Velvet Elvis Embraced and Critiqued Part 3

Movement Three begins with a host of illustrations that unveil this idea of aweness: to be in awe of something is to be struck by its wonder from surfing Trestles (072) to putting his arms around a man who now stares at his wife’s open casket (075). Much of life offers us moments of rare beauty that only God can provide. Rob calls these moments “Something Bigger” (074). They are greater than us and provide a moment where we can embrace life as if all the evil in this world is nothing comparing to the greatness of those few moments. As Bell notes:

Whatever those things are that make you feel fully alive and like the universe is ultimately a good place and you are not alone, I need a faith that doesn’t deny these moments but embraces them (074).

But lest we think that those moments occur merely in the joy of our lives, God also orchestrates His glory to be revealed in the “tragic and gut-wrenching moments when we cannot escape the simple fact that there is a way more going on around us than we realize” (075).

Bell proceeds with a fascinating discussion on epistemology (though he does not use that word). Man in his nature knows God. He experiences God’s majesty in nature and in his inward being. Man as Bell mentions, “ already intuitively believe certain things about the universe and the way the world works” (077). Romans 1 defines this human knowledge in terms of “knowing but repressing” (or suppressing). This is at the core of human denial: the betrayal of what he knows to be true. Our job as “gospelizers”(a term I use to replace “evangelists,” which is too filled with modern American jargon) is to make this unwarranted denial known (much to say on this topic since it covers a host of remarkable apologetic interactions; I will leave it to future posts).

Truth is to be found everywhere. At the very moment the unbeliever speaks truth he is using what Van Til termed “borrowed capital.” All truth whether from the mouth of a Cretan or Barbarian is God’s truth since God’s knowledge and wisdom cover the seas (this is illustrated in Acts 17 among other places). Indeed, as Bell points out “the whole world is full of the kavod (glory) of God” (078). This scheme is nowhere clearer than in Bell’s illustration on Turkish culture (080). In it he describes his trip to Turkey where he saw many unfinished homes that seem to have been abandoned. As one of Bell’s friends noticed however, the abandonment was merely temporary. The Muslim culture “does not allow financial debt, so people only build with cash” (080). People do not continually borrow money to accomplish anything they desire (typical of Western thought) rather they wait and build slowly until they have all of it paid. A debt-free life means freedom in unspeakable ways. This is truth found in the Muslim-led country of Turkey taken directly form the mouth of the apostle Paul who said, “ owe no man anything” (Rom. 13). Issues regarding exceptions to this case are not the heart of the matter here; rather the principle in Scriptures and Muslim culture is that debt ought to be an aversion to us all. All truth is God’s truth, though sometimes we simply don’t want to hear it.

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About Uri Brito

I am the Pastor of Providence Church (CREC) in Pensacola, Fl.
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