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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Theology of the Defeated

I recently listened to a church member who acted as if God was an old man who boasted of great things but had no strength to do any of them. She acted as if everything done for God is solely up to us. While will concede that God expects us to work, I won't say that it is all up to us. We act on the faith that we are doing His will and He creates the means for our work.

The theology of the defeated is quite like this lady's understanding of God. She sees doom and gloom around every corner. She doesn't expect God to actually do anything. This is probably the same reason she will never be found in a prayer meeting. Why would anyone pray if he or she did not believe that God could or would answer? Let me refute some of this theology.

The Theology of the Defeated says:

God does not care.

The Bible says:

 Matthew 6:26 (NIV)
26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

The Theology of the Defeated says:

God can't help me.


The Bible says:

 Psalm 46:1 (NIV)
1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

The Theology of the Defeated says:

God will not help.

The Bible says:

 Psalm 118:7 (NIV)
7 The Lord is with me; he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.

The Theology of the Defeated says:

God has left me alone.

The Bible says:

 Deuteronomy 31:8 (NIV)
8 The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

The Theology of the Defeated says:

God will not supply.

The Bible says:

 Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

The Theology of the Defeated says:

I can't do what God wants of me.

The Bible says:

 Philippians 4:13 (NIV)
13 I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

The Theology of the Defeated says:

I am a loser.

The Bible says:

 Romans 8:37 (NIV)
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

The Theology of the Defeated says:

God no longer loves me.


The Bible says:


 Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)
38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Theology of the Defeated has to ignore the Bible. It has to believe what the devil wants believed.

But that is not your case. You are not defeated!

5 comments:

high-expressions said...

Five significant issues are involved here; two got to do with our tendency to frame things from our experiences; one got to do with the "now mentality", another, got to do with "moving people to experience God". The last one, which is connected with an earlier one, we are to accept certain mystery. Let me explain:

What gives rise to the Theology of Defeat? Tendency to form theology from experiences. Is there anything wrong in learning from our experiences? No, I am NOT saying that; but we must understand that truth dictates experiences, and NOT the other way around.

What are the truths and where are they found? The truths for life are found in Scripture, in the Word of God. Children of God are to choose to experience the truths of God operating in their lives. Although the law of gravity can be said as a truth, but NOT all of the truths of God is of the same form. More often than NOT, many of the truths of God, they operate more like "You can make bread with flour", NOT as simply as the law of gravity.

If you take a small stone and throw into the air, it drops to the ground, and you can repeat it a 100 times, and it still drops to the ground. We say from our experiences, the truth or law is affirmed. In other words, our experiences testify to the truth. Our experiences do NOT create a truth; the latter exists, and we experience its operation in life. The law or truth of gravity is easy enough to understand. But what about the kind of truths like “you can make bread from flour”?

Over the weekend I tried to make bread, and I have gone to the internet to see what were needed to make bread; and I stumbled upon this site that has a simple recipe for making bread. But when I read the comments posted following the recipe, there were many people who could NOT get the good result, a decent loaf of bread. This is the common story of many believers or children of God concerning the truths purportedly operating in their lives; they did NOT get the good result! In the mind of those, who did NOT get the decent loaf of bread, their conclusion or "theology" is, it is phony recipe; it does NOT work. And so, we must understand the Theology of Defeat or the Defeated, is the result of believers repeatedly NOT getting the good results.

There is nothing wrong with the bread recipe posted, and there is nothing phony about the truths stated in the Word, it is we are NOT to form theology or doctrine of truth, from experiences. As simple as it is, the recipe for making bread, still many just do NOT get it right, and it is NOT as simple as “throwing a stone into the air, and seeing fall to the ground”.

Now the other major thing causing blockage to people is that, everything must be explainable! From here, arise (1) the Theology of God does NOT love me, which is another way of putting the Theology of the Defeated; and (2) the Theology of “we play no part; it is all God’s part”.

The people subscribing to Ps Prentis’ Theology of the Defeated, are people who know, for some other people, “it works”, but NOT for them. There might be different reasons assigned to why, “NOT for them”, but often it eventually comes to “God does NOT love me, enough-lo”. You see, in this way, such people could explain the differences they observed for their cases and other people’s cases.

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high-expressions said...

