“CURING BAD THEOLOGY – A Big God and Open Bibles” – Feb. 20

February 20, 2013

“Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?”  Mark 12:24

New Directions (The Meters album)I made an error  awhile back.  I realize that will shock many of you.  We were traveling to my son’s flag football game in a nearby small town.   We turned right rather than turning left and proceeded several miles in the wrong direction.  My wife had gotten on-line and printed out the directions; we diligently followed the direction but still ended up in making an error.  The consequences of having bad directions was for us to get a little lost and either be late to the flag football game or to miss it entirely.  I would argue that getting on-line and printing off the directions was probably a reasonable amount of effort given the potential consequences.

Now, consider if the potential consequence would have been that we would have driven off the face of the earth into a massive black hole that only exists in Marsing, Idaho.  I have a very strong opinion that a little more research is merited due to those consequences.  I would want satellite imagery. I would probably insist on following someone who had  special black hole sensing equipment.  I would insist upon a competent, experienced guide who had been there before. I would have not turned down any road that I was not absolutely confident in.  Actually, I think that I would have decided that risking death in a rural black hole for flag football glory was not really worth it.  I think that is a pretty normal thought process.

What sort of research do you think eternity merits?  How much are you willing to risk?

What do you think the consequences of an error regarding God are?

That is a statement that not everyone agrees with.  There are some people who believe that you can’t get theology wrong.   There are other people who believe that there are not any significant consequences to getting theology wrong.

That is an opinion that Jesus did not hold.  Jesus was very clear that people can get theology wrong.  The Sadducees could get theology wrong.  The Pharisees could get theology wrong.  Seminary professors can get theology wrong.  Best-selling authors and speakers can get theology wrong.  You and I can get theology wrong.

This passage is telling us that earnest, passionate, committed religious people can get theology very wrong!  These intensely committed religious people had their theology so wrong that they missed their Messiah.  That is a very significant consequence.

It does not take much searching to discover that people don’t always agree on their theology.  If you go out into the wider Christian world you will find groups that disagree significantly upon theology.  There are many people who claim the distinction of Christian whose theology are wildly different.

Have you ever wondered why this is; how can this be?  How do earnest, passionate, people come up with errors in their theology?

Jesus believes that we can get theology wrong.  Jesus did not say – “Hey Sadducees, you are being too linear, too propositional, these sort of questions are irrelevant. What really matters is the experience in your heart, or don’t waste your time on this stuff .  All that matters is that you focus on the Jesus way of living, or you can’t really know all these things – it is all hidden by cultural bias – no can really know the true meaning or the right answer is whatever your community affirms.”

Jesus did not say any of those things. Jesus gets straight to the point in verse 24 – you are wrong.  In verse 27, he tells them they are quite wrong.  Jesus believed that some theology is bad.  This is very important.  We can get theology wrong.  Theology has eternal consequences.  Therefore, we should want to listen to what Jesus has to say so that we will not make an error that has eternal consequences.

The great aspect of this passage is that Jesus doesn’t simply demonstrate that the Sadducees are wrong.  He tells them and us how they made the error.  He tells them how they came to the incorrect conclusion.   In verse 24, Jesus tells us the reason that the Sadducees were wrong – “the reason you are wrong is because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God.”  Jesus gives us two reasons the Sadducees got it wrong – quite wrong.  They knew neither the scriptures nor the power of God.  I believe that these two reasons for making spiritual and theological errors is as relevant today as it was for those Sadducees.

We do not have to look very hard to see individuals making conclusions and decisions with massive eternal consequences based on their not knowing the scriptures and not believing the power of God.

What do you use to inform your life; what do you use to make moral decisions; what do you use to make the discretionary decisions in your life?  We can do the same thing as the Sadducees. We can get trapped by our religion when we become so committed to an ideology, a method, a pet topic, what someone important to us said, what someone with credentials says, that we allow those other things to inform our lives.  We need to realize that there are many modern-day Sadducees out there who will lead us astray.  The idea of much liberal theology is that Christian theology should be interpreted from the stand point of modern knowledge and experience.

