Today I want to talk about talking about those things.
In particular, I want to talk about a very appealing but in my opinion erroneous position. A position that is expressed in variants of this statement: I don’t care about those doctrinal debates. They mean nothing when it comes to my salvation. I just want to learn to love Jesus more.
Of course, I made a strawman here. But I think it is a fair one. And it contains a great deal of truth.
All that is required for salvation is a saving faith in Christ. The Calvinism-Arminianism debate is about how that faith is acquired. But both agree that it is the faith that is important for salvation, not the knowledge of its origin.
And wanting to love Jesus more—well nobody could argue against that,
The problem, as I see it, is that we nevertheless should care about these doctrinal debates. Even though our salvation does not, thankfully, depend on getting it all right. Why? Well I could write a lot on this subject, but let me make just two points.
- Depending on who does the counting, between 1/2 and 2/3 of the bible is prophecy. If only the gospel message were important, then the bible could be much, much shorter. So if these debates are not relevant, why did God provide us with their fodder in the form of the bulk of His inspired Word? Sometimes I think people must believe that God submitted a 30 page bible to Zondervan. Then the editors responded by saying: look we like your stuff, we really do, but nobody is going to shell out 40 bucks for 30 pages. Especially for a first time writer. We need six hundred pages or it is a no go. Get back to us. No, God inspired all the books and all the chapters. We should declare none of the text to be irrelevant.
- I actually think the root of the problem is that we, quite naturally, mix up our priorities. Of paramount importance to us is our salvation. This makes us tend to wash our hands of these pesky and annoying debates. But God tells us that our salvation is not our top priority, it is His glory. Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made. (Isa. 43:7). Our salvation is only secondary to our call to glorify God. Indeed, our salvation and our testimony is a primary means to glorify God. I believe that studying God’s Word in its entirety and, yes, debating (in love) is also a way to glorify God. Of course, there is danger here as well, and we are warned about divers and strange doctrines (Heb. 13:9).
In conclusion, people often like to say God is "above reason" or "above logic". I usually nod my head in silent agreement, because I don't know how to argue against those statements. Indeed, I am sure they are correct. I just don't know what they mean. I do know that if God is above reason and above logic, it does not mean He is unreasonable and illogical. Whatever He is, it includes reason and logic. Sometimes when people make that statement, they then feel free to make God below reason and logic.
God tells us to love Him with four things in Luke 10:27. Let's not forget the one that starts with 'm'.