Pastor John's JourneysWhy are you a Christian? (Assuming you are) Why do you go to church? (Assuming you do) What beliefs would you be willing to risk your life for? (Assuming you have any) These are basic yet, for many, very difficult questions to answer. Often the answers have to do with tradition, family, obligation, and duty rather than deep spiritual beliefs. I'm not going to give you some kind of pat simple answers. I believe the answers have to come from within. They have to be something you own. They have to be not just what you think in your head, but what you feel in your gut. No lecture, sermon, or book is going to give you that kind of deep meaningful answer. It has to come from a collaboration of a variety of sources. John Wesley spoke about 4: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. Too often people, cultures, and the church have relied only on one or two of these without regard to the rest.
In the beginning there was only experience. There was no Bible, no rules, no rituals, just a one-on-one relationship between God and God's people. Later when Moses took the people into the desert they needed rules, order and systems. Thus Tradition took hold and eventually nearly pushed out experience all together. Jesus came along to show where tradition had eliminated experience and reason completely. He got in a lot of trouble because he broke some of their laws, while trying to reestablish a personal God that people could experience. This threat to the control and power tradition and law had on the people eventually led to Jesus' death on a cross. Since Jesus, the Christian church reestablished tradition, and eventually reason of the modern age again made no room for personal experience.
Why are we Christians? Why do we go to church? Is it because of tradition? Is it because of the law of scripture? Is it because to not do so seems unreasonable? Is it because you feel a deep penetrating gut presence in your heart? I don't believe you'll ever make it to the third question without a combination and a collaboration of all four things. If you want a passionate, purposeful faith, discover the God of scripture, tradition, reason and experience.