Well, I can’t make up my mind to fill this in. Maybe I am already unpopular enough in some circles and am just afraid to make it worse. The reality is that we all believe things that we don’t share because of the pain or the absence of reward or perhaps because they aren’t things we believe – they are just preferences. As a pastor whose responsibility is to teach the whole counsel of God I have often thought about the things I would rather not teach. It’s so much easier to major on majors and to be silent on minors. Rodney King would fit into a lot of pulpits today. (Can’t we all just get along?)
If Jesus were asked to fill in this spot on this blog, I don’t think he would have much of a problem. He felt pretty comfortable saying all sorts of unpopular things – not to irritate, but to save through knowledge of the truth. In the words of D James Kennedy, “I would rather know the saddest fact than be deluded by the sweetest lie.”
The advice I have heard is shout your beliefs and whisper your doubts. I now think that is not good advice. It just produces a lot of whispering Christians. They can’t process and they end up losing their connection to other people who know that ambiguity is there – no one will just admit it, and we end up looking silly and dishonest.
I think that my most unpopular belief among my pastor friends is my conviction that Arminius got a bum rap. Almost all my theological buddies are comfortable with the doctrine of double predestination – that God chooses who to save and who to pass over. In my view, to pass over would be a choice of who to damn for His own glory. I can’t buy it. No one can convince me that this is the God of the Bible. As John Wesley commented, “It’s enough to make the blood run cold.”
I also think the Gospel is not justification by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone. I think the Gospel is the announcement that through Jesus God has become King. Jesus is the one who completes the story Israel began as the promised Messiah and who now ushers in the reign of God among us. How we enter that kingdom is justification by grace through faith in Christ.
I am not an early earth, six 24 hour days, creationist. Nor am I a theistic evolutionist. A lot of Evangelicals think that makes me a liberal. I think they are wrong.
I don’t care much anymore about how updated worship services are. I am suspicious of platform performance by worship divas and would much rather hear the congregation sing anyway.
I will shed blood over the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed but won’t get too exercised about much else. I have opinions, even convictions, about many other things in Holy Scripture which I preach as true. You would be surprised at how open I am. I surprise myself. But if you knew me and where I won’t be moved, you might think I am a fundamentalist of some sort. I think I recognize the difference between honest doubt and outright unbelief, and the latter doesn’t deserve a nest in the church.
I affirm the project of Evangelical Catholics Together. If RC Sproul finds this out, I am moving out of country with no forwarding address.
I am a complementarian when it comes to male-female roles in home and church. Some think this qualifies me as a Neanderthal. I am a Neanderthal but for other reasons!!
Same Sex Marriage is forbidden by Scripture. Most of my Christian friends agree with this, but for those who don’t, my belief is an enraging moral position. Hardly anything gets them angrier than this.
I am unabashedly pro-life and am politically active to protect the rights of the unborn. Most Americans reject unrestricted access to abortion, yet many in the church are nervous about taking public moral stands.