Monday, October 25, 2010

The Audacity of Faith

As a minister I am expected to be a person of faith not doubt. I stake my whole existence on Jesus as God's chosen Messiah to redeem and recreate the world through his death and resurrection. If the resurrection is an elaborate lie then I'm not only an idiot I'm also a liar (1 Cor 15:14-19). Still, most days I doubt more than I trust. I struggle and I question and I wonder.

I came across these charges leveled against the early Christians by a Roman Lawyer in 197 AD and it reminded me of the audacity of the Christian faith:

Surely all must feel grieved and indignant and annoyed that certain people—people, too, ignorant of learning, unlettered, and unacquainted even with the meanest arts—should pronounce definitely upon the universe and the supreme power, which, after all these ages, still forms the subject of deliberations of the philosophers and their numerous schools (5.4-5)
[Describing the faith of the various people of the world, Octavius is indignant at the Christian monotheistic claims so he] cannot endure there to be one so audacious and so swollen with impious pretensions to wisdom as to endeavor to destroy or weaken this so ancient, useful and salutary religion [i.e. paganism]. (8:1-2)
They have gathered together from the lowest dregs of the populace ignorant men and credulous women—and women are naturally unstable—and have formed a rabble of impious conspirators; at the nocturnal gatherings, solemn fasts, and barbarous meals the bond of union is not any sacred rite but crime. (8.4)
These conspirators must be utterly destroyed and cursed. (9.1)
‒Minucius Felix, Octavius (Stevenson and Frend's, A New Eusebius 177‒78)
The audacity of the Lordship of Jesus was not lost on the ancient world. A rabble group of uneducated, backwater religious devotees claimed that a crucified Galilean peasant is God's chosen king to redeem, rule and judge the whole earth!

I fear that sometimes we forget that faith is always spurred with a tinge of doubt. I am always in need of a reminder of how radical it is to claim that Jesus is LORD. It really does seem doubtful. I suppose that's why it's called faith.


Unknown said...

I enjoyed this, Tyler. I understand it. Why did we ever think it wasn't audacious? :-)

Jordan D. Wood said...

That's why the opposite of faith is not doubt; it's certainty.