I met with a group of ministers this morning for our regular reading group session. Today we were discussing “Propositions in Christian Theology” by our friend Kim Fabricius. I’m glad to say that it was very warmly received, even by those who felt inclined to disagree with Kim on, for example, the question of pacifism.
Part of the conversation was around whether this was a book which could be used in church for a discussion group. Some felt that Kim’s use of technical language and latin phrases might make it rather inaccessible to the average person in the pew (whoever they might be). But this also led us to reflect upon what we perceived to be a decline in what the average person in the pew is expected to know and understand these days. After all, the sermons of John Wesley were peppered with Greek and Latin phrases, though many of his hearers were barely educated. We eschew words like sanctification on the grounds that they exclude and isolate. We’ve begun to confuse ’simple’ with ’simplistic’ and the child-like for the childish. And anything ‘difficult’ is treated as being dangerous and scary.
It really shouldn’t be that way. A living faith surely needs to engage the brain at least as much as the heart, the intellect as well as the emotions. And learning about the faith takes the same discipline as learning about anything else. That should be a task that Christians rejoice to engage in, to whatever level they are capable — if, that is, our faith is as precious to us as we so often claim.