Bread – Facts

October 18, 2013


Readings for Friday, October 18, 2013, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Jer. 38:14-28; 1 Cor. 15:1-11; Matt. 11:1-6; Psalms 16,17,22

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In the debate in schools regarding what should be taught, evolution (natural force) or some form of creationism (God force), one tactic of the “scientists” is to allege that their theory is based on “fact” whereas Christian’s “theory” is based on “faith.” The implication of course is that there is no element of faith in what scientists claim and there is no element of fact in what Christians claim.

Without dealing with the scientists’ implied claim of “no faith” in their theory of evolution, from time to time it is helpful for us Christians to remind ourselves that our religion is a rational religion, based upon fact (and, yes, faith as well). Our God is a God of history and history has a habit of laying down bread crumbs of facts for us to discover, verify, evaluate, and either recognize or ignore. Therefore, our God is a God of facts and not fancy. Our faith in what God says has its fundamental roots in our knowledge about what God has done, which is evidence of His character and characteristics, and pointers to what He is going to do now and in the future. If we recognize the facts for what they are (and do not ignore them, as many “scientists” are prone to do), then our faith is a rational faith, based in substantial part on our recognition of the facts of history. And, of course, this makes sense because God created us in His image and, although we have corrupted this through Adam’s and our disobedience and desire to make ourselves the idols of our lives, the God-image remains in part. Our rationality is a gift of God and there is no harm in using it. In fact, there may be great harm in not using it.

Our readings today are laden with recitation of facts. In Jeremiah, there is the recitation of the history of Babylon’s conquest of Judah and how that was ordered by God. Jeremiah repeats the conversation he had with Judah’s king, where he (Jeremiah) told the king that it was God’s will that he (the king) surrender to Babylon, and that if he did so, God would save him and his family. The king disobeyed God and you can read the consequences of this for yourself in Jeremiah 39:1-10.

Then there is the recitation by Jesus Himself in our reading from Matthew of the facts of John the Baptist, tying those facts to the prophecy of Malachi regarding the re-appearance of one who would minister in Elijah’s power (see Mal. 3:1,4:5; Lk. 1:17) (making then those prophecies facts as well).

But perhaps the most important recitation of facts today comes from Paul in our reading from his first letter to the church in Corinth, where he recites these facts: (1) Christ died for our sins, which was predicted by Scripture, (2) Christ rose on the third day, which was predicted by Scripture; (3) Christ appeared after He was raised to Peter; (4) Christ appeared to “the twelve,” (5) Christ appeared to “more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive…”, (6) Christ appeared to James, then to “all the apostles, and (7) Christ appeared to me (Paul). 1 Cor. 15:3-6. Of course, in order for Christ to die He had to live, and that fact is assumed in Paul’s recitation.

Paul speaks to these things because they are both the gospel of Jesus Christ and the facts about Jesus Christ. He was born, He lived, He died, He rose to life, and He ascended into heaven. As many doubts as people try to create around these facts, they are among the best documented facts in antiquity. Of course you can ignore them just like a person can try to ignore a negative bank balance, but just as the sun exists so does the Son.

As the detective in “Dragnet” would say, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Well, here are the facts.

Now, what you do with these facts is your business.

We stand as Christians with two feet planted on solid ground. That ground is made solid, not by whether we believe or the facts, but by the God of both the facts and the faith. Thank God that He gives us facts on which and through which to see Him in action. Thank God that He gives us the faith to see the facts and, through the facts, to see Him. Thank God.

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© 2013 GBF

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3 Responses to “Bread – Facts”

  1. agnophilo Says:

    Paul never met jesus and came along after he died. To quote Ambrose Bierce:

    “Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel.”

    • 1bread Says:

      Paul is reporting on what other people reported plus what he experienced on the Damascus road plus, I am sure, the reports he received as a prosecutor of Jesus. I do not deny the role of faith; in fact it is essential. My point is simply that this faith is based substantially on fact, not theory, or invention, or fanciful imaginings. It is belief with evidence, not belief without evidence.

      • agnophilo Says:

        So you have faith that the earth is round and 1 + 1 = 2? If faith is not belief without evidence then what is it? As for “fact, not theory”, the word theory in science means a testable explanation for facts. Gravity is a fact, law and several theories at the same time.


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