Thursday, December 23, 2010

It Often Depends On How You Get There

How we come to a situation often determines how we understand what we are looking at. Here are a couple of examples of what I am talking about. I first noticed this phenomenon when chatting with a young woman in our church about her ancestors. She was an American Indian and when we asked her where her people came from said they had always been there and that the Great Spirit had put her people where they have lived ever since their creation. The context of the talk was about Indians and her history. The interesting thing about this response was that the young lady was one of the pillars of our church and just the week before we had been discussing Genesis 10, the tower of Babel. At that time she was right on board with the fact that God created Adam and Eve, Noah and his family made it through the flood, and her people more than likely came to the American continent through some sort of migration. Even the comment about the Great Spirit was incongruous with her understanding about God.

Whether the young woman answered with, “God created Adam and Eve and eventually my people migrated to this continent,” or “the Great Spirit created them here” depended on the context of the previous conversation. How she came to the topic determined her answer.

The second example involves my own theological change from being Baptist to becoming Paedobaptist. If anyone would have come to me to discuss the issue, I would put on my Baptist helmet and stood toe to toe with anyone who would attack my belief that baptizing babies was wrong and that dunking true believers was the only way to go. But over the years, through my own Bible study, I had noticed many passages that caused me to begin to wonder about the idea of covenant running through the Bible. After a while I decided that it was a large enough issue that I should study the topic. So I did what I always do when I want to study something. I pulled out my Bible and purchased every book and article on the covenant I could find.

After several months of reading and study, I was ready to sign on to the idea that the Bible was a Hebrew book and that the covenant was central to understanding our relationship with God. Further, much to my chagrin, it appeared that Baptism was the event that brought Christians into the new Covenant. Further, it began to really irritate me that just as in the Old Covenant small children, babies even, were already members of the covenant and should appropriately be circumcised so too in the New Testament children of believers in Jesus ought also to be baptized in recognition of their place in the Covenant with God.

In the end I became a Paedobaptist, not through arguing about baptism, but through learning about the covenant and our place in that covenant. How I came to the subject made all the difference in how I saw the subject.

No comments: