Blurry Theology Weakens Faith

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As a father, I am realizing just how important it is to pay attention to the instructions when assembling children’s toys. For example, we received a kid’s trampoline as a gift this year from a loving grandparent. It’s a great present for our daughter and a lot of work for us. This past weekend, we set out to build the trampoline, taking turns working through the instruction booklet in the January cold. My wife is much more disciplined than I am. She pays careful attention to the directions at each step. I get the general idea, and then I assume I can figure out the rest of the process on my own. While her half of the project went exactly according to the plan, mine did not. Upon completing my half, I reached in my hoodie pouch to find a bag of 20 screws that should have been used during assembly of the trampoline in previous steps. Needless to say, it didn’t take our daughter many bounces to see that was going to be a problem. Oops!

In the same way that my blurry understanding of the instructions led to a weak trampoline, a blurry understanding of Scripture leads to becoming a weak Christian. It’s good to have a general understanding of the story of Scripture and the basics about God. But if we stay in this stage, we are perpetually spiritual babes. We should be growing and deepening our faith through loving God by getting to know who he is in His word.

Blurry theology exists today just as it did in the first century. For example, 1 Timothy is a letter written from the apostle Paul to his protege Timothy who is pastoring a church in an influential city (Ephesus) and is relatively young (likely in his 30s). In this church, there are men who wanted to be treated as teachers, like Paul. But rather than learning and teaching the Bible from apostles commissioned by Jesus, they were concocting strange myths and were endlessly speculating on genealogies. The result was division in the church where there once was unity and a distortion of the gospel where there once was clarity.

BLURRY THEOLOGY IS POOR STEWARDSHIP.

There is a tendency to want to continuously speculate about something and never arrive at any conclusions. To make a truth claim can seem arrogant because you are declaring conclusively one thing to be true, and you could be wrong. It also can seem judgmental because what is true could expose sin in you or someone you love. The phrase live your truth” has become popular, whereby truth is relative to the individual’s beliefs. But Christian faith is a house built on truth claims. The Bible claims that it is not just true but breathed out by God. Jesus himself claims he is the truth. Truth is non-negotiable for true Christians.

If we are to be people of truth, we must have clarity on what is true. We cannot indulge in endless speculations and obsess over conspiracies. We reject a worldview that looks for any skepticism. We do not talk in circles for miles and never arrive at a destination. Instead, we humbly read the word of God in light of Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit to give us insight and understanding into its meaning. Christians should not speculate about Scripture but should meditate on Scripture. That means to read the text and begin to allow the text to read you.

DO NOT SPECULATE ABOUT SCRIPTURE. MEDITATE ON SCRIPTURE.

We are tempted to try to make Scripture fit us by reading it in light of how we want to live. But Scripture actually needs to read us. Rather than approaching the Bible as if we are the authority come to judge what to believe and what to reject, the word of God is the ultimate authority and judges us as being in accord or out of step with true reality. This forces ourselves to step off the throne of our own lives and place King Jesus on the throne where he is already ruling and reigning over all creation.

When it comes to the beliefs of our faith, do not settle for blurry theology. While speculation leads to doubt, revelation (Scripture) evokes faith. Take some time today to read the Bible, skim resources that help you (we have some under the resources tab) and spend some time in prayer. There is nothing more important to your faith than knowing and loving Jesus.

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Michael McAfee is the president and co-founder of Inspire Experiences, a teaching pastor at Council Road Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, and an ethics and public policy PhD student at The Southern Theological Seminary.  Michael is happily married to his Sunday-school sweetheart, Lauren Green McAfee. Together, they co-authored Not What You Think.  They have a daughter, Zion.  You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

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