I became aware of the declining interest in theology on the part of most churches shortly after my conversion and marriage. Both happened in 1970 and I mention my marriage because it was only after we were married that my wife and I began to attend church and look for spiritual fellowship.
The Western Canada Revival swept through the prairies in the early 1970’s, uniting all evangelical denominations to sponsor city-wide meetings where revival was preached and the crowds coming to hear required bigger and bigger venues. This interchurch co-operation was achieved by a tacit agreement to avoid mentioning denominational differences in doctrine.
The “I Found It!” outreach came along a few years later, sponsored by an even wider group of churche. The aim was to prompt people around us to seek some kind of meaningful encounter with Jesus Christ. The nature and significance of this encounter was purposely left vague in order to involve as wide a range of professing Christians as possible.
I’m sure that many lives were touched and changed by both of these movements. Nevertheless, they did something else – they sowed the seeds of a belief that theology is divisive and a hindrance to reaching unbelievers with the gospel.
What are we then left with? A belief in a benevolent Deity who wants us all to get along and who wants to help us when we are in trouble. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not enough. Does anyone really believe there is power in moralistic, therapeutic deism to rescue us from our sins? Does anyone believe in sin anymore?
What happened to truth? Where is it to be found?
No doubt some of the old denominational teachings were wide of the mark. But there was a day when people believed fervently in them, and quoted chapter and verse of the Bible to support them. Were they worse off spiritually than the bland, theology-free folks of today?
Do we search the Bible for truth today? Or do we search for heart-warming verses that don’t ask too much of us? I believe that God had more than that in mind when He gave us the Bible, and the Holy Spirit, to guide us into all truth. I believe that truth is necessary for our salvation in the present time and for eternity.
Any church, preacher, or book that doesn’t in some way encourage my search for the truth is subtly deceiving.