Theological Astuteness ≠ Spiritual Maturity (Paul Tripp)

Paul-TrippIf you know me to any significant degree, you will likely know that I’m quite passionate about retaining the natural link between theology and practical matters. There’s a statement I say occasionally that my wife likes to call my ‘life motto’:

Everyone’s a theologian. Everything is theological. And all theology is practical.

In other words, I can’t stand it when people drive a wedge between theological understanding and practical matters (e.g., you often hear this when people speak of ‘heart’ versus ‘head’ and things like that, as if the Biblical view of man is partitioned like that). In my view, these things are mutually inclusive and interdependent.

Having presented that caveat (or better, complementary comment), I love what Paul Tripp is saying here. It’s challenging and pastorally perceptive.

It is quite easy in ministry to give in to a subtle but significant redefinition of what spiritual maturity is and does. This definition has it roots in how we think about what sin is and what sin does. I think that many, many pastors carry into their pastoral ministries a false definition of maturity that is the result of the academic enculturation that tends to take place in seminary. Permit me to explain.

Authority–Man’s Word < God’s Word

Preface

On Sunday, August 26th, my pastor preached an excellent sermon from Matthew 15:1-9 at Lake Drive. The question he posed was, “What hold’s authority for the Christian?”  The topic of the sermon was God’s word and man’s word—that is, God’s truth, His teaching, His commandments versus man’s teaching, man’s instruction, or man’s tradition. Allow me to share with you some thoughts I had or that pastor Curt Leonard brought out in his message.

Introduction

God’s word is authoritative. It is perfect, it is true, and it is binding. As such it is the believer’s ultimate authority of faith (what to believe) and practice (what to do; how to live). A parallel truth to this fact is that God’s word is sufficient to instruct us on how to live godly lives in our present age or generation, which implies the concept of making direct applications of its truth to our contemporary setting.

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