Friday, July 22, 2011

Why Would You Say That? Part 1

"God made man in His own image  Man, being a grateful soul, returned the favor."

The above quote is one I’ve used for years.  And it was used in a post on Wednesday about people’s attitude toward  God and their expectations.  As I was meditating on that, there were several other tweets on Thursday with related links.  And a whole picture came together that I’d like to share today.

Rachel Held Evans shared “The always-insightful Richard Beck on how theological conversations can be like a chess game: experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2011/07/pawn-t…”  When you have time, follow the link. 


It’s a “must read” post called “Pawn to King 4”.  In a nutshell, we start with a premise, follow the logic and come to a conclusion.  I think we all understand that, somewhere at the back of our mind.  But what Mr. Beck highlighted wasn’t that process, but rather that if we start with a different premise, the logic that follows has to be different and the conclusion will be different.  Let’s look at that and see how that applies to  our relationship with God and other believers.

Todd Rhoades posted a diagram that got my thinking going.
churchsearch.
The formula in the diagram has an underlying premise that  this type of person needs to be entertained more than they want to be fed.  Which makes their church attendance and worship self oriented rather than God centered.  I don’t think there are as many like that as some would have us believe.  What I see most often starts with the spiritual discontent, but includes a hunger for God.  The result of that equation is coming to the church that gives them the easiest transition into a growing, loving relationship with God.  But, no matter how many are in each group, each has a different premise for how they should relate to God and neither group will understand the other’s thinking because they start with different premises.

John MacArthur tweeted: “In short, Calvinism, not postmodernism, seems to be capturing the hearts of Christian young people... http://bit.ly/ruG6hk”.  Even with some brief Googling, I don’t pretend to know what he considers postmodernism.  But the basic premise of Calvinism is that God is so sovereign that we are predestined to Heaven or Hell and free will has nothing to do with it.  The Pentecostal premise is that our thoughts and actions are the focal point.  It’s because of  some shortcoming in us if we don’t get healed or financially blessed after asking God for those things.  And we have to keep getting resaved because of those shortcomings.  As a third contrast, the ministry I’m in believes that God so loves us that He offers everyone salvation, leaving it up to our free will to accept the gift or not.  Once we accept salvation, we become a child of God and remain as part of God’s family forever.  If we sin, like all children we get a period of “being sent to our room” away from God, but we never stop being part of His family.

I pointed out those doctrinal differences not to say one or the other is right or wrong.  Although I have my own views on that.  The point is that each has started with a different premise, gone through different Bible study filtering, and come to conclusions that, in some ways, are not exactly alike.  None of the three understandings can relate to the others.  But there’s another thought chain where all three groups can meet in agreement.  If the premise is God’s love for His children then His logic takes us to several conclusions.  We can fellowship around what Christ has done for us.  We can be of one mind that we need to give unbelievers the opportunity to become a child of God.  And we can fellowship together as children of God.

There’s more, but we’ll get to that next post.  In the meantime, what examples have you experienced of difficulties communicating between people with different premises?

2 comments:

  1. I understand the Bible differently than my peers. This often leads to me being without constituents. It would be a dream of mine to have a friend, even a second life (game) friend to make videos with me. A lot of people don't understand what I do with my videos tho.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I understand the Bible differently than my peers. This often leads to me being without constituents. It would be a dream of mine to have a friend, even a second life (game) friend to make videos with me. A lot of people don't understand what I do with my videos tho.

    ReplyDelete