Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Boxing Day is a holiday in many countries that have been influenced by England. It is the day after Christmas, where one boxes up their leftovers to take to the poor. Rather than discussing the British Realm's holidays, this brief article is about another kind of boxing. There are theologies that box God in and put a ribbon on that box. That boxing comes in the form of redefining words of scripture. It often sounds to my ears like a boxing match that fights with scripture.
All systematic theologies aim for one thing: to understand God in a logical fashion. While that goal is noble, we should hold our theologies with an open hand willing to let God blow away the chaff in those theologies. God has revealed to us that the way he thinks and acts is higher than our understanding.
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,so are my ways higher than your waysand my thoughts than your thoughts. ~ESV
Total depravity teaches that all aspects of humanity has been affected by the fall, including our own thinking. That means that our prized theologies may be incorrect, even when systematized by the bright lights of church history. With total depravity in mind, we must hold our theology lightly and be willing to be corrected.
If a change of word definitions in scripture is required to make verses "fit" the preferred theology, beware. Most often, the plain reading is preferred. "You" means the reader; "all" means all; "is" means is. Yes, context qualifies words; but not to the extent it changes the whole of scripture.
Our goal as believers is to have faith. Faith is a gift as scripture tells us. Jesus wants to find faith on the earth when He returns. Jesus also chastised the apostles for having little faith. How do those work out logically, I'm not sure. What I do know is that I can pray for more faith and that Father always gives His children good gifts.