Romans 12: 2: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1 John 4: 1: Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
In the middle 1980s, I fancied myself a Unitarian Universalist. During that period, I heard a UU preacher string together epistemological, ontological and eschatological into a single sentence that actually made sense at the time. I forget how he did it, and how he did it is beside the point. Let’s forget eschatological in this conversation for a second and focus on the other two first.
Epistemological means essentially “how do we know, what we know?” That might invoke the memory of that Pilate quote as he is about to hand Jesus over to the Roman Cohort that is going to carry him to Calvary: “What is truth?” Pilate is a confirmed post-modernist before it was cool to be a post-modernist: everything is totally, 100% relative. All truth is in short, to the post-modernist, relative. Paul, and I agree with him, says ‘just a darn minute here, everything isn’t relative, and we need to test what we think we believe against God’s word.’ Paul, and I agree with him, is strongly anti-post modernity: everything isn’t relative; there are some absolute truths. “How do we know, what we know?”
A core concept within Methodism is reason. We want people to be empowered to not check their minds in, in the narthex. We want people to develop a deep, meaningful, comprehensive system of ‘testing’ what it is that the preacher on a Sunday or a teacher on a Wednesday labels with the exalted, and holy, ‘thus sayeth the Lord.’ “How do we know, what we know?”
Let this Fall Kick-Off be a time where you seriously covenant to go deeper into God’s holy word and discover what it truly means “to be” a follower of Christ. Ontological, by the way, is the study of what it is “to be.” Be a follower of Jesus Christ that knows how to “test and approve God’s will.” Be epistemological so that you can truly be ontological so that you understand the eschatological. Join us for growing as a Disciple of Jesus Christ.
Selah, Pastor Dennis