I No Longer Like Nor Enjoy “A Good Theological Scrap”


samtheologyAsk anyone who has known me for any length of time, and most will state that Sam likes to debate and even argue, be it theology, politics, or historical subject matter.  Some will even say that it is Sam’s Irish DNA, always looking for a good wee scrap. Some will even go as far as to say that Sam just wants to provoke and be argumentative to make a point. I would say that the “old Sam” was very much all of these and so much more.  But something has changed.

The burden of apologetics and arguments

salvationI studied apologetics in both Bible College and Seminary. I loved presuppositional apologetics, and I was good at it. In both Bible College and in Seminary we had mock debates where theological and philosophical debates took place, and I was always a willing and engaging and enthusiastic participant in such encounters.  I had a mentality which focused on destroying the foundational arguments of opponents, and the mindset was always “take no prisoners”.  In other words, show my opponent no mercy by providing no opportunity for a counter argument, or any philosophical or theological leg to stand on.  My approach was always to cut these arguments at the knees and then decapitate the central premise of my opponent.  I did this in debates that focused on creation vs evolution, the inerrancy of the Scriptures, the veracity of the bodily resurrection of Jesus, an early date for the completion of the New Testament canon, the validity of the Baptism of the Spirit and the New Testament spiritual gifts in the life of the believer, as well as many more. Now today, I find apologetics a total bore.  I am convinced that it is love that changes the human heart, and not human arguments.  So instead I believe in engagement and encounter with Christ. So I look now to meaningful relationship and encounter and opportunity to bless and pray for people.  The Lord will convince them through love.

Turning away from old arguments to grace and love and letting go of beliefs that are no longer relevant

turnthecornerThere are times in your life, where you realize you have turned a corner, and when you look behind yourself, you cannot see beyond the corner you just turned. Over the last decade, I have had a lot of theology, philosophy, dogma, opinions of men, diverse writings all claiming a measure of truth, cast upon the waters and pass under the bridge. Much of it has never come back. Like the bread cast upon the waters (Ecclesiastes 11), the good will return… I have seen the return of grace, the finished work of the cross, union with Christ, non-violent atonement, the inclusive love of God, all return, and blossom and grow. Just when I thought that there wasn’t much that had changed, I find my old worldview and its philosophical and theological content turned upside down on its head, and I find myself laughing hysterically at it all. I realize that none of us can become so easily attached to our beliefs. What we need is to become more attached to the One we believe and proclaim.

Living out the gospel of grace and peace

gods-grace1All I have determined to be and do is impact my immediate circle with Jesus and the Gospel as I understand it, build relationships, engage with those who want to engage, and ignore those who prefer to have their own opinions reinforced, rather than actually engage meaningfully in the exploration of the faith once delivered to the saints. It is neither worth the frustration, nor is it worth the effects it has on one’s heart, mind, and body, to be constantly challenged, berated, slandered, ignored, ridiculed. One can only present the truth as one understands it, as graciously as possible, in love and forbearance, and lay it at their feet, and leave it there and walk away. It is not worth the effects it has on our health and well being. It is the Spirit of God and His word that does the convincing, not us. All I can do is present Christ and the Gospel of peace as I understand it and leave it in the hands of God. He is big enough to handle it. I don’t need to bear that burden. Jesus’ yoke is easy, and I prefer it to mine.

Walking out an open life before God and man

krysty2I want to walk a life that is open before God and His people, with open hands and an open heart, and I want to release all that God has put in me and keeps putting in me, so that others may live fully and completely and experience the best that God has for them.  I am only a steward of what God has given me, including my time, my talents, my resources, and especially the revelation and gifts God has given me. When you walk with and open heart and open hands, you really have nothing to lose. It is a win win!

God’s mercies and grace are new every morning

krysty5I have noticed during the last six months that God’s presence is so evident throughout the day and is a constant reminder of what it means to be in union with Him, and being One in Him.  His mercies are constant, and His love overwhelms me. I am often left without words and only tears running down my cheeks.  The revelation of knowing that you are loved by God changes everything.  To really know, that inner knowing, that you are truly loved, it puts and exclamation point on everything. I mean, do you really comprehend just how much you are loved by God?  I thought I knew this more clearly through the Toronto Renewal, but what I am finding out now, is by far, more staggering to my heart and to my mind, than what I thought I knew about the Father’s love. I am loved. You are loved. And there is nothing we can do about that, other than receive it and embrace it, and give it away.  There is nothing, no thing, that you can do to stop the love of God, deflect it, redirect it, or ignore it.  It doesn’t change a thing. You and I are loved by God. Period.

