get the idea of how this works? Easy, simple, almost simplistic… but counter-intuitive. If you’ve got the simple part, we can talk about the “regular guys.”
The Apostles of Jesus Christ were not seminary professors, nor were they philosophers or anything like that. With the exception of Paul, they were strictly blue-collar types. Can you guess why that might have been? For one thing, the “professionals” were almost all opposed to the Gospel. They were the elites, the Pharisees, the great religious rulers of the day, and you know what they had done with Judaism? They had complicated it with a rigid set of rules that far outnumbered the original 613 laws of Moses. They were so very important that they had to add to what God had given their fathers; they complicated it with extra premises, resulting in all manner of extra conclusions, most likely because they simply were not willing to accept that God’s ways are simple.
The “regular guys” were not well-educated. There was no drive, at least when they came to understand, to add extra premises. They handled God’s Word faithfully, with no need to protect their position… they had no position to protect in this life! So, take heart! “Regular” people, “real” people you can understand the Bible! Yippee! Even a dolt like me can get it! They even had the Holy Spirit with them to help them, to guide them and when necessary to give them the words they needed, and so do you and I. He will lead us to the truth if we will seek His presence, and He will do so at the right time.
I hope you see all of this as a great encouragement if you have or are struggling in your faith!
Our next stop on our journey is at the place where the rubber meets the road for most Christians. It is the place where our natural human intuition battles with God’s counter-intuitive truth. See ya tomorrow!
PS: Oh, are you thinking that the question about the meaning of life isn’t easy? Well, if you’ve missed my posts on that… here’s a hint: It’s a really simple answer that encompasses the major imperative of the New Covenant. OK, if you didn’t read the Covenant class notes, then here’s another hint: It has everything to do with Jesus Christ.