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February 08, 2010

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Patrick Oden

Once again, I come to your blog and see you write what has seemingly been the core focus of my academic efforts these past couple of years.

Amen to all you said.

The struggle with people needing boxes to know who to trust and who to distrust is that it always brings a tendency to forget about those very Kingdom values that should be central. It is so easy to fall off that narrow path--off to the right or off to the left, each has their own particular distractions.

I think this is precisely why the call to unity is emphasized again and again, because there will be differences, sometimes even on what are apparently very important issues. But, in our unity we can continue to minister to each other, share each other's gifts and burdens, teach each other and learn from each other, and press on in reflecting the Spirit to this world we live in.

Tommy Cooper

Scott,

This is a great message. I once tried to teach a Sunday School class based on Engersol & Tracey's book "Here We Stand." I didn't get through the entire book but I did try to make the point that you make here. In the words of Bob Benson, "we really do need each other." During my graduate program at TNU I took a class in Doctrine of the Trinity with Dr. Steve McCormick. On the last day as I handed him my final exam I asked him what the church would look like if we were more like God, his answer..."More diverse." We do need all tree. Thank you

Brian Ketchum

From one "radical" to another...thank you! You've put into words thoughts which have frustrated me for quite some time. May we truly reflect Christ always and in all ways.

Les

What we need is one Church and one Faith. This historically has been composed of people that have a balance of Gospel (saved by grace thru faith alone thru Christ alone)and sanctification. As we become believers the Holy Spirit directs our path, and of course we will always be sinners, but we will obey (try anyway) his commandments not out of fear of hell but out of gratitude for our salvation.

If there it's all law and no gospel then we will become like the Church of the middle ages. Thank God for the reformers and their rediscovery of the Gospel of Grace!

If you don't believe or understand what I'm referring to, start with Galations and the explanation it gives concerning justification.

Connie Morrow

Thanks, Scott. As one very burned badly by the liberal-conservative wars, I do agree that our polarization is deeply destructive. Yet we must continue to express our understandings of what constitutes faithfulness to the Word of God, even on the most difficult issues. Perhaps we need a whole new vocabulary for that very necessary conversation, one that could help us to agree to disagree and still love and respect one another. Connie Morrow

Mikel Bullis

Thank you Pastor Scott, admittedly this post had me running all over the internet to understand some of the references and names but it was a great learning experience. I just started reading "The Irresistible Revolution" and it seems to carry a similar message. Thanks for the great post!

Justin Hedges

Scott,
Probably couldn't agree more, but let me probe with one more question. Do you think our (over)emphasis on the "afterlife" is what creates so much tension between these three camps? Especially for doctrinalists and pietists, having the right belief or the right heart is key to receiving the great reward that (for most of them) probably drew them into belief in the first place. Their backlash, then, is not necessarily against the position of other camps, but originates from a fear that if they are not completely right, then their salvation is in jeopardy. If so, is their some plausible solution to this in order to get some people in these groups to "disarm?"

Tommy Cooper

I sort of agree with Justin but rather than fearing the jeopardy of their own salvation I think maybe they are just afraid they will not be heard but rather they will each be dominated by any one of the other two positions.

Les

Some say, "Well, if we can just get the doctrine right, everything else will follow." Others shout back, "No! Deeds, not creeds!" But neither answer gets the point that growing up into Christ cannot be reduced to intellectualism or activism. There is no doctrinal proposition or spiritual program that will conform us to the image of Christ. The gospel must transform us over a lifetime of quite ordinary and sometimes even plodding habits that we cannot always articulate. This is hwy the disciples walked with Jesus , talked with Jesus, observed his actions as well as his teaching. In this process, it's often hard to distinguish between doctrinal instruction and practical living . Reading the Gospels, we look over the apostles shoulders and say, "Ah, that's what the kingdom is!"

There is no quick-and-easy path to success. It takes a lot of work. Although we are not working for our salvation, we are working it out as God "who works in us both to will and to do according to his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:12-13). No program will form us to be a better husband and wife or father and mother. These relationships take time, patience , and a lot of work. To succeed, we often have to change our priorities and daily routines. And we cannot do it alone. We need the constant, ordinary, and sometimes all-too-familiar habits of family worship, the Lord's Day, fellowship, and personal Bible reading and prayer-especially when the burdens and distractions of our temporal callings threaten to become idols rather than gifts.

yo

Radical Christians! I love it. Something to compete with radical Islams!

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