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The Lausanne Global Conversation is on the World Wide Open Network


God in a box

作者: David
日期: 28.04.2010
Category: 和好, 未得之民, 个人见证

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As I follow the global conversation, I have been noticing one important thing that seems to be a common issue in all the topics being discussed.  Sometimes this issue is recognized without addressing it, while at other times opinions are expressed where the writer misses the heart of the issue. This issue is that we all view God and his Word from our worldview no matter how sound our theological reasoning may be.  Actually our theological stances are coloured too.  Even if we consider our worldview to be very biblical, it is still influenced by the culture we live in. 

God intends to meet me within my culture.  He communicates through things that I can relate to.  He sometimes speaks directly through dreams and visions, but also through His word using redemptive analogies, bridges, and open doors.  In the same way, He wants us to use wise means to share His word with the people we serve, which means our choices, whether it be the choice of stories, the choice of language, the choice of communication art forms (narrative, song, poetry, chant, riddles, proverbs, questions, etc.), or the choice of media, have great significance.

If we, from our theological perspective, coloured by our worldview, interpret God’s Word for others, we don’t encourage them to develop a relationship with Him but promote another form of religion.  Suddenly we have put God in a box in the shape of our worldview.  We then can easily make our personal passions a priority and ignore other issues, like for example highlighting literacy, while ignoring oral preferenced communicators or highlighting theological unity, but ignoring ethnic and cultural diversity.  We reason from our perspective that some things are right and others wrong, without the Bible explicitly saying so.  We start to define truth and interpret the meaning of the word, imposing our definitions on those we are ministering to.  We don’t recognize that we’re actually putting ourselves above them, because our interpretation of the word becomes our foundation instead of God’s word itself.  Further, we often determine which scholars and resources are acceptable or unacceptable in interpreting God’s word.  Sometimes we even determine for others that the message has to be in one specific kind of media or language or worse, a particular translation.

In the global discussion, we all are approaching issues from our varied worldviews. All of the issues discussed in the global conversation overlap and have the potential to form a finely and colourfully woven tapestry. Only if we first and foremost seek God and his counsel, can we see this tapestry reflect His beauty and glory.  Only then we’ll really be sharing His story and not our interpretation of that story. If we do, I believe we will see things we have never seen before, because it will not be about the God of our box (from our worldview perspective), but the Creator of the universe, the Beginning and the End.  So, instead of us working for Him from our own worldview, let’s ask Him to work in us, recognizing the limitations of our own worldview, so that He can work through us, while not compromising His word.

关键词: worldview, culture, global conversation, Bible, communicate

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回复 标记 0 支持 反对 outolumo (0)

Good point.

Actually, I don’t think we put God in a box when we present Him to others this way. We put Him in the box the instant we imagined He is like we think He is. Ultimately I think this is idolatry and breaking the commandment: "Don’t make yourself an image of God."

I figure that the proper way to relate to God is to think of Him as someone we know. But understand that we don’t know everything about Him. A lot like with our earthly fathers, really.

So, when we present Jesus to others (also known as "evangelizing") we wouldn’t even think of presenting that what we know as Him, but rather say: "This is what I’ve learned about Him. But don’t just believe me, I may be wrong and I’m just learning to know Him myself. Meet Him, spend time with Him and learn to know Him yourself.

This attitude, of thinking about God as something greater than us and something we don’t fully comprehend ourselves, both keeps us humble and leaves Him room.

Someone might be afraid to say: "How can I introduce God, if I don’t know Him myself? How well should I know Him before I can go and evangelize?" To this I can tell you a story: One day I had been gone all day and came home around midnight. The instant I stepped in, my 7 week old daughter woke up. She recognized it was me and wanted my love and caring. I can assure you she had no idea of the things I had done that day. But she knew her father well enough to tell anyone who I was.

回复 标记 0 支持 反对 David (0)   
@ outolumo:

Hi ’outolomo’,

Thank you for your response... I like the picture you paint at the end...especially when you say: ’she knew her father well enough to tell anyone who I was’... even at seven weeks, when most babies don’t even smile yet, that is such a wonderful testimony of what the core of our testimony should be as adults.  But, she "knew" and she didn’t and couldn’t say what she learned about him.  Her knowing you was showing in a way that nobody could deny.

May God bless you richly,


回复 标记 0 支持 反对 David (0)   
@ outolumo:

Dear ’outolumo’,

Thank you for your response.  I love how you end your reply with a little story about your new born daughter and you said: ’But she knew her father well enough to tell anyone who I was.’  What a beautyful picture, ’she knew’ and even at seven weeks when babies barely start to smile, she was able to express that in a way that was very clear... oh, may our lives show it that clearly.  Our expression of knowing our God is diverse, but our Father and His Word are universal.

回复 标记 1 支持 反对 Kotiuga (4)    

Thank you for the reminder that we are human and that our experience shapes our worldview which shapes our faith. All the more reason for the need to have global conversations to explore the various facets of the tapestry.
And yet, the various angles that you have seen are only a small percentage of what exists since for the most part these conversations are taking place in English and even those from other cultures who are responding have been influenced by the English language.
The wonderful part of faith in Jesus Christ is that we have a means to explore the whole world through the eyes of common shared values and not just the media and stereotypes.While we have differences, these differences enhance our understanding of God when remember that God loves us all and that His grace is sufficient for all of us.
As we the family of God take time to appreciate the richness of the diversity of expressing our faith through our cultural heritage, we can rejoice in knowing that God can relate to all of us and is relevant to all people.

回复 标记 0 支持 反对 David (0)   
@ Kotiuga:

Thank you for complementing this article by your contribution.

回复 标记 0 支持 反对 Eric_CELERIER (1)   

Thank you. Blessings from France :-)



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