Why I Am the Mad Theologian

If you are reading this blog, you might want to ask, "Why is he writing this, anyway?" Obviously, it is because I am convinced I have something to say. But it seems reasonable to inquire as to what that is and to present it in a summary, rather then piecemeal. The following, then, is a statement of my basic convictions:

1. I am convinced there are solid reasons for believing historic Biblical Christianity is true and that it is a mistake to desert the realm of objective truth for a realm of fuzzy subjective feelings, where anything can be justified. No one comes to Christ without a supernatural work of God in their lives, but that does not excuse our not upholding objective truth. see and see

2. I am convinced that if Christianity is true, then it is necessary for all believers to be grounded in this truth. Not that everyone needs to understand all difficult theological terminology, but it is the duty of the teacher to make clear the truth of God in terms people can understand. see and see

3. I am convinced that Scripture is the ultimate authority in the church, both in terms of what it teaches and does not teach. I believe the present divided state of the Christian church is contrary to Scripture, but the solution is not vague broadmindedness and good feelings, but asking what the Scripture itself regards as important. see and see

4. I am convinced we need to trust in God's power rather than our human ability and gimmicks. God did not promise that the world would respect us or make us comfortable, and we should not expect it, but rather persevere in God's service. see and see

5. I am convinced it is wrong to minimize God's grace. Rather, it is the person who has a clear understanding of that grace who will respond to God based on love for Him. Granted, some may distort this truth for their own ends, but we should not lose sight of our fundamental need of grace. see and see

6. I am convinced that the church is the people and that the organization exists for the people, not the other way around. This does not mean it is not important to distinguish between what people want and what they need or that we can ignore reaching out to the unsaved. But it does mean the welfare of the organization cannot be put first. see and see

7. But most of all I am convinced that the Christian life is a growth process, in which the Spirit of God works to transform all true believers over time. I therefore oppose all quick fixes and magic formulas for instant spiritually. They can lead to inadequately instructed people rushing frenetically around, trying to lift burdens they are unable to bear. Or it can produce complacency, where people sit around passively, feeling they have attained spirituality and leaving it to others (usually the pastor) to do the work of serving God. see, see and see


  1. How is it possible to sustain the belief that Scripture should be an ultimate authority when--objectively speaking--Scripture was recorded by men, not by God?

    1. Because God can work through men to reveal Himself and accomplish His purposes. Is there a reason you believe God could not do this?

  2. The place where fuzzy logic is at ends with uncommon sense - earth.

  3. While I agree, Mike, that the Bible is a good road map there's also the rub.

    "I believe the present divided state of the Christian church is contrary to Scripture ... but asking what the Scripture itself regards as important."
    - Isn't it ironic that so many churches all claim the Bible as their authority and yet even with those, we have 33,000 different "Bible based" denominations? (Likely that is an exaggerated number nevertheless one that is recorded.) I have found that each church sincerely believes their particular approach is more correct than others and what they see scripture says are the fundamentals are more important than what another denom also considers as such?

    I'm sure you already know all that and have likely pondered it yourself, no doubt. All that to say, that I am so hesistent when I read or hear people with such unabashed confidence proclaim something as gospel truth that really, in the end, is more times than not simply one's own interpretation. For example, even the whole concept of baptism or even having paid pastors and established churches (as in buildings) are not outright agreed upon by all who are all ironically enough looking to scripture for their authority.

    What it says to me is that we overall are best to use it as a general guidebook, or map, following the spirit of it, the love of God, vs. the letter of it where we get into a whole lot of conflicting opinion and confusion then too for the rest of the world.

    Just my 2 cents. Take care.

    1. While I think that much of this comes from the natural tendencies of the sinful human being, we tend to read in our preconceived notions, there are a few major causes that contribute to it.

      We have a tendency to require Scripture to answer questions it never meant to ask. For instance I see nothing in Scripture that even deals with the question of how Christ is present in the Lord's Supper. Yet there have been numerous fights and divisions over this issue. That is why I believe the emphasis of Scripture is important and that we should avoid dividing over minor and speculative issues.

      Even though most would deny it, I think we still deep down believe in the idea of apostolic succession, that there were were certain things that should be believed because they were handed down in our group, which is of course the right group and you do not question them. This puts everything in the hands of the leadership and of course no one makes it into leadership if they do not agree.

      I think there is also a tendency to turn our positions into a flag we wave rather that than a belief we actually try to understand. As C. S. Lewis mentions in the Screwtape Letters, we fight over whether we say mass or holy communion without really understanding what the words mean. While there are exceptions, I have found the people who really study the issues can understand the difficulties and see both sides. It is those who see them as, this is what our group believes, who are dogmatists.

      But the bottom line is we have made the mistake of dividing over every detail. There is an idea of purity which involves being right on every minor issue that is mistaken. I need to have the humility to realize we might be wrong on some points.

      (Sorry I took so long to get back to you, but I was on vacation and unable to blog.)