Provocation #3

Recently I have had more than passing thoughts about the importance (or lack thereof) of doctrine to living the life of a Christian. The tomes of theology do not seem to bring me any closer to acting on charity, compassion, mercy, justice, or love. If it is less important to pass on in-depth theology than to model the life of Christ, what then is the role of preaching to Christians? Why do Christians sit and listen to it every week?

Christ did not establish any doctrine; he acted. He did not teach that there was redemption, he redeemed. Christ’s relationship to God, nature, and the human situation was conditioned by his activity. Everything else is to be regarded only as introduction.

Published by


Hey, I run the place.

2 thoughts on “Provocation #3”

  1. I agree. Studying doctrine and fine-picking theology leaves me cold too. When taking Theology 405 in college, I argued with the professor that I could not write a Theology paper, and got permission to do a theology art project instead (Cool, huh? Can’t believe I got away with that.)

    But I also disagree. Christ said he came to fulfill the law. He in fact expanded the law to intent instead of just action. I re-read the Sermon on the Mount (the Matthew 5-8 version), there’s some good theological material in there. Jesus often went tit-for-tat with the Pharisees, catching them in their own theological traps. As a teacher in first-century Palestine, he never would have commanded respect without a very concrete theology.

    I think the point is that we all need to be reminded of what we already know because we’re not disciplined, not perfect enough to do it on our own. We need to be iron for each other. A really good teacher is worth sitting through every Sunday. You should listen to Mark VanValin at the Spring Arbor FMC some week just for kicks. The challenge for every pastor is to feed the young of the flock while keeping the mature coming back for more. Very few do it well.

  2. While the Sermon on the Mount may have some good theological material, the entire focus is on living life as we should. He finished with the wise and foolish builders demonstrating those that put his teaching into practice, and those who don’t. Even though it was a sermon, the focus was on action. But the real meat of it is that he lived it.

    My point is that theology (and the study of it) is not the primary function of a man of faith, but living the life that is pleasing to God. It is an introduction, an aquiantance with God, much like a biography is merely an aquaintance with the subject. It never brings you to truely know God in the way that living with him does. But you could live with him just as well without having read all about the mechanics of his nature.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.