Article 2: Revelation of God
What does Mennonite Brethren theology have in common with that of other Christian denominations? And what are the distinctive emphases of Mennonite Brethren theology? Our Confession of Faith is a short document, informed by Scripture, that names the perspectives through which we read God’s Word in order to live as Christ’s followers. This is the first article in a series by the Board of Faith and Life exploring the 18 articles of this formative document.
Confession of Faith, Article 2:
Revelation of God
My youngest daughter happily discovered a pound cake on the kitchen counter after school one day. “Mom, did you go shopping this morning?”
“No, honey,” my wife replied. “I baked it.”
“Wow, Mom, you know how to bake?!”
In fact, my two older children and I can vouch for her baking skills. The reason she has not baked for a long time is that she has had other responsibilities.
My daughter’s serendipitous discovery of her mother’s baking skill makes me think about how we come to know God.
“We believe that God has made himself known to all people” (Confession of Faith, Article 2): through creation (Psalm 19:1–4; Romans 1:20), Scripture and especially Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27, 44–47; Hebrews 1:1–2; 2 Peter 1:16–21). We believe that “the Holy Spirit continues to make God known to individuals and the church; this revelation is always consistent with the Scriptures.”
The revelation of God through creation can be seen not only in the starry night sky, but everywhere. Look at snowflakes. Every one of them is different. How amazing!
Maybe we are so accustomed to (or tired of) snow that its novelty is long gone. It is not the case for everyone. My friend’s parents who recently moved to Vancouver from Saudi Arabia are fascinated and delighted to see snow. Look around. What is God telling you about him through his wonderful creation?
The most amazing revelation of God is through Jesus’ incarnation (John 1:14). “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son…has made him known” (John 1:18). Jesus’ teaching and ministry among the crowds give us fuller understanding of who God is and what he is like.
Of all the manifestations of God’s attributes, none is so great as the sacrificial love demonstrated by Jesus on the cross (Romans 5:8). “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us…” (1 John 4:12). Do people see God in us?
Today, God continues to reveal himself to us. This is comforting, particularly in view of the challenging times we live in. Now more than ever, we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit through the teaching of Scripture to deal with complicated global, social and moral issues.
The resettlement of refugees from war-torn regions is a case in point. In Scripture, God frequently calls upon his people to show love and kindness to the fatherless, widows, the weak, the poor and the needy in their midst. “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
As Jesus’ witnesses, we are commissioned to take the good news to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Today, people from all over the world live next door. What should be our response to our new neighbours? (See Article 7.)
Ever since her serendipitous discovery, my daughter has enjoyed a variety of her mother’s baking. Sometimes, she even puts in a request for her favourite cookies and muffins. This truly delights her mother.
Unlike my daughter with her mother’s baking skills, we do not need to discover God by chance. He has already revealed himself to us. This should be a strong inducement for us to learn about him. While studying Scripture, we can refer to the Confession of Faith, especially its Commentary and Pastoral Application, to obtain an MB perspective. Our knowledge of God and understanding of MB convictions will increase.
God has revealed himself to us for a purpose. He invites us into an intimate relationship (Article 2, Pastoral Application). When we get to know God in this kind of relationship, we will be transformed into people after his own heart. This truly delights God.
[Paul Lam is a member at large on the Board of Faith and Life. He recently retired from pastoring Burnaby Pacific Grace Chinese Church.