Reactionary theology isn’t helpful

Situations change, life circumstances can be thrown outside of what we would consider ‘normal’ at any given point. The question is, how do we react in those times? If it’s something relatively small we just fix the problem, change a behaviour, address any fall out and we’re good to go right?

But what do we do when those situations or change in circumstances effect our theology? Do we simple change our convictions or our understandings of Scripture because the situation around us is changing?

Most people would probably say ‘no!’ to that last question. However, is that really the case?

There are obviously cases when something changes which means you need to think about something you’ve never had to before. COVID19 and the Lord’s Supper, for example, prior to the lockdown I doubt many people had considered the theological implications of taking communion online and whether they agree or disagree. This kind of situation is understandable and it’s good for pastors and elders to seriously wrestle with these things. But I’m thinking along different lines.

Say, for example, an elderly lady believes her whole life that homosexuality is a sin, but then her grandson comes out and she reacts, suddenly she is affirming in her approach and theology (Glynn Harrison gives this example in his book ‘A Better Story‘).

What does this tell you? Well, one of the things it tells you is that the lady was not grounded and firm in her convictions and so a situation came, which presented a challenge and she buckled.

The problem with a reactionary theology is that the minute a problem arises, a person can be tossed to-and-fro. The world is an ever changing place; what previously was considered wrong is now considered right. What would previously have been unthinkable has become normal, and there doesn’t seem to be much change, but the trajectory is that more changes are coming our way.

Christians have previously been a voice that has spoken out against such change and let our firm convictions be visible and audible to the world. Now, I fear that we’re more likely to shy away, retreat and not face public scrutiny simply because silence is easier. The church is not called to be silent, the church is called to stand in the face of blatant idolatry and sin and call it out. For too long pulpits have tickled ears, for too long Christians have changed their theology to seem more ‘relevant’ and for too long we have been distracted by the things of the world and we’ve stop keeping the main thing the main thing.

We need to stand firm in our convictions, hold fast to the teaching of Scripture and live wholeheartedly, sacrificially and unwaveringly for Christ!

Reactionary theology isn’t helpful because it portrays the idea that our theology and understanding of Scripture isn’t important because it can be changed at the flip of a coin. Instead we need to train people to know what they believe and why, to stand firm in the face of opposition and call out sin and idolatry when we see it. That’s why every single church should be in the business of training up their men and women to serve, to be disciple-making-disciples. Equipping them to understand, apply and live out the Word of God in front of a watching world. Train up believers with a spiritual backbone who will stand against the onslaught of questioning and opposition and hold fast to Biblical orthodoxy in order to glorify God.

Friends keep the main thing, the main thing. Hold fast to your convictions and the teachings of Scripture. Do not have a reactionary theology that changes with every wind, wave or conversation.

Instead create a culture that prepares for things before they come. Think of some of the big issues that Christians may be facing in a few years and get educated in them now. Living this way means that you’re preparing for a change in circumstances which will then give Christians a voice at the table instead of them being the grumpy crowd shouting outside (normally a few years too late).

Reactionary theology isn’t helpful because it is an indication that we hold loosely to our convictions which, with the right pressure, we could desert very quickly. Reactionary theology isn’t helpful because it could be a sign of a lack of confidence in the Word of the Lord and a lack of confidence in God. Instead we should have convictions that are rooted in Scripture, that are sound and orthodox and that glorify God and build up the saints.

Have a theology that prepares and equips you for the future, not one that reacts to momentary situational changes.

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