I have known conservatives and liberals both who wore their theology as a cloak of colors – a piece of finery aimed at showing just how special they are. Each have doctrines that are honorable in many respects, edified by scripture and suitably pious. In the end, however – that end where who and what we are is best recognized by how we act – there is something lacking. Humility is manytimes absent in such folk, or at least overshadowed by stubborn certainty.
I would like to tell myself that this is true mostly for people towards the conservative end of the imaginary line on which we keep God, but I know just as many on the left. Being a centrist who waddles to one side or the other as the issues change, I am thrown into the category sometimes of being wishy-washy theologically. I would beg to differ, but these folks aren’t going to believe someone who doesn’t sit at their table.
Then you have true believers – I am not referring just to faith, but to theology. I find that people who truly believe what they stand for are really quite humble. They recognize that the theological sun does not set on them, but that they need to cleave to their set of beliefs that their integrity requires. Conservative or liberal – or somewhere in between – I have all the time in the world for these people. Such a person is Willis at Willohroots – certainly more conservative than I, but equally grounded in scripture. Would we agree in a theological debate about minutae – I doubt it. But we agree on the far more important stuff. I could be very happy attending his church. Read what he had to say – it’s brilliant in its truth.
I salute my brothers and sisters of the faith, who value good doctrine and try with all their might to please God by following His Word as they understand it, to the depths of their souls. Good doctrine is important, even critical. I do not respect the traditions of men, as we are sinful and fallible, and I truly believe that the bible gives us all we need to follow God faithfully.
We are warned in scripture by the Apostles, the Prophets , the Inspired Writers, and the Savior Himself, that men would pervert and twist the Ways of God to suit the ways of man. I salute, and I do not salute lightly, your efforts and your principles. Please allow me to stand with you on the side of Scriptural Doctrine.
Allow me to explain the tears. As a brother Fireman morns the loss of fellowship and the tragic waste of a death in the line of duty, I morn the loss of fellowship and tragic waste of witness so many of my doctrinally sound brothers cause by their legalistic attitudes. To some of these people ” legalistic” is a complement. “Competitive Christianity” is a sport at which all are losers. By being so conscious of every jot and tittle of the Word, they seem to have missed the sentences, the paragraphs, the epistles themselves. They understand the points, but do not connect them into a line. It is in their criticism that their heart is shown. Children of a forgiving God can not emulate Him by being , at least in their own eyes, perfect while seeing the faults of others. It can only be assumed that they have removed all motes. Some examples found on blog pages and in pulpits:
- Joel Olsteen is not Satan, Satan would never advise so many people to find a bible preaching church near their home. You may not like his style or content, but Satan?
- Billy Graham may have said a couple things you don’t like, but he never said he was perfect, he said Jesus was. When you have pointed as many people to the cross as did he, feel free to criticize.
- Mark Driscoll can not be called apostate because you do not like his T-shirt. His word usage is appropriate for his flock. When you have pointed as many people to the cross as has he, feel free to criticize.
- All Catholics are not Hell bound. I am no fan of Rome, but Christ has more to say about this than does the Pope.
- It is possible that “theoldadam” has been redeemed yet not turned Baptist. [I said possible, as in , “All things are Possible with God”]
- Rick Warren will not go to Hell for using Isa as a name for Yeshua the Messiah, it is no less an affront then calling Him by a Greek version of a Hebrew name. Jesu forgives.
- True life stories abound on the Internet of churches beating people down. Graceshaker’s story brought tears to my eyes. This is done in the name of Jesus? Look around, you can find some bragging about these incidents.
- John MacArthur is not the Second Coming, he is merely a great expositor, but human and possibly in error [but not much].
- Steve Brown [Steve Brown,etc.com] will not go to the “smoking” section of the afterlife for being a pipe smoker
- We are saved by Grace through Faith, not by our doctrine.
The attitude I have tryed to describe is one reason why it is hard to fill a church today, or find a church if you are looking. My friend Texas Rob of ” A Voice Crying out in the Wilderness ” has as his most recent post the desperate feelings of a futile search for fellowship in his area. I have felt it myself. Until I was in the pulpit at Dayspring I never had a fellowship could fit into as the churches I could salute for biblical accuracy had a Pharisaical attitude, and the lovey dovey churches barely used a bible.
It hurts to see the Way of Truth and Love be used as a weapon. I am not sure my doctrinally correct friends will allow me to stand in their ranks. I take great hope in Jeofurry, and Shawn W, and Graceshaker, Mike Bell, Ike, Joe, John, and Dr. Headly, and Rev. Andy Little, and the rest of you, who seem to understand that good biblical doctrine can and must be infused with, coated with, and major in Love. John 3:16 shows us God’s motivation, pray that it becomes ours.