Causing to Stumble
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!
This is the passage I have reached in my blog through the Bible project.
I was brought up Catholic, though if I had to choose a label to describe myself now I would say I am a more or less theologically conservative, mildly Charismatic, reformed evangelical. Gosh, that’s 4 labels!
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I remember this saying from my Catholic upbringing, “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate.” John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua.
Like any thinking Christian, I have difficulties with some of the tenets of theological orthodoxy, or charismatic, reformed or evangelical orthodoxy. There is only one issue in which I simply do not believe orthodox teachings, a couple of others I have difficulty with.
So what does a blogging Christian do with such issues? Or a Christian who leads Bible studies, as I did for about 8 years in a row?
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Why does Jesus treasure faith? Because to some extent, it is putting our faith in his trustworthiness. Death, taxes, gravity, sin–these things do not require faith. They are certainties. But faith involves what is traditionally called a leap.
Because we take it on faith that God is good, we do not fear death. Or illness. Or poverty. Or abandonment. Or being honest in our business. Or being generous.
Because we have tasted of his goodness, we can take what he says on trust. Just like one does not doubt a loved spouse’s commitment to fuddy-duddy old you.
So, to some extent, faith is a leap in the dark. We believe what Jesus says because we trust his character. And his goodness.
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And so I re-read my passage, “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!”
It may therefore be better that we keep our difficulties and doubts to ourselves unless we are sure that sharing them will help others.
Because faith is a delicate thing, which is based on love, and is much like love and trust. Once it starts unraveling, the whole thing can come apart for those we share our doubts with. Or trouble and confuse them.
And so, on the whole, I don’t share every difficulty I have publicly, as I would rather increase light than confusion. Or doubt.
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Tricky thing, all matters of faith!
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