I hope you are motivated to continue the class, study diligently and be blessed by knowing The Lord better. Please check back to this blog from time to time for resources mentioned in class, followup to questions, or just some of my musings on the topics. Feel free to contribute via the comment section.
Here is a link to the class syllabus: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/a6sr60k732bnf8p/AAARWyh3s9rzOpKVfhlmDT8Fa?dl=0
I really appreciated Finn’s (sp?) question about avoiding pride in our theology. I can affirm the biblical references we discussed: I Tim. 1:5 — Our goal is love from a pure heart (that contradicts pride), a clean conscience (staying at the foot of the cross in dependency to Jesus and the gospel averts pride) and a sincere faith (and “that” not of ourselves, it is a gift of God: Eph 2:8,9). And from 1 Cor. 8:1 “This knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” What is the purpose of our knowledge? The passage goes on to say, “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” Knowledge (or theologic training) as an end in itself will lead to pride, being puffed up, like a bellows attached to our soul. But Paul’s assessment of this knowledge is that we “do not yet know as [we] ought to know.” How is it that we “ought to know?” I think he answers our question in the next sentence, “but if anyone loves God. . . “. If our knowledge leads to or originates from our love for God it will not lead to arrogance. It will lead to giving up our rights for the sake of our brothers. This is all in the context of eating meat sacrificed to idols and the weaker brother. Our knowledge promotes love for our weaker brother, and for God. It therefore builds up (edifies) our brothers and sisters in Christ. So a key determinant in our gaining in knowledge must be: does it build up our brothers and sisters in Christ. And does it produce in us a growing love for God, and a growing relationship with God (being known by God).
Of course, there are times when our theology is necessary to defend our church, schools, families and selves against ravenous wolves or winds of false doctrine. And at those times we must be resolute, standing firm against error and deceit. Even this must create in us a humble dependence on God to fight against powers and principalities, the world system and our own sin. The clearer our doctrine, the clearer the lines of the battle will be.
Are we showing tender mercy to a weaker believer or standing watch against an attack? In either case, prideful knowledge will only give the appearance of godliness, not the substance. A soul in love with God, dependent on the gospel of the cross, and reliant on the Holy Spirit will diminish pride and glorify God in our theology and practice.