In the early verses of the ninth chapter of John of the New Testament there is an interesting conversational exchange between Jesus and his disciples. This chapter deals with an outcast who was identified as being born blind. The question was asked of Jesus, “Who did sin that this man was born blind?” The questioning continued that perhaps if it wasn’t the blind man then perhaps it was his parents. Jesus looks at his disciples and announces that neither the blind man or his parents were to blame for his blindness but that the works of God would be revealed in him.
My reflection today centers on the idea of bad theology. I suppose bad theology often surfaces where there is no spiritual revelation. Revelation is simply removing the veil so the truth can be seen without any obstacles blocking the view. In our blind man example the disciples of Jesus operated under the notion that sickness or unfortunate circumstances was the result of sin. It is very interesting what bad theology can accomplish when it is left to its own merits. Once truth is covered over, every time the falsehood is stated, there is a reinforcement of that lie. It may be an innocent lie but a deception nonetheless.
How does one determine what is truth and what is not? How does one identify bad theology? Here is a thought for you to consider. This thought will suggest that the identification of such theological notions cannot be determined alone. What these disciples had with them at the time was Truth Incarnate. In other words, Jesus was and is the Truth. So what he shared with them was exactly true. When he said that neither the blind man nor his parents were to blame for his blindness then resting on this revelation as truth began to break down their bad theology.
As the story continues and the blind man received his sight the works of God were revealed in him as a testimony to the Truth. I suppose the disciples of Jesus began looking at those people identified as “outcasts” differently from that point forward. There is a followup story in Acts chapter three that confirms the disciples’ change of heart.
Peter and John were going to the temple around three o’clock in the afternoon to offer prayers when they encountered a lame man seated at the temple gate. It also states that he was lame from his mother’s womb. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? The blind man in John chapter nine was blind from his mother’s womb. When the lame man asked for money Peter said, “Silver and gold have I none but such as I have I give to thee. In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk!” No longer do we hear these disciples questioning whether or not these so called outcasts were in their predicament due to sin. The truth told by Jesus concerning the blind man transferred to the lame man revealing the works of God in him.
Jesus did not leave us alone after his resurrection. As a matter of fact he said he would send another Comforter which is the Spirit of Truth. The way we can discern bad theology now is by listening to the Spirit. Relying on man’s interpretation of scripture as the final word is not recommended. That means that you shouldn’t take my word for it either. Ask the Spirit. She will tell you the Truth!!!!