Jesus is saying that this should absolutely NOT be the case.  The scriptures alone are the primary source for informing and guiding our lives.

We can allow a lot of things to supplant the proper role of scriptures in our lives. We can allow other non-religious things to inform our lives – parents; friends; movies; music; media; scientific theories; teachers; professors.  We can allow all of that to inform the way we view the world and our lives.  These are all other ways not to have scriptures over our lives.

We must always have scriptures first; that is a question that I would like you to honestly evaluate in your life.  What informs your life?  When you have a decision to make, what do you use to inform your decision?  What you have to consider is that if the scriptures are not playing any role in your life, then how do you decide these questions:

How to interact with your family?

How to treat my spouse?

How to parent my kids?

How to respect my parents?

How I spend my money?

What activities to be involved in?

Where do I invest my life?

What do I care about?

If the scripture are NOT playing a role in those decisions then you are prone to making errors.

The second reason – Do not know the Power of God.

This is where all those Sunday school lessons really pay off – the parting of the Red Sea to let the Israelites cross; a giant dust cloud by day and a fire ball by night leading God’s people; the day being lengthened to allow God’s people to win a fight; all the miracles in the Gospels – a storm stopping with a word, five thousand people being fed, leprosy being immediately healed, a dead child being raised to life… If you believe that God made a sea split down the middle, that a stone brought forth water when it was struck by Moses, that five thousand people were fed from a Happy Meal, then you believe in the power of God.

Some Christians will try to de-mystify the scriptures by saying those things could not have happened.  They error because they do not know the power of God.  What you believe about these miracles and these stories counts for everything because it says what you believe about the God of the Bible. . . the God you worship.  Is he a God with Power?

2 Tim. 3:5 “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” 

That was the Sadducees.  We are told there in 2 Timothy to avoid such people.

What we believe about God’s power translates into every aspect of our lives.  Does God have power to see you through suffering; Does God have power to overcome sin; Does God have power to convert people; Does God have power to answer prayer.  Nothing is too hard for our God.  We serve a big God – we are the ones who place limits on Him.

Think about how much time you are willing to spend researching the consumer reports for the new plasma flat screen TV?  How much time are you willing to spend researching for your next car?  How much time are you willing to spend researching hotels for your next vacation?  Why are we willing to spend so much time doing that research? It is because you do not want to make a mistake.

How much time are you willing to spend considering the things of God that have eternal consequences?

There is an afterlife.  There are consequences of eternal magnitude that are based on our theology and we can make errors in our theology and what we allow to inform our lives.  God has given us the tools to remove those errors. He has shown us the way.  We just need to take it.  We just need to do it.

We remove those errors from our lives by serving a big God with open Bibles.

PRAYER: Father, thank you for giving us your word to guide us.  Thank you for giving us your Spirit to teach us all things.  You are all powerful and nothing is impossible for You.  Father, teach me to know your ways.  Show me your scriptures and write them upon my heart.  Show me your power that I may live in the confidence of You.  Lord, you are my all in all and it is by your scripture that the path of my life is set.  Keep me in your way.     Amen


  1. Reblogged this on offbeat on purpose and commented:
    I’ve had these scriptures coming to mind for some time now.

  2. Reblogged this on quirkywritingcorner and commented:
    This is a very interesting way of looking at our beliefs. ~ Connie

  3. We worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Knowing scriptures without the power of the Holy Ghost is a very dangerous way to live.

  4. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

  5. Reblogged this on The X Mass H8rs Blog.

  6. God gave us His Word to teach us the way, the truth and the life. He gave us His Son to die for us and who lives and sits in the heavenly places…and He gave us the Holy Spirit to live inside of us to teach us about Jesus and guide us in every area of our lives…all we have to do to access Him is have faith and ask! Amen!

  7. Reblogged this on BE COURAGEOUS BLOG and commented:

  8. I told someone recently that I enjoyed reading her post more then ones who write about scripture. That is still true. Yours on the other hand is scripture with guts to tell it like it is.

