I, Reactionary

I tend to react. When I read bad theology, I react. When I hear falsehood promoted within the Church, I react. When I hear someone suggest that it is appropriate for a Christian to support the Yankees, I react. Reacting against error is a good thing, but it cannot be the only thing.

Throughout Church history, theology has been defined over against error—the Church has reacted. When theologians recognize error they counter it, set the record straight, and help God’s people to think and act biblically. Error has often served in the providence of God to sharpen the Church’s understanding and explanation of the faith once for all delivered to the saints.

At the same time, the Church and her pastors must also strive to offer positive truth. In 2 Corinthians 4:2 the Apostle Paul taught that he and his fellow missionaries ministered “by the open statement of the truth.” The Church cannot content itself simply to oppose error; such a posture has the effect of making Christians sound shrill, reactionary, and negative. Throwing darts at everything that is wrong, we become theological naysayers, pointing out specks and straining gnats, while failing to state the beauty of biblical Christianity in positive terms.

I find that I am better at analyzing faults than offering Christ. It is a tendency I hope to remedy, and I have begun a self-imposed course of study and prayer to ground myself in a biblical, historic, and confessional understanding of the Church, her mission among the nations, and the distinction between her primary calling and her secondary duties.

In short, I want to react less and lead more, making an “open statement of the truth” more than I make a critique of perceived errors.

Will you join me?

One thought on “I, Reactionary

  1. Would love to! The church must testify to the world of the beauty of the Creator’s revelation and His design and purpose at Creation. But, often we content ourselves merely to critique the world’s hobbled attempts to fix the distortions of the Fall. We in the church must address, in Christ, the broader questions not only of ‘from what’ and ‘to what’ are we Redeemed?’ but ‘to what are we Restored?’: God’s perfect Creation order–the expression of his eternal character and love for his creatures. Only then may we embrace not only the cure for the rebellion of the Fall, but the healing of rebellion’s victims, and the corruption and polution of rebellion’s systems, processes, and thought, until He comes again.

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