educational pontificating

image courtesy of davidajacobs.com


Some time ago I was engaged in an online discussion concerning Jesus’ purposes for coming to earth (there are many).  I offered that I was fairly certain it’s not possible to separate and fully distinguish between those purposes — and that such a western mindset might not be helpful anyway.  But if pushed to sum it all up, I supposed giving glory to God would top my list.

There was some disagreement, though, as others felt the salvation of man was Jesus’ chief priority.  The discussion was intelligent and challenging, yet polite and Christlike.  And then someone posted this:

It is this kind of “educational” pontificating that leaves the lost…LOST.

It is part of the reason the Church is shrinking in the US now. We spend too much time pontificating the mission and not enough time doing the mission.

Is it the “Overall” mission? WHO CARES…the lost still need Him!

Other than the insinuation that those of us involved in the discussion are not very involved in actually reaching out to the lost, I thought this comment was appropriate.  There is an awful lot of time spent discussing and debating the word of God — not that this in itself is wrong.  But there are certainly times when I myself ought to be doing… and am found only to be talking.


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13 Comments

Filed under evangelism, mission

13 responses to “educational pontificating

  1. mallaschmeditations

    I agree there are a lot of things we do that waste time instead of ministering and saving God’s people. However, yesterday as my god fearing, covenant man was enjoying a US football game on TV (something I’ve never enjoyed) I said something snarky like “I wonder what Jesus thinks of football?”
    I was judging. Wasted time, money, and energy on something I consider so worthless. My husband was quick and gentle to point out things I enjoy that are time wasters, energy wasters and money wasters, TV shows, reading blogs, highlights in my hair and we agreed once again Grace is a life giver.
    And that’s the point. Grace. That we can come together to discuss God’s purpose. Christianity is the only religion I know that allows you to question its authority with such honesty without fear of retribution.
    I also love blogs because it allows those of us in full time ministry a safe place to sort of vent- as the song says best ‘this warrior is a Child’

    • lesson i’ve learned above all others while living in tanzania: i must have grace for others to be themselves.

      that’s the lesson i think we all learn most when we begin to live in true community. we all make different decisions, and like it or not, many will not make the same ones i do.

      i think of a lot of my activities not as time wasters, but as other avenues in which to share the love of God. of course, i don’t have highlights, meditations.

    • lesson i’ve learned above all others while living in tanzania: i must have grace for others to be themselves.

      that’s the lesson i think we all learn most when we begin to live in true community. we all make different decisions, and like it or not, many will not make the same ones i do.

      i think of a lot of my activities not as time wasters, but as other avenues in which to share the love of God. of course, i don’t have highlights, meditations….

  2. Tisha

    Such a great point you make. It must be somewhat difficult for you to step away from “the discussion.” The focus of your blog being a place where you routinely express your own theological views and opinions for others to read and consider likely invites plenty of educational pontificating.

    • tisha, i’ve tried to take some steps back from talking a lot about my own views and opinions when it comes to scripture. i still do that i’m sure — but i do try to let scripture interpret itself and speak for itself.

      in comments sections, though, i tend to post opinions more. also, i sometimes do post opinions just to hear others’ thoughts on them. i’ve found my readers help me a great deal to employ wisdom when thinking through issues.

      • “but i do try to let scripture interpret itself and speak for itself.”

        Try as you might, nearly impossible to do. IMHO. And if it’s not your opinion, it’s the opinion of someone you’ve read or believed. Very hard to discuss Theology without it.

        • it’s true that it’s really tough. but i’m at least leaning that direction by using only the bible to study. i very rarely (as in twice a year) read commentaries or other bible study helps these days. i read the word, make sure that i can put it in my own words, write down what i’ve learned about God and/or life, and then write down what i need to do to be obedient.

          but i still read the bible through tinted glasses, i’m sure.

          • coming from a “Pharisee cult” I use to hear those words over and over again ” let the Word interpret itself, Make the Word your own”…..the irony was that it was only through THEIR filter that we would allow the interpretation, or make it our own. What we didn’t do, was allow ourselves to question and wait for the Holy Spirit to have a chance to teach us, without the tape player of ”interpretations” in our head…..
            so glad I’m out. :O)

          • that sounds rough. and odd. the phrase itself doesn’t seem to make sense — to let scripture interpret itself and yet to make it your own. were there teachers who wouldn’t allow people to ask questions? i think it’s odd people would go along with claims to let scripture interpret itself while not being allowed to do that…

            but glad you’re in another place. God is good.

          • rough and odd. yes. Questions were only tolerated for so long and depending on who your local leader was. But, mostly, questioning=rebellion=kicked to the curb. If GOD taught the LEADER, then, who are we to question GOD? ewww..don’t get me started…and yes GOD IS GOOD!!!!

          • sounds like a mess, but i won’t get you started… He is indeed good. thanks for being willing to share.

  3. I think since so many of us were brought up with really faulty ideas of what a Christian should be doing that when we awaken to a different way we spend tons of time, likely too much, talking about it and trying to figure it out. But to me, Jesus made it pretty simple – feed hungry people, love your neighbor, etc. Though I suppose its not clear the way in which to do such commands.

    • as i mentioned on your blog, i grew up with right belief being one of the chief aims of christianity. so, you can imagine, these conversations were extremely important. sometimes, now, i feel a little guilty for wanting to discuss soteriology and the like — because i could be using that time to talk with my neighbors, etc. but then i remind myself that writing on theological ideas is, to me, a way to wind down and relax, much as another might read the paper or take a nap on a sunday afternoon. then i don’t feel so bad. i feel i’ve found a pretty constructive way to rest.

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