I believe a lot of things that are wrong, and so do you!
The good news is, God uses this for our good.
You may have heard it said that it’s impossible for two people to ever read the same book, or that you never read the same book twice, and it’s true. Every person takes the pages they read and experiences them through their own unique lens. Then, even this is not static, because our perspectives change with age and experience.
I read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe when I was eleven. I loved it. I just re-read it, and it was a totally different book. The narrator’s voice sounded different, the story was simpler, and Aslan was more relatable. Yet, the words never changed, I did. Same book, but a different book for me.
The same holds true with the Bible. God created me uniquely in His image, so I will uniquely encounter His character in the Bible in a way that you won’t, because you’re not me. You will see things in the Bible I guarantee you I will miss, because I’m not you. That’s why we are the body of Christ. That’s why we need each other. We all have biases, blind spots, wrong interpretations, misplaced conclusions…we all have plenty wrong with what we believe.
So why does God allow that? Why is God so okay with us viewing Him through inaccurate lenses? We’ve built entire doctrines about how God works, how sanctification works, how healing works, and a million other things that are wrong! We’ve not only put God in a box, but the box isn’t even the right color!
This is because God gladly relates to us within our wrong framework we’ve built even while He works to free us from it.
Wrong theology still works, because it helps us connect to Him.
Even the Apostle Paul recognizes this. He says that we see through a dark, distorted lens, and our knowledge is lacking and broken. Only once Jesus has perfected all things at the end of days will we have these glaring problems corrected. (1 Cor 13:12) Just try telling your pastor that the Apostle Paul, the writer of nearly half the New Testament, saw God through a dark and distorted lens. I’m sure that will go over well.
Here’s a biblical example: In the Roman church, there was a group of Christians who wholeheartedly believed it was wrong to eat meat, while the other group believed every food was good to eat. Paul acknowledges that one view is the “weaker” view (his nice way of saying “yea, they are wrong”), but he tells the “strong” to not set a stumbling block in front of the weak. Paul even tells the Romans that all foods are okay to eat, but he doesn’t condemn the weak for their wrong interpretation. Instead he says “look guys, it’s not about all that, it’s about living right between you and God, overwhelmed by peace, overflowing with joy. That’s Christianity; that’s the kingdom.” (Rom 14:17, my paraphrase)
Living in this kind of Christianity, God can take care of our wrong theology in the context of deep, fulfilling relationship with us. We don’t have to judge one another or stress about how he believes everyone should speak in tongues while she believes the gifts of the spirit have ceased, or how she believes it’s always God’s will to heal while he believes it’s only sometimes his will. We don’t have to be divided because I’m a Calvinist and you’re an Arminianist, or because you have no idea what those words mean and I’m a theologian!
Here’s a more modern example that I’ve heard quite a bit on from both sides. There is a theology that says that people struggle with various issues because of curses passed down through their generational line. The way to get over these issues is to repent and break off these curses through the power of Jesus. Others believe that when Jesus was cursed on the cross, and paid for the sins of the world, that included any curses and generational sins, which means those curses are broken off at the moment of salvation. One is a system to bring a person into freedom through the power of the cross, the other says because of the cross you were already freed, meaning nothing is there to remove. People have found genuine freedom and happiness through both theologies. How does that work?
Both theologies cause people to put trust in the character of God. They both bring a person into the revelation that God is a good, loving, kind God who wants us to be free and wants our joy to be made complete. This trust in God allows Him to do what he loves to do, and results in life for the person. Sure, one interpretation is right, and the other has a distorted perspective, but both allow people to grow deeper in their relationship with God. God chooses to work within both of those boxes so that he can take them into deeper relational joy with Him.
Faith can move mountains in your life. Even when your faith is in a perspective that’s missing something, God can use that faith to change your life. We should continue to be truth seekers, but God meets us when our “truth” is still lacking. He meets us in this tension of ignorance, distortion, and learning.
Wrong theology works.
Because God is that darn good to us.
25 thoughts on “Why Wrong Theology Works”
Reblogged this on Drex & Draculie and commented:
I rebloging this post because I want the body of Christ become one unity. Not divided by any doctrine. I do believe doctrine and other things is important, but how Jesus change our life through our relationship with Him, that’s more important.
Reblogged this on A Seeker's Musings and commented:
This is excellent.
This is excellent. You put much of what I believe into words perfectly. Thank you!
That’s awesome. One of the things I strive to do is to provide language for the things God is doing in this generation, so it’s quite a blessing to hear you say that.
Fabulous post. Too often we place God in a discoloured box…not only is it discoloured but it’s also not big enough! I enjoyed reading this, thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I am often shaken off for my thoughts because they are too simple and not explained through hard to pronounce words. If only our churches spent more time Preaching the theology of grace and love, interdominational warring might not be so bad… just a dream Haha!
