Friday, June 8, 2007

The Hard Work of Theology

Doing theology is hard work. Saying things about God that are right and true in the face of blunt lies about Him can be difficult for sinful man for the simple reason that we tend to over-react. If you look at the history of the Church, you find that almost every heresy has, well, not quite an equal and opposite heresy, but sometimes the attack on heresy can lead to heresy itself.

For example - take Ireneaus (and don't ask me know to spell his name). He writes against Gnosticism very well. One of the things that Gnosticism posits is the wickedness of matter. So Ireneaus defends matter -- and defends it so strong that he starts positing a 1000 year reign on earth just to show how good and proper physical matter is. He goes to far.

Or one could look at the whole Christological debates - or pretty much most everything between Alexandria and Antioch - 1 nature in 1 person, no 2 natures in 2 persons - and thus we get both Eucytches and Nestorius flinging stones at each other from opposite heresies.

The problem is that as a theologian, although you are paying attention to the spirit of day, you are not to be controlled by that spirit but by the Spirit of Christ. Fundamentally, the act of using theology isn't to be reactive, it is to be proactive - where the Word is applied to a problem or issue to heal. The Word of God is creative - not defensive.

Read your emotions, o theologian! Are you seeking to prove your point or to show forth Christ? Are you desiring to show your enemy foolish, or are you showing him love by preaching the pure Gospel? Are you acting as a servant of the Word, or making the Word your servant in smashing the opponent. A theologian who is fighting against something wrong while having a chip on his shoulder quite quickly falls to heresy. This is a danger for us all.

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