“The certainty that rests on God’s word exceeds all knowledge.”
Commentary on Zechariah 2:9
Every so often I dip into sermons of putatively Reformed Parsons from around the country. This clip below is from an aged Reformed Pastor who has been liberal all his life.
The word ‘pure’ here in Philippians 2:15 means ‘to be honest about one’s self.’ Able to look inside yourself and be critical. It’s a kind of humility. It’s a kind of standing besides one’s self and beside each other and saying, ‘I don’t know all the answers. I don’t even know all the questions.'”
Now, I’ve looked around and explored the meaning of the word “pure” in Philippians 2:15 and I honestly don’t know how this Preacher came to the conclusion that “pure” (translated “blameless” by many translations) means “to be honest about one’s self,” though one would expect that only one natural outcome of being pure would be self honesty about one’s self.
But lay that aside for a moment. The real reason for this quoting is yet to come.
The same day I listened to this a friend brought my attention to this article entitled,
Homosexuality and Holy Uncertainty
In that article you can find numerous quotes that are consistent with the sentiment above from the sermon where, “not knowing all the answers or not even knowing all the questions” is seen as praiseworthy example of being “pure.”
Here are some choice quotes from the article that reinforce the Pastor’s sermon.
“… uncertainty is an important spiritual discipline that both deepens us and makes us available for transformation….”
“I wonder if we in the CRC are called to be somewhere along that seven-mile stretch of uncertainty concerning homosexuality.”
“Uncertainty honors the reality that none of us ever has perfect and complete understandings.”
You see the whole program in the article is to praise uncertainty. The author even goes so far as to list it as a “important spiritual discipline.” (Richard Foster, there is another book for you here — “In Celebration of Uncertainty.”)
In yet another venue from August of 2013 another Reformed Pastor wrote in an article pregnantly titled, “Don’t Be So Sure,”
“We live with the mysteries of creation, incarnation, justification, and sanctification. While we marvel at them, we admit that we can’t possibly understand them.”
See? There it is again. In praise of uncertainty.
Note that in all cases a virtue is being made out of being uncertain. Now of course, according to these men, there is nothing wrong with be certain about being uncertain but when we are certain of aspects of the Christian faith that they don’t want read out of orthodoxy then we are not being pure because we are being certain. The purity found in Christianity is found in being uncertain.
According to the first liberal minister quoted one is most pure when one is most uncertain.
But if uncertainty is so pure, and such a spiritual discipline then why not inject it into everything? Maybe Christian leaders should be uncertain about incest? Maybe Christian leaders can show their holiness by being uncertain about the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ? Maybe the Apostle Paul should not have said, “I know whom I have believed,” instead opting for, “I don’t know who the hell I believe.”
Don’t get me wrong. I understand that there are times when saying “I don’t know,” is to be preferred. However, I do not understand orthodox Christian ministers opting for “I’m not certain” about matters the Church has been certain about for 2000 years. I also don’t care for this desire to pursue a liberal agenda being wrapped up in the artificially contrived pious cocoon of “holy uncertainty” so that if anyone dares disagrees with their holy uncertainty — thus demonstrating that they are certain that their opponents uncertainty is utter nonsense — one is then automatically less Christian because they don’t practice the spiritual discipline of uncertainty and are not pure because they actually do know some of the answers.
Here’s my opinion. Many times those pushing the uncertainty line are certain that they can’t succeed in pushing their liberal agenda without invoking uncertainty as a measure whereby they can gain time for their agenda to gain a certain certainty among the ever increasing throng of the un-anchored credulous, who are actually certain with all their hearts, that uncertainty is, in and of itself, noble. The incredulous are not bright enough to realize that the uncertainty hawkers are the most certain people who have ever walked the planet. The uncertainty hawkers are certain how to achieve their agenda and selling uncertainty to the credulous rubes who mount pulpits all across America week in and week out is the way to sell their snake oil certainty.
Of that I am certain.