Friday, July 28, 2006

Sugarless Sonship

I didn't live near my grandparents growing up, but I always enjoyed going to see them. There were things I always looked forward to when I went to my "Nana's" house in Stella, Missouri: playing in the creek, candy cigarettes (in hindsight, isn't this a bizarre "treat" for a child), and lemon pie. My Nana almost always made lemon pie when we were home. One year my mom and Nana made one of her famous lemon pies (at least they were famous in my eyes). After dinner the pie was cut and it was time to enjoy some down-home goodness.

Have you ever put something in your mouth and said to yourself, "Something is not quite right"? Though young, I was not so foolish as to say this out loud, but something was terribly wrong with this pie. Talk about tart! It was all anyone could do to choke it down. It wasn't long before my mother and Nana noticed all the contorted faces and shifty eyes darting back and forth around the room between the suffering pie-partakers. Perceiving our culinary discomfort, my mother and Nana took a bite of the pie and quickly realized why our tastebuds were on high-alert. They had left sugar out of the pie! To this day I give a sugarless lemon pie a thumbs down!

Yesterday I received news that John MacArthur had reversed his position regarding the sonship of Jesus ( Until yesterday I viewed MacArthur's view of "incarnational sonship" very much the same way I see sugarless lemon pie: edible, but hard to choke down, leaving you with the feeling there is an ingredient missing from the final product. MacArthur's previous view of the "incarnational sonship" of Jesus stemmed from the dilemma presented in Hebrews 1:5 (see also Psalm 2:7; 2Sam 7:14) regarding the issue of the Son (Jesus) being "begotten".

I came across MacArthur's view of the sonship of Jesus in my study in Hebrews over the past year with the young adults in our church. Since I have such high respect for MacArthur (on most issues), his argument for the "incarnational sonship" of Jesus rather than the eternal sonship of Jesus was one that I have weighed seriously, even though it is historically a minority interpretation of the Scriptures. As I studied it, I found the position of "incarnational sonship" one that was plausible, but not quite satisfactory, though I admittedly seriously considered it because of my respect for MacArthur's ministry and a pourous understanding of Hebrews (meaning my understanding of Hebrews, at the time, was full of holes because of lack of study).

I rejoice at MacArthur's humility and willingness to re-examine, where possible, the positions that he holds in regards to the teachings of Scripture. Our theology and systematic should always be open to the scrutiny of Scripture and the counsel of church history and godly men. We all have blind spots, and though God's Word is inerrant, our understanding of the intent of Scripture isn't always! The finiteness of the human mind and the frailty of our flesh makes us susceptible to doctrinal error. We must strive for theological integrity and consistency in our doctrine. Spirit-guided humility and the willingness to scrutinize our theological convictions by interpreting Scripture with Scripture is one step among many on the road to doctrinal purity. Thank you Pastor MacArthur for following in the footsteps of Augustine and demonstrating for ministers the serious obligation of pastoral ministry to watch our doctrine closely (1Tim 4:16).


At 4:01 PM , Blogger Bluesman said...

Good call on MacArthur's humility to even consider that he might be wrong. That's a great example that can be used to convict me. I certainly don't like to admit when I'm wrong.


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