“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:19).
The Creation of Adam, from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel
According to much of the world, God (if he even exists) is distant and unknowable. Human reason is the only reliable source of truth, therefore any truth claim of God must be explained away. But Christians claim that God can and has revealed himself in 2 ways:
1) God’s “invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,in the things that have been made” (Romans 1:20). Therefore, no one has an excuse for not knowing God. This is often referred to as “natural” or “general” revelation. According to Romans 1, we can know certain things about God by observing the created order.
2) God has revealed himself perfectly in Jesus. God has graciously chosen to reveal himself in human history. He revealed himself in the lives of the patriarchs, in the establishing of his people Israel, and ultimately in the person of Jesus Christ. When Jesus’ disciples asked him to show them the Father, he replied, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14-18), and “in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” In other words, if someone wants to know God, look at Jesus. If an unbelieving world wants to see what God is like in Christ, they should be able to look at Christians, or ‘little Christs’ (Acts 11:26).
With this in mind, how can the Church make credible statements about God?
About Corey Sharpe
Where do we get our beliefs?
Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology.
From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ.
Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles.
I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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Pray constantly. Thank you for this reminder. How I regret times I’ve been a poor representative. How simple it is to prevent having this regret — by just being in regular — constant prayer. The woman in the parking lot — I didn’t have to argue with her. I didn’t have my eyes focused upward. Oh! To show my kids God’s love – to not hinder their understanduing of God! So simple and so difficult. Pray pray pray.
Prayer is a powerful means but also our actions. How does the church encourage and offer God to others not only within their own congregation? Does the church representing the house and/or temple of God actually reveal itself as a believer in God and all that God has promised us and advised us? God is the way, Jesus preached the word and the Holy Spirit is our counselor, guide and teacher in the way.
I believe that the church is only as creditable as the people who worship and are members of it. Prayer is powerful put I believe that both prayer and actions reveal the true credibility of who and what it represents.
I have been a member of Chapel since I was five years old and my fondest and deepest memories are rooted in my years as a child attending Sunday School and Bible School. It was then that i truly experienced who Jesus was and who I was in Jesus. Many of these teachings are still embedded in my memories and conscience.
I believe our part and even responsibility in revealing the church’s creditable statements about God are founded in Who God is in us as individual members of the church? And secondly Who we are in God?
Have a blessed day!
We can pray for unbelievers, but our actions are what show them our love for Jesus Christ. We need to set the example for others to see — stay focused, stay in the Word, and try not to judge.
Janice, I totally agree with you. I akso believe that we as believers need to be prayed for. Life (satan) throws temptations and circumstances at us constantly to test us and no one is without sin this world – that is why God left us with the Holy Spirit and His word.
I am so glade that I have had the opportunity to know who you are inside through this blog.
Have a blessed day!!! I hope your family is well?
I truly appreciate your prayers and those of my fellow church members. I am here only by the grace of God and I know it.
Thanks, Ann, and please know that you are on the Chapel prayer list.
I just finished reading Daniel 2, which Pastor Corey suggested we read before he preaches on it tomorrow and I have more to add to my previous comment. Although our actions are very important, we need to give God the glory for the good things we do. Daniel gave God the credit for interpreting the kings dream. Part of our mission in this world is to show unbelievers what God is like. We can do that by acts of love and compassion;and if we give God credit for our actions unbelievers will want to know more about Him. It worked for Daniel.