(If you haven’t read it already, scroll down and read the previous post.  This one will make a lot more sense.  Maybe.)

Of course, I want my son Jonathan to learn to read and write—and not just his name.  I want him to be able to read great works of literature and to be able to record his own thoughts in writing.  Part of what I want him to become is a literate person, because I believe that is what is best for him.  If he can still only write the first three letters of his name when he is eight years old, I’ll be worried.  Getting it right is important, but it comes in stages.

And what if he doesn’t learn to read and write?  What if he never gets it completely right?  Will he cease to be my son?  Will I cease to accept him?  Certainly not.  Getting things right and his relationship with me—they are both important, but they are separate issues, unless he stubbornly refuses to listen to me as his teacher.

To loosely quote my former theology professor, C. Leonard Allen — “Remember, guys.  (It was an all-male class.)  We’re not saved by theology.  Not even by good theology.”

That is not to say that theology—good theology—is unimportant.  But it is to say that I’m saved by the blood of Jesus, not by theological prowess, and certainly not by having all the right answers.  Just as there are many blessings that Jonathan will never experience or even understand if he remains illiterate, there are many spiritual blessings that I miss out on if I remain theologically or biblically ignorant. 

Christians who do not learn to think biblically are limited in their ability to bear a credible witness for Jesus, especially in a questioning world.  By “thinking biblically” I don’t just mean knowing the details, but having an integrated understanding of Scripture and, especially, the God who reveals himself through the story.  I mean thinking about what the will of God, which has been revealed in history, is for this day in which new, as well as old, questions are being asked.  No one who thinks biblically, however, always gets it right.  Scholars are constantly critiquing one another, and rightfully so.  It’s the dialogue that advances the pursuit of truth.  How much more should we slower thinkers be free to reflect, to share, to dialogue,  without fear of failing to get it right every time?

Maybe what’s most important is that the dialogue take on a vertical, as well as horizontal dimension—that truth be pursued prayerfully, as well as intellectually, trusting the Spirit to guide the intellect.  Maybe getting it right—really right—can only happen when I’m in close relationship with my Father,  sharing with Him as I learn, and always eager for Him to teach me more.

(It is somewhat ironic that I posted this once, deleted it, edited it, and posted it again.  I really want to get it right!)

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