Graham Cooke, whom I would consider a prophetic individual, once said, “I no longer believe that Jesus is Lord; I know that he is Lord.”
I believe that this is a very important statement for followers of Jesus. There are certain beliefs that Christians hold that we cannot verify, but must take as true on faith. One would be the virgin birth of Jesus. And the fact that there are claims of virgin births that predate Jesus doesn’t have any effect, pro or con, on the truthfulness of Jesus’ virgin birth. But, for us now, we cannot know empirically that Jesus’ virgin birth is true; it must be accepted on faith. Some would say that the resurrection would fall in this same category. Even though it would be tempting to do so, the fact that 500 people witnessed seeing Jesus after his resurrection and how the apostles and early church were willing to die for the truth of it would cause me to not include it. Besides, if it was a lie, would they have been willing to die the terrible deaths that many of them experienced? I doubt it. But, because I wasn’t there, there definitely is a measure of faith in my belief in the resurrection, but not as much is required as with Jesus’ virgin birth.
But if my relationship with God is only based on those things which to some level I cannot prove, then I would suggest that relationship is weak and immature. And this is where Graham’s statement comes in. While the foundation of my relationship with God includes the aspects of the virgin birth and resurrection, it is primarily made up of what I have seen as a result of these two events. It is made up of what I have seen happen and what others, whom I trust, have experienced and that is when the foundation of my relationship with God moves from belief, which is not empirically knowing something is true, to knowledge, which is empirically knowing something is true.
Think about it in this way. Does anyone say, “I believe in the wind?” Of course not. That would be ridiculous. But why would it be ridiculous? It’s because the effects and results of the wind are readily seen, whether in leaves moving in the trees, wind-driven rain or snow, tornado or hurricane. We know the wind; we have moved beyond having to believe in the wind.
The same is true with God. I have seen things and been told of experiences by those whom I trust that cannot be explained by anything in the physical realm. How does one explain someone knowing and speaking to a situation from a just-met adult stranger’s past when he was six years old down to minute, specific detail even though the stranger has said or intimated absolutely nothing about it? How does one explain someone being able to answer correctly questions another person only asked God in a prayer prayed in one’s head? How does one explain a terminally-ill cancer patient in a hospice home given only days to live walking out of that same hospice home 3 days after being prayed over cancer-free and being totally released from hospice? I could go on and on and on.
The reason that the foundation of my relationship with God isn’t primarily in a high-faith type of belief in the virgin birth nor in a less-faith-required faith type of belief in the resurrection is because God has continued to reveal himself to me and those whom I trust, even to this very day. It is this continual revelation of God at work which constitutes the majority of the foundation of my relationship with God.
I am in agreement with Graham. I no longer believe God is real. I know longer believe that Jesus is Lord. I know God is real and I know that Jesus is Lord because I have seen things and know of what others have experienced that prove this to me. I truly cannot find any other explanation for what I and those whom I trust have seen. This then lends additional credence to the claims of the virgin birth and the resurrection.
As a result of what I have just said, I have become more and more convinced over the last few years that God’s presence and power being demonstrated is necessary more today than maybe ever before. Unfortunately, what has happened in Western Christianity is that it has become westernized. It, for all intents and purposes, has been reduced to nothing more than a philosophy of life or a moral code, rather than what it really is – living in the presence and power of God in very real ways and in ways that cannot be explained by human or physical-realm means. True Christianity is seeing God’s presence and power, through his Holy Spirit, flow through his followers, doing greater things than Jesus ever did as we continue to carry out his mission.
I no longer believe for I know.