Further Reflections on Theological Triage
|by a Baptist Theologian(Comments on this post are closed temporarily. I you have further questions or comments, please email them to SBCToday.)
Today, I read yet another presentation of the Calvinist attempt, popularized in SBC circles by Al Mohler, to define fellowship by three levels of doctrine. Again, I left the little essay impressed at the tightness and tidiness of the system yet distressed at its utter unworkableness and narrowness.Who decides what doctrines are necessary to be accepted as a Christian? On the basis of what revelation was the system constructed? On the basis of what texts were the necessary doctrines decided? Could it be that there are those who may affirm the necessary doctrines, yet they are not really saved? Is a human saved by systematic theology, or by grace through faith in the risen Lord, the Son of God? Can Calvinists really claim that Calvinism is countenanced at best in the Baptist Faith and Message?
The Word of God is the means of grace! The Spirit of God empowers the reception of the Word! I would even go so far as to say that God will use Calvinist sermons to convey the Word. But I will never agree that any theological system is itself the Word of God and therefore necessary. Theology is a human reflection on God that may even be faithful to the Word in many things, but theology is a human activity. The Word of God is divine and thus infallible; systematic theology is a merely human response and thus fallible.
The system of theological triage may say, follow my doctrines, but Jesus said, “Follow Me!” Moreover, ethics disappears so easily in that system. While my Lord’s call to bear the cross places human will and action front and center. The person of Christ may not be displaced in favor of an abstract even Christian system, and His call to belief and act may not be displaced by any human system of thought.