Thursday, September 27, 2007

Disregard for (true) theology will lead to heresy!

I was reading Phil Johnson's blog post concerning the pervasive errors, and I dare say "heresy", of the Emerging/Emergent movement and specifically of Doug Pagitt.

I have said this before on many occasions and I will continue to say it, when the church disrespects theology and preaches pop-doctrine and all kinds of psycho-babble and self-help schemes, it inevitably loses its foundation on the Scriptures and ends up heading straight for the heresy door of life.

I was listening to a sermon of John MacArthur the other day in which he made the statement, "The meaning of Scripture is the Scripture."

At first sight it may seem to be an odd statement. However, when we think about this in relation to what many preachers say from the pulpit today, it clearly makes sense! Many preachers say things such as, "I don't preach theology, I preach the Word!" or "I don't believe theology, I believe the Word!" I have always made it clear that this is a totally nonsensical claim by these preachers! The fact is that each of us has a theology; so, we might as well ensure that our theology is soundly based on proper hermeneutical principles as we study the Bible!

So, coming back to what MacArthur said. The fact is that the words of Scripture were not written in a vacuum which needs to be filled by the readers of Scripture. It is NOT the reader who gives meaning to the Bible, but the writers of Scripture. When each writer wrote his book(s), he had a certain meaning in mind for what he wrote. It is this meaning that many preachers are simply denying, not all in so many words, but certainly in the way they treat the Bible and its interpretation!

As often as we read the Bible we are also involved in interpreting the Bible. When I say something as simple as "yabba dabba doo," you immediately go into interpreting mode. To some people that will not make any sense at all. Why is that? Probably because they have never watched The Flintstones!

So, whenever we read the Bible we interpret the Bible, and hence, we have a formation of a certain theology.

The question then is, is that theology that you have formed an informed theology or a theology of happenstance? Are you satisfied with an ad-hoc theology, or are you willing to study the giants that have gone before us? Your answer to that question will determine whether you will one day face the heresy door I mentioned above or not!

However, I have noticed a two-fold problem against the study of theology.

Kenneth and Gloria CopelandFirst, there are those that are so super-spiritual that they don't need others (books included) to teach them. They know the Bible and they can even recite many verses. However, among the Word-Faith preachers there are many who can do the same, but they still hold onto a whole series of heresies!

Second, many find that it takes hard work to study theology. I think this points back to our own sin natures... Laziness! Yet, we have to divide the Word correctly, and that takes time and effort. To many Christians, they believe that when they are zapped by the Holy Spirit they would not need to work hard to understand the Bible. But then, of course, that notion comes from our instant age. Instant coffee, instant water through our taps, fast foods, and remote controlled TVs. Simply change the channel and watch something better. We tend to think the same way when it comes to the Bible and doctrine. We don't stick with things that require too much thinking or are not exciting enough.

If we really care about the Bible, then we would definitely care about the theology we entertain in our thoughts. In fact, if God really is that important to us, we would regard His Word with great seriousness and ensure that what we preach or believe concerning His Word, would be what was meant by the original writers of His Word!

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