It is no small sign of respect to have a blog named after you. In Mere O’s case, it is a sign of respectful concern that prompted the author of Mere Devotion to so name his blog. As he wrote recently:
I understand where Mere Orthodoxy gets its name, but the name troubles me. Orthodoxy alone is just not enough for me. Doctrine did not die on the cross for my sins. If God should find it in His good pleasure to allow me into heaven, doctrine will not be the first thing I go running to find. Ultimately, I do not believe orthodoxy is the first thing God wants to find in me either.
The royal command is to love God with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul, with all one’s mind, and with all one’s strength. The requirement is to love, not to indoctrinate or to have all the orthodox views.
In truth, I believe that if one genuinely loves God and is fully devoted to Him, the doctrine will come on its own.
As the namer of Mere O, to that I can only say “Amen and amen!” The name “Mere Orthodoxy” was never intended to exclude the life of devotion. Indeed, we do so to our own peril.
But that is not to suggest there is no value to orthodoxy. As Dr. Sanders writes (though not, I believe, in the post to which The_Burning_Bush refers), Paul prays for the Colossians that God might give them “the gift of good theology.” He frames the response well: “Two equal and opposite dangers: untheological devotion, and undevotional theology. To avoid them, strive for a theological devotion which will by its nature simultaneously be a devotional theology.”
We started Mere O to be a place where we could engage ideas from a conservative, classically oriented Christian vantage point. But in doing so, we wanted to engage the minds of those God lead to Mere O, the minds that house ideas. Satan not only tempts our will: he deceives our mind and attempts to keep us from the knowledge of God. One of the most potent lies within the evangelical church is that the mind does not matter. It was this lie, primarily, that we wanted to expose by showing how ideas intersect with our whole lives. While we may have failed at this vision, it is what keeps us blogging.
Ultimately, the division (which is too strong a word) between Mere Devotion and Mere Orthodoxy is short sighted and doomed to collapse. Orthodoxy needs devotion as much as devotion needs orthodoxy. The doctrine may “come on its own” to some, some of the time, but as we engage in spiritual disciplines within our devotional lives and so open ourselves to the Spirit, who comes on His own, we must include our intellectual life within those spiritual disciplines. If the mind and heart are torn asunder, then neither can survive for very long.
Mere Devotion and Mere Orthodoxy must someday meet and be friends, and when they do it will be a powerful and potent combination (so powerful, in fact, that it will need a new name). Until then, there is room enough for both, especially as they acknowledge the necessary role of the other.