What If You Didn’t Have to Choose?
Beach or mountains? If you had to decide between one or the other as a vacation destination, which would you choose? For some, the answer would be a no brainer. You have a definite preference. For others, you may feel tension, because you enjoy both the mountains and the beach.
What about steak or shrimp? How do you choose? For some, easy. Others, tension.
What if mountains and beach, steak and shrimp were not mutually exclusive options?
What if you could have a vacation where the water meets the trail and where surf and turf are offered as one meal?
When it comes to theology and the spiritual life, some of us have believed that we have to make a choice. Just like we may feel a tension between a vacation at the beach or the mountains, we may feel a tension between “Word” and “Spirit.”
Maybe you’ve noticed that entire churches tend to drift into one camp or the other: the Word church and the Spirit church.
- The “Word” church prizes the intellectual and tends to emphasize the Bible and doctrine to the neglect of the Spirit.
- On the other hand, the “Spirit” church prizes the emotional and tends to emphasize the present, active ministry of the Holy Spirit to the neglect of the Word.
If the Word church values the rationality of the mind, the Spirit church values the affections of the heart.
But what if we don’t have to choose between the mind and the heart? What if the biblical model of the Christian life is not Word or Spirit, but Word and Spirit?
In Christian theology, the study of the Holy Spirit is called pneumatology, which comes from two Greek words, pneuma meaning “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit,” and logos meaning “word,” “logic,” or “study.” Even in the name of the study of the Spirit, both Word and Spirit are united into one word — pneuma and logos!
I. Love. That.
My proposition is that if we could see these two streams converge into one mighty river— the best of the Word church and the best…