Friday, February 29, 2008

Holy is Whole: According to Biblical Theology & Relevance Theory (for the future)

Yesterday, I enjoyed talking to two of my professors from my years in seminary. They and I are very big on being a biblical theologian and also very big on communicating in relevant ways to our audience the book from God. There is though false fears about being biblical and being relevant.

Holy is whole is largely built on being biblical rather than having a sacred cow of a particular theological tradition. It is also very relevant to the past, to the present and above all to the near future. I believe we are on the edge of a renewing of our minds and of being transformed as Christians individually and corporately (see Romans 12:2).

But having said that change is coming in the form of being transformed rather than conformed, I need to help people avoid a very relevant fear which represents the path of least resistance in their minds. When we talk about being biblical (people who follow the book), we need to realize that there are Christians around us who are are co-equals in reading that book. They are not our superiors, they are not our inferiors, but they are our co-equals.

I find my best equals to be Martin Luther, John Calvin, Richard Hooker, John Wesley and Charles H. Spurgeon when listed in historical order. They each desired and aimed to be biblical theologians. They all agreed that their books were not equal to the book. They have made a mark on history that I certainly have not made and yet they remain my equals. They are not co-equal with God and neither would be their books. And neither am I nor what I am writing right at this moment. I think this is why I am so committed to being a biblical person. It introduces both humility of place and meekness of time.

Holy is whole is a new thing to most people's minds. In relevance theory what matters for our minds is the path of least resistance toward understanding. Yet in the case of holy, the path of least resistance in the present is not joining whole or wholeness to holy. Renewing the mind requires great humility and meekness for us to move forward toward being truly biblical without minimizing our co-equals from the past. The past, the present and the future are all important parts of renewing our minds, yet the weak link right now is the present.

In the past, one man through the word of God raised the banner of God's righteousness in Christ, then another raised the banner of humility for us saved by grace and not by our strength, then another raised a less noticed concern for holiness in the sense of comprehensiveness, then another raised the banner of love and compassion, and still another the banner of God's goodness and longsuffering. These were Luther, Calvin, Hooker, Wesely and Spurgeon.

Perhaps it is time for us to raise the banner called holiness which was in the past renewings since 1500 a less noticed concern. Perhaps it is time to let the book speak for itself and let our co-equals be no better than us. I think it is dangerous anytime we honor the still lingering twentieth century of time or the greats of past high status too highly, instead of observing due diligence to be both meek and humble. I think I observed growing up some times when great leaders' books were made equal with my Bible. I pray that holy is whole reflects both meekness and humilty in a way relevant not just to our time, but to our minds. The path should be that of a least resistance that makes sense within God's Word. May your mind have experienced a renewing process as you have read (see again Romans 12:2).

In Christ,

Pastor Jon