Thursday, April 7, 2011

Spineless Tadpoles...

"Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions"
2 Timothy 2-3

Readers of this blog,

Being a theology major, I'm exposed to...well...a lot! Even though I have gained incredible insight, it's not the Biblical insight I was looking for. Rather, through roughly two semesters of "theology" classes I have literally sat through every type of argument on everything. It's quite entertaining.

APU plays a key role in the development of so many views, opinions, and beliefs in the Theology Department. However, very few of these are Gospel-centric. The professors are encouraged to teach through "exploration, not proposition." Thusly, there are as many views on Scripture as there are people in the classroom, and sometimes more! After all, we are just seeing the Word through different lenses right? Yours are green or blue, mine are orange. Some are new, some are old, most are in the middle.

Rubbish!! Your lenses are broken, and many fail to realize this and are still attempting to see through them. Scripture is not about bringing our experiences, opinions, believes, or these "lenses" to it, but rather what can we take from Scripture? This, accordingly should then shape our beliefs, experiences, etc. Scripture informs and conforms us, instead of us trying to inform and conform Scripture. 

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God many be competent, equipped for every good work."

Many professors no longer teach through sound doctrine but provide what the students itching ears want to hear. Yes, todays churches often cover those hard to swallow, convicting passages in Scripture. Sin and repentance are almost non-existant. And pastors continue preaching about love. But this fundamental issue arises earlier, in the classroom. Students pay thousands for their B.A., M.Div., Th.M, D.Min, etc. They graduate having it all! Yet lacking one thing: their spine.

"For the lips of the priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction."
Malachi 2:7-9

So we're encouraged to "explore", to develop our own answers. And on the occasion that a student throws a hardball question, its deflected with a "lets find the answer through further discussion and reading, shall we?" And why not? This is only the resulting consequence when you teach a soft, watered-down Gospel. One that is easy to stomach and doesn't offend anyone in the entire world. Because God forbid, someone disagreeing with the Scripture we teach! Either that, or they're terrified of James 3, and rightly so, "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness."

So, what now? Here's a charge from Isaiah, "Consult God’s instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn."

Yet, it's inaccurate to paint all professors and pastors in this light, or lack thereof. There are those who still have their backbone, profess Truth and honor God, notably Dr. Baloian. God bless you, Dr. B! Keep it up.

Much love,
Reed

5 comments:

  1. love it reed... lookin forward to takin Dr. Baloian in the future!

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  2. I would not be surprised to learn that what you decribe is pretty much the situation in all seminaries in America for the past 50 years, maybe longer. It was certainly true of my experience at Dallas Seminary in the 70s -- lots of "scholarship" and little conviction (unless it was rendered into tapioca by ten thousand qualifications).

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  3. William,
    Thanks for the comment!

    That's disheartening to hear, and that was back in the 70's?! When many issues that plague academia today were only babies back then...are their any commendable seminaries left?
    I'm considering it after college.

    much love,
    Reed

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  4. Commendable seminarie left? I'm no expert, except perhaps with respect to Dallas Seminary, which is nearby. I resort to its library regularly, and so have a sort of finger on its pulse sort of relationship. I hear reports on seminaries you'd likely attend (the Reformed-flavored types, I take it) at Baylyblog, and those reports are not encouraging. These reports validate the report Wayne Grudem makes when surveying the full range of ostensibly "evangelical" institutions (seminaries, mission boards, publishing houses) in his book _Evangelical Feminism_. At the end of this review, running several pages of small type, one must conclude (if Grudem is correct in his assessment) that the gamut of evangelicalism is now firmly committed to the feminist heresy.

    Here's a telling anecdote from Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, a senior editor at Touchstone and pastor of All Saints' Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago. Touchstone's enterprise aims to deploy advocates of "mere Christianity" from Orthodox, Roman, and Protestant environs of the faith. Over lunch with him over a decade ago, I asked him how Touchstone evaluated prospective editors for the journal, especially from the ranks of Protestants. He said that Touchstone had found a useful "touchstone" in this question: "What do you think about ordaining women to ecclesiastical office?"

    According to Reardon, that question alone was sufficient to identify those who had (or had not) sold the farm to the spirit of the age.

    I think such a question remains more or less infallible in its ability to identify those who without doubt have departed from the faith once delivered to the saints. And applying this criterion to evangelical seminaries produces the result which Grudem reported in his book.

    Why do you want to go to seminary? Better, what is a seminary education going to give you that can ONLY be got via a seminary education? If it gives you some sort of credential, maybe it's worth the time and scores of thousands of dollars that you will spend. Maybe.

    But, if you want a sound Biblical/theological education, you'd do far better on your own, or under the guidance of someone who can point you to the considerable store of published works which you can read for a sliver of the cost of a seminary diploma.

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