Intellectual theory versus behavioral practice

Instead, however, some people want to skip the seemingly plodding “spiritual method.” As already pointed out, they are so busy surveying large, intellectual tracts that they fail to cultivate even a small behavioral tract. Theory rich and data poor! Intellectual speculation is easy, and compared to steady, spiritual submissiveness it makes few demands. The speculators end up “looking beyond the mark” (Jacob 4:14), staring beyond the obvious. Jesus confirmed that only if we will “do” will we then “know” (John 7:17).

–          Neal A. Maxwell, That Ye May Believe

Not only is speculation easy, it is not amenable to refutation. This makes it malleable, and small wonder that our speculations—and most theology is speculation, being grounded not in revelation but in intellect coupled with supposition—are always so congenial to our own preoccupations and priorities.

In the “doing,” the rubber meets the road, and our pretensions to sophistication and being “advanced students” get their comeuppance all too soon.

Advertisements