Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Culture not doctrine

A really interesting and very insightful article recently appeared in The Daily Beast written by Ross Murray.  The author is clearly pro-marriage equality, but his insights should make every follower of Christ stand up and take notice.

The gist of the article is that although the battle for marriage equality appears to have been all but won in mainline, liberal denominations, not so for the conservatives denominations like the Southern Baptist Convention.  However, Murray argues that this really isn't cause for concern.  It is his belief (and I agree with him) that change in these denominations will come as a result of the cultural shift not because of a change in doctrine.  In fact, it will come in spite of the doctrine.

He writes, "When it came time to vote for further LGBT inclusion, people weren’t voting on an idea; they were voting on the relationships that had been built, and on a shared vision of how we could all be a church together".

I cannot stress enough how important this is for us, as believers, to understand.  This is why Bible centered doctrine as the foundation for what we believe, teach and practice is so vital.  Pragmatism never leads to good theology.  Ever!  When the definition of "Church" comes from how we feel about one another you can bet the farm that that definition will continually morph until your definition and the Bible's definition don't even remotely resemble one another.

Pastors, Preachers, Teachers, etc., need to heed this clarion and make the effort to teach not only good theology but how we arrive at good theology.  You cannot arrive at good theology by following our feelings or our well intentions or opinions.  The only way to arrive at good theology is by asking the One we are theologizing about His definition of good theology.  And God has already told us His opinion in His Word.  By approaching His Word and prayerfully committing ourselves to believing, doing and teaching all that is found therein, we will be on the road to good theology and participating in the kingdom of God as it is found throughout history.   If we, on the other hand, let culture and pragmatism define our theology and shape what we read between the pages of the Bible we will also join a historical group but of a very different kind.  Typically they've been called heretics but apostasy will also work.  Whatever word you use, you will cease to be a part of the Church even if you insist on using that word.