In response to a post from this morning, a friend sent this along…
“The key to wisdom is this – constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.” Peter Abelard
Two points to start out with:
a. I am not a huge Abelard fan. I simply use this quote to press a point.
2. This quote was taken from Brainy Quotes and I do not attest to its verbatim accuracy.
What our friend, Saint Peter (of the Abelard kind), is trying to encourage is personal investigation. He was a philosopher before he became a theologian, and formed much of his theology using his philosophical mind. This was actually what got him into a lot of trouble with superiors in the Catholic Church.
But, quotes like this make modern-day Christians cringe. We have been taught for many generations, not to question our religion. If it is in the Bible, it’s true. If it is said from the pulpit, it’s true. So, church-goers put on a happy face, sit in the pews and nod their heads at the sermon without actually considering, internalizing or applying the message to their lives.
If they were to do this, they would find that most sermons (good sermons) don’t really have any answers. Instead, they ask many questions. The challenge is to consider these questions through reading the scripture, asking God in prayer and listening in meditation.
One of the highlights to my relatively new career as a pastor was one a lady called me on a Monday. Nobody was in the hospital, fired, injured, or in any type of financial or physical distress. She called because she had a question about my sermon. Praise God! ‘You said this …,’ she said, ‘but what about that?’ I gave her my thoughts, (stress ‘my thought’) and led her to investigate more.
Jesus didn’t demand blind obedience, He answered questions. God didn’t bless us with an amazing ability to question and understand, so that we could follow Him as His mindless servants. Instead, we are to be His mindful servants, seeking Him and asking the hard questions to those He appointed Pastors.