The Audacity of Christian Certainty

by Brad Harmon on November 17, 2010 in Miscellany

The Audacity of Christian Certainty | marketplace christianity

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto/DigitalOtter

During his presidential campaign, President Obama published a book entitled The Audacity of Hope.  I love that title.  It’s one that could be used to describe Christianity, but I’m afraid that instead of “rejoicing in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:1-2) we have, by and large, become a religion that has become audacious in our certainty.

This is great when it applies to the security of our salvation through Christ (John 10:27-30), the reliance on God to keep His promises (II Peter 3:9), or trusting in our faith as the only evidence we need (Hebrews 11:1).  The problem is that we have a tendency to extend this audacity of certainty to our own interpretations of God’s word (I was reminded of this fact many times in preparing for the 20 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Creation series).

The Great Struggle Between God and Science

There is a great cosmic battle between the church and science.  Each is out to destroy the other.  Agreement with science is a blasphemy against God while agreement with God is a blasphemy against reason.  Really?  Says who?  Yes, there are those on both sides with agendas so some of these arguments are valid; however, is God at odds with science?  I think not.

God wrote the laws of science.  He is not at odds with them, but neither is He bound by them.  True science is discovery via the scientific method.  A scientist’s job is to observe and explain within these confines.  When a scientist says that there is no evidence to suggest or confirm an assertion from the Bible is true, why do so many Christians take offense at that?

Throughout the history of Christianity there have been powerful members who have opposed scientific ideas as blasphemy, and then proceeded to do some of the most horrific acts in the name of Christianity to silence these ideas.  It turns out that the earth does rotate around the sun, the world isn’t flat, and on and on.  It also turns out that the Bible never disagreed with these findings either.

Biblical Creation Versus the Big Bang and Evolution

Compared to the debates roaring today, those disputes between the church and science were small potatoes.  It’s a little terrifying to think about what they would have done with people like Stephen Hawking proclaiming the universe created itself or Richard Dawkins declaring that God is a delusion.

Science has taken on its own audacity in recent years sounding more and more like a religion in its own right.  They have gone far beyond the scientific method, and are now openly attacking the Bible, Creation, and the very existence of God.  Sadly, Christians have taken the bait and staunchly defend their ideas of Biblical science.  Are they defending what the Bible really says though?

Is the universe only 6,000 years old?  Were the days in Creation only 24 hours long?  When did dinosaurs roam the earth?  Are there gaps between the days in Creation?  Has this planet been populated before us?  Is there a case for Biblical evolution?  There are so many different “Biblical” views about Creation, but which is correct?  Isn’t there some audacity is saying your account is the right one?

I Don’t Remember Seeing You There at Creation

The Bible simply says that God created the universe and everything in it.  He did it in an orderly fashion, on purpose, with the crowning glory of His Creation being us.  Everything else is conjecture, speculation, and frankly unprofitable for us, as Christians, to spend much time pondering – let alone debating.

If you’re still determined to have the audacity to try to explain God’s Creation then I would invite you to read what He tells Job when Job has the audacity to question Him.  Here’s just the opening from Job 38 …

1Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, 2Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? 3Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. 4Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. 5Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? 6Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof; 7When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? 8Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? 9When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, 10And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, 11And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?

God continues to ask Job question after question for the next few chapters.  What Job quickly realized, and what we should realize, is that our understanding and knowledge is so small compared to the reality that God knows.

The Role of Audacity in Marketplace Christianity

There’s a saying that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.  People are not attracted to God through the audacity of our beliefs.  They are attracted to God by the audacity of our actions.  This attraction is what’s known as the glory of God.  It is a reflection of Him coming forth from what He’s doing in us.

There are many skirmishes being fought in the name of God that will never bring a single person to Christ.  How that must break His heart.  He does not need us to fight His battles.  He needs us to show His love.  We can spend our time proving to a dying world that they are wrong, or we can have the audacity to show them Christ’s love in our actions every single day.

Paul put it this way when writing to Titus.

8This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. 9But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. – Titus 3:9-10

Have you been drawn into a debate with a coworker over a Biblical truth?  When is it appropriate to defend the faith?  How do you turn a debate into a conversation that results in sharing Christ’s love with a coworker? I’d love to hear your about your experiences.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Miley November 17, 2010 at 11:09 pm

“People are not attracted to God through the audacity of our beliefs. They are attracted to God by the audacity of our actions. This attraction is what’s known as the glory of God. It is a reflection of Him coming forth from what He’s doing in us.

There are many skirmishes being fought in the name of God that will never bring a single person to Christ. How that must break His heart. He does not need us to fight His battles. He needs us to show His love.”

Brad this is so perfectly stated! I know “actions speak louder than words” is a cliche by itself, but for some reason the frequency of it being said doesn’t match the frequency it is heeded to. Awesome post!


Brad Harmon November 19, 2010 at 8:49 am

Thanks Sue. It’s very convicting to write a post like this. Well, at least for me it is. It is a constant struggle for me to remember to follow up in action with what my words proclaim. I wish I did a much, much better job in this area. I’m also one of those who love to discuss, debate, even argue about “deeper spiritual insights.” This post was a little bit of a double-barreled blast for me.


Bradley J. Moore November 18, 2010 at 6:51 am

Brad – The audacity of our actions always carry the weight in building relationships with people that lead to a true spiritual transformation. I am in 100% agreement with you here – I like the way you say it – it’s about showing love, not that we’re right.

Thanks for a thoughtful post.


Brad Harmon November 19, 2010 at 8:52 am

Thanks Bradley. I like the way you put that too … “carry the weight in building relationships.” It puts the emphasis on the importance of the deeds we do in a very real and visual way. Without these deeds there wouldn’t be much carrying, would there?


Reed Simon January 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Well put, Brad. If science is belief that what is not knowable (assuming that the very nature of time and space is not knowable) will ultimately be explained through rational thought, then faith must be the belief in what we know in our heart as meaningful and which can’t be scientifically explained (or perhaps science can be reduced it to biological processes, but true meaning that we ascribe to ideas like compassion, doesn’t depend on the scientific method to inform us of its truth). Science (thought) can not rationalize inifinity nor can faith (matters of the heart) literally explain our world, or should explain it. I agree that it is time both sides breath some humility into the argument and accept that science and God are part of the same coin. Spirituallity is the mind and heart–together! Perhaps the ultimate answer is — it is what it is…


Brad Harmon January 10, 2011 at 6:31 pm

There is a great amount of hubris on both sides of the science vs religion debate even though neither side will ever really be able to prove that they are right on the major issues. Well, at least not on this side of heaven. You’re right about the need for each side to bring in a lot more humility in their approach to the other.
Brad Harmon recently posted..Christmas Songs that Make Me Think and Cry


Robert H. Woodman November 27, 2012 at 8:07 am

Hi, Brad,
I just read this post almost 2 years after it was written. My wife stumbled upon it and sent me the link.
I like this post. It’s very good.
I am a professional scientist and a Christian. I frequently run into Christians who believe that when the facts of science conflict with their interpretations of the Bible, the facts must be wrong, and they proceed to impugn the motives and the intelligence of the scientist who points out that the facts are not in their favor.
For the Christian worldview to win acceptance among a broader audience and begin again to transform culture, Christians need to quit making idols of their personal interpretations of the Bible. They need to educate themselves and understand scientific process and scientific method. Scientists are bad about holding on to their pet theories with religious fervor, but when confronted with sound, reasoned, logic that follows scientific method and process, most scientists (sadly, not all) will surrender their pet theories and embrace a reasoned, scientific refutation of their theories.
Again, good post. Thank you.


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