Donald Miller – Doctrine is only half the message


Here is an interesting post from Donald Miller (of Blue Like Jazz fame) about why having good doctine is only half the message

In your opinion, is being a jerk heresy?

I only ask this because it seems we’ve lost touch with a true, holistic understanding of communication, believing as long as our ideas are theologically or philosophically true, we can present those truths through an offensive methodology. If you ask me, it’s a trick.

In a perfect world, people would make decisions about what they believe based on it’s philosophical merit, but that isn’t how people decide what is true at all. The truth about how people decide what is true is simple: If a philosophy creates a person that affirms my intrinsic value as a human being, it has merit, and if it doesn’t affirm my intrinsic value as a human being, it does not have merit.

Now that doesn’t hold much water in terms of deciding how to live, and yet, that’s how most people come to believe the ideas they believe. And God knows it, because God designed the brain to work in exactly this way. That’s why God emphasizes doctrine and love, or better, doctrine IN love.

The beautiful thing about the gospel of Jesus is it affirms the intrinsic value of mankind, stating we are the creation of God, fallen, and that God wants to be back in relationship. That’s a beautiful message.

We commonly believe that the Evil One wants us to teach bad theology, and I suppose he does. But what he wants to do more is to have us teach right theology in a way that devalues human beings, insults and belittles them, and so sets them against the loving message of God.

So if we teach right theology in a way that is condescending, we are just as guilty as being heretics. That’s why the Bible spends as much or more time talking about love as it does about doctrine. My guess is we love doctrine because it makes us feel superior, but neglect love because it calls for personal sacrifice and vulnerability.

And so we become personality heretics, speaking the truth, but teaching heresy.

The Devils methods are indeed effective.

Good stuff – any thoughts?

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