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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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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
- Carla Rolfe
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Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Jelly Does Not Sharpen Iron...
Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. "

When an equestrian remarks that he or she has given the horse "free rein", they mean that they let the horse run all out - as fast as it can, for as long as it wants, and wherever it decides to go (individual mileage may differ).

When I say that I have given this verse free rein many times in the past, I mean that I have used it liberally in the past, but today I discovered that I have been using it somewhat superficially. Maybe not 'full on' superficial, but that there is a deeper meaning that I hadn't grasped as firmly as I am holding it today - and I don't doubt that there is more meaning in it that I am presently able to comprehend.

I met with another brother in the Lord today and our discussion turned to a theological point wherein we disagree. We both know we disagree, I believe that he is twisting a definition to accommodate certain verses according to one interpretation, and he, on his part, is sure that I am missing the point because I filter certain verses through my theology rather than allowing them to speak for themselves. We are both content in what we believe, and more so, would like the other to have as much light as we imagine ourselves to possess, and both of us are competitively inclined in our flesh, meaning all spirituality aside, there is included in our discussion the ever present desire to "win" the discussion. Thankfully we are likewise both aware of, and willing to mitigate against the desires of the flesh.

His opinion is settled for him, it is cast in iron, even as my own is. Not that I suggest that we are unwilling to be taught, but to say that we both have come to our opinion through a serious and "God-seeking" study of His word. We have not come by our understanding frivolously, and as such when we discuss what we believe, I learn more than a thousand conversations with someone who is either easily persuaded out of his opinion, or who is simply unwilling to discuss it the moment it sounds contrary to an other's.

I have found that when my understanding becomes galvanized, it no longer is polished by vague opinions, or generalizations, but requires an equally tempered contrary opinion to test it, and refine it.

Iron is not sharped by jelly, or even by lead, which accommodates it - it is sharpened when something just as strong as itself comes along and by virtue of its own rigidity is able by grating against the other to sheer off both grit and wear, and bring what is dulled by such to a state that is more refined, more sharp.

Not that we as Christians are given license to argue with one another - don't read that into what I am saying. There is a discussion that is filled with respect that addresses contrary ideas and examines them with grace but with a firmness that makes the project fruitful - and there is mindless, anger-fueled gainsaying that is more about proving one is "right" than sharpening oneself and the other.

Yet the truth of the verse is there, it takes iron to sharpen iron. The only way to hone those settled theological opinions, is to discuss them with someone of a different persuasion who isn't going to waffle or bow out, or turn the whole thing into an abusive, personal argument.

It is a blessing to have brothers who are soundly convinced in what they believe and gracious enough to discuss how that differs with what you believe without turning the whole thing into a spiritual truth contest. I find that when a man is willing to hold his convictions in the face of my own, and defend them biblically - nothing is more constructive to my own study.

I reason that if a godly brother has studied scripture with all the scrutiny, sincerity, and patience which I, by whatever grace I receive, also do - then (when this same person has come to a settled conclusion on some point that disagrees with my own settled conclusions) the most productive way to test my own conviction is to test it against a contrary one, for the benefit of both myself and the other.

I say, I had a wonderful conversation this morning - and though I am convinced of what I believe, I have been given some serious food for thought. I shall post on it when it bears fruit.
posted by Daniel @ 6:56 AM  
  • At 8:01 AM, December 02, 2008, Blogger Rose~ said…

    Great thoughts, Daniel.
    I love the title of the post! It hooked me over. :~)

    Isn't it getting time for a new avatar?


  • At 9:53 AM, December 02, 2008, Blogger Daniel said…

    Yeah, it's almost time for a new avatar, isn't it? I will have to make one soon.

  • At 10:45 AM, December 10, 2008, Blogger Strong Tower said…

    "Iron is not sharped by jelly, or even by lead, which accommodates it - it is sharpened when something just as strong as itself comes along and by virtue of its own rigidity is able by grating against the other to sheer off both grit and wear, and bring what is dulled by such to a state that is more refined, more sharp."

    There is something to what you say here. Sharp iron doesn't sharpen sharp iron. At least in the way we normally think about this passage. It take a coarse rasping, medium rasping, and finally a fine file applied, which itself is sharpened, but at a different angle and in a different way.

    Something is always lost to both in the process of one shapening the other, but one gains something the other cannot by virtue of the differences inherent in the instruments that they are intended to be. That is a rasp or file is designed to sharpen the blade, but in doing so it is spent over time. The blad cannot shapen the rasp and would be dulled in fact if it attempted to do so. The blade loses some substance when the rasp is applied, but becomes more the instrument that it was intended to be.

    It is really difficult to resharpen a rasp. Generally, it must be reforged to be restored and then is slice into by another far more harden than itself. But the knife can go through numerous resharpenings by the rasp, and be used for numerous other tasks before being spent. The difference is, that once the blade is spent, it is spent and cannot be reforged.

    Anyway, there seems to be in this Scripture more than meets the eye. We tend to think of iron and iron as equals, when in fact, though their substance is the same, their function and form is quite dissimilar.

    Well, this analysis is oxidizing, so adieu.

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