If God cannot be known, neither can he be felt or experienced in any way. All religion is then empty. But modern philosophical agnosticism makes the same error as ancient Gnosticism. By reducing God to “inexpressible depth” and “eternal silence,” they make the universe godless, in the most absolute sense of the word. What it all comes down to is whether God has willed and found a way to reveal himself in the domain of creatures. This, the Christian church and Christian theology affirm, has indeed occurred. Thanks to revelation, we have a true knowledge of God, knowledge that is relative and finite rather than comprehensive. Incomprehensibility does not imply agnosticism but an ingredient of the Christian claim to have received by revelation a specific, limited, yet well-defined and true knowledge of God. In the words of Basil, “The knowledge of God consists in the perception of his incomprehensibility.
If our theology does not quicken the conscience and soften the heart, it actually hardens both.
Doctrine is useless if it is not accompanied by a holy life. It is worse than useless; it does positive harm. Something of the image of Christ must be seen and observed by others in our private life, and habits, and character, and doings.
The Christian faith is not a mere collection of doctrines — a bag of truths. Christianity is a comprehensive truth claim that encompasses every aspect of revealed doctrine, but is centered in the gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as the apostolic preaching makes clear, the gospel is the priority.
Separate the demand from the doctrine, and you have either a system of righteousness that is impracticable, or a barren orthodoxy. Bring the demand and the doctrine together, and the true disciple of Christ is able to do the one, through the other strengthening him. The motive is adequate to the movement; the the bidden obedience to the gospel is not beyond the measure of his strength, just because the doctrine of the gospel is not beyond the measure of his acceptance.
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