Hey all, sorry I have been scarce. It’s been hectic finishing up the semester at ACU and transitioning to two worship services at WG. Thanks for your patience as I dropped off the face of the blogosphere.
This morning I had a great time that really encouraged me in Christ that I thought I would share. If you’ve had much exposure to the Lordship Salvation controversy you are well aware that it can be a contentious and nasty argument at times. When it is pursued as a means of telling who is “in” and who is “out,” it is never fun.
Today, though, I had a very different experience. I had three friends come over to my office to discuss this issue. One is a pastor and seminarian, one graduates from seminary in a few weeks, and the third is studying the Bible at ACU. So the table had some people with a background in the text. More than that, everyone had a position on the topic that they came to the table with!
The cool thing, for me, was that at the end of the day I left energized. Now, for some it may have not been that way, but in the midst of the discussion we tried to be thoughtful and polite. We tried not to set the other side up as a caricature but to really consider what they were saying. We went through the case of Judas, and 1 John 3:6-10, and James 2:21-24, and 2 Timothy 2:11-13. We considered what each text said and how each side understood it. We looked at the Greek text when appropriate and did some impromptu word studies (thank you, Logos!).
At the end of the day, we realized that despite some differences we had a lot more in common than we originally thought. And more than that, we realized that there is a big difference between being an “evangelical” and being a “fundamentalist,” which I would define as a Christian who believes that anyone who deviates from their doctrinal conviction in non-essential areas (inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, full humanity and full deity of Jesus, Trinity, and salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone) is a heretic and headed to hell. Thankfully we had no fundamentalists in the room, only evangelicals!
The discussion was spirited but cordial; it was passionate but grounded in John 13:35. And that really encouraged me, because it showed me again that we can have unity in diversity within the bounds of historic, orthodox Christianity. Yay!
So today I am encouraged by my brothers and sisters in Christ who don’t shrink from a good “argument” and do it with class. So much thanks to Drew, Sean, and Kristin for a fun morning, and let’s do it again.
How about you? When we get together next, are you in? Can you handle the requirements? Do you do this, or do you run from these discussions?