I’d like to write a short series called “A Narrow Road.” The reality of our faith is that we are believers and lovers of truth. God is truth (John 14:6). The Holy Spirit leads us in all truth, indeed God’s Word is truth (John 17:17). We are truth people. God has given us His Word to know Him. Sanctification is the growing pursuit of God, secured by the cross and driven by delight in the supremacy of Christ in all things.
If we are to know God, the question becomes “which God?” We all have gods. Is the God we love the God of the Bible? The verse in John above shows there is to be a certain narrow mindedness about us. We are not open minded when it comes to the Bible. On things that are nonessential and unclear, charity. But when it comes to key, gospel truths we do not budge. Truths about God, man, Christ and our response to these things cannot be denied. Indeed the road is narrow.
Of course I am borrowing imagery from Jesus in Matthew 7. He says that the gate is narrow and the road is hard. Salvation is by Christ alone. Only by the gospel can we be saved. That is, the gate (Christ) is narrow. Many will not argue this. As Baptists, especially, we have done a pretty good job on the exclusivity of Christ. We have a harder time with the later part of the verse though. We will relent to the narrow gate but we want the broad road. I’d like to meditate shortly on what this means for our theology.
Many have bad theology because they are prideful. The Scriptures are clear, it is our sin that keeps us from sound faith. Praise God that He allows us to know Him rightly. Hard doctrines don’t sit well with us. Instead of the biblical teaching of election before the foundation of the world, we go with cooperating view of salvation that necessitates our consent, indeed making us the central cog in the eternal plan of an omniscient God. Instead of teaching the truth about our sin and the bloody atonement and propitiation of God’s wrath, we choose a feel good gospel; one that we can address “felt needs” and “grow community.” We want to apologize for God, often times. This is because in our pride we are also man-pleasers. Paul says this must stop if we are in Christ (Galatians 1:10). But this is our natural bent, even after being born again. How wicked are our hearts! We can say like Paul, “wretched man that I am!”
These sinful tendencies do not excuse us, however, from having sound doctrine. Doctrine is healthy. Doctrine produces joy, if it indeed is good. Doctrine is unavoidable. The hardened atheist has a confession. Often it seems that when it comes down to it, many in Evangelicalism lean towards capitulation when dealing with theological tension. God choosing people based on something they did is not hard for a human to imagine, right? We see that happen all the time. But when we see that God chooses some and not others based on nothing good in the elect, we shudder. Surely not, we think. God wouldn’t do that! Perhaps this is because our god is too much like us and less like the God of the Bible.
We are constricted theologically by the Bible. We cannot make the truth easier. The Holy Spirit must help us to see these things are beautiful and good. We will never love these truths on our own. But we do need to see them. There are not options on a lot of these things. There are not four legitimate views of innerrancy. There are not five legitimate views on justification. The gospel is the gospel. It is hard to stand for truth in a world opposed to God. But we know the power of this truth because we all once hated the true faith. Only the gospel, proclaimed with broken-hearted confidence will change hearts- of believers and nonbelievers. May we watch our lives and doctrines! The way is hard, but the yoke is easy. Joy abounds where sound teaching reigns supreme.