Be Ready for Every Good Work

3:1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. election-2

But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. 10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. ( Saint Paul,letter to Titus)

This is just one of many scriptures that would make an excellent “exit poll” evaluation for Christians in America to do a little self-evaluation in light of this campaign which comes to an end today. I found it most humbling in light of our calling to be light and salt in the midst of just such a situation.

T H E  I N T E R P R E T E R

adapted from a sermon by Joseph Parker (1830-1902)
“And the LORD answered me, and said: 
‘ Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables,
that he may run that readeth it’.”

-Habakkuk, the prophet
 
“Which being interpreted”, that is what we need:  a man to tell us the meaning of hard words and difficult things and mysteries which press too heavily upon our staggering faith. The interpretation comes to us as a lamp. We instantly feel the comfort and the liberty of illumination.When we heard that word Emmanuel we were bewildered; it was a foreign word to us. It brought with it no familiar associations nor did it speak to anything that was within us. But when the interpreter came, when he placed his finger upon the word and said to us, “The meaning of this word is God with us”, then we came into the liberty and into the wealth of a new possession.
So we need the interpreter. We shall always need him. The great reader will always have his day, come and go who may. We want men who can turn foreign words, difficult languages, into our mother tongue. Then how simple they are and how beautiful, and that which was a difficulty before becomes a gate opening upon a wide liberty. We need a man who can interpret the meaning of confused and confusing and bewildering events; some one with a key from heaven, one with divine insight, the vision that sees the poetry and the reality of things; a man with a clear, simple, strong, penetrating voice who will tell us that all this confusion will one day be shaped into order, and all this uproar will fall into the cadences of a celestial and endless music.

We shall know that man when we meet him; there is no mistaking the prophet. He does not speak as other men speak, nor is he in difficulty or in trouble as other men are. On his girdle hangs the key, the golden key, that can open the most difficult gates in providence and in history, and in the daily events that make up our rough life from week to week. How much more we might have elicited from him if we had listened more intently to his wonderful voice! What miracles of music he might have wrought in our nature, but we take the prophet sometimes as a mere matter of course: he is a man in a crowd, his specialty we overlook, and we know not that he is talking to us from the mountain of the heavens, from the altar of the temple unseen ….

It is the prophet’s business to interpret things to us, to tell us that everything has been from the beginning, to assure us that there are no surprises in providence, to calm our hearts with the deep conviction that God has seen the end from the beginning, and that nothing has occurred on all this theatre of time which God did not foresee and which God does not control.  The devil is but a domestic servant in the kitchen of God; the devil has limited chains; he counts the links, he would like to make seven eight, he strives to strain the links into greater length, he cannot do it, he was chained at the first, he has been chained ever since, he will be chained forever– Hallelujah!  The Lord reigneth!  There is but one throne, and all hell is subject to the governance and the authority of  that throne….

“Which being interpreted”.  We need the interpreter every day.  We say, Affliction, and he says, I will interpret that word to you;  it needs interpretation, it is a very bitter word, but affliction being interpreted is chastening, refining, sanctifying, making meet for the Master’s use.  The Cross being interpreted is law, righteousness, pardon, redemption, atonement, salvation.  Being misinterpreted, it is to one class a sneer, to another an offence, to another foolishness; but to believe its interpretation at its best, it is the power of God and the salvation of God.  Man being interpreted is child of God, son of the Eternal, a creature made in the image and likeness of God, and meant to live with God and to enjoy Him and glorify Him forever.  The Church being interpreted is the most vital centre of the most blessed influence, an association of souls that love the Cross, that live in Christ, that are saved by Christ, and that have no joy that is not consonant with the purposes and pleasures of God.
______________________________________________________________________
Quoted in Bernard Ramm’s Protestant Biblical Interpretation, (1950) e4unity@cs.com

See my post “Do we need an Interpreterat SIMPLECHURCH

THE CHRISTIAN VOTERS GUIDE (2004) 

Many of you know that Civil Religion is a favorite topic on this blog and that I consider it incredibly essential that all of us understand its function in the American society. Today I received a copy of Modern Reformation’s “special political issue”. I felt my pulse begin to pick up intensity as I quickly looked through to see what in the world they had to say.

