Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Do Doctrines Unite?

Is the greatest calling for Christian communities to come up with shared statements of beliefs?

Do we need to work on our doctrinal statements until we find unity?

Does having doctrinal statements create unity or do they create divisions?

Doctrinal statements may help define what it takes to be united within a certain group... but what does it do to those on the outside of the well defined list of beliefs?

Colossians 3:13-15 (NIV)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Or would a renewed focus on love be a better way forward?

Is that why Jesus focused on love as the greatest commandment... is that why love is the true mark of a disciple of Christ. Is it possible that we could look past our differences when we recognize true love in each other?

When I recognize true love for the same Jesus I love, I am able to look past disagreements on less essential matters.

When I understand God's love extended to towards me, and recognize that He also loves others who follow different traditions, I am able to recognize that we are part of the same family.

I also recognize that when I know someone loves and respects me... I have an easier time discussing disagreements. If we start with love and respect... we may actually make progress on doctrines as well.

So... to make this practical...
If you are a 4 point Calvinist, think Hell is eternal torment for the wicked, and love the penal substitutionary atonement theory... if you love Jesus... let's celebrate that as we encourage each other to follow God's leading in our lives.

... Or if you believe the Pope has a unique position of authority in the church, pray to Mary, and follow some other traditions that seem different to me... if you love the same Jesus I do... let's recognize that and encourage each other to follow that Jesus whom we love.

... Or if you _____(fill in your own blank here if you are one of the 30,000 different Christian denominations not included in the previous two statements... I don't want to leave you out) _____ .... if you love the same Jesus I do... let's recognize that and encourage each other to follow that Jesus whom we love.

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