theo versus saint

I’m a little worried about a battle being waged right now.  I don’t see it as a battle of good versus evil.  It is not a battle over souls.  I see it as sort of a battle of intellectual processing, teaching styles, interpretation and semantics.  For me, it’s getting destructively weird.

This battle is between Christians.  I have been absolutely shocked at the attention that so many of my dear brothers and sisters give to bloggers posting about different sorts of theology and methodology.  Ministry takes a pounding as it is ripped to shreds by people giving their opinions on how things should be done and what things should be said and what books should and shouldn’t be read.  So many people see their opinions as “authority” instead of an opinion… Destructive…. So much time wasted and many opportunities to feed, clothe, love, give, serve, worship, teach….wasted. Hours wasted. Only angry bellies stirred. Oh  it’s foolish.

For example, I was recently up all night several nights in a row.  I was doing some research (which means I was on Pinterest) and I came across a blog written by a very gifted pastor.  This man ascribed to a particular view of theology (not bad by any means).  Anyways, he was criticizing a book that I happened to be using in a study with several people.  He made fun of the author’s experience with God and called him irresponsible for publishing his journals.  Then he invited comments.  Wowsers.  These people were brutal.

So of course, I have to comment.  I said something like, “I get the sense that many people commenting here haven’t read the book.  This is a little scary that we can judge so harshly without even reading the book! ” I went on to say that I was reading this book with some friends while studying the book of Proverbs.  The book really helped several people learn how to study the Word better and talk to God more openly and freely. And, with all the training I had, I didn’t find anything that contradicts the Bible.  In fact, it helped many people know how to study it – including asking for help from the Holy Spirit before reading it.  (Walking with God, John Eldredge)

Well, I got deleted from this blog right quick and a hurry. 🙂

Anyways, that was a comfortable example, because it didn’t involve any of my friends or acquaintances.  I didn’t even realize that dialogue that differs was delete-full material.

All that to say, the only good thing about this blog:  it sent me to my knees (again) to ask Jesus if the book was a good thing to study.  I also began to research the scriptures.  After many hours of prayer and scripture search, I settled into being extremely comfortable with teaching from this particular book and being at peace with the counsel it offered. I think teaching from a trustworthy source is imperative and I always pray and ask for guidance before doing so.

I am still disappointed in the growing trend of “beating” up on ministry methods and teaching styles.  After experiencing God’s grace and being especially sensitive to people that are struggling to know and walk with God- It’s sort of mind-blowing.  Maybe I’m too simple minded, but I don’t think so- Mainly because of Jesus Christ’s example:

Jesus, The Most Sovereign….and this is what He did:  Jesus chose a humble birth.  He chose to first reveal himself to shepherds and men of obscurity.  God was gracious to the most gifted as well.  Even though this famously gifted teacher of scripture- (Saul) had made it his mission to kill as many Christians as possible, God intervened and the Saul changed to Paul.  His ideas about God were transformed. The stewardship of his intellect was forever changed.  Out of a grateful and worshipful heart, Paul spent his intellectual skills on explaining the gospel and helping people make the connection with God.  He is careful to share that he did not preach with “clever” speech (1 Cor) lest, the cross be emptied of it’s power and yet, God used this learned man to articulate His forgiveness, love, mercy, and lasting Sacrifice to the masses.

Good Ole AW says, “Don’t be a Hoarder”:

“Important as it is that we recognize God working in us, I would yet warn against an over preoccupation with the thought. It is a sure road to sterile passivity. God will not hold us responsible to understand the mysteries of election, predestination and the divine sovereignty. The best and safest way to deal with these truths is to raise our eyes to God and in deepest reverence say, Oh Lord Thou knowest. Those things belong to the deep and mysterious Profound of God’s omniscience. Prying into them may make theologians, but it will never make saints.”  AW Tozer

Intellectual suicide and cheap grace you say?  (hmmmmm)  I’m the first to admit that I love to study and learn and dig in old theology books and muse through translations of scriptures.  I would have been a life-long college student if it wasn’t so expensive!!  However, God is showing me that His Grace + my Bible study and prayers+ dialogue with wise brothers and sisters + experience in caring for people and sharing the gospel = where He wants me to be.  There is no time for circular arguments and hateful speech.  After all, who has time to manage someone’s conversion?  I cannot be God.

I am hoping for change.  I want to see people from all walks of life and abilities come to Jesus.  I want to see this faceless, nameless group of people Rise Up! and follow their Beloved Savior and Bless His Name by their worship.  We are better together!   Oh to love Him and (as He asks) to love others by the way they live, talk, write, function on a daily, moment by moment basis. In other words, Put the hammers down!  This is not intellectual suicide, it is a gifted response to God’s amazing grace.  I have decided that Ephesians 4 is the first thing I am memorizing in 2012.  The entire chapter is on Unity…I have a lot to learn!

…..there is so much to be done.  Always unto Jesus.

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Comments
4 Responses to “theo versus saint”
  1. So well said – I couldn’t agree more. May we spend our energy and effort encouraging and edifying. I memorized Ephesians a few years ago and find myself praying and revisiting chapter 4 more than anything else. Asking along with you for Father to build unity in His body, and for us to surrender to His ways. I also notice that my attitude toward others is greatly impacted by the amount of time I spend in prayer – I don’t think its a coincidence. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

  2. Nina Burgett says:

    You’ve put into words some strong thoughts! The reference to 1 Corinthians is a valid affirmation of what you’ve blogged. In chapters 3 & 4, Paul teaches about this very thing, the main point being that it is God who teaches everyone, God who increases each one’s knowledge. 3:21-23 emphasizes “…let no one boast in men…all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” In other words, God has already granted all the knowledge necessary for growth in Him (and isn’t that the goal: growth?) In 4:4, “…the one who examines me is the Lord…do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in darkness adn disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.” He emphasizes, “…in order that no one of you might become arrogant in behalf o fone against the other.” For what do you have the you did not receive from God himself?

    Oh that we could humbly invite others to “be imitators of me,” as Paul did. He could say this because he was an imitator of Christ! The Christ-follower today embodies that very same power due to Christ’s victory over death: resurrection power! “For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power.” (4:20)

    What should we look for in a teacher? One who has the mind of Christ, whose thoughtful words consistently line up with those of the Very Son of God–now that’s powerful!

    Knowing scripture defines scripture, take a look at 2 Peter 3:14-18, further noting Peter’s thoughts on this very subject.

    • rachaelrobeson says:

      14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
      15 And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved. This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—16 speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture. And this will result in their destruction.
      17 I am warning you ahead of time, dear friends. Be on guard so that you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
      All glory to him, both now and forever! Amen.
      2Peter 3:14-18

  3. rachaelrobeson says:

    Reblogged this on rachaelrobeson and commented:

    Because the bride is better when she’s put together…

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