Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: the living word

The living Word of God

When Aaron made a golden calf for the people to worship, he was not intending it as idolatry. The people could not grasp the concept of an un seen God and wanted something they could see. It is called a calf in the Bible, but it was a bull, represented in the prime of his strength. This was the best symbol they could imagine for a god who was the all-powerful source of life.

Yet it was idolatry, for a bull comes far short of representing the reality of a God who spoke and the universe, the world and everything in it appeared. Well not quite everything. He created the first man and woman with his own hands.

But even if we can stretch our minds to comprehend God as omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, yet unseen, our understanding of who He is remains superficial. That is why He came into this world and walked among us, as one of us, yet much more than one of us.

Jesus, the living Word, calmed the storm with a word, healed the eyes of Bartimaeus with a word, cast out devils with a word, healed the sick with a word, restored Lazarus to life with a word. “What manner of man is this?” The reality of who Jesus is goes beyond the physical form. It was revealed in his love for children, for sinners, for outcasts, his rebukes to the self-righteous, his compassion for those in distress, his words of forgiveness from the cross.

Jesus said “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” You cannot draw a picture that shows the love, compassion, grace and power of Jesus, nor make a statue to represent it. Most of those who saw Jesus when he walked on the earth did not see who he was. They wanted the physical representation more than the reality. That is the way our minds work.

Some did see, by faith. As we read the record they left for us, let us pray for faith to see Jesus as they saw him, the living Word, the Almighty God in action, the Saviour of the world..

The living word

N.F.S. Grundtvig was a Danish Lutheran minister who proposed a new form of adult education. His teachings eventually led to the Danish folk high schools, outside of the mainstream Danish education system. These schools are open to all over the age of eighteen, noncompetitive and confer no diplomas. There are no exams or marks given.

Grundtvig spoke of “the living word” as the communication of personal life between the teacher and the students. The teachings must live in the life of the teacher and be actively responded to by the students, or the words taught are dead. These schools do not exist for the learning of academic subjects or for vocational training, but for learning about life itself, gaining insight and practical ability. This is education as a living interaction between teachers and students.

These schools nurtured a sense of Danish peoplehood and are credited with creating a cultural and intellectual climate that enabled Denmark to unite in resisting any collaboration with the Nazis.

Grundtvig borrowed the concept of the living word from Christianity and applied it in a secular setting. The Danish folk schools take many forms today, some are quite radical, some are Christian. Others focus on music and sports; there are also schools for retired people.

What would this emphasis on the living word look like in a Christian setting? That will be my next topic.

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