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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Life as Evidence

What did your father do for a living? What impact did that have on your development? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1274).

My father was a Methodist minister and pastor. I ask myself what would daddy want me to say here – what would he most like for me to say regarding his impact on my life? I think he would like for me to say that I was blessed with a head start on the path of life. This head start was purposively set by my father to include training in and cultivation of appreciation for the truth and power of Scripture. He presented me with a New Testament in 1961 with the following inscription:

I think he also would like to me to say that I had a model in him and mother of people who genuinely believed in the efficaciousness of God’s love within and among the lives of people. That is, my father would insist that I focus not only on him and his occupation, but on the impact of being persistently exposed over a period of development and growth to a community of believers. If I ever wanted to understand where my father was “at” I only had to look at those who he regularly fellowship with in the congregation of believers. And finally all rested ultimately in faithful allegiance to Jesus Christ.

In last Sunday’s sermon pastor David Miller referred to a challenging question:

This last week as I was reading Peter Rollin’s book – How Not to Speak of God! In it he asks – would we follow Jesus if there was no eternal life? He acknowledges that it’s not a very good question because we know that Jesus did rise again. But all the same, if there were no heaven after death – would we follow him? He says we are always rushing from the cross to the empty tomb. But sometimes we need to slow down and reflect on the motivation of our faith. That is, do we believe because of what we will receive? Do we follow Jesus because of the reward of eternal life? I would like to say that I would follow Christ even if there were no heaven. Because following Christ means peace beyond this world and power that is greater and freedom from sin. But even those are things I receive in response to my faith. (

Would I believe in Jesus Christ even if belief did not promise to secure eternal life? Would I believe in Jesus anyway?” My answer to this arises with total confidence and complete conviction—the value of Christ’s life of earth quite apart from any “eternal reward” considerations is self-sufficient and self-validating. It represents a naked (in this sense indefensible) conviction something like that attested to in the Declaration of Independence—some things, we must aver in the end, are self-evident truths. In regards to my father, even if Christianity is a story woven by dreamers, the expression of faith found realized in his daily life evoked clarion chords that are not contained by time or death. The validity of my father as a role model for abundant life is self-evident.

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