When I first crafted my post on the City Harvest case, my intention was to appeal mainly to my friends in City Harvest, and then to my Christian friends in general. Never in my wildest imagination did I expect the post to gather as many views as it did (some 48k views as of today). Even my earlier post with regards to New Creation Church theology also gathered lots of views. The responses have been largely positive; there have been some negative ones. In all, I have been generally encouraged.
However, the one theme that has come up regularly has been the issue of bible interpretation. This concerns me greatly. Increasingly, I read statements like “that’s just your interpretation of the verses” or variants of it. We cannot just walk away from theological discussion by saying at the end of the day, we just have to agree to disagree (especially if the issues have to do with fundamental gospel beliefs).
No, brothers and sisters, there is no “my interpretation” verses “your interpretation”. There is only good/bad or right/wrong interpretation. And it behooves us as Christians to get our understanding of God’s Holy Scripture right. If Christ had a high view of the Bible, and constantly appealed to its authority, how much more so shall we who claim to be His followers do so as well. We must be clear about this. We must grow in this.
One of the core values of the church I worship in is biblical balance. So while we certainly are to model after the Apostle Paul in “speaking the truth in love” Ephesians 4:15, we must certainly know that truth itself matters greatly because love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” 1 Corinthians 13:6.
The other related concern is this: there seems to be a rise of anti-intellectualism in Christianity today; perhaps particularly amongst non-denominational churches. Seminary studies and theologians are looked upon with suspicion, and the underlying unspoken assumption is this: it is a purely academic, intellectual exercise devoid of the Spirit’s power. It is a dangerous false dichotomy.
After all, if we are to love the Lord with all our mind, the pursuit of understanding of God’s Word with our mind is part of that crucial process. Of course, we CAN pursue theological education without actually having a relationship with God, but there is another way. Jesus Himself, by the Spirit, “increased in wisdom” Luke 2:52. With that in mind, I strongly, strongly recommend two resources that would aid us in our pursuit of knowing God through knowing His Word.
ps: As the Lord leads, I will be writing a little more about the concerns about the Word-Faith heresy alongside the Prosperity Gospel in future posts. But I’m not a blogger, so I’m not sure when that will be. Time to get going with the ironing that needs to be done… 😀