Simple Faith, Complex Theology

“Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so..”

The line from this popular kids’ worship song, was once quoted by renowned theologian Karl Barth as the summation of his Christian Faith. In a previous post on this blog, I touched on the importance of having a Personal Theology which is loosely defined as WHAT you personally believe, and WHY you believe it. You were also encouraged to grow your Personal Theology continuously as your knowledge of God changes. A continually changing theology can become increasingly complex, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Faith has to do with belief in things hoped for- not yet seen (Heb 11:1). Faith is mysterious. It is experiential, and not always completely rational or explicable. Somewhat like the word “love”, it is best described when experienced or expressed.

What is concerning, is when our fundamental faith is distorted by our theology.

For the life of me, I couldn’t find the clip where Steven Furtick talks about his experience as a teen when working in a fireworks store: He got so jaded by all the repetitive questions “How high does this shoot?” , “What colours does this one explode?”, “Is this one loud?”- that he began to lose his passion for fireworks. The technical answers did no justice to the magic of actually seeing fireworks explode, so he lost his passion for them. He warns us not to do the same with our faith. That we become so wrapped up in all the how’s and the why’s, that we forget the mystery of God’s connection to our souls, of His love, of Salvation.

I recall times on my Christian journey where I lost virtues, became loveless, or gave in to temptations- and these incidents ALL had to do with where my faith was at. Not my theology. I knew what I was doing was wrong or hurtful- but I’d temporarily lost the “caring”… It was always a FAITH issue that allowed me to drift from my theology. I came to see a correlation between the (sl)acking of a few practices, and my “faith drifting”.

In recent years, I have come to believe that the practices below are cornerstones to a healthy faith life:

  • Prayer
  • Scripture (Bible Reading)
  • Silence
  • Formal Worship
  • Community
  • Outreach

Some of the words above are loaded with baggage from past experience, and this may be hurtful or helpful to you as you explore your faith life. I will expound on these topics in a future post.

What do you think as essential in maintaining strong and healthy faith? What one thing can you change right now to grow or strengthen your faith?