A spoonful of sugar…

3 10 2008

Today I took my own advice and had lunch with a friend of mine. We discussed all the important things in life, namely Theology and Chicks. I know, I know, I can see the eyes rolling from here. Just kidding, we just discussed theology.

The discussion we had forced me to think on my feet, and find a way of articulating what I believe. All the reading I have done over the past year has helped me enormously. I am now able to see that I understand the Gospel message better and am ready to give a reason for the hope that is in me. The Lord will not leave me where I am though. He keeps me humble by reminding me that inspite of all my knowledge I am still a fallen human being in need of His Grace.


We discussed the nature of Truth. My friend did not like the way some people added words before truth like, “Absolute” or “Half”. In fact for him things were either true or false. But what my friend didn’t know was that there were very good reasons for doing this in the past and still are good reasons for this now. There are two kinds of truths in my opinion. I see some truth as objectively true. I define that as true for all people, all times and all places. It is true irrespective of circumstance. Say for instance, Jesus is the only way to the Father. This truth is true for all people, in all places and at all times. There is no other name under heaven through which man can be saved. But then take the statement “Its ok to be a Christian and drink alcohol. This is a subjective truth. It is someones opinion, and circumstantially dependant. That is it is only true in certain situations. For instance, it would certainly not be OK for a Christian to drink in front a newly recovered alcoholic in the name of Christian freedom. It would not be good for anyone to be the cause of someone stumbling.
What I had to explain to my friend is that throughout history the Church has swung like a pendulum on this issue. On the one hand from the 1600’s onward we seem to have declared that all truth is absolute and objective. It holds true for everyone. From WWII onwards some parts of the Church started to say that there is no absolute and objective truth at all, arguing that truth is relative to each persons subjective experience. As things go, these interpretations are normally overstated interpretations used to justify someones extreme position. In the middle we see that some truth is objective and absolute, and there certainly can be a good case made for some subjective truth. Thats the way I see, feel free to critique my view.

The discussion also helped me to model Grace to my friend. I could easily have dogmatically refuted all his points and made him feel like an idiot while I sat smugly back in my chair. But I didn’t. I heard him out and when he had finished I realised we were more or less in the same theological boat. Listening is a skill we could all improve. At the end of our discussion my friend said he was impressed with my knowledge and that I really knew what I was talking about. We had a mutual respect for each other and a desire to keep the conversation going. It truly was a Graceful conversation. How wonderful would it be to see many more Christians engaging in these fruitful discussions? Sunday Church Services would be a completely different experience. People would come hungry.

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