Do not Error Your Passion for Theological Precision

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Caring Adequate to Be Cautious

I’m glad there are people today in the world—most people today in the globe, it turns out—who know far more about vehicles than I do. I do not want excellent-natured nicely-wishers to replace my alternator. I want an individual who has paid cautious interest to the intricacies of auto repair. I want an individual who cares about precision. I want an individual who knows what he’s undertaking. I want an professional.

To act as if no one particular knows far more than anybody else is not only silly it is also a severe error. In his book The Death of Knowledge, Tom Nichols cites a survey from a couple of years ago in which enthusiasm for military intervention in Ukraine was straight proportional to the person’s lack of know-how about Ukraine. It appears that the dumber we are, the far more confident we are in our personal intellectual achievements. Nichols relays an incident exactly where an individual on Twitter was attempting to do study about sarin gas. When the world’s professional on sarin gas presented to enable, the original tweeter (a globe-class “twit” we may well say) proceeded to angrily lecture the professional for acting like a know-it-all. The professional may well not have recognized it all, but in this case, he knew exponentially far more than an individual crowdsourcing his study on the internet. And when it comes to chemical warfare, I’d like my professionals to have as substantially experience as feasible.

We reside in an age exactly where passion is usually thought of an sufficient substitute for precision.

We’ve swallowed the lie that says that if we think in equal rights, we ought to think that all opinions have equal merit. Nichols also tells the story of an undergraduate student arguing with a renowned astrophysicist who was on campus to give a lecture about missile defense. Soon after seeing that the well-known scientist was not going to alter his thoughts soon after hearing the arguments from a college sophomore, the student concluded in a harrumph, “Well, your guess is as excellent as mine.” At which point the astrophysicist speedily interjected, “No, no, no. My guesses are substantially, substantially greater than yours.”1 There was nothing at all incorrect with the student asking really hard inquiries, or even acquiring into an argument. The difficulty was in assuming he had as substantially to offer you on the topic soon after a couple of minutes of reflection as the scientist did soon after decades of instruction and study.

Grace Defined and Defended

Kevin DeYoung

Greatest-promoting author Kevin DeYoung equips Christians to clearly define grace by seeking at the Canons of Dort, exploring the historical context, theological implications, and sensible applications of this essential document in the Reformed tradition.

Requiring Rigorous Pondering

We reside in an age exactly where passion is usually thought of an sufficient substitute for precision. Charles Spurgeon as soon as advised young ministers that when drawn into controversy, they need to “use really really hard arguments and really soft words.”two It is a excellent factor Spurgeon in no way made use of social media! As well quite a few tweets and posts specialize in overly really hard words and specially soft arguments.

Lots of of us, even Christians, have tiny patience for rigorous considering and tiny interest in cautious definition. We emote greater than we cause, and we describe our feelings greater than we define our words, which is one particular cause we want to study old confessions written by dead people today. What ever errors of harshness or exaggerated rhetoric may well have existed in earlier centuries of theological discourse, this substantially is wonderfully and refreshingly correct: they have been relentlessly passionate about doctrinal truth. They cared about biblical fidelity. They cared about definitions. And they cared about precision. Praise God, they cared adequate to be cautious. And in no Reformation-era confession or catechism do we see this so clearly as in the Canons of Dort.

Notes:

  1. Tom Nichols, The Death of Knowledge: The Campaign against Established Understanding and Why It Matters (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2017), 82–83.
  2. C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Total and Unabridged (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979), 173.

This write-up is adapted from Grace Defined and Defended: What a 400-Year-Old Confession Teaches Us about Sin, Salvation, and the Sovereignty of God by Kevin DeYoung.



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