Monday, August 11, 2008

Falling Arches, Collapsing Certainties

The stone arch in Utah was not supposed to collapse. It had been spanning for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It was a geological certainty. And time and gravity took its toll and it collapsed this weekend. The border between Georgia and Russia collapsed this weekend also. Around us are fixed objects that we often take to be certainties, until they collapse. Then they aren't so certain anymore.
The job of a pastor and the church is to define reality and identify certainties. What we sometimes identify as certainties, in time collapse under the pressure of time and age: musical styles, evangelistic programs, theological education, local church configurations, government entitlements, etc.
A friend who teaches occasionally at Westmont College, Dr. Tito Paredes, who also heads a theological graduate school in Lima Peru says that the Certain Issue is, has been and will be: discipleship. That will not collapse or fade away.


At 9:49 PM , Blogger Beth B said...

Donn, "certainty" is a weird word for me.

At its best, it refers to a subjective state, which, like all subjective states, is mutable. At its worst, it smacks of Descartes and all the modernists' quests to discover a truth independent of God. Either way, "certainty" isn't strong enough by itself to bear the weight of the gospel.

But Truth is. "I am the Way, the Certainty, and the Life" just doesn't cut it. "Send forth your certainty" doesn't, either. And don't these sound stunted and strange:

"Surely you desire certainty in my inward parts."

"But when the Spirit of Certainty comes..."

"You shall know the certainty, and the certainty shall make you free..."

Truth is relational in a way that certainty cannot be, because it is the nature of God. So let those arches fall, let those "certainties" crash: may we as God's children walk in His Truth, and not tag after the idol of certainty.

"Sanctify them by the truth: your word is truth." (John 17:17)

"Test me, O Lord, and try me,
examine my heart and my mind;
for your love is ever before me,
and I walk cotinually in your truth." (Ps. 26:2-3)


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