Friday, October 8, 2010

How Much God is Enough?

One point protestants often make in discussing Sola Scriptura is that the bible has enough clear truth in it. That the basics of the gospel are there and all bible Christians agree on that much so there is no need to look for more or better truth. But are we to be satisfied with the basics of the gospel? It is not even clear what that means. When you start to get specific you often find they don't really want to declare most questions of doctrine and morality uncertain. But if you just look at salvation issues, is there such disagreement about those?

It is true that Catholic theology has something called invincible ignorance. That God does not hold blind people responsible for not seeing. But does that make blindness good? Not at all. The same thing with doctrinal errors. We are not responsible for not obeying teachings we didn't receive or didn't know were from God. Still we need to desire God. We cannot simply throw up our hands and declare His will to be unknowable. We have to want to see. God works in the light. The devils works in darkness.

There is a progressive nature to Christianity. We are to grow and mature in our faith. But the opposite happens with scripture. Truth we were sure about we discover is being questioned by some. Learning exposes us to more opinions but they contradict and we don't have any way to resolve the conflict other than our own error-prone judgment. Is that really God's will? The Holy Spirit is supposes to lead us into all truth. But does He lead us as individuals or as the people of  God?

What I did as a protestant was to run away from theology. Ministry to the poor was pretty simple. Certain kinds of evangelism that focused on personal testimony and a simple commitment to Jesus. Not much can go wrong there. But it is hard to leave it there. Eventually you start to grow deeper with people. The questions get more sophisticated and you are right back in the middle of uncertainty.

At some point I wanted more of God's truth. Not more opinions ABOUT God but more truth FROM God. God waited for my hunger to be great before He revealed Himself. I had made the assumption that my opinions were actually pretty close to the actual truth. I just needed some fine tuning. Turns out they were not that close at all. So it was much more humbling than I had anticipated. So if I wasn't really hungry I might have just balked. As it was it took me a long time to accept the church as the fullness of truth.

So when people say the clear teachings of scripture are enough I can understand. But how can you have enough of God? Aren't we supposed to be like deer panting for the water?(Ps 42:1) Sure it is scary to question the ideas you have been told are at the very center of your faith. Ideas like faith alone and scripture alone. But truth is never afraid of questions.


  1. Hi, Randy -

    I, too, am a convert and have found the fullness of faith in our Church. For me, the grace of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ... that sweet intimacy of He and I accepting each other's invitations to enter more deeply into each other... that's the magnet that will keep me coming back.

    God bless you...

  2. Thanks for stopping by NC. I remember you from my old blog a while back.

    You are right. Jesus comes to us though His word but also through the sacraments. But are recognized by protestants but in a watered down way. I could never go back to the watered down version of either.