What the Church Should Seek
The zeal and desire of the church to be faithful to Jesus through the teachings and traditions of the Apostles are traits that have sprung many divisions and sects in the church. The desire and zeal are both worthy. With the desire to be faithful to Jesus we have many ways presented within reality to peruse this. The writings we have from the Apostles present some of reality’s clearest written record of God’s desire. The tradition of the Church holds many answers and many questions in regard to God’s will in practice. It is the clearest visionary representation of the practices of our Lord. The Spirit of God which is within the Church presents the clearest form of revelation. Other points of reality are presented to us that reflect God’s will such as the creation and its ordered laws. The trouble we have with all of these realities is when we begin to translate them into practice. Our perception and the various variables about these realities that need to be assessed and processed by the human mind can cause us trouble. Man’s mind is not complete and there is no system of perfection that can aid it in perfection of understanding and knowledge. The image of God can then find itself only attempting to accurately perceive the reality around him. Perfection is unattainable, but the reality may be understood better and better as we move along in our study. The implications of our inability to fully understand humbles us to rely on the principles of faithfulness in honesty. The church then in its pursuit of faithfulness should seek to understand the reality which comes from God humbly in the lens of church tradition, Scripture, and revelation of the Holy Spirit and prayer. The creation is something to consider in aiding our understanding, but the Church focusing on the teachings of Christ has a lower need to try and understand the difficult and unknowable tenets of God’s creation.
Holy Spirit and Prayer: Our Individual Relationship with God
The Spirit of God is God. That which He reveals through dreams, visions, and all types of communication is absolute communication from God. In attempting to understand God’s desire and will there is simply nothing better for the Church than for God to speak through and to them. This is the most obvious and should be the greatest desire of the Church. The obvious problem of this is that no man can manipulate that the Spirit, cause Him to speak when they will, and squeeze the divine mysteries from Him. Therefore, the church is subject to His desire and timing to reveal to the Church what He wills to reveal. Here are some other obvious variables that need to be taken into account in regard to this reality.
An extremely messy truth for an organization desiring both truth and acceptance of one another.
Lack of Miraculous for long periods of time
When God doesn’t speak in the Church then there is no settlement for the Church on that which they are seeking.
Tradition and Scripture contain no decisive way on “how to” the Holy Spirit.
When you want to learn something about someone you look to their students, to their friends, and to their family. The Apostles are largely responsible for the churches existence and they themselves were the friends of our Lord. Looking at the faithful who came from the Apostles is a good way to understand what the Lord willed and taught while on the planet. This principle is true and reality, but what are the obvious variables that exist and need to be understood to have a better view of this reality?
Human fallibility and the passing of time
We all make mistakes and it if it’s possible for the church to have made mistakes then there is a good chance it has.
Matters never clarified
What happens when the Apostles didn’t cover something in the detail that people wanted to know more about? What if approved men actually don’t know the answer to something. Will they attempt to answer it and will that answer then get taken as Apostolic understanding?
Good things are good, but not everything is from the Lord and Apostles. Have there been times when certain practices have been inducted into the church and taught as pure tradition from the Apostles?
Scripture records of men who did interact with God. The prophetical books start out with the statement that the word came from the LORD to so and so. Moses at various points spoke with God in receiving the law, delivering the plagues, and at the meeting of the burning bush. Many men are recorded in Genesis to have a profound relationship with God. The New Testament records those who lived and ate with God incarnate. So, the authors of Scripture have recorded for us very significant events based on very significant relationships.
Determining Original intent
If I read the Scriptures in my own context, I may just have no idea what the author originally meant to convey. Understanding things like words, culture, and other common surroundings can help us better determine what the original intent of the authors were. Without attempting to do this, this reality becomes a major stumbling black for understanding.
The fact that Judaism and Christianity both have had different traditions of what kind of texts to use makes this variable another presented obstacle in seeking perfection.
While generally the discrepancies of Biblical manuscripts are small and harmoniums in teaching, for scrutiny’s sake we have to understand the variable of transmission as something we have to acknowledge and work with.
Solomon is claimed to be one of the wisest men to have ever lived outside of Jesus of Nazareth. Being somewhat a theistic nihilist Solomon affirms in his writings that everything is worthless, yet to fear God and to keep His commandments are both wisdom and understanding. Solomon’s viewpoint may be at odds with many Christian theologians of all ages, but he does highlight the main duty, or theme of man’s life. That is to be faithful to God. (Eccl. 12:13, Prov. 9:10) In our attempt to be faithful to the One who is worthy we need to sort out the “worthless” things in an attempt to be faithful in all honesty. Much study may just be worthless in the grand scheme of things, but it may just be honest at the same time. Each individual of the Church and collectively as a whole needs to seek faithfulness to God in whatever capacity they are able to. Through study of the Scriptures, tradition, and through the church’s relationship with God and His Spirit the church will continue on to perfection in honesty. The variables that need to be understood within these realities may pose a challenge, but it is not as though these variables are impossible challenges, just challenges that need to be taken on.