Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Do Troubles Determine Your Theology?

Greg Boyd and Brian Mclaren have one thing in common... both faced a crisis of faith prompted by extremely difficult circumstances in their life.
Boyd ended up an Open Theist – making God into a being so “relatio-centric” that He has somehow removed all knowledge He has of the future from His mind (to protect our freedom to choose). Mclaren has become the spokesperson for the Emergent Church, creating a worship context that accepts almost anything and only avoids determinative statements about things like the nature of God, sin and salvation.
I know there is much more to each of these men, and I don’t expect that either would be satisfied with the one-sentence description I have given, but I think it is worth noticing the common denominator. Doctrinal error is often more a result of “the problems of life” than an honest reading of the Biblical text.
We do this all the time. For example, troubles come into our life and we are tempted to think of God as something akin to Job’s friends’ description of Him (i.e. the god of the eternal scales, rewarding the “good” and punishing the “bad”). Without our minds being informed by the text of the Bible, we would then “create a god in our own image,” and worse, begin to live our lives based upon that knowledge. In this case, “god” could easily become a distant genie that needs to be pacified and coaxed into doing nice things for us.
When our minds are taught by the Word, however, and our understanding of say, divine sovereignty, increases... then how we respond in these troubles changes. We begin to view them as trials to grow in (James 1), or discipline to learn from (Hebrews 12), or the attacks of our enemy against us (Ephesians 6).
The most difficult path to stay on is the narrow one... there are so many bypaths and inviting side trails! We won’t go wrong, though, if we keep our minds in the Book and seek its Author incessantly.
Would that I did it better!


  1. hehe... I can't help but think that's not all that McLaren and Boyd have in common.

    Not that areas of theology proper so clearly assumed within Scripture as the omniscience of God need ever change (since God himself will never change), but is there never a place for allowing circumstances or situations to determine some elements of theology? Or perhaps ecclesiology?

    If there were only four families of Christians in a city, 2 paedobaptist and 2 baptist, would it not make sense for them to worship together? Circumstances, however, might dictate otherwise if they were in a larger city (say...Minneapolis??) where many places of worship, baptist and paedobaptist, were accessible.

    No? ;-)

  2. jlf81,
    you are not commenting... you are attempting to lead astray...

  3. lol, touché.

    So back to that Bono pagan... :-)