Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In the face of death

When grief and hardship come - and they always do, sooner or later - what we know will be more important than what we feel. In fact, conclusions reached in the face of strong emotion are the least reliable. Martin Downes on "Grief, hope and the comfort of doctrine":
One of the soul impoverishing dangers of regarding doctrine as no more than "head knowledge" is that it denies Christians the comfort and encouragement they need in the face of death. In fact a lack of knowledge leaves us in a position where our grief finds no relief, and our thoughts are given no solid hope.

Consider Paul's approach in 1 Thess 4:13-5:11. He doesn't want them to be ignorant or uninformed about those who have fallen asleep. If they are uninformed then they will grieve like those without hope. The remedy for this is knowledge, doctrine, truth. In the face of death, to those who grieve over believers that have died, Paul confesses the truth of Christ's resurrection. He says "We believe that Jesus died and rose again" and that he will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. In the face of death Christians confess the resurrection of the Son of God. In the midst of grief they hold that believers who have died will be woken from the sleep of death. [more]
Against Heresies: Grief, hope and the comfort of doctrine

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