Spiritual maturity has little to do with doctrine | 1 Corinthians 3.1-3

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And so, brothers and sisters, I could not speak to you as spiritual people, but rather as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for solid food. Even now you are still not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For as long as there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving according to human inclinations?

1 Corinthians 3.1-3

Firstly: Oh. Snap. Knowing the issues this church deals with, that’s got to be so insulting to them in the highest degree. “You are not spiritually mature.” But notice what makes them immature: not doctrine. Paul says time and time again throughout this letter: they’ve got wisdom and doctrine. And yet they are “infants”. Why? Jealousy. Wow.

Think: Do we think that we are “spiritually immature” when we’re “simply” jealous? What of other emotional, heart things? Do we use those things to judge our “spiritual maturity”? Or do we look more to doctrinal knowledge, what podcasts we listen to, what books we read, or how good our “quiet times” are?

See other Marginalia here. Read more about the series here.

a brief Prodigal Paul doctrinal statement


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As I am currently registering for my seminary classes, I thought I’d post this “theological statement” I had to write as part of my application materials. Some friends of mine had thought it would be interesting to read what I wrote, so here it is.

Seeing as I was writing to a seminary staff audience, there might be some references that aren’t commonly understood. I’ll link to times I’ve written about some items, but otherwise, any terminology or ideas that aren’t explained are a simple Wikipedia (or Theopedia–yes, it’s a real thing) search away. Continue reading

“Seminaries & the Nature of Truth” – GoingToSeminary.com


Hey, just wanted to write a quick note letting you all know that my new article is up on GoingToSeminary.com.  This is Part 2 of a very unofficial series I’m doing on Truth and Doctrine.  The first part went up about a week and half ago, and had some great feedback on it.  This article is getting mostly positive feedback, though maybe I wasn’t as clear on this one.  I would love some more feedback.  By the way, Beauty Part 10, should be up in the next few minutes.  Here’s the link to the GtS article:

http://www.goingtoseminary.com/seminaries-the-nature-of-truth/

“Letting Seminary Doctrinally Change You” & Controversy – GoingToSeminary.com


Remember “that” article I was talking about last week?  The one that may begin some “controversy” at GoingToSeminary.com?

Well, it’s up now.

It’s part one of two on a little series I’m writing on doctrinal changes while in seminary.  As I said then, I’m more concerned about this next article than this one.  If it even comes out.  In an hour and a half I have been called upon by the “Vice President of Advancement” and “Associate Professor of Systematic Theology” of Westminster Theological Seminary, David Garner to grab some lunch.  I have no idea what the topic of conversation is (and the one time I’ve asked, he never answered), but I’m optimistic.  He has always been one of my favorite professors I ever had and has one of the most pastoral, worshipful, Christ-centered hearts I’ve ever seen in a man.  I look up to him greatly as a pastor, preacher, teacher, husband, and father.

But, he is very much on the side of the issues at Westminster that I am not.  So I’m wondering what this is about.  I haven’t been that vocal against WTS have I?  I feel like whenever I have I’ve always made it clear that this is my opinion and I that I know I’m still young, arrogant, and don’t know anything.  I don’t know.  We’ll see.  I may let you all know.  But, in the meantime, read and enjoy the article “Letting Seminary Doctrinally Change You” at GoingToSeminary.com.  Here it is:

http://www.goingtoseminary.com/letting-seminary-doctrinally-change-you/

Controversy, Controversy, Controversy at GoingToSeminary.com


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Update: The two posts mentioned in this article are now up. “Letting Seminary Doctrinally Change You” and “Seminaries & the Nature of Truth“.

Yep, it’s a double-post sort of day.  (let’s just say I’m making up for Labor Day.)  But this is a personal one.  I’m asking for some prayer.

At publication time for this post, the site GoingToSeminary.com is currently changing servers, so it’s down.  It was just bought by the somewhat Lutheran and fully online Rockbridge Seminary, sold by my good friend (and former campus minister) Ryan Burns of Design Simple.

As some of you know, I am a Contributor for the site, and my articles have tended to be pretty weighty.  I don’t know why.  It hasn’t been purposeful.  I suppose when I think of seminary it tugs at my urgent pastoral heart more than the light, fun, twentysomething heart; and this has been evident in the posts.  From what I can tell, my last article “Realizing Seminary’s Not For You” has received more comments than any other single article that I can find on the site, and those comments were fiery.  I got blasted from every side (and defended by many – thank you all, by the way).  A couple of people even compared me to an unfaithful Israelite who saw the giants in the Promised Land and got scared.  Another, in light of my severe disappointment in Westminster Theological Seminary as an institution, said that apparently I don’t know good doctrine when I see it.  In short, it caused some controversy.  I really try not to seek such controversy, and I never thought that post would spurn such heated discussion.

But -

Tomorrow’s another story.  Tomorrow my new article is going live on the site and I’m fairly sure this one will ruffle some feathers.  In fact, I’m shocked Rockbridge went ahead and decided to post it.  Kudos to them.  It will be very easy for this article to be misunderstood on both sides: those that think I go too far, and those that think I don’t go as far as I am in fact trying to go.

The article is a discussion of how to let seminary doctrinally change you.  To do this, I very consciously employ postmodern thought into my own thinking and advocate others do so as well.  It’s very touchy and I am not wholly confident that I phrased myself as articulately as a more experienced writer may have been able to.  I guess we’ll see over the next couple of days.

But, I’m actually not as concerned with this article as I am with the follow-up article I am about half-way through writing.  In the first article I lay out the responsibilities for the seminarian in this respect; in this second one, I talk about the responsibilities of the healthy seminary institution.  And in doing so I am directly taking Westminster to task for how they have abandoned the principles I lay out in this first article.  I’m sort of doubting Rockbridge would run it on the site, but who knows?  Westminster’s a competing institution and Rockbridge is marketing themselves as a seminary for the 21st century, so we’ll see.

All that to say, look for my article tomorrow at GoingToSeminary.com, and please pray for me if you could.  I’m still young and arrogant, and I need the spiritual support.  I’ll also link to the article tomorrow.  Until then . . .

“Let’s Play: ‘Guess Whose Doctrinal Statement'” – Reform & Revive


I’ve got a new article up on Reform & Revive.  It’s an exploration of the doctrinal statement of a large American Church and a discussion of the life and practice of this church in light of the doctrines it espouses.

Let me know what you think.  You can find it here:

http://reformandrevive.com/2009/08/25/lets-play-guess-whos-doctrinal-statement/