Welcome to Via Veritatis

The Faith Once Delivered

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

~Jude 3-4

Via Veritatis is Latin for “The Way of Truth”. This site is dedicated to helping people rediscover the original, ancient Christian faith. I use the terms “original” and “ancient” because the point of this site is to go beyond the common and current understandings that many Christians have. The Christian faith that many people know today has been significantly redefined by the modern world and it is important that we rediscover, and reclaim the faith that was once delivered by the Apostles so long ago.

Christianity is defined by the concepts of truth and revelation. First, Christianity claims to be objective Truth. Therefore it demands agreement and obedience. Truth is a standard which demands adherence, and by which things are judged. Second, Christianity claims to be revealed truth. Its claims of truth rest upon the idea that they were divinely revealed by God through the prophets and Apostles. For this reason, original Christianity is very important. Truth does not change thus the truths we hold today must match the truths that were originally revealed.

It is precisely for this reason that so many Christian groups and denominations have claimed to be re-establishing original Christianity. The claim to be the “true Church” or a “new testament Church” and so on are fundamentally claims to be ‘original Christianity’. Many groups make these claims, and often times there are significant differences between them. The question then is, are any of them right? If so which one(s)?

A Problem of Perspective

One of the major problems people face when they embark on this quest to rediscover the original faith, is the issue of bias and context. Many people are not fully aware of the fact that we all have bias. We all have a context, often referred to as a worldview, that we use to interpret and understand things. This context or worldview is a bias that strongly determines how we understand everything. This is why two people can look at the same piece of evidence and if they have different worldviews they will likely come to completely different conclusions.

There is a statement we must always keep in mind. Assumptions determine conclusions. What you assume to be true going into a study will necessarily have a determining impact on the conclusions you arrive at. The worst thing a person can do when approaching a study topic is to assume or believe that they are unbiased. It impossible to interpret evidence and to put facts together to form understanding without a contextual framework, or a worldview to filter information through. This is unavoidable.

As a result what we must do is be aware of our bias and we must develop the ability to look at things from viewpoints other than our own. When we engage in study we need to be able to look at something, interpret it in our own point of view, and then ask ourselves, “how would this be understood from this other point of view?” This doesn’t mean we need to try to understand every conceivable view point, but we need to focus on those that are important to what we are doing.

Just as we each have a context developed from our life that we use to interpret and understand things, the bible and the Christian faith also have their own internal context. For most of us, the context of the bible and of the faith as a whole is significantly different than our own personal context. The books of the bible were written in specific times and places, to specific people that had their own culture. This forms part of the context for each book of the bible. The books of the bible were meant to be understood together and the New Testament was meant to be understood based on knowledge of the Old Testament. Thus the bible also forms a major part of its own context.

These are the kinds of things we need to take into account when we begin to study Scripture. Clearly not every person is going to be a scholar of ancient culture or language. No one is really capable or has the time to master every area of knowledge necessary to study. This means that we are going to have to depend partially upon other people. If you don’t read Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic you are going to have to take the word of someone who does. Here you have to be aware that not all “scholars” are equal. Not all teachers are equal. Many bible teachers have the exact same problems as everyone else when it comes to interpreting and understanding scripture. Many care more about their biases than they do about Truth.

Disciplined Disciples?

Study requires discipline and it requires you to be willing to seek. It requires that you want to know the truth above simply wanting to support what you already believe and good study requires prayer. As Christians we necessarily rely upon the enlightenment and working of the Holy Spirit to help us understand God’s revealed truth. We can always trust that God will answer the prayer for understanding. However, many people make the mistake of attempting to make the Holy Spirit a crutch for laziness and lack of discipline. They are unwilling to put in the time and effort to pursue disciplined study but they expect God to give them understanding anyway. This is a lot like a person who eats junk food, doesn’t exercise, and then asks God to help them lose weight and be healthy.

God wants to give us understanding, He wants to reveal himself to us, but He does not give Himself to those whose hearts are not pursuing after Him. If you are unwilling to study, unwilling to pursue with discipline, the truth is you do not really love truth, or understanding, and God will not give them to you. Instead he will lead you as you are willing and prod you to go deeper.

God loves and requires obedience. If you are not willing to be obedient to what God has already given you, He is unlikely to give you more. If you do not follow what God has already revealed, it is vain to seek for more understanding.

Lastly, study of God and his word, commonly known as “theology” is not to be pursued simply for the sake of knowing things. Study is to be pursued for the purpose of knowing God on a ‘personal’ level. Those who seek knowledge for its own sake frequently end up puffed up with pride and what they learn profits them nothing. Those who seek knowledge for the sake of truly knowing God are always lead deeper into humility. The ultimate end of all good theology is praise and worship.