Tag Archives: doctrine

Sarcastic Saturday: Boldly Standing for the Truth Ushers in God’s Kingdom

Another installment of my fictional series Sarcastic Saturday:

Earth–In a surprising development for Christians devoted to social justice and loving one another, the Kingdom of God appeared because enough Christians have taken a bold stand for the truth. Michael the Archangel appeared in the heavens and proclaimed the victory of truth over error and relativism.

People who love truth everywhere are rejoicing that they were right. “We knew that if we exposed enough error and took a bold enough stand for truth, sound doctrine, and watered down Christianity emphasizing service that God’s Kingdom would show up,” said one self-proclaimed truth activist. “I’m not surprised that we were right,” he added.

“Here I thought my worship was meaningless because of the injustices Christians have been ignoring,” shared one pastor who works among the homeless. “As it turns out, the only thing God has cared about all along is if we get our doctrines correct.” 

Christian social justice ministries have since shuttered their operations, opting to commit to further study in order to sort out their doctrines in light of the Messiah’s second coming.

“What a shocker,” shared one member of Christians for Social Action. “The next thing they’ll say is that sarcasm can be redemptive.”

When We Should Not Debate Theology

I recently finished studying the book of Romans, and I can’t shake Romans 14, as well as a few other related verses where Paul tells the Romans to stop fighting over peripheral matters. The challenge it seems is that others would not agree with his assessment that issues such as Jewish laws and customs were peripheral.

The debates in Rome seemed to center on observing feast days and dietary laws, though Paul was also working on rethinking the role of the law under the new covenant of grace that is accessed through faith. Some believed these Jewish practices were important, while the Gentiles didn’t really have a grid for them.

Paul tells them to make up their own minds on these matters, to live by faith in God, and to trust that God is able to approve or condemn his servants. Under no circumstances should they put a stumbling block in front of other believers by casting them under judgment or doubting that God isn’t able to approve those with whom they disagree.

Am I the only one a little disturbed by this?

I feel like I spend so much time scrutinizing and debating points of theology that may well be peripheral to the big picture of God’s redemptive, Gospel message. Paul isn’t advocating for lazy or bad theology that falls away from the core teachings of the Gospel. He spends plenty of time spelling that out. However, he sees how debates over doctrine can divide believers and cause them to lose focus on their common love and common mission.

On twitter today I ran across an article on Christianity Today with a series of opinions regarding whether some believers should fast with Muslims for Ramadan. I would usually retweet this on a typical day. This is one of those issues where there are a host of qualifiers added by Christian participants, straw men created by critics, and some well-informed debate from the moderates on both ends of the debate.

However, even if those debating this are well-informed and charitable, is this even a debate worth having? I can see Paul saying “Some fast with Muslims to reach out, while others abstain. Both are living by faith to please God and should be convinced in their own minds by faith. All should leave the judgment to God.”

Maybe I’m just putting words in Paul’s mouth, but after reading Romans 14 I have a feeling that many of the issues I label as “important” may in fact be peripheral issues where grace, trust, and faith must replace arguments and debates.

2 Timothy 2 Rocked My World Today

How should we confront false doctrine today?

Well, if you’re an approved workman of God able to handle the truth (2 Timothy 2:15), you should be able to lay some holy Bible smack down on false teachers, right? I mean, if you don’t confront them, who will? Are you just going to sit by and watch false teachers make a mess of things?

When Paul instructed Timothy on the best way to handle false teachers in Ephesus, he actually told Timothy to step back. Really. He eventually instructed Timothy to gently teach those who have erred, but for the most part, Paul’s approach is not all that aggressive or confrontational. Paul is far more concerned with the state of Timothy and his own purity of spirit and the purity of his Gospel.

In fact, he tells Timothy to avoid godless chatter. This godless chatter just happened to be calling the resurrection into question. Serious no doubt, godless for certain, but to be avoided all the same.

What should Timothy do instead? Find out in 2 Timothy 2. It’s got something to do with faith, love, and holiness.