Well Jesus had a similar dream. One body, one with one another, one in Him. Thanks for reading this post. My both of our boxes keep expanding!
Reblogged this on Every Day Christians and commented:
Great article that I believe every one should read.
Thank you very much. That is quite a statement, and I’m honored it was said about me. 🙂
Reblogged this on YOU DECIDE and commented:
I agree with the above comment 🙂
Wow. Thank you so much! I’m honored and filled with joy that you were impacted enough to share this.
yep, I agree…even if it is bad theology 😉
Well, if it is, God will use it until it gets better anyway! 😀
I have always looked at my faith life as a journey of the heart. More specifically, the heart defined as the whole person. My emotions, intellect, senses, everything. In every stage of my walk with God there has been a journey of the heart which has been shaped by God. (like you said) Sometimes I believe He is more interested in the development of the heart than he is our “proper” understanding of minor issues. I would however say there are a few major theological issues (like Jesus) that are paramount to the journey. Excellent thoughts!
Mark, thanks for sharing your perspective. I’m with you 100%. In fact, the only reason why God can work through our wrong theology is that we have a personal relationship with a real Person named Jesus and a real Person named the Holy Spirit who teach us and lead us into all truth. God is the ever resting one, meaning that even when we are wrong, he is not worried or worked up about it. He uses his relationship with us to keep us growing closer to us. He even uses our wrong thoughts and paradigms to draw us closer.
OOh er it’s all a bit complex life, isn’t it … I think I’m best just getting on with it and trying “to live right” as my mum would have said. I like to read others views on the subject though so I enjoyed this post – lots to think about. 🙂
I hear what you’re saying. We should never get lost in the theology anyway– get caught up in whether we are “right” or wrong. That’s kind of my point, that we are all wrong about something anyway, but if we are pursuing relationship with God then our wrong theology won’t be a hindrance to growing closer to Him. It will drive us that direction as we “live right.” I would only say that living right is not about doing what is right first. Living right means living in active communion with God. If you are constantly in relationship, talking things out with Him, feeling His heart, He-breathes-out-I-breathe-in, then the right actions will take care of themselves. I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Hope to hear from you again.
Karsten, are you ready to see that same Bible you have read again… but see it as a whole new book as you never knew? Would you like to see beyond the that distorted looking glass? I can show you something magical that will leave you in awe and wonder of our Creator. If so write me and maybe we can set up a call and I will show you a world beyond the wardrobe, so you can see the land of Narnia. I think you’re are ready for some new truth.
Thank you for your offer. I appreciate it a lot, and I enjoy your perspectives that you share on your blog. You definitely have a “lens” you see things through that has a lot of truth to offer. Right now I’m on my own journey with God, and I’m trying to work through the things he is showing me with the people around me. I’m enjoying the season I’m in, and I’m growing a lot. God is certainly opening my eyes to new truth in who He is that I’ve never seen before, which is one of the big reasons I’ve created this blog. Right now, while I love reading your blog, I don’t feel I’m ready to have that conversation though. Some day, it may very well happen, just not yet. However, as I said, I value what you have to say and I’ll continue to read your blog and converse with you over wordpress as long as you are willing. Thank you again for all your encouragement and support.
Reblogged this on soulblindministry and commented:
I feel this post deserves more eyes upon it. So I am reblogging it to my readers.