It is always good to ask hard questions and to doubt and question

godspurposeOn a regular basis, theological and philosophical questions are good. There is room for doubt. It is not a doubt in God, but a doubt in the beliefs that have shaped us through the influences of the opinions of supposed learned men and women. Theology is flawed and prone to error. The Truth of God is perfect and is found in the person of Christ. My opinions continue to undergo change and reformation. And that is a good thing. I am not saved or sustained by theology. I am saved and sustained through Jesus Christ. When I die I will find out just how wrong my theology was, and that Jesus loved me, loves me, will always love me in spite of my theological ideas, opinions and thoughts. Jesus loves all of us in spite of our theologies.

Peace.

~ Sam

 

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About Sam Buick

A lover and disciple of Jesus Christ. Married to my best friend, Lori-Anne. Father to 3 incredible daughters, Carragh, Caitlin and Erinn, and sons-in-law Alex, and Stephen Davis. An avid reader, a Droid user, a Mac addict, a lover of footy ball and football (there is a difference), and hockey. Once a soldier. Once a youth worker. Once an ordained minister. Once a claims adjuster. Once a charismatic, now a cessationist. Once a just war advocate, now a pacifist. A disciple of Christ, 5 point classical Calvinist. There is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ alone.
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6 Responses to I No Longer Like Nor Enjoy “A Good Theological Scrap”

  1. vonleonhardt2 says:

    Thanks for sharing, I’ve found I have also tired of such debates… just found I have trouble turning them off inadvertently running the thing then spitting the conclusion to a poor confused person.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam Buick says:

      Thanks for the feedback. I used to find it stimulating to debate. I used to be the living oxymoron of a Charismatic Calvinist. I no longer hold to Calvinism or any other ism. I found it all so tiresome. Emotionally it was taxing. I found that many just wanted to argue and not really debate in the classic sense of the word. I have found that doctrine not only divides, but it kills relationships. I have found that the language of Jesus is love and grace. It is Jesus who does the convincing by His Spirit and the Scriptures reveal God’s will and heart for people. When people are loved and respected, they usually return the same to you, and they will usually listen, even if they disagree. In the end love wins. It is pretty hard to argue or debate against love. God doesn’t need me or you to defend him in our pursuit of apologetics. Dialogue only can happen if both parties are willing. Too often debates actually become arguments and the points being made are turf to be won, like the few yards won by soldiers in a frontal attack in WW1, where there are so many casualties just for making a few yards of dirt. How many people suffer from our debating in our trying to prove our point? To what end? It is not dogma or doctrine that saves, but upon whom we believe that saves. Jesus is the embodiment of love. If we can love as He loves, maybe people will be persuaded by that love, that Jesus is not only real, but alive, and loves them. If we can get the religious dogma out of the way of our engagement with others, perhaps to essence of the heart of God for people, for intimacy and life in relationship, will actually break through. It is at least my hope that it will. Love makes a way where dogma and religion do not. In the end all that will matter is how well we loved others in the love of Christ. Let’s let Jesus do the saving, and let’s work on being better lovers and change the world one person at a time. Peace.

      Like

      • vonleonhardt2 says:

        I can’t say I’m over dogmas myself, I find I’m the religious “ponderer.” So I find the theological enterprise something uplifting, like learning the details about my wife. I’m the type that buys a telescope to look at stars.

        What turns me off the debate is that it all gets turned to “dead” facts that can get switched around mechanically. And I agree with you it’s very devisive. Also, to use the telescope metephor, you have to know how to point one ect. or else it’s just frustrating. I really dislike when advanced doctrines are given to beginners like they have a test to take. All an evangelist needs to speak is grace… milk before meat.

        I’ve seen the “love” language weaponized though, so I’m a bit slow to agree. The worst way but most effective way to hurt people is with hugs and kisses.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sam Buick says:

        Great comment. I concur with much of what you say, especially when “love is weaponized”. Totally agree on that score. I really appreciate the feedback. Peace.

        Like

  2. Jub says:

    Hi Sam, I loved hearing a little of your story from charismatic Calvinist to a pacifist, contemplative Christian mystic and sacramentalist, who is aware his theology may be wrong. I’m only concerned that my theology may be wrong because to the degree it is wrong, it is less transformative it can be of me and those around me by being less honouring of and truthful about God. I’ve begun sharing my ‘radically orthodox’ version of the Gospel on line. It’s incomplete and I still very much in the process of answering all the questions it raises and how to read Scripture differently /better. I’m looking of help if you’re interested…! See http://www.jub.id.au.
    Best wishes,
    John

    Like

    • Sam Buick says:

      Thanks for writing. I will check out your link. The transformative journey never ends. We never arrive and will never have a perfect theology or practice and find comfort in that. God is so much bigger as is his grace and he will continue to renew and change and transform those of us who humble themselves in this journey. Thanks again for writing.

      Like

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