We challenge that doctrine or Scripture because we don’t want it to be true. If it were true, it would mean something in our lives or our thinking would have to change. So we explain it away. We even go so far as tricking ourselves into thinking that God is saying something different than what He has already said. But that’s not the voice of God we are hearing; it’s our own. It’s the voice born of our own preference, our own experience, and our own desires. In the end, it is the voice of an idol, and the idol is us.
Theological questions are often personal questions in disguise.
Many times, when people pose questions about theology, about the nature of good and evil, about suffering and sovereignty, they are posed in an academic sense. Perhaps it’s in an actual classroom, or in the comments section of a blog post, or even over a cup of coffee. These questions are asked, theological fine points are parsed, nuance is argued. In environments like that, these questions are treated like they’re in a vacuum.
But life is not a vacuum, and theology is about life. Real life. Because that’s so, most of the time theological questions are really personal questions in disguise. Though we might ask the question in a purely academic way, there’s something else going on.
Something driving the question.
To take the point further, when there is a specific point of doctrine we feel especially passionate about, it does us well to look inside ourselves and understand what’s driving that passion.