Friday, May 8, 2009

Theological Confusion--I think I Are....

Hey, I'm back. After a long and busy week with no time to blog, I'm back briefly.

I've decided that I'm confused. Or is it frustrated...or fed up...I'm not sure I guess that's confused. I mean, what is a theologian? I'm beginning to think a theologian was invented by the devil to confuse the simple minded like me. Who cares what they think anyway? All they seem to do is muck up things. Ok...Ok...before lightning strikes me down...I love theolgians. I love theologians. I love theologians...Love God Love others, (that includes thologians), and serve the World. (Take a deep breath Richard)

I'm a simple minded fellow in my sixties. I was born into an theologically Armenian Pre-Trib, Pre-Mil, Anti-Catholic family. We were the church with the "deepest" theology...after all...we had A.W. Tozer to revere along with our founder A.B. Simpson. I can remember a story told to me by a former student at Nyaak College, the Christian & Missionary Alliance C&MA college in New York, (now a university) about his college professor who would arrive to class each day, walk over to the window and open it and look out over the grave of A.B. Simpson with his hand over his heart in a moment of silent reverance. (And we made fun of Catholics and Mary and Crucifixes)

Then I discovered George Eldon Ladd and decided I was a Post Tribber. I just knew Jesus had to come after the Tribulation and we were going to have to sweat it out through the pain of the Anti-Christ. In the meantime, along came the Charismatic Movement, the Plymouth Brethern Bible Study groups and the nursing mothers I used to stare at during a Bible study. About that time, the Jesus People exploded in Southern California and all hell..uh...all Calvary broke loose. Remember the confusion between Watchman Nee and Witness Lee?

And then of course, Vatican II hit the Catholics along with the insueing Charismatic movement, but the only contact I had with them were a few nutty nuns who would come to a charismatic prayer meeting, end up laying hands on people to receive new teeth to replace fillings, bridges or whatever was connected to the teeth. Over the years I discovered Calvinism, thanks to the great sermons of C. H. Spurgeon. I was convinced that maybe there was hope and maybe some truth to the Baptists.

Then my world fell apart when I ended up being divorced. Christians just didn't get divorced. I was now damaged goods. No one knew what to do with me. My denomination weren't too favorable to divorced pastors so I ended up on the rocks...shelved...And we didn't have Divorce Recovery Groups.

But then I met a wonderful Presbyterian woman, got remarried and became a Presbyterian. I was now a Presbyterian Calvinist. I loved the worship and theology. But then, I got a deep hunger for the word, got introduced to liturgy...first from the Anglicans and then of all people, the Catholics. I loved it and fell in love with private liturgical praying. My life deepend by leaps and bounds.

But while I was in my monk's cave studying ancient theology, the world was changing. The theological world exploded with new ventures in theology I'd never knew existed. Please understand. I'm a simple minded ex-preacher with only a BA in Pastoral Theology. Now that degree is basically a kindergarden degree, for in order to pastor in most churches today, you need a Masters or PhD. And to be able to talk sensibly with anyone at that level you have to go through a bevy of corporate officers to get to the hallowed sanctuary of the mahagony row set aside for the church pastors. Don't pastors pastor anymore or are they all becoming CEO's?

Now we have something called the Emergent Church that everyone is slobbering over. What the the Emergent Church? I certainly don't know for everywhere I look, the description is different. Is God confused too? Are we all just going off into a multitude of directions making up things as we go in order to make an imprint on the theological world?

But then...who cares? The world sure doesn't. They just laugh at us or worse yet, ignore us. Somehow, ...somehow I don't think Jesus had this mess in mind when he pulled his desciples around him...

Or did he..a tax collector, a fisherman who wouldn't stand up for you when the chips were down, a zealot who would turn you in for thirty pieces of silver, a physician, (good guy there), others who would desert him as well. Then there was that prostitute. But then..she was in good company with a hooker in the Jericho wasn't she. Hmmm...Could it be? Does God fellowship with idiots, crooks, call girls, the poor, the downcast, normal people who screw up all the time...and confused theologians?

Makes my head spin.

P.S. Before you theologians, those paid or not, start throwing your darts, I really do love and appreciate you. You have done a marvelous service to the cause of Christ. aren't as hot as you may think you are.

Sigh...Now I feel better. I needed to rant at somebody........


  1. Well, I suppose we need deep theological folk, because I suppose other deep theological folk know what they are trying to say, and it gives them something to do. Excuse me, I like to rant sometimes too. I think I've decided to stop trying to separate all my mixed-up evangelical and Catholic theology, like everything is going to go neatly in some little box. If I can't figure out which is which some days, oh well. Got the book "Holy Fools: Following Jesus with Reckless Abandon" today at the library. First chapter looks interesting. Glad to see you back. Missed your blog.

  2. Rich,
    Thank you for this great mini-history of your Journey with Papa Son Holy Spirit, all the things/doctrines of belief you have had leading all the way up to present.

    My friend, you are totally are not nuts. You are a disciple of the Living Jesus Christ, Papa's son....that is all that matters.

    I experienced much confusion, in my past as well. There are so many "theories" and contrary theories in Religious Christianity that easily can overwhelm a Believer.

    ~Amy :)

  3. Hi Pennyyak. Thanks again for your kindness. I actually enjoy reading much of the theology out there. After all, times do change and God's written word needs to speak to a modern society that has no understanding of why or when or where a book was written. But what does bother me sometimes...more often than the absolute certainty that someone's theology is the only theology out there. I've benefitted from all the traditions. And because my training is limited I can only absorb so much before I go into overload. Recently, I shut down all my Ipod teachings and put my books away for a week just to give my mind a rest.
    The best instruction I've had is simply cracking open the Bible on a daily regular basis to allow the Holy Spirit to speak to my soul, sometimes without me comprehending what I'm reading. But after nearly ten years of doing that, I've found my life to be totally different and more God focused. I can't explain it. It's not theology so much as a change that's come from within.
    Thanks again

  4. Hi Amy. Christianity is a journey. Our Lord is forever changing us and using our experiences as tools to fashion us and shape us into his image. Yes, I've seen a lot over the years and I expect to see a lot more in the years I have left. But one thing is for sure, the closer I get to eternity's door, the more thrilled I am to know it's not locked. I'm headed on through to be with my love, my bridegroom.


    Hi Rich, it's Howard the Pilgrim. Check out the cover of this book by McLaren. You'll have to click on the image to enlarge it so you can read it. I saw it in a Borders bookstore today and it made me grin. I thought, Yep that is the emerging church alright. It may give you a clue why you find it confusing.

  6. I think George MacDonald said that theologians have done more to hide the gospel of Jesus Christ than any other group. Something to that effect anyway. I think it is in my anthology of his writings by CS Lewis.

    Howard the Pilgrim