Preface: I think prophecy is important. And please forgive my unclear use of the word “theology”. Some kinds of theology are better than others, and here I’m referring to the worse kind; the light kind.
Five and a half years ago I was just finishing my student missions term in Thailand. My flight home included a layover in Korea, where I met an elderly Chinese evangelist. At the time, I was feeling confident in my faith, and I thought I’d get into a friendly conversation with him. After hearing he had just finished an evangelism program, I told him what I’d been doing, and asked “So, what are the differences between our beliefs?”
He, as I remember, just walked away. Maybe he just didn’t speak English, but I don’t think so. I took it as a reprimand. I don’t think this man was interested in light conversation about faith.
As such studious people, Adventists may be especially vulnerable to talking too lightly–too theoretically, too academically, too impersonally–about our faith.
We have lots of information. With our emphasis on prophecy, current events can be really interesting. Or maybe we just like to theorize about very specific passages in the Bible (maybe like I do on here sometimes…).
But how often does our post-lunch, Sabbath afternoon conversation begin with prayer? And how often do we care to dwell on the simple beauty of Christ instead of the latest Daniel 11 interpretation? When was the last time we spent that time holding each other accountable for our own witness during the week, or sympathized with each other over our deepest struggles? Some do it. But do we?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” -Matthew 22:37
Faith requires heart, in addition to mind, and soul in addition to strength. Faith is deep, thick, painful, and open. It’s joyful and honest. It won’t accept a counterfeit.
All the prophetic knowledge in the world will avail us nothing without a living relationship with our Creator, and we should spend at least as much of our community time getting to the heart of the matter as we do in theology and prophecy. Probably more.