Theological discussions — and, frankly, disagreements — are a part of my life, as a pastor and campus missionary. Which version of the Bible is the best to read? Which form of church polity or governance is most appropriate for our cultural context? How should one interpret the Bible’s prophecies about the “end times?” It’s understandable that we would grapple with these questions. But the posturing and positioning of these arguments can grow tiresome. I’m especially allergic to any claims towards “the authoritative understanding” of a controversial issue. So I was recently refreshed when I read these words from the first chapter of 2 Peter:
You must pay close attention to what [the prophets] wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place — until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star in your hearts. Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.
As I was reading I got this image of scared children, hiding behind costumes and masks, darting from street lamp to street lamp, front porch-light to front porch-light, on Halloween night. Everyone is immature and insecure, groping from one small pool of light to the next. But we’re trying to convince the world that we’re scary monsters (not scared children). Following the example of Peter, though, we can instead adopt a mindset of bravely and cautiously stepping forward along the path illuminated by Scripture. The Christian faith works best when we’re each doing our best to humbly use the Bible as our guide for day-to-day living… until such a time when all things will be revealed.
Earlier today, I read a corollary in the eighth chapter of the Gospel of John:
Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”
In this, I felt fresh appreciation for Jesus as the Light of the World, and I started praying for others in my life, as well: that they would be guided by Jesus and then, in turn, offer glimmers of hope to others around them.