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fox holes

Do You Use Scripture Bullets To Kill?

When speaking about doctrine I notice that many are dug in and refuse to move even an inch from their theological fox holes.  If they feel threatened they may even open fire and machine gun you with scripture bullets.  Some believe that such actions amount to a “discussion” but it is really more of a defense of their entrenched position than anything else.  They say they are open to new viewpoints, but they are deluding themselves.   The unfortunate truth is that many would rather kill or be killed than give up their present position.

I understand that many want to defend their faith if they feel under attack, and it is not necessarily a bad thing to hold strong opinions.   For me, at least, some of my beliefs are quite settled while others are more fluid and open to question.  However, we must all continue to be open to further revelation and resist the urge to dig in so firmly that we become dogmatic.

Go ahead Brother, make my day

People say “show me the scripture” and I will believe.  What that really means is “go ahead, make my day” as they have a machine gun pointed at you.  Pretending that they wish to compare scripture with scripture is a “ruse” they employ to seem open minded and reasonable while, in actual fact, they are not.

When iron sharpens iron both change and become better. That is what I am seeking when I discuss the scriptures with my brethren. Unfortunately, many reject anything which differs from their theology. We are afraid to change our position because we think our spiritual lives are at stake. However, brethren, how can we ever agree on opposing views if no one will dare move?

Does your spirit bear witness to all this carnage?

Others can literally bury a discussion in scripture thinking that sheer volume of scripture quoted wins the day. Many times people quote whole sections of the Bible, which have little or nothing to do with what they’re saying.  What really convinces me that something is true is when my spirit leaps within me.  It is like a light is turned on and I say to myself “wow, that is true!”  Studying it comes afterward.

The question I am trying to answer is “what are we really accomplishing and what spirit are we of?” I suppose, in their view, they are defending the faith and standing up for God. However, and this may be difficult to accept, I know for a fact, that in certain areas, some are in error.  I just don’t know how to reach them. 

Here is a truth,

“Many times peoples’ view of scripture is based on their doctrine rather than their doctrine being based upon the scripture.”

Just as rose-colored glasses tint everything you see, viewing scripture through dogma alters a person’s perception until every scripture they read tends to prove what they assume. Thus, doctrine overrides anything that’s actually written.

The basic problem is, that despite adherence to Orthodox doctrinal views, much of the church is languishing.  The normative dogma that many insist must be true is what many in these sad circumstances cling to. Yet for all their doctrinal “rightness” things are not getting better. The body of Christ is not maturing to a place where they can navigate the things that are going to happen soon.

Blind allegiance to doctrine makes us dangerous

The commanders of various doctrinal fox holes never question what they are defending. To them, they are obeying orders from on high, so they do their duty.  Even though their doctrine is not producing the expected results they say to those around them, “hold your position!” and “double your efforts!” I ask, if you’re going the wrong direction, will going double the distance the wrong way help you?  Women joke that men can never ask for directions.  However, at some point, when we take a wrong turn we must ask directions from our Father, too.  We must allow His Holy Spirit to  “lead and guide us” into all truth or else we will remain lost.

Why do you really want to win?

The prevailing attitude for many is, “My doctrine can beat up your doctrine”.  My heart is not to beat up anyone’s doctrine.  This is not a zero-sum game for me.  My intent is to find a way forward so that we can all cross over to the promised land together. Having had a foretaste of the next move of the Spirit I want my brethren crossing over with me.

Minds all mixed up and set like cement

So, I don’t really know what to do with those who are dug in for the duration and willing to defend their fox hole to the last man.  The Word does nothing to convince them, the Spirit does not seem to soften them, and they get so defensive that I can’t get near them without being shot at. Though many have ability in the Word, they’re so married to their doctrine nothing I share impacts them in the slightest. They are hunkered down in their theological fox holes, peering out over their sandbags, and no amount of revelation is going to move them. Unless I come and sit in their fox hole with them it seems there can be little fellowship.

May I suggest an alternative?

I am not into defending the faith but rather I want to explore and live the faith with others. Coming from a place where all I did was defend the faith, I testify it was exhausting.  I defended the place God used to be instead of being where God was. Finally, by His grace, I left my foxhole and I started to follow after Him.

Consequently, I “changed my position” in order to be where God was.  Changing the way I believed was really hard.  I had to decide whether I would trust His Spirit or trust what “I” knew.  Thankfully, I chose His Spirit and God began to straighten me out little by little.  I know from experience that leaving your foxhole, especially when you have it arranged nicely, can be quite unnerving.  I promise you, though, it is well worth the effort.

Do you speak human?

In conclusion, a truly profitable doctrinal discussion requires an open mind where there can be movement on both sides. I am not married to my doctrine and I will change my viewpoint if someone has a better explanation. If we can all share this heart exploration, perhaps we’ll find new and exciting places in God together!

My Eyes Are Dry by Keith Green