Doctrinal knowledge without passion is empty religion. Now, I don’t mean the kind of religion that I was speaking of in the last post, but true religion. The kind that the apostle James meant (James 1:27).
Jonathan Edwards, who was probably the greatest American theologian, proficient in doctrine and philosophy, as well as, being a fervent revivalist, wrote the following:
“..he that has doctrinal knowledge and speculation only, without affection, never is engaged in the business of religion.” (A Treatise Concerning the Religious Affections, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1, 238, [bold emphasis added])
Men and women with vast knowledge of biblical doctrine that are not passionate for the reality of which they believe are never engaged in the business of religion. NEVER.
Knowing Scripture and knowing doctrine is not enough. Authentic Christianity, and that’s the kind of religion Edward’s is referring to, is always knowledge on fire. The way in which a person never engages in true, Jesus-like Christianity is to just learn a bunch of stuff about Jesus and do-nothing and feel-nothing.
An old Spirit-inspired prophet named Isaiah confirms the “never” of Edwards:
…this people draw near with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
while their hearts are far from me… (Is. 29:13, ESV)