Thursday, January 29, 2009

Absolute point of view

Reading an academic theology book gives you a feeling that very little of the content of the book would be applicable for the ministry or at least to your present situation. You have this inkling that the author would address issues that are relevant only among professional theologians. They are those who write articles, essays and books that the ordinary minister find useless in their own teaching and preaching. For me, it is always a delight to dig up some treasures deeply buried in theological books. Or perhaps it is just me, too slow to find the connection.

It is a joy to find some passages that speak directly to me and somewhat connect to what I am experiencing personally. Moltmann's book The Crucified God (or many of his books for that matter) always does that to me. Although, I believe Moltmann himself have no idea that the words he has written would speak to somebody in Asia doing missionary works.

I am bothered endlessly by the reality that Christians who believe that salvation is by grace through faith alone, that Jesus Christ is the only way to have a loving relationship with God could not have a authentic loving relationship with each other. Sad to say that the hairline crack that ends up in breaking apart is almost always caused by differences in theological preferences, minor doctrinal differences and certain way of interpreting the word of God. This happen when people start believing that their views alone are right and the all the others are wrong. Theirs are the only absolute truth.

Moltmann says ‘that theology must include reflections upon its own point of view... an attempt to adopt an absolute point of view would be equivalent to having no point of view at all. To make one's own point of view absolute would be stupidity. This does not amount to relativism. Anyone who understand the relativity, will see himself as relative to others; but this does not mean giving up one's own position. To see one's own point of view as relative to that of others means to live in concrete relationships and to think out one's own ideas in relationship to the thought of others. To have no relationship would be death.’ (The Crucified God, 10-11).

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