Wednesday, January 12, 2011

We believe first

     Smith, in Desiring the Kingdom, suggests that we believe before we understand.  Unquestionably the disciples followed Jesus for years and didn't get it.  But it was a deep plowing.  Smith's idea fits well within Westerhoff's concept that the first stage in formation is an affection for the whole milieu of the church and Christ.  Only after that affection will truths and understanding convert.  Many today would move people to faith in Christ by establishing an intellectual "worldview" but this is the cart before the horse. 
     Why is the conversion of teens and adults such a challenge with such spotty success and poor durability? 
     The difficultly is that very early on people develop their belief system.  This then is the lens through which they evaluate information/truth.  If people grow up with a belief system that is not completely Jesus based, then all the truth you provide for them is evaluated through the lens of the world.  Scripture and the work of Jesus is evaluated and judged based on what their belief system sees.  Consequently, most Christian truth is rejected or worse, twisted to fit what the person already thinks.  This is the basis of most of today's heresy...a twisted Christ who fits.  We must recapture Fenhagen's understanding that faith is subversive, not workable.
     Forming a child's belief system must happen first and right away.  This happens with bedtime Bible stories to be sure but that is not enough to be the counter-formation required in this world.  To paraphrase Voddie Baucham, "If we expose our children to Caesar all day long on TV and music and school, why are we surprised that we have Caesar thinkers when they are old." 
     "Choose this day..."

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