Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Decalogue of Deconstructed Doctrines

μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με, διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων.
Matthew 15:9

With this introductory post I begin a detailed deconstruction of the erroneous ideas and hazy concepts cluttering the communal Christian mind today. I’ve wanted to deal with these things ever since I arrived here in America and can put it off no longer. Judging from the services I've attended, and the sermons I've heard on Christian radio here in Alaska, there seems to be a wide gulf fixed between my Christian beliefs and that of every other Believer in the U.S. In many key areas, our doctrines appear completely different and contradictory, and I feel a tremendous need to address, in writing, this large impediment to fellowship.

My plan is to deconstruct ten doctrinal statements, some composite and some actual, that contain what I consider to be critical theological errors, which would be, or are being, espoused by most American Christians today. I am convinced that the unenlightening church services I’ve attended in Fairbanks (and elsewhere) are a direct result of the faulty, unscriptural notions produced by these poorly founded doctrines.

Thinking about how lengthy this series will be if done right, it seems unlikely that I’ll post each of the ten statements in succession; there are bound to be other things I want to blog about in between them. It’s also conceivable that I might want to revisit the same statement in several posts. Hopefully any long gaps between installments won't obscure the theological continuity of the whole series. Yes, each post should be able to stand on its own, because one of my strongest criticisms of the other doctrines out there is how unsystematic and incoherent they are—it’d be nice if my own were seen to be systematic and coherent.

So, my next post will kick off the series in earnest and it’s a classic! Here’s a quick sampler:

1.          God loves everyone.

No greater disservice has been done to English-speaking Christendom than the translating of the New Testament Greek verb ἀγαπάω [agapao], and it’s noun form ἀγάπη [agape], into the single, unqualified word “love”. The damage done to the foundation of Christian understanding with regards to the commandments of our Lord, and His character and purpose, by that one tiny under-translation is simply incalculable. Entire denominations have been established on the basis of it. Countless heresies have been concocted from it. Millions of people are wallowing in error because of it. How is it possible that so many theologians, preachers and otherwise sensible churchmen have come to accept that, when the God of the universe says He “loves” us, He’s talking about a feeling; some kind of squishy, feminized, milquetoast super-like?

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