Thursday, January 5, 2012

Common Sense

"Have nothing to do with silly and ill-informed controversies which lead inevitably, as you know, to strife" (2 Timothy 2:23 Phillips); "But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments, because these are unprofitable and useless" (Titus 3:9).

Defend me, therefore, common sense, I say,
From reveries so airy, from the toil
Of dropping buckets into empty wells,
And growing old in drawing nothing up.

Religion especially is not to satisfy our curiosity or to answer speculative questions. It is to restore our relationship with God; to sanctify our hearts and minds and prepare us for eternity. What good comes from stirring up strife over whatever does not help us with this goal?

Chaucer shared this humorous bit of wisdom: "One shouldn't be too inquisitive in life/Either about God's secrets or one's wife." Our question is not, "Is my name written there, on the page white and fair?" but, "Is my God written here, on my heart full of fear?" "What must [we] do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30) and "What must we do to do the works God requires?" (John 6:28) are the compelling questions.

"...What may be known about God is plain..." (Romans 1:19). It is "wise" men who have obscured the plain things. We have made a fine art of wrangling and wrestling from the very Word of God. "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?" (1 Corinthians 1:20). Yes, there are thoughts past our understanding, but God would not leave us without precepts and promises that we can comprehend and believe beyond spiritual fatal doubts. What kind of God would leave us hanging in the winds of worry and misgiving if He professes to be Love?

“Huxley came to Baltimore to attend a general conference in 1820. A discussion arose on a question of order, whether presiding elders should be elected by preachers or not, and the dispute had waxed warm, not to say hot. Brother Huxley had said not a word through it all, but at the close of the session the Bishop called upon him to make the concluding prayer. He knelt and said, “Now, O Lord, Thou knowest what a time we’ve had here discussing and arguing about this elder question, and Thou knowest what our feelings are. We do not care what becomes of the ark; it’s only who drives the oxen.” (Christian Age.)

I wonder if the ark is faring any better in our day!

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