  9. Reblogged this on A DEVOTED LIFE and commented:

    I am praying for a college friend this morning. I recently learned from a Facebook post that he has abandoned the Faith. My heart breaks for this lost sheep who has begun a pilgrimage along a path toward another “gospel”. I am reminded once again of the importance of abiding in Christ. I am reminded once again of my own propensity to wander. No child of God ever gets beyond their need for an open Bible and a powerful Savior; no lost sheep is beyond the call of the Good Shepherd. I pray that my friend will recognize the voice of our Good Shepherd and follow Him home.

  10. […] Let’s embrace a regular diet of theology and the passion that will come from a spiritual healthy life.  If you are interested in my thoughts on how to cure bad theology, check out CURING BAD THEOLOGY. […]

  11. Reblogged this on The love of God.

    • Thanks for the reblog!

  12. There still remains that age old question. So many GREAT men of God throughout the ages have prayed with open Bibles and sincere desire for the Truth..deep prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and YET There remain huge differences in theology. What will these severe consequences be? I guess The Mercy of God must fit into this equation somewhere!

    • The huge differences in theology most often arise when the Bibles are not open. Jesus was critical of the Pharisees because they were placing their religious teaching of their leaders alongside the scripture. Errors often arise when man makes inferences about God that have no basis in scripture. Those who adhere to the scripture (sola scriptura) are the least likely to make the error of the Pharisee. The theological differences such as end-times, predestination, baptism, etc. are not in my opinion huge differences. The issues of what it takes to be saved, who intercedes on our behalf, who we pray to, etc. are huge issues in my opinion because the Bible is very clear on those issues. Teachers who lead the little ones astray like the Pharisees were doing will be judged at a higher standard. Every person should be very concerned when they knowingly are espousing a belief that does not come from the Word of God. They are taking a similar path as the Pharisees and it did not seem like Jesus was granting them much mercy.
      God Bless!

  13. JD the Lord has certainly gifted you with writing. He has given you wisdom from above. God has told me that i am not to argue with anyone about the subject. That if i believe HE IS THE ONLY ONE to teach us then, i am to pray God will open their eyes to the truth. i can convince NO ONE. once i listened to God i had a lot of peace, for it was no longer my job to save/convince people. Thank you for confirming to me that all the time i spend with HOLY SCRITURE is time best spent. FAITH COMES BY HEARING AND HEARING BY THE WORD OF GOD!

  14. […] “CURING BAD THEOLOGY – A Big God and Open Bibles” – Feb. 20 […]

  15. Excellent blog and much needed reminder to believe the power of God and serve Him with an “open Bible.”
    By the way, thanks for visiting my blog.
    Richest blessings,

  16. magnificent points altogether, you just received a logo new reader.

  17. Wow. Just quoting that passage was good stuff! For whatever reason, that had never “jumped out at me” before, but the instant I read it, something hit home. The impact of “community influence” does indeed often preclude us from being aware that we can indeed get things wrong. You are pointing to what can keep us “directionally aware”: Scripture. Good lesson.

  18. […] Check out A Devoted Life. […]

  19. Like what you had to say. Thank you for stopping by and taking time to check out my blog throughthebibletogether.wordpress.com I sincerely appreciated it.

  20. Very glad to have found your blog.

  21. Reblogged this on Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite.

  22. Very good insight. You have made a good point and driven it home very effectively. Thank you.

  23. great post – very inspirational, not just as a Christian trying to walk the walk, but as a blogger who needs to keep sharing what the Lord is saying to me. Thanks!

  24. Thank You ever so much for visiting my blog. I really think you have excellent spiritual food here. God bless you and yours.

