Comments on the Second 100 Pages of Introduction to Christianity
A few weeks ago, I posted some comments on Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger’s (now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s) important book Introduction to Christianity (1968). You can find that article at the following link: https://daveinchow.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/comments-on-first-100-pages-of-introduction-to-christianity/
Here are some thoughts on the second 100 pages of the text:
1. “We ought to find God, Bonhoeffer thought, not, so to speak, in our moments of need and failure, but amid the fullness of earthly life,” (pg. 105).
- While it is true that God is our refuge, that he comforts us in our weakness, it is equally true that every good thing comes from God. God is not only the God of our suffering but also the God of our joy. There is a great tendency among Christians today to simply call upon God in times of great need, but this distorted sort of Christianity is the equivalent of being a reverse fair weather fan. This type of Christian follows the ways of the world when the ways of the world fit, but he or she abandons the world for God whenever the going gets tough. It is easy to see that this sort of Christian is interested in his or her self more than in the Creator or the Redeemer. A prayer from the mass captures this idea quite well: “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, holy Father, Lord of heaven and earth, through Christ our Lord.” We give thanks because God is good! Life is good!
2. “Christian unity is first of all unity with Christ,” (pg. 187).
- At Wake Forest I have been taking part in a biweekly Christian unity theological discussion group. We have covered numerous important topics such as the sacraments, the church, salvation, and prayer. True Christian unity, however, does not start with arguments about these things; rather, it starts with a deepening of one’s relationship with Christ, who desires that all might be one as He is one with God the Father. All the rational proofs in the world will not convince. What convinces is a conviction of the truth of Jesus.
3. “The full truth of history eludes documentary verification,” (pg. 196).
- Within the world of academics, I have learned to “prove” my points. Typically, I prove things by supporting them with sources or with sheer logic. Grades are meant to reflect how well (or how poorly) I communicate my points through these supporting proofs. With Christ, however, such a method is foolish. Now, I do not mean to say that one cannot convincingly demonstrate Jesus’ existence and his power through historical reasoning. These pursuits are noble, and they often break down certain barriers to faith. However, faith in Jesus is ultimately not a matter of historical proof. Faith in Jesus is a matter of faith, which belongs to its own realm. Faith is a gift that God infuses into the believer. This infused faith allows a person to assert with conviction that Jesus rose from the dead and that Jesus is the Son of God. Whereas history only allows for arguments that are more or less probable, faith allows for affirmations that transcend the limitations of probability.
Thanks so much for reading this post! I will be sure to make another on the next 100 pages really soon!
In the meantime, may God bless you abundantly!
David J.W. Inczauskis