The first article that grabbed by complete attention was a reprint from the 2004 regular September/October issue entitled, “The Christian Voter’s Guide”. Needless to say, they had my undivided attention as I quickly begin to read hoping for a miracle in time for the November election. I was not disappointed. In fact I have to say that this article by a layman, ranks right up there with some of the best that I have found over the years in this magazine. You ask, how did I miss this in 2004? I was on a self-imposed sabbatical of several years from being a paid subscriber. Don’t misunderstand me, to get a working grasp of how American Civil Religion functions in our day to day lives, and function it does, it is not sufficient to read only a few articles. It requires an on-going committment to research it for yourself and keep on until you are able to see it for what it is. It is like the concept of “culture” which defies any one kind of definition but which is a very powerful force in every area of our lives. William Inboden has done his research and brings impressive credentials to the task including, serving as director for Strategic Planning on The National Security Council at the White House.

A FEW EXCERPTS

Reared in a small town in the verdant rolling hills of the Bluegrass State, he is as red-blooded an American as you will find, possessed of a deep and abiding love for his country. He will with gratitude and pride salute the flag when given occasion to do so. So why remove it from the sanctuary? Most simply, he wanted to brook no confusion that the church offers its worship only to Christ-and not to America. More deeply, he saw the flag’s prominence in the pulpit, even its very presence in the sanctuary, as potentially obscuring the distinction between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of man. He sought to make sure that there was no confusion over his primary calling and our primary identity. As a minister of Christ’s church, he is charged with preaching the Word of God to our congregation, holding our consciences captive to God’s revelation as our ultimate authority and to God’s name as our ultimate loyalty, no matter our earthly citizenship or nationality. The mere presence of an American flag does not necessarily defy this distinction, of course. But it may confuse or undermine it.

This is not to say that the virtually ubiquitous American flags in sanctuaries across the United States necessarily indicate some sort of latter-day “Babylonian captivity of the church”-in this case a “captivity” to jingoistic nationalism. No doubt some, perhaps even many, congregations keep a flag in their church while also keeping a clear understanding of the distinction between the church and the world. Nevertheless, the pervasiveness of pulpit flags should give us pause. Especially because they serve as just one visible manifestation of a deeper problem: the frequent confusion of civil religion with biblical Christianity.

On February 1, 1953, at the National Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C., the Rev. Edward Elson baptized the newest member of his congregation. Elson also made history, of a sort. The person baptized was Dwight D. Eisenhower, just inaugurated as president of the United States-and the only president to be baptized while in office. Besides its spiritual significance for Eisenhower’s faith, his baptism also represented a new era of public religiosity in American life. From Eisenhower’s unprecedented offering of his own prayer before his inaugural address, to his decision to have Cabinet meetings open with prayer, to the creation of the National Prayer Breakfast, to adopting “In God We Trust” as the United States’ motto and printing it on the nation’s paper currency, to adding “one nation, under God” to the pledge of allegiance, the Eisenhower administration oversaw the reinvigoration, even the reestablishment, of American civil religion.

It was such a creed that in part prompted Eisenhower’s most infamous, yet revealing, comment on religion. On December 22, 1952, Eisenhower, then president-elect, met in New York with his old counterpart and friend from World War II days, Marshal Grigori Zhukov of the Soviet army. Describing their discussion at a press conference afterwards, Eisenhower delivered fodder for critics of civil religion-and of his own intellect-for generations since. After quoting the Declaration of Independence’s recognition that “all men are created equal” and “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” Eisenhower offered this interpretation: “In other words, our form of government has no sense unless it is founded in a deeply felt religious faith, and I don’t care what it is. With us of course it is the Judeo-Christian concept but it must be a religion that all men are created equal. So what was the use of me talking to Zhukov about that? Religion, he had been taught, was the opiate of the people.”

This quote by Eisenhower illustrates the worst and the best of civil religion. At its worst, doctrine and theological truth-claims are rendered largely irrelevant. Of particular concern to Christians, the redeeming work of Christ is wholly disregarded, replaced by moralism and a crude, nonredemptive natural theology. At its best, it unites a society around a few basic truths, including the distinction between creature and Creator, the supremacy of God over government, and the inherent dignity and equality of all human beings. If Irving Kristol could muster “two cheers for capitalism,” in the same spirit we might say that civil religion merits just one cheer.

