The Trust Issue
Most of us resonate with a high view of Scripture. We are committed to biblical authority. Yet faithfulness to Scripture is more than a doctrinal confession. It is a way of life marked by a deep trust in God’s Word. Trust is the fundamental starting point for living into God’s future. Trust is lived out in faithful obedience to the guiding vision of the Bible. Faithfulness to God’s word means trusting at a deep level that God has our best interests at heart so that we are willing to realign our lives with Scripture daily. Reading the Scripture faithfully keeps God as the constant subject of our lives. In Genesis 3:1, the serpent opens his dialogue with Eve in the garden by asking, “Did God really say…?” Dietrich Bonhoeffer makes the sublime observation that this discussion was the first conversation about God. With a subtle turn of a phrase, the serpent shifts God from being the subject to being the object. When God becomes an object, we run the risk of substituting God-talk, some naïve theology, a political ideology (of the left or right), or even the work of church renewal for a vital moment-by-moment relationship with God. When we remain open to a daily encounter with our living Lord, the Scriptures will continually astonish us and draw us deeper into the world God desires to create. Thus, before moving forward in any work of God, we must settle the trust issue.
The work of church renewal and the planting of new communities are challenging and often lead us into uncharted waters. As disciples of Jesus, we must learn to rely on and trust the Scriptures to lead us to our destination just as much as we rely on GPS equipment for our treks to unknown places in our daily lives. Apart from the Scriptures as our eternal GPS navigational system, we are left only with the folly of self- reliance or trust in the collective wisdom of the very lost world that God desires to send us into for the work of his mission.
Lived Out in a Believing Community
The message of Scripture is lived out in community. Faithfulness to God’s Word involves serving as a missional community. As we seek renewal and revitalization in our day by reengaging the Scripture, we will find ourselves not only shaped as individuals but drawn together into communities formed by the Scriptures. Lesslie Newbigin writes, How is it possible that the gospel should be credible, that people should come to believe that the power which has the last word in human affairs is represented by a man hanging on a cross? I am suggesting that the only answer, the only hermeneutic of the gospel, is a congregation of men and women who believe it and live by it.