Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Complicated Theology

I was talking to a minister the other day and he commented that, "Your theology is too simplistic. It doesn't answer the tough questions."

Hmmmmmm. You mean it should be harder and more difficult to understand? You want spiritual beliefs that leaves you questioning the power of God to change our hearts, the grace of God to ensure our salvation, and the ease of declaring 'Jesus is Lord' in response to temptation? You want an intellectual theology that depends on your ability to logically make sense of God and God-stuff, leaving you with a cold, touch-me-not fellowship or an emotionless, passionless relationship with the Father? You want a theology that embraces theological truth at the expense of honest, open confession, transparent conversation and loving forgiveness? Do want a theology that answers all the hard questions but is castrated when it comes to actually changing people's hearts?

I want a practical theology and a practical grace. The other just doesn't work for me anymore. I want simple. I want to feel secure in my salvation and confident in God's love for me. I want to bravely take steps of faith which radically changes my heart and permanently throws shame and guilt off my back. I want to dance in the freedom of Christ, throw my hands up in praise and be on my face in worship. I want a 24/7 experience of Jesus Christ. I want the unpredictability of the Holy Spirit and I want to stand on the Rock. I want to pursue God with reckless abandon, listen to the whispering voice of the Spirit and not have to know what is going to happen next.
That is all I want.

I need a theology that is so simple that I can have a childlike acceptance of it yet study from now till the day I die and find a gospel that has confused centuries of wise men and women and scholars. Perhaps we should be like children in acting upon our faith with passion and be like wise men in giving ourselves to the study of it.

I think a "powerless gospel" is one where we debate and intellectually wrestle with it but never takes steps of faith, never leave our intellectual "safe haven" and launch into what the Spirit is prompting us to do. I like what David Stern's New Testament commentary says: "I believe in order to understand." Even more: "I act upon it in order to believe in order to understand." Acting changes everything and opens the believer up to deeper understanding and to deeper belief. That, in turn, leads to greater acts of faith.

So what do you want?

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I'm with you, man. Just recently, I had a conversation (almost debate) with a PhD-imminent theologian blogger, and we can't even converse on the same level. Some folks think that you cannot understand the Bible, unless you read someone else's commentary and learn a bunch of man-made terminology. As you said, salvation is simple enough for a child to understand, but deep enough to explore its intricacies for a lifetime.