I was recently chided for teaching “dangerous theology.” In the conversation I had with this person, I ended up trying to defend myself and my ideas, showing that they were not, in fact, dangerous.
Afterwards, I realized what I should have said.
I should have said something along the lines of what Mr. Beaver said to Susan in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
“Aslan is a lion- the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh,” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver. “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
So when accused of teaching dangerous theology, I should have said:
Dangerous? Of course it’s dangerous. We serve a dangerous God. But it’s good and true, I tell you.
In Seminary, it was not uncommon to hear Professors give this warning in class: “What we are going to learn today should probably not ever be taught from the pulpit… at least not if you want to keep your job as a pastor.” Then they would go on to teach some sort of dangerous idea about how a favorite “prophecy” doesn’t actually point to Jesus, or how a favorite text doesn’t mean what most Christians think, or how the misuse and misunderstanding of a particular point of theology could lead to sin.
At that time, I found out the truth of what my professors were saying. I blogged about seven of the dangerous things I was studying in Seminary. And guess what happened? I lost my job as a result.
So it’s true. Some theology is dangerous. Some theology threatens the power of other people. Some theology puts your job, your life, and your income at risk.
But does this really mean that it shouldn’t be taught?
For example, several years ago I preached that suicide is not the unpardonable sin. Afterwards, I was pulled aside and told that even if what I said was true, I should not preach it, because it might cause some people to commit suicide.
At an earlier time, I taught from Romans 8:38-39 that no matter what we do or say, nothing can separate us from the love of God. Absolutely nothing at all. It just so happened that a denominational leader was in the congregation that day, and he pulled me aside later and counseled that my sermon was dangerous, and I should never preach such things again because it might give people the idea that they can sin all they want and God will still love them.
I didn’t have the courage to say it, but I remember thinking to myself, “Well, that is true, isn’t it? I mean, how many sins is too many? Does God only love us if we commit 1000 sins or less? Or is the line at 100,000? Where is the line where once we commit that one fatal sin, God decided He just cannot take it any more? There is no such line. Paul is right and so are the Scriptures. Nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
There are, of course, lots of good biblical reasons why people should not sin. But the fear that God will stop loving us is not one of these reasons.
So I agree that some theology is dangerous, but I do not agree that this theology should be kept hidden from people. I think the truth, whatever it is, sets people free. And certainly there may be some initial misunderstandings, and of course, those in power may feel threatened and take steps to silence the truth, but I believe that if something is true, it deserves to be taught.
The truth is only truly dangerous to those who are trying to hide the truth.
So the next time someone accuses me of teaching dangerous theology, I will thank them for the compliment and say, “You are right, and it comes from a dangerous God!”
What dangerous doctrines are you aware of? Have you ever gotten burned at the stake for teaching them?