Thursday, June 09, 2005

Making Up For Lost Time

Upon being dragged back to the Christian Church over a decade ago, I was then immediately put to the test relative to my intellectual doubts and the fact that much of my life and thought would have to be changed or suppressed.

At the time, one of my pastors told me the following: don't fall into the trap of reading more about the Bible than the Biblical texts themselves. This wasn't a call to anti-intellectualism, but merely an admonition that apologetics was pointless unless I knew what I was defending, not to mention that a prayerful reading of scripture is spiritual nourishment. One can get so busy defending scripture or one's viewpoints relative to scripture that one actually leaves scripture behind to study arguments for/against one's position.

What happened over the decade that followed that admonition?

The answer is classic PP for anybody who knew me and still knows me. I completely ignored my pastor's advice and thought I knew myself better in this respect.

Over the decade, I studied many things --- NT Greek, OT Hebrew, critical theories relative to the OT and NT [nothing too specialized though], authorship and textual questions regarding most of the NT writings [long since forgotten], Roman Catholicism, countercultism, etc etc etc. What I didn't do very often was to enjoy the fruits of being an automath and enjoy the Biblical texts on their own. The Bible could wait --- there was this next book to read about the Bible, and hence the sacred text could wait a little longer.

It isn't as if in the process of treating the Bible like chopped liver [or hot dog filler, take your pick] I fell away, starting my own girlie mag and running a crack ring while adopting the worst points of Arianism, Sabellianism, Monophysitism, Apollinarianism, Montanism, Atheism, etc and starting some super-heresy. But, the lack of a continual grappling with God's revelation on its own terms [or turf, so to speak] resulted in a great amount of knowledge that helped in an academic sense, but not in spiritual sense. I could defend the conservative view of authorship on, say, the Fourth Gospel [namely, that the Apostle John wrote it], but the actual contents of this gospel were not as well-appropriated because the gospel itself collected dust.

This sort of behavior continued for close to a decade. I am thankful that, in this decade, most if not all of the "big questions" I had regarding Christianity and its viability relative to other worldviews were answered to what I consider my rigorous standards. The most important question --- is Christianity true? --- has been evidentially answered in a highly probable affirmative. But the "apologetic decade" of my life has sort of wound itself down in a natural way.

Now, I don't consider myself a closet-apologist anymore. The apologetical material is there, but I'm merely happy now to be a glorified Bible student. The joy in being a mere Bible reader is not mystical, and there is no charismatic activity on my end. However, after a decade of approaching scripture with my apologetical shields in the "up" position, it is a simple pleasure to read scripture through the so-called "lens of faith."

This simple pleasure is actually something that shouldn't be a new feeling had I listened to my pastor some 10 years ago!


Blogger centuri0n said...

It's holy ground. You have to take your shoes off.

Friday, June 10, 2005 7:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Eric V. said...

Frank --- are you the Pedantic Protestant? :-)

A good amount of evidence points to you!

Friday, June 10, 2005 3:11:00 PM  

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