Surveying our present situation, Wilfred McClay describes civil religion’s “inherently problematic relationship to the Christian faith or any other serious religious tradition. At best, it provides a secular grounding for that faith, one that makes political institutions more responsive to calls for self-examination and repentance, as well as exertion and sacrifice for the common good. At worst, it can provide divine warrant to unscrupulous acts, cheapen religious language, turn clergy into robed flunkies of the state and the culture, and bring the simulacrum of religious awe into places where it doesn’t belong.”

The civil religion of the Eisenhower era is essentially the version still with us today. Blandly patriotic, optimistic, therapeutic, more spiritual than confessional, it reinforces much of the pervasive “religiosity” in America that is as resilient as it is amorphous. As Herberg observed, “religion” and “faith” are often seen as ends in themselves, and doctrine is regarded as unnecessary and divisive rather than as essential to determining truth. Moreover, this civil religion too often reassures us of the favor we enjoy from God while eschewing any call to repentance from our sin. Hence Irving Kristol’s acerbic insight that “when Americans sin, we quickly forgive ourselves.”

Do these confusions mean that American Christians shouldn’t be patriotic? Not in the least. Indeed, an honest assessment of the considerable abundance of common grace goods that the United States enjoys might appropriately inspire a robust love of our country. Not for nothing did Lincoln, recognizing the uniqueness of the American experiment, famously describe Americans as an “almost chosen people.” Yet any biblical Christian will recognize that there is, quite literally, a world of difference between being “almost chosen” and being “chosen.” The former may make good citizens on earth; only the latter will be citizens of heaven.

For ENTIRE ARTICLE

Besides the posts in my archive on Civil Religion, you may be interested in my article for NEWSVINE, entitled, “The POWER of the AMERICAN FLAG

Recommended article by Jon Zens, “God and Country or Christ’s Kingdom “.

 

Pay Close Attention to FLESH in his writings

“The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. . .all flesh is grass” -The Prophet Isaiah, chapter 40.

The subject of flesh and blood is one of those cords that is woven very distinctly throughout the fabric of Scripture: it is prominent in the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as well as in the understanding of His Apostle to the Gentiles. Consider just a few samples.

“Flesh and blood hath not revealed this to you…”( Jesus to Peter).

“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (Jesus to Nicodemas, a ruler of the Jews)

“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God” (Paul to the saints at Corinth)

“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against…the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Paul to the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus at Ephesus)

The Apostle Paul gives us the “Resurrection” chapter of the Bible in the same letter which is begun with quite a lengthy discussion of the foolish ways of God and the wisdom of humankind. He makes a statement regarding the wisdom of God which goes to the heart of what is at stake: God’s way of redemption, of restoring His fallen creation, insures “that no flesh should glory in His presence”.

These and many other scriptures signal a basic truth: God’s ways are not our ways. When Messiah Jesus is sent into the world, it announced to all the earth (all human flesh) that God was doing an entirely new thing which would be the definitive thing in defeating our enemy for the glory of His Name. This new thing would involve the creation of a new human flesh; a flesh which was of heavenly origin, not earthly. It is through this heavenly flesh and it alone that the good and perfect will of the Father is at long last done on earth as it is in heaven.

The heavenly flesh was sent by way of the cross on its way to the resurrection and the glory that is to follow: “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit”(Jesus, speaking to his disciples just before his betrayal and death). The cross of the heavenly flesh is much more than the sinless sacrifice that “takes away the sin of the world”; it is the death of death itself that does away with the earthly flesh and all the corruption that goes with it. It is not this body that is raised with Christ. That flesh is to be relegated to the grave, and we are commanded to “reckon it to be dead”.

