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Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Way, the Truth and The Life

One says to know Christ is to know the way and if you do not know the way you do not know the Christ. Another says to know Christ is to know the truth and if you do not know the truth you do not know the Christ, and yet another says to know Christ is to know the life and if you do not know the life then you do not know the Christ.

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27 Comments:

Blogger dorsey said...

Many brethren would probably say you have that backwards. They would say that if you do not know the Christ, then you do not know life, or truth or the way.

For me, such linear thinking is problematic when truth (or life, or the way) is experienced in a "secular" expression (I don't believe this is a valid word. There is no such thing as secular). However, before I comment further, I'd like to hear you unpack your thoughts a little, to make sure I'm not misreading your intent.

12/06/2007 07:20:00 AM  
Blogger jefe said...

Interesting discussion starter, KC.

Based on what you've written here, I would say this line of thought is potentially a logical-fallacy.

I guess it would hinge on your definition of the word "know".

To "know Christ" in the spiritual sense is much more relational than cerebral. Conversely, to "know truth" (from a human perspective) seems to be much more linear (to quote my bro) than having an intimate relational knowledge of Christ.

Ultimately, I do not believe the greater can be fully defined by the lesser. Especially the way they are segmented here. (He's not "the Way, the Truth OR the Life", is He?)

No, I believe the knowledge of Christ is an organic, progressive revelation, and not as systematically concise as this statement might imply.

12/06/2007 08:45:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Jeff just wrote, almost word for word, the response I have been working on all day. :razz:

I haven't quite figured out the oft used term, "I know God." I always want to say, "Huh?" When an inspired evangelical approaches me with the question, "Do YOU know God?" I always say, "Not as well as I will when I die!"

God knows me inside and out - better than I do. How on earth in this flesh, boxed in by linear time and within the bounds of physics and so much more, can I possibly "know" God?

Now, back to what you wrote, I notice you refer to knowing Christ. I think that is how I BEGIN to know God. I can do that, I think. Jesus say, "I am the way, the truth AND the life." That says to me that I just have to know Christ - since he is all those things, do I really need to know any more than that?

I am pretty sure He didn't say, "I am the way, the truth, OR the life." :) Is that significant?

12/06/2007 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

"...not as systematically concise..."

I think that's at the heart of the matter.

12/06/2007 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

You guys are brilliant, to say the least.

I’m presently (always) concerned over the division that believers create between themselves.

What expectation should we have, if any, of someone claims a) to have eternal life b) to know Jesus is Christ, the Son of God or c) to follow Christ?

12/06/2007 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy I think knowledge in this context is as Jeff explained. It is the knowledge that comes by faith.

“I am pretty sure He didn't say, "I am the way, the truth, OR the life." :) Is that significant?”

That points to exactly what I’m observing and asking here. When anyone comes to “know” Christ should we expect that they know The Truth, The Way AND The Life before we treat them as brethren?

Somewhere (I couldn’t find it) Jeff made reference to what various believers esteemed most within their various “camps”. Each camp seems to consider that this esteemed item is the determining factor at least for fellowship if not for redemption. It seems to me that each of those items “could” fall under one of these attributes of Christ; The Way, The Truth OR The Life.

This makes me wonder. Are we allowing our denominations and systematic theologies to actually force us into these “linear” perceptions that prevent us from a deeper knowledge/relationship with our brethren and with God in Christ?

12/07/2007 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

What if this problem has actually obscured our view of the attribute we esteem most highly?

What if our value of The Truth has caused us to believe a lie concerning The Way? What if our value of The Way has caused us to behave in a hateful manner toward our brethren? What if our value of The Life that comes by faith in Christ has caused us to lead others to doubt?

12/07/2007 06:28:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

KC,

The final paragraph in your previous comment describes where I end up frequently. I can be balanced for a time, but then I start leaning one direction. Sooner or later I discover this misdirection and work hard in that area to recover - which inadvertantly sets me off balance in another way entirely.

