Thursday, May 7, 2009
Paradox of Faith
Among other things, one of the books I'm currently reading is a fascinating little study titled The Celtic Way of Evangelism by George G. Hunter III. In it, he reviews the missionary works of St. Patrick to Ireland, and to a lesser extent Columba's work in Scotland around the 5th century AD. He notes many of the significant contrasts between these mission efforts to the Celts and the approach taken by the Roman church in that time period and the following centuries. One key quote caught my eye and just begged to be shared on this blog, comparing Augustine's understanding of the human condition with that of Patrick.
"Augustine looked into his heart and found there the inexpressible anguish of each individual, which enabled him to articulate a theory of sin that has no equal- the dark side of Christianity. Patrick prayed, made peace with God, and then looked not only into his own heart but into the hearts of others. What he saw convinced him of the bright side- that even slave traders can turn into liberators, even murderers can act as peacemakers, even barbarians can take their place among the nobility of heaven."
Without both perspectives, we do not see the masterpiece of God's redemptive work. Instead, we only see a cheap cartoon.