The Vestibule

Francis Schaeffer on not letting orthodox doctrine be disconnected from a living relationship with the living Christ.

Doctrinal rightness and rightness of ecclesiastical position are important, but only as a starting-point to go on into a living relationship – and not as ends in themselves.

[Take the Reformation, for example.] The Roman Catholic Church had come to teach the wrong doctrines. And I feel that most of the Reformation then let the pendulum swing and thought if only the right doctrines were taught that all would be automatically well. Thus, to a large extent, the Reformation concentrated almost exclusively on the “teaching ministry of the Church.”

In other words almost all the emphasis was placed on teaching the right doctrines. In this I feel the fatal error had already been made. It is not for a moment that we can begin to get anywhere until the right doctrines are taught. But the right doctrines mentally assented to are not an end in themselves, but should only be the vestibule to a personal and loving communion with God.

The danger of orthodoxy, even true orthodoxy, is in falling off the other side of the knife blade: that is, in stating the intellectual position and then placing a period. What we must ask the Lord for is a work of the Spirit . . . to stand on a very thin line: in other words, to state intellectually (as well as understand, though not completely) the intellectual reality of that which God is and what God has revealed in the objectively inspired Bible; and then to live moment by moment in the reality of a restored relationship with the God who is there, and to act in faith upon what we believe in our daily lives.

HT: Trevin Wax

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