It makes me think of a center circus tent pole anchored by 3 large ropes. For the pole to stand straight, each rope must remain taute and solidly anchored - but if one is tightened too much, the others come loose, or if one is loosened, the other tow pull the pole their direction.

It is in my nature to go off balance. I lack the omnipotent knowledge required to STAY on balance or to even properly balast for it, which is the very reason I should place my trust and faith in one who has that knowledge.

I keep pursuing knowledge, often in the hopes that I can figure it out for myself. But when I do so with humility (with a teachable heart open for correction rather than a know-it-all) balance usually occurs.

Don't know if that is actually on-topic, but it was my thought...

12/07/2007 07:36:00 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

KC,
great thoughts. I read your comments and I see what you mean.

12/07/2007 09:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Gordon Cloud said...

This is an intriguing post and great discussion.

I think you are right in your suggestion that we often allow denominational linear thinking to force us into a misinterpretation of this text.

It probably has a lot to do with the attitude with which we approach this scripture. If we approach it in pride, we will become convinced that the way, truth and life are whatever we perceive them to be. This will cause us to become more exclusive in our fellowship.

On the other hand, if we approach this text with humility, it should lead us to be more inclusive. We will realize that the truth and the way are revealed through our "walking in the light" in fellowship in Christ and not by human determination.

12/07/2007 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Missy a proper balance may well play a great part in this. When I think in terms of “building” on the foundation of Christ it seems we tend to try and build one or the other wall too high too fast and it ends up collapsing because it needs the other walls to support it. I suppose it’s better to let it collapse than to continue to prop it up using a closed mind and a cold heart to add the support of condemnation and rejection of brethren needed to keep it up.

Rose, thanks so much. May God bless you for your effort in addressing this problem.

Brother Gordon you are such a blessing to me. I’ve been thinking all day how having a humble attitude toward God and others would help ease the tension and allow for healing in these divisions. I think to most that seems like accepting error into the Church but what I propose is that we accept that the Church has errors and work together as best we can while we can to correct them. I don’t have to sacrifice the Truth, The way or The Life to do that, just my own foolish, stubborn pride. I have to be willing to accept that some of that error is likely my own.

12/08/2007 03:51:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

How about just know Christ...
God works out the rest

Who knows what another knows and when they knew what they know.

I saw life and it lead to one conclusion there must be God

Because I know God I now know life

I mat never understand some things about life, there may be things I understand you do not. One thing we share and always will the acceptance of Christ.

Love now tomorrow is not promised to anyone

12/09/2007 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

I was wondering (I know, it's scary)...

If I know something different about Christ than what you know about Him, can we both still "know" Him?

Like, my mom knows me and my husband knows me - but maybe theres some stuff one knows that the other doesn't.

12/11/2007 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger dorsey said...

That's a good point. Of course, both your mother and your husband would say they know you well, and rightly so. But only God can fully know you, inside and out. Likewise, I know Christ, you know Christ, Kc knows Christ, etc. However, no person (in this world, at least) can fully comprehend God. Even the people closest to Christ on Earth didn't really get him (I know that feeling).

When your mother and your husband get together and talk about you, each of them can share insight about you with the other. That's cool, until their respective insights begin conflict with one another.

I guess that's what we do here, right? Attempt to harmonize our respective knowledge of Christ?

12/12/2007 06:36:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Yeah, I like that, Dorsey. Then I guess the best thing for me to do when someone's insight conflicts with mine is try to figure out how I might have it wrong - or what about my knowledge is incomplete.

Or could it be that I have all I need to know?

12/12/2007 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger jefe said...

Or could it be that I have all I need to know?

I think that's it.

Of course we should press, as Paul did, to know Him more. But what makes "knowing God" so special is that while each of us sees/knows "in part", when we are together, in unity, as a community, we have the potential to see Him in His entirety.

I believe this is the reason we need each other so badly...