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I believe getting more wide-spread, is this other disturbing trend of people, misled by the overly grace preachers, subscribing to “we play no part, it is all God’s part”. These people have the answer for everything: “You just do NOT need to kill any brain cells thinking about ‘what is what’, God has allowed you into salvation; you just cruise along, no need to do anything, just sit in the sail boat, and let God bring you to heaven. If you fall sick, it got nothing to do with you, it is God; if you fail your school exam, it got nothing to do with you, it is God; if you lose your job, it got nothing to do with you, even though you are blind to see it coming, as the business was getting obsolete, and you still do nothing, but be engaged in habitual pub drinking and playing computer games, and not learn some new skills. If your children get into drug addiction, it got nothing to do with you, it is God. That one, is healed, but this one, is NOT, there you see, it simply got nothing to do with the person, it is all God’s part, if he heals, he heals, if he does NOT, he does NOT. You cannot get a boyfriend, but she did, and she got it, without socializing, so you see, you prayed, and she prayed, God granted her a boyfriend, but NOT you; see, I told you, it is all God’s doing or NOT doing, nothing for you to do or NOT to do! You go to church every Sunday, praise and worship God, like nobody’s business, but you look at him, he hardly come to church, he goes to the red-light district as often as you come to church; now see, your wife divorce you for no “valid” reason, and he, his marriage is still intact; see it got nothing to do with you, it is God; it is all His part, things happen or don’t happen; you tell me, ‘you did NOT pray; you did, right?; I am sure you pray more than that fellow!’ See, I pastor a mega church, I only repeat the same old, same old; ‘grace, grace, nothing but grace’, ‘just bask in grace’, don’t attempt, don’t try, forget about works, forget about laws or commandments; and you, you are still struggling to keep a tiny church filling up; see, it is all God’s part, no men’s part; why don’t you just follow me, or be my church member, perhaps then, things will become better for you, but don’t blame me if it does NOT, because it is all His part!”

Of course, if you subscribe to this Theology of it is all God’s part, none, men’s, when things just do NOT work out for you, you also becomes the subscriber of the Theology of the Defeated – it does NOT work for me; He is God, I cannot do anything about it, I just live with it, or maybe, I will try to look for one with God’s favor and I will join him (until he looses favor!).


You cannot rely on your experiences to form theology, because your experiences can be faulty, just like those who attempted the bread recipe were NOT doing it right, and so, concluded wrongly. When you place experiences as everything, ahead of everything, then, you are prone to fall for theology that can explain every single situation, and it included all theologies nearing to “Whatever will be, will be, it is all up to God”. Let me tell you that, “Whatever will be, will be, it is all up to you, God”, if you apply it generally throughout your living, as modus operandi, God is NOT pleased.

We next will touch on the “Now mentality”. By “Now mentality”, I am referring to those who emphasize living in the now, absolutely. No, the Christian living envisaged in Scripture is NOT solely living in the now. The earthly Christian life always has the dimension of hope. Hope is NOT now. Now is NOT hope. Life must be with hope, without hope, you are defeated; and in that sense, you are subscribing to the Theology of the Defeated. Christians may be down, but NOT out. Our hope keeps us going and we persevere.

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high-expressions said...

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Christians are NOT self-delusional lots; it is just that we have hope. What is self-delusion? An example: I do NOT have a piece of bread in my hand, and I say that I do NOT believe in sight, and I shall tell myself there is a piece of bread in my hand, and I shall put it into my mouth, and I shall chew on it and swallow it and tell myself I have eaten and I am full!

A Christian who is down but NOT out, will be: God, I am hungry, and I have been hungry for quite a while, and presently I have nothing to eat, but I do need to eat; without food, I am so weaken to do anything, and it does NOT glory you. God, though I am down, I am NOT out, and as long as I am NOT out, I still have my hope in you, God, that you will sustain me, you will help me, as I effort to learn how to make bread (for example). Though I failed and failed in making the bread, I am NOT about to give up, and I will NOT live a defeated life. God, if at all, you desire I make something else, then I will make something else, but surely I am part of people with hope, and you will NOT give up on me, if I give up, NOT.

I have lost my marriage of many years; you might have lost your boyfriend or job, or your home because of hurricane that hit your neighborhood; yet you and I must NOT give up and be defeated and live a defeated life, despite our afflictions, we continue to hope in our God, while we pass through the night. Stay with the Lord and persevere, for after the night, the daylight comes; but you got to persevere. The Devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, even in the broad daylight, what more, in the night. So, when you are down, cling even closer to the Lord, your God, so that you will survive through the night.

What you must come away, with this, is that, it is part and parcel of Christian life, at times, to be hit with situations where you are down temporarily, and you have to pass through, appropriately. Don’t, just because you are hit with one such instance, you let yourself be drawn to the other many theologies contrary to that of the Word.

The last issue; I want to speak to us and the shepherds: Truths do NOT operate in a vacuum of its own, unaffecting anything. But we do need to choose to allow ourselves to be within the operations of the truths of God. If you go into outer space, you have chosen to operate outside the law of gravity. But if you come into the earth atmosphere, you will be subjected to the truth that gravity will push you to the ground. Life is a choice, or our life is made up of choices; we simply have to choose; even NOT choosing is a choice (you have chosen NOT to do anything). In other words, the truths of God can be operating for you, and you have to want to come into their operations. For example, you can choose NOT to make bread, or you can choose to come into the truth that we can make bread from flour.

