Monday is a bad day for me. I am trying to recover each week from the “Southern Hills Marathon” – my normal Sunday Study/Preaching schedule. I’m no spring chicken anymore and it leaves me exhausted. I usually start my day with a long list of things I want to do, then tend to squander the day reading blog posts and sometimes writing them. That’s what I’ve been doing this morning.
Lo and behold, there was some good stuff up there.
I would recommend Bart Barber’s insightful post asking whether Catholicism is actually a monotheistic religion. Well worth reading. Ed Stetzer (I’m guessing most of you follow him already) has a moving tribute to Dr. Roy Fish, who has passed away. Jelani Greenidge had a well-argued article “Why You Should Stop Posting Meme Photos on Facebook,” to which I would add a hearty amen (except when I post one!). There is lots of good stuff out there.
But two articles really caught my attention.
Mike Leake: One Reason I’m Not a Huge Fan of Watchblogging
The first one is by one of our contributors here, Mike Leake. If you are not following his blog, you should be. I’ve said it before, we will one day say, “I knew Mike before he was famous.” Of course, if I compliment him too much and give him a big head, he will probably stumble from his pride and start writing silly sports articles picking football winners or something. Anyway, he wrote an article entitled, “One Reason I’m Not a Huge Fan of Watchblogging.” After a corny riff (greatly appreciated by this Iowan) about blogs about Swiss Army watches, he quotes Proverbs 17:20 as a warning against the negativity and harshness of watchbloggers.
A man of crooked heart does not discover good. Proverbs 17:20
Those of us who care about theology and study it need to heed this warning. It can become an unhealthy obsession, especially when we start treating those with whom we disagree as if they are enemies of the gospel and of Christ whose story is recorded in the gospel. As Mike says, it is not that watchblogging doesn’t have some value, but it also has some dangers – and we need to heed these. Mike’s article is well worth reading.
Then I read another article that said some of the same things – linked to from Trevin Wax’s site.
Ray Ortlund: Theology Can Be Overrated
This post built on the concepts of Mike’s article (I’m sure that Ray Ortlund reads Borrowed Light and gets many of his ideas from Mike). Again, Ortlund is not someone who disdains theology, but he does see the dangers of it. There are some powerful quotes in that post.
The religious flesh relishes theology, because it requires no death of ego, no surrender of control, no apologies. Theological disputation can feed a spirit of superiority. But because it’s about truth and right, our smugness can go undiscerned.
Boom. We must be careful that it is Jesus we love and serve, not our theology about Jesus. I have seen (and been guilty of) way too much of the latter.
Again, he makes it clear that theology matters and that we fail the church if we ignore it. But he says that it is as important that we recognize the other things commanded in the Bible (attitude, the way we treat one another, etc). The perceived correctness of my theology and the perceived incorrectness of the other’s does not justify unkind words and harsh condemnation.
Perhaps the money quote is this one:
The Beatitudes of our Lord do not say, “Blessed are the orthodox.” What he did say, first and foremost, was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). Among people of strong and rich theological conviction, the Lord looks first and foremost for weakness and poverty. Personally, I resonate more with an Arminian whose heart beats with self-reproach and need than with a Calvinist whose heart beats with self-assurance and demand.
There is a danger inherent in doing and writing about theology, and in discussing it on blogs. We can overemphasize orthodoxy and underemphasize orthopraxy and orthokardia. We can use our theology to justify treating other Christians with disdain and contributing to the disunity and fracturing that is going on.
Quite a blogging tag team from Ray and Mike. I thought both of these article were well worth reading.
Now, back to my to-do list, right after a nap.