Ponderings: The Great Wager

Philip Yancey is correct—faith is “the Great Wager.”  In the final analysis no one can prove every assertion found in a philosophical, theological, or scientific system.  So, in point of fact, everyone lives ‘by faith” somehow or other.

Everyone finds an acceptable level of “truth” or a comfortable level of “reality,” and then they order their lives accordingly.  Some are more conscious of their choices than others, but everyone lives with a guiding perspective regarding life.  That perspective is a person’s “faith.”

Yancey muses on why so many choose not to believe the story of Scripture, when from a purely intellectual standpoint it is as credible to believe it as to deny it.  Why do many rush to say “It’s wrong” when in actuality the biblical story could just as well be correct.

And if it is right, a whole new world opens up.  For example, why settle for studying the stars when you can know the One who made them?  Why stop with angels when you can go on to God?  Why try to be your own savior when God has already provided one for you?

In the realm of human speculation, these questions are as legitimate as the questions of doubters and skeptics.  So, Yancey asks why people don’t spend as much time exploring belief as they do promoting disbelief.  That’s a good question to ask in the world of ideas, and especially when the fact is, everybody make a “Great Wager.”   What are you betting on?

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Ponderings: The Great Wager

  1. Joyce Alexander says:

    Hi Steve,
    I hope you don’t mind if I borrow some of your words? I am presently planning a sermon series on Yancey’s book, “Faith and Doubt”. A few months ago someone in my Tuesday morning study commented that they had always been afraid to ask their questions; once given permission to ask those tough questions (some of which, I had to say “I just don’t know” in response to!) the group really opened up and moved on to a deeper level spiritually. I felt that the rest of the congregation perhaps needed permission to ask their questions and explore some answers. I believe faith can withstand questioning and through it people deepen their faith, which is sort of the point that Yancey makes.
    Thanks for your thoughts in this blog; I look forward to it!
    Will I see you again at the LEC the end of the month? My appointment is the 28th; please pray that I am able to verbalize the calling and the words that God gives me!

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