Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Believe, teach, and Confess…

Yesterday was fun with thinking about decision theology. I heard something about open theism and also from someone who claims to be an orthodox Christian but is really more of a Buddhist/Gnostic.

Open theists claim something along the lines that God knows all of the possible decisions a person can make and wrote an outcome for each decision, but doesn’t know what path a person is going to take. Kind of like a choose-your-own-adventure story.

This is very problematic because it denies that God is omniscient. The Lutheran belief is all men choose, through their sinful nature, damnation but God calls us to salvation through the Holy Spirit. (Correct me if I misunderstand the teaching.)

The other problem I ran into relates to self-interpretation. I ran into the site of an acquaintance of mine where the acquaintance uses her vocation and what she knows about the subject matter of her vocation to come up with an explanation to the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” In the process she implies that she is more insightful and correct than Augustine.

The problem with self interpretation outside the confines of a confession and the historical doctrines of the Christian faith is we, in our own self-righteousness, fall into the heresies of old. You see, there are no new ideas about God or the questions that plague man. We claim we are more brilliant, more inspired, more intelligent than the church fathers, or Luther, or Walther, or Lewis, or Sproul, or Chesterton.

When one reads the historical works and literature of the Christian faith, one learns the arguments against heresy and the proof texts supporting. Christian history does not start with my conversion, nor does Biblical interpretation begin with me. There are proper methods and correct beliefs. It doesn’t matter what a passage means to you, it matters what it means. To presume to put your own interpretation on scripture is to presume universalism, that all interpretations of scripture are equally valid.

I am an armchair theologian. I have no training. I didn’t even go to a Bible College, so I have never taken a college level Bible class. However, I have a natural curiosity about religions and I love reading Christian literature and theology and dabble in the important works of other faiths (eastern religion and Mormon). Because theology is a hobby of mine, even more so should I bear the scrutiny of others because my study has not been guided by anyone. The faith that I cling to and the interpretation of scripture I cling to should not be subject to my degree in economics or the subsequent work I perform, nor should it be shaped by my vocation as mother and wife, it should be shaped by scripture itself and the sound teaching of our church fathers. To presume anything else is to assume a rebellious and hateful spirit.

It doesn’t matter what I think scripture is about, it matters what scripture is about. And scripture is not about me and how it relates to my world, scripture is about God being glorified through Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection for my sins and the sins of the world.


  • At 1:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Open theism "very problematic because it denies that God is omniscient". Why do you think this? Open Theists believe and affirm God's Omniscience. The issue isn't what God knows, the issue is what is knowable. Open Theists say that the future is partially open to possibilities. And that God knows them as possibilities.

    It is a philosophic assumption about the future that it can be know in advance in full in terms of fixed outcomes. Hence Greg Boyd (one of the advocates of Open Theism) says he would prefer to be called an 'Open Futurist' rather than 'Open Theist' ie because the issue isn't about God at all, it is about what is the nature of the future.

    Hence, like yourself an Open Theist can affirm that God knows everything. They just also state the 'content' of what is known about the future includes possibilities.

    Have a nice day :)

  • At 2:43 PM , Blogger Liz said...

    Hey Anon,

    Before I give you a full response, I'm just going to let you know that I interpret scripture using scripture and also believe that the Book of Concord contains proper Biblical doctrine. Though the BOC is not scripture, its theology is pure and it reflects what scripture teaches. I'm just framing the outline for my response.

    Have a great day!


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