In his “Weekly Notes” this week John Fenn draws an interesting distinction between Believers and Knowers. As in Believers focus on the crucified Christ and the love for us as demonstrated in that act, and Knowers focus on the resurrected Christ and His supernatural work in our hearts. He says you can believe in a dead man (crucified) but you can’t know a dead man. You can only know a resurrected, living Savior—and, btw, One who intensely desires to abide with us thru the Holy Spirit. Fenn’s point seems to be that whereas it’s good to be a Believer, it’s even better to be a Knower.
And in some sense, for Believers, it’s all about themselves. It is what Jesus did for them that they’re focusing on, whereas Knowers focus on the pleasure we can give Jesus by focusing on Him. One of Fenn’s recurrent themes is that in his encounters with the Spirit, Jesus is sad because his people seek Him in manifestations in things like church, instead of desiring intimacy with Him personally. That is an interesting and challenging thought.
Some of Fenn’s point seems to be that seekers are always looking for Jesus in Bible studies, classes, prayer groups, missions or whatever variety of church that is currently in vogue, etc. Of course, the church in fashion for the past decade or two has been the non-denominational urban megachurch with a celebrity pastor—big box church—an ecclesiastical phenomenon almost as ubiquitous as Wal-Mart or Target.
Based on personal experience, you may be thrilled and entertained, and perhaps even ministered to, at big box church, but finding Jesus there is a bit more iffy. Big box church is chock full of Believers for sure—Knowers, not so much. That is not to discount big box church as a potential conduit for a relationship of intimacy with the Lord. However, so much of what goes on in big box church can be a distraction—the still small voice of the Lord which spoke to Elijah is likely lost amidst a spectacular, thunderous worship expereience.
“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus, my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that come from God and is by faith. I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings…” Phil. 3:8-10
Paul’s desire is to know Jesus. How do you get to know someone? You hang out with them. You abide with them. You ignore the storm of life’s spectacular distractions, some of which are churchy, and you quietly listen for the still small Voice.