Tuesday, 21 July 2020
Theological Integrity - Part One
Many today pray for and believe for the fulfillment of the prayer of Yeshua for the unity of the people of God (John 17:21). We hear of calls for humility, love, prayer, cooperation, repentance from competition etc. One thing we do not hear is a call for theological integrity. What do I mean by theological integrity? I am not speaking about judging theological integrity by any particular stream of theological commitments.
There is a tendency in some streams to dismiss others on the basis of their theological stream and claim that only their stream has integrity. This we must not do if we are to gain John 17 unity. The theological streams include Calvinism, Armenianism, Pentecostalism, new charismatic streams, Methodist, Lutheran, Holiness, Anglican and so many more. These streams all have attained credibility and longevity, and it is time to allow for differences of interpretation within broad orthodoxy.
This broad orthodoxy is defined by the historic and more recent confessions of faith that have gained near-universal acceptance as rightly representing a summary of the most important Biblical truths. Theological integrity is first based on the embrace of this broad orthodoxy. This includes the broad orthopraxy of Biblical morals and ethics.
However, some who claim to embrace broad orthodoxy still say very bizarre things. When they say such things, others react and dismiss these people as false teachers and vilify them. Some go on a public crusade against these ministers.
I am very accepting of those who do not think like I do. I also came to what was for me a very hard conclusion, that God’s anointing and power are not correlated to accurate precision in theology. As a theologically trained person, I wish that anointing and power were correlated to accurate theology. I am sure after years ofe is properly translated "and you will be a man." But that thought is the product of a previous thought, "be strong." The Hebrew word for "strong" used throughout Scripture is Chazak.
We say this word 3 times as a congregation every time we finish reading a book of the Torah. "Chazak, Chazak, V'Nit'chazek" meaning "be strong, be strong, and strengthen each other." In fact, it's this meaning that points to the truth that none of us can obey God properly outside of community. May I prove it to you?
What is the greatest commandment? Deuteronomy 6:5 "Love Adonai your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Yes, and what does God say about loving Him? 1 John 4:20b "For the one who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen."
We cannot "love" outside of community. Community must be covenantal. Without covenant, all "love" is perverted into lust. Solomon is commanded by David to be strong and in doing so Solomon will become a man. A "man" is not just a male member of the human race who reached adequate age. The Yiddish word, mensch, comes to mind. A mensch is a man's man, who always does the right thing, even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable for himself. A mensch always loves in covenant. If he didn't, he wouldn't be a mensch any longer.
One last note ... while this verse is written (like most of the Bible) about men (David and Solomon were male), and uses masculine descriptors, it is very important for women to see themselves in this verse. Strength of character is also important for women. In marriage, the woman is the female portion of the life partnership. That partnership rises or falls on the strength of character of both partners. Live strong my friends.