It was the “offense of the cross” that was at the center of all the resistance to Paul’s gospel preaching. Why? Because it meant that God had judged the earthly flesh once and for all and put it to death. The repentance that He now requires of all who would enter His everlasting Kingdom not only involves an agreement with His verdict concerning our sins of rebellion, but much more, what He has in fact already done with our flesh. What He now requires of us in true repentance is a drastic repudiation of our earthly flesh and a life of “no holds barred” mortification of it as long as we are in this body.

In Christ, He calls us to replace the flesh with the “grace and duty of minding the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-27), and of “walking or being led by means of the Spirit”. This is the way to read Romans 8 to obtain the greatest profit. This is the way to read Saint Paul and to learn from him what is the TRUE life of CHRIST (Galatians 5).

To be continued: If I had only one message to post before I die

A lot of folks are asking this and similiar questions about the condition of churches in their neighborhoods after hearing of one more scandal. I certainly don’t want to join in throwing rocks at an already wounded institutional church. But I do want to offer an opinion for you to consider as one of the major weaknesses of local churches I am personally familiar with.

The Chuches have left the Story-line. As it turns out, in almost every case, the bottom lines seems to be that churches have forgotten their charter, their God-given calling.  They seem to be trying their hand at everything under the sun, everything everyone else is now doing, except the very thing they were called into existence to do; live out the life of godliness before the watching world and thus be the instrument of divine healing in the midst of a wicked and rebellious generation. The emphasis here is not on the wickedness of the world, but what God in sending Christ has done to restore his wayward children. The churches are to be local gatherings of the “first-fruits” of those restored to and delighting in the presence and the “shalom”of their heavenly Father while summoning those around them to likewise be converted and join them.

The Testimony of the Father concerning his Son, Jesus Christ, thus becomes the all essential focus of all things in the local church. And this Testimony is found only in the Scriptures-it is a very special Revelation. I found a statement in one of those powerful little books that pretty well sums up what we all need to do in order to recover the spiritual health of the churches:

Consecutive reading of Biblical books forces everyone who wants to hear to put himself, or to allow himself to be found, where God has acted once and for all for the salvation of mankind. We become a part of what once took place for our salvation. Forgetting and losing ourselves, we, too, pass through the Red Sea, through the desert, across the Jordan into the promised land. With Israel we fall into doubt and unbelief and through punishment and repentance experience again God’s help and faithfulness.

We are torn out of our own existence and set down in the midst of the holy history of God on earth. There God dealt with us, and there He still deals with us, our needs and our sins, in judgment and grace. It is not that God is the spectator and sharer of our present life, however important that is; but rather that we are the reverent listeners and participants in God’s action in the sacred story, the history of Christ on earth. And only in so far as we are there, is God with us today also.

A complete reversal occurs. It is not in our life that God’s help and presence must still be proved, but rather God’s presence and help have been demonstrated for us in the life of Jesus Christ. It is in fact more important for us to know what God did to Israel, to His Son Jesus Christ, than to seek what God intends for us today. The fact that Jesus Christ died is more important than the fact that I shall die, and the fact that Jesus Christ rose from the dead is the sole ground of my hope that I, too, shall be raised on the Last Day. Our salvation is “external to ourselves.” I find no salvation in my life history, but only in the history of Jesus Christ. Only he who allows himself to be found in Jesus Christ, in his incarnation, his cross, and his resurrection, is with God and God with him.

(Life Together- Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

From THE CHURCH MAINTAINED in The Truth

FAITH is like love. If I love someone but have to explain suddenly why I love that person, I may stutter, make mistakes, exaggerate one thing and understate another, say something distorted or even false, stress what is unimportant and even forget what is important. But this is not necessarily detrimental to my love. Love is dependent on statements if it is to find expression. But love is not completely expressed in statements. True love persists even through untrue statements.

It is the same when I have to say why I believe in God, in Jesus Christ. I formulate my reasons perhaps obscurely, imprecisely, even falsely. I overlook one thing and overvalue another. In my statement I may miss what is absolutely essential and have to correct myself afterwards. But this need not be detrimental to my belief in God and Jesus. Belief is dependent on propositions if it has top be professed, expressed, proclaimed, taught. But faith is maintained even through untrue propositions…Christian Faith, like love, can be wholly real, even if one of its propositions in not correct.

