We Christians have a lot to say about everything although too often, our words turn out to say a lot about very little, burning the air about us with our speech (and vice versa). For all our holy verbosity, there is a phrase that rolls off our tongues with great difficulty, if at all. This phrase would end so many of those shallow arguments disguised as Bible studies before they’d even begun but enrich the real Bible studies. Alas, mouths that yell complex words such as sanctification and justification mixed with glorification can’t even breathe the simple line: I DON’T KNOW
Is our strong reluctance to admit that the borders of our knowledge are much closer than we dare to think a vestige of the church’s reaction to the Enlightenment’s accusation of Christianity being little more than a glorified “Pie-in-the-sky by and bye” scam? After the Enlightenment’s onslaught on religion, a number of churches frantically repackaged their creeds and beliefs to suit the world. Thus, faithfulness came to be measured by the ability to articulate abstract ideas that would be used to pigeonhole members. Words such as liberal and conservative were hurled as insults from believer to believer.
Small wonder it is then folks measuring their spirituality by the length and breadth of their knowledge would find it very difficult to admit that there are limits to knowledge. Jesus, however, did not say that discipleship is proven by unlimited knowledge but by love for each other.
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:34&35 The Message)
Christianity lies not in what you know but in who you know: it is relational. Far from memorising abstract theological concepts, Christianity is about treating each other as valuable beings. It is the elder acknowledging the young ladies’ significance by listening to their stories. It’s the pastor hugging the weeping child who’s just grazed a knee on the pavement. It is two friends arguing over scripture with arms around each other. Perfect theological doctrine is indispensable but only so far as it leads to unity in relationship. Period. Theological differences will always be here but it’s the way we treat each other that matters most. So don’t be afraid to say those hard words…
I DON’T KNOW