Tag Archives: intellectual

Theology as God

Tuesday Re-mix –

“Theology is the science of religion, an intellectual attempt to systematize the consciousness of God. If we take the doctrine of the Trinity (which is a noble attempt of the mind of man to put into a theological formula the Godhead as revealed in the Bible) and say – ‘That is God,’ every other attempt as a statement of the Godhead is met by a sledgehammer blow of finality. My theology has taken the place of God and I have to say, ‘That is blasphemy.’ Theology is second, not first; in its place it is a handmaid of religion, but it becomes a tyrant if put in first place.  The great doctrines of predestination and election are secondary matters; they are attempts at definition, but if we take sides with the theological method we will damn those who differ from us without a minute’s hesitation.  Is there any form of belief which has taken the place of God with me?” Oswald Chambers

My sister married a Lutheran.  Of course, by the time of the wedding, Chad (my brother-in-law) had pretty much convinced most of us that he was OK and that he was not a pagan or anything.  But still, my sister was getting married in a Lutheran church.  It was not a huge thing, but for my very Baptist family, it was also not a completely small thing.  I think it mattered a little to some in the family.

That was a long time ago, but even by then I was already being shaped into a peacemaker…and this peacemaker was a little worried about how my very Baptist and sometimes loud and argumentative family might behave in that Lutheran church.  Oh, I’m not saying I stayed up at night worrying about it.  I’m just saying…I wondered.…

Evangelism is Not So Much an Intellectual Process

Tuesday Re-mix – This is a popular post from last year, updated and resubmitted for your consideration and comments.

I can’t honestly say that I love arguing, but I am fairly good at arguing (being a lawyer suits me in that regard).  Actually, it’s ugliness in arguing that I don’t like.  I do love an open and honest exchange of differing viewpoints. I think that’s what I like about the blogosphere.  It is a “pure” form of discussion, without any of the biases or prejudices that come with too much knowledge about a person’s background.  We don’t draw quite as many premature conclusions about each other in this “blogging” realm.  So, arguing (nicely) works pretty well here.

But I have come to believe something about the intellectual process and arguing as it applies to evangelism: it doesn’t work.  In my 40+ years as a follower of Christ, I have yet to see a single person listen to a compelling “argument” about why it is right to be a follower of Christ and suddenly succumb to the logic and fall on their knees in prayer.  I just don’t see apologetics as the key to evangelism.  I honestly do not believe the “lost” world is looking for persuasive reasoning, and I definitely don’t believe young “post-modern” thinkers are looking to engage in an intellectual discussion about faith.  I think the paradigm of a one-on-one intellectual exchange about God and faith is the wrong paradigm for evangelism in our culture.  I think it is a mistaken notion that if we just learn to say it smartly enough or persuasively enough (or loud enough) we will win and people will have no choice but to agree with us and come around to our way of thinking.  I think people today (maybe always?) are looking …