Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Put Your Doctrine to the Test!

So Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat and all that stuff; but, work in the classroom continues. I (Eric) thought I'd let you in a little closer to what goes on in a Bible college class in Micronesia. I think you'll see that even though we are in a pretty kick-back part of the world, we still take our college classes pretty seriously.

For instance, I've taken a liking to the case study approach to pedagogy. I teach doctrine, which in some minds is not very applicable to real life; it's too theoretical, some argue. One of my challenges then, is to help my students get from theory to reality, to help them move beyond concepts to real life. Could they really detect bad doctrine if it stared them in the face? To find out, I created some bad doctrine and had it "stare them in the face!" I created a fictitious letter from a young couple who had begun attending a new church. This new church was teaching things the couple had never heard before. I assigned the students to pick apart the doctrines presented in the letter and write a letter back to the young couple articulating specific concerns with the church's teaching. A portion of the imaginary letter follows:

Imaginary letter:
Our new church is such an exciting place to be. It’s full of great worship and fellowship, and the pastor is a very good teacher. He says things we never heard at PIBC! Some things are so new to us, we’re wondering what you think about them. Our first Sunday, the pastor preached about the mysteries of God that are not revealed in Scripture. Our pastor takes the Bible literally about Jesus being begotten like it says in John 3.16 (King James), and he taught us that Jesus was an ordinary man like the rest of us, but he was so near perfect that God chose him to become his Son to die on the cross (Hebrews 5.8, 9). When God the Father chose Jesus, that’s when he was “begotten.” God the Father didn’t really know who the Messiah would be before Jesus came along and earned the right to be declared God’s Son. I have never heard of this, what do you think? I would like to know what you think since you have been a Christian much longer than me. It sure seems to make sense though!

My students did really well. How would you fare if you took this test? Take some time this Christmas to find out, and then let me know what you think (but don't expect a grade!)

1 comment:

Chris Tidwell said...

Your "new" church example sounds like "latter day saints" doctrine about Jesus and Him becoming God.
Jesus did not "become" God. Jesus has always been with God the Father since the beginning (Jn. 1:1-4; Col. 1:9-23). This example would not be used for Modalism would it? Though I have heard derivatives of this argument to support forms of Modalism.
Take care!
Chris Tidwel