Heresy or Blind Compliance
Last Sunday, in talking about what it means to know Jesus, I talked about the ways it happens. There are a few obvious choices; like worship, the Bible, prayer, community. But I offered a small stretch in ‘nature,’ saying that God wove patterns into creation that remind us of God’s truths for us. Often these expressions capture God’s truth better than our words. Then I took it a step further and offered that we get to know Jesus through ‘other writings and teachings.’ I said that something doesn’t have to be stamped ‘Christian’ to teach what God wants us to know. Indeed, it could be far from God’s truth and still bear have the label.
I expected some phone calls and emails for that and was pleasantly surprised that all I got was a few thanks for saying it. It is very consistent with our Jacob’s Well core values, so I shouldn’t be surprised, but it may just mean no one was listening…
God’s truth is what lies behind and in all that exists. As such it is so big we can’t hide it forever. It oozes out of every pore in our world, often especially where we least expect it. That doesn’t mean that all things are good or helpful. Much is not. What is so important is that we don’t need to be afraid. We can look and learn anywhere and everywhere. Let Christ be the filter. Trust the Spirit to guide us, and to rescue us from our errors. Keeping ‘in the box’ of Christian teaching has certainly never prevented heresy in the past.
The point isn’t that Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, humanism, etc. is right or wrong, but rather that God is so big that God’s truth can’t be hidden forever. Different cultures, perspectives, languages, eras will inevitably express and hide God’s truth in ways that are novel to us. Don’t be afraid, that’s the key. Be humble, admit mistakes, don’t try to justify what isn’t working and keep the heart of the Bible at the heart of your searching.