God in a box. That's how I view most attempts to explain God via theological constructs, whether academic or experiential points of view.
Ever since the fruit of the forbidden tree was eaten (Gen 2:15-17), we're inclined to fit every thought and experience into an either-or box. It's either good or evil.
We all have a hard time with the tension of the in-between. Yet, this is the domain of faith.
The tension of faith
I've looked at various systematic theologies—Evangelical, Reformed, Pentecostal, and even Roman Catholic. I see relevance in them all, or at least understand their point of view.
The nature of faith is our dilemma. It's not logical or rational, yet it's also not mystical, as seen in Hebrews 11:6.
Genuine faith exists in the tension of apparent paradoxical truths. We can't completely box it in, yet we can see it in action through the lives of those who live by faith (Hebrews 11).
Debates and doctrines
We all tend to gravitate towards one position or another when it comes to theology—what we believe about God. All of us, whether atheist, agnostic, or believer.
We do this with various points of theology. We choose sides and then debate and strive to prove to others why our view is right.
Here are some common battleground areas among Christians—
- Calvinism vs Arminianism
- Cessation vs Continuation
- Pre-millennial vs Post-millennial
- Trinitarian vs Unitarian or Onenness
- Universalism vs Eternal Judgment
Many more issues exist and are debated within Christianity. We all have reasons why we hold whatever position we take on certain beliefs.
The questions is—Are we willing to examine what we believe and why we believe it?
Unless we're secure in our relationship with Jesus and the essence of faith (Heb 11:6), we'll have a hard time honestly examining our beliefs.
No more debates
For the most part, I've stopped debating theology. I still discuss various topics of theology, as long as it's a discussion not a debate.
It's not because I know everything there is to know about God and faith. I don't claim that at all.
I ask a lot of questions, always have. When I meet someone who is a believer, I want to know their background. Then, I draw certain conclusions, but I don't draw lines.
I want to understand their theological point of view when I discuss things with them. I want to respect their views, not attack them, even when I don't agree with them.
What I'm not and what I am
Over the next few weeks, as I begin to examine the 5 Solas one by one, don't be too quick to fit me in a box.
I'm not a Calvinist nor an Arminian. I don't hold to Reform theology, nor open-theism. I am a Protestant in its original sense.
I'm not a cessationist but hold to continuationism position, but I also don't embrace many of the current, spurious Charismatic teachings and practices.
I'm a follower of Jesus.
My wife and I came to faith during the Jesus Movement of the early 70's. We did so on our own, separate of each other and at different times and places.
We both developed a love for the truth and studied God's Word, the Bible. We've walked by faith for 45 years and counting. Many times people questioned our sanity, or at least our thinking, along the way.
Jesus has never failed us, even when we struggled along the way. Our lives are still grounded in our relationship with Him, and Jesus is the foundation of our life and ministry together.
What about you?
This is a follow-up to my post last week titled— Why Do You Believe That?