There’s one piece of housekeeping we need to discuss before we can take the deep dive together into some of my theology.
Yesterday, I said that we all grow and mature as we follow Jesus. As we experience life our understanding of God changes and that ultimately is what theology is – our study and understanding of God.
However, there are some truths about God that should not change. There’s a short list of doctrines and beliefs that are the center of our faith, they are simple and clear in Scripture and to change them would remove what makes the faith uniquely Christian.
The virgin birth, the literal death and resurrection of Jesus, the Trinity, and God as Creator (more on this one in the coming days…hang tight!)
Those are the non-negotiables.
These are what I would call the “closed hand” items of theology. We hold to these tightly. Without them, the faith falls apart and is no longer Christian so we hold them with a closed fist so as not to lose them.
Everything else we hold with an open hand knowing that God may take those things away and replace them with something new.
This concept is easy to understand but it so important!
It’s because Christians hold on to so many non-essentials as essentials that there is so much division in the Church.
I’ve seen churches fight and argue over music. Seriously. As if that’s in Scripture somewhere. “And Jesus heard the dj spinning and it saddened his heart.”
There are also deeper and more difficult issues than music like the topic of free will. Has God literally pre-determined every step we’re going to take and we have no say in the matter or does God allow us free will to make choices and in his all-knowing nature he just knows which choices we’ll make before we make them?
There’s Scripture on both sides of this argument and it has raged on for literally centuries. At one point or another I’ve held to both sides.
As passionate as I am now that God allows free will, I still hold to it with an open hand because there is a very really possibility I may be wrong.
Either way, it is great to have a reasoned opinion but it is still a non-essential. It is entirely possible to be a good, honest, Christ follower and fall on either side of probably hundreds of issues.
This may make it seem like theology is not important because it seems easy to be wrong, but is vitally important!
Our theology shapes our belief in God and that in turns shapes how we interact with the world. That’s pretty important for a faith where we are called to be the expression of our leader to our world.
My prayer for years is that I would be a “Non-judgmental, Jesus loving theologian.”
And that’s my prayer for you as we turn to some of these non-essential issues tomorrow.