Illogical and Incoherent Thinking and Theology

This week, a church member sent me a link to this article: “Americans Love God and the Bible, Are Fuzzy on the Details.” In this article, Lifeway, a division of the Southern Baptist Convention, surveyed thousands of people to determine if they agree, disagree or are neutral to certain statements.  The results are disconcerting and reflect problems in the way people think in America.  For example, researchers identified that “7 in 10 say there’s only one true God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—two-thirds say God accepts the worship of all faiths.”  These kinds of answers reflect confusion and a lack of clarity. It seems Americans no longer feel the need to be coherent in their thinking.  The same person often voices ideas that are incompatible and conflicting. Christians must recognize that our God is not the author of confusion. We must be able to articulate what we believe to be true and why in a way that is defensible and reasonable. Let me give you one example of what I mean.

Orthodox Christians believe that Christ Jesus is the only way to the Father. We believe that when Jesus said he was ‘the way’ he meant ‘the way’ and not a way. Christians often say things that do not reflect confidence in this truth.  In reality, we often hope in some crazy way that there is a backdoor of good works or decent living so that our Mormon neighbor or Muslim coworker doesn’t have to go to hell.  We don’t realize the theological implications of our dualistic thinking.

If there is a plan B or plan C to salvation, that is to say, multiple roads that all lead to heaven; then we must ask this question: ‘Why did God send his only begotten Son to a Roman cross?' 'Why did Jesus have to endure God’s wrath for the sins of the whole world, if there is another way to heaven?’ If I say ‘yes’ Muslims can find God through the Islamic faith, then why did Jesus have to suffer? Why did he have to die? Why was he whipped, scarred, beaten, abused, and mocked? It doesn’t make sense. And it needs to make sense. It must make sense because the very character and nature of the Creator God are at stake. If I hold to a theological position that is conflicting and incompatible, my God is more like a human and less like the Sovereign Divine being of the Universe.

When I explain why Christ had to die and when I articulate the reality that Christ perfectly kept the law of God to be the ultimate Lamb of God, I am presenting tenants of truth that serve as foundational stones to a theological system that is dependent upon particular truths undergirding each other.  Jesus gave his life as an act of love from the entire Godhead. Jesus experienced incompressible wrath from God to satisfy God’s righteous indignation against sin. These ideas are not conflicting; they complement each other.

Check your thinking. Demand nothing but the best from yourself. Think about what you believe to be true and insist upon a system of faith that is rational, defendable, coherent, Christo-centric and Biblically sound. To be Christian, it must be 100% in compliance with the Apostle’s doctrine of the first-century church as revealed in the NT.

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