Yes, God does work within our wrong theology, but when we believe lies, which is all wrong theology is, we are believing something contrary to Jesus, and our relationship with him and his ability to work in our lives is limited, depending on how big of a lie or how many we are believing.He has said, You shall know the Truth shall set you free, so anything that is wrong is only a hindrance and a chain. (By the way, it never says that our lense is inaccurate, it says clouded or dim which means it might be harder to see, but it is not wrong, it is just not the best resolution. If I’m looking at a dog and I see a circus clown, that is wrong. But if I am looking at a dog and I’m looking through thick fog, I can still tell its a dog, I just can’t see it quite as well. To me that’s a big difference. The bible is all about accuracy and being as accurate as possible.) Also, “wrong theology” is a horribly broad term that could mean a vast range of different ideas. It could be referring to something so totally backwards as thinking that Jesus is the Devil and the Devil is really God (which is what they are taught in the witchcraft religion) or it could be referring to the debate on what exactly blaspheming the Holy Spirit means. The problem is, with bad theology, we limit what we allow God to do in our lives. Of course he still loves us, but a huge problem with the church today is the constant obsession with creating new theologies (when God’s already given us all the theology we need). It’s like “learning and learning but never coming to the knowledge of the Truth.” It’s also like putting our faith in “persuasive words of men’s wisdom” that Paul was speaking against. Fortunately we DO have exactly correct doctrine. It’s called the Bible, and more than that, it’s called “Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” and what that means to us today is expounded upon perfectly in only one place: the Bible. This is what we need to let be our filter, and we should run everything by this only, because as you say, we are imperfect, His word is not. What I read in the Bible tells me that false doctrine IS a big cause for concern, ESPECIALLY in the last days and that is important to address it; if it were not, we would not be warned over and over, in virtually every letter of the new testament (often with sharp words) about false teachers and false doctrines that creep into the church. It is actually revealed that many false doctrines are created and given to Christians directly from the Devil himself. In his letters to Timothy, Paul goes into detail about these “doctrines of demons”. In practically every letter of the new testament a huge portion of the text is dedicated to the chastisement a specific church for their false doctrine, obviously an act that Paul and Jude and others felt a necessary and vital part of ministry, as did God Himself or there would be not so much about it as there is. Check it out, that’s a huge main point of the new testament. All false doctrine is, is getting of course in our Christian walk; it is believing a lie, and all lies are contrary to THE Truth and their only purpose is to tear us away from our Father in Heaven. How were the churches in Revelation were led astray? By the false doctrine, or false theology, warned against in every book of the new testament. Just read Jude. The entire book of Galatians was written by Paul for the purpose of chastising a church for believing a certain false doctrine. He even stated that they had “fallen from grace,” the exact same wording used about Satan. Sure, there is no way we can know everything and when we don’t understand something in the bible or we see something that may seem like a contradiction, we should admit that we don’t understand and bring it before the Lord. We can’t e expected to know everything, and God doesn’t expect us or want us to. But we should DEFINITELY be concerned with false doctrine in our churches. If we are truly near the end times, then, according to biblical prophecy, this is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, problem today. Our doctrine is spelled out plainly in the book that we confess to be the living word of God, and in the person of Jesus Christ. He has given us EVERY thing that pertains to life and godliness, he has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing. That means a lot more than I even know. But I do know that Christians will have no excuse for walking in their lies because, as Jesus says, he will not be judging us on that day, his WORD that he has spoken is what will judge us. That’s in the bible too. In other words, we have the truth, and we have everything we need, everything that our Father could possibly have given us. He loves us very much, and could not have given us any more than He has. And as Christians, we will not be condemned on that day, but we will face a judgement, and He has arranged it in such a way that on that day when we face our Creator we will have absolutely no excuse for walking in any lies. And by no means do I mean to imply that I have the total truth. I will be the first to admit that I don’t, but those who seek will find, and it is our glory to seek it out, and that is our life mandate. “You have said ‘Seek my face’ my heart says to you ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek.'” Psalm 27. Seek and you will find, that is a promise. The “doctrine” or “theology” debate is a lot deeper than it appears on the surface. We have been called to make it a big part of our very life. To me, it is not just a question of who is right or wrong, it is the search for truth; my very life journey. If Jesus is the truth, and I am to follow Him, I don’t want to spend any more of my short life on this earth believing any more of the lie. “Seek ye FIRST the Kingdom of God” exactly what the Kingdom of God is, I’m not sure, but that is the point. We are supposed to seek it. And by definition, that would make a huge part cutting all “false doctrine” out of our lives. “False doctrine” “false theology” are nothing other than lies created by the father of lies, and I feel our time as Christians would be better spent seeking out the Truth and educating each other on that than on furthering this false sense of peace, this complacency already rampant in our churches that causes people to become comfortable in their boxes of lies they have helped the devil create for themselves. 1st and 2nd Timothy and Jude and many many others said it first.
“I determined to know NOTHING among you, save Jesus Christ and HIM crucified.”
This is our doctrine. I don’t have the answers, but I know the one who does. I can’t fix your problems, but I know the one who can. His name is Jesus and I will point toward Him til the day I die, Lord willing. The best place to hear about him is in the word of God. This is our doctrine. It is not the wisdom of men, it is the man Jesus Christ. Most of our answers and confusions would be completely cleared up if we just read the word. But many do not. I will be the first to admit that I should more often. God Bless every one who reads this, I pray that God gives you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him and that he opens your eyes to his Truth, in Jesus name. You shall know the Truth and the TRUTH is what sets you free. Amen.
