Monday, January 12, 2009

The Church's One Foundation

“I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things, visible and invisible.”

What makes us dare to suppose we can or ought to call the Creator of the whole Universe, “Father?” Why do we speak of Him as “Him”?

The simple answer is, because that is what Jesus taught us.

And why should we pay any heed to what Jesus taught us? For many reasons. Because He showed more profound wisdom than anyone else ever has, before or since. Because He showed love such as had never been heard of. Because He worked miracles. Especially, because He rose from the dead. That alone would have made Him a uniquely qualified spiritual master.

And how do we know He rose from the dead? Well, twelve very different men went into all the known world to tell us so – and sealed their testimony, almost to a man, with their blood. But that isn’t all they did. No, the most important thing they did, the thing above all else they passed on to the Church, is the ongoing, living presence of that same Lord Jesus. In the Church, we find Him still alive, not as a memory or principle or concept, but as a Person, still loving us with incomparable love, still teaching, still healing, still making wise, still rescuing people, still sanctifying and guiding and lighting the way. And in each of our hearts, too, we notice, even if only sporadically, this new, young, tender green plant, His life growing inside ours, gradually displacing ours. We have been given the Holy Spirit, in other words, in Holy Chrismation.

And that is how we know He is alive; we have been made eyewitnesses of His resurrection. We know Him, not only through the Apostles, but now, together with them, we have met Him and we walk with Him and we know Him, firsthand. This is the Treasure we have “in earthen vessels.” The Church herself has become the Holy Grail. This is how we know what we know. “But the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as His anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in Him." (I John 2:27)

Apart from this heavenly anointing, I suppose we would be papists or Sola Scripturists.