Ditching Theology and Doctrine, Part 1

Christian theology and doctrine—orthodox, reformed, or evangelical—are put forward in different ways by all variations of the Christian church as the way things actually are, with no alternative views allowed.

The thing that makes you a Christian, according to Christians, is embracing Christian theology and doctrine—in a form expressed by a particular version of Christianity—believing what the authorities of that version tell you to believe, asking no questions of their doctrines that they can’t answer with their theology, and not thinking anything they don’t tell you to think.

This is not the way of being a proper disciple of one who was an iconoclast to the core—who was officially accused of heresy and blasphemy, and of being a son of Satan. But it is the only way for the church to continue being the church the way it has always been the church: Speaking for God to the people as the very Voice of the Almighty.

Never mind that the people are as capable of discerning the voice of God for themselves as anyone who has ever discerned the voice of God—and of deciding for themselves what is godly and what is not—and of living out of their own understanding of what it means to keep faith with themselves and with God. And the fact that they do not do that, and do not want to do that, says more about their laziness and disinterest than it says about their ability to sense the things that are of God, and put themselves in the service of those things.

The church does the people no favors when it lets them off the hook, and gives them the Hail Mary and the Our Father to say, or the Apostles’ Creed to recite, and the Westminster Shorter Catechism to memorize—as though that does anything to help the people in any practical way, or to enhance their ability to align themselves with the things that are of God, and serve those things with their life.

The people need the church to show the people how to live their life aligned with the things of God—not to tell them things about God, but to demonstrate God before them—by living the life of God in the midst of the people. The spokespersons for the church must begin talking to the people about the things they have learned by living the life of God themselves, and not about things they have heard people say that they heard people say about people they heard knew God.

In order to be the church in the midst of the people, the church has to throw away its theology and doctrine, and live its way into godliness. The church has to stop talking about God and start living as God—to stop believing in God and start being God in the midst of the people.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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