Every belief system has its pet doctrines and dogmas; but some of these need to be challenged. The exception proves – or disproves– the rule.
Each one of us is essentially a product of nature and nurture; both our genetic make-up and the environment in which we have grown up makes each one of us what we are. Concerning the latter, this conditioning can leave us vulnerable to believing things that are false. We just 'fall into line'. But who wants to recognise or admit to that?
The Platypus is – for evolutionists – one of their least favourite animals. It is a mysterious breed in many ways. The unusual appearance of this egg-laying, venomous, duck-billed, beaver-tailed, otter-footed mammal baffled European naturalists when they first encountered it; with some considering it an elaborate fraud. The problem that the Platypus presents for followers of Darwin’s theories is that it shows no sign of having ever mutated. There is no fossil record which shows a platypus as having been anything other than a platypus. In an awkward and highly-inconvenient kind of way it just doesn’t fit the mould of evolutionist thinking.
Systematic Theology: help or hindrance?
Within the Christian world there is the tendency – by accident or design – to interpret and (for those who do) teach the Word of God through a framework of wider understanding. In Bible schools this is known as Systematic Theology. But, for whatever benefits derive from such systems these can also create problems for us – especially in the area of dogmatics; those things taken as absolutes and placed beyond question. The fact that one system can, and does, disagree with the next illustrates the dangers of being totally wedded to any one exigetical framework.
The awkward passages
Most of the time the ‘irritants’ to this or that theological system are ignored. These ‘Platypus Verses’ which ‘don’t quite fit’ are pushed to the background. If however the need arises to confront these awkward passages found in God’s word, there then arises the tendency to ‘massage’ the offending verse(s) so that they are forced to fit into the overarching theological schema. (Sadly many theologians in particular tend to suffer from an apparent inability to accept that there are some ‘mysteries’ which God has not – yet at least – chosen to make clear to us. Dan 8:26; Dan 12:4&9; 1 Cor 13:12).
So to use another a metaphor, a pair of polarised glasses are employed as a convenient 'filter' to ensure that the entirety of God’s word falls into line with whatever the systematic theology of choice. But this practice of either ignoring, distorting or ‘shoe-horning’ difficult parts of the Bible in order to satisfy a theological system – apart from being dishonest regarding the inspired Word – can lead to serious error with respect to important parts of God's Truth (Matt 22:29).
Let the Light shine in
In order to expose some areas of traditional beliefs to critical review, the Christians Together website is introducing 'Platypus Verses' as a facility to scrutinise teachings: even those that have widespread acceptance.
The focus of the (developing) series is to raise questions; if the process also provides answers then this will be a bonus.
In it all some light might shine through. But if not at least the ‘conditioning’ which surrounds every one of us across the theological spectrum will have been challenged in one area or another.
Members of and visitor to the Christians Together web site are invited to send in what they might consider a ‘Platypus Verse’ so that it can be given an airing. Any submission should outline the (traditional) view and the 'Platypus Verse(s)' which challenge that view.
Meanwhile an example is in the course of preparation (see 'The Platypus Challenge').. So send in your thoughts and watch this space.