Knowledge Without Power

A tragic misunderstanding exists.

This blurred vision drives people to regard Christianity as merely one more avenue toward high, idealistic morality to be shelved beside those of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Confucius, Buddha, Tao, and others. The name “Jesus” is simply added to the list of “History’s Great Teachers,” typically receiving a middle-of-the-pack position, surrounded by peers of superior and inferior status.

When Christianity is reduced to a moral path or ethical code, it becomes no more than a variant theme of “Goodness, Beauty, and Truth” to which many through the ages have aspired. Here is where the misunderstanding becomes glaring.

To hold Jesus primarily as a “goodness guru” will drive one to encourage, “Look to the example of Jesus.” But any sharp thinker quickly recognizes that there may be nothing in the world so discouraging as the example of Jesus. The immensity of his moral stature and the absoluteness of his perfection are despair-inducing. The very best of us stand hopelessly condemned before we set out. To speak of “imitating Christ” is the zany zenith of nonsense. I cannot satisfy my own standards. I am incapable of meeting my own demands, and I regularly disappoint others’. Imitate Christ?! This is the language of the lunatic.

Much of this is unsurprising: The extent of failure, both others’ and our own; the departures of some from Christian churches, and the perceived moral collapse in cultures around the globe. What else is expected when the ethical instruction of non-Christian sources or of neutered-Christian teaching builds squarely upon the strength and power that no human being possesses. The architect of such a blueprint can expect lawsuits.

Thank God the distortion is not the deal.

Christianity is no mere code of ethics. If this is the version of faith which you have perceived or received, I apologize for the pitiful counterfeit you have held, with either affection or affliction. Just as a forged fifty will net you nothing beyond disappointment or detention, a crap-copy of Christianity delivers disillusionment or worse.  Mark it down: When Christ gets counterfeited, people get cheated.

Numerous educators and influencers will turn to Christianity as a source for inspired instruction. They may come with guards up against anticipated narrow-mindedness, with minds inquiring, “Christians, what are your dearly held beliefs about life-factors like money, power, sex, and pride?”

The answer is that what I believe about money, power, sex, pride, or any host of other factors is of little consequence. My adding to the pile of perceived knowledge is not nearly so needed as the arrival of power sufficient to deliver men and women from the mastery and control of such things as these.

“It is not knowledge we need; it is power. And this is where your moral ethical systems break down and fail completely. They have no power to offer, none at all.”

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE? Join the conversation below.

What is your faith experience?
Do standards have center stage?
Has power been perceived?

A WORD: To any who read this post with disappointment, with realization that such power has never been perceived, let me plant a seed of hope in your heart.  It DOES exist.  The drudgery of duty is what killed the soul of the older brother (Luke 15).  This is not the destiny of those who are “in Christ”.  Seek your Father with your heart; He is eager to share His joy with you.

[These thoughts have been heavily reliant upon a piece, “On Romans 10:3”, written by David Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1961. The title and closing quote are his. My offering is the internal interaction with his text, twisted into this post of assertive agreements and revived re-phrasings of his original sentiments.]

Saturday Six-Pack (1)

Welcome to the weekend, and thanks for spending some time “Wandering & Wondering”.

This is the inaugural “Saturday Six-Pack” post, an effort to share some of the best things I’ve read online from the past week or so.  Typically, these articles will be faith-focused or ministry-geared, but I reserve the right to live up to the “disorderly pile of who-knows-what” tagline at the top of this page!

In this edition:

1) Destruction: God’s Alien Work
Lisa Dye contributes this Lent devotional, focusing on the wrecking role of God’s work in our lives at times.  Creator?  Certainly.  Provider?  Sure.  Demolition foreman?  Sometimes.

2) Nostalgia: The Enemy of Faith
It’s one thing to value our past, in which we idealize memories and idolize heroes.  But Collin Hansen pushes us to take another look for the warts.  As an example, he provides this look at two recently released books, among the first scholarly treatments of great 20th-century evangelical leaders John Stott and Martyn Lloyd-Jones, wildly inspiring while being as imperfect as any of us.

3) The Intolerance of Tolerance
Is the tolerance that our society so values all that it’s cracked up to be?  Don Carson doesn’t think so.

4) How Do You Disciple New Believers?
For all the things involved in helping new Christians grow, Justin Buzzard says that we must get this part clear: “Discipleship is truth transferred through relationship.”

5) The State of the Church in Canada
The Gospel Coalition is holding a Canada Conference on this topic in late May.  While the event is being held nowhere near my home, this post contains information that will interest anyone working or worshiping in Canadian churches.

6) What People Gave Up for Lent 2012
Christianity Today offers this intriguing peek into this year’s Lent-related habits of Christians through some serious Twitter observation.  Somewhat serious, somewhat sarcastic, this short piece will cause a few smiles and a few shocks.

Have a great weekend, friends–renew yourself and reverence God.