Why are we so afraid of the questions? Oh, I get that questioning something with disengenuous motives can sometimes be a tactic to undermining our theology, our faith, or moral standards. But what about when the motivations are truly seeking answers? One of the things I hear a lot from the people in Emergent is a desire to have an openness to the questions. Now, often I think some people go too far and merely like being about the questions because it seems cool to ask questions, kind of an over-against-ness or even a superiority. However, when the questions are legitimate - as most of our faith questions can be - then we should not be afraid of them. One of the things the people at Emergent like to say is, "everything is up for reconsideration" and they don't like it when, especially evangelicals say, "that's already been answered." Here is an important point. Sure, the church as a collective in history and through historical circumstances has often come to important answers on difficult subjects. Sometimes it's been so difficult that it's been through disunity, division, and someitmes even bloodshed. These important issues, "settled" by networked Christians in variety of modes (councils, presyteries, synods, covenants, alliances, etc.) were necessary particularly because the questions themselves were so important with which to grapple. So, here's the problem: when a young person, or someone new to the faith, asks an age old question, for them it is a real questions. Saying, "that's been settled" hardly helps them understand how the debate was settled, why it was settled in the way it was, and who has the authority to settle such difficult questions. The problem or issue may be settled within certain networks of believers but is a real, live, current, contemporary question not only for a non-believer or new believer, but often questions have a new face when we find them in contemporary cultural contexts that we have not faced before. If the question was settled in a time when we were not facing the problems we are today, the question really is a new question and needs to be either affirmed with the new data, or revisited.
I think this is a lot of what the Emergent people are responding to. But, let's be careful to look at real questions and not just go after any beliefs for the sake of creating disequilibrium. But let's not be afraid of the questions, either. We have to remmeber that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. We need to trust God with the questions and tha the is big enough to supply the answers even in the midst of a rapidly changing world. If God is who he says he is, then he's big enough for the biggest, hardest, most challenging questions. Let's not let our own fear of losing our ground, losing our faith, or losing our ability to be the answer-people get in the way of our serious engagement of important issues.
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