Patricia Hofer

Oswald Chambers: roots of faith in “something” other than “understanding and reason”

We raise our gaze to look at what we cannot see. But we know there’s something there. Abraham was responding to that divine presence, that “something,” when he walked out of Ur of the Chaldeans and journeyed to the land of Canaan (Gen. 11:31). … Many centuries later in The Idea of the Holy, Rudolf Otto would conclude that such a “deeply-felt religious experience” exists as “something outside the self.” A believer’s reverence and awe are caused by something external and objective, not by something internal or imagined or subjective. And Otto called this exterior spiritual presence “the numinous” (8, 11). … In a very scholarly way, he analyzed and defined what Abraham and all believers have always felt, our awareness that we are in the presence of something “wholly other” (Otto 30).
Oswald Chambers, a contemporary of Otto, said that our life of faith is not based in “understanding and reason” but “in the degree of separation” that it has from the natural life. As he concluded: “Living a life of faith means never knowing where you are being led. But it does mean loving and knowing the One who is leading” (March 19, My Utmost for His Highest). And that explains Abraham to us. The roots of such faith run deep in humanity. And so we believe as he believed. We trust the One he trusted. (As quoted in Living Large, chapter 13, ©️ 2013)

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