Putting the Focus on 3D Theology: Part 1
Assessment of Tim’s Comments
The kind of discussion, this mode of thought, this stream of consciousness that comes from Tim in his statements here, and in his recent slew of posts, has about it a certain superficial plausibility. Indeed, it contains some real truth. But upon close scrutiny, it is impossibly vague and solves absolutely nothing. It is full of logical and hermeneutical errors. It is actually such a distortion of the truth using high-minded and spiritual language that it is seemingly cult-like, and Tim is the de facto charismatic guru and leader. It was very instructive going back and reading the progress that Tim has made in the formulation of this manner of doctrine, as you can see a progressive history of it in his blog posts and comments. Tim had some very good questions and concerns about the Promise-Only view of saving faith , but unfortunately no one took the time to answer these objections, and it seems Tim didn’t look very far in seeking to get them properly and sufficiently answered. In response to this, it seems, Tim got a “revelation” and started using it as a working thesis to solve the problems that he saw in the current “food fight” as he puts it. The problem is that he has superimposed this thesis onto the scriptures, and uses it as his interpretive grid. Now, so thoroughly submerged into this formulation, Tim “sees” his doctrine everywhere, while nevertheless remaining obstinately blind to its innate contradictions and scriptural imprecision. This process that I have sensed is precisely how many cults have been instituted in the past. The more questions that get raised concerning the many difficulties and errors in his formulations, the more entrenched and passionate (and somewhat vitriolic) he becomes in both defending and propagating it.
Furthermore, this doctrine has the testimony and appearance of a superlative spiritual phenomenon and yet smacks of the pride that is often associated with those who have had a “second blessing”.
Next, it is mighty presumptuous to make a sweeping judgement concerning the effects of a teaching without a shred of support arguing why such an effect is both logical and inevitable. The shock and outrage of placing obstacles between man and a living relationship with God! What kind of excess it this? Does Tim really believe that Zane’s theology (or mine for that matter) is guilty of such a crime? I submit that if he can say so in the sincerity of his heart (and I can’t imagine that he can, God only knows) that he is nevertheless sincerely ignorant of what we actually believe and teach! Furthermore, Tim’s pronouncement is necessarily divorced from a consideration of the wide field of available material and teaching that has the present experience of life as its focal in Free Grace Theology (which by the way is an essential teaching of it, both promoted and emphasized!), for if he had considered it, the result would have been the taking of the bite out of his bark, and the wind from his sails. Furthermore, there has been alot of work into the propositional nature of the saving message (I, for one, having developed solid arguments in print for it as others). Tim’s original post has all the earmarks of mischaracterization and a straw man effigy.
Finally, we are left with the task of finding the truth. How this will be accomplished is through a reasoned and precise appeal to Scripture using the timeless principles of hermeneutics expressed through God given articulation and logic. At the outset, we must admit that this is a humbling experience, as this is the very Word of God we are attempting to decipher. Pride must must make way for humility, and the Bible must be made to speak for itself. In allowing the Bible to speak, we will necessarily find that it is at odds with Tim and Jim’s doctrine in this case. The lack of applying sound hermeneutical principles by Tim to the study of the Bible has produced great error, tragic and even dangerous error, as we will later note.
On this note, I get the impression that to Tim and Jim, Michele is like an experiment, and Michele is all too willing of a participant in it. To me, it is like the training of an animal to them. Much time has been invested to illicit the desired responses, and reward is given when these responses occur, even in the spite of less than perfect results (which is never a description of this formulation anyway). But little by little, they are making her into a creature of their bend. If my impression is even somewhat correct, this is shameless. Furthermore, there is evident the “mother bear” syndrome common in cultic-type situations with Tim’s protection of his “sister”. This is a most unfortunate situation, as Michele has admitted her issues with involvement in cults (plural) in the past, and seems to be following into such a mode again.
I furthermore have read the history of Michele in this matter from her blog. She used to use words like “seem” and “possibly” with much other subjunctive expression, but now confidently assumes herself as an authority in these matters of soteriology with the same lack of care and precision that her teachers use. Getting any straight answers from her has been impossible because of the manifest and ubiquitous failures of this system. There are no shortcuts to the proper mining of God’s truth and the one who is going to do so will need the proper skill and tools. It is if Michele was sticking to the wading pool but now entertains her prowess in swimming in the rapids. The illustration that Tim uses in this article, with a little twist, ironically describes his formulations. This system keeps one wading in the shallow crib, supposing himself to be swimming in the deep lake. Unfortunately, it is not good advice in this case to knock the bottom out of the swimming crib, because its occupants are liable to drown!
Concluding Thought in this First Installment
The reticence to provide a reasoned exposition and appeal to scripture in support of this formulation, and the necessity to use much allegory, metaphor, and simple prose to describe it speaks volumes. This formulation has been brewing for over a year (and most likely for years) but has yet to produce a definitive and scholarly defense of it with which people can properly access and consider it.
To be continued...