All tagged Oct 18

Either/Or Doctrines

Last week I developed some thoughts around the problem with viewing doctrine through an either/or lens. We saw that when God is revealing His eternal purposes to His creation He sometimes presents truths that appear contradictory. The basic human reflex is to work out how this can be and so we set about using our logic to understand how they co-exist. My point was that God doesn’t ask us to do this. He doesn’t ask us to elevate one over the other (either/or); He asks us to believe both. To some this is to disengage the brain. To others it is to rest where God rests.

More Honourable Than His Brethren

Not much is said about Jabez in scripture, but much has been made of his prayer. Probably too much. Whether this is the reason for his commendation by the chronicler, we can’t be sure, but what we do know is that it was never intended to be the catch-all guarantee of physical and material blessing it has become. But I digress.

Both/And Doctrines

Last week I wrote about the problem that stems from approaching scriptural truth with an either/or approach. Specifically I dealt with the way in which love and doctrine are pitted against each other, or at least one is subordinated to the other. My conclusion was that the view that it is either love or doctrine that is more important than the other, is error. Actually it is both love and doctrine that are equally important. This got me thinking throughout the week about a number of scriptural truths that are presented in a both/and manner. Here is a quick outline of three.

They Went Both of Them Together

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” This question is what Amos rhetorically asked when pronouncing judgment upon disobedient Israel. This Scripture reminds us that when two are walking together to accomplish a goal, they are agreed in the task and united in will to see it accomplished. We can see Abraham and Isaac, having left the two young men behind, climbing hills and descending valleys together. As they walked, their goal was to arrive at Mt. Moriah.  Let us examine the beautiful picture that God gives us of Himself: the Father with the Son walking together with Calvary in view.

Knowing Things Vs. Loving People

In reading through 1 Corinthians lately I was reminded of a conversation I had recently about the supposed dichotomy between doctrine and love; the tension between knowing things and loving people. On the face of it, it looks clear. Here is the verse in question (I’ve abbreviated it to the present it in the form in which it was explained to me in my recent conversation);

The Word–Jn. 1:9 [5]

We have learnt previously that John the Baptist was a witness to the light, just as the moon reflects the sun John was but a faint reflection of the true light. This verse is like the dawning of a new day as rays of sunlight stream into the world. We learn that Christ is greater and brighter than every other man and past revelation. Every witness prior to the coming of the Lord was partial and fragmentary. The expression “true” here is used of what is ultimate, final and complete. Everything else was a shadow but Christ is the substance.

A Paradox or Two (Jn. 5:1-19)

A paradox is “a seemingly contradictory proposition which when investigated may prove to be well founded or true”. An example of such would be George Orwell’s famous quote in Animal Farm; “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Mr Orwell used this paradox to make a political point, but the Bible uses them in order that we might know God and serve him better.

Consider Him

Consider (verb): to think about carefully[1]

We might use the word, but the definition that follows is foreign to most of us if we were being totally honest. We are technology rich, but time poor, and that lethal combination means we only ever scratch the surface of anything worthwhile, and waste a lot of time on things that are ultimately worthless. Economists talk about the paradox of choice which describes the situation where we end up with less choice in a world of unlimited choice because we don’t have the time to investigate the options available to us. The result is that we end up taking the first option that meets our basic requirements, thus the paradox of choice. In our internet age this is the norm, and it is part of the reason consideration is an alien concept to us.