Friday, February 23, 2007

The Torquemada Paradox, Part 2

My own approach to the "salvation" conundrum is that I, in all honesty, am not in the heaven business. His house may have many mansions, but I'm not His divine realtor.

I'm not going to tell you that if you believe as I do, you're guaranteed a place in heaven. First, that's because I'm unwilling to assert my own right to stomp right up to the head of the salvation table. I'm deeply aware of my own struggles to live my faith in Christ. I'm also convinced from those moments when I've felt the presence of God in my life that there is nothing I could ever do on my own to merit salvation. The more deeply I feel Him, the more certain of that I am.

Second, to claim that as a certainty usurps God's own right to judge whether we can stand before Him in eternity. In that, much "faith" now does not have the character of faith at all. Faith is more akin to trust than to knowledge...which means that it is not a mechanistic certainty, an "if you do this then God will do that" equation. A great deal of contemporary Christianity is little more than a thinly masked empiricism, which has the presumption to give certainty in an area that rests entirely within the mystery of God's sovereign power. It's a peculiar and heady emotional legalism, in which our own feelings and desires for affirmation stand at the forefront. Any sense of the terrible and inscrutable magnificence of God's justice is carefully hidden scares off new members.

I recognize that this sort of faith will never fill a big-venue church, for the same reason that a politician who tells hard truths is unlikely to be elected. Ah well. So it goes.