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On Eating Fruit and Spitting Seeds

My faith was formed in a particular theological tradition: the Reformed Faith. High school Sunday school was the Westminster Confession. I defended TULIP in my high school english class when we read The Scarlet Letter. I attended the RPCNA seminary. I took no exceptions to the Confession when I was ordained as a pastor in the PCA. I believe in robust and joyful Sabbath keeping and Psalm Singing. I’m a trained nouthetic counselor. I’ve always been a member of NAPARC churches. In other words, I’m no theological squish. 

For a long time I’ve had a long list of people who are worth reading and ones who aren’t. Unsurprisingly, my good list has been all reformed guys, and mostly dead reformed guys. But, in the words of one Broadway lyric, “something has changed within me, something is not the same.” 

Recently I worked through material on emotional health from Pete Scazzero. At first, I was skeptical. At second, I was annoyed. At third, I was grateful. 

Scazzero’s material on emotional health is fine. It’s not the best material on earth. It’s not the worst. It’s fine. His insistence on taking sabbath is refreshing (though I want him to say it’s THE Sabbath Day.) His work on family background is interesting (though I think he leans too heavily on family being determinative). His writing on expectations in relationships is life changing for me (nothing needs to be said in these parenthesis). 

I’m a totally reformed guy, so how could I get so much out of a neo-pentacostal steeped in Eastern Christian tradition like Scazzero? Easy: fruit and seeds. 

For a long time I saw anyone outside the reformed faith as forbidden or tainted fruit. If it wasn’t written by a Puritan, published by Banner, or sold by Westminster Books, it couldn’t be good. 

But I’ve learned to eat the fruit and spit out the seeds. It’s a good habit and practice. There’s common grace wisdom in the world of social sciences, leadership, and culture. There’s common Christian wisdom outside the reformed tradition. God has given me a critical mind. I don’t have to hide in a bunker. I can eat the fruit of other’s thinking and spit out the seeds. No, I would necessarily recommend everything I read to less developed and mature Christians. But, if I want to grow, be challenged, and learn everything there is to learn I have to get comfortable picking my reading from outside my usual orchard, eating the fruit of good ideas and applications, and spit out the seeds that don’t vibe with my Biblical worldview. 

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