[Aside: I am teaching my sons to be willing to reuse stuff… Creativity is a bonus! The chair at my computer desk came out of the dumpster. One of the big herb pots on the patio is a re-purposed base for a diving board… The diving board will be used a as bench. You get the picture. Well, the guys at the ‘recycle center’ don’t approve of us ‘recycling’ items… go figure. Early last Spring as we were preparing to add the chimney to our outdoor fireplace, my boys and I were at the dump throwing away trash. My youngest, who weighs about 50 lbs exclaimed, “Dad, there are a bunch of bricks in the dumpster!” Before he realized what was happening I had grabbed him by the waist, tossed him in and said, “Quick, hand them out!!” We loaded about 100 bricks onto the trailer before the guy in charge of the facility started moseying our direction to ‘limit the winnings.’ LOL!! … Now you know how we came about half of the reclaimed bricks for the chimney..]
While the source of the bricks is good family mythos, and the building of the chimney was a great experience, the result reveals a couple important lessons. Namely, I am not a bricklayer! Additionally, it helps if all the bricks match. And, probably most importantly, I needed a longer straight edge/level or a plumb as I built to take measurements off of the base, not the preceding courses.
So what does this have to do with anything theological? Everything!
Shortly after finally coming to grips with the changes Yahweh was working in me as a clear revelation of what His Word says, I dropped by to visit with a local pastor who wanted to know what was happening with me. While it was an intense, but friendly debate/discussion on his front porch, I knew the drop-in visit was going long when his daughter, on her second trip to bring water, also brought a plate of fruit and cheese. Seriously. We went about five hours and could have gone more, but we were clearly entrenched and I was more convinced than ever that Yahweh had led me to a corrected understanding of His Torah.
Late in this discussion the pastor asked me, [paraphrasing] ” why do you not value the writings and thoughts of the Reformers anymore? Do you think yourself smarter than they are? Do you think that just you plus the Holy Spirit is enough to understand Scripture?”
My response was something akin to, “I believe you place too much esteem on the writings of the reformers because you place near equal value on them over against Scripture, while I do believe that the Holy Spirit is all I need.”
I was shocked! It suddenly hit me why Churchianity is in the mess that it is in!! Instead of constantly measuring off of the foundation, the Word, we measure off of other bricks in the wall and NONE of them are perfectly straight!!
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is some value in reading/hearing the hearts of men led by the Ruach haKodesh (Holy Spirit), however, we err greatly when we filter the truths seen in the Word through the thoughts and writings of men.
The pastor’s parting words were, “If you refuse to stand on the shoulders of giants, then you will only see their knees.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Simply, if the ‘giants’ are demonstrably out of step with Scripture in various areas, then we do well to avoid being influenced by their writings! (Might even be a good idea to kick the giants in the knees… but that is the purpose of this blog entry… LOL!)
Bricks and myths… This is where the illustration begins to teach. My chimney is ‘cute’ in a DIY sort of way, but definitely not demonstrative of proper bricklaying, unless it is a ‘how NOT to lay bricks’ lesson. I erred by measuring off of previous courses more than the foundation. I erred by using different bricks sourced in different places which appeared to be the same size but once in the structure I found that there are differences. The result is a bit of a hodge-podge that resembles a chimney, but is definitely not the work of a master bricklayer.
Increasingly, I am finding that the doctrines and theologies of men are exactly like my chimney. They are ‘cute’ in a DIY sort of way, but are clearly NOT the work of the Master Bricklayer. Once we dig into many doctrines, it is evident that they have been built on the reasoning of men with bricks/postulations that are increasing out of line with Truth resulting in a crooked wall. While they eagerly measure off of each other, they often fail to measure and completely align themselves with the foundation of Yahweh’s kadosh Word. Thus, myths are created.
In this context, I define a myth as a tradition or doctrine, seemingly rooted in truth, but in fact, is NOT.
The list of ‘Christian myths‘ is innumerable. They range from the simple, like three kings (this is a fun video…), to more complex myths such as ‘the threefold division of the Law’ and ‘Sunday worship.’
My purpose here is not to expose any particular myth, though they all deserve the bright white hot light of Yahweh’s Word. Rather, in a more general sense, I want to encourage each of us to ‘study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.’
When we stand before Abba, we will be responsible not just for how we may or may not have promoted a doctrine of men, but more precisely, how we walked according to His revealed Word! No man and his reasoning will withstand the scrutiny of our Father when He asks, “Where exactly in Scripture do you see the Law divided?” Or, “What exactly do you not understand about the word ‘forever?'” (See RT:Olam!)
We are responsible for the myths, doctrines and traditions we accept. They are NOT set in stone. The only unchanging, unfailing Word is the Word of Yahweh. The writings of all who teach and comment on the Word of our King WILL be burned. Only the Word of our Father and the fruits thereof will last forever. If the teachings of men do not line up with the Word, then they, like a brick out of alignment in the wall, should be removed and most definitely should not be measured off of.
Very slight deviations in truth passed through several generations of theologians leads to doctrines that are myths… part truth and part falsehood, all bound together by seemingly wise logic and reasoning. Add minor deviations together and they become major deviations.
May we seek the face of Abba and learn at His feet through His Word and the leading of the Ruach haKodesh. Yes, check with a multitude of counselors, but in the end, measure continually off of the foundation instead of filtering the Word through the doctrines and opinions of men.
The Reformation is just beginning!
Next week, RT: Syncretism.
May Yahweh bless you and keep you.
May Yahweh cause His face to shine on you and be gracious to you,
May Yahweh lift up His countenance on you and give you His Shalom!