The Glories of Uncertainty

“The certainty that rests on God’s word exceeds all knowledge.”

John Calvin
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.

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

One thought on “The Glories of Uncertainty”

  1. There is another way of phrasing this idea, and, in fact, it comes in the form of a maxim: “ignorance is bliss.”

    Lies succeed by dabbling in the truth. A humble man recognizes where he is ignorant and is honest about that ignorance. Thus far the acknowledgement of “uncertainty” may be virtuous. However, a righteous man seeks knowledge and wisdom, both of which fill the void of ignorance.

    I’m also reminded of Ron DiGiacomo’s astute considerations of the idea of “certainty,” which is slippery because it more often refers to psychology than to the strength of a claim:

    I suspect that suppressing the conviction of conscience produced by the Holy Spirit is a primary motive behind the “glorying in uncertainty” language used by many who call themselves Christian. God is giving us up to uncertainty, because it is what we worship. Proverbs 29:18: where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint. We are wanton and craven.

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