4 Comments

  1. nick

    I’m not a I’m not a I’m not a robot now.

    Reply
  2. Jon Price

    I appreciate your heart my friend, and thanks for stepping out on this. My only hope is that every title representing every person other than Christ will fall away. I would like to see the quote from Kuyper be “The special trait of Christianity…” and likewise the quote from Warfield explain the “Christian” as “humble souls… etc. Until that allegiance is the sole one, I fear there will always be the separatist attitude that Paul so aptly warned about in 1 Cor 1:12 and 3:4 before the men that walked with Christ had even passed. I doubt these great men of the faith would even want their names associated with a Christian “viewpoint”, and if they did, that would be reason enough not to. Christ said He is the Way and the Truth, let it be so before we unknowingly become a part of the continued division of the Body.

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    1. goingtodamascus

      Sir Johnny McJohnerson! Thank you for your continued steadfastness and support in reading these silly musings I put up online. I’m thankful for you because I know there are plenty of other things you could be spending time reading, and your comments are feedback that help me grow and sharpen as a communicator.

      I understand what you’re saying, of course, and its much of the heart behind why I wrote what I wrote. I do of course, like Christians should, long for unity and love under Christ.

      However, my natural instinct is still to call a spade a spade. I don’t think labels in and of themselves are necessarily harmful – in fact I can think of a number ways I don’t think we can dispute they are useful. For example, I find it very useful to apply labels to cults such as Mormons and JW’s who want to claim the name of Jesus and the Bible but clearly do not. I also find it useful and necessary to label those who believe Salvation is by grace through faith alone, or by grace + works (Roman Catholic).

      Or, within Roman Catholicism its become necessary to label those who are coming under the recent liberal surge which leans towards a muddy form of not-quite-universalism, vs classic Roman Catholicism which says anyone who isn’t in the Catholic church is damned.

      Even in the Evangelical church, which has classically been the church which relies on God’s Word, faith and grace alone, Christ alone – is no longer the case. Now there are liberal strings within Evangelicalism who are either universalist or in this new camp of “emerging” churches who are messing with all kinds of whack and muddy theology. What about those who teach you aren’t saved until you’re baptized? What about the “red letter” Christians who say that unless its the “red words” of Jesus, then the rest of the Bible isn’t inspired by God? Or I think of the maligned prosperity gospel, which cruelly and meanly leads people astray by the itching of their own ears. Closely related are the folks who say you’re not saved unless you speak in unintelligible, uncontrollable languages. I also think of the folks who teach crazy things like “getting high on the holy ghost” and absorbing the spirit energies of dead Christians by laying on their grave sites.

      So, I think, in all of those cases, its necessary to apply labels to distinguish completely bunk teaching and evil, repugnant, and mean people from Christianity.

      When I think about something like Calvinism, etc., my sincerest wish is that those who claimed such a label would associate themselves as Christian first and Calvinist second, and only in the context of helpfully explaining where we stand and why. I wish conversations between Calvinists and non-Calvinists always went something like this:

      Calvinist: Yeah, I’m a Christian, and I also would particularly associate my beliefs with the teachings commonly called Calvinism.

      Non Calvinist: Oh, really? Why do you associate with Calvinism?

      Calvinist: Well, I’ve found that those teachings and emphasis really increase my passion and love for Christ and my desire to glorify God in all I do.

      Non Calvinist: Thats awesome brother. I can really see how you seek to bring glory to God in all things. I might not agree with you on everything, but I love seeing your passion for Jesus grow.

      Calvinist: Amen, brother!

      Unfortunately, as you know, this isn’t always the case. Which is why I wrote what I wrote, as I’ve found that in today’s climate its not appropriate anymore to use a label which more often than not causes harm than good. So, in an effort to cut that out in my own life and hopefully influence others, I will drop the title itself and stop publicly identifying with it, such that I can hopefully 1) show people the glory and grace of God through my understanding of Gods word and 2) bring unity to God’s people by not fighting over arbitrary terms.

      Reply
      1. Jon Price

        Neil the real deal! 🙂 I don’t think your writings are silly musings in the slightest, I think they are wonderful and heartfelt dealings with Truth. I see where you are coming from with “labels”, and maybe I’m a bit Utopian in my mindset, but I wish we could just be Christians (those who follow Christ) and non-Christians (those who follow Christ +/- ________).

        I do understand that there are things we need to thoughtfully and prayerfully seek out in regards to interpretations and meanings of certain passages, but when we begin to divide over these issues I think we are falling into the exact trap Paul was referring to in those passages in Corinthians. When it comes to black and white issues like the Deity of Christ, that grace alone saves and that works are simply a sign of that saving grace via response in love, or that sexual immorality of ANY kind is a sin, no more or less damnable than any other, but never to be justified more or less than any other, well, these are the issues that I believe should fall under Christ alone vs. Christ +/-. And anything Christ +/- is, well, not Christ, and therefore not Christianity as the term is meant to imply. And in case that offends anyone, I am sorry, but if Christ is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life, as He Himself clearly stated, any other way truth or life is not through Him, and therefore not through to the Father He represented.

        When it comes to old vs young Earth, pre-trib vs post-trib, pre-mill vs post-mill, Calvanism vs Armenianism, etc etc etc, I think that the one Body of Christ should stick together and talk about it like we’re doing here (or better yet in person), instead of dividing and surrounding ourselves with people that agree with us and therefore don’t challenge us to continue to be introspective about our views and continue to lean to the Holy Spirit to guide us. When Paul had his “sharp dispute” with Barnabus, they indeed were apparently so frustrated that they had to temporarily part ways, but they didn’t create Paulism and Barnabianism, in fact, as I’m sure you know, it was Paul that adamantly spoke out against it.

        Now, that being said, I feel that I can say that “I like/agree with what C.S. Lewis had to say about/how he addressed the issue of pride” or “I didn’t like/agree with what Bonhoffer said about ______” (I like Bonhoffer, hard to find an example ;-), thereby still drawing on the wisdom and insight of great thinkers and theologians without becoming their “disciples” (careful not to mistake that I am saying you are a “disciple” of Calvin, I know better).

        The reason I can’t bring myself to align with really any denomination or “label” is because I always (so far) find myself not agreeing with some part of their doctrine. I feel like the only way we can all be free to do that, is to align ourselves with Christ and His Word alone, and when we have a “sharp dispute”, walk away for a time if necessary, but always remain one Body when we return.

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