Theological Illusions

There is, to be sure, a theological illusion abroad…which conveys the impression that, with the Holy Scriptures in hand, one can independently construct theology…This illusion is a denial of the historic and organic character of theology, and for this reason is inwardly untrue.  No theologian following the direction of his own compass would ever have found by himself what he now confesses and defends on the ground of Holy Scripture.  By far the largest part of his results is adopted by him from theological tradition, and even the proofs he cites from Scripture, at least as a rule, have not been discovered by himself, but have been suggested to him by his predecessors.

– Abraham Kuyper

as quoted by Horton, Michael, Ordinary: Sustainable Faith in a Radical, Restless World; Zondervan; copyright 214; Kindle Edition; page 71

The Problem is not Enough Learning…

It is impossible to know too much about God and his love for us in Christ.  If someone is into theology and not into loving others, the problem isn’t that he’s spent too much time learning about God; it’s that he never took to heart what he learned.  In fact, I John warns he may not even be a believer at all.

– Dever, Mark & Jamie Dunlop; The Compelling Community: Where God’s Power Makes a Church Attractive; Crossway; Wheaton, IL; Copyright 2015; Kindle Edition; Page 48

The Dark Truth about Justification by Works…

If I can do enough of the right things, I will have established my value.  Identity is the sum of my achievements.  Hence, if I can satisfy the boss, meet the needs of my spouse and children, and still pursue my dreams, then I will be somebody.  In Christian theology, such a position is called justification by works.  It assumes that my worth is measured by my performance.  Conversely, it conceals a dark and ghastly fear: If I do not perform, I will be judged unworthy.  To myself I will cease to exist.

– Tchividian, Tullian; One Way Love: Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World; David Cook Publishers; copyright 2013; Kindle Edition; Location 567

Our Dreams are a Window into our Theology

Our dreams are a window into our theology.  We are a proud people, the inheritors of the American Dream – the pursuit of happiness is our inalienable right.  Like bratty, self-involved little kids, we push past the Giver to grab for the gift.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 153

Only This View Allows Us to Truly Love and Serve A Suffering Person

On a basic pastoral or relational level, a theology of the cross allows us to love and serve a suffering person independent of whether or not, or how fast, he is healing.  We can walk with these people in their present pain, as opposed to impatiently focusing on their future health.

– Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 108

The Abundant Life

Like every consumer product, the new evangelical theology is always advertising itself – and advertising is always about how great it is to be experience the product that is being advertised.  No advertiser ever lets on that there’s deep suffering in the world and that it might be your job to participate in it.  And so the promises of Christ, which are for our comfort and encouragement, become advertising slogans that we have to live up in order to keep our image as Christians – as if to say, “Look at me. I’m living the victorious Christian life, as advertised!”  Our Lord promises abundant life (John 10:10), so if your life doesn’t look very abundant these days, you have to wonder what’s wrong with you.

– Phillip Cary

as quoted by Tchividjian, Tullian; Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free; David C Cook Publishers, Copyright 2013, Kindle Edition, page 88-89