Tuesday, November 20, 2012

I Hear Voices

[sorry for the choppy nature of this post; it retains some of the character of "book notes." I tried to smooth into more of a coherent piece, but I fear it retained some of it's choppiness!]

After recently re-reading several chapters in Christian Spirituality: Five Views I began imagining a conversation in which each of these views (Lutheran, Reformed, Wesleyan, Contemplative and Pentecostal) was given a voice, perhaps sitting around a table drinking coffee together (or beer, depending on your view!). Some voices have better biblical support, some views get human experience better, some views understand limits better than others, etc.

A few paradigm questions that I asked while reading:

can we see these views developmentally, meaning, that we need different ones at different times/seasons?

can they be in dialogue with each other within our souls, or must we “pick one”?

I came to see these views more as different streams of truth and grace to learn from, rather than choices that a “consumer” might make. Some are clearly more biblical than others, so I don’t want to diminish that, but that is not all there is to say about a view.

Alongside a conversation, (and at the risk of oversimplification) I thought of a metaphor of building a house in which each of these views plays a part. It helped me understand and integrate this book into my mind and heart.

The foundation is mostly laid with the Lutheran View. It is solidly built on the person and work of Christ, apart from me and my performance. Unconditional acceptance and justification forms the foundation of my life.

The Reformed view forms the other part of the foundation, as well as the surrounding frame. It is more firmly based on Christ and Scripture, and expands and creates most of the house structure (supports, walls, etc.). The biblical doctrine of union with Christ is at the heart of this view.

But with the first two views, the house is still cold and lonely (good night, how can they both miss that love is the fulfillment of the Law??). More is needed!

I see the remaining views filling the house with relational depth and warmth:

The Wesleyan view fills it with zealous love for God and others, bringing warmth and passion. Outside the structure though it loses much of its winsome power.

The Contemplative view deepens the love and warmth that the Wesleyans bring, touching the deepest parts of our being with the love of God. We experience union and communion flowing from a relationship with Jesus.

The Pentecostal view brings us clarity and focus, reminding us that the love, power and life that fills the house is none other than the Spirit of God.

Though the strengths and weaknesses of each of these views is debatable, I have concluded that I need all these voices for a healthy robust spirituality!


Andy said...

I love what you have done here. Being out of Reformed circles in recent months has given me inclinations like this, but to see it spelled out so clearly as you have done is very clarifying. I think you are on to something very significant here, brother. Thanks for sharing!

Scott said...

thanks for the feedback, brother! I am thinking about expanding this a bit, not sure when I'll be able to get to it though!