The Sad State of Scholarship in the Lunchroom Theologians of America
Lunchroom Theologian– N. Someone who has developed a belief based on one of several verses that are out of context, misconstrued, or misquoted… people who would be better off eating and praying then trying to instruct others.
I must admit, if you are looking for a good debate that will challenge you without someone trying to make you look stupid, you are best off not looking at the majority of Christians in America today.One of my regular stops on the internet has become the forums at a well known Christian website… while I will readily say that the internet isn’t the best place to find much of anything positive in the realm of human interaction, I will also say that I am somewhat naive about human nature. Being a part of a forum is an interesting position, from which you can view much about the human psyche, and how much we really know about just about anything. Survey says? “We don’t know nothin about nothin!”
In this day and age, when not only can you go to a seminary and learn that Jesus was not physically resurrected or Divine in any way, shape, or form, but also that 85% of Americans claim to be Christians, you would think that those who really are Christians would be devoting themselves to be solid in their theology and have an answer for questions. The truth is, the state of Christianity in the USA is sadly lacking any punch at all. There is little to be said for apostolic authority on the bringing of the message, there is very little manifestation of the Glory of God, meanwhile, the hearing of the “in season” Word of the Lord and the Knowledge of God are rapidly dying arts. We must reexamine ourselves. If we are to be known by our fruit, and 90% of the church is not (visibly) bearing any at all, then we have a massive problem somewhere along the line. Let me give everyone a hint, the problem is not God.
A moment, if you will allow me, for a somber attitude… I do not intend to be so downcast all the time. It is with all seriousness that I tell you that we allow ourselves to go too far, because we do not know where the boundaries lie. Recently, I was “discussing” the endtimes with someone (they wanted to argue with me… which is fine, I’m not right all the time… some of the time… most of the time), and they made referrence to the 70 weeks of Daniel 9. Fine, if you want to go there, lets go there… The command goes forth, 69 weeks later, the Messiah comes and gets killed *push pause for the war of desolations* the Prince who is to come makes a covenant with many for one week, and then it’s all over. This person attempted to argue that the “first half” of the last week was from AD 67-70 when the Romans destroyed the temple, and now we are simply waiting for the last half of that week… sounds simple, right? Major problem… there is no pause button between the two halves of the week in Daniel 9. The subject in and of itself is not huge… the implication of what study meant to this person was. I rarely want to accuse someone of twisting the scriptures to fit an ideal, but this was obvious. It’s what I call putting the echo before the bang. There is a serious lack in the American church in general of true revelation and knowledge… as the verse goes, “Where there is no revelation, the people perish.” Spiritually, the Church is dying slowly.
The question is, what does our scholarship have anything to do with our church life? Absolutely everything. A.W. Towzer said that the most important thing about any person is what their thoughts are about God. If this is true, then our study and review of doctrine, who God is, and what the Bible actually says become the primary signpost of our life. There is a massive connection between how we read the Bible, and how we live our lives now. For example, if you believe the Tribulation has already happened, then you have no real concern for the events listed in the book of Revelation. On the other hand, if you take the words literally (particularly when it says “what must soon take place…”) you tend to have a much bigger urgency in how you spend your time. I am being constantly reminded of something Dwight Moody said… “Excuses are the cradle in which Satan rocks a man to sleep”… needless to say, I think many in the church are snoring quite peacefully.
If we truly want to renovate our lives, and “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind…”, we must find God. If you read the prophecy’s in the Bible and all you get is a back-to-the-future-style history lesson, you didn’t read them correctly. The thing about all of this, is that we are supposed to be learning about God, from Him, by revelation and the Bible. One of the biggest ways to tell that we have abandoned the element of true scholarship is that people will change their theology based on a dream or a vision someone says they had… when to element of revelation is that God tells us things that are found elsewhere in the Bible. Rarely will something be said one time in one verse. The Gospels themselves are said four different times, in four different ways… this is the model for revelation interacting with the real world.
I don’t intend for my words to be the “be all” on any one given topic, and I’m sure that I have offended more than one person more than once with my words. That being said, I’m also sure that I have very little hope of doing anything more than stregnthening the opinions of people who already agree with me. However, if stregnthening hands serves the purpose of Christ, then I must rant on… and by Grace, rant on I will.
Here is some truth that the Bible attests to quite convincingly… Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth in human form, died on a cross for the sins of humanity, rose again on the third day, and after all hell brakes loose on the earth, He is coming back to crush sin for all eternity (insert note of cheering here)… and THAT, my friends, deserves an “Amen”…