Theological patch job.

I received something from somewhere in the mail today that got me thinking.

I think that sometimes we assume that, as long as we say that something is “by the power of the spirit”, then our theology regarding our goals is OK.

For example, when I was in college (back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth), I remember a class in Christian Education that had us write lesson plans.  A proper lesson plan must always have an objective.  “The student will learn that 2+2=4”, “The student will be able to dissect a frog”, and so on.    Our objectives always began, “By the power of the Holy Spirit, the child will…”  You see, we do not create faith, that is a work of the spirit.  So, we can not say that the child will do or achieve something, only that, if the Spirit wills, it will happen.  But it is because of our Lesson.

No matter what our goal, we can justify it, if we put, “By the Power of the Spirit”.  After all, no matter what we want, if God wills it, it will come to pass.  So, for example, the early church might have written the following lesson plan for Paul’s trip to Damascus, “By the power of the spirit, Paul will come to faith in Jesus Christ through this journey.” After all, that is what they wished to see happen, but they knew it would not.

I sometimes get the feeling that Paul’s journey to Damascus is behind some of the goals I read for bible studies, outreach programs, etc.  Why?  Because we hope that the utterly impossible will happen, and then take our bad ideas, tack on “By the power of the spirit” and assume our theology has been fixed by this addition.

I would not be entirely surprised to read one day, “By the power of the spirit, this child will be able to run faster than a speeding bullet, will be more powerful than a locomotive, and will be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.”  After all, if the spirit will it, it will happen, and if not, then it obviously was not his will.

So where’s the beef in all this?  If you are producing something that doesn’t rely on the proclamatory power of God’s Word in his Holy Christian Church, then don’t claim it will bring growth in God.

If you are making a personal, individual bible study, which will be done on your own, outside of the church, which will bring an increase of faith (by the power of the spirit, of course), then you are not operating where God promises to be.  He does not promise to do anything for you one on one on your own.  He does not promise to be where one is gathered together(?), but where two or three are gathered together.   I’m not sure that the makers of the “individual Christian growth” paraphernalia recognize that Pastors spend a great deal of their time fighting the “I’m doing great on my own” mentality.  You’re not.  If you are growing in faith outside of the church, you are not growing in faith toward God.


One Response to “Theological patch job.”

  1. Wow. Powerful conclusion.

    …On the other hand, I know a person who could use any help available to get one gathered together….

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