I remember the day when I realized I had a problem.
My friend and I were laughing at a fellow brother in Christ, talking about all of the ways he was so “twisted” and “wrong” in his theology. In the middle of our laughter, a friend of ours (who was a pastor) turned around and rebuked us openly. My friend wasn’t phased by that rebuke.
But I was.
I was embarrassed. I had allowed myself to become proud of my pride!
Little did I know, it was an addiction that I would struggle with for many years to come.
I recently read this article by The Gospel Coalition titled “Distinguishing Marks of a Quarrelsome Person“. (I’d encourage you all to read it). When I read it, I couldn’t help but see the person I used to be. The person who felt the need to defend my theology at every opportunity.
But as the saying goes “You don’t need to defend a lion. You simply need to let it out of the cage.”
As someone who used to pick fights with everyone, and now sees the folly of such an attitude, can I offer you some advice?
No. 1: Theology is not the be-all and end-all of God. The Bible is.
I LOVE THEOLOGY. I could talk for HOURS about Reformed Theology and the beauty found in knowing that you did nothing to deserve God’s love, and yet He chose us anyway…but Reformed Theology doesn’t define me.
A difference in theology isn’t worth a quarrel with a brother or sister in the faith.
Please understand this! There will be people you disagree with now in Heaven! Pentecostals, Methodists, Catholics, Protestants, Reformed, Presbyterians, Baptists, etc. People we have “issues” with now will be alongside us as we worship Christ for eternity. Doesn’t fighting about irrelevant things seem silly in the light of that?
I’m not saying theology isn’t important; it is. And it’s worth a calm discussion over coffee. What it’s not worth is fighting with a fellow saint and dismissing them because they wear pants and you don’t!
No. 2: Nobody’s heroes are perfect. Not one.
Many are quick to point out Martin Luther King Jr’s adultery, but few are willing to point out Martin Luther’s antisemitism. YES. THAT MARTIN LUTHER WROTE SOMETHING CALLED “ON THE JEWS AND THEIR LIES“.
Nobody’s heroes are perfect. C.H. Spurgeon, Martin Luther, John Calvin, etc, were all human, and humans are fallible.
Men like John Wesley are also just as fallible.
And I’m not just talking about old, dead white guys. Modern day heroes, like John Piper, Matt Chandler, etc are just as fallible and just as human.
The idea for this blog post actually came from listening to a “hero” for those in my “camp” (the “reformed” camp). I don’t personally listen to him much, but I’d say we agree on a few things. Well, this man and his guest were discussing Bethel Church (whom I do disagree with on many things). His argument was that playing Bethel’s music, even in a sound church with good doctrine, will cause even those with good doctrine to leave good churches and, instead, embrace Bethel’s doctrines (which I will emphasize yet again, I disagree with some of the things they believe).
They used a particular verse from a song as an example of “bad theology” in a Bethel song…and I heard absolutely nothing wrong.
They weren’t saying things like “Oh God, we can be gods like you!” or “I demand blessings from you, you owe me”. They weren’t even using the actual things I disagree with them on!
Here’s the verse they chose to represent how TERRIBLE Bethel Music is…
And taken me over, taken me over
And all I want is to be
With You forever, with You forever
Take me a little deeper
I want to know Your heart
‘Cause Your love is so much sweeter
Than anything I’ve tasted
I want to know Your heart
Your heroes aren’t perfect. Not one of them.
No. 3: Pride will steal your blessings.