Scholars, Logic, Faith, and Making Sense

I have as much respect for biblical scholars, theological thinkers and ancient language experts as anyone else. Great men are great men. Great women are great women. But opinions are also opinions, which means that great scholars’ opinions are just great scholars’ opinions.

And, obviously, when something doesn’t make good sense … well, then it doesn’t good sense, whether it’s a great scholar’s  opinion, or yours, or mine.

I don’t believe God breathed inspiration into scripture with the overarching intention to confuse us and conceal His will for us, or to make it the private authoritative domain of biblical scholars. Their expertise can certainly help, but of all people, scholars who teach should know the difference between fact and opinion and be able and honest enough to distinguish them.

Our purpose cannot be to defend the historical interpretations, doctrines and opinions of scholarly men and women without question – however great, intelligent and faithful they might be or might have been.

We’re not responsible for their reading of scripture or their knowledge or their faithfulness, but of our own — and how we live accordingly.

Our purpose must be to seek Truth, for in doing so we seek Jesus who is also the Way and the Life. And through Him we seek the Father, our God.

“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22
That said, when seeking to make sense of scripture that seems perplexing:
Logic has its place in Christian thought. But it’s not first place.

Faith has first place.

Because logic is what tells you not to believe when you see or hear something impossible. Logic is what tells you, “That’s impossible! I can’t believe that. That did not just happen!”

Yet it did.

So faith comes first, and we all know what faith is: “Faith is believing when common sense tells you not to.” (My scripture text is “Miracle on 34th Street” by Valentine Davies, of course. However, John 20:24ff or Hebrews 11will do nicely, too.)

Now, logic will help you sort out what you have/have not seen or heard, and what is or isn’t possible. It will help make sense of that which does not immediately make sense. But it must work within the context or framework of faith.

We believe in gravity, mass, air, airless vacuum, love, justice, mercy and courage though they are invisible. We believe because we see their effects. Logic tells us there must be a cause for these effects, and faith puts a name to each cause because we believe it must exist.

They work together.

But faith first.

Logic later.

(First published on Facebook in two parts, 8/11/12.)

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