When we have a promise, it’s easy to add little things here and there, but is it helpful?
Christianity so many times where an interpretation of a promise requires a certain amount of speculation. That’s a given, we are working from a text that cannot answer all the questions we have of it. Speculation or theorea allows us to probe, explore, and think through the thoughts and ideas present in the text. It’s part of our job to not only speculatively engage with the ideas in a text but to take it one step further to enter into the realm of practice.
But often, people either fail to recognize their own speculation or where they have taken substantial deviations from the text and use their own theorea as essential elements of the gospel. They are in good company, the writers of the creeds did the same thing, but these ideas that became part of the creeds were ironed out over centuries sometimes with humility sometimes with pride. The later causing strife the former bringing unity, but in the end the conflicts resolved.
With the coming of the american denominational or fractional church – it has now is common practice to divide over arcane and obscure speculation based on limited scripture and the practices that result. Cultural climate and the number of churches around the corner frees us from committing to one unifying vision and from having to converse with others on our speculation. This is not a positive freedom granted to us, but a sinful reality of the broken church in the States.
The rapture, the nature of heaven, details concerning the end times, predestination – they all are being used to draw up battle lines.
We need to kick back and be able to do what Aristotle describes as the mark of the educated man, “being able to entertain a thought without agreeing with it”. A few listening skill are always a good thing to add to any repertoire all for the sake of hearing new ideas or ideas other than our own. Add a grain of humility and start trusting in Christ over our ideas and the promises actually found in scripture over our additions and omissions, and we’ll be cooking.