Kevin DeYoung, a Calvinist, has a post on his blog that I greatly enjoyed today. This post and position is a great example of how two people could agree on a conclusion, but disagree on everything else. I agree with the title of his post, but nothing else.
DeYoung’s post Why We Must Be Unapologetically Theological is a post who’s title sounds like something I would write. I am a big fan of truly understanding the Majesty and mystery of Christan faith. But once I get past the title, things go down hill quickly.
If you want the nutshell of this, just look at the graphic on his post. It says “theology is simply the part of religion that requires brains”. Wrong Kevin. Theology is about Jesus and the gospel and is here for everyone.
1. DeYoung says:
God has revealed himself to us in his word and given us his Spirit that we might understand the truth.
While I could agree with this on the surface, DeYoung is viewing this in a wild way. First, he assumes that the only revelation of god is scripture, so he subordinates the Holy Spirit to the bible! Wow, how can a Christian do such a thing.
2…. then the most important defense of his truth
The New Testament places a high value on discerning truth from error.
Well, I certainly believe that the New Testament is there to do exactly that, to tell us what is true. But DeYoung goes no further in this point, he simply continues to say that we must guard truth, but does not say how to tell trutth.
3. Now, to diminish Jesus teachings…
The ethical commands of the New Testament are predicated on theological propositions. So many of Paul’s letters have a twofold structure. The beginning chapters lay out doctrine and the latter chapters exhort us to….
Here is where DeYoung really begins to miss the idea. He is assuming that the idea of the new testament is contained in the letters of Paul. But that is just not true. Paul talked about the most important aspects of Christianity with the people face to face. He is clarifying, in general, fringe elements of the ideas in his letters. There are a couple of exceptions, most notably 1 Cor 15, but in general Paul does not discuss the actual gospel.
4. Now to tell people that God is Love is not good enough, we must know that he is good to us through other means…
Theological categories enable us to more fully and more deeply rejoice in God’s glory. Simple truths are wonderful. It is good for us to sing simple songs like “God is good”……But he is also pleased when we can sing and pray about how exactly he has been good to us in the plan of salvation and in the scope of salvation history…….
Wow, I don’t even know what to say about this since this is loaded with code-speak for Kevin’s weird version of theology. Kevin, the primary message is that god is good. But as you can see in the quote DeYoung is immediately ready to tone it down and limit it by saying we need to understand exactly how….. Now if I was saying this it would clearly be implying that the how is through Jesus and god’s love. But for DeYoung, it is some complex web of him hating us and sin and finding mercy and yada yada yada
5…. now we find out that god is good because he has divine wrath to us (!)
Theology helps us more fully and more deeply rejoice in the blessings that are ours in Christ…..But how much fuller and deeper will your delight be when you understand that salvation means election to the praise of God’s grace, expiation to cover your sins, propitiation to turn away divine wrath, redemption to purchase you for God, justification before the judgment seat of God….
What? OK, Jesus is here for all, and one could easily argue for the least, well, that’s just what Jesus says. But DeYoung has to resort to a bunch of Christian gobbledygook that makes no sense. Kevin, do you really thing that the Lord of the universe needs for us to understand election, propiation and such? Do you really thing god wants us to fear him?!?!?! OK, let me sing the praises of the propiation of God’s Wrath! That’s enough to get me up in the morning.
That may be your god Kevin, but its not mine.
6. …and this paragraph in its entirety:
Even (or is it especially?) non-Christians need good theology. They may not thrill to hear a dry lecture on the ordo salutis. But who wants dry lectures on anything? If you can talk winsomely, passionately, and simply about the blessings of effectual calling, regeneration, and adoption, and how all these blessings are found in Christ, and how the Christian life is nothing more or less than being who we are in Christ, and how this means God really does want us to be true to ourselves, but ourselves as we were born again not as we were born in sin–if you give non-Christians all of this, and give it to them plainly, you’ll be giving them a whole lot of theology. And, if the Spirit of God is at work, they just might come back looking for more.
OK, I get the idea that he is saying that great oration is not the point and I agree with that. But Paul, the Calvinist prophet, has routinely said that what he does, simply, is preach Jesus, and Jesus crucified. I have come to realize that Calvinists turn everything around to be something about them instead of something about Jesus and this is a great example. Come on ” the blessings of effectual calling, regeneration, and adoption” what is that? I study this stuff all the time and I can’t tell you what he is talking about. Nonsense.
DeYoung is so wrapped around the axle of his own theology that he has totally lost the ability to say something that relates to real people. Even worse, he has neglected the actual teachings of Jesus enough that he considers the teaching to be “predicated on theological propositions” therefore you need to know those before you know Jesus. Poppycock. DeYoung has lost touch with reality.