Inner Formation of the Heart
Part 15: How We Unintentionally Reinforce the Gap to Remain
Another way that we may reinforce the gap is by an over-emphasis on cognitively knowing the Bible without helping to nurture Christians’ inner formation into actually believing the Bible (see principle #2). Since talk is easy, one can glibly profess many Bible facts and articulate sound theology without having the respective central beliefs represented by the facts and theology. Living in the truth is the goal, not just professing it—Bible believers, not just Bible knowers. Regular Bible reading and study, and Bible memorization are essential to growth, but not sufficient in and of themselves. Additionally, regular meditation (Ps 1:2) is a critical practice. As Scriptural principles and values become more deeply embedded as central beliefs—treasuring Scripture in our hearts (Ps 119:11)—with God’s enablement we will more regularly rejoice in following his statutes (Ps 119:9-16). Theologian Peter Toon’s Meditating as a Christian: Waiting upon God (London: Collins, 1991), is a helpful introduction to the topic, including examples from church history regarding how we can affectively enter into meditating on Scripture and theology.
Finally, a call to commitment is often presented to believers as if all one must do to bring about a new pattern of Jesus-like living is to walk the aisle (at a local church or camp) and to make a decision. Such altar calls, without offering or indicating the need for continuing, intentional engagement in formation practices does not accomplish the desired effect and adds on more guilt and doubt when no change takes place (see principle #6).
Next Musing: Part 16--Summary of the 10 Principles