Theologically Exhausted

I’ve just had the longest post famine in the history of my blog (excluding my honeymoon), I believe. I’m afraid I’m currently focused on work and dissertation, both of which have required significant attention recently.

But I can’t let my blog readers—both of you!—miss this great quotation, which I just placed in the new Bible Truths 12th grade textbook on worldview. The anecdote comes from Whittaker Chambers’ famous book Witness. Chambers gained his notoriety from his writing skill (notably at TIME magazine) and his controversial testimony against Communist Alger Hiss.

I use this illustration to show that we all believe things on authority and that we all have presuppositions we accept on faith.

In summer, my mother was a great pie maker and she had a way of holding up a pie on the fingertips of one hand while she trimmed the loose edges of crust with the other. She was doing this one day, when, in some rambling child’s conversation, I said something about “when God made the world.” I think I was trying it out on her. If so, the result was much better than I could have expected.

She froze with the pie in one hand and the trimming knife suspended in the other. “Somebody told you that,” she said with a severity she seldom used to me. “You picked that up somewhere. You must learn to think for yourself. You must keep an open mind and not accept other people’s opinions. The world was formed by gases cooling in space.”

I thought about this many times. But it was not the gaseous theory of creation that impressed me, though I did not reject it. What impressed me was that it was an opinion, too, since other people believed something else. Then, why had my mother told me what to think? Clearly, if the open mind was open (as I would say to myself later on, still turning over this conversation in my mind years afterwards), truth was simply a question of which opening you preferred. In effect, the open mind was always closed at one end. pp. 116-117.

Author: Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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