Beneath all the rhetoric about relevance lies a profoundly disturbing possibility – that people may base their lives upon an illusion, upon a blatant lie. The attractiveness of a belief is all too often inversely proportional to its truth… To allow “relevance” to be given greater weight than truth is a mark of intellectual shallowness and moral irresponsibility.
Tradition is a willingness to read Scripture, taking into account the ways in which it has been read in the past. It is an awareness of the communal dimension of Christian faith, which calls shallow individualism into question. There is more to the interpretation of Scripture than any one individual can discern. It is a willingness to give full weight to the views of those who have gone before us in the faith.
Doubt is natural within faith. It comes because of our human weakness and frailty… Unbelief is the decision to live your life as if there is no God. It is a deliberate decision to reject Jesus Christ and all that he stands for. But doubt is something quite different. Doubt arises within the context the faith. It is a wistful longing to be sure of the things in which we trust. But it is not and need not be a problem.
The faith by which we are justified is faith. Faith is like a channel through which the benefits of Christ flow to us. We are not justified on account of faith; we are justified through faith. It is the work of Christ, not our faith, which is the foundation of justification. Faith itself is a gift of God.
Christian doctrine is unique in that it is an intellectual response to the historical activity and revelatory disclosure of God. Doctrine is rational reflection upon God’s saving activity in Jesus Christ. Foundational to the idea of “doctrine” is the fact that we need to be told what God is like. It is not ours to determine what kind of God we will believe and obey. It is God’s to determine to show Himself to us. Doctrine is our effort to articulate what He has made known. Doctrine is the divinely authorized attempt to describe God in accordance with how He has revealed Himself in creation, in history, in Jesus Christ and in the Scriptures. In doing so, doctrine also serves to expose false interpretations of reality, false concepts of God. It is the aim of doctrine to make sense of the individual’s and the church’s experience of God as He has made Himself known in Jesus Christ.