I’ve written recently on the need for doctrine and “spirit” to balance each other. This keeps either from excesses either to coldness or error. But there are powerful forces on those extremes, with huge followings, and they don’t give up easily.
On one hand we have those who rightly cling to scripture as an anchor against falsehood, yet many of them have forgotten all about the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). I and many others have contacted leaders and authors on Christian doctrine, politely and with admiration, only to be treated worse than unbelievers just for daring to disagree with them on some minor point. They show no basic Christian love, no respect for those who are not in their elitist club, no allowance for dissent. They are like conceited physicians who, when challenged on the basis of the patient’s personal experience, retort sarcastically, “And what medical school did you say you attended?” They are the experts, but they are not infallible. Yet many who are renown for their doctrine seem to think they are infallible after all. They would do well to remember Jesus’ words about what we do to “the least of these” (Mt. 25:45).
On the other hand we have those who have all but abandoned the Bible as outdated, irrelevant, an obstacle to enlightenment, or untrustworthy. Yet these same people seem to hang on every (written!) word of popular authors peddling every flavor of spiritual-sounding elixir imaginable. It no longer matters whether the Bible is historically accurate, or that it is the only religious book with a large percentage of prophecy, most of which has come to pass, and with 100% accuracy. They really don’t seem to care exactly how we would know anything about Jesus without that written Word, or how we would tell followers of Jesus from followers of Buddha without it. The Bible just doesn’t “do the spiritual thing” for them, and contains scary things like judgment and the vengeance of God. It’s much like a child licking all the frosting from a piece of cake and throwing the cake away.
Both these kinds of people are “halflings” because they only hold to one side of the Christian faith. But other such “halflings” can be seen in the clergy/laity class distinction, as well as the gender wars. All of these divisive things are tearing the Body apart. (Titus 3:10)
As I’ve said before, doctrine and spirit must work together. The Body cannot be whole as long as each half, however it’s divided, refuses to accept the other. It is no more “spiritual” to reject the written Word than it is to forget “the height from which [we] have fallen” (Rev. 2:4-5). The mystics as well as the hate-filled doctrinally-correct need to repent of their divisiveness. Until then, Satan hardly has to expend any effort to neutralize us, since we keep fighting ourselves instead of him.
Time is running out; let us not be found hurling stones at each other when Jesus returns.