“So many [Christians] are so right, but they’re dead right.”
~Arthur Payne (Italics for emphasis).
There is a fact that condemns much of Christianity to the bleachers as far as this world is concerned—the world certain it’s not going to join forces with a staid, pompous and overly-correct church.
For a long time now the church—the one and only hope of God for the world—has missed its target because it got caught up in a world of doctrinal correctness; intellectualising a very practical faith.
And that’s simply the beginning. It seems that humankind has been bent for centuries in extracting its own part-ideals, and fixing on these, to the detriment of the overall message of faith. This is holistic God; a Being that cannot be hemmed in, overtly described; categorised.
Far too many Christians focus on having their doctrinal approach so right they become dead right—all head and no heart.
This is a stark failing of the Spirit to revive within them the very exactness of the new birth. But the Spirit doesn’t fail at all; it deals with a heart hardened to its own conscience.
The challenge for all Christians is to get their doctrine right, most certainly; but it is also to “feel” its doctrine, for an unfeeling doctrine is to miss the true gospel message.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophesy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
~1 Corinthians 13:1-2 (NIV).
What do we suppose this above means if it’s not discussing this very topic? Love is not a doctrinal fact so much as action based in this fact.
A faith that truly works because it is inherently of God effectively creates a beautiful and majestic fusion of head and heart—solid doctrine meets faithfully generated action; the cause of God more fully known because it is connected intrinsically with the very heart of God and his purposes for our lives.
And this is the holistic life: the brains of faith are engaged such that, with diligence, doctrine is learned, but in time with the heart’s ability to assimilate the real message—it’s appropriate depth. For doctrines upon theses and a plethora of theory skim the surface so far as faith is concerned; it never gets its hands dirty, applying such cogent truth in the swill troughs of life.
How equally do some Christians go to the opposite extreme and throw out the pervading structure of truth—our doctrine—so they can immerse themselves in the touchy, feely Presence of the Almighty? Jesus becomes a boyfriend or a best mate and this is equally offensive to the Spirit—the fear of the Lord drastically missing.
The extremes at both ends miss the point. Do we recall that the definition of sin—in broad terms—is ‘missing the mark?’
And this is our challenge—to hit God’s target in the right head-heart way, utilising both intellectualisation in adopting correct doctrinal standpoints and finding expression for these that realise Jesus’ life for us in the mix of this world.
Our challenge is that the truth would not only transform our minds, but our hearts and our very lives. The outcome of which is best defined by our relational results.
Let’s not be dead right; let’s be alive, right i.e. both right and alive to the Spirit’s grasp over our lives for the Kingdom.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.