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← Is Theology your idol? - Tim Conway

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Showing Revision 1 created 10/06/2017 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. This comes from Michael Kennedy.
  2. He says, "I've been studying theology
  3. an extensive amount lately.
  4. I believe in reformed theology.
  5. I believe repentance is essential
    to a Christian life.
  6. My question is,
  7. is it possible for theology,
  8. even if it's biblically accurate and true
  9. to become an idol
  10. or an addiction?"
  11. Now, the Bible in one place,
  12. namely 1 Corinthians 8:1
  13. talks about knowledge that puffs up.
  14. Have you guys ever read about that?
  15. And yet if you go somewhere else -
  16. I've already mentioned Phillipians 1:9
  17. a couple times, so let's mention it again.
  18. "My prayer is that your love
    may abound more and more
  19. with knowledge and all discernment."
  20. Is all knowledge bad?
  21. Paul's praying that people would have
  22. knowledge and discernment.
  23. So, there is a knowledge that puffs up.
  24. There is a knowledge that
    increases our discernment.
  25. There is a knowledge that puffs up.
  26. There is a knowledge also
    that humbles, is there not?
  27. I mean, can't we learn some things
  28. that really humble us
  29. and make God greater
    in our estimation?
  30. Haven't you learned some things before
  31. that you found very humbling?
  32. That have made you just feel
  33. awful small before the great God?
  34. Not all knowledge is bad.
  35. But not all knowledge is good.
  36. There is a knowledge that puffs up.
  37. And I would say this,
  38. theology can be a whole lot
    like Bible translations, right?
  39. I mean is the King James Bible good?
  40. Folks, it was an excellent translation.
  41. It stood the test for 400 years.
  42. Tremendous.
  43. God used that translation in mighty
    and tremendous ways.
  44. Are the doctrines of grace good?
  45. Well, certainly they are.
  46. But I'll tell you this,
  47. there are Calvinists in hell.
  48. And there are KJV only people in hell.
  49. And you know what?
  50. In my own estimation,
  51. I have found some professing
    Christian Calvinists,
  52. professing Christian
    King James only people...
  53. Look, I don't want to stereotype,
  54. and obviously there's a bazillion
    exceptions to this,
  55. but some of the most
  56. cantankerous professing
    Christian people
  57. can just be people that aren't
  58. so nice to be around sometimes.
  59. Look, whatever Bible you have,
  60. it ought to be teaching you
  61. how to love Christians more and more.
  62. Whatever doctrine you have,
  63. whatever theology you have,
  64. it ought to be revealing Christ to you
    more and more,
  65. that you might adore Him more and more.
  66. So many want to learn these doctrines
  67. so that they can argue.
  68. So that they can debate.
  69. Have you guys ever heard of
    Charles Simeon?
  70. Simeon was an evangelical Calvinist.
  71. He lived back in the 1700's.
  72. Let me tell you about him.
  73. He had little sympathy for
    uncharitable Calvinists.
  74. In his sermon on Romans 9:16
  75. Romans 9
  76. He said, "many there are who
    cannot see these truths."
  77. The doctrines of God's sovereignty.
  78. He's acknowledging, there are
    many who can't see them
  79. the way he does and the way
    many in his church did.
  80. "...who are yet in a state
  81. truly pleasing to God.
  82. Yea, many, at whose feet
  83. the best of us may be glad to
    be found in heaven."
  84. And he's right.
  85. There are Arminians you would be glad
  86. just to be close to in Heaven.
  87. He says it's a great evil when these
  88. doctrines are made a ground of
    separation from one another.
  89. And basically, I'm getting right
    at the heart of this.
  90. You can tell when your theology
  91. is becoming an idol.
  92. What's an idol?
  93. An idol is something that you give
  94. your affection to more than Christ.
  95. An idol is something that you
  96. give attention to more than Christ.
  97. An idol is something that you
  98. become consumed with more than Christ.
