Hold Fast — CJ Quartlbaum
One of the biggest subjects occupying the Christian landscape is deconstruction. If you’re unfamiliar it’s the current movement of Christians examining their faith, breaking it down, and determining what should stay and what should go. There’s a lot of reasons this is happening right now. One of the main ones is the reputation of the Church over the last fifty years coupled with an extremely different cultural landscape from previous generations.
This movement has resulted in scores of people leaving church and the faith altogether. It’s critical that we take their pain and concerns seriously. It was a huge shock to the Christian world when Phanatik announced that he was leaving the faith.
For those of you who are unfamiliar, Phanatik was a pioneer in the Christian Hip Hop space. As a member of the group Cross Movement, not only did he pave the way for other Christian rappers but his theology based raps educated multiple generations of young Christians. After his rap career, he went on to preach around the world and teach at the seminary level.
Naturally it was a shock when he posted this . He didn’t go into great detail but identified textual tensions and inconsistencies that ultimately led to his decision to walk away. It’s no coincidence that this is happening at the same time there’s a renewed debate around inerrancy and infallibility.
Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful. — Hebrews 10:23
I like how some of the older translations tell us to hold fast. Life is going to throw a lot at you. The world is going to throw a lot at you. There is always going to be someone or something trying to convince you that there is a better way than Jesus. There is always something or someone trying to convince you there is more to life or better answers out there.
Don’t think it is merely the world trying to pull you away from God. There are many Christians being pulled away by various strange doctrines and teachings. Many Christians are falling aside by following after preachers and teachers who give them the word they want to hear. Sometimes deconstruction looks like continuing to profess the name of Christ while practicing a form of Christianity he wouldn’t recognize.
I’m going to be honest with you, we’re not gonna have all of the answers in life. Phanatik talked about not being able to reconcile certain aspects of scripture. I think there are tensions that exist that we won’t always have a good answer for and that’s ok. In Isaiah 55 God says his thoughts and ways are above ours. That has to mean something right?
That has to mean there are areas in which we have to trust that God is God and we are not. Admittedly, that’s not always an easy pill to swallow.
This isn’t the post that is going to answer any lingering questions (although if you write in your questions, I’d love to tackle them over the next few posts). The main thing I want to do is encourage you to hold fast to the faith because God is faithful.
He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He has a track record of faithfulness that is unmatched. Look at your life and where God has brought you from and what he has brought you through. There is a sense of safety and security that comes with that sort of record.
Everything won’t always make sense. In fact, I believe life only really makes sense in hindsight. Think back on your life in five year increments. The things that stressed you out and worried you back then, seen through today’s eyes, make so much more sense.
It’s critical for us to understand that our faith will be tested. This is neither bad nor uncommon. James tells us to expect this:
Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials,because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing. -James 1:2–4
Early Christians used to write about this all the time. Trials were often described as the refining fire of life, purifying us into the image of Jesus. If you read the book of Daniel, you’ll discover he faced trials throughout his entire life, constantly having his faith tested to the point where he ended up having a sleepover with some lions. In his commentary on this book, Dale Davis says this: “It [chapter 6] is a necessary reminder that the life of faith must be lived to the very end and that earlier victories and rescues cannot be taken as guarantees of absence of future crises.”
God Still Saves
We have to hold fast to the end.
Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. -Isaiah 59:1
I was reminded of this truth this weekend when a dear friend professed faith in Jesus. Despite all the mess in the Church right and people leaving in what feels like droves (this actually isn’t true from a global perspective ), God is still in the business of saving souls. And that family is Good News.
Originally published at https://www.cjquartlbaum.com on February 4, 2022.