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We All Have Some

"Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so." 

We learn our theology very early in life.  Even if we didn’t grow up in a Christian home we develope some view of God early on, even if it was for some a vague understanding that God didn’t exist.  For those of us who grew up with some Church experience we learned to trust the Bible, to love Jesus, that He loved us and something about our sin and God’s forgiveness.  The older we got, the deeper our indoctrination became.  Most of us received that indoctrination unquestioned.  At some point our doctrine became our badge.  It marked us as Christian and it defined what kind of Christian we were.  As adults we congregate with like minded people who wear the same badge we do.  At some point we begin to defend our badge against the onslaught from those wearing a different badge from ours.  This division is sometimes subtle but often flagrant.  Christianity is divided along denominational and theological lines and those lines are defended fiercely. 

Very serious theological thought goes into whether we dunk or sprinkle; whether we pray for healing or exercize spiritual authority over disease; whether we are reborn before or after we have saving faith.  We have battles over the meaning of the cross and Christ’s suffering.  Do we have free will or don’t we?  What is the meaning of "dead in our sins."  Libraries are filled with books about our theological differences. 

We can not live without struggling to understand who God is, what Scripture truly means, what our standing is before God and on and on.  God, I believe, wants us to seek to understand Him.  He would not have spoken to us otherwise.  But, our differences aught to tell us something about our efforts to understand God.  God is greater than our understanding.  Our efforts to seek truth and to codify it is a human effort full of prejudices, biases, agendas, worldly influences, differences in the way we approach God’s Word and on and on.  Our theology is opinion, Jesus is truth. 

Should the faith be defended.  Yes it should, but with a great deal of humility.  Those defending the faith often do so with ranker and personal attack.  There is no love in their language which says more about their theology then then they intend.

Jesus is the Truth.  Jesus aught to be defended.  Any theology that diminishes all that Jesus is, is flawed. Any theology that distorts the Gospel is flawed.  Those two things should stand out most clearly in Scripture.  Disagreements on these two subjects are very important and should be treated with the utmost caution.

We do ourselves a favor when we look dispassionately at our theological badges.  Read about the men who formulated your point of view.  Look at their humanity, the influences in their lives that drove them to certain conclusions.  Look at the completeness or incompleteness of their doctrine.  Look at their lives and their behavior.  Look at their times.  Look at what we have learned over the years from those days when their doctrine was set in stone.  You will find that theology is opinion and like most opinions they are supported by strong internal logic.  Theology is powerful stuff.  It has been around for a while, stood the test of time, and has received the approval of men.  How can we argue with that. 

Yet our theologies leave us bankrupt, empty, uncomfortable with our faith.  All theology is flawed at some point.  Seeing those flaws can free us.    Theology is not inspired.  Scripture is inspired.  Our theological differences should drive us back to God’s word.  The more we approach Scripture with an open heart the better we can discern what is true and what is not about our doctrine.  Scripture can refocus our understanding and can act as a sieve to strain out the distortions from man’s psychology, philosophy, logic, science, etc.  

Look hard at your theology.  Is it robbing you of joy?  Are you set free or are you bound by your doctrine?  Are you living by law or are you living by the Spirit?  Are you trying to please God by some effort of will that you believe your theology demands? 

Theology is not inspired.  Focus on the Truth, focus on Jesus and let the theological cards fall where they may.  We are truly one in Christ.

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