Saturday, January 5, 2008

Truth and Relationships...Continued

This will be my last entry before I leave for Africa.  I will try to resume as soon as I can after I return and recuperate.  You may post comments while I'm gone, but I won't be able to respond until I get back.  My blog helper, Dan Kreider, will monitor your comments and clear the helpful and edifying ones (and the vast majority have been great!).

If you have not been reading all the comments on the last TRUTH AND RELATIONSHIPS article, you are missing some interesting stuff.  I am encouraging additional comments on this article because I feel they are surfacing some very important concepts.  To keep up to date you may wish to respond with your comments, even from the previous article, to this article.  That way I will be less likely to miss them when I return.

Now for a few more concepts.

I hinted at this one, but no one went for it.  So, I'll say it more bluntly and you all can kick it around.  Am I the only one, or is professing Christianity/evangelicalism just a lot wimpier than it was 30 years ago?  I remember times when  men of God who disagreed could confront, argue, and edify one another - like "iron sharpening iron" - and still walk away with mutual respect.  Yes, there were some cruel, unloving abuses too.  But it seems that now the pendulum has swung so far the other direction that many just suffer in unloving silence for fear of someone getting upset or disagreeing.  It seems that we have quite a representation of babies (under the guise of postmodernity?).  Consider 1 Corinthians 11:19  -  "there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you."  We need not fear controversy, because controversy reveals those who are approved, and sorts out those who are not.  Controversy can sharpen our convictions!  Exhortation, rebuke, reproof, confrontation  -  these do not have to be bad things to avoid.  They are, in fact, an important part of biblical love.

Next one; does anyone else feel the danger I feel with this mindset of "major and minor doctrines" (or essential and non-essential, or primary/secondary/tertiary)?  Of course, some truths are more central/foundational to our truth claims than others (the Trinity, substitutionary death of Christ,  But when other matters are made minor, it appears to me that the "minor compartment" keeps getting larger and larger, swallowing up even these very central truths.  So, now the push (relative to Islam) is "as long as it is monotheistic"- that is to say, the Trinity is not as important (a minor or secondary doctrine!!).  Some may feel I'm being extreme, but this does seem to be the trend.  Where does it end?  I would say apostasy, except for a relatively small, faithful remnant.

Last one; why does it seem that I am being pushed to settle for the "lowest common denominator" instead of "going for the gold"?  Let's learn more and more of God's precious truth instead of settling for less.  All for His glory!!


  1. first--yes, it is terribly annoying. much of ministry has taken a cue from politics...not pastoring by conviction, but by straw poll...gauging what will make the most people happy. this trend then plays into pastor's meetings. most pastor's meetings i attend now feel like a total waste. they seem like "pastors' unions" where the sheep are the enemy and we all pat each other's backs. certainly, we'd never tell someone we thought they were wrong.

    second thought--i think the postmodern obsession with "uncertainty" is partly to blame for this. since the Trinity cannot be perfectly explained, people are willing to assume it must not be important. as we've discussed before, i certainly don't see this trend lending toward bold proclamation on clear doctrines...but only for suspicion of ALL doctrines.

    thirdly--if others aren't willing to go beyond the lowest common denominator, then we need a way to find out who the other brothers are who are going for the gold. but how do we find them?

  2. I agree. We do have a wimpier form of christianity that we used to. I think there is a connection between strength of relationship and freedom to disagree. When I was in seminary there were some guys that I loved, trusted and respected. We had the freedom to discuss what we were thinking and even doubting. We could disagree and argue because there was a mutual respect and commitment to the friendship. We were trying to sharpen each other not trying to impress each other. We didn't have to walk on eggshells around each other because we knew each other. I'm not sure how many relationships I have that are like that now.
    The other observation is that if I feel insecure about the relationship, I'm less likely to be honest and risk being disagreeable. If I feel like my marriage is in jeopardy, I'm less likely to make disputes an issue. If I feel my marriage is secure I'm more likely to go ahead and engage in an arguement. Disagreement isn't going to threaten the relationship.
    Generally speaking I will loveingly argue frequently with family, occasionally with friends, not at all with strangers. Unfortunately, this also explains why we are frequently nicer to strangers than to family.