Remember how Mom used to say, "Don't eat sweets before bed or you'll have bad dreams."? That goes for Theology too.
For some reason I seem to get the gumption (and time) to sharpen my bean on theological matters after everyone is in bed. Then I go to bed with my head all a scramble of ideas and wake up continually thru the night trying to reconcile the thoughts mix mashing around.
Well, last night I visited the Friends of Missional website and visited some blogs linked there, and that is what got me thinking.
One blog that I visited had a post that was critical of Reformed Theology. His thought was that "reformers" have grown complacent in their beleif of being saved by Grace alone and no longer do good works because, well, good works don't save you. I made a comment that it was our "cushy American Culture" that was to blame and not Reformed Theology. But I think I was overgeneralizing there as well. My thoughts this morning are two point (mainly because my children will wake up soon, so there is no point to point out more than two points).
1. God has given each member of the body different gifts. I think that flavors how each person and each Local Church looks. We can not generalize because we can not know what each persons gifts are. Sometimes I have gotten upset because "so and so doesn't care about the poor". I can't say for sure that they don't care about the poor, they might, but their gift might be to encourage and pray for leadership and they are being faithful to do that fully so caring for the poor is not evident in their works. Just because I don't see them helping out the homeless does not mean they are not involved in good works. God has made the Local Church and we must be obediant as to what he has called each one of us to do. (On a side note, have you ever thought about or looked into how much money international missions recieves from American churches. This could not happen if America was not so prosperous and those who were called to, where not so faithful in giving.)
2. Reformed theology does teach to do good works.....It just emphasizes that we are saved by Grace alone and not by good works. Anyone who is spending time in the word and being transformed daily into to likeness of Christ will show good works as a fruit. This is my big point: It is not theology or methodology that gives true fruit, it is the transforming relationship with Jesus.
The church we attend could be called reformed (I prefer to call it Biblical. Because we seek to apply the truth of the Bible to our lives.) Yesterday they celebrated their 5th Anniversery. (Hooray! I hear that 80% of church plants fail.) The pastor was preaching on our mission as the Local Church. He said our church goal was to "Preach the Word, apply the Word, Export the Word." I am paraphrasing the rest now.....We have to hear the word first from the Bible to hear the truth, apply the Word to our life to be changed, export the Word by sharing the life changing Truth that is evident in our life to others. And if you read and apply the book of James, you will see how important good works are. Well not only James, but I have to sum stuff up here. So my point is the works we display ought to be evident because of the fruit we have because of the life changing effect God's Grace has on us when we are faithful to walk in His Grace (no matter your theology).
And the beauty of being involved in the Local Church is that we can spur one another on to good works. I think this young man who got me thinking might have the gift to spur others on to good works.
Okay, I am loosing any cohesiveness to my thoughts now.....must go have more tea.