And let’s top off this topic with a little Fenelon…

Since it seems that my posts today all hit that theme of needing to go beyond knowing doctrine to relational practice, I think I will let Fenelon have the last word on this. He wrote:

We can listen to endless sermons about Christian growth, and become perfectly familiar with the language, and yet be as far from its attainment as ever. Our great aim should be to be deaf to self, to listen quietly to God, to renounce every bit of pride and to devote ourselves to living. Let’s learn to talk less and do more without caring whether anyone sees us or not.

I highly recommend reading the whole letter here. It will take only a minute to read, but the thoughts it will stir up will linger long afterwards–in a good way of course.



  1. I’ve really appreciated your writing on this, Dan. As a member of an association which thinks Southern Baptists are raving liberals, doctrine is very important to me. We Missionary Baptists are very set in those ways pretty much. On the other hand…..some among us have almost become idolatrous and quite legalistic about adherence to all doctrinal points. Our Doctrinal Statement is 22 points long, and I support every single one of them with all of my heart. Having said that, only a few of them are in any way directly salvific in nature, but sometimes we behave is if they are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Wally. Being a solid reformed guy myself, doctrine is important to me too. Doctrine is important. You can’t know or love who you don’t know. You have to have knowledge of God, who He is and what He is doing before you can love Him. And we need to be sure that what we believe about God is true to His own revelation about Himself. But theological knowledge is only a means to an end–the relational and practical knowledge that comes from the Spirit’s personally uniting us to Jesus that results in love for God and love for others. I think realizing that theology is both rational and relational, both theoretical and practical is one of the a-ha moments the evangelical church needs to have. The two have become separated. The unified doctrine and practice evident in Ames/Maastricht/Edwards’ definition of theology as the doctrine of living for God through Christ has been redefined over the last 250 years as “the knowledge of God” or the “study of the knowledge of God.” The relational and practical part of theology is no longer in the current definition. The two need to become one again.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well..nicely said Dan. It is an a-ha moment that needs to come, and come quickly.

        Doctrine does matter, and I believe someday we will be rewarded, or not rewarded for our diligence in handling it.

        I talk to , and sort of on line church, if you will, with people who’s real church I would likely not go to, and who certainly would not be allowed to teach or preach in mine. Nonetheless, we are brothers and sisters.

        That make sense?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes it does. I have found rubbing shoulders with people who don’t always see things the way I do is very beneficial. And if I can be very honest, with you, one of the people God has used over the past few years to work through my theology and how it needs to be practiced is Michelle. She isn’t even a Christian, but I feel like the way she questioned, challenged, and dialogued with me brought me into a deeper love for Jesus than I had before.
          Hmmm….. I think I’m rambling now….

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Nah, this is a good ramble, and I really appreciate it. I have really gone through some stuff in my Christian life on WordPress, that is for sure.

            Sometimes I have worried I am somehow not being loyal to the work I belong to…It’s been confusing at times.

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  2. Thanks Dan. You know my love for Fenelon, and I enjoyed the letter you shared in the link. I often wonder when reading his writings how many Christians would really be interested in the simplicity and humility that he pursues, and asks me to pursue. I had a serious pride problem many years ago, and regular reading of Fenelon for the last 8 years has really helped me to put that behind me. But it does rise upon occasion. and I have a great wife who recognizes it and points it out. Before, I would not have listened. Now, I know God has given me this helpmate to point those kind of things out. What a loving God I serve!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s awesome! Thank God for such an awesome wife! I have one of those too. Fenelon has really helped me in the growing of humility and submission to God. So glad I was introduced.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Amen!! I actually read “The Seeking Heart” by Fenelon this summer. I was really amazed at the depth of his personal relationship with God amidst the strict rules and regulations of his religion. A definite spiritual leader of his time.

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