I am genuinely saddened and thus concerned for the range of confusion out there in the Christian church in particular. We run to and fro between extremes of doctrine and the winds of change foisted upon us by our socio-cultural mores. We interpret Scripture by using the categories and emphases provided for us through our own pervasive and situations and conditions. We become ensnared by flights of theological fancy that have more to do with sensationalism and immediacy than they do with God as revealed in Jesus Christ. I think part of this comes from the fact that we are very insecure people (so a little psychology). We have no grounding in the God revealed in Jesus Christ, even though we love him. We don’t read the Bible, ourselves, the culture, etc. from him; but instead we attempt to read him from ourselves, our experiences, our cultures, and various regional and national modes of life.
Theologically though this is backwards isn’t it? It is known in the history of ideas as Pelagianism (that nature is neutral in regard to God, and what we do with him depends upon our choice not his), or in the realm of theological ideas as Adoptionism–this is a Christological heresy that says that the Christ simply ‘adopted’ the humanity of a man named Jesus at his baptism; the effect being that there is a detachment between the person of the eternal Son and the man from Nazareth, Jesus Christ. And so Jesus ends up getting used as a kind of instrument through which God accomplishes his salvation purposes, and nothing else. The result though, is that there is an artificial attachment of humanity (or manity) to the eternal Son, and one that is undertaken from below (TF Torrance writes in this regard about adoptionism: ‘the theory that Jesus was born human but adopted to be the Son of God’).
Wow, this post has taken a life of its own. I intended to write on the doctrine of assurance of salvation through quoting something from TF Torrance, and then commenting further from there. So sticking with the theme of this post then, my point is this: We do not or ought not direct God and his ways from our ways; his ways, his act in his Son Jesus Christ ought to serve as definitive for how we conceive of him, and should motivate us to do so as we think of his great love for us revealed as it is in the cross of his eternal Son, Jesus Christ.
I think the reason I ended up going this way in this post is because of the angst I am feeling about how ‘windy’ the evangelical (so called progressive) branch of the church has become, and is becoming (esp. in regard to ethics). There seems to be no regard whatsoever for the tradition of the church, and how we ought to critically engage with that as we read the Scripture situated as it is from with the Triune speech of God given by the breath of the Holy Spirit from the humanity and apostolicity of Jesus Christ.