In our discussion of Paul’s explanation of how we come to know God in 1 Cor. 1-2, we discovered that knowing the Gospel story and putting our faith in the Gospel story cannot come from either the rational or empirical methods. In fact, knowing with assurance or certainty the meaning and purpose of life does not come by looking at life alone. Instead, the purpose of history and the theme of the story of life (the big picture) only comes from personal knowledge straight from the author of history.
Because knowledge of the truth of history does not come from compiling a mountain of evidence for the listener or from an airtight rational argument, Paul says, instead, he intentionally puts his faith in the power of God to simply communicate directly to the hearer of the Gospel that indeed the Gospel is THE story of human history. In other words, the best way to do evangelism is to tell the simple story and to lay hands on people asking God to reveal himself to the person. This method puts our faith in the power of God and not our persuasive words of wisdom. This does not mean we do not contend at all for the faith by being reasonable but that we acept that certainty does not result from pure convincing rational argument or pure convincing evidence. Ultimately, the answer to the big picture question of what is the theme of the story of history comes from special revelation.
“Is there anything I can pray for you for?”
“Sure my son is not doing good in school”
“OK, do you mind if I pray for you right now”.
“When I pray for people I simply put my hand on their shoulder. Would that be OK?”
As Christians, we are first and foremost a people with whom God dwells. We are a people of His presence. As individuals, trust and faith in the power and love of God is expressed in prayer. Community life in His presence is lived out by praying for one another and speaking the word of God from the presence of God. I believe this emphasis describes well the missing link that separates our story in the 21st century from the story of the early church. So often, we seek to know God through many methods other than the one thing needful which is direct personal knowledge. We attempt to effect the word through all sorts of other methods, like politics and rationalistic apologetics, which are simply not the one thing needful. People need to hear the word of God from the presence of God.
My next post will give my own conversion as an example of how God actually transforms our worldview through speaking His word in the power of the Spirit.