A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Are you Christian? Any other faith? No faith? Tell us just a bit about the role "faith" plays in your life. Don't seek to evangelize here. This is a "story-telling" forum. All submissions are equally valued if given in a positive spirit. New Comers please post here.

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A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby dv8 » Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:47 pm

Faith is an interesting creature. It can grow and adapt, and also retract, depending on how it is fed. It can speak fervently into someone's life, or sit silently in the background, waiting - depending on how well we allow ourselves to listen. As a child, baptized at the age of 8 in a northern Minnesota lake, my "faith" was as much in my parents as it was in God. As I began to understand the idea of God, and the saving grace of Jesus through his death on the cross, I also began to recognize that a tremendous amount of my faith was in my parents, for feeding me on the Christian faith and tradition. It was during my junior year in high school that I first had someone challenge me to own my own faith - to question everything I was taught in the church and at home - not that all these things were wrong, but that I needed to be able to defend (to myself and to others) why those things are true - if they are true - and why they are important. It was at that point that I began to plan on attending a Bible Institute after high school.

Oak Hills (in Bemidji, MN) was, at the time, a 2-year Bible Certificate program (with a 3rd-year plan for those entering the ministry). The school, like my home church growing up, is non-denominational, attempting to teach exegesis and a process for discernment without layering in doctrinal issues. This was a much-needed foundation for my new faith, and thus began my adult journey of trying to find a balance between acceptance of traditional doctrine against my own discovery of scripture and the nudging of the Holy Spirit. Married at 25 (to another OHBI grad), my wife and I moved home frequently for the first 10-15 years. We married in an Evangelical Free church, then upon moving landed in a United Methodist, then upon my taking a job in Indiana spent two years with the United Brethren in Christ. For our 4 years at grad school we found a home in a Presbyterian church, then with a move to St. Louis we found a remarkable family with a United Church of Christ congregation - which we still visit while we are in town. The UCC was the most difficult for me personally; I have no problem with their emphasis on social justice, since I feel that is very present in the teachings and ministry of Jesus, but their openness on matters of belief are challenging. Upon moving to our present home, we found the Mennonites, and I felt as though I had truly come home at long last. Alas, not quite ten years into our time here we have needed to move again, this time to another Presbyterian church (USA).

I have come to value most highly the faithful welcome of all believers, and a life dedicated to bringing peace and joy to all God's people. I have all but given up on judging other people's faith, practicing instead looking to my own faith and faithfulness. I have grown to find the attitude of "certainty" of belief to be quite the opposite of "faith," and the most faithful people I know are those who live their lives looking constantly to the teaching and example of Jesus, studying the Word of God through that lens. Those people tend to have a strong faith whose beliefs may change with new understanding, but whose commitment to obedience and worship remain solid.

Well, that's one longish ramble, and it is hardly a complete testimony, but I believe it hits the salient points of my faith journey. Thanks for listening!

- David
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby Jim » Thu Aug 03, 2017 5:44 am

Thank you for sharing, from another Mennonite. You have learned some valuable lessons.
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby dv8 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:51 am

Jim wrote:Thank you for sharing, from another Mennonite. You have learned some valuable lessons.
Thank you, Jim. But I wonder if I may have somehow offended members of this forum, which was certainly not my intent.
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby Jim » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:52 am

dv8 wrote:
Jim wrote:Thank you for sharing, from another Mennonite. You have learned some valuable lessons.
Thank you, Jim. But I wonder if I may have somehow offended members of this forum, which was certainly not my intent.

I can't see anything offensive. I'd hope someone would speak up, maybe to send you a PM, if offended.
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby Petros » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:57 am

I certainly saw nothing of offense - which to me lies in attitude more than content anyway.

We might debate a bit on the issue of certainty versus faith - but I realize you are speaking of a different "certainty" - as others speak of a differebr "faith"
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby Maverick » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:04 pm

Petros wrote:I certainly saw nothing of offense - which to me lies in attitude more than content anyway.

We might debate a bit on the issue of certainty versus faith - but I realize you are speaking of a different "certainty" - as others speak of a differebr "faith"


:like:
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby dv8 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:10 pm

To clarify about "certainty," I refer to believers who have stopped testing their beliefs on the grounds that they are certain they already have the truth, and therefore see no need to look again. I generally find this to be true about single, particular matters of faith and belief, not (generally) the whole nine yards. Certainty about pre-destination, pre/post-tribulation, young-earth creation, predictable date of Jesus' return, etc. - even the wrongness of social nudity - I find to be hinderances to hearing the speaking of the Holy Spirit. I know what *I* believe about what the second coming will be like, but I see nothing in scripture that indicates that my correct understanding of that glorious event will make a whit of difference to my salvation OR my ability to make disciples. I value that some sense of openness in others, as well.
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby Englishman » Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:16 pm

I sometimes wonder if the retreat to established positions when it comes to theology & its outworking in our lives may stem from insecurity about who or what we trust. Like you, I think, dv8, I see the unwillingness to listen to a new point of view as a bit distressing. There are some things I won't shift on but I will listen, even if I then decide I'm going to stick with where I am rather than go off in another's new direction.

