Liberal Theology once dominated seminaries and churches. Liberal theologians denied supernatural elements such as miracles and prophecies. They brushed aside miracles as legends and attributed the fulfillment of Scriptural prophecies to the prophecies being written after the events they foretold actually occurred. They did this because they interpreted the Bible with the a priori assumption that anything contrary to natural laws simply did not happen.
This faulty conviction came from their overconfidence in science. They had this overconfidence because they didn’t know the limits of the science. And they didn’t know these limits because they were ignorant of science. They had to deny miracles and the fulfillment of prophecies recorded in Scripture because they could not be experimentally proven.
They distrusted the Bible because it contained so many supernatural phenomena. They reinterpreted the Bible and painted images of God and Jesus according to their own theology. The God they presented was a powerless God who could not even overcome His own natural laws. Jesus was merely a good man who taught brotherly love without convincing anyone. Christianity in Europe is dying in large part because of the acceptance of this false picture of God and Jesus as truth.
Our Christian walk is influenced more by our mental picture of God and Jesus than our head knowledge of the Bible. When I was young, my ideas of God and Jesus were mostly formed by Liberal Theology, because it was the dominant theology of the time. As a result, my confidence in God and Jesus was weak. I didn’t really believe in Jesus or truly trust God. But as my confidence in the accuracy and the historicity of the Bible grew, my faith also began to grow. As I updated my mental pictures of God and Jesus according to Scripture, I began to experience God more often in my life.
How about you? What kind of mental picture do you have of God? Is He like a toothless grandfather whose love for His children is such that He doesn’t care if they sin or not? Worse, is He just a sort of formless power rather than a person? What about Jesus? Is he just a political revolutionary who tried to overthrow oppressing powers but failed and was executed by Jewish leaders? Or is he an idealistic humanist who believed in the coming of God’s kingdom but failed to establish it? How about the Apostles? Are they unreasonable moralists who taught moral laws that even they themselves could not keep? Are they outsiders in society who try to enhance their status in society by trying to be leaders of a new religion?
We must examine our mental pictures of God, Jesus and the Apostles. When those pictures get closer to what is written in the Bible our faith grows stronger. And as our faith becomes stronger we experience God’s power in our lives more often.
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