Seeking to understand why we believe and what we believe!

by: Rev. Dr. J. Emmette Weir

Morning Meditation

Our Scripture reading this morning is taken from the Gospel according to John 14:1-6. 
“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” 
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

There can be no doubt that one of the most outstanding Bahamian Clergymen of Our Generation is none other than Msgr. Preston Moss.  Highly respected and beloved by Bahamians“ in all walks of life” and all denominations, this Roman Catholic priest has given many years of dedicated service to GOD in THE BAHAMAS, HIS HOMELAND.  Over the years, he has proved to be an effective, yet humble servant of Christ, gifted as a preacher, competent as a teacher and compassionate as a pastor.  
A patriot, he has shown a special interest in Bahamian Home and Family Life.  This writer recalls, for instance, that while serving as Chaplain and Teacher of Religious Knowledge at Queen’s College back in the seventies, he invited Msgr. Moss to speak to a class on his subject.  All the students listened with rapt attention as the Bahamian Priest gave a profound well researched address on the Bahamian Family.  It appealed to them so pointedly because they could easily identify with what he was saying about the most important institution of society – the family. (It is hoped that Msgr. Moss will publish his findings on the Bahamian family for the benefit of all the people of our Bahamaland, especially pastors, social workers and guidance counselors in our schools!)
Considering the tremendously influential ministry that Msgr. Moss has exercised, it certainly was not surprising that recently he was featured on the popular TV program hosted by Anthony Newbold, “LEGENDS.”
Throughout the hour-long interview, the eminent Bahamain Minister of religion expressed himself in an intimate, warm and confident manner, demonstrating the conviction, vitality and passion of one, who, after serving many years in ministry, continues to be bubbling over with enthusiasm in his desire to proclaim the Gospel, the Good News of salvation to all who believe Jesus to be the Christ! In so doing, he proved that he is not only an excellent preacher, engaging lecturer and compassionate pastor, but also a scholar in his own right.  As such, Msgr. Moss was honest and courageous in dealing with questions about the relevance of the Christian “faith” in the world today.
With a twinkle in his eyes therefore, the pastor of St. Anselm’s Parish, asserted that it is essential for Christians to seek to understand what they believe; that they must make the effort to understand the faith they profess and proclaim.  Concisely, according to Moss, faith and reason or knowledge are far from being contradictory (as some seem to think) are essentially complementary!  Christians should seek to combine both faith and knowledge in their walk with Christ.  
Now, in support of his position, Msgr. Moss quoted a profound theological statement of the brilliant Medieval Theologian St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109 AD):  FIDES QUAERENS INTELLECTUM.”
This may be translated “Faith seeking knowledge” or “Faith seeking understanding.”  According to The Rev. Prosper Burrows, lecturer in Latin at The Bethany Bible & Training Institute, either of these renderings of the original Latin dictum is acceptable. Brilliant church historian Williston Walker points out that Anselm held that “no part of Christian faith was beyond the province of rational demonstration.”
(History of the Christian Faith 4th. ED. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1984, p. 326). Very significantly, Anslem built on the theological and philosophical contributions of Aristotle and Bishop Augustine of Hippo.

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