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Overview

This is the repository for several essays I have written while growing in my understanding of the Christian faith and applying its teachings to my life and thinking.

In 1988, after 30 years of life, most of which was spiritually confusing at best, I thought it likely that there was some god like force out there, but had no understanding of who or what this force was, or how I could relate to it. Due to some curiosity sparked by Christian friends I did some reading, the most compelling of which was Surprised By Joy, by C.S. Lewis. This is an autobiography where Lewis relates the spiritual journey that lead him back to the Christian faith he discarded after the death of his mother. I resonated with a lot of the the experiences and struggles Lewis relates, which compelled me to look into things further. In so doing I became convinced that God exists and that people can have relationship with Him.

Christianity is very broad in scope. I think most Christians will acknowledge that their understanding of Christianity changes, and hopefully deepens over time. Mine has certainly changed--perhaps it has deepened as well, but in the process of understanding more, I find that I am certain about less, especially when it comes to the beliefs and practices of the different branches of Christianity, which appear to be in major conflict with one another while still sharing an essential core. I'm convinced that truth lies somewhere within the realm of broadly defined Christianity, but equally convinced that no one branch of it has the complete picture.

Please keep the above "disclaimer" in mind should you decide to explore the following essays. I have written them through the moving target of my developing theology, if you can call it that. I'm hoping to find time to re-visit these in the coming months as much has changed, both in my thinking, and in the World's of science and theology:

Essays:

The Authorship and Reliability of the Bible.:
I wrote this essay defending my view of the Bible at the time. I say, "at the time" because my view of the Bible is currently part of some fresh study and reflection that will not change the facts presented in this essay, or most of the implications, but my new perspective makes me uncomfortable with the tone I took. I hope to revise this after further study.

Who is God?
This is a short essay I wrote comparing my God of the Bible to the god of the New Age world view."Because our understanding of God greatly influences how we think and feel about ourselves and those around us, we should strive to be very clear in our meaning when we use the word god."

The Origins of Life In Light of Contemporary Research:
This is another essay I want to re-visit in light of more recent "contemporary research", and my own change in thinking on the origins of life. I have recently listened to a very compelling lecture by Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., who is a key player in the human GNOME projects. Dr. Collins is also author of "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief." Collins believes that God created through evolution.

The Interpretations of the Genesis 1 - 2 Accounts of Creation" This essay is a spin off from my research paper on Creation Versus Evolution in Light of Contemporary Research, and addresses the Christian theology issues of a young Earth versus an old Earth view of creation. This will also need to be revisited in light of an expanding understanding of both the Bible, and the research surrounding the origins of life.

Issues of Christian Stewardship : A series of talks I gave to Christian Community Church in Murray, KY as inspired by the writing of Randy Alcorn of Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM) http://www.epm.org

An overview of Christian Missions for the Disciple of Christ
Topics include: Differing Roles, but Common goals; The Disciple of Christ; Two Kinds of Disciples; Summarizing the Two Calls of Christ; Where am I?; A Missions Mindset.

Book Recommendations

New Favorite: Letters to a Diminished Church: Passionate Arguments for the Relevance of Christian Doctrine by Dorothy L. Sayers.What must a person believe to be a Christian? Dorothy Sayers lays out age-old doctrines without prettying-up or watering-down. She brings them vividly to life by showing how the Bible, history, literature, and modern science fit together to make religion not only possible but necessary in our time. Read one of my favorite books on-line,

"All of Grace" by Charles Spurgeon. This Christian classic is written in a charming, Old English style.

Currently reading: Wilfrid Cumbermede by George MacDonald. MacDonald is perhaps my all time favorite writer. Not only does his writing speak to me directly, but it has also influenced most of my other favorite writers. I will eventually read all of his work. I've read much of it already, but very thankfully he was very prolific and I still have many great reads ahead of me.


Christian Theology -- understanding and appreciating who God is and what he has done for us. My hope is to find the center of the Christian faith. There are many excellent books out there and some not so great on Christian Theology. These have been very helpful to me. I'll be addings more soon:

Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis. Lewis does an excellent job of cutting through to the essentials of the Christian faith. This is a wonderful first introduction to Christian theology that has become a classic introduction to Christianity.

Christian Theology, Millard Erickson. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. Erickson does an excellent job of fairly representing the major positions in each area of Christian theology. My favorite reference for understanding the various doctrines of the Christian faith from a variety of perspectives.


Christian Allegory: I have understood and remembered more theology from reading these two allegories than anything else, plus I found that I couldn't put them down. If you enjoy excellent writing and can't seem to wade through theology I would give these two books a read:

Pilgrim's Progress, John Bunyan. Pilgrim's Progress has been printed, read and translated more often than any other book than the Bible. The earnest story of Christian, the pilgrim traveling the roads and byways of life and experiencing the challenges we all face as either believers or skeptics, has helped me to identify the obstacles in my own pathway to eternal life.

Pilgrim's Regress, C.S. Lewis. This is the first book that Lewis wrote after his conversion to Christianity. Written in the tradition of Bunyan allegory, it is the story of John, who pursues a mysterious, sweet desire that leads him through adventures with many characters who represent the various philosophies of life and how to live it. It is said that this work is a semi-autobiographical allegory of Lewis's own search for spiritual fulfillment.

The bible passage I often reference is: Colossians 3:23 and 24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Through God's grace I seek to live up to this. I try to apply myself to the work that is before me. God and Family first, work on instruments, music, pipes, radio, and other interests and hobbies.

Thanks for stopping by,

Scott E. Thile
scott.thile@murraystate.edu