Posts Tagged ‘Doubt’

A Discussion on “orthodoxy” (little o)

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

I spent some time commenting in another Parchment & Pen entry, “An Emerging Understanding of Orthodoxy“. Michael Patton showed some interesting diagrams to illustrate both progressive revelation, and progressive understanding. The latter has to do with development of doctrine–as time has progressed, the way that Christians articulate doctrine has also changed. How do we take that? Does it mean that truth is changing? Does it mean that the earlier Christians got it wrong and we have to correct them? Eastern Orthodox deny that doctrine can develop; does it mean that we’re wrong, because we disagree with Tradition? How do we balance the need for reform and discovery with respect for those who have gone before? How do we ensure that we provide a place for Christians to ask questions in a healthy, cautious manner?

The post is good, and there’s some good discussion in the combox. Patton discusses the issue in terms of doctrine going through a process of “maturing”. In the early church we may find immature doctrine, still going through the process of significant refinement in the way it was articulated. And as time progresses, and our doctrine has “matured”, it has also stabilized–it’s not going to change significantly, even as we continue to learn and refine and mature.

I’ll try to summarize some of my contributions in a numbered list. First, a little more introduction: (more…)

Complacency, Doubt, and Assurance

Monday, February 18th, 2008

The sermon this week at church, the latest in a series on the person and work of the Holy Spirit, dealt with the subject of assurance. The pastor preached from Romans 8, with the central verse 15, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!””.

It got me thinking about a conversation I had a month or so ago, with someone who was not feeling at all assured. And then this morning, the book I’m reading touched on the same topic. So, I’d like to share from the book by Sam Storms, Signs of the Spirit: An Interpretation of Jonathan Edwards’s “Religious Affections”.  I found out about this book by listening to Storms’ appearance on Converse with Scholars, about which Carrie Hunter said, “He discussed the wonderful language Jonathan Edwards used to show how we as believers can see the true marks of the Holy Spirit in our own lives as well as in the lives of others.” I’m enjoying it very much; it’s edifying, concise, and quite readable.

As I was reading this morning, I came to a passage that deals with some elements of the false assurance felt by those whose faith is not authentic, and with why Christians may still struggle with assurance: