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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Fundamental Fontanels...
Most of us (unless we are in the medical profession, or have just written a biology exam) wouldn't know a fontenal from fentanyl. But the word describes a "soft spot" - for instance the "anterior fontanel" is that soft spot we find centered above an infant's forehead (surely you remember your mother rebuking you for actually touching a babies soft spot?).

No matter where your theology is at, there are two different types of soft spots associated with it. The first I will mention, but I won't really address in this post - and that is a theology that rests more upon a particular interpretation of a passage or various passages rather than an indisputable fact found in scripture (e.g. the Trinity is not a soft spot theologically speaking as there is no room for interpretive variance on the passages that demonstrate the Trinity - but (for example) pulling a "covenant of works" out of Genesis would be a theological soft spot because this particular interpretation rests upon the idea that when was God instructing Adam in the Garden it "amounted to" God making a "covenant" with Adam - the passage doesn't identify a covenant or even speak of one, but some make a claim that "covenantal language" was being used, and therefore they stand not upon a sure interpretation, but upon a presumption. This sort of 'indirect' spin on a passage would be (IMO) a theological soft spot, and any doctrine that touches it would be equally "soft.")

But it is the other soft spot I want to talk about, and really I am probably stretching the idea of a soft spot to wrap it around this - but I could think of no better way to describe it. The other kind of soft spot is when theology becomes an excuse for Christian dormancy.

Now I want to be clear here - It doesn't matter if you are Calvinist, Arminian, or somewhere in between - everyone stands in danger of allowing themselves to justify their own spiritual laziness because of some theological persuasion.

Consider the one who is theologically convinced that we can do no good thing apart from the grace of God. They would be correct according to my understanding of scripture - but some who have come to understand this theological truth go overboard and develop a "soft spot" in their Christian conduct. Having correctly reasoned that God is sovereign in all things - even their own salvation, and having rightly understood that they can do nothing good apart from the work of God's Spirit within them - they (wrongly) embark of a rigorous regiment of "waiting" for God to make them obey.

We know that God works in us to will and to do his good pleasure, but the verse that qualifies that tells us to "work out our own salvation" because it is God who works in us both to will and to do. The salvation spoken of there isn't salvation from God's wrath - but salvation from sinful conduct. We are workers with God, not zombies. Obedience is repentance in action, and unless we are repenting we are not going to have fellowship with God. The purpose of our obedience isn't to generate sanctification, for indeed, no amount of obedience is going to change the spots on the leopard - but obedience flows from a heart that is willing to work out with God our own salvation from sin.

Apparently however, some (many?) expect genuine spiritual service to have a certain "feeling" associated with it.

Perhaps they imagine that until they get into the right "frame of mind" everything they do will be carnal and evil, and therefore they need not do it. Some go so far as to withhold themselves from "getting right with God" because they feel they need to generate some sort of spiritual fervor before hand - that until they have this fervor they can't really get right with God. The pattern is to put off doing anything spiritual until they jump through some hoop - the trouble is that jumping through whatever hoop they name for themselves doesn't work for very long - soon they feel disingenuous, and the hoop has to be raised a bit, and made smaller, until they are practically paralyzed in their faith, and miserable.

The truth is, at least in this example, that no one can come to God unless God calls them to it, but that this in no way means we are to sit around and wait. Consider why it is that we even want to get right with God? Because God put His Spirit into us, and Deep is calling to Deep. God is working in us, that is the -only- reason we even want to get right with Him. What we need to do is simply drop all our silly pretenses and trust that God is really calling us, God is really willing to meet us wherever we are at, and God is really able to change our hearts.

When one's theology gets in the way of one's practical Christianity, no matter how perfect (or far from perfect) that theology happens to be, it becomes baggage - not the theology itself, but the idea that theology has anything to do with plain and simple obedience.

Listen: having a perfect theology isn't going to make you happier or closer to God - the only thing that is going to do that is fellowship with God, and there is no fellowship as long as we hold onto even the smallest rebellion in our hearts. If there is something that is keeping you from obeying God - if your very intellect has become the justification for failing to break up your fallow ground - buddy, see that and do something about it today. Even if you can only manage the smallest step closer to our Lord - do that, and do more the next day.

Don't tell yourself that because God is sovereign you should wait around until He hits you with a wand. Yes - God is sovereign - and yes, when you eventually do obey him it will not be to your own glory, but his - but that doesn't change where the rubber meets the road one iota. You must obey, you must commit yourself to obey - DO IT.

I used this one example, but there are plenty of ways in which our theology can leave us soft spots - our job is to find those places where we are spinning our wheels and do something about it. I suggest the first thing to do is to pray, get alone with God somewhere and hash it out. Really, there is only one cure for fallow ground, and that is the plow, and you need the Lord to show you exactly where the plow has to go. Spend time, and stop just playing at it. Let there be no soft spots in you - I would that all of us were "sound" Christians, whatever our theological differences might be.
posted by Daniel @ 9:40 AM  
  • At 2:08 PM, September 27, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    Okay, Daniel, so plow through some eschatology, will ya, and tell Thirsty David to go plowing too, while you are at it...


    Seems like you and the "other" Dan were thinking along similar lines, and if I might add, so was I...we all touched on feelings and Christian duty...

  • At 2:18 PM, September 27, 2006, Blogger David said…

    I only came by because I thought I heard someone talking behind my back.

    Nice post, Daniel. Right on.

  • At 2:28 PM, September 27, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…


  • At 2:34 PM, September 27, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    JD only talks in front of people's backs. ;-)

  • At 11:06 PM, September 29, 2006, Blogger jazzycat said…

    Very good points in this post. I think it is an encouragement and an inspiration for us all. I did a Photo Meditation on Christian service that I recently posted. It is brief (as all are) but we touched on some common points.

    You certainly have a gift for coming at issues from some interesting angles. Have you ever considered a book?

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