Why start writing after all these years? The years are slipping by and I'm at a point in my life where I'm old enough to realize how little I knew when I was twenty-five. I used to be one of those people that wanted to see things in black and white and was pretty disgusted with people who didn't see things in those terms. A lot of older people just seemed 'soft' to me. Some undoubtedly are, some having grown weary and mentally lazy, set in their ways. But there are others that have developed a bit of wisdom. You start to realize that sometimes it's not a matter of something being black versus white but whether or not you're even asking the right question to begin with? How are your determining what is black and what is white? Things like that.
I'm at a point in my life that I see the years starting to pass by very quickly. My children are growing. I have a teenager now and I see how short a time we have with them. If I've learned something it's this...youth is wasted on the young.
When you have all the energy to pull the all-nighters and go endlessly you lack direction and wisdom. You need years, maybe a decade or two to ingest and digest libraries worth of information, and to live some adult life and gain wisdom through reflection on your experiences. But by then you're reaching middle age, and now you have this window with which to work. Because before too long, you're going to start getting tired, your short term recall, and your precise memory are likely to be less sharp, and you start a steady decline. I'm not suggesting you're all washed up at 60. Thankfully some are still very acute and energetic and I hope that's the case with me.
Realistically doing the work I do, by the time I'm fifty-five or so my body will be starting to break. I've watched a few men that I know go through this transition. I've watched energetic fifty year old men who have worked all their adult lives doing carpentry, really slow down and become far less able by sixty.
What are my hopes? I don't know. I wanted to write for myself, because I want to understand these things. I don't care about carpentry and plumbing. It's a means to an end. It puts a roof over our heads and clothes on our backs. I would happily lay down my hammer tomorrow, but if I to do it for another 25 years...so be it.
I've done a lot genealogical work on my family. I love history, so of course I find it interesting to learn my own family's story and I have found out a whole lot. But sometimes it's just names and dates on a page. I've got a few pictures from the 1800's. I know some stories and places. But you wonder...who were they? What did they think about this or that? Often you don't know.
I've often thought that if I dropped dead tomorrow, all that I've worked for would be gone. If that's God's will so be it. Of course that's not true. I've touched people's lives as they have touched mine. My wife, my best friend knows my thoughts like no other. I have a library of books surrounding me as a write this. But I think...what about my children? I'm teaching them, but at this point they can only understand so much. So another reason to write is to leave a record for them. They will definitely know how their father thought and what he wanted them to understand.
So I write for me, to help understand, to force me to explain, sometimes to vent frustration. I write for my children. I write I hope to please God and to help His people.
Ultimately if we understand these things to be spiritual in nature. If one must be regenerate in order to discern spiritual things...if we understand more through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, then it follows that a degree, that higher education can only help so much. We've all heard the Biblical and historical 'experts' on the news, and over the years I've read many of their books. If you're lost, you're reduced to foolishness and you will not understand the Scripture nor the things of God.
At the same time if you love the Lord but have fallen into traps and been fooled by idols...if you've been deceived by worldliness and all it offers (the lust of the flesh, eyes, and the pride of life), or the anxieties it generates...then your education won't aid or save you. In fact it may root presuppositions within your mind that will actually facilitate an erroneous theology and hinder your ability to think differently.
Many would call me arrogant for the things I've written. Sure, we all wrestle with pride, but often that has absolutely nothing to do with the actual argument, the actual issues I'm raising. Even if I am subject to pride, it in no way negates what I'm saying.
How dare I question those who have gone before? We all do. Every Protestant questions a myriad of teachers that went before. Every faction within Protestantism questions other factions as well as the Medieval Church. That's not really the issue. Do I admire the men who wrote the Westminster Confession? On one level. I respect much of what they did, but not all they produced nor the grid they operated within. They were by no means perfect or infallible.
While the ideas I present here are sometimes 'out of bounds' in a Reformed context, in light of the full record of history I'm hardly alone. My ideas are not original. If there's any originality with me it's how I'm putting them together and taking ideas that sometimes have been understood as contradictory and trying to argue that they're not. What I'm saying may be new to many readers, but I am consciously bound to history. I don't believe the truth has ever been lost. I don't believe you can ignore history and those who wish to do so are foolish.
Just the other day I was engaged in an argument with a Lone Ranger type....just him and his Bible, and he had the legalistic and individualistic theology to go with it. His ideas were not only anti-Scriptural but completely divorced from history. History is not the standard, but I said to him...."Assume I don't know anything. Why should I believe you? Can you point to anyone in history who has said what you're saying? Has this all been lost since the time of the Apostles? How is that any different than the claims of Joseph Smith or any of the other cultists who introduced doctrines completely novel to the history of the Church?"
Needless to say he couldn't answer. He embarrassed himself by attempting to speak of some early Church history and only showed his lack of familiarity with it. Aside from that, there's no one in all of history putting forward ideas like his. The only group that even comes close would be the followers of Ellen G. White, also known as the Seventh Day Adventists....in other words, a cult dating from the 19th century.
The Bible is the sole authority, but we don't live in a vacuum, we cannot ignore history.