The Both-And of Christian Faith

John Henry Newman Christianity is dogmatical, devotional practical

Every now and then I read a quote that GETS IT RIGHT. And this one by John Henry Newman gets it very right indeed!

This is the focus on theology, doctrine, truth that matters, the ideas that make a difference. Orthodox, historic, apostolic faith has always understood that while Christianity is much more than a belief system, TRUTH and the wise understanding of "Word Made Flesh," the Revelation of God, God's Words to us - is essential. 

This is the focus on experience, the living engagement and personal-particular involvement of the devotee. Truth is always propositional and personal. Truth is never independent from the intellect, but the truth must be experientially engaged through the desires, affections and will of the person. The devotional means an invitation is given and a response is needed.

Finally, there is a practical, real, actual, integrated living out in the world of the dogmatic and devotional. Christianity is always a matter of heart and mind AND HANDS. 

Newman then goes on to add additional both/and dynamics of our Christian faith. Please note them - carefully. One of our great needs today is for balance and integration. In our post-modern world, it seems that half of the Christian faith is ignored while the other half is exalted. Any half of the faith, without the other will mean a "pseudo-faith." Newman shows us the way in holding the glorious, beautiful, mysterious and messy halves together.

At no other time of the year, is this more necessary than during Holy Week. For this week is all about these mysterious-messy realities.

May your mind be saturated with brilliant truth, brimming with warming affection and overflowing with faithful action all centered on Jesus Christ - Savior, Lord, Friend.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International