A Letter to the Young Reformer
Hello friends! I hope this letter finds you well, and no offense is pulled from it. For starters, I wanted to share a little of my background with you. I live in a ministry in Denison, Texas called In Triumph. This ministry takes in young men who may be in need of second chance at life, and puts them through a unique discipleship process. Anyhow, I was one of their students for a few years, and now the directors have been gracious enough to allow me to work with some of the guys entering into the program. This means they allow me to be in authority over people who are in need of sound doctrine, as well as the love it should produce. This is a great challenge for a young man like myself, and more often than not I find myself in positions where I must fight to apply the theology that I know in a hurry. Can you relate to this struggle?
To be blunt, I see that we ARE struggling with applying the sound theology we so boldly declare behind our computer screens. Please do not take my voice as cynical. That is not my intention. I think a lot of good things come from our online reformed groups, and I love speaking with many of you whom I have met within those arenas. However, in the past few weeks I have also spoken with some of our less confrontational brothers and sisters in these groups and have heard their cries over not getting much sympathy from the “elites” over their struggles with this whole knowledge vs. application issue. They seem to believe that those who claim to apply all are not self deceived! Indeed, I say this to our shame. I would rather be honest and relate with their weaknesses here. As a matter of fact, I am one of them.
As previously stated, in my job I’m constantly tested in my selflessness and patience. In these times, my motives for “leading” others can be exposed as sinful. To swallow this can be painful at times, because the truth of how much I actually “know” is easily exposed in these trials by fire. Even worse, sometimes I sit in theology classes all week and only seem to fall further back than when I started. Wretched man that I am! Now, I am in a great position in ministry, and I wouldn’t change that gift. I am working for the Lord on the front lines! However, sometimes I honestly feel like a miserable failure in this line of work, one that knows a lot of theology in his head, yet cannot seem to produce it from his heart.
The comforting thing is that I am not alone in this awful contradiction. It’s pretty common among young believers. Sadly, some feel scared to admit this due to the onslaught of rebukes and teachings that come upon them as soon as they speak up. These “teachings” usually come from those who “have it together.” Well, to these types….I think it’s time to take another look at how we “serve” with our knowledge. I have the liberty of living with my Pastor and his wife, and let me tell you the truth about being a young Christian. Us young bucks may have the knowledge, but we do not yet have the experience of our elders. (Of course, I know there are the Spurgeon’s of the world, but come on, how often do they come along?) We must be humble in acknowledging this because we cannot continue to cause our weaker brothers to stumble by putting on a good show of theology through our keyboards. I personally see these “faith book” warriors as provoking and beating a dead horse. My question to these types of people is this: Is it truly profitable? Are we really serving with our knowledge when others feel beat down by our noisy gongs? Do we really dig in and invest with those around us on social media, or do we seem them as an opportunity to submit them under our theology kingdom?
In Closing, I have spoken some tough words. I understand that pride is ugly, because I battle with it myself. We must take a look at how much those around us need the love of Christ vs. our knowledge about infant baptism. The Bible does warns us that knowledge puffs up for a reason. It puffs us up fast, and it’s hard to deflate once we’re there. So, to my friends who are struggling with the idea of the “knowing” a lot and yet not “knowing” enough, I’m with you. I work in a ministry, and even at times teach the Bible, and still only apply 30 percent of what I preach. This humbles me, and all I can do is continue to work towards the holiness that God calls me to pursue. (In light of that, I must always strive to be gentle and loving, not arrogant like the Scribes of old.) I must also realize that I’m in a process, and I’m young and that’s okay! At the end of the day, I’m totally dependent on God for growth. I will always need the Spirit of God to give me the wisdom to apply what I know. I cannot have so much pride that I cannot admit this to you, for who would be encouraged by that?
Farewell friends! I hope this encourages the weak, and also reaches the one’s who act as if they have this thing down. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Either way, I will wake up tomorrow, fold my blanket, and sit down for a study to fill my head with more biblical knowledge. Who knows? Maybe God will drop some of it into my heart.
Soli Deo Gloria, and Press on.