“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20 (ESV)
We called ourselves The Pre-Dawn Theological Society (PDTS for short). At the beginning, we were officially our local church’s men’s Bible study. We met on Monday mornings from 6:30 to 7:30 (which, in winter, is pre-dawn – hence our unofficial name).
We were never a large group. But we were a band of brothers. It took us over a year to study the book of John. Yes, we were that thorough.
One of the really great things about the PDTS is that we rarely took our theology too seriously. What I mean is, if someone had a differing view on a subject, their opinion was respected.
They were respected.
We realized that some folks take theology waaaaay too seriously. Good theology always leads one to God. Good theology reveals the Lord to those who earnestly seek Him.
On the other hand, bad theology merely leads one to an “ism”. Or against an “ism”. Bad theology has a tendency to turn legalistic. If your teaching exists to merely disprove someone else’s teaching, that is bad theology.
We are called to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not propagate a theological point of view.
Over the years, I have attended and been active in many different churches, of many different denominations. All of them had good, valuable lessons that I will always be grateful for. And all of them had problems as well.
And I will confess that I have done more than my fair share of complaining about the bad things I found in some churches. For that I am truly sorry. I expected too much.
What I have come to realize, come to recognize, is that truly, deep down, when you strip away all the excess stuff churches unload on their congregants, we are all bound by faith in Christ. Some have a stronger faith than others. Some have radically different views on theology and scriptural interpretations and sacraments and church government and worship styles and tongues and prayer and teaching and on and on ad nauseum…
But we are all God’s children. We are all sinners, saved by grace. We all should be joyously celebrating our freedom in Christ and not taking our theological “isms” so seriously. We should be filled with God’s peace, grateful for His grace, extending His love and mercy to all, regardless of theological bent.
Today, a few of us from the PDTS got back together for the first time in many months to spend a couple of hours in God’s Word. The time went too fast as we talked about the role of reason in our faith. I have missed the iron sharpening. I have missed these men, my brothers in Christ. We take God very seriously. But we also recognize that man is imperfect, as are our views. Only God is perfect. We should bear this in mind when we seek the Lord.
Love God. Love one another. Bear one another’s burdens. Seek God first. Let love rule, with great humility and grace.