There is a club out there that I have no desire to join. In fact, very few I would say truly want to be a part of this club. But those of us who attend
semi-scaries seminaries can fall onto its membership roll all too easily. This club’s motto: the gospel is for advanced thinkers only. The only entrance prerequisite: arrogance.
The trap of arrogance lurks around many churches. I too struggle with taking pride in what I know about the Bible. The passionate pursuit of spiritual knowledge can make one puffy. But let us all be reminded that finite humans are infinitesimally small to the Great Creator Almighty. Studying God’s word, hiding His words in our hearts, and soaking in the absolute privilege of reading the Bible are necessities of a strong Christian walk. It is a rare privilege to go to seminary, to be able to learn from the world’s best theological thinkers. But taking pride in these activities is sinful. Perhaps my college minister sums it up best: May our love for God outshine our love for theology.
The church is dead in many areas of the world, particularly in places of Europe. Some regions of the United States are not too far behind. We as Christians know that victory is ours; God promises it us to us. Yet we can spend all our time putting on the armor, and then never fight the battle. We end up studying every little nuance of the pieces of armor, and then never use them. Ephesians 6 isn’t about Christian welfare; it’s about Christian warfare.
In order for us to win the culture for Christ, we have to share the gospel with that culture. Clearly, we all know this truth, but we must put it into practice. Get out there and fight a battle! Undoubtedly, the pendulum can swing too far to either extreme. At one end is the advanced-thinkers-only club. The other end is the become-the-culture club. Neither extreme is healthy in waging a war against the devil’s schemes.
Haggai is an oft overlooked book of the Old Testament. But its message is so simple and so powerful: get off your lazy butt and rebuild the temple! The people had built their own lavish homes while neglecting God’s house. Sometimes we can lavish upon ourselves volumes of theology at the expense of sharing God’s wonderful grace with someone who doesn’t know Christ. Sometimes we can focus so far inward that all we ever do is spiritual navel-gazing.
So if you engage in theological debates with peers on non-essential doctrines at least once a day, spend more time in a theological library than out sharing your faith, spend more time reading Christian blogs than your own Bible, or have read every academic article and journal on the eschatological nuances of dispensationalism, you might be close to joining the advanced-thinkers-only club. So put away the “I” pod of Christian music and have an actual conversation with someone on the bus about your faith. You just might find God using your obedience to save a soul from eternal condemnation.