I'm trying to memorize 1 Timothy over the coming few months. Key word: "trying". By the way, that's a confession because I'm terrible at memorizing Scripture, which shouldn't be suprising because it's a disciple Satan hates, so it's going to be tough.
Anyway, I'm reminded about how much the Pastoral letters are about securing, protecting, and teaching rigth doctrine. That "theme" gets frowns today. We think of academics or irrelevant, fundamentalist preachers. But we've got it all wrong. Over and over again, Paul connects doctrine and life. What happens today is that we seepeople who are so intellectual in their doctrinal grasp that they have no practice or can't understand how anything works in the world. We see that's a problems, but we then make the mistake of throwing out rigorous, sweat-inducing yet joyful theology for fear of sacrificing "application".
What a load of crud (this is a family site :)
Paul says tat if you don't have thorough, Christological doctrine, you don't have Christian praxis...you've got religion and moralism at best, hypocrisy and hell at worst. After all, anyone can put forward "practical" advice...preachers do it every week while never or rarely using the Bible.
Every day, Christians dismiss the knowledge of God with "oh, that's just theology". That's right. We're all theologians, with our ideas of God and meaning, but too often, we're just not very good theologians. To the comment "oh, that's just theology", we should reply, "Yes, and that's Paul and Jesus and David and Moses...."
Do we actually expect the God of the univese to be so simple and compact for our little minds, that we wouldn't have to labor in prayer and study to understand Him better? (which, by the way, is the source of actual joy)
The American church divided theology from praxis most strikingly in the earlier 20th century, when conservative rejected and feared their intellectual, yet liberal conterparts. now we've retreated so far that we've become anti-intellectual at best, and more to the point, anti-theological. As a result, we have dead churches dead faith, and dead practice. Only the gospel--found in a thorough life long submission to and journey with the Bible, which is all about Jesus---produces any sort of "application" worthy to be called godly.
Shall we settle for anything less?