Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Have it your way

The test of our theology is whether we are willing to believe things that are mentally and emotionally hard to believe simply because they are clearly taught in the Word of God. If we fail that test it will be because we want to have things our own way rather than God's way.

Theology isn't only about reading, understanding, believing, teaching and confessing the great doctrines of the Bible. It is also about accepting our finitude, mental sinfulness, and the grace of God in giving the knowledge of the truth in the Gospel.

So will you have it God's way? Or will you have it your way?

Heresy and orthodoxy is about making that choice. Not just intellectually, but with the life and with the affections too.

The following lengthy quotation, from the chapter by Wayne Grudem in Beyond the Bounds, is an explanation of this point.

"Believing the Bible is not always the easiest or most popular thing to defend. There are many things that God asks us to believe that are not really logical contradictions but are mysteries and paradoxes, matters that we cannot fully explain
. For example the doctrine of the Trinity, or the hypostatic union of Christ...or God's sovereignty and our responsibility, are doctrines that fall into this category.

Why can we not explain fully what the Trinity is like? It is because there is nothing in all creation that is exactly like the Trinity! There is no other being that consists of three distinct persons, with each person possessing the whole of that being in himself, and yet the three together are only one being, not three. How can this be? It is not a contradiction, but it is a mystery beyond our comprehension.

And then there are other doctrines in which God does not ask us to approve something that is evil or wrong, but asks us to believe things that are emotionally hard for us to receive, at least in this age. Such doctrines include the doctrine of hell (with the eternal conscious punishment of the wicked), and the doctrine of God's sovereignty in relationship to evil, for example.

In these matters that are not easy to defend, and in many more, the question is, will we believe them, not because we can explain them fully, and not because we enjoy them and take delight in them in our present state of understanding, but simply because God's Word teaches them and we submit to his Word?

Throughout our lives as Christians, from time to time God will test our hearts to see whether we will be faithful in believing all that he teaches in his Word."

Wayne Grudem, Beyond the Bounds, p. 356

This is a great book; pick up and read!

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