Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Dangers of Theological Perfectionism

This post might be cut a tad too close to home for some of us (especially those in the broadly Reformed world), but Lee Irons has a good post here on the dangers of theological perfectionism.

A sample:
I recall when I was in seminary (Westminster Seminary California, 1992-96) that many of the young men used to sit around and debate the fine points of Van Tillian presuppositional apologetics for hours. They would be incredibly critical of any other form of apologetics, even other Reformed apologists like Francis Schaeffer or R. C. Sproul. The interesting thing was that it was a debate about the theory of apologetics. But the time and effort spent on getting the theory right was not matched by an equal zeal to actually use the theory in evangelizing unbelievers. Why? Because they were more interested (and I am guilty of this myself) of being right than in seeing sinners come to Christ. In other words, theological perfectionism had become an idol, whether it was the baser idol of wanting to look smart in the eyes of other seminary students, or the more refined idol of craving philosophical certainty about Christianity rather than having child-like trust in Christ. (Again, I'm not accusing others without pleading guilty myself -- I've been guilty of both the base and the refined idols!)
Read the whole thing. He goes on to give some examples, as well as four specific dangers that he sees.