Final Inspection before Departure
"I will make every effort so that after my departure
you may be able at any time to recall these things."
2 Peter 2:15 ESV Our crowded 737 sat motionless at the gate, baking under the summer Texas sun. Passengers turned in their seats, fidgeted and sighed impatiently. The last puffs of cool air evaporated from the locked-down cabin and the ducts overhead became like hot hair dryers. Moments passed and suddenly the whooshing sound of air stopped. A voice crackled through the speakers, "Um, ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. Unfortunately, we've discovered a malfunction with our navigational systems and we will be needing to change planes…" Groans and murmurs drowned out the rest of the captain's words as the long process of transferring travelers, luggage and crew began.
Inconvenient, yes. Definitely not the greatest way to start a journey. But, looking back, I'm sure that everyone on that plane was relieved that the discovery was made on the ground instead of in the air. Thank goodness for a crew who took a routine inspection seriously.
Though not as detailed as a 737 pre-flight inspection, it looks like we need to conduct a final departure check before continuing the next leg of the journey through Francis Schaeffer's classic True Spirituality. Schaeffer specifically calls for this at the close of chapter one with a degree of seriousness that is unanticipated. He effectively states that the reader should either embrace the four main truths in chapter one, or stop reading the book altogether. Apparently, they are as essential to the study as wings, engines, wheels and flaps are to flight:
"This is what we are to have in mind when we begin such a study; otherwise there is no use even beginning to talk about experiential freedom from the bonds of sin or about an experiential reality of the Christian life, of true spirituality. "If this is not in our minds, at least in some poor comprehension and at least in some poor aspiration, we might as well stop. Anything else is trifling with God; and because it is trifling with God, it is sin:
(1) True spirituality in the present life means more than being justified and knowing that I am going to heaven. It does not mean just that I have been born again.
(2) My desire must be for a deeper life, not a looser life. The Bible presents to me the Law of Love, not a list of taboos.
(3) True spirituality is not just outward, but it is inward—it is not to covet against God and men.
(4) But it is even more than this: it is positive—positive inward reality, and then positive in outward results. It is not just that we are dead to sin, but we are to be alive to God. We are to be in communion with Him, in this present moment in history.
"These four points are what the Bible says we should mean when we speak of the true Christian life, of freedom from the bonds of sin.
"Anything less than this is trifling with Him who created the world, and trifling also with Him who died on the cross."
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Do you consider your Christian faith to be genuine? Are you devoid of, or in disagreement with, any of the four elements above? (As Schaeffer said, "…at least in some poor comprehension and at least in some poor aspiration…")
If you disagree, do you have biblical warrant to challenge the position Schaeffer presents as being the biblical one?
If you find yourself in agreement with the four elements above, prepare for take-off!
Further Reading: (Schaeffer devotionals run thus far in Crosswalk the Devotional)
good without god? (#7)
romans 8:28 does not mean giving thanks with a plastic smile (#6)
pop quizzes (#5)
lists, liberty and love (#4)
the most important and least important day (#3)
restoring authentic joy (#2)
francis schaeffer's struggle for spiritual reality (#1)