Monday, March 19, 2012


The Place of Doctrine

Though I consider myself theologically amongst the Reformed, I sometimes find things like this from John Samson @ Reformation Theology annoying:
When someone says, "Don't give me doctrine, I just want to follow Jesus", what they are really saying is "give me law, not gospel. Give me more imperatives and less indicatives. I just want something practical." But how is this any different than Mormons or theological liberals? Fact is, we need a Savior, not just a moral example.

You could not have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ without knowing its contents. You did not just follow a generic Jesus.
That is such an oversimplification! To tis I wish to pose two counterpoints.

1) Would Samson contend that God's grace is unavailable to those without the cognitive skill to comprehend the contents of the gospel?

Nonsense, if God's grace extends to me, the most profligate of sinners then certainly it extends to those that for whatever reason are limited in their ability to know and understand.

2) Samson is past Armenian here - he is into a fully natural realm. I often say what he says, but what I seek is a supernatural experience. Often my reason and thought stands in the way of a confrontation with the Lord of the universe. I wish to know God, not merely to understand Him.

If doctrine is all, then all is natural. But God is definitionally supernatural.

My wife is a constant reminder to me that living things are not subject to laws in the same sense that the natural world is. As a scientist I can tell you the precise path a rocket shot into space will travel to within a few inches, even when it leaves the solar system - but I cannot tell you what my wife will do in the next ten minutes.

God is orderly, but He is not predictable. I have to interact with Him continually. And that is what one means when one says, "I just want to follow Jesus."

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