Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Biblical Theology OR Relational Love??

A couple of weeks ago Paul and I traveled to Jackson MS to attend a conference. We were drawn to the conference because Malcolm Smith was one of the speakers. We credit Malcolm Smith tapes with starting us on the grace vs performance journey way back in the late seventies and early eighties. We hadn't heard of him for a few years, so we made a spur of the moment decision to go. The conference was entitled "The Shack" and featured William Paul Young, the author of The Shack.

The conference was put on by a ministry that has an interesting name, Perichoresis. (I had to look that one up.) Seems the conference wanted to focus on the Trinity, one of the subjects that is causing many problems to theologians who read the book, The Shack.

I downloaded the audio book to my iPhone so we could listen again to The Shack as we made the long road trip to and from Jackson. I got a lot more out of the book listening than I did reading it. We also stopped the recording and had discussions along the way. Great way to get the most out of a book.

Some of my friends and family have been asking when am I going to write about our trip and the conference and about the book. I found this blog written by DeHaan, the organization that puts on Radio Bible Class and publishing Our Daily Bread. These have been staples in my life since I was a child. After reading this blog and the comments,
Mart DeHaan, I decided I could not improve on it. If you're interested, read the blog and the comments. It's a pretty thorough coverage of Mr. DeHaan's view of the book. His excerpts were some of the ones I would have chosen. He does a great job and then the comments have some good arguments. Why repeat something that's already been done so well? I'll just link to it. :-)

My question: The book and the author are about the love relationship of the Trinity with humans. My desire and longing is to encounter someone or a group who has good strong Biblical theology PLUS a good strong relational walk and talk. One could almost begin to believe these are mutually exclusive. I've seen so many who have sound theology but somehow that too often translates into critical, harsh, unloving, and sometimes downright mean ways of relating. Then on the other side of the coin, those who show love and have great relationships seem to be weak in sound Biblical theology, or at least I have some disagreements about some of the ways the Bible is interpreted and then set forth as teachings and theological stances.

All of this prompts me to question: Is there a group or a theological way of thinking that emphasizes both? I'm on a hunt!


Anonymous said...

I don't know if there is a group out there like that, but I do know that I want that kind of relationship with the Trinity and I think that my theology is pretty straight. It has not always been, and I may be off on some points....according to some people I respect, but not in the essentials. I'm open...you start the club, I'll be the first member!! Marjory..(Can't remember my blogger password, so I'm anonymous)

Bobby Brown said...

Between being correct and being loving I will always take the loving. Although both are important the latter is without doubt the most important. Without our relationships being correct manward it is impossible for them to be right Godward. That is what the Shack is about to me. Papa is pursuing a relationship with Mack but in order for it to be right Mack must deal with all the relational problems he has in his life (His Shack). He has relationship problems with his wife, his children, his dad, the pedofile and therefore Papa. When the Trinity meets with him at the Shack they deal with these relationships one at a time in the context of eternity and at a pace Mack can endure until he deals with each one of them. Mack then enjoys the ultimate relationship with Papa which evidences itself in the life of William Paul Young when you here him speak. Jesus summed it up when he said you can put all the law into two: our relationship with God and with others. If they are right we have kept all the law.

Marjory Brown said...

One more thing. You didn't mention Malcolm Smith...he had the best tape series called, 'The Big Lie', that was so telling and changed the whole way we began to think. What was his part in the conference?

Mary Burleson said...

Margie, You made me laugh; you forgot your password so you're anonymous. Been there, done that. I was hoping to find a system, a denomination, a group, or some such that already existed that emphasized right relationships and had good, sound theology. Maybe our club can be the "Hunters" club. Join me in the hunt.

Bobby, great summary of the book. I'm impressed! You nailed it in one paragraph. At the conference Mr. Young kept emphasizing that the shack is symbolic of each person's insides or soul that they've built because of what they've encountered in life. And for him, Missy's loss is the loss of his personal innocence. Interesting symbolism.

Margie, Malcolm Smith was great. He's much older now of course, and he's Greek Orthodox. Isn't that interesting? We heard him a couple of times and his message is still the same, The Lie. He makes some very good points talking about what kind of gospel are we getting today, a pass out of hell and all the goodies. He rather ridicules that showing the real reason the Son came, to show us the Father. Very refreshing to hear his messages again.

Thanks, guys, for taking the time to comment. Love your thoughts.