Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Being Reasonable

Philip. 4:4-9 (ESV)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. [5] Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; [6] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
[8] Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. [9] What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

“Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand do not be anxious about anything.” Let your reasonableness be known. It has happened more than once I have been questioned for reading philosophy. And not only by other Christians. Philosophy is not as treasured as it should be in today’s culture. Perhaps it never has been. Christians can be suspicious of philosophy. There is a long history between the two starting with Paul at Mars hill. Tertullian I believe is quoted to have asked: “What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?” But wisdom is not loved even in the secular culture of today. One is lucky to have 1 or 2 classes at the university that could be called philosophy. The rest of the time seems to be devoted to brainwashing students into a socialist mindset. Students are praised as skeptics when they parrot Dawkins on Christianity, but belittled for asking about the irreducible complexity of a skin cell and if it might have been designed.
I read philosophy because I like to know why people think they way they think, and why I think the way I think. I want to be reasonable. Christianity claims to be reasonable. That is you can reason about Christianity with reasonable people. But to do so you have to know a bit about reason. Of Course, Paul means a lot more here saying let your reasonableness be known to everyone than just being able to reason about the Christian faith. He also means be reasonable in your dealings with others. Don’t cheat them. Don’t be too hard on your children. Don’t exacerbate your wives. Wives don’t henpeck your husbands. And don’t be hysterical.
Christians today are all too often hysterical! The sky is falling! The sky is falling! There is an urgency, the lord is at hand. That doesn’t mean we have to start loading up on ammo, and emptying the grocery stores every time Hamas launches a rocket into Israel. These pre-millennial readings of scripture are anything but reasonable. Fantastical, as in fantasy ridden maybe. We don’t know when Christ will come back. We do know that life will be going on as it always has been. Matthew 24:36-42 (ESV)
"But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. [37] As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [38] For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, [39] and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. [40] Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. [41] Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. [42] Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.
Most of all lets be reasonable in the public square of politics. Let reason reign there, it is the domain of reason. The Bible reigns in the church. Reason on the bench. Make reasonable arguments for or against, not just Biblical. We live amongst many cultures. We can’t force the gospel on them by forcing Biblical mandates. Let God’s law rule over you, and share the gospel with your neighbor. But don’t confuse the two. We die by the law, we live by forgiveness. And with forgiveness we have no reason to be anxious for the coming of the Lord.

2 comments:

Brigitte said...

This is such a beautiful passage. I've been in a choir where we sang Purcell's "Rejoice in the Lord always". http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1cTlqdaQIs

It's the nice thing about being in a choir, after you've practiced it for a while, it always sticks with you.

Rasputin J. Descartes III said...

Bror,

You did a very nice job on this one.

"We die by the law, we live by forgiveness."

Very nice job, indeed!