A doctor of theology and philosophy claimed that the problem of today’s churches and believers lied in the chasm between knowing the truth and practicing it.
With a Ph.D. At Purdue University (USA), Dr. Leonard Sidharta gave an online lecture with the theme of “Teach You How to ‘Eat’ the Bible” on September 23.
As a member of the Society of Christian Philosophers and a special research fellow at the Institute of Christianity and Chinese Culture, Dr. Sidharta said, “The preacher and the listener may have a very good understanding of God’s word, but they fail to give testimony in terms of practicing it. Some pastors and believers are diligent in doing the Lord’s work, but there is no internal connection with Jesus.”
To understand the disunity issue of knowing and doing in the Christian faith, the associate professor at the School of Theology of Singapore Bible College explained how Christians should reach unity through three sects and three steps.
“There are three political sects in any society, and it is similar with the Christian church. The leftists urge Christians to be diligent in serving and love neighbors as themselves, putting the deeds of loving the Lord as the highest priority; the rightists claim that Christians should study the word of God hard as understanding it is the most important; the centrists focus on the significance of the unity of knowing and doing, stressing that there should be a balance between ‘eating the Bible’, digesting the word of God and practicing it,” he added.
Citing Matthew 6:22-27, the professor who served as the coordinator of Chinese ministry at Covenant Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Indiana, USA and taught at theological institutions that equip Chinese seminarians shared three steps to “eat” God’s word: taste, digest, and grow.
The bridge to the unity of knowing and doing was love, thus Christians needed to ask themselves if they loved Jesus, he added. Only when one discovered his or her life stories were bitter and not wonderful could he or she seek Jesus, which prompted him or her to begin to love Jesus. Imitating Jesus is loving him. The Bible told us that although we might be ugly at present, we would be a better self, with more Christ-likeness. That was tasting the word of God.
Digesting the word of God meant that the spiritual bread would conquer and capture us so that we could become the carrier of the word, accompanied by struggles and pains. Paul testified that there was a treasure in jars of clay and outwardly he was wasting away, yet inwardly he was being renewed day by day. It was painful to digest the word of God because the natural reaction of men to it was confrontation, objection, and resistance. We were destined to experience what Jesus Christ had experienced then we could be the small Christ, the crystalloid of God’s word.
Growth was that our lives become better when we tried to interpret the Bible and imitate it. The battle between the flesh and the spirit inside us started when we attempted to obey the word of God.
“Christians should combine Bible reading with prayers. Psalm 1 says that blessed is the man who meditates on God day and night. Then you pray: ‘God, yes, this man is blessed, but I prefer to delight in my phone. God, please give me strength to be hungry for your word.’ Such practice would promote the unity of knowing and doing of our faith,” he concluded.
- Translated by Karen Luo