We Know In Part…
“¶ Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
(1 Corinthians 13:8–12 ESV)
I’m a Calvinist.
Actually, I’m an Anglican wannabe as that tradition offers the freedom to think inside of a Reformed historical structure.
I need and want that freedom because the more I study, the more I understand that we all “know” in part.
I need the structure because it helps me define orthodoxy.
You see, I don’t know the parts I don’t know…they tend to jump out and surprise me as I study.
Some people hate surprises…
I thrive on them…theologically.
My God is beyond my comprehension, He is a priceless jewel of infinite facets.
He cannot be contained by any single tradition of men.
While the “accepted” list of teachers in my tradition are wondrous and gifted, it is when I venture outside the gate that I most often have my vision of God expanded.
I have profited from everyone from Eugene Peterson to Chuck Smith to Bernard of Clairvaux to Calvin.
I have heard the voice of God from mystics and martyrs, Methodists and theological mutts without a proper lineage.
When I have questions, I have the community of the saints to come to for clarification.
If we as pastors and teachers are teaching the Word faithfully, we have nothing to fear from ideas other than our own.
If we as lay people are committed to the church and the fellowship of believers we will always have correction available to spurious doctrine.
We need each other…we need my tradition to remind us of the sovereignty of God in all things, we need the Arminians to remind us of our responsibility before God, we need the Pentecostals to remind us that the Spirit has come, we need the renewal to remind us that the kingdom has come, we need the Wesleyans to remind us that without holiness no one will see the Lord, we need to the Lutherans to remind us that Christ did it all for us on the cross…and on and on.
God has given to each of our traditions a part of Him to exalt…because no one tradition can possibly exalt Him in His fullness.
What we don’t need are fences that restrict us to our own little pieces of the kingdom…that leads to inbreeding and ignorance and fosters hate and suspicion of the rest of the family.
We know in part…and it takes the rest of the family to fill in the parts we’re missing.
We will never have the full picture till we see Him face to face…but today we can see a little more if we just jump the fences of tradition and meet the rest of the family.