January 3, 2011

Show Your Work

Do you remember doing either long division, or algebra? One thing that seemed to be a rule in every math classroom I have ever been is 'show your work'. You know what I mean right, if you had a problem 2 +X = 4 in the earliest stages of math you were not allowed to simply say that X=2, you had to show it.

I think this is a rule we of the Christian faith need to re-familiarize ourselves with.
The other day I was reading Mark Driscoll's 'Doctrine'. While I can't say I had any real substantive disagreements with him, every chapter I read I found myself thinking something like; 'I think this idea is more complex than you are making it', or 'I don't think you have provided sufficient proof for your statement'.

Now I should be fair to him he has not tried to write a complete systematic theology text book, so he hasn't researched it as such. Also the book clearly is not written at an academic level. Yet the book is subtitled 'What Christians Should Believe'. Since I found myself at odds with him I suppose that means I don't, according to Driscoll, believe what Christians should.

One of his chapters was on the bible, with a sizable section devoted to how scripture was inspired. According to Driscoll the only way to properly understand inspiration you must affirm verbal plenary inspiration, which means that every individual word, even the order in which the word appear was inspired by God not just the big ideas, or specific words.

I've never been able to accept verbal plenary inspiration as my doctrine of inspiration. I am happier with the broader category of inspired. The problem with Driscoll's chapter is he doesn't explain why we should accept this doctrine other than to quote some passages of scripture.

His logic was remarkably circular.

This was what I felt like as I tried to follow Driscoll's logic

Here's the thing, when the rest of the world makes a statement which is supposed to be fact, not just option they tend to back up their statement with evidence. Now as Christians we tend to make a lot of statements which are supposed to be fact, but I am not sure we always back up said statements with anything beyond 'because the bible tells me so'.

We need to show our work. We need to show why we have come to the conclusions we have and try to support them with as much evidence as possible.

Now I know that 'faith is belief in things unseen', but that doesn't mean we shouldn't figure out what is truly unseen and what is something we haven't seen yet.

When we talk to outsiders, and many Christians with differing view points we need to show that we thought about our faith that we have wrestled with things we do not understand, so when we say I believe X because the bible say Y we have not confused blind faith with strong faith.


  1. Great post. And thanks for the wedding one too. Just a note that x=2.


  2. X does equal 2, and that is was I ought to have shown my work.

    Thanks for that.