Angela Natel On domingo, 29 de maio de 2011 At 06:20

Godly counsel is a wonderful thing.

Phil Johnson made a remarkable comment some time back in one of the discussions at Pyromaniacs. He referred to the short life-span of theological views held by the people in their twenties. Every eighteen months or so some people go through a revolution in their thinking, a paradigm shift that leaves behind one view and is off touting a new one. I think this was a very shrewd observation.

Hence, some people change their theology more often than Madonna changed her image in her illustrious pop career. The point at issue is not of course the exact time frame involved but the short term exposure to, and grasp of, a particular view or church tradition.

At one level it begs the question about the depth of thought, learning, meditation, and understanding that lies behind what we believe. Whatever view you take on baptism, for example, what is transparently clear is that great men of God, with great learning, have written on the subject extensively in the past. One ought to be familiar with the best arguments for a position, and the best books on the subject, before changing sides. Shallow learning, frequent shifting of convictions, and the readiness to promote our new views with all the zeal of a fresh convert, are quite revealing indicators of our theological gravity.

The impact of this is seen in the democratization of Christian teaching. You can read all about it in the blogosphere, and hear all about it in the small group Bible studies.

Whether it is the cause, or the consequence, of the problem, there is no doubt that a minimalist view of doctrine is a factor in the a-historicizing of Christianity. Or, to put it another way, evangelicalismundermines a sense of the breadth and depth of orthodox Christian thought. A minimalist approach to statements of faith weakens the connection between the 21st century and the past. Of course some newer traditions have to scrabble around for historic roots because they haven't got any (the was true of the UK charismatic interest in the Celts that surfaced in the mid to late 1990s). A lack of awareness of historical theology also leaves room for novelties to pose as orthodoxy, and biblically established and historically believed truths to be accused of being innovations.

In addition it is all too easy to apply words to our views without sufficient care or warrant. So, we call ourselves "Reformed" or "Calvinists" quite happily, whilst having no acquaintance with the Westminster Standards or the Three Forms of Unity (and if you think you are Reformed but wonder what the Three Forms of Unity are then it is high time to do some homework). Whatever you make of Reformed theology the last thing it could be accused of is being lightweight. The heritage of writing (exegetical, systematic, confessional, pastoral) is one of the wonders of the world. Standing before such works leaves one feeling very small. It is great to be a sapling in the Reformed forest because however small you are in stature the land is firm and the soil is rich.

Novelties and innovations appear to be such when we have done our homework on the things that we believe. Without that homework our claim to be biblical, evangelical, or even Reformed, simply masks a shallowness of thought. No wonder then if we get dazzled by the wrapping paper of wayward doctrines.

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Liberdade de Expressão

É importante esclarecer que este BLOG, em plena vigência do Estado Democrático de Direito, exercita-se das prerrogativas constantes dos incisos IV e IX, do artigo 5º, da Constituição Federal. Relembrando os referidos textos constitucionais, verifica-se:
“é livre a manifestação do pensamento, sendo vedado o anonimato" (inciso IV) e "é livre a expressão da atividade intelectual, artística, científica e de comunicação, independentemente de censura ou licença"(inciso IX). Além disso, cabe salientar que a proteção legal de nosso trabalho também se constata na análise mais acurada do inciso VI, do mesmo artigo em comento, quando sentencia que "é inviolável a liberdade de consciência e de crença". Tendo sido explicitada, faz-se necessário, ainda, esclarecer que as menções, aferições, ou até mesmo as aparentes críticas que, porventura, se façam a respeito de doutrinas das mais diversas crenças, situam-se e estão adstritas tão somente ao campo da"argumentação", ou seja, são abordagens que se limitam puramente às questões teológicas e doutrinárias. Assim sendo, não há que se falar em difamação, crime contra a honra de quem quer que seja, ressaltando-se, inclusive, que tais discussões não estão voltadas para a pessoa, mas para idéias e doutrinas.