Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Why that test is so wrong

(Note: This is a continuation of the post two down, Paging Rev. Lovejoy.)

To try to obtain someone's worldview by having them take a bubble test is, well, ludicrous. Especially if the questions are tricky or just written by an amateur. But that wouldn't keep me from taking it, twice, and writing two separate pieces on it. No, far stupider people have succumbed to my rants (take that, Kurt Carr).

The test is favored on a sliding scale of agreeableness with a certain point / question presumably tied with a specific theological position in mind. Whichever position gets the most on the +/- slide wins. It's that easy. Or is it?

Consider some of the questions:

53 Preaching the word is more important than worship.

Worship how? Worship as in singing and lifting hands? What we nowadays refer simply to praise and/or worship? With good/bad songs with good/bad/non-existent theology sung/performed well/adequately/holding-your-ears-bad while hands/arms/chalices are held-high/slung-low/firmly-to-the-side/uncomfortably-situated-somewhere-in-between? Isn't preaching the Word an acknowledgment of worship? Isn't it a part of the grander scheme of bowing to the greatness, the other-ness of God? Preaching isn't more important than worship, it's a part of worship, properly understood.

49 There is little or no human element in the Bible, it is a divine book.

Yeah, it's divine. So was Jesus. It was written by humans. It contains the books of Psalms, Ecclesiastes, Job, Song of Songs, Esther... I mean, even John the Apostle wrote the book of the Apocalypse largely in the way he did because he's a man, trying to write the divine that was happening before him.

3 The person of Christ, rather than the Bible, is the central focus of God's self-revelation.

Um, yeah, and the person of Christ is revealed through, what, again?

2 Justification by faith is the most important part of the Gospel

Of the Gospel message? Or of receiving and understanding the Gospel? Personally, I believe that the fact that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life is probably the most important part of the Gospel. But maybe that's several parts. Maybe I'm supposed to dissect the whole Gospel message into bite-sized pieces and discern which morsel is most essential to the whole. Hmmm... Jesus dying or Jesus raising? Hmmm... Justification by faith alone or Sanctification by faith alone? Is one more essential than the other? If Jesus merely saved me from the ultimate consequence of sin, but not from it's day-to-day slave system, wouldn't I just be off as bad, if not worse? Listen, just because Luther rediscovered justification by faith and made it central to his tenets doesn't mean that it's the most important part of the Gospel message.

52 Bishop Spong is an important theologian who should be taken seriously.

Is Bishop Sponge the guy who invented Liberation Theology? Or did he fight against the Catholic Church in regards to birth-control? (Ba-Dump!)

57 Academic knowledge is not as important as being 'on fire for God.'

What is meant by 'Academic knowledge'? Is that shorthand for biblical or theological knowledge? If it is, than it is more important than being 'on fire for God.' Because fires die out, quickly, overnight. Theological knowledge gives us a grounding to the great personhood of the Godhead. It gives us a form for our relationship, through thick and thin, long past when the fire is muted.

If, however, 'Academic knowledge' means being trapped under the weight of the heavy books and never experiencing the fullness of God, then 'no.' It becomes just another mask to try to hide our inadequacies from a God who knows us too well.

35 Social action is important, but not as important as saving lost souls.

"Saving souls"? I'm an Evangelical. A conservative Evangelical. And I'm offended by that title. Not because it's politically incorrect. Not because someone may get offended by my proselytizing. But because it's theologically incorrect. I can't save a soul. That's God's job. I can only preach. I'm not about to try to 'win' someone over or 'sell' them something. I'm going to preach truth and live love and point people to Christ, not a marketing gimmick. Please, win souls. And social action is important, because I have been made free in Christ.

By the way, this time I was a card-carrying Calvinist. Yeah, baby!


  1. Yes, this test was definitely plastic wrap, rolled up in media culture and gross generalizations (and misconstrued doctrines). But I ended up being a Wesleyan. What?! Hoooow did THAT happen?

  2. ha ha! you're a pious evangelical!

    actually, the first time i took it, i was one too. which, i think, beyond the truth you just mentioned, kind of shows how wrapped up in wesleyanism - how non-destinct, really - evangelical culture is. and i know you're a messianic, but i don't think it's something that you can easily escape.

    wesley seems to be the middle-of-the-road Christian / protestant theology for the last hundred, maybe two hundred years. it's just so tied up into our methodology (hence, methodists) that it takes a conscious effort to not be included in that pile-up.
    (sounds like i hate wesley. i don't.)


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