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.