The City of God, Time Travel, and a Quantum Leap
by gonzodave coulon 5/25/2008 / Christian Living
To become a Christian today is much like the experience of a time traveler. Speaking personally, yet for many, when I began seriously reading the Bible, it was from a self-centered point of view - from a position of: How does this passage apply to me? An assumption rarely corrected in the mind of church attending Christians is that whatever denominational perspective is taught, that was what the early believer in the first century, Apostlic churches heard and believed. Is it necessary to say: "This is not - in all cases - true.?"
Should one enter the kingdom today, in order to find one's way to the city of the High Priest, it is necessary to know how and why the suburban real estate - surrounding the city - was developed. The suburbs are meant to be an attractive, enticing alternative to city-dwelling. A city which is marketed by the real estate developers as metaphorical. Thereby, it stands to reason, by living in and expanding the suburbs, those who wish to enter this future city will be accepted because of the fine housing and well manicured lawns that they have maintained.
I offer the highly regarded work of Phil Johnson - his "front page" is included here - as a useful way to understand why the suburbs are not the city. A literal city that has been divinely constructed without hands and freely given to the urban dweller. A quantum leap and improvement over living in the suburbs which truly fits the NT theme of ... now-but-not-yet.
"Thus saith the LORD,
Stand ye in the ways, and see,
and ask for the old paths,
where is the good way,
and walk therein,
and ye shall find rest for
your souls" (Jeremiah 6:16).
FRIEND who noticed my reading habits asked, "Why would anyone want to study theology by reading A Bunch of Dead Guys? Shouldn't you focus mostly on current works, or risk becoming an irrelevant theological fossil?"
My answer: the truth about God is timeless. The last infallible book of theology was written nearly two thousand years ago. In theology, if it's new, it probably isn't true.
The best of the men featured here knew that. Though they are dead, they still speak (cf. Heb. 11:4). Scripture was their supreme rule of faith. Their theological line of descent is clearly traceable from the Reformers, to Augustine, to the Apostle Paul, to Isaiah, to Abraham all the way back to the first promise God made to Adam in the Garden (Gen. 3:15).
The entrance is at the top center of the map. Watch your step, though. As you walk through The Hall of Church History, if you veer too far to the right or to the left, you'll encounter people whose tendency has been to enshrine tradition over Scripture, or to pursue what is innovative and novel at the expense of what is sure and steadfast.
These dark corners of The Hall of Church history can be interesting and informative. But we encourage guests to spend most of their time in the central hall, which takes you from the Church Fathers, through the Medieval Churchmen, down a narrow, treasure-filled hallway devoted to the Puritan and Reformed writers, to the more recent stalwarts of the faith. We have named this corridor "Berean Hall," in honor of those noble recipients of the apostolic message, who "received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).