"Concepts create idols. Only wonder understands."
--Gregory of Nyssa
The other night, The Larry King Live show did a program featuring a sampling of Time Magazines 25 most influential evangelicals. I missed the program b/c I didn't know about it until the next day, but I did read the transcript. I was really interested b/c of the diverse pannel King was interviewing: Tim and Beverly LaHaye, Franklin Graham, T.D. Jakes, and Brian McLaren. As I read, I found that I was repulsed by Tim LaHaye's comments, not so much because of their content (I can disagree without being repulsed) but because of their arrogant certainty (and I'm a believer....imagine how an unbeliever would respond.) His wife Beverly came off better (in my opinion) athough she suffered from the same attitude. I think Graham was a little too preachy, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well he did for the most part (the fact that I was surprised reveals my own unfair bias and prejudice I suppose). But, I was ecstatic about how the Gospel was represented by T.D Jakes and Brian McLaren. They were able to discuss their beliefs and opinions with both humility and compassion. I wasn't the only one who noticed either. toward the end of the program, King accepted questions from callers to members of the pannel. One caller said " I would like to preface my comment to Mrs. LaHaye by saying that I highly respect Reverend Jakes and Mr. McLaren because they seem to be the most compassionate, understanding and open-minded of the evangelicals" Humility (open mindedness) and Compassion...they are marks of Jesus and consequently marks of those who follow in His Way.
I wonder if it's offensive to God when we speak with such certainty about Him or when we speak with such "authority" about things related to Him. I know for a fact I don't agree with McLaren and Jakes on a number of doctrinal issues. Even so, I'll follow them as they follow Jesus any day. What violence have we done to scripture and to God's dream when we reduce it to little iron-clad formulas? What damage have we done to the Way when we reduce the Gospel to steps one follows so that God has to take them? Concepts create idols. Only wonder understands.