A Genuine Christian Non-Conformity: Romans 12:2 -- By: Herman A. Hoyt

Journal: Grace Journal
Volume: GJ 08:1 (Winter 1967)
Article: A Genuine Christian Non-Conformity: Romans 12:2
Author: Herman A. Hoyt

A Genuine Christian Non-Conformity:
Romans 12:2

Herman A. Hoyt

President, Grace Theological Seminary

[The above address was delivered at the Fall Convocation of Grace Theological Seminary, September 13, 1966.]

By definition it can be said that Christianity is at once a doctrine, an ethic, and a life. It involves creed, character and conduct. Or to put it another way, it consists of believing, behaving, and becoming. Any emphasis on any one of these to the exclusion of the others produces a lopsidedness of character, a freakness of deportment, and a confusion of understanding. If there is emphasis upon doctrine to the exclusion of life and ethic, the result is antinomianism. If the emphasis is on ethic to the exclusion of doctrine and life, the result is legalism. If the emphasis is upon life to the exclusion of doctrine and ethic, the result is modernism.

The duty of a theological seminary is to bring all three of these into focus. This is the purpose of Grace Theological Seminary. But by virtue of its very nature, a theological seminary is predominately theoretical. It lays its emphasis upon doctrine, and life and ethic are sometimes slighted. Professors and students labor long hours in the impartation and acquisition of learning. Its application to conduct and its inculcation in character are often short-changed, at least from the standpoint of the amount of time devoted to them. The pressure is on to pass the examinations that professors will be giving at stated intervals. In this context, it would seem, there is no other imperative.

Hence the danger is that this sort of approach will produce professionalism. Christianity may deteriorate in the thinking of the individual into mere doctrine apart from performance and personality. The peril of mere professionalism issues in a walk that is far from God and a life that resembles less and less the person of Christ whose name has been called over one at the moment of conversion. As ethic and life grow dim in the consciousness, under the pressure to pass examinations involving doctrine, the realization is gradually lost that there are more rigid examinations dealing with ethic and life. And failure to pass these examinations can spell failure in the essential purpose of all life.

It was the possibility of this defection that led the apostle Paul to address these words to the believers in Rome and through them to believers everywhere. Most assuredly they come to us who, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, have elected to serve the Lord as leaders of His

people. Like prophet, like people; like priest, like people. It cannot be expected that the people will...

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