When Every Hill’s a Place to Die

Background image is a mashup of three images from Pixabay. Mountain scene by Jörg Peter; tower by “Jazella”; night sky by Felix Mittermeier.

Commentary

This morning, I watched a YouTube video in which a professor of “Christian Psychology” explained various approaches that he and Christian peers take to secular insights. He went a long way toward helping me categorize and understand a complex subject. I especially appreciated the irenic tone he takes toward approaches that differ from his own.

Shortly afterwards, I learned that professor had been ousted from Southern Seminary because the rest of the faculty in his department are of the mind that Scripture is all we need for counseling, and that no secular insights are welcome or allowed. Not so irenic on their part!

The Title: When Every Hill’s a Place to Die
A certain gentleman once complained to me about people who say things like, “That’s not a hill worth dying on.” I should say he was a “very certain gentleman.” When I asked him if there aren’t some secondary issues in Christianity for which he wouldn’t die, he answered, “I’d die for everything I believe.” I know he probably considers himself brave and loyal. Perhaps he is. But I suspect he’s also inordinately proud of his ability to fully comprehend all those issues. God is not simple; the world he created is not simple. We need to be humble about our understanding. Ask Job!

Shelter in Redoubt
In warfare, a “redoubt” is a fortification to which combatants can retreat. It is often their final resort, their last defence. I picture a theological combatant (unlike the irenic professor described above) retreating to a simple structure that he thinks he fully understands. The complexities of others’ thoughts cannot defeat him as long as he is in his theological redoubt. “God said it; I believe it; that settles it,” yells the proud, combative theologian from within his little fort. He forgets that what God said isn’t always so easy to understand!

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