Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t write the New Testament or the Gospels personally? Wouldn’t that have once and for all eliminated any arguments about scripture being inerrant and perfect?
Perhaps that is exactly why Jesus didn’t write it personally. Maybe He depended upon human beings who would share their understandings with us so that we would have no other choice but to discern their meaning for ourselves, question their motives, weigh their judgment, and test everything they said by the Holy Spirit.
Isn’t this exactly why Jesus told us that it was better for us if He went away; so that He could send us the Holy Spirit who would lead us into all Truth? (See John 16:13)
If the goal was to hand us a text that could never be questioned, then Jesus Himself could have penned every word and handed it to the Apostles. But He did not do that. Instead, He allowed them to write down what they remembered, and even to disagree with one another about what exactly happened, and when, and how. He allows us to read those words today with the guidance of the same Holy Spirit who speaks to us and reveals the truth to us. He allows us to dialog with one another over what we understand and what we don’t understand.
As always, Jesus is comfortable with our questions. He wants us to work it out. He trusts us to wrestle with the unknown and to dig out the answers one at a time. He is not troubled by unanswered questions, either. Jesus was asked dozens of questions during His earthly ministry and not only did leave most of them unanswered, he usually responded with a few questions of His own; many of which also went unanswered.
We, unfortunately, are a people who are obsessed with answers. We want to “know” the truth. We want everything spelled out for us. We want a formula, but the trouble is, once we have a formula we don’t need God anymore, do we?
See, God wants us to lean on Him. He wants us to come to Him to have life, not to a book. God wants us to admit that we don’t have it all figured out by coming to Him with our questions and inquiring of Him for wisdom.
Our problem is, we don’t like to look foolish. We also don’t want to be wrong. We don’t want people to think we’re not smart, or that we don’t have it all figured out.
But the truth is, we are not so smart. We do not have all the answers. There are many great mysteries of Christ that we do not yet understand.
For example, the other day I posted on Facebook: “How to explain the Trinity: Don’t”, and in response, I received several dozen comments which attempted to do exactly what I just suggested we should not do.
I fear that many of us today are too sure of ourselves. We are immune to mystery. We are obsessed with proving to everyone else how wrong they are and how right we are.
We love being right. We have practically redefined Christianity as having the right information about God. In this paradigm, the greatest sin and heresy is to be wrong.
The fruit of this way of thinking is that anyone who disagrees with our individual theology is a heretic and anathema to us. We refuse to associate or fellowship with anyone who doesn’t hold to our doctrines. We elevate information about God to the highest level.
But when we look at the Gospels, and the rest of the New Testament, it seems that “Transformation” is much more important than “Information.” In fact, when Jesus says that “eternal life is to know God and His Son whom He has sent,” (See John 17:3) the word translated as “to know” in the Greek is “Ginosko” which maps to the same word used to say that “Adam knew Eve and she conceived a child.” In other words, the kind of “knowledge” Jesus is referring to in this case is an intimacy that conceives something within us.
And what is it that this “intimate knowledge of God” conceives in us? A new life in Christ.
See, God is ok with our questions. He is not troubled by our lack of wisdom, but He is concerned about our abundance of pride. Those who receive grace from God are the humble, not the proud. Remember?
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
So, maybe it’s ok to admit that we don’t have all the right information about God. Maybe we can embrace the possibility that we might have a few things wrong in our theology and get over it.
What matters isn’t having all the right information about God. What matters is to know God so intimately that His new life is conceived within us.
The Gospel is about Transformation, not Information.
Let’s give up on being right and embrace the mystery of God.
Keith Giles is the author of several books, including the Amazon best-seller “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb.” He is also the co-host of “The Heretic Happy Hour” Podcast. He and his family live in Orange, CA and are part of a house church that gives away 100% of the offering to the poor in their community.