Don’t Mistake Your Ardour for Theological Precision

Caring Sufficient to Be Cautious

I’m glad there are individuals on the earth—most individuals on the earth, it seems—who know extra about automobiles than I do. I don’t need good-natured well-wishers to exchange my alternator. I need somebody who has paid cautious consideration to the intricacies of auto restore. I need somebody who cares about precision. I need somebody who is aware of what he’s doing. I need an professional.

To behave as if nobody is aware of greater than anybody else is just not solely foolish; it’s additionally a critical mistake. In his ebook The Loss of life of Experience, Tom Nichols cites a survey from just a few years in the past by which enthusiasm for navy intervention in Ukraine was immediately proportional to the particular person’s lack of awareness about Ukraine. It appears that evidently the dumber we’re, the extra assured we’re in our personal mental achievements. Nichols relays an incident the place somebody on Twitter was attempting to do analysis about sarin fuel. When the world’s professional on sarin fuel supplied to assist, the unique tweeter (a world-class “twit” we’d say) proceeded to angrily lecture the professional for appearing like a know-it-all. The professional could not have recognized all of it, however on this case, he knew exponentially greater than somebody crowdsourcing his analysis on-line. And in relation to chemical warfare, I’d like my specialists to have as a lot experience as doable.

We stay in an age the place ardour is commonly thought-about an enough substitute for precision.

We’ve swallowed the lie that claims that if we imagine in equal rights, we should imagine that every one opinions have equal benefit. Nichols additionally tells the story of an undergraduate scholar arguing with a famend astrophysicist who was on campus to provide a lecture about missile protection. After seeing that the well-known scientist was not going to alter his thoughts after listening to the arguments from a university sophomore, the scholar concluded in a harrumph, “Well, your guess is as good as mine.” At which level the astrophysicist shortly interjected, “No, no, no. My guesses are much, much better than yours.”1 There was nothing unsuitable with the scholar asking exhausting questions, and even entering into an argument. The issue was in assuming he had as a lot to supply on the topic after a couple of minutes of reflection because the scientist did after a long time of coaching and analysis.

Requiring Rigorous Pondering

We stay in an age the place ardour is commonly thought-about an enough substitute for precision. Charles Spurgeon as soon as suggested younger ministers that when drawn into controversy, they need to “use very hard arguments and very soft words.”2 It’s a superb factor Spurgeon by no means used social media! Too many tweets and posts focus on overly exhausting phrases and particularly tender arguments.

Many people, even Christians, have little persistence for rigorous considering and little curiosity in cautious definition. We emote higher than we motive, and we describe our emotions higher than we outline our phrases, which is one motive we have to research outdated confessions written by lifeless individuals. No matter errors of harshness or exaggerated rhetoric could have existed in earlier centuries of theological discourse, this a lot is splendidly and refreshingly true: they had been relentlessly enthusiastic about doctrinal fact. They cared about biblical constancy. They cared about definitions. And so they cared about precision. Reward God, they cared sufficient to watch out. And in no Reformation-era confession or catechism will we see this so clearly as within the Canons of Dort.


  1. Tom Nichols, The Loss of life of Experience: The Marketing campaign towards Established Information and Why It Issues (Oxford, UK: Oxford College Press, 2017), 82–83
  2. C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My College students, Full and Unabridged (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1979), 173.

This text is customized from Grace Outlined and Defended: What a 400-Yr-Outdated Confession Teaches Us about Sin, Salvation, and the Sovereignty of God by Kevin DeYoung.

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