The Protestant Reformation was partly about being able to interpret Scripture for oneself, rather than simply accept an established body of opinion. That does lead to some oddities; in my home town there was a gentleman, now long deceased, who ardently believed the wearing of shorts was essential to salvation. I've changed my thinking over a number of issues in the past; the biggest being accepting that Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a good thing, something I still go along with. However, over the years, I've had, & still do have, Christian friends whose theology is different from mine. We are called to love each other & to see Christ at work in those with whom we dispute doctrine but with whom we are happy to pray.

We are one body but I wonder at times if some bits of the body are a bit too fussy about which other bits they fellowship with? I know nothing about anyone who posts on here apart from you choose to offer me. That is a good starting point.
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby dv8 » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:49 pm

Where is the "amen" emoji? :!:
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby natman » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:39 am

Englishman wrote:The Protestant Reformation was partly about being able to interpret Scripture for oneself....


I think that if you read about the Reformers, you will discover that their efforts were NOT about being able to "interpret Scripture for oneself". It was ALL about returning the Church to be under the authority of Scripture rather than man-made traditions apart from Scripture. "Individual" interpretation has caused many, if not all of the rifts withing the Church, resulting in many denominational differences and cults. Their intent was to ALLOW all people to read Scripture, but to teach them to use proper hermeneutics in order to interpret Scripture correctly. As such, the people could be more like the Bereans who tested everything that was told them against Scripture in order to know that what was being said and taught was true.
SON-cerely,
Nathan Powers

Get exposed to the sun, and get exposed to the Son.
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby Englishman » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:23 am

Fair comment, Natman; it was fairly late when I wrote that! Perhaps a bit heart than head in that one, I think.

Chopping the Church into bits for whatever reason is a bad thing; I once read a fashion forum where Christian ladies were condemning other Christian ladies to eternal hellfire for the sin of wearing trousers. It made me feel very sad.

Old hymns or new songs, 'Thee's & Thou's' or the Message, hymn sandwich or Hillsongs; none of it matters (beyond personal taste). If you are "... seeking first the Kingdom of God..." & He is making Himself known through your living, I consider that a good place to start our friendship. We can do the picky bits later once we've got to know each other a bit & the friendship can take the strain. :D
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby RMOlson » Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:12 pm

Englishman wrote: We can do the picky bits later once we've got to know each other a bit & the friendship can take the strain. :D


:D :D :D
Wouldn't that be a wonderful experience!
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby naturaldon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:03 pm

dv8 wrote:Where is the "amen" emoji? :!:


Amen! Definitely need it!! :like:
-Don
He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby Maverick » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:38 pm

dv8 wrote:I have grown to find the attitude of "certainty" of belief to be quite the opposite of "faith," and the most faithful people I know are those who live their lives looking constantly to the teaching and example of Jesus, studying the Word of God through that lens.


I enjoy reading apologetics and understanding how science supports the Bible. It has strengthened my faith, and I was led to it because I attended high school alongside atheists and agnostics, some of whom were fairly vocal about their beliefs and challenged me and other Christians about ours.

The limitation of any science is that it will never "prove" for certain that God exists. However, science as a whole points very, very strongly towards His existence, and that understanding has strengthened my faith. Just like I can feel the wind and see its effects without seeing the wind itself, so I can feel God and see His effects without seeing Him Himself.

dv8 wrote:Those people tend to have a strong faith whose beliefs may change with new understanding, but whose commitment to obedience and worship remain solid.


To some, a universe 13.8 billion years old is incompatible with their faith, but for me, it is not only compatible but affirming. Astronomers can look deep into space and, because of the speed of light, back in time to the universe's infancy. The Big Bang required a cause, and the best candidate for that cause is a (no, the) Creator.

And thankfully, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Heb. 13:8), which means he is always "the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). Regardless of what science (or anything/anyone else) tells us, we can all be thankful for this. :cross:
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Re: A Journey of Faith, Certainty and Discovery

Postby Petros » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:14 am

I have been reading a book looking at the logic and logistics of the universe. Unfoertunately, most of those interviewed are philosophers - with some scientists and the odd Christian or Buddhist - maintaining that the cause of the universe is what matches their largely groundless preference.

Come down to it, we have no proof that the universe exists save that we know it does [that is NOT the same as cogito ergo sum], and we have no proof that God exists save that we know he does.

I do not need to prove a gourmet meal or a sunrise.
The truth, the stark naked truth, the truth without so much as a loincloth on, should surely be the investigator's sole aim - Basil Chamberlain
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