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prov·o·ca·tion - something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates. pant - to long eagerly; yearn. a collection of thoughts intended to provoke and inspire. these posts are hoping to encourage people to think, especially Christians, and pant even harder for the waterbrooks of the Lord. If you are not a believer in Christ Jesus, I welcome your perspective and encourage your investigation on these matters.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Ad Fontes or Mediated Truth?

Ad Fontes was a battlecry of the Reformers, especially Martin Luther. It is Latin for "back to the sources." During the time of the 16th Century, those who had believed in Christ had so deviated from the Scriptures and source of our faith that the foundations were built upon by plastic pillars. Only the priests had the right and opportunity to read and interpret the Bible. Truth was mediated through those authorized to read the Bible. Forgiveness was mediated through priests at confession. And eternal life was mediated through prayers and indulgences for those waiting in purgatory. This was Christianity - until Martin Luther went back to the sources. He went to the Bible directly and the Holy Spirit instructed and lead him into truth. He went to the writings of the church fathers and gleaned from their eminent understanding of the grassroots growth of the Christian faith. He exposed the crutches and props and deviations from the truth with his 95 Thesis on Wittenburg Door on October 31, 1517 (Reformation Day). And as result, Protestants and Evangelicals have much to be thankful for. However, I am concerned that ecclesiology (church life) is quickly going back to this mediation. For example, I hear more of Oswald Chambers today than the Sermon on the Mount, more of Rick Warren than the letters of Paul, more of fly-by devotions than long-labors into the covenant theology and pastoral letters of Moses in Deuteronomy. Evangelicals are no different from catholics on this matter: where catholics go to priests for mediation for forgiveness in confessionals, evangelicals go to books for mediation for truth in devotionals. Our devotional life is not spent in wrestling with biblical texts and "meatier" matters of Scripture. As Paul said, we prefer milk, not meat, for we are not capable of even digesting it. Furthermore, we are mediating salvation through various means, not the least of which are sinner's prayers and altar calls, thinking that if they are done, one is saved. As a result, sinners are not fleeing to Christ and claiming his righteousness; they are simply following the protocol of aisle walking or following the spiritual laws. For an article of concerning the unregenerate denomination of Southern Baptists, I confer this submission: http://www.founders.org/library/elliff1.html So there is the plague of second-hand truth, prefabricated best-sellers as theological manuals, and church growth techniques as mediation for salvation. I am sure that there are other forms that will arise and even some I am not aware of. I am also sure that those who rely on devotionals and church growth strategies are of sincerest of intentions; but when are we going to realize that what works is not always right? When are we going to see that truth is mediated only from Christ? There is one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. The veil was torn, and it is time that we live like it. Access to the Father comes through His Son and His sacrificial death. It is my prayer that these truths are realized in the lives of believers who confess Christ. May it not take another Luther or Reformation to wake the sleeping giant to return to the sources.

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