Thursday, August 13, 2009

Can We Talk?

Have you noticed the number of theologians who go on in endless drivel about entering into dialogue or having a conversation whenever a topic is difficult? Conversations are good for asking questions and verbalizing opinions, but the interaction is kept shallow and non-commital. In matters concerning ultimate truths, how can this be a good thing? Apparently, theology is being judged for technical merit and creativity much as gymnastics or ice skating. If one can use large artificially-manufactured words in a paragraph that does not circumvent the rules of English grammar and does not negate the legitimacy of an opposing viewpoint, then he or she is more spiritual and by inference has the correct position. Or so it seems in practice.

Real spiritual discussion is not so civil. When Jude wrote in his epistle to "contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints," I cannot believe he envisioned a genteel group sitting in a parlor sipping on favorite beverages telling one another, "Please share your place in the journey, so we may understand where to meet you." But if that might have happened, the final words would have been driven home by a battle axe being driven into the woodwork just in front of the opposing party's noses.

Let's understand one thing here: passivity is not next to godliness. There is nothing unchristian about confrontation. We like to Wrestle with ideas. We need to do it more. I confess that getting a theological headlock on someone is a rush. When in control, I feel good. But the flip side is good, too. I respect someone who can put me in my place using a reasonable argument.

And speaking of arguments, do not argue for the sake of arguing. We are defending eternal truths. Be direct then make a stand.

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