We are living in strange days with an unknown virus and a plethora of fake news. We all long to know what is truly going on, and yet we (Nick & Mark, teaming up to write this newsletter) have also been noticing the many wrong paths down which this longing may take us.
The quest for certainty, for clarity and assuredness can easily become side-idols of Christianity.
We can have assurance in our faith and certainty in our doctrine, for sure. But we also believe that there is an underlying element therein that can become idolatrous. The quest for certainty can leave us grasping for something that may not actually be there.
Our nation is collectively experiencing seismic shifts in culture, politics, and power, and we understandably look to our leaders to explain what is happening. We tend to turn our ears to the ones who appear to have the most answers. We like to follow the ones who seem to have everything figured out, insider knowledge, or a lack of surprise and confusion. We seek those who are confident that they are right, who are able to tie up all the loose ends, and who offer a firm grasp of all the issues at play.
We desire for you to understand that this is harmful for us and harmful for those leaders.
It’s harmful for us because it tries to make saviors out of mere men. It reinstates what the Great Reformation overcame: that there is only a small segment of people who can hear from God and can accurately communicate what is happening in the world. It also minimizes the personal walking with and trusting in our Savior Jesus. Is Jesus not enough? Do you require more than a small light for your next step? Do you crave the floodlight of experts as well?
This posture is also harmful for our leaders because it can tempt them to say things that our itching ears want to hear. It can create an inclination for them to overstate their positions or appeal to unnecessarily polarizing ideals. And it can make them over-state opinion as fact when it comes to what God has revealed in the Bible.
We are all longing to find certainty and explanation for the current pandemic, political tension, and global shift that seems to be occurring. Many claim what is occurring is an ordering of events that lead to the return of Christ. Maybe it is, but maybe it is not. Maybe all of this is occurring because we live in a fallen world?
Like the Apostle Paul, we see only a reflection as in a mirror, yet there are others who appear to have clarity. “How did they come to these conclusions?” we wonder. “How did they arrive at this interpretation of Scripture?” we ask. We have even heard leaders say, “Here is what’s going on…” and “Here is how you have been deceived…” and “Let me pull back the curtain for you…”
But in your search for answers and certainty, we encourage you to be careful. Jesus gives us enough for each day, and there are some things this side of Heaven we are not made to know.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (1 Cor. 13:12)
God gives us all we need.
- Resist the itch to make too much of prophecies and predictions.
- Don’t make idols out of certainty and assurance.
- God will give you what you need. Things will be clear in His time.
- God, your portion is enough for me!
Mark & Nick