Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring the twelve convictions of the ReKnew Manifesto. The first of which focuses on where we get life.
In many of my writings, I speak about the source of “life.” By this I mean one’s core sense of identity, worth, significance and security. Over the years, I’ve observed that many Christians tend to get their “life” from the rightness of their beliefs. They base their identity on whether or not they believe the right things.
A core conviction that shapes the work we do at ReKnew is that “life”—our sense of identity—is founded in the love that God has shown us on Calvary. Because God loved us by paying an unsurpassable price, we each have unsurpassable worth, not because of what we believe, but simply because of God’s love. If we seek to get our “life” from any other source of “life”—including the assumed rightness of our beliefs—we are practicing idolatry.
Admittedly, this is a bit tricky because I am obviously passionate about theology. In addition, the work we do at ReKnew focuses on helping people to “rethink” what they thought they already knew. However, even though what we believe is extremely crucial, God’s concern for the loving way we defend our beliefs outweighs the correctness of those beliefs. We are called to do everything in love (1 Cor 16:14) and this includes how we debate our beliefs.
Our ability to lovingly debate beliefs depends upon getting our “life” from Christ. We are created, even as theologians, to get all of our core identity, worth, significance and security from our relationship with Jesus Christ, and from him alone. Because the cross demonstrated our unsurpassable worth to God, even if our beliefs are inaccurate in some respect, we can be secure in the cross-like love that Jesus has for us.
“Life” cannot be found in believing we are right (or by any other means, such as money, respect, or beauty).
While on the surface, this core conviction might sound basic and to some degree obvious, theological idolatry runs rampant. It is commonplace for those who are most passionate about theology to seek “life” just at this point. This is most clearly demonstrated when Christians become agitated, irrational and unloving when a core belief is challenged. This approach to theology might result in winning the debate, but it fails at love.
Getting all our “life” from Christ means that no aspect of our core identity, worth or security is threatened when what we believe is challenged. In fact, when we find “life” in the love of Christ, we can enter into dialogue with one another in a loving manner.
Even though we are passionate about the importance of the theological vision we feel called to advance through ReKnew, we are even more passionate about presenting these beliefs and engaging others in a manner that displays the love Jesus showed us on the cross.