The Challange for Tabernacle Theologians
When you built a structure in ancient times you needed many different types of craftsmen. A particularly important type of craftsmen was a stone mason. They were responsible for cutting out the stones from the native rock and shaping them to the correct specifications needed in construction. Stone masons had to know their craft very well for the stones had to be straight and true or else the building would not stand the test of time. The study of the word of God can be likened to the discipline of stone masons because God says through His prophet Isaiah that understanding scriptures is like building a brick wall,
“Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.”
(Note, it is also necessary to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to understand doctrine.)
He is a fundamental truth,
“Up and coming Tabernacle theologians must move beyond insisting theology dictate what must be to searching the scriptures to explain what truly is.”
Currently, theologians have a set of doctrines that they consider fundamental and unchangeable. Those who aspire to become normative theologians accept a set of axioms that they believe have been proven and set in stone by the great masters of the past. Therefore, the postulates of yesteryear are never critically re-examined to see if they are in fact true even in the face of overwhelming spiritual evidence to the contrary.
One of the main reasons that the fundamentals of Christian doctrine are never questioned is that people fear being labeled a heretic. This is especially true of those who are schooled in the theological seminaries of the world. There is tremendous social pressure both obvious and subtle that lets young men and women of God know that, though they may question, they must never challenge accepted dogma. Thus, while young theologians are schooled in the tools of the trade such as Greek, Hebrew, and hermeneutic principles these disciplines are only used to prove what is already accepted as fact rather than to critically examine whether these things be so in the first place.
It makes no difference whether or not the doctrines they believe actually work or produce the results they allege but only that they line up with the accepted wisdom of their peers. In turn this has produced a church that holds many doctrines that are said to be proven beyond a shadow of a doubt which fail miserably in real world situations.
For example, a young woman I knew named faith fell ill with lung cancer. She was a pastor’s daughter and had never smoked in her life. In the late stages of her illness she went to a Benny Hinn crusade to receive prayer. As she was mounting the platform one of his assistants told her that she did not need to have Benny pray for her because she was already healed. Some months later she lay dying with about a dozen people praying for her healing until she finally gave up the ghost. She left a husband and two young children.
When something like this happens, such as Faith dying, our doctrine is never questioned or re-examined even though it does not work. On one hand our doctrine says that those that believe shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover. On the other hand Faith died. Instead of admitting that something in our belief system is seriously wrong we make excuses such as “it was not Gods perfect will for her to be healed.” Instead of saying something we believe is wrong we simply say that God will is a mystery and we cannot know precisely why our doctrine failed. Though Jesus healed “all” that came to him we accept that Jesus in us only heals a very few that come to us.
Here is a truth,
“We cannot insist that the world, natural or spiritual, fit our doctrine when it does not.”
We must remain flexible in our beliefs in order to accept new truth when it is shown to us. To illustrate this point let me use a natural world example dealing with scientific theory.
At the beginning of the 20th century Einstein came up with the general theory of relativity which viewed the universe in a different way than Newtonian physics. Einstein’s theory did not do away with Newton’s work but merely extended and expanded a special instance of it. Those who understood and had tested Newton’s laws of motion had to consider something radically different. The reason that Einstein’s theory gained acceptance even though it went against the accepted wisdom of the day was that it better explained the phenomena observed by the scientists in real world experiments.
Interestingly enough, when Einstein was confronted with a completely new and revolutionary theory called quantum Mechanics, he rejected it saying “God does not play dice.” Whereas Einstein theory was counter intuitive to those who were schooled in Newtonian physics Quantum mechanics ran counter intuitive even to Einstein himself. In fact, Quantum Mechanics runs counter intuitive to almost anything that seems reasonable to the natural man. One could easily dismiss what it says except for one important fact: it accurately explains almost every experimental result that scientists measure at the sub atomic level.
Likewise, for theologians who were schooled in Catholic doctrine salvation was a major rethink of the fundamentals they believed. Most rejected this new way of looking at God’s salvation but some, like Martin Luther, embraced it and thus was born the reformation. For Theologians who were schooled in reformation theology accepting what came to be known as the Pentecostal movement also stretched their understanding of scriptures. Nevertheless, Pentecost was of God. In our day and age, Tabernacles theology will re-write or modify much of what we now consider to be established and tested doctrine. However, for those new theologians who will be brave enough to honestly take a look at what God is bringing forth they will see that Tabernacles both accurately describes what happens in the real world and lines up with the scriptures to a degree previously not thought possible.
Tabernacle theologians need to move beyond seeing themselves as defenders of the faith to realizing that they are in fact explorers of the faith. Ours is not to hold up on some island but rather to cast off the shore into the deep things of God searching for new and undiscovered lands of the Holy Spirit. The admonition to prove all things and hold fast that which is true means that we must be open to look for new things in the first place and then put them to the test. Putting new ideas to the test does not mean we test them against our doctrine but that we must test them against raw scripture to prove them true or false.
Lastly, when we find that the building which we build is shaky it is the foundation that must be examined to see if the stones have been set right. Revisiting the foundation stones of our theology is not forbidden but rather necessary so that the church can stand strong. If we find a foundation stone out of place, though it is a not pleasant work, we must set it right in order that the whole structure remains firm. Thus, Tabernacle theologians cannot be set in stone but must remain fluid so that, if necessary, we can make changes as God shows us further revelation.
My writings are the beginnings of such a new Tabernacle theology. I invite those who are called to God’s word to study the scriptures in light of these percepts so that as God starts to bring His people into the final feast they will be equipped to navigate the deep things of God.