“But I tried; it did NOT work”, as were the attempts made by many people, from the comments, on site where the recipe was given. But if you look at the comments closely, there were many who tried and they got the positive results, of nice bread; yummy, yummy! Exercise faith, and persevere, be humble to learn too; start with the simple, plain white bread, instead of trying to make whole-meal and stuffed bread straightaway. Check and re-check to see if you miss out something, see if you have over-emphasized some ingredients and put in, too little of another; maybe you got the temperature wrong, is it Celsius or Fahrenheit?; is it teaspoons of salt or tablespoons of salt?

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high-expressions said...

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While you have the ingredients, you should persevere and try, and NOT wait until you use up some of the ingredients. What do I mean by that? While you are healthy and strong, has some money and some time, go, do something for the Lord, go for a mission trip, serve in some manner in the church or her many ministries, instead of making more money or spending more time on your career. I am NOT asking that believers flock here and flock there, like rolling stones. Rolling stones gather no moss; that is NOT I mean. I mean you got to get into the thick of some action, then you can experience the real stuff. I mean if your neighbour tried the recipe, and succeeded in making the bread; yummy, yummy! Why don’t you pop over, to his kitchen and make bread with him! See, after that, you will say, “Yes, I can make bread, hallelujah!”, instead, of sitting there, and lamenting, “I cannot do it; or it is phony”.

The truths of God do work; at the end of the day, our God is NOT a haphazard God. The guy who put up the bread-making recipe did NOT anyhow “whack in some mumbo-jumbo”, and call it a recipe for making bread. The truths of God are NOT haphazard, either. More often than NOT, it is we are NOT doing it right; and so, we got to try and try again, check and re-check, seek and re-seek.

Also, as a believer, don’t just bask in grace, sit there and do nothing, and adopt such attitude as “If God wants me to know, then He will let me know, I must NOT effort; If God wants me to serve as an usher, He would have told me already, for I have the perfect mind of Christ, according my hero overly grace preacher, and I should have no need of anyone to tell to consider if I should or should NOT serve as an usher; or for that matter, any other ministry! If He had wanted me to give an offering, I should NOT need to think, although I have a lot of money in my wallet, I would have automatically dropped the notes into the bag, but the fact it was NOT automatic, I was right to think God did NOT want me to give. Believers got to move into the positive experiences with God.

Shepherds, likewise, should direct their flock into the positive experiences with God. Believers without positive experiences with God become “doubting Thomases”. Although we can only encourage, in this regard; yet I want to stress we ought to encourage, so that their “blood is NOT on us” when they are found, eventually to be without faith and without fruit.

While I argued for theology to be formed from the truths, as in the Word, the Christian faith is experiential, meaning they can be experienced, and we are to experience, in agreement with the truths of the Word. It is NOT “forget about experience” and it is also NOT “forget about the theology from the Word”. It is we recognize the theology from the Word, and we live out that which it says we can experience. It is in similar line as we worship God first, for who He is (God is truth), and we also worship Him for what He has done for us (which give us the experience).

The last point is that we have to accept certain degree of mystery in connection with dealings of God with us. In earlier discussion, we talked about we just cannot want to be able to explain everything; how can we, when Scripture is clear that, God’s ways are higher than ours; certain things of God we just cannot fathom; unless He reveals; and He has NOT revealed all.

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high-expressions said...

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A large part of the mystery has also got to do with God’s sovereignty. While we recognize that God said that He would have mercy and compassion on whom He shall have mercy and compassion on, many of us, want, subconsciously or consciously to be able to figure out how that operates; often we just cannot; and we should leave it as that. We must treasure what He has revealed, and He did reveal that He is a holy God, a good God, who cannot be evil or do evil, and a loving and faithful God, with fullness of wisdom, and therefore, righteousness and justice. He is such a God, and He is almighty, and there is none like Him; and I should want to love Him back, that He first loved me.

God does NOT need our help, but He has chosen to want to involve us in His plan; why don’t you and I, just accept that, and be appreciative of that, and NOT be ungrateful, but rather, be fruitful. If He has chosen to involve us, then there is a part that we play, and we have to responsible for our part. It is we do our part, and we let God be God, and NOT, we just bask in grace, and effort NOT, and let God do all the work. Perhaps, if nothing seems to work for you, it is because we are over here, walking within the operations of God’s many truths, and you are with the lot, just sitting around, over there.

It is NOT passé, go do the normal things Christians are to do; Truths are same old, same old; embrace it; today’s law of gravity is the same as that which operated when Jesus was hung on the Cross more than 2,000 years ago. Truths are evergreen; be careful about newly invented ones!


Anthony Chia, high.expressions