Theostasis

That's not a real word (at least in English). Like many folks with an interest in theology, I made it up. My working definition for theostasis is, "the state of being resistant to revision as it regards religious dogma."

It's a word that could easily be applied to those who subscribe to things like conservativism, traditionalism, even fundamentalism. The idea is that no matter what, no matter the revolutions in thought or the insights into history, a theological idea or doctrine must never change.

I think the reasoning for this is fairly simple. God doesn't change. The God of today is no different than the God of Paul or Jeremiah or Moses. Therefore, to "adapt" to the whims of culture is to discard him for a cheap image of our own making. I agree. To a point.

Yes, there are certain things culture will never like about God and will always be at war with. No student of the Bible can dispute this. But I would offer a caveat to the aforementioned maxim. God doesn't change, but people do.

Being subject to revision is entirely human. We change our minds like we change clothes. One day, we think Mumford & Sons is the greatest band ever, and the next day we read a Pitchfork review where we determine that they're inauthentic sellouts. We're fickle. And our perceptions are easily influenced.

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Theologians are people too. Which means that the vast, theological wealth of doctrine and orthodoxy was handed down to us under the same chaotic and capricious circumstances. So while we can and should confess that the word of God is infallible, the doctrines of man are most certainly not.

Why then does man maintain such standards? Why do we insist on surrendering our lives to the beatitudes of dead societies? The answer is fear.

A culture of fear is one without questions. Nothing is scrutinized or challenged, and the tides of change are stagnated because the object of fear is the loss of security. Comfort. That's the American dream.

Freedom is dangerous and requires the courage to stand against the current. No, we want insurance plans, retirement plans, and eternal destiny plans. We want a neatly packaged theological system that explains why we're going to heaven. A logically coherent set of propositions impervious to those ideas that threaten our contentment.

But these ivory towers are the fallacious works of fallen minds. Or are we so arrogant to think that sin has never penetrated theology?

So what then, are we resigned to a skeptic's fate; can we know nothing about God? Not without humility. There's a difference between saying, "God might be wrong," and, "We might be wrong." It's an uncomfortable tension that we're expected to know the truth while never fully knowing it (not unlike being held accountable for our actions to a sovereign God who controls our destinies).

And it's awfully tempting to fear our lack of confidence more than God himself. But as soon as we think we've made sense of God, we've made less of him. Take real comfort in the fact that no matter what we think, he is more.

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