So I’ve been thinking about the whole “This is a war” stuff in regard to Reformed theology. I don’t buy it anymore. I don’t think.
I think there are battles for the future, to be sure, but rarely do the good guys “win,” and frankly, the teams have changed quite drastically. They always do. In fact, I don’t especially like the jerseys. I often have half a mind to make a new one.
The real division is over imagination. That’s what I find.
Rarely, if ever, do I solve a theological dispute by exegesis. I mean, I have the best exegesis on this one verse man. It is so right on. It matches perfectly with the larger theme of the book, and it even parallels with the Old Testament. Man is it good.
But it doesn’t matter. There’s a strange term here. An irregular case ending there. A few “rules” of interpretation in this one verse, and voila! It means something completely different.
And on and on it goes.
1 Corinthians 10 ought to answer all of these “objectivity of the covenant” questions. It does really. But I won’t hold my breath for people to become convinced. People have to want to be convinced.
The same is true with systems. You can pose the question in one way so as to only have one allowable answer, or you can pose it another way to only allow an opposing answer.
You can pick “friends” and “enemies,” and sometimes your enemies are closer to your thought than your friends. Sometimes your kids go to the same school as your enemies’ kids, and you’d never dream of letting them hang out with your friends’ kids.
It happens, and it can be a mess.
And then I think, “What are we fighting for again?” If it is for the rights to a name brand, then that is hardly worth it. Let them have it. But if you do that, then they can call you all manner of things, and so you have to fight for it. It is still kind of dumb.
When someone unaffiliated asks me a theological question, I tend to get to the point, which is always dangerous. 99% of the time, though, the point is the same as my opponent’s. If that is the case, how much of this is worth it.
Now I understand that folks are wrong. Some folks are really wrong. Way wrong. Big time wrong. But sometimes your own leadership has a huge flaw, really big, which if acted upon consistently would lead to trouble. Good thing most people are not consistent.
The whole thing makes you just want to step back, take a few breaths, read some books by people from different backgrounds, and chill out. At least that’s what it does to me. I’m sure I’ll still feel like fire-breathing every now and then, but how much of that is just for my own kicks? How much of that is really helpful?
When I compare the Jim Jordan approach to the Doug Wilson approach, I come to believe that Jordan is smarter, but Wilson is wiser. Of course when I do something similar with Piper and Wright, I always end up asking “Who do I actually want to read?” It is always Wright. It is, frankly, never Piper. Sorry.
The trick is, I think, being able to be ok with others who might differ. Getting them to be ok with you is probably the more difficult part. A good start, though, is to not believe that it is a war.
Also, ignore the maddening crowd. They’re trouble. Always have been. Always will be. Expert consensus is not science. It’s high-school.