The Doctrine Dance

February 2, 2007

To doctrine or not to doctrine, that is the question. Does doctrine divide? If one does not learn about various doctrines of the Christian faith does that entail that she holds no doctrine what so ever?  Is there such as thing as neutral doctrine or do our words thoughts and actions betray a doctrine even if it is unconscious or unacknowledged?

Is seems to me that pondering doctrine from time to time is a good thing.  For the moment, I’ll refrain from making bombastic pronouncements over who’s doctrine is correct.  That is not the issue of this post.  Rather, I think we and I live a more impoverished Christian life when we neglect that which Paul admonished Timothy to be mindful of – our doctrine. (Yes, Paul also mentioned watching one’s life, but that seems to be trendy right now and not neglected like doctrine is).  By thinking through what the Bible says about who God is and working through how others have interpreted the Scripture I do not become one of the elite, educated Christians who is now closer to God because of my vast knowledge.  Nor does this engagement of the intellect qualify me for roles of authority in the church (For I might have developed much information while at the same time I cheat others in business and show disdain for family and neighbors).  Rather thinking about doctrine and recognizing that these truths, however imprecise and imperfectly articulated due to our lack of omniscience, make universal claims on my life and the entire world brings one into a direct contact with the reality of “I AM.”  I, we can’t walk away from those ponderings and switch, unchanged to another daily activity, like shoveling the snow or doing the dishes.  Encountering the “I AM,” even if the encounter begins with thoughts about our Creator is itself a transformational process.


Blizzards and Bonhoeffer…

December 21, 2006

“This text speaks

of the birth of a child,

not the revolutionary deed

of a stong man,

or the breath-taking discovery

of a sage,

or the pious deed

of a saint.

It truly boggles the mind:

The birth of a child

is to bring about the great transformation of all things,

is to bring salvation and

redemption to all of humanity.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

More on the Gospel…and the Contemplative

December 19, 2006

Tim Keller nails it! (HT: Justin Taylor).

The Gospel is my nourishment. Keeping my eyes focused on my Savoir and who he is and what he has done and the fact that I now have intimacy with him 24/7/365 (yes, even while doing laundry and cleaning toilets) is what mends my broken heart and transforms my focus from an inward one to an outward one. Engaging in contemplative mind-altering states (such as centering prayer) or practicing a silence in which I watch my thoughts from a distance like watching clouds is not a discipline advocated or supported by Scripture. “Going deeper” is not some advanced spiritual technique (like it is for eastern pagan religions) but a long, slow process in which we engage God with our entire being, through His Word, and through prayer, and community, and service, and evangelism and through enjoying his ever present presence. But it all starts with the Gospel, grows through the Gospel and culminates with the Gospel.

The Holy Trinity in a Postmodern culture

November 13, 2006

I’ve been chewing on a few ideas today: the Holiness of God and postmodernism. A few days ago a friend invited me to teach for an hour on postmodernism in his course at a Christian school. I have limited time and have been thinking about a possible outline and praying about whether I should say yes. Then I rolled into Sunday school this morning, having no idea what topic we would embark on for the next few weeks (we finished a six-week topic last week) and was thoroughly delighted to find we’d spend six-weeks on the Holiness of God under the teaching of R.C. Sproul. (After lesson one, we all crawled out of class greatly impacted by the weightiness of pondering and experiencing a Holy, Holy, Holy God.)

Anyhow, later today I popped into this discussion at Dluxe’s World on how to present the Gospel in a postmodern culture (HT: TeamPyro). Apparently this question was initiated by Tim Keller. It is indeed a bit daunting to grasp the radical cultural shift in just a mere generation. So here are my two cents that I contributed to the conversation: Read the rest of this entry »

To Sin or not to Sin…

November 11, 2006

Seems that most everyone has offered commentary on the Ted Haggard affair. Many wise posts float around the blogosphere. But what had bothered me for some time about Haggard was that he appeared to be teaching a theology that undermines the insideous nature and power of our fallen state. I once heard a radio program that was taped in the afternoon and during that program Haggard told the host that he had not yet sinned that day. WOW – by the time my mind begins to form thoughts in the morning, I’ve usually sinned before the first foot hits the floor. Moreover, New Life recently issued some suggestions that guide parents in how to discuss this issue with their children (HT: Tim Challies). Again, sin is in quotes as an optional word to use and parents can simply classify Haggard’s indiscretions as “mistakes.” One cannot avoid the reprecussions that are born from the theology one holds about God, His holiness and our sin nature. Read the rest of this entry »

My 9.5 Theses..

November 3, 2006

In view of certain trends, I post my 9.5 theses:

1. The Bible is our one objective standard for determining truth in Christian theology, spirituality and practice.

2. In view of #1 the Christian should embark on a lifelong endeavor to learn about and understand all facets of Scripture. She should begin to interpret this text by first understanding what the original author meant when he was communicating to his audience. The Bible should never be used as a divination tool. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunshine for a rainy day

October 3, 2006

The grumpiness index in my life has been a little higher than normal. Seems that el nino has been hovering off in the distance, glaring at me. Fortunately my daily routing includes hitting a few of my favorite blog spots and I stumbled across Dr. G’s post on personal libraries and several commenters listed books that they are reading. As such I spanned my queue of partially read books (close to a dozen) and picked this gem up for my nightly reading. Read the rest of this entry »