Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When Theology is Like a Drug

Last night, I lay awake thinking about Calvinism, Arminianism, and open theism until my brain hurt. I repented of that sin in the morning.

Sorry about the geeky joke, but I'm only half facetious. This past week I've often felt like Jesus has knocked on the door of my heart and I've replied: "Don't bother me! I'm thinking about theology." And I'm not thinking about it in a particularly constructive way--I'm trying to figure out how God does his job. How does he save us? Does he cause the suffering in this world? If he allows something evil to happen, is that really different from causing it to happen? And if not, is that where the open theists come in with their ideas that God doesn't know the future? Are there better explanations that are more scripturally accurate as well as viscerally satisfying?


(Deep breath)

It reminds me of C.S. Lewis's insightful words: "Thoughts are but coins. Let me not trust instead of Thee, their thin-worn image of Thy head. From all my thoughts, even from thoughts of Thee, O Thou fair Silence, fall, and set me free." He is saying that theology--the study of God--is very different from God himself. I am to trust Christ, rather than my own theological views. Through faith, I can humbly receive him and let him fill my heart and mind. Amazingly, the Almighty wants fellowship with me, even if I don't understand everything.

I'm not saying that the study of theology is useless to our walk of faith. God calls us to love him with our minds as well as our hearts. And that means studying his word diligently. But when I get caught up in the abstract, I often lose sight of the essential. If the Arminians and Calvinists still don't see eye to eye after all these centuries, does God really require me to come up with an airtight explanation?

"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love." (Galations 5:6) I hope I remember that while disagreeing with someone.


3 Blessings said...

I just heard some thoughts along these very lines this morning on the radio. They were saying that there is basically no reason to debate Christianity with Atheists because it all comes down to faith and the holy spirit. Nothing you can prove or debate will be enough. You must have faith in our Lord and Savior to truly believe and see the truth.
Blessings dear friend,

Anette Acker said...

Very true, Amy! Unless the Holy Spirit leads us in the conversation it's just each person trying to make his or her case.

But back in April, I felt like God wanted me to go on the Amazon religion forum, of all places (most of the commenters are atheists and they just go around and around with the few Christians that show up). It turned out to be an amazing experience, with the Holy Spirit clearly leading the discussion. The atheists asked a lot of honest questions, and at the end one of them said that he was really glad I posted.
Great day! :)

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

Loved this post...Your blog is absolutley beautiful....I had a few hours to blog hop tonight and so enjoyed yours
...Hope you will stop by and visit my new Christmas blog. There is a great giveaway this week. http://grammyababychangeseverything.blogspot.com

Cindy said...

This makes me feel better about being a non-theological thinker. :)

Anette Acker said...


Anonymous said...

Read a couple of your blogs and got something helpful out of each one, so thanks be to God living through you. I have been on the merry-go-round of theology a lot in the last 2 years due to some overzealous "theologians" in the church we were members of, 'til they wanted our resignation due to our lack of theological unity with them. That's the sad part that often man allows theology to trump a real relationship with Christ. I'll trust myself to Christ knowing we see through a glass darkly & hope to live at peace with as many people as possible anyway. Praying, Lisa

Anette Acker said...

Thank you, Lisa!

I'm sorry that you had to go through what you did at your former church. I agree with you that many things are beyond our understanding and the important thing is that we have a real relationship with Christ and try to live in peace with others.