Lately I’ve been reading Andy Frosts book entitled “Losing Faith” in which Andy recounts various conversations he has had with people for whom faith has become or has been problematical. It is a book which tries to address the issue of those who have been under the Christian faith and have `walked away`.
He covers a wide variety of scenarios and invites us, the readers, to consider how we`d react, what took the person away from the Church, how the Church reacted and what can be done about it. Having known Andy for quite a few years now through his Dad, Rob, I`m aware that Andy`s own Christian journey hasn’t been an easy one, so when he writes of people wrestling with faith, or being disillusioned by the Church or being bullied out of the Church then I know how much he understands.
It isn`t a comfortable read, but it’s certainly challenging to those of us who aren’t content simply to leave the Church as it is, but who want to find ways of making it more welcoming, more attractive, more missional and certainly more caring.
I particularly like the way that towards the end of the book Andy describes the Wesley Quadrilateral, a framework for understanding God. Often neglected by many Methodists today it still forms a major part of Methodist thinking. Formulated by John Wesley his followers were encouraged to use all four aspects for understanding God; firstly we build our faith on scripture, secondly on experience of God, thirdly reason is important and fourthly tradition as we recall Church history. All four are important in our thinking and developing of faith, but so often people will look to one or two and miss out the other; consequently it becomes an unbalanced faith. How often have we stumbled because we have placed too much emphasis on Church tradition and our own experience without putting our roots into scripture or how often have our emotions got the better of us at the expense of reason ? As Andy reminds us we need to have all four in order to develop our faith properly. Too often, I find, Christians are not thinkers about their faith; they’ve developed into a people who wait to be told what to think instead of seeking Gods wisdom on their journey. Wesley wanted his movement to be one in which people sought the truth about God and in order to do that, Scripture, reason, experience and tradition were all necessary. Oh that the Methodist folk would again seek to develop fully within their lives the Wesley quadrilateral!
- Four corners offense (johnmeunier.wordpress.com)