Twenty-Five On The Twenty-Fifth

Tomorrow, the twenty fifth, I’ll be hitting my twenty fifth birthday. As is customary, I thought it would be a grand idea to jot some ideas down about this past year. These ideas are propositions that I’ve learned this past year. And while they might seem basic, those are often the things we need to hear the most (“How many times do I have to tell you? Leave your keys in the same place everyday”). The following are propositions we can pretty much apply to every aspect of life, and I’ll show you some examples of that, but since this is a theological blog, we’ll primarily be dealing with theology.

Knowledge is essential. 

Broad statement, I know, but hold on for a second, i’ll clear the air. Knowledge, and what I mean by that is the understanding of ideas, is essential in all aspects of life. Without knowing what a car is, how one functions, what tools are needed, one can hardly be called a mechanic. Without knowing plants,  without studying their different features, one cannot be called a botanist. Without knowing what the internet is, how typing works, you wouldn’t be on this blog reading this article. So it is with Christianity. One cannot be a Christian and not know certain things. I’m not saying that the understanding alone of certain Christian truths save, but that without the understanding of these Christian truths you cannot be saved. How can you believe in or have faith in, what you do not know or understand? Here’s an example: Without understanding the Trinity, the idea that the son has eternally existed with the Father, you cannot be a saved, let alone be a Trinitarian. Without knowledge of Jesus Christ, what He came to do, who He was, you cannot be saved. It isn’t enough to know he was some first century Jew, who died on some tree because he was asking a few questions. You must know Him. You have must have correct knowledge of Him.

Grace Is Required

“You’re so stupid. How many times do I have to tell you? Arminianism isn’t in scripture. Gosh, go clean your ears, why don’t ya?”

Such have been the discussions I’ve seen and participated in, both to my shame, on the receiving and giving end.  In the New Testament, we see that it is God who both gives and keeps truth from people (Luke 9:45). To some people He has revealed the truth of His son dying for sinners (Ephesians 1:18), to others, he leaves them in their sin. And the same goes for our Arminian friends, to some He has revealed (I’m using revealed here in the context of enlightening the mind, we all have scripture as revelation) the truth of His election, and others are still beating their chests, boasting of free-will. It is by God’s will we come to learn anything. It is by God’s will that Pharaoh lacked the common sense to let His people go. It is by God’s will that you’re understanding this sentence.  With that said, we should then be gracious with those who do not understand as we do, because it is not by the strength of their minds that they understand, rather by God’s sovereign will. We were once ourselves new believers, struggling with everything from election to the hypostatic union. Many of us struggled for months or years before we came to a correct understanding of  particular doctrines. Thus, we should keep this is mind with our brothers and sisters who are still drinking milk.

To disagree is okay, sort of. 

To disagree with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Muslims, about the substance of Christ is a given. We do not believe as they do. They are clearly, I hope clearly enough for us all, not in the faith. That is, they are no where near Christian orthodoxy. They have deviated from scripture, and have been refuted all through church history. There is no need for agreement here with them. We stand our ground. However, when we disagree with Scott our church member, about Christ’s substance, His eternality, we now have a problem houston. Scott is considered a church member, meaning that he is considered to be in Christ by his outward profession. However, Scott has rejected the biblical and historical view of Christ’s nature. We cannot simply agree to disagree and walk away. Scott must be spoken to by the elders and told to recant his view or face excommunication. Point is, we must choose our battles. Some conversations are worth having, others not so much.

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One Response to Twenty-Five On The Twenty-Fifth

  1. Gray says:

    Sir,

    Fraternally and in an irenic manner, I think that your statement “Without understanding the Trinity, the idea that the son has eternally existed with the Father, you cannot be a saved (sic)” is slightly misstated.

    For qualification, I am an adherent of reformed Christianity and absolutely Trinitarian, so I have no argument with what I believe is your underlying premise. Nonetheless, I think that in two ways, the aforementioned statement needs adjustment for both windage and elevation.

    1. Understanding the Trinity is probably beyond the scope of man as a created being. It is a fact of what we believe, and we believe it because God has revealed it in and by His Word, and then it has been named as such and codified by the Church in creeds and confessions. Nonetheless, “understanding” is a great distance from believing and confessing. When we serve a One who “does great things past finding out, Yes, wonders without number”, things so great that we cannot comprehend His works, then it is reasonable that we cannot understand The Being Who does these works beyond what He has chosen to reveal.

    2. Regeneration, salvation by grace alone, by faith alone, is not the same as growing in grace and knowledge. One example of someone who may not have yet grasped the premise of the Trinity is Apollos. “This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John.” He was in need of further education of the type that is catechetical in nature. “When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” Now I cannot say authoritatively that Apollos did not “understand the Trinity”, but he was lacking some level of accuracy regarding the “way of God”. Also consider the disciples on the road to Emmaus: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” These men were obviously lacking in a fully orbed understanding, and so they needed further instruction.

    I concur with what I think is your foundational message. Nonetheless, I think that the role of the Church is to catechize converts so that they grow up and mature into “the faith once delivered” so that they will arrive at the stature of a mature man, men who can be teachers and no longer need instruction in the “first principles of the oracles of God”.

    Drive On Brother.

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