12/12/2007 09:25:00 PM  
Blogger Missy said...

Amen!

Now, let's start a new church and take over the world...

12/13/2007 08:40:00 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

uhhh, ya'll DO know I was kidding...

12/14/2007 04:57:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

You were kidding! I already sold all my stuff and used to the money to buy kool-aid

:)

Be loved Missy

12/14/2007 06:31:00 PM  
OpenID rrbj said...

Hi Everyone,

Mrs Zeke down here where I'm at Kool-Aid is a poor man's Rc Cola ,and we could serve that at the begining of the new church providing they were no sprucing up the flavor ?

Jefe I agree kinda with what you said , but ain't it great to have the oppurtunity to learn more about the Way-the Truth-the-LIFE ! Dorsey maybe you could be in charge and introduce Dorsiesm . Senoir Jefe could run for elected senoir pastor ?

Blessings.
Ron.

12/15/2007 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger Mrs Zeke said...

Well Ron we could use a double pack in the amount of water for one of cherry and then with our red teeth and tongues say its a sign from God and be special.

Be loved you are

12/15/2007 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi Casey,

Just for a clarification on something that I had never asked you before.

Can someone be saved who nevertheless holds tenacsiously to the merit of his works?

In other words, do you believe that people who trust in their works and their sacraments, yet believe whatever you say is saving faith, and be saved?

If you did, wouldn't that be the practical death knell for the reformation?

No more "faith alone in Christ alone" ?

Have a good day!

Antonio

12/19/2007 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Jon Lee said...

kc -

Great post! Much of what I've been thinking about out loud at my blog and am far from any hard and fast conclusions.

What I do know is that "faith alone in Christ alone" means many different things to different reformed traditions (Lutherans, Methodists, Church of Christ etc....)

Love your comments!

In Christ,

JL

12/20/2007 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Casey,

it has been 4 days and I keep checking in to see if you answered the question. It is that time og the year...

Merry Christmas!

Antonio

12/22/2007 03:39:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Dear Brethren please forgive my absence. I have had a great demand on my time these last few weeks due to several situations involving family and friends and I need your prayers in all of this.

Lady Z I really appreciate your attitude and I think you’re question concerning our knowledge of others is something we should always keep in mind. I’ve found that often our differences are due to problems in communicating our understanding rather than a difference in our faith.

Missy and Dorsey your discussion is very much in line with my thinking on this. I think there is quite a bit of ambiguity in the term “knowledge” with respect to the knowledge of God in Christ. I think the term “intimacy” better relates the concept being discussed here. It seems to me that to be intimate with our Lord we must be intimate with one another and that seems to be our greatest difficulty.

I got tickled with the talk of starting a “new” church but do you know I think that’s exactly what men think when they start a new denomination? Its certainly best God is in control because with my present disposition I would serve the koolaid right away to anyone who wanted to start a “new” church! ;-)

Antonio I’m so sorry for the slow response. I’ve been considering your question and it seems the answer hinges on whether or not self-righteousness is the unforgivable sin. Would you agree that is the issue or do you have a different perspective on this?

Again I apologize and I’ll do my best to respond more quickly in future. I really hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas! ;-)

Welcome Jon! Thanks for joining in and I’m sorry I haven’t taken the time to be more active in the discussions over at your place. I really do enjoy your articles and appreciate your open mind. I’m looking forward to more discussion with you as time permits. ;-)

12/23/2007 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Casey,

the question was quite clear. But for the sake of thoroughness I will rephrase.

In your position of saving faith, can someone who trusts in Jesus 0% for eternal life and trusts 100% in his works for his eternal well-being, IOW, for eternal life, be saved not budging a bit from this position?

Question is very simple. Yes/no! You asked me a question. I will answer your question after you answer mine :)

Antonio

12/29/2007 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

For the sake of posterity Antonio and I have continued over at his great group blog Unahamed of Grace". ;-)

12/31/2007 07:50:00 AM  

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