Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A Great Quote

I have been reading a couple books lately. One of them is:

The Gospel for the New Millennium

And for those who don't like Amazon:

The Gospel for the New Millennium

Chapter 5 is by Alvin Reid and the title is: "Revival/Spiritual Awakening and Incarnational Evangelism." In this chapter on page 102 he points out the usual excuses that people don't witness. He then moves into the below quote:

The root cause lies in our misunderstanding in our day of the essential nature of the Christian faith. For some, Christianity is a simple system of dogma. Make no mistake: doctrine is critical, particularly in our pluralistic world which sees tolerance as a virtue and conviction as a vice. But an emphasis on doctrine apart from devotion to God leads to dead orthodoxy.

The emphasis on the final sentence is mine. I have tried to give a little context to the quote in order to capture what I think he is saying. I have often asked myself the question of which comes first? Or, which do I as a spiritual formation minister at a church teach first? Does spiritual discipline and right doctrine lead to devotion to God and spiritual growth? Or does pure enamored devotion to God lead to spiritual discipline and doctrinal aptitude? For many years I think we have ignored the slow death of our orthodox existence while attempting to purge our denomination of its less than stellar proponents. We forgot how to love God in our effort to not be charasmatically emotional. In my evangelistic endeavors I have yet to have an unbeliever question my doctrine before my character and integrity.


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