Friday, July 20, 2018

Both Camps have Great Cases

Camp #1) Everyone’s faith is goofy and partial. No one’s Christian faith is perfect and complete. It is God who pulls us forward, not the integrity of our beliefs. So we bank on God’s mercy rather than our theological acumen. An emphasis on the doctrinal correctness of what we believe, though important, is not the linchpin in our relationship to and with God.

A person can be Christian and disagree with, or be indifferent toward, some orthodox tenets of Christianity. We can be Christian yet not give intellectual assent to all the creeds and doctrines that have been affirmed by the church throughout the centuries. For example, we can still fulfill what Jesus said was most important (love God and others) and not technically adhere to the the conventional and customary Christian teaching on sin, or the Trinity. I wonder if we often care more about theological correctness than God and others. I wonder if the church is often too worried about defending it’s doctrines rather than the defenseless.

Camp #2) If we are Christian, it is important to strive to be orthodox, that is, to give assent to the established doctrines of Christianity affirmed by church throughout the centuries, even if they have fallen out of favor because of the climate of opinion. It is important for the same reason to be an orthodox Christian as it is to take orthodox, established routes to climb Mount Everest.

An orthodox Christian says we should take a low view of the climate of opinions, and keep the historical doctrines even if they seem out-of-date, unpopular, or ridiculous. That is because to discount the orthodox tenets of Christianity is, in a way, to put God’s ways and thinking below our ways.

Some of the usual, established doctrines in Christianity that are unpopular are the Deity of Christ, the doctrine of sin, the wrath of God (condemnation/judgment) and literal resurrection. Some sects of Christianity omit some of those. Christianity seems to crumble without them, yet those sects may love God and others better than many of their more theologically conservative brothers and sisters.

Both camps have great cases.

Doctrines are important, but they are not God.