- Hans Kung

(see update on Kung )

Prominent evangelicals urged Christian conservatives Wednesday, May 7, 2008, to support “an expansion of our concerns beyond single-issue politics,” angering some leaders on the religious right who have been closely allied with the Republican Party. The Manifesto was made public at the National Press Club in Washington,D.C., by a panel representing the Drafting Committee of the document that was some three years in the making.

In a 19-page document called “An Evangelical Manifesto,” more than 70 theologians, pastors and others said faith and politics have been too closely mixed. They warned against Christians adopting any one political view. The first order of business for the Manifesto is an attempt to reform the evangelical movement itself by regaining the original meaning of the label. But simultaneously they are speaking to the public through the media informing the American society at large as to what this movement has been historically and theologically rather than culturally and not reflective of any one ideology, including I might add, on a major issue like the Iraq War.

Many of us have been very hesitant to be labeled “evangelical” since the rise of the “Moral Majority” because we have seen a deterioration of the theological base on the one hand and a corresponding emphasis on certain, highly politicized agendas among leaders using the label. This is a much needed correction that I urge everyone to pay attention to. From this date on, it will be irresponsible for example, for any journalist in the country to ignore what was said emphatically at this press conference and continue to use the word evangelical to describe a specific political position. It will be very helpful for those of other Faiths, especially Jews and Muslims and Atheists to study this document clearly. In many ways it sets the “gold standard” for what biblical Christians of all stripes seek to live by, the teachings and the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It also plainly announces the intention to join with others to work for the common good of the country and the world and to do so in a “gentle and reverent manner”. It is a new call to civility in the public square. It is also a not-too-subtle declaration to any political party that would try to claim the evangelicals for their own agendas.

Watch this water-shed press conference as four Prominent Evangelical leaders representing the Committee articulate for the secular press what they hope will restore the savor to the salt. VIDEO

READ the MANIFESTO (pdf)

E4Unity is not ashamed to promote the kind of things that are articulated so well in this document in our present cultural context as it relates to faithfully serving our present generation.

J.H.Bavinck was a renowned Dutch Missiologist. His book, An Introduction to the Science of Missions, (1954) was translated from the Dutch and published in Philadelphia in 1960. It has been used as a textbook in many schools ever since and it is still in print.  The following article is his perspective of those universal questions that all of us in one way or another seek to find answers for in our search for a meaningful life. We don’t have to agree with his categories to benefit from an understanding of just how similiar we are in some very basic instincts of life. The comments are from another book, The Church Between Temple and Mosque.

The Five Magnetic Points- J. H. Bavinck

Man by virtue of his place in the world, must always and everywhere give answers to the same questions. He has to struggle with the basic problems which his existence itself entails. He is afflicted by grief and misfortune; he meets both adverse and prosperous conditions; deep in his heart he has a vague feeling of responsibility; he has to adapt himself to the course of nature; he is aware he is only a small being in the immeasurable greatness of the universe; and he knows very well that sooner or later death will knock at his door. Wherever he goes, he is surrounded by a multitude of questions, and although he has the power to escape from them for a certain time, he cannot help being overwhelmed by them at times. His being on earth is itself such an immense riddle that it threatens to crush him. The answers to all the questions with which he has to struggle may be different, but the problems themselves are always the same. And he has to respond to them, not only in his thinking and feeling but also in his whole attitude to life, in his acts and rites, in his existence itself; his whole way of life is a response. Therefore it stands to reason that this universal religious consciousness, with all its antagonisms and tensions, is something real and is to be found wherever men live and toil.

We have a lot to talk with people of other Faiths about. Somehow I have to believe that there must be a “civilized” way we can be who we are and let others know by our lives “whose disciples we are”. May the beauty of the Lord our God be seen in those who claim to know Him.

Read the article Religious consciousness by J.H. Bavinck 

 
 

 

Peace Window-United NationsThe Church’s Gift to the World

 

As declared earlier on this blog, the Church of Christ, according to the Christian Faith, is the most powerful force on earth when she is healthy. The Church has been given a life and a message to give to the world. Because of all the dissonance in what the world is hearing today from the churches, that very gift is turned into something unlovely and undesirable and more than a few are rejecting what they perceive as the message.