  99. More than the commands of Christ.
  100. More than obedience to Christ.
  101. And one of the
    chief things that He
  102. would have us to do
    is love one another.
  103. And folks, if your doctrine
  104. makes you all the more a
  105. hard person to get along with,
  106. if it makes you difficult,
  107. if it makes you unbearable,
  108. if it makes you ungracious,
  109. if it makes you unloving,
  110. then you know what?
  111. You're doing wrong things.
  112. You're creating an idol out of it.
  113. And I'll say the same thing
  114. about Bible translations,
    about denominations,
  115. if your denomination or
    being a Baptist
  116. or clinging to a certain
    Bible translation
  117. makes you ugly towards other people,
  118. makes you bitter towards other people,
  119. you've made an idol out of it.
  120. I'll tell you what,
  121. Charles Simeon is a guy
    we can learn from.
  122. Here he is, Charles Simeon, Calvinist.
  123. Comes face to face with
    John Wesley, Arminian.
  124. Can I read to you?
  125. Here's Simeon,
  126. "'Sir, I understand that you
    are called an Arminian,
  127. and I have been sometimes
    called a Calvinist,
  128. and therefore I suppose
    we are to draw daggers.
  129. But, before I consent to begin the combat,
  130. with your permission, I'll ask
    you a few questions.
  131. Pray sir, do you feel yourself
    a depraved creature?
  132. So depraved that you would never
    have thought of turning to God
  133. if God had not first
    put it into your heart?'
  134. Wesley answered him,
  135. 'Yes, I do indeed.'
  136. 'And do you utterly despair of
    recommending yourself to God
  137. by anything you can do?
  138. And look for salvation solely
  139. through the blood and
    righteousness of Christ?'
  140. 'Yes,' he answered.
  141. 'Solely through Christ.'
  142. 'But sir,' Simeon says,
  143. 'Supposing you were first
    saved by Christ,
  144. are you not somehow or other
    to save yourself afterwards
  145. by your own works?'
  146. 'Nope. I must be saved by Christ
    from first to last.'
  147. Simeon says, 'allowing then that
    you were first turned by the grace of God,
  148. are you not in some way or other
    to keep yourself by your own power?'
  149. 'No.'
  150. 'What then? Are you to be upheld
    every hour and every moment
  151. by God as much as an
    infant in its mother's arms?'
  152. Wesley, 'Yes. Altogether.'
  153. 'And is all your hope in the grace
    and mercy of God
  154. to preserve you until
    His heavenly kingdom?'
  155. 'Yes. I have no hope
    but in Him.'
  156. 'Then, sir, with your leave,
    I will put up my dagger again.
  157. For this is all my Calvinism.
  158. This is my election, my
    justification by faith,
  159. my final perseverence.
  160. It is in substance all that I hold.
  161. And as I hold it,
  162. and therefore if you please,
  163. instead of searching out terms
  164. and phrases to be a ground of contention
  165. between us,
  166. we will cordially unite in
    those things wherein we agree.'"
  167. And may God help us,
  168. because when that's not what's true,
  169. you have made your theology,
  170. you have made your doctrinal position
  171. into an idol.
  172. The doctrines of grace ought to
    humble us,
  173. not puff us up.
  174. And if it's puffing you up,
  175. you've made it into something
  176. God never intended it to be.
  177. The sovereignty of God ought to
  178. make us the humblest people
  179. on the face of the earth,
  180. if we really understand
    these things right.
  181. God help us be like
    Charles Simeon.
  182. Father, we pray that You would,
  183. may You work that in us.
  184. We pray it for Christ's sake.
  185. May You work just such an attitude,
  186. just such a heart,
  187. just such a graciousness
  188. as our brother Charles Simeon possessed,
  189. and as also our brother John Wesley.
  190. We thank You for the truth of Your Word,
  191. for the doctrines You've revealed to us.
  192. We thank You in Christ's name,
  193. Amen.