Thank you for your response Christina. I understand where you are coming from, and I think a lot of what you are saying is right on. It is totally true that wrong doctrine can be dangerous. When we hold up our doctrines as true and they are not, they divide us against the very Body of Christ we are supposed to be a part of. Suddenly, Charismatics and Baptists are warring against each other because they are both fully convinced that their doctrine on the gifts of the spirit is true. Calvinists and Arminianists can’t get along because one side thinks the other is dead wrong. We split, we divide, we chop up God’s bride like an ax murderer chops up a body. Then we pat ourselves on the back for it for defending “truth.” It is devastating what the effects of wrong theology can do to someone. Especially when that theology causes you to prop up any doctrine above the doctrine of love.
I totally agree that the truth alone will set us free. That is why I am so grateful that truth is a Man who is God whose name is Jesus, and not any doctrine. (John 14:6) As we seek relationship with this Man, He will be faithful to lead us into all truth, and correct our wrong theology. That’s why I said in my post that “God gladly relates to us within our wrong framework we’ve built while all the while trying to free us from it.” In the context of relationship, God will work within our wrong theology so he can push us toward freedom. In a big way, that’s why I created this blog. I’m here to be sandpaper to wrong theology, my own included. My heart is to say the things on God’s heart, even if it rubs against what the church of today has determined is “normal” theology. I’m interested in honoring my friend and God, and bringing people closer to Him, even if it is uncomfortable for me or for them. He is worth it.
I also totally agree that there are certain doctrines that pit themselves directly against the gospel, and those are doctrines of demons that must be spoken against. For example, in 1 John: John is speaking against Gnosticism, the belief that the physical world is evil. They taught that Jesus did not come in a physical body, which John calls the “antichrist spirit”, denying that Jesus came “in the flesh.” John, like Paul, was tearing down this doctrine because it went against “Christ and Him crucified,” the verse you rightly quoted. Paul, John, Jude, James, all recognized that there was a core gospel that was essential. A gospel that if even an angel came and deviated from teaching, he was to be considered as lying! This is a serious doctrinal issue, and the Apostles took it as such. However, it is so important –essential even– to be sure of what exactly this doctrine is. What should be condemned, or rebutted at all costs if anything different is taught? Well, here it is:
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Cor 2:2)
I am so glad you brought this verse up, because it so perfectly reveals what Paul’s teaching on wrong theology is. There is room for differing theology, except about this one thing. Paul says the gospel is NOTHING but Christ and Him crucified. No other doctrine. No other teaching. No other belief. Just Jesus. His death, His resurrection. I think from the whole of scripture though, we see that the gospel also includes the virgin birth, Jesus as fully God and fully man (“in the flesh”), and salvation by grace through faith alone, and not by our own works. Lastly, I think the gospel includes the fruit of a changed life. This is not spelled out in scripture as part of the gospel, but it seems to me that it is clearly within the teaching of scripture. This is where I think your “dog is a clown” analogy fits perfectly. Our dim lens means we “know in part” (1 Cor 13:12), so there are pieces missing from our theology, things we believe that we only believe because we are missing the whole picture. However, it doesn’t mean that we have any room to call the gospel anything different from what it is. The false teachers in Galatia tried to say salvation was by works (through circumcision) and Paul put down the hammer on them. The Gnostics tried to say Jesus wasn’t fully man; John said “oh no you didn’t!” The Pharisees tried to say he was never resurrected; the Apostles said “He’s alive!” You contradict the gospel, you are in trouble. You can’t call the dog a clown. But…
We are far off from the dog. It is foggy, and night time. The light keeps changing with every glance. We have the basic shape that never changes, but the “filler” changes all the time. At one point, we may see a great dane. As we get closer, we realize it was just our bad eyes; it’s really a chiwawa. Yet, as the light gets better, we see it must be shitsu. Then again, now that we are approaching the end of the journey, it’s clearly bigger than any of those little dogs. And now that the fog is clearing, we see details we never saw before. “OH MY!” you exclaim. “I knew it was a dog all along, but now, here on the other side, I see that it’s really a technicolor dalmatian! Look at those beautiful purple spots!” God never changes. Truth is a Man, and He never changes. The truth behind the words of the Bible, the truth found in the Man of Jesus, NEVER, EVER, changes. Yet, day by day, our experience of it, our depth of understanding it, our ability to perceive it, goes through radical variations. You may know something of the Judge side of God that I am totally missing, but I may know something of his kindness that you never even imagined. Our dark lenses make us blind to the “beautiful purple spots” on the gospel. God’s ok with that, though. He will keep seeking you as you keep seeking Him. He’ll keep adjusting your perception as you keep getting to know Him. And yes, God will even work through your wrong theology to help you see Him more clearly, until the day that you finally let go of whatever those wrong doctrines and lenses are and fully embrace Him in all His technicolor beauty.
Again, thank you so much for your response. I hope this clears things up a bit.
Great thoughts! If God only worked with right theology we would all be in big trouble!