Monday, January 22, 2007

a quote and a question

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obligated to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in this world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close.”

This is a quote from Kierkegaard that Heather posted recently. I've been thinking about it since I read it, and I would like to hear the counterargument. Several of you have chosen Christian scholarship as your profession, and I don't mean to insult you or to put you on the defensive. I just want to hear the other side.

Any takers?


Heather said...

As the one who posted it, I want both. I think this quote nails us in our efforts to get away from doing what He called us to. I don't think that means learning is bad. I think we need to be acting on what is Truth and continually searching out more Truth.

Scholarship becomes sin when it replaces action. If we spend all our time studying pray but never praying, we have created a false idol. If we study Jesus life without imitating His life, what kind of "christians" are we?

Liz said...

I agree with Heather - Scholarship is not God-honoring when we use it to replace relationship with God. And I will admit, it is easy to fall into that trap. It is easy to finish the day after being in class all day, having countless "spiritual" conversations, and having read so many books on prayer and God, it is easy to slip into bed, bypassing prayer and Scripture for a few short hours of sleep.

"If we study Jesus' life without imitating His life, what kind of "christians" are we?" I love that line Heather - very well said. I think Christian scholarship does have a place - I know that the last four, or even really 8 years of studying has helped creation the foundation of who I am as a Christ-follower. There have been times of challenge and growth because of my studies. So I am thankful for the opportunity of education, but know that it can be just as dangerous as helpful to my spiritual journey.