December 26, 2009

"Rather Pleased with Our Theory"

We are all somewhat guilty of this, are we not? What a danger it is to 1) not be aware of it; and, 2) not heed this warning when we approach the Word of God:

There can be no doubt at all that the commonest cause [of misinterpreting the Bible] is our tendency to approach the Bible with a theory. We go to our Bibles with this theory, and everything we read is controlled by it ... There is a sense in which it is true to say that you can prove anything you like from the Bible. That is how heresies have arisen. The heretics were never dishonest men; they were mistaken men ... they have been some of the most sincere men that the Church has ever known. What was the matter with them? Their trouble was this; they evolved a theory and they were rather pleased with it; then they went back with this theory to the Bible, and they seemed to find it everywhere ... There is nothing so dangerous as to come to the Bible with a theory, with preconceived ideas, with some pet idea of our own ...

Now this particular danger tends chiefly to manifest itself in the matter of the relationship between law and grace ... Some so emphasize the law as to turn the gospel of Jesus Christ with its glorious liberty into nothing but a collection of moral maxims. It is all law to them and there is no grace left. They so talk of the Christian life as something that we have to do in order to make ourselves Christian, that it becomes pure legalism and there is really no grace in it. But let us remember also that it is equally possible so to over-emphasize grace at the expense of law as, again, to have something which is not the gospel of the New Testament.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

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