Blinded by Theology: The Case of Perfect Knowledge without the right purpose
Devotional Thought fo the Day:
27 “I have already told you,” he answered, “and you would not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Maybe you, too, would like to be his disciples?”
28 They cursed him and said, “You are that fellow’s disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. 29We know that God spoke to Moses; as for that fellow, however, we do not even know where he comes from!”
30 The man answered, “What a strange thing that is! You do not know where he comes from, but he cured me of my blindness! 31We know that God does not listen to sinners; he does listen to people who respect him and do what he wants them to do. 32Since the beginning of the world nobody has ever heard of anyone giving sight to a person born blind. 33Unless this man came from God, he would not be able to do a thing.” John 9:27-39 TEV
7 Yet every advantage that I had gained I considered lost for Christ’s sake. Yes, and I look upon everything as loss compared with the overwhelming gain of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord. For his sake I did in actual fact suffer the loss of everything, but I considered it useless rubbish compared with being able to win Christ. For now my place is in him, and I am not dependent upon any of the self-achieved righteousness of the Law. God has given me that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ. How changed are my ambitions! Now I long to know Christ and the power shown by his resurrection: now I long to share his sufferings, even to die as he died, so that I may perhaps attain as he did, the resurrection from the dead.
Philippians 3:7 (Phillips NT)
These are great mysteries and far above all human comprehension. But we know that these holy mysteries have been revealed to the church, in order that we might pray to God properly and consider reasons for this marvelous kindness, that God, by an eternal association, joined a human nature to Himself. Therefore He truly cares for us and loves us and sent this Son that He might be the Redeemer and soften His wrath against sin, as needs to be said repeatedly later. ( from the section by Melancthon)
As I grow older, I am coming to realize that the biggest handicap for a pastor may be his intellect and reason, and how it is educated rather than formed. How area minds are taught to seek the deep mysteries, not to be in awe of God, but to be able to teach purely, to be able to note and correct each other.
While there is a need for such correction and for proper teaching, those resources of intellect and reason, the time invested in education are wasted in the purpose is wrong.
We see this in Melancthon’s words, highlighted in blue above. Talking about the mysteries of the Trinity, and of Christology, he concludes that the reason for the revelation of the existence of these mysteries, and the depth of our knowledge of them is to one end.
These things are revealed that we could pray, that we could communicate with Lord of love who binds us to Himself eternally as He cleanses us and restores us. Our pursuit must not be the mysteries that are beyond our comprehension, but the love of God which is clearly seen, and which transformed all that it draws and connects to Him.
This is why the blind man could easily see that Jesus was special, that the miracle he did drew him to be Christ’s disciple as well. And the Pharisees and leaders of the synagogue, the men the mysteries of scripture were entrusted too, could not get past their own doubts. They remained blinded by their theology and didn’t see that they were in the presence of God.
These weren’t men that pursued knowledge for malicious purposes. They didn’t study the scriptures daily with the intent of enslaving others to a religious system to take advantage of them. Even Paul, before encountering Jesus, talked of being righteous according to the Law. But that righteousness he would set aside, that justification of his own actions, so meticulously laid out, was worthless.
He needed to know God. He needed God to walk with Him, to comfort and shepherd Him. He needed the Holy Spirit’s presence to lift him up, to draw him to the reconciliation and transformation, not only being justified completely, but being sanctified. TO know, as he wrote in Hebrews, that he could boldly walk into the Father’s holy, almighty presence.
That is the purpose of theology, the place it starts and ends. Prayer, that moment we go to God, in desperate need, humbly asking Him to be here, and hearing a response of a God who our mind can’t fathom. Yet in whose presence our hearts rejoice, and in front of whom our souls dance, free of sin, and sure that we are home with Him.
So next time you pick up that tome, or search that dataset, know what you are looking for, what you are searching for, that your people need to be taught. The height, the depth, the width and breadth of God’s love for you, and for them.
That will be made clear in His glorious presence, and make this known as well; THE LORD IS WITH YOU!
Chemnitz, Martin, and Jacob A. O. Preus. Loci Theologici. electronic ed. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999. Print.