  25. Reblogged this on The Christian Mind.

  26. […] “CURING BAD THEOLOGY – A Big God and Open Bibles” – Feb. 20 (boyslumber.wordpress.com) […]

  27. […] “CURING BAD THEOLOGY – A Big God and Open Bibles” – Feb. 20 (boyslumber.wordpress.com) […]

  28. Thanks for reading my blog. I love this post. Thanks for sharing. Connie

  29. […] “CURING BAD THEOLOGY – A Big God and Open Bibles” – Feb. 20 […]

  30. In a culture in which subjectivism is dominating our decision-making and the messages from God that so many are “impressed with,” sola Scriptura is a needed reminder. Thanks.

  31. This is an excellent post!! So true! God Bless

  32. Wonderful. Love your writing, very encouraging and inspiring!!

  33. John 17:3 says, And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (bold mine)

    This post reminds me of this verse. It is eternally important to know who our God, and His Son, are.

  34. Amen, brother! The reason so many Christians are powerless today is because they really don’t know what the Scriptures teach…..or we have too many in the pulpit who do not, themselves know the Scriptures, nor do they preach by the power of the Holy Spirit. How we need those “workmen”, who can “accurately handle the Word of Truth”, (“accurately” being the key here!)

  35. I love Abraham’s response in Jesus’ parable about Lazarus and the rich man: he says “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

    It’s all there for us to learn from and put to use. Thanks.

    • Thanks for the link. God Bless!

  36. I have been telling people they need to read the Bible so they can learn about God. Thank you for the reminder of the verse in Mark that states how important this is. I appreciate your post.

  37. […] Do you have a Big God and an Open Bible?  If not, your theology is going to be […]

    • Thank you for the link.
      God Bless!

  38. Everything passes away … But the Word will not! Thanks for the reminder that we must know the Word, namely Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:35. John 1:1) … Thanks so much for your blog and for your heart for the Truth 🙂

  39. Great Exposition brother, Jesus came to fulfill the law (in a civil and moral way) and to do away with the ceremonial laws of the Jews… I am in agreement

  40. ‘Love your conclusion: Serve a big God with open Bibles. The more we read and meditate upon God’s Word, the bigger he becomes in our mind’s eye. A bigger God fosters bigger trust, and bigger trust leads to a more contented life–moment by moment. It all starts in the Word!

  41. A really well thought out post.. Definitely gave me some things to consider

  42. Very nice! Very insightful. I’ve read that verse many times “you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God.” You have brought a new dimension of understanding to that. Thanks.

  43. Excellent post! Very thought provoking and well written.

  44. Thanks for posting truth with counsel on how to apply it.

  45. I haven’t gotten around to reading all of your posts,(you don’t want to know about my life), but I will agree with you here.I usually call such people “Pharisees”.; people around me hear that a lot.They go by the letter of what they think is the Law but I say that they will be surprised when they die.They have no love in their hearts …and isn’t that The Greatest Law?

    • I also haven’t gotten around to reading all of your posts, but I’ve enjoyed the ones I have.

      Tonette, I don’t know what your life has been like, but I agree with you re: ‘modern-day Pharisees’. It’s like, they are so focused on following the letter of the law that they’ve forgotten the spirit behind it.

      Unfortunately, I find myself falling into the same traps in terms of thinking I have everything right while Those Other People Over There have everything wrong. I think a big help comes from *recognizing* that we could be wrong about some things or that perhaps someone else has a perspective we can learn from. Humility is vastly underrated.

      • Oh, and, my life and blog isn’t the most ‘holy’ either, but I’d appreciate it if others would read some of the Christianity posts and let me know what you think. Like I said above, I think that we can learn a lot from each other. Even if we aren’t always right, it gives us something to think about.

    • Jesus hung out with the lowest people of His day- tax collectors, lepers, prostitutes and other garden variety sinners. He came to save sinners, not to tell the prudes how much he loved their prudery. We’re all examples. Most of the time I’m an example of what NOT to do. But we aren’t saved because we put on a good show, or because we’ve lived a perfect life, but by God’s grace alone. The hard part is the seeking, knocking and asking that goes with that.

      God transforms us, and if He can take the murderer Saul and turn him into the Apostle Paul, He can do something with me if He chooses as well!

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