Knowing or Doing?

“The Hebrew is concerned with practice, the Greek with knowledge. Right conduct is the ultimate concern of the Hebrew, right thinking that of the Greek.” -William Barrett

I remember learning this distinction between these two ancient ways of thinking sometime shortly after high school when I was at YWAM. The basic idea that some saw “belief” as merely an intellectual exercise, and others as more a matter of action. Our society, and much of the church, is dominated by a Greek way of thinking. So, “believing” in Jesus is mostly a matter of praying a prayer or agreeing to a particular creed.

I’m not sure if it was some traditional Hebraic thinking in me or my love for the book of James, but I remember then immediately being hooked on this concept and that it only made sense that the Hebraic way of thinking, that belief was a matter of action, was the right way. And I still think that today.

I don’t deny that “thinking” and intellectual understanding of ones faith has relevance and impact, but if it’s not coupled with action it seems to lose credibility (though I am certainly not the judge of your beliefs or actions).

The church in the US, at least as I’ve experienced it, seems dominated by this Greek way of thinking. In most churches I’ve been in, if you do not say you believe the basic tenants, if your not a member of the church (which involves stating belief in those basic tenants of the faith), or if you express any intellectual doubt, you will be treated as one who is either not yet part of the fold or one who has fallen away or is in danger of doing so. Yet, that same measure seems to rarely be used in terms of ones actions (and I don’t just mean avoiding the big taboos or helping out at church). The church just doesn’t seem to care all that much if your life looks more like your consumeristic, secular, patriotic neighbor then your homeless, selfless, outcast Savior.

“I will show you my faith by what I do.” -James 2:18

4 thoughts on “Knowing or Doing?”

  1. I agree 100%. The church I'm going to just recently instituted a "minimum" requirement: the leadership of the church talked about what you just wrote about and then instituted their idea of the "minimum" — expectation that every member of the church would, at minimum, be involved in three areas every week: Sunday corporate worship, Sunday School or a Bible study (to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the Bible), and Community service through the church or some other means (because if you believe the truth put forth in the Bible then your faith will be, MUST be, expressed in your life and actions).

  2. Though off topic, This insight into the resurrection of Jesus Christ may interest you:

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics and The Shroud Of Turin – video

    The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31 –
    William Dembski
    Excerpt: "In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity."….

    Philippians 2: 5-11
    Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    "Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature."
    St. Augustine

    Intelligent Design – The Anthropic Hypothesis
    [youtube GFkY5-Xp710 youtube]

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