The 18 Inch Chasm


Though the distance is not very great, one of the greatest chasms to traverse is the 18 inches (on average) from our heads to our hearts. Theological knowledge and acumen do not necessarily translate into a heart that is fervent with devotion to God. Although the apostle Paul was addressing the Christian’s knowledge with regard to food offered to idols in 1 Cor. 8, the principle still applies with all knowledge in the Christian life. ‘Knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.” (vv. 1b-2). Knowledge without love produces arrogance, not godly, humble followers of Jesus Christ. That is why Peter says, “…make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7). Knowledge and love must be married for eternity and never divorced from one another.

Do you pursue knowledge? Even that which is theological? Be sure to pursue love with as much fervor and zeal. Knowledge will give you understanding, love will make you realize how little you yet understand.

If you assert that your understanding of Scripture is superior to that of other Christians, then be sure to produce the fruits of such knowledge in your humility and faithful service to Christ and His people. After all, what do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Cor. 4:7).

The people who think they have the best theology therefore ought to be the most salty and shiny Christians, don’t you think?

Indeed, we should lament the chasm that lies between our heads and our hearts, but thankfully it is not “a great gulf fixed” (Lk. 16:26). It can be traversed by God’s grace through prayer, if we would but seek it.

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About C. M. Granger

I'm a firm believer in God's sovereignty, man's responsibility, and a gracious orthodoxy. I love the Puritans and the Reformers, but I don't believe our understanding of theology reached it's zenith in the 16th and 17th centuries. I love the Reformed Creeds and Confessions, but I'm not a strict confessionalist. I'm Reformed in my soteriology (I'm a moderate Calvinist), but not in the historical sense of the term (I'm a Baptist). Some of my favorite theologians/commentators are Kevin Vanhoozer, John Frame, D.A. Carson, Thomas Schreiner, Andreas Kostenberger, Peter O'Brien, David Peterson, Douglas Moo, and GK Beale. The list of dead theologians/commentators would be too long to list here. I think it's important to read widely, to read primary sources for yourself, and to accurately represent the positions of those whom you oppose. I believe it's imperative to have a proper balance between systematic and bibilical theology. I try to never make a round verse fit into the square hole of a theological system.
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