Friday, March 19, 2010

Why Theology Matters from Covenant Life Church on Vimeo.

Fantastic video about why theology matters for all of us. Originally for Joshua Harris' Dug Down Deep.

Christianity Today has done some very good cover stories lately, and their latest one, The Mind Under Grace is very much worth reading. It's about how doctrine and life come together. A sample:
...we have to ask: Is it possible to live out discipleship without a good measure of heady doctrine? I see doctrine not as a boundary but as a compass. Its purpose is not to make Christians relevant or distinctive but rather to make them faithful in their contexts. Doctrine is a way of articulating what God's presence in the church and the world looks like. It can orient us by helping us, like Jon, major in the majors...

...Doctrine, while static at times, is meant to help us think about our lives more deeply by considering alongside other Christians the implications of our thoughts and deeds. Doctrine is wisdom that helps us clarify our mission.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey's side story Practically Theological investigates how teaching doctrine is making a comeback among younger evangelicals. My own experience in the UK, as well as in KL, where I have been doing some teaching, corresponds to this. And that is good news.

As a side point, a few others and I have been reading a little of J. Greshem Machen's 1923 book Christianity and Liberalism, and he makes some great points of doctrine and life. That is, they should be in tandem, not in opposition, to each other.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Quid Pro Quo God

A couple of recent conversations suggest how hard it is to exorcize the quid pro quo god. Quid pro quo is a Latin phrase meaning "something for something." The quid pro quo god is one who does something for us if we do something for him, and the one who refuses to do something for us, or even punishes us, if we fail to do something for him.

Put this way, it seems impossible that anyone in their right mind would believe in such a god. The rub, of course, is that none of us are in our right mind—that's one of the effects of sin. And one reason we're attracted to the quid pro quo god is that he's a god we can get our minds around. He makes sense. He seems reasonable and fair: We do our part, he does his, and all will be well.

The problem is our part, which we tend not to do well at all. And when repeated efforts at doing our part fail, we discover that the quid pro quo god turns out to be a demon. Naturally, we try to exorcise this demon without success.

Read the whole thing.

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