Ad Fontes – Of a Different Kind
Ad Fontes is the call of “back to the sources.” It challenges us to read again whatever piece of literature we may find valuable in order to think about it rightly. I think as Christians this is very important to understanding the Bible as well as many early documents that inform the Christian mind. However, today I want to get back to the strength of the Christian Faith with some other ‘sources.’
Many a Christian will say “we need the Bible and we need the Holy Spirit.” As good as that sounds, it often collapses into individualism. A “Me, my Bible interpretation and no one else” approach. Moreover, it can lead to hostility when something in the modern world seems to contradict our personal interpretations of the Bible. If we come at the Bible as if it has every single answer to every question, we are going to treat it as sort of an ancient day Google, where we can simply put in our questions and here comes the answer! There is good news though. This is not the historic Christianity that we all have inherited. Since the Apostles Creed affirms the “communion of the saints” we should affirm the ancient faith that we inherited.
Throughout history, the church has operated with four main sources of understanding truth. Different eras have appropriated them more or less, but the bulk of the Christian church has used all four. Truth is understood through multiple avenues of truth getting. The four are…
These four conduits or channels, have all been valuable for Christians to look into. This affirms a whole person and whole God approach to being Christian. Would God want us to shut down our reasoning processes? Would God want us to close our mind to the work of Christians in the past? Would God say there is no value to our current experience? My answer is no.
When I say “It’s time to get back to the sources,” I think it is time Christians see the beauty of their Christian past which actually affirms a whole human approach to thinking. Moreover, let me say that we really need it. The questions Christians consider regularly need all of our thinking (Past and Present) to help develop solutions to the complexities of the world and the Church.
Morality, other religions, atheism, science, politics, globalism, or just how to raise our children well. Bringing together all of these to help process our living, will help to fulfill the ‘transformation’ of the mind (Romans 12:1-2). God has so graciously gifted us with Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. I think it is time to appropriate those gifts in our life for the sake of the one who could never be afraid of the truth.
Christianity is about getting to the truth. The four sources have been faithful guides in the past, and will help us immensely in the future.