Saturday, March 16, 2013
The Transforming power of Study
"Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect." Romans 12:2
Anakainosis is the greek word for renewal. And the greek equivalent of transformed is metamorphoo. Properly understood, it implies a "changing form in keeping with inner reality".
The past four years of persistent study of apologetics has led my journey of study, research and reflection towards church history, exegesis and the study of the development of theology in church history.
While most of my Christian friends who mean well don't quite appreciate this endeavor very much. And I hear the usual cliches and responses - "The gospel is a simple message. It doesn't have to be complicated." "Beware of intellectualizing the gospel. You can become puffed up with knowledge." or how about this classic one - "The bible says it, I believe it and that settles it".
I often sigh when I hear these well intended statements, and I've learned not to rebut them anymore as there are those who prefer to be simpleminded and don't want to learn more than what they already know.
And that's the majority of humanity, not just Christianity.
Of course, they run into trouble when confronted, but that's another story.
But in the process, they deny themselves the opportunity for a transformation that results from the continual renewal of our minds.
In the past four years of continual reading, research and critical and reflective thinking, my appreciation of the Christian faith has come from a mere knowledge of salvation to that of considering it to be a matter of grave importance; something to be taken very seriously, which ultimately affects our worldview and the day to day decisions that we make in light of the fact that they do impact what we do in relation to the very real, yet invisible Kingdom of God which in fact, is now here.
This has become my default worldview and each day that I continue to study, I find myself changing the way I plan, the way I decide, and the way I conduct myself on a day to day basis, as the reality of doing God's will and how I should consult Him in all that I do matters very much.
And this has become a lifestyle for myself, my wife and daughter - and we are slowly learning to work within the parameters of the Kingdom in this manner.
What gets most of our family and friends who clearly become disturbed because of the way we have come to think as a family unit, and conduct ourselves is that we seem to have become what appears to be "fatalistic" in our approach towards life - but when we are confronted with their questions, we have intelligent answers. No longer just scripture spouting, but solid, reasonable answers that are the result of a cohesive Christian worldview.
Apologetics has become a strong bedrock for the foundation of what we believe about the Kingdom message that the Lord Jesus first began talking about during His earthly ministry. It has given us a decided confidence because what we know about what we believe is true and certain and the reality of the Kingdom of God is not just a hint of a mystery. It's real and it's here, now.
I lament the continual tirade of the majority that seem to prefer the unexamined life, as well as the less thought out one and content themselves with the thought that the Living God is happy with their lack of knowledge.
The last I heard regarding lack of knowledge is an actual lamentation from the Living God Himself because His people were destroyed because the sinful priesthood being addressed in Hosea 4 failed to acknowledge Him and give knowledge of Him to His people.
But then again, if it wasn't different then, why should we be surprised if it's the same up to now?
The renewal of the mind is not a mere option. It's a must do. And transformation begins there. And I thank the apologist community for helping me and my family get started there.