One Quick Way To Become A Heretic
One of my favorite characteristics of the Bible is that it contains tension.
Tension tends to make us uncomfortable, but it’s not always bad. For instance, tension is what draws sound from stringed instruments. It is the proper tension on the strings that makes a guitar produce sound. If you release the tension, you relinquish the sound.
The same thing is true of the Bible. At times the Bible seems to assert two contradictory or competing truths. A large sum of the false teaching in the Church is the byproduct of declaring one part of God’s Word and downplaying another. Most heretics herald just enough truth to be harmful. We want to be able to comfortably conceive of everything God has constructed. But, the reality is, there’s tension. If we release the tension, we reject its message.
I preached an example of this on Sunday at Redemption from the letter of Jude. In verse 21, Jude calls Christians to keep themselves in the love of God and then in verse 24 he says that it is God who keeps us from stumbling. Now, a careful reader may be prompted to think, “Well, which one is it? Do I keep myself in God’s love, or does God keep me from stumbling?” The answer is - BOTH!
We love either/or answers, but more often than not, the Bible is filled with both/and. The Bible isn’t a "choose your own adventure" story. We don’t have the freedom to pick the themes and truths we’re most comfortable with and simply disregard, diminish, or downplay the others. If the Bible asserts two things as true - even if we struggle to reconcile how it can be - we must balance the tension between both or risk becoming a heretic.
We need to repent of our pride, labor to understand, and humble ourselves under the infinitely wise mind of our God. Lean into the tension. Learn to love the tension. Let God shape you in and through the tension present in His Word.