Trickle Down Theology

Posted By on Feb 21, 2011 | 0 comments


Some days I am blown away by how trickle down theology affects massive numbers of believers/church attenders throughout the Western Church.  One contributing factor to this pondering comes from reflecting on my own church upbringing as well as the wide variety of churches & believers I have seen in my past years of traveling with ministries. 

The seminary student bound for pastorhood reads theology books based on a Platonic worldview. They then graduate, are voted in as pastor of a church and begin to teach that which they learned and were trained in while in seminary.  Then most the congregants who attend the pastor’s church live life according to their pastor’s theology, spreading certain theological worldviews far and wide.  

An excerpt from Randy Alcorn’s book Heaven:

“John Calvin, the great expositor, never wrote a commentary on Revelation and never dealt with the eternal state at any length.  Though he encourages meditation on Heaven in his Institutes of the Christian Religion, his theology of Heaven seems strikingly weak compared to his theology of God, Christ, salvation, Scripture, and the church… A great deal has been written about eschatology—the study of the end times—but comparatively little about Heaven… Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr wrote an in-depth two-volume set titled The Nature and Destiny of Man.  Remarkably, he had nothing to say about Heaven.  William Shedd’s three-volume Dogmatic Theology contains eighty-seven pages on eternal punishment, but only two on Heaven.  In his nine-hundred-page theology, Great Doctrines of the Bible, Martyn Lloyd-Jones devotes less than two pages to the eternal state and the New Earth.  Louis Berkof’s classic Systematic Theology devotes thirty-eight pages to creation, forty pages to baptism and communion, and fifteen pages to what theologians call “the intermediate state”… Yet it contains only two pages on Hell and one page on the eternal state.  When all that’s said about the eternal Heaven is limited to page 737 of a 737-page systematic theology like Berkof’s, it raises a question: Does Scripture really have so little to say?  Are there so few theological implications to this subject?  The biblical answer, I believe, is an emphatic no!  In The Eclipse of Heaven, theology professor A. J. Conyers writes, ‘Even to one without religious commitment and theological convictions, it should be an unsettling thought that this world is attempting to chart its way through some of the most perilous waters in history, having now decided it ignore what was for nearly two millennia its fixed point of reference—its North Star.  The certainty of judgment, the longing for heaven, the dread of hell: these are not prominent considerations in our modern discourse about the important matters of life.  But they once were.’”

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