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.

Christ does.

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…

Your love has ravished my heart
And taken me over, taken me over
And all I want is to be
With You forever, with You forever
So pull me a little closer
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
——
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see anything wrong there. What is so wrong about desiring more of God?
Oh, just because it didn’t look like a hymnal, it’s wrong?

Your heroes aren’t perfect. Not one of them.

No. 3: Pride will steal your blessings.

 

Can I be honest about something really quick?
I love my church. The people are fantastic, the preaching is on point, and the church  focuses on BOTH teaching its members and serving the community. It’s an amazing church and I’m blessed to be a part of it… and I was THIS close to walking away from it out of PRIDE. 
See, I’ve been to more “openly reformed” churches in Phoenix. I’ve been to Redemption Tempe (great church) and been to New City Church in Central Phoenix (also a great church). I’ve experienced deep doctrinal sermons and yearned for that when we moved to Casa Grande.
But that’s not what I found at my church. I didn’t find a pastor who spoke about Election and Total Depravity from the pulpit. I didn’t find fellow reformed Christians to make friends out of. And when I started attending Bible Studies, I grew frustrated that fellow church goers just didn’t get it. They were listening to prosperity gospel teachers, misusing verses, and a whole mess of things.
At one point, I came oh so close to leaving…but then I realized I was being ridiculous. 
Is that what the God did to me when MY theology wasn’t right? Did He leave frustrated? Or did He lovingly point me in the right direction, time and time again?
So I decided to stop being ridiculous and demanding everyone be “on my level”. Instead, I’d lovingly and patiently teach people about the GOSPEL (not reformed theology). In teaching them about the Gospel, they’d learn how to correctly interpret scripture, where our true joy comes from (not the stuff God gives us, but God Himself), and they’d learn what teachers were not worthy of their time.
When I made the decision to stay, God showed me the heart of the church. He showed me that the people there love Jesus and want to work together to make Him known. He showed me that the lead pastor has a humble heart. He showed me that the church cares so deeply about its community.
And all of that is important that the letters T-U-L-I and P. 
If you find yourself with an addiction to pride like I did, I’d humbly ask you to bring it to the Lord. Ask God to reveal those dark parts in your heart and to cure them. Pride can blind us and have us do damage to our testimony in ways we can’t see ourselves, but is obvious to those around us.
Pride is a powerful drug. Pride was what made Satan believe he could become God.
If it did that to him, imagine what it’ll do to you. 
There’s a throne of grace. Approach it and ask for forgiveness. He is more than willing to forgive. 
Grace & Peace,
Christina

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