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More on Essential Doctrines February 8, 2007

Posted by Joe in Random Musings.
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Lar,

That was good stuff yesterday, really good stuff in my opinion.  And I am looking for more from you.  Your looking to Grudem I found to be especially wise, not so much because his definition was earth shattering, but because it was so simple.  He does a good job with that, I think.  That is yet another reason why I esteem him so highly.

I also appreciated your initial reference to historical battles over specific and essential doctrines.  That was wise and very important I believe.  What struck me in particular while reading that part was the progressive nature of the Church.  I can still remember reading R.B. Kuiper’s chapter in The Glorious Body of Christ on that specific topic.  Before coming to that chapter, I had always thought that the early church had it all.  But such is not the case.  Sure, they had the fullness of revelation (after the NT Canon was complete of course), but because the church was filled with limited human beings, they could not fully understand God’s revelation right away.  Instead, the Lord has chosen to bring the Church through various trials that help to clarify the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.

Of course, we will never have it fully figured out until Jesus returns, yet as you mentioned, there have been specific periods of time in which certain doctrines have been challenged (and that normally comes first) and then confirmed.  The Church then progressively comes to a clarify of conviction regarding Bible truth.  And I trust the wheat has/is and will be eventually be separated from the chaff, even if it takes years.

That being true, I think it is a great motivation for us to labor for the truth of God’s Word, particularly those truths that we have found to radically inundate all others.  Those that are central to biblical revelation serve to shine light on all the the rest and thus, bring the church to a place better than she has ever known.  Of course, we will surely never see the full fruit of such labor, but we can trust that it will definitely not be in vain!

Another thought that came to mind while reading your post was the need to clarify and put contours on the specific doctrines that color the rest.  The ‘big’ or ‘essential’ doctrines can many times be affirmed without affirming anything.  A casual look at many a ‘Statement of Faith’ will serve to support this point.  So often, people in the church use language that, in the end, serves to affirm nothing.  They can just dance around the real topic of focus so as to remain neutral.  This doesn’t seem helpful.  Your post regarding the loss of any significance for the term ‘evangelical’ serves to support this point.  Though it is sometimes not easy, we must be willing to place our stakes in the ground in the best interest of the kingdom (while especially keeping in mind the long-term nature of that kingdom).

Finally, I say ‘Amen’ to your allusion towards the reality that that which Scripture most addresses must be given greater weight.  But that is all I will say for now.  I just look forward to hearing more wisdom from you brother.  Also, I need to mention that I am headed off for a road trip today.  If I can, I will get on-line, but if not, keep things rolling brother and I’ll catch you on Saturday.

Seeking Him with you,

Joe

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