Theological fidelity in Christendom often has much more to do with rehearsing and articulating accepted doctrinal norms than it does in allowing those same stated positions to transform their keeper’s lives. This aberrant notion of faithfulness has birthed two deviant errors within evangelicalism.
First, it has produced a class of leader whose theological hubris would rival Jesus’ greatest opponents. With a narrow orthodoxy (that often includes precious little orthopraxy) these new leaders expend enormous energy on differentiating themselves from their spiritual inferiors with little humility left for the possibility that our minds might not fathom the full mystery of God.
But leaders who approaches their theological framework with an honest humility that demonstrates that they understand, that in their fleshly tent, they are reduced to merely looking through a dark glass dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12). They, on this side of eternity, are not able to see things as they really are (1 John 3:2). There is more to their theological understanding than what an approved pamphlet on beliefs could contain. And this other-worldly mystery, this transcendence, opens their faith to the Source of spiritual authority that no modern-day Pharisee can ever experience.
The second problem is that this academic approach to theology contorts biblical belief into a convenient possessive noun (something that we own) rather than an active verb (something we do). With this, Christian fidelity is often reduced to a codified statement that is neither lived, nor truly loved.
But leaders who embrace belief as an active verb press into the faithfulness of God as a way of living. Their lives prove through testing the very nature of the will and reign of God (Rom. 12:1-2). This lived submission validates the veracity of the belief that is professed. And by comparison, theoretical fidelity is plainly revealed for what it is – nonbelief.
Future church planters that persuasively bring the gospel into secularity will move beyond the arrogance of theological posturing toward the humility of simple belief. In the new religious economy brought about through secularity, few are asking the question, “What is truth?” Increasingly, the deep question within people’s hearts is, “What will make my life work? What can fix me?” And this is the spiritual intersection for a church planting team to powerfully reveal the beauty of the Kingdom of God. After all, “The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (I Corinthians 4:20).
And so, church planters go about the mission of Christ with the spiritual authority of their King that rightly combines proper doctrine and the life-transformation that doctrine is meant to produce (Matthew 28:19-20). In that commissioned authority, we become recognized as honest representatives of our Commissioner – and reveal the very kingdom of heaven on earth.
And so, Jessie Cruickshank and I invite you to join us this Wednesday, March 10 at 2:00 p.m. ET as we dive deeply into this conversation with noted author and speaker, Dr. Richard Blackaby. We believe that it will be time well invested.