The Yankees celebrated Derek Jeter Sunday night by retiring his number 2 jersey and placing it into Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are a team you either like or dislike with no in between. My observation about people who openly dislike teams or talk smack is that they tend to be people who are openly violating a commandment, that of coveting (neighbor's servants, etc). In this case, it would be a man's baseball team. What is it they covet? The history of the team, the championships, the prominence, the stature and status of the team (all this from a guy who really doesn't follow New York - Yankees in this case).
Yet the Yankees have a remarkable way of using their past to market the team. You aren't just a part of the here and now, you are a part of history. Baseball, being a sport that speaks in current terms about its past, owes much of the conversation to former Yankees - Ruth, Gehrig, Berra, DiMaggio, Mantle, Jackson, Jeter. Those are name off the top of my head, and I don't follow the Yankees as I mentioned earlier. Yet I've read a number of books about the game of baseball, and you cannot escape the New York Yankees place in the history of the game. And we can't go through a day without quoting Yogi Berra at least once. So to Jeter's night, building on their recent past to place his name in a ring of honor among the other greats who have played the game. Jeter, a phenomenal player and very likable guy, will seal his seat in the Hall of Fame on the first ballot no doubt.
What role does the history of the church play in faith? Looking at the articles of faith that we have in our various brands of Christian faith, most have a history with writers and theologians who gave us points of view about scripture and its meaning in our lives. In our own case, people like Augustine, Luther, Melancthon, and more recently Bohnhoeffer and people like C.S. Lewis are but a few examples of people who wrote on faith. Does this history provide us with a clarifying lens of scripture? In many ways, we look for consistencies in the dialogue and alignment with scripture to deepen our understanding of faith. In that manner, we don't go off on tangents about faith based on one writer who analyzes on passage and creates an entire theology or a group of people who create a faith that has little substance with the true Word of God and those who've written throughout history about the Word of God.
Paul says it this way: "Until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, as we mature to the full measure of the stature of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed about by the waves and carried around by every wind of teaching and by the clever cunning of men in their deceitful schemes. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ Himself." (Ephesians 4:13 - 15)
Faith alone. Grace alone. Scripture alone. Those words spoken long ago put many in danger for their lives because these words challenged the teachings (errant) of the day, yet such a simple concept needed to be stated and clarified due to the teachings that were present at the time. So, does our history clarify our present and is it worth knowing in order not to repeat the mistakes of the past?
Pray that we are in the Word and that our simple faith in Christ give us salvation. Pray that as we broaden and deepen our understanding of God's Word and its meaning in our lives, we hold to truths that give us clarification and further understanding, but that these truths be aligned with God's Word.
Hope Men's Ministry