Before my wife and I tackle the upstairs flooring of our kitchen and living room (I would like to inlay slate & marble islands in the midst of hardwood), we have been working on our walls. We recently removed old wall paper, and then I textured the walls last week. On the north wall as you enter the living room from the front door, I textured the shapes of the Teton mountain range.
Late last night as I applied a coat of primer over the rough texture outlining the Tetons, (alongside my desperately needy prayers for a friend in the hospital, lying in a medically-induced coma on a bed because of a self-inflicted gunshot wound) I meditated over how small I really am and how little I know. It is a humbling self-awareness.
After finishing the primer application, I stepped back, gazing upon the textured silhouette of the Teton Range in my room. My initial analysis confirmed that the wall could hardly even begin to capture all the magnificence of the Wyoming ruggedness.
Today, a question has popped into my mind. Do I know all there is to know about Christian doctrine? Time and time again . . . what usually comes from my lips is the reply, “I don’t know.”
And there are some things in the Bible where an answer is not given.
Paul says, “We know in part, and we prophesy in part.”
Because of this, Curator and Founder of Ink & Blood, Dr. William H. Noah, in his book, Musterion: A Biblical Primer On Prophecy (Avalon Press, 2003), writes,
This partial understanding ought to encourage unity in the body of Christ. We should realize that our revelations are incomplete and be careful not to add to them out of our own understanding. But as humans under the curse, our pride often leads us to try to answer everyone’s questions completely, instead of just offering only the part that the Holy Spirit revealed to us. Furthermore, those listening to us are cursed as well and want complete understanding themselves, so true teachers and prophets are rejected because their understanding or revelation is just in part while people want complete answers to their questions.
As we fill in the “gaps” of our knowledge purely out of our own understanding, we produce factions and divisions within the body of Christ. This is because everyone has his own understanding or follows the understanding of others. If we could all simply follow one Spirit and be content in the partial answer we are given, we would have unity. The addition may come from our minds but all lies originate with the father of lies, who is Satan (John 8:44). It is our additions to Scripture that cause contradicting viewpoints, and trusting in these differences leads to factions and divisions in the body of Christ: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Prov. 3:5). We must not be lovers of doctrine or understanding but lovers of truth (39-40).
Bill will tell you, “Truth produces humility.”