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June 09, 2006

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This is one of his most famous quotes, so it may already be familiar, but these words from G.K. Chesterton (in his book _Orthodoxy_) are important to keep in mind:

"[W]hat we suffer from to-day is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful about himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt -- the Divine Reason."

I believe that true humility and humble actions are not produced by lack of knowledge/skill/ability, but rather when one does possess high levels of knowledge,skill,ability, he or she is humble when being gracious and caring. Knowing his/her superiority, but not using it to suppress another person by raising high your own banner.

There is nothing humble about being quiet when you dont know, or not stepping up when you doubt yourself, although those may be wise decisions.

Brad

I believe that the church has neglected to order its theology in terms of what is most certain and foundational, and what is not. When we defend our doctrine of baptism with as much zeal as we defend our doctrine of the incarnation, even though we may be correct in both, we harm those who are learning from us. We must ask ourselves what is most foundational and most certain in our thinking, and arrange accordingly. It is simply inappropriate to place our doctrine of hell next to our doctrine of the Trinity, and defend both as though they stood side by side and are of equal importance. This will mean thinking carefully about not only what is true, but where in the structure of our belief systems we should place this truth.

For those wanting examples of what I'm talking about, consider those that tie the six 24 hour day creation model to the gospel. By telling people that they must believe the earth is 6,000 years old to believe the gospel, we not only tell them something that simply is not true, but we harm them by placing unnecessary stumbling blocks before them. The same holds true for those that would say one cannot be a theistic evolutionist and a Christian.

Though I haven't thought it through completely myself, I believe that Jesus should be the focal point of one's Christian doctrine, along with the orthodox views on him. But one need not believe that Bible is the inspired Word of God to believe Jesus is the Son of God (in fact, STR has made much of trying to establish the deity of Christ apart from presupposing the Bible is the Word of God). With a sense of hierarchy like this, we can evangelize better. We can say "First things first, we must discuss the person and function of Jesus." In this way we can set aside other doctrines such as the nature of the Bible and establish priority in our evangelism that mirrors the priority in our theology--foundational things first, secondary things next. But we must first decide what is foundational, whether of those foundational things some are more foundational than others, and then make a judgment call as to where to start.

I just went to the Pride Fest in Los Angeles (West Hollywood) today to witness to people. I spoke to a very nice guy from a "church" that was actively recruiting the gay and lesbian crowd with a "no judgement" message.

I asked him, among other things, if he knew that he could learn things by reading the Bible. He replied that he didn't want to learn more, because only God knows everything and it would be wrong to try to be like God.

Interesting. I wonder if the "no judgement" message also applied to people who oppose same-sex "marriage". The point is that such a "message" is based upon the idea of moral neutrality, which doesn't exist.

As for his position about knowledge, by logical extension we also shouldn't try to be more moral, since that would mean we would be trying to be more like Christ (who was sinless). (see: Romans 8:29)

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