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Keep The Faith December 16, 2006

Posted by rattazzimedia in Christianity, Church, God, Religion, Spiritual, Spiritual Overview, Spiritual Study, Spirituality, Theology.
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I just finished watching Tavis Smiley on PBS.  He generally ends his show with this phrase: “and as always, keep the faith”.  My reaction to his invocation is mixed and perhaps it should not be.  Or to put it another way, why would I react with anything but comfort at some entertainment figure making sure he ends every show with a declaration of faith?  The reaction I want to have is: Bravo Tavis for putting it out there.  But since I do not know the man personally, I do not know what he means by, “keep the faith”.  My first assumption is that he is paraphrasing the  words of the apostle Paul.  Paul, late in his life, wrote in his second letter to Timothy:

For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day — and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Paul’s personal statement of triumph in the face of a great deal of adversity was based on his confidence in the promises of God and his success in staying true to God’s instruction.  Today, almost two thousand years later, while many claim to be keepers of the faith the reality is that the kind of adherence to The Faith that Paul is talking about is really quite rare.  So the cause of my mixed reaction to Mr. Smiley’s invocation has nothing to do with him personally but has to do with the condition we find “the faith” in today.  The apostle Paul was indeed a staunch defender of The Faith.  Despite the fact that he always used figures and elements from the contemporary and local culture he was addressing to illustrate his points, he was always careful not to let various heartfelt issues and prejudices of society corrupt the pure and perfect reasoning from God.  

There is such a temptation by well meaning people to add to God’s instruction in order to make it apply to a specific situation.  Or a preacher may be so concerned about warning his listeners away from a harmful contemporary danger that he gives the impression that God has spoken on a subject when he is really expressing his personal opinion.  Even if his personal opinion is very much informed by a knowledge of the scriptures his personal opinion is still just that.  As a result many go around thinking and claiming that the Bible has spoken on a certain issue when it has not.  Even if one can show that the Bible speaks out against elements that sometimes are included in the danger being warned against.  The teacher must continue to be clear about what the Bible specifically says.  The teacher must resist the temptation of labeling his body of inferences as the word of God.

God knew what he was doing in what he said and what he did not say.  We must privilege the text above our own opinions.  We must “keep the faith”.  Not only from dangers that come from outside but also from our own tendencies (no matter how well intentioned).  I would like to see the day when I can hear someone, anyone say: “and as always, keep the faith” and feel confident that The Faith is indeed being kept.  I know that some indeed are, and my apologies to Mr. Smiley if he is one of those few.  We should all be making every effort to see that number grow and each of us should be doing our part each day to keep The Faith.

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Comments»

1. Wadena - December 16, 2006

Paul (AKA Apostle Paul) was a First-Century evangelist similar to a Pat Robertson or Benny Hinn of today’s religious world. He had a lot more work to do than them, though. He was an ambitious and creative man of great energy.

He was the inventor and entrepreneur who took Christianity all the way from a concept to being a lucrative cash producer with rubes from most of the known world happily handing over their cash to Paul based on his promise of the imminent return of their King Jesus (who never showed up).

2. rattazzimedia - December 16, 2006

Wadena,
I took a look at your blog and noticed it contains very many inferences and conclusions that are very popular today. Of course a blog is a place for opinion but most of what you say is based on a body of inferences and very little truth. The apostle Paul suffered much as an evangelist both physically and financially. I would be happy to discuss the facts that go into our very different positions and see if we can agree together on the truth. Let me know if you want to do that. Thank you for your input.

3. Ivan Solero - December 17, 2006

As a born again christian, I am almost ashamed to use the phrased “keep the faith”. While Tavis Smiley ends his program with this mantra, it serves as a metaphor that things may get better or at least we should be better. However, because of this phrase, I have witness more polarization in this country than ever before.

Religious and spiritual leaders have confused issues so much and have made Paul’s / Gods words to become a series of rhetoric phrases with no more meaning. Our country, our people, and our different beliefs can all come to saying “keep the faith” but our people are more divided than ever before.

Our government has communicated an edict that unless you are a christian you are an infidel. We’ve allowed our personal freedom compromised, gay marriages become a blockade and preachers to become political soundboards.

We have lost our way of what Jesus had originally intended for all man. To love, help and teach regardless. To become “fishers of men”.

So I guess the real question is not “keep the faith” but who’s faith are we trying to keep?

4. rattazzimedia - December 17, 2006

Exactly my point, thank you Ivan.


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