Thursday, February 17, 2011

Easy Theology

Thus men will lie on their backs, talking about the fall of man, and never make an effort to get up. (Henry David Thoreau)

Did you know each and every one of us is directed by a theology? Theology is simply what we think about God. Even atheists have a theology guiding them. So, how’s your theology these days? Where’s it leading you?

Chapter 2 of The Spirit of the Disciplines is about having a theology that leads/aids us in making change. To run with the quote at the beginning, it’s about making the effort to change. We know Jesus has commissioned us to make Christlike disciples in the nations (this includes making disciples who follow Jesus and who become like Him in character), but do we know how to go about it? This is where training in the spiritual disciplines comes in. A great quote from John Wesley was used to support bringing discipline into the Christian life:

It was a common saying among the Christians of the primitive church, “The soul and the body make a man; the spirit and discipline make a Christian:” implying that none could be real Christians without the help of Christian discipline. But if this be so, is it any wonder we find so few Christians, for where is Christian discipline?

The spiritual disciplines aid us in offering our bodies as living sacrifices to God (Rom 12:2). Willard closes the chapter by saying, “Full participation in the life of God’s Kingdom and in the vivid companionship of Christ comes to us only through appropriate exercise in the disciplines for life in the spirit.”

Do you agree/disagree with this?


Nelsman said...

I like the comparison of spiritual exercise and physical exercise and the way it reinforces studying the word.

Mr. Guthrie said...

I think the disciplines are necessary in that in private they prepare us for public ministry and reflecting Christ's image. Christ's 40 days in the wilderness prepared him for the ignaugural of his public ministry. Anyone in fellowship with him on day 41 would have no idea of what he experienced on days 1-40. (I don't know if the 40 days in the wilderness is the best analogy, but it is the best I could come up with.) The disciplines keep us from being burned out with other important aspects of the Christian life such as Church fellowship and service, giving of our resources, the regular reading of the Word, prayer and witnessing. By becoming rightly related to the Holy Spirit in private, we are able to learn to walk in the power of the Spirit and be guided by the Spirit in our entire Christian walk.

Tim Sheets said...

Great thoughts guys! In the next chapter Willard deals with the idea of salvation being a way of life and not just a moment in time. As a wesleyan I already beleive this about salvation. My theology prof at IWU always reminded us, "Salvation is a journey."