In 1 Corinthians 13, it says that "we see through a glass darkly." Some of the arguments about theology feel like a group of people peering inside the windows of a minivan on a bright sunny day. Some argue for the presence of a steering wheel, others are sure there is none. Some look in the back and see a cargo bay, and others insist there are seats inside.
Even in the world of physics, the inconsistencies are there. Quantum physics, the study of really tiny things has come to conclusions that contradict findings from Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which is applied to really big things. To try to account for these inconsistencies, some scientists will talk about wormholes, bending space, ten dimensions and other things that I can't wrap my mind around. I appreciate the study of science and the focus on continuing to pursue an understanding of the world around us. But ultimately, both science and theology must be done with great humility. Our grand insights today will seem insignificant (and perhaps wrong) in years to come and will be as the simplistic discoveries of a four year old when we finally see God face to face.
But there are things I do trust. I trust the Bible as a reliable and trustworthy guide to life as I read it through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in light of Jesus as the Truest and Most Reliable Word of God. Jesus told the religious leaders of his day, "You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have life, but it is they that bear witness about me." (John 5:39 ESV) It's humbling to realize that those who had devoted the most time and effort in understanding the scriptures in that day were the very ones who could not fathom that Jesus really was who He said He was.
One of the things I appreciate about my background in the Beachy Amish Mennonite church, is that there wasn't a lot of grand, systematic theology to try fit everything we understand into a neat little package. Our theology was much more practical with a focus on the question, "How should we live?" We didn't spend a lot of time on free will/predestination, theologies of atonement, or defining the precise meanings of sanctification, justification, and redemption. Instead, we read the story, learned to know the story, and lived in the story of God breaking into the world through Jesus.
I like to learn. I like to listen to the debates and to think more deeply about theology. But in the end, words are only poor, pathetic substitutes for the Word. My theology (theo=God, logos=word) is Jesus. If I describe my basic theology as Anabaptist, Pietist, Evangelical, Reformed or Mennonite, I have already substituted the Logos for another logos. That is idolatry.
Jesus is the Center, the very Expression of the the Reality of the Father in heaven. He draws us toward holiness in both our personal lives and in his confrontation of the systems and powers of this world. Listen to Him.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16 NIV)
-John M Troyer