This short exhortation was “inspired” when a friend was offered a paid administrative position in the church she attends, but then had the offer rescinded. The reason stated: she was not theologically deep enough. The real reason: she had been asking uncomfortable questions regarding the scriptural backing for some of the churches theological stands. In other words her devotion to scripture marked her out as a trouble-maker. What a sad state of affairs. She however is rejoicing in God closing a door that may have not been spiritually safe to enter.
Everyone has a theology.
The atheist has faith in his imagined non-existence of God.
The agnostic finds refuge in his ignorance of God and his proud apathy toward discovering who He is.
The cultist trusts in his guru or his religion’s organizational pronouncements.
The secularist believes in his patchwork quilt of spiritual ideas gleaned from Hollywood, mainstream media and cheap novels.
For the Christian however there is one source and one source alone for our beliefs: The Word of God.
This is not a new and novel idea. It should not even need highlighting but in our day of spiritual compromise, syncretism and pure biblical ignorance, it does indeed need to be restated.
Unfortunately the theology of many believers is cobbled together from popular religious authors, respected theologians and various mystics and church fathers from previous ages.
Folks will embrace the words of men (even good men) and when confronted with the inconvenient fact that the Bible disagrees on some point they will cleave to their teachings rather than the Teacher.
Peter you may recall did just this thing when God granted him a vision of a sheet containing all kinds of animals and the voice of God spoke saying “Kill and eat” Remember Peter’s response, “Not so Lord. I have never eaten anything unclean” Peter’s theology was interfering with his obedience!
Many today do just this thing.
Some spend years studying the words of men., learning the finer points of various doctrinal views and when confronted with a simple believer with the word of God in his mouth – and heart – are offended that such an ignorant unstudied “peasant” would challenge their theological masterpiece.
As someone said, “The Bible sheds a lot of light on the commentaries”
When Luther stood before the Roman inquisition he was reminded of what the church fathers had said. He had the words of previous and present Popes quoted to him. He was informed of the teachings of the church’s foremost theologians. Luther’s response, “But St Paul said….”
Many a theologian has been confounded by the words of Scripture.
Many a “doctor” of the church has revealed himself in need of healing.
Many a Pharisee has argued the scriptures for hours and yet refused to bow to Them.
In my meanderings around the net and my contact with flesh and blood believers, all too often I meet brethren who can not relinquish their hold on their doctrinal stance in order to embrace scripture. It is almost humourous at times when a brother in the Lord will declare war because you have the audacity to challenge – with scripture – a dearly loved, but erroneous doctrine.
Sometimes these folks will say something foolish such as, “Well that’s the way you see it but I see it differently” Unfortunately there is no escape with this postmodern nonsense. There is only one truth in the scripture. One of us may be wrong, or both of us may be wrong but God is never wrong.
This is where it can get tricky, for the heart of man hates to admit error.
Humility however is smiled on by the Lord and pride earns His frown. It is safer for all of us to be willing to learn, to change our views, even when they are closely held and dear to us, in order to more closely reflect God’s views.
There are some minor and peripheral areas where Christians of good conscience can disagree but on the major topics of life and eternity the Author of Scripture is clear, concise and firm. One of those areas is that our theology must bow to His word.
You may be expecting an example or two of what I’m saying to illustrate, but that’s not my goal here. It doesn’t matter what issue we encounter. Christians can and do disagree at times on many things. If we are willing to look to the same Divine source for clarification peace will reign in a short time. When one or both of the protagonists refuse to consider God’s testimony, war will continue. Preachers have responded to my request to sit down together over an open Bible by saying, “I don’t need to open to open a Bible. I know what I believe”
Well that’s a dangerous place to be.
Jesus will not allow His word to kneel before the views of men. No, our theology MUST bow to His Word.
Father, I thank you that you have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to babes. For such was your good pleasure. Help us Lord to be thick-skinned and tender-hearted and not the reverse as we seek out Your truth in Your word.
In Christ’s name