Over the last few days I have been interacting with folks about a great many things. Something that has struck me is the cavalier attitude toward doctrine. Many of us no longer seem to think that doctrine matters. We say things like, “I am not a theologian, but…”
Here’s the reality: doctrine does matter.
What we believe matters.
It matters big time.
When hardship and conflict come it is what we believe that will determine how we respond. Because, what we believe matters.
I have been heart-sick over the way those who hold a similar theological position as I have responded to a book that came out recently. They responded with polemics and rhetoric (some even before they had read the book!). Most have not responded with discernment or charity but have looked for a way to hang a “heretic”.
I have also been thoroughly disappointed in the way that those from other theological positions have either blindly defended or tried to move themselves away from a position which is the logical outcome of their own.
I am more convinced than ever that what we believe matters.
Then I read David Fitch’s recent post over at Reclaiming the Mission and I understood again why what we believe matters.
David coherently points out the distinctions between a “coalition” and an “expedition”. As I read this post I kept thinking back to a friend’s description of Jonathan Edwards as an “experiential Calvinist” and another concept that has been rattling around my head, the “experimental Church”.
It is sad to me that those who hold to the Reformed view of theology (not Calvinist Baptists like Piper, Driscoll, etc…they are not Reformed and as a result they are not in view here) have struggled to follow Edwards. It makes me wonder if we don’t really believe what we say we believe.
It seems to me that if Reformed theology is true then it demands from us an expedition into the experiential and experimental Church.
Because if Reformed theology is true then it is unflinchingly pointing us toward Jesus and his Kingdom. This requires us to follow Edwards to the frontier. It requires us to step out and actually act on our beliefs in the sovereign God, the in-breaking Kingdom, and the imputation and incarnation of Jesus.
It is my opinion, that Reformed theology (not Calvinist Baptist theology) is best suited for a post-Christian world, because it necessarily drives us toward the lost, culture, transformation, community, and authenticity.
But, only if we believe it.
But, we will only believe it if it matters.
Over the upcoming weeks we will look at how our beliefs drive the mission and as a result help us to understand why doctrine matters.