~by Randy Bushey
…so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:2,3).
I was shocked!
But didn’t know how to respond.
Several years ago a Christian friend conceded that he’d stopped reading his Bible, preferring rather to read other ancient, Jewish, mystical writings. He didn’t want to participate in Bible study or talk about theology.
His bottom line: “Doctrine divides. I just want to love Jesus.”
What I should have said is, “Which version of Jesus do you want to love?”
Because as soon as you begin to engage that question, you’re entering the realm of doctrine; you’ve crossed over into the realm of theology.
Why is it when the words doctrine and theology enter the conversation, some folks begin to glaze over. They surmise that a relationship with Christ is being reduced to a cold, unfeeling analytical, propositional perception – something for the head, but ignoring the heart.
However, as in every other relationship, the mind must be engaged together with the emotion.
One cannot love Christ with the heart without also knowing Him with the head.
Consequently, we must grapple with what Jesus is to understand who Jesus is.
Here’s a significant contributor to the confusion: over the last 150 years, some theologians have promoted truth as encounter.
This endorses the imbalanced belief that truth about Christ is only what we can apprehend through our own private personal experience.
And your encounter – your subjective construct of Who Jesus is – may be, and probably is – much different than mine.
The pendulum of church history has swung decidedly in this direction in the 21st century, endorsing an exaggerated emphasis on the subjective and mystical in knowing Christ.
And typically dismissing the age-old, objective teaching of Scripture.
The jettisoning of theology and doctrine has an inevitable result: confusion, deception, distortion, misunderstanding.
Without a fixed point of reference, how are we to understand what is up and what is down? How are we to ascertain truth from error? By what compass can we determine true north?
God has provided a single source as the objective standard of truth in knowing about Christ: the Bible.
As Paul said to the Colossian believers, Christ is the mystery of God, the One previously and partly concealed and now wholly revealed. We can attain to the full riches of complete understanding by studying God’s Word and thereby knowing Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Takeaway: recognizing the current trend to subjectively reduce our relationship to the Lord Jesus as only mystical, experiential and non-cognitive, we must commit to a careful consideration and observation of the Scripture. It is deliberate in presenting Jesus – the One having an intimate, eternal relationship with His people – based on Who and what He really is.
To avoid unhealthy imbalance, we must remember that the written Word is our primary understanding of the Living Word.
Yielding to the Holy Spirit and to the Word of God with open mind and open heart.
~graphic by Rene Yoshi, freeimages.com