 

As a recent post was meant to show, the message is not about do’s and don’t do’s nor is it about the externals of religion such as rites, ceremonies, and creeds. No, the message given to the Church for the world’s healing, is all about a person: the Lord God’s Anointed Son, Jesus. He himself is the one that must be communicated in our message and if He is not, then we have failed. It’s really that simple. He alone is the one who brings true and lasting peace to the nations. He is the Prince of Peace. The Gospel of Peace is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

T.M.Moore, in his column, Second Sight, wrote a series on the very subject of the good news of the Church’s message of peace. He began in the Advent season and concluded it in January of this year. It is so good that I quote from it and if you like what you read, you can follow the link back to the final article in the series.

 

The Good News of the kingdom of peace is certainly that—Good News—but it is not exclusively that. In the same breath that Jesus granted the gift of peace to His disciples, (John 16) He warned them that trial and tribulation lay ahead. The record of the apostles, and of the entirety of church history, is that our Lord knew whereof He spoke.

The prospect of peace, while available to all, is extended only to those who find favor with God. This was the announcement the angels made to the shepherds on the night of Jesus’ birth. Frequently mistranslated, the angels’ announcement was not, “Peace on earth, good will toward men,” but, “Peace among those with whom He is pleased” (Luke 2:14). God parcels out His peace, from the depths of the soul to all our relationships, roles, and responsibilities, through all of culture and society, to those with whom He is pleased—to those, that is, who seek His peace in the kingdom of peace and through the Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ. And this, of course, large numbers of people are manifestly unwilling to do. We may expect many of them, therefore, to oppose our agenda of peace, not because they do not wish for peace, but because they want peace on their own terms, apart from any obligation to Jesus or God…

In view of the certainty of opposition to our agenda of peace, how shall we keep peace as a priority within the community of faith? And what shall we do to seek peace, pursue the prospect of it, and allow it the primacy in our lives, in every area of our lives?

 Full article at Parceling Peace. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

         Now we’re cooking baby!

I ran across a post today I’ve been just waiting to find and jump on.

WHAT IS FAITH?  This was originally posted by Stacey Lawson at huffingtonpost.com, but I found a link to it over on newsvine.com where I’ve started a little news blog. That’s where I jumped right in with my two-cents worth. (please read the original post and the very interesting comments at both places)

What Faith Is

Thanks Angel for the “Faith is Not Religion” link. Here is where I have found help from the social sciences and especially in a topic most christians know little about. Faith can be demonstrated to be a “universal” characteristic of humankind. It can be studied in its “generic” manifestations rather than in the more common sense of “ideological content”, for example doctrine (this is where most of the age-long struggle within christendom comes from).

Faith deals with very important human choices and loves, everything we invest our lives in. It not only involves our minds and imaginations but also our emotions and our wills. We usually don’t ask the right questions when it comes to faith in this sense; we ask “what do you believe?” That already takes us down the road to religion and creeds and institutions. Faith is about such questions as, who do you trust for wisdom in navigating the great events of your life?  What do you set your heart on, Give your devotion/worship to? What determines the ‘values’ part of who you are?

And then there are a whole host of other not-so-insignificant questions almost everyone at some point finds herself meditating about: where did I come from? why was I placed in the family/race/country that I was born into? what is the purpose of life? where is civilization going? what happens after we die?

As you can see, these are the kinds of things that faith deals with and it is a universal because of the nature of humankind, the way we were created.(opps, I slipped, and let my own faith system show up) There is such a thing as “faith development” or stages of faith. Perhaps one of the most outstanding contributions to this whole area was the book, “Stages of Faith: The Psychology of Human Development and The Quest for Meaning“, by James W.Fowler (1981). (READ the excellent reviews at this Amazon link)I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in learning more about faith as used in this sense.

When science tries to answer faith questions what you end up with is not pure science but a faith system. For one who answers such questions with statements that turns to the individual within, that too can be seen to be a self-developed faith system. The so-called atheists also have their own kind of faith. This is probably new to many, this concept of faith not being per se a religion. But all religious people can learn a lot about themselves and their faith by learning to study it in its generic sense.

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