A little less conversation…


I’m right. You are most assuredly wrong. That’s how I often feel when reading and writing in the blogworld. I have a set of beliefs that I hold dear and ones that I have spent tremendous time researching and trying to understand. When I come into contact with someone who holds an opposing view it’s simply not possible that they have studied as much, or as intelligently, as I have….is it?

As I read across the blogworld today I am struck by the fact that these emotions that I experience are not isolated with just me. I am amazed by the staunch defenses of many concerning the positions that they hold. Beyond that, I’m amazed by the audacity of those holding to their positions to seemingly disregard anyone else’s view as if their “opponents” haven’t studied nearly as much, or as hard, as they have. I’m floored by how little grace I see as I encounter many other bloggers.

We have this tendency to study a position, consider its biblical veracity, and then refuse to allow anyone else to hold a contrary position. We often proceed without sufficient recognition of our own human finiteness, when it comes to biblical study, and our apparent lack of theological humility and grace drives me to frustration.

When we think in historical terms I think it would serve us well to remember that even the greatest of theologians held alternative, unfortunate, positions at times. Calvin, Luther, Augustine, Huss, Edwards, and the like would probably all have a hard time feeling comofortable in SBC life today because of varioius theological positions that they held at one time or another. Regardless of your (or their) theological acumen, we are still fallible.

In closing, it is time for us to be students of scripture, culture and the church. It is time for us to know what we know because we know it and not because someone else told us to know it. It’s time for us to be convinced of truth……..and it’s time for us to allow someone else to hold to a contrary position without staking their right to friendship and partnership on their ability to agree with our own stated positions. Knowing that we are fallible and that our understanding will always be limited should help condition our responses to other believers. I’m not asking for us to be unconvinced. I’m not asking for us to preach weakly. I’m not even asking for us to allow each person to simply believe what they want to believe. What I’m asking is that we give grace to those who follow Jesus Christ and yet approach their theology in a different manner than our own.

Let’s stop calling names, guys, and let’s start evaluating ways that we can cooperate. As Tim Rogers reminds us so succinctly on his blog, there are thousands of people dying daily without Christ, and our concern is not about them – too often – but about our brothers and sisters ability to agree with us. Remember that regardless of how convinced you are of your position, even the greatest made, and make, interpretive mistakes. It’s time for us to partner together for the sake of the kingdom, and time for us to step down off our high horses of theological supremacy.

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

8 thoughts on “A little less conversation…

  1. Brother Micah,

    You are an irenic husband, ideal dad, indispensible pastor, and one of the most inquisitive students that I have ever known. On top of that you are nothing but a Christian.

    Sorry, I forgot about the name calling that we must stop doing. However, I do agree that we need to get about dealing with the issues.

    I know this is going to sound strange coming from me, but I am like that old Bud Lite commercial–I love you man!

    Blessings,
    Tim

  2. Tim-

    My wife says i’m often not very irenic, my kids frustrate me too much, I wish I was a better pastor and I don’t spend nearly enough time studying! I’m pretty fallible myself but I sincerely appreciate your compliments. They genuinely mean much to me.

    I wish that many who disagree as you and I, and Les and I, among others, could appreciate each other as much as we do!

    Blessings, my friend.

  3. People fail to understand the far-reaching nature of their blogs. If they had a clue, they would be working hard to make sure the world sees that we can disagree and still love one another. Instead, they refer to the sharp disagreements found in Scripture, and call it biblical. Please.
    Last night I was reading the blog from Bellevue. It is that kind of vitriol that drove me out of ministry in the first place. And if I were not a Christian, and came across that site, it would convince me that I should NOT become a Christian.
    We need to be aware of the power of our words, and the effectiveness of blogging to either win people for the kingdom, or to completely drive them away from it.
    Wise words, my friend. Thank you for sharing them with us.

  4. It’s really ironic (not to be confused with irenic) that it’s the SBC that seems to evidence so much of this “I’m right & you’re wrong” thinking. The very premise of our most honored summary of beliefs is that it’s up to the individual believer and/or groups of believers to believe for themselves, and to publish such reflections of their beliefs as they see fit.

    I’d been a Presbyterian and a Methodist and “Here’s what you believe, now” was part & parcel of their systems. Some denominations even state a list of “mandatory beliefs”.

    The BF&M was very attractive, for me, with reference to becoming a card-carrying Baptist. Still is, in fact, and it really makes me feel old to see a mostly younger generation getting away from that paradigm.

    And here I thought the younger folks wanted the real stuff. Fiery darts ain’t it.

    Good post. I’d like to shake your hand in Arlington, if you’re present.

  5. Jasonk-

    You are dead on about the power of words, and I would add, the long-lasting nature of our words. Google leaves no (blog) stone uncovered in todays climate.

    Bob-

    Your words are always steeped in wisdom and experience. I value your thoughts. It will actually be my privilege to shake your hand.

    Les-

    Thank you, sir. I sincerely appreciate that!

  6. Micah,

    I really do appreciate your call for grace in terms of how we deal with others with whom we disagree. One of the finest books I’ve ever read is Phillip Yancey’s “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” and one of his major premises is that grace is the only thing that the church uniquely has to offer to a needy world. How tragic when church leaders display so little grace in their interactions with others.

Leave a Reply