As a young and committed enquirer Carey had endless books – the first group retold the simple faith, but seemed to ignore or deny questions – for Carey there was a need to transition from simple belief to a profound doctrinal understanding!
The second group dealing with questions and competing claims didn’t have the same excitement and commitment to faith.
Faith was said to be shaped in four ways – anchored in the Bible – taught by the church – probing of every human culture – always relevant to the way we should live – something that has to be articulated and owned by each generation (the Wesleyan Quadrilateral?).
Carey suggests that it is not possible for a serious Biblical student to ignore the scholarship and the rigorous and detailed analysis and fruits of some 200 years of research! The essential need to think about our faith theologically! The absolute importance of tradition!
At one point Carey suggests that truth and error have been difficult, if not impossible to distinguish, and that the ‘authority‘ of the church’s history has to be seen as to some extent ambiguous!
It is surely when we allow Jesus to live his life in and through us (the miracle of a new creation) that we can begin to love and relate to others as God loves us! (Gal 2.20)
We all have our own theology – the way we think about and understand God, grace and salvation. Is that theology dynamic and relational – where we know Father and Jesus in an active and real way that seasons all our relationships with mercy, patience, kindness and peace – or is the theology static – a religion of legalism, spiritual stagnation, and judgment of those who fail to meet our carefully defined standards of godliness?
Consider the following scriptures:
Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, Jesus explained to them everything in the scriptures that referred to himself (Luke 24.27)
If you really believed Moses you would be bound to believe me, for it was about me that he wrote (John 5.46)
God, who gave to our forefathers many different glimpses of the truth in the words of the prophets, has now, at the end of the present age, given us the truth in the Son (Heb 1.1)
This is my dearly loved Son. Listen to him (Mark 9.7)
Who do we listen to? Who is our teacher?
Should we be listening to the words of men (theology) or the Word of God (Jesus living His life in and through us)?
Where is the miracle of an open mind?