A few traits characterize the theologians, pastors, and students I know who have walked away from their faith. They “loved human praise more than praise from God” (John 12:43). They often seemed more concerned about being open-minded than having their minds renewed (Rom 12:2).
They often flexed their scholarly muscles in study but were lethargic in ministering to the church or the needs of others. Their lifestyles showed patterns of sinful decadence rather than the pursuit of holiness, and their love for God grew cold (Matt 24:12).
Worst of all, they seemed bored by the gospel. The cross of Christ no longer seemed to stir their affections.
The academic pursuit of biblical and theological knowledge, while noble if pursued with the right motives, is no substitute for a personal and intimate knowledge of God achieved through prayer, devotion to his Word, and obedience.
We can pervert the wonderful thing God has given us in theology when we worship a field of study instead of the One about whom it speaks. For this reason, the apostle Paul warned about people who are zealous for God without knowledge (Rom 10:2).
Paul likewise told his disciple Timothy to “watch YOUR LIFE and doctrine closely” (1 Tim 4:16).

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More from @rhyneputman

12 Sep
On the subject of “biblical masculinity”:

There was a time in my life when I truly felt out of place for not conforming to particular “masculine” stereotypes.

I was never athletic and generally uninterested in sports as a kid. (In God’s goodness, I love sports now.) /1
I ran the other direction when my dad tried to show me how to fix things. I couldn’t wait to go inside and play Nintendo. Honestly, I wish I had paid more attention. I’m still playing catch-up. /2
I didn’t hunt or fish. The thought of it bored me (and still does). /3
Read 20 tweets
10 Aug
For the record, I can disagree with the approach taken by John MacArthur to church meetings and simultaneously (1) appreciate his ministry and (2) respect his right to hold in-person services without fear of government reprisal. /1
Dr. MacArthur has done many great things for the kingdom I will gladly acknowledge. I have been to his church before and am grateful for the students I have known out of Master's Seminary. /2
But I still don't think having a full, unmasked sanctuary is wise for multiple reasons. That is my conviction. Along the same lines, I don't think government has the place to tell the people of God what to do. /3
Read 10 tweets
16 Jul
We can affirm the objectivity of biblical truth AND acknowledge we are finite interpreters shaped by our time and place in history.

We can acknowledge the author-given meaning of biblical texts AND apply the text in different ways in different cultural settings.
The hard work of hermeneutics helps us alleviate misunderstandings of Scripture, but it doesn’t guarantee infallible interpretations of Scripture.
For example, Western interpreters struggle to make sense of 1 Cor. 8:1-13 because (1) we are chronologically far removed from the cultural practice of meat offered to idols ane (2) we are culturally far removed from this practice as well.
Read 8 tweets
22 May
I appreciate the contribution Gadamer makes to our understanding of hermeneutics and interpretation, but what do I know? I only bothered to read his work.
Seriously though, Gadamer has a more "conservative" group of interpreters and a more "radical" group of interpreters. I have been more influenced by the former than the latter, people like Thiselton and Vanhoozer.
It is true that Gadamer doesn't take meaning to be simply what the author says, but that is because he takes meaning as a total interpretive event between the horizon of the author (text) and the horizon of the reader.
Read 13 tweets
24 Jan
Last year, @kswhitfield and I began work on the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture as it relates to other non-theological disciplines.

If Scripture is sufficient, why should we engage with philosophy, the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the like? /1
@kswhitfield We then drafted this statement:

We affirm the classical Protestant doctrine of Sola Scriptura. We recognize Scripture as the supreme source and only guiding norm of Christian theology, /2
@kswhitfield but we are also appreciative of the roles tradition, reason, and experience play in shaping the Christian worldview. /3
Read 29 tweets
24 Nov 19
Perhaps a little Sunday afternoon discussion on the language of “identity” will help us think through some of the “gay Christian”/“Christian with same-sex desires” semantic dispute. Warning: this long thread will involve a little metaphysics and theological anthropology. /1
Part of the problem with the cultural moment is that our “identity” language is notoriously fuzzy. People on all sides of this debate are using the term “identity” differently, causing them to pass one another like ships in the night. /2
Because Western individualism runs through our veins, we often give greater weight to how we define our own identities than how they have been defined by others (including God). I see four broad uses. /3
Read 42 tweets

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