Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?

Snoopy in Peanuts once said he was writing a book on theology, and that was going to be the title. Snoopy had the right idea.

Now, I believe it’s good and right to have convictions. I am not a relativist. I believe in right and wrong. But I also believe that there is so much we don’t know, that in many cases it is very, very difficult to know who or what is right, and in some instances it is impossible. St. Paul said, “Now I know only in part.” Too bad that so many biblicists who claim to believe every word St. Paul wrote conveniently ignore this one. They don’t know only in part: they know everything. They understand everything with 100% clarity. Or so they tell us

People who think they’ve got the whole divine sovereignty/human responsibility thing worked out give me the creeps. Ditto those who get too formulaic about Three-in-One, or the Eucharist. There’s a reason we call these things mysteries. And dispensationalists: get a grip! Besides the fact that no held your views prior to around 1854, we are talking about trying to interpret the most symbolic book in the Bible (Revelation). Stop telling people that those Left Behind books are “biblical fact”: they’re not. (For example, there’s no “Antichrist” in the book of Revelation: it’s a sea monster. If you want to interpret that to be a person you call the “Antichrist”, so be it, but it’s still a sea monster.) The vast majority of Christians around the world and down through the ages have been amillennial, not premillennial like yourselves. Stop behaving as if a person who denies the “secret rapture” is denying the divinity of Christ or something. When all is said and done, we’re all going to find out we were wrong about a whole lot of stuff, so lighten up.

I’d also like to know why it is that people on “Christian radio” (you know, because the radio got saved) want us to believe these days that “true believers” are in lockstep on a host of issues, including healthcare and immigration. Ever hear Don Wildmon (of the American Family Association) pontificate on immigration? The way he sneers when he talks about the “Mex’cans” is disgraceful. Why must a “true believer” be against amnesty for illegal immigrants? What of those who see this as a compassion issue?

It’s not self-evident that a Christian would be against socialized medicine either. The early Christian community was a socialist society. They had no poor amongst them, because those who had a lot sold their possessions and shared with those in need. Sure sounds like “From each according to his ability . . .” God has a lot to say about his concern for the poor. He tells us to look after them. People have different ideas of how to do that. That’s OK. If you’re a conservative, you might be wrong. If you’re a liberal, you might be wrong.

Then there’s the “one true church” crowd, as in “We’re the one true church, and you’re not a part of it.” Whether we’re talking about the Mormons, who believe the church fell out of existence when the apostles died and did not exist on earth again until Joseph Smith, or Pope Benedict who now says Protestant churches are not churches at all (and he has his doubts about the Orthodox), or the big Baptist leaders who now say they wouldn’t allow R.C. Sproul or Ligon Duncan, or any of us who weren’t baptized as adults, by immersion, to take Communion in their churches. Take a look at some of their blogs. When they speak of infant baptism, they put baptism in scare quotes, because, you see, we haven’t been baptized at all unless it was their way. (I’m not saying all Baptists are like this. I hope that goes without saying. But there is more and more of this sort of attitude surfacing.) Attention, all “one true church” people: stop acting like you invented Jesus.

Thus endeth today’s diatribe.

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About revjatb

I am a father of six who is trying to do his best! My interests are varied. I have one blog, KnowTea, that is primarily focused on liturgy and worship and another one, Bengtsson's Baking, that is about, well, baking! I hope you enjoy both of them, and if you have any questions, please contact me!
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7 Responses to Has it ever occurred to you that you might be wrong?

  1. Ashley says:

    Do I have your permission to use your quote in regular conversation- “Stop acting like you invented Jesus.”? Great stuff, Rev. Also the sermon yesterday really “hit the spot”. I plan on getting a tape of it and the first installment that we missed.

  2. Pbankson says:

    Well, Auburn fans ARE better than Alabama fans.

  3. brad says:

    I like how you put all that. In other words, “AMEN.”

    Religious Right my hiny.

  4. RevJATB says:

    Paul, I will chalk that one up to theological differences. 🙂

    Ashley, quote away. The first time I said that was actually in the wake of the Mel Gibson “Passion of the Christ” movie. In the wake of that movie, the Baptists (at least in Hattiesburg and in Birmingham, but probably other places too) seemed to be of the mind that the reason this very Roman Catholic movie was made (in Latin, no less!) was to give them an opportunity to turn moviegoers into Baptists. They were busing people to coffee houses after the showtimes.

    Funny story about that: in Birmingham, one of the very large SBC churches had a coffee house that they were calling the “Passion House.” Poor choice of names, but it gets better. They had a van that was circling the parking lot of one of the local theatres to pick people up from the show and take them to said Passion House, and they had had magnetic signs made to stick to the sides of the van, reading “Passion House.”

    Well, a listener to Rick and Bubba, who was at one of the screenings of the movie at which the Passion House van was cruising the parking lot looking for proselytes, said they had to cut the magnetic sign on the side where the doors were to allow the van doors to open, and it seems part of the sign fell off with all the opening and closing of the door. The problem was, they had cut the sign between the “o” and the “u” of the word “House,” and it was the second half of the word that fell off the van.

    So the van was circling the parking lot, inviting moviegoers to the “Passion Ho.”

  5. cancerman says:

    I can say with truth and conviction that Auburn and Alabama fans don’t make the cut. Go Dawgs!

    I admit no fallibility in the matters of football but I do agree with you on theology. If it were that easy, we’d have figured it out long ago.

  6. Sara says:

    Whew!

    I have to say that all this time reading your blog, I’ve been wondering about your stance on a lot of that stuff. I’ve wanted to be respectful, because I like what you’ve had to say so far and I didn’t want to pick nits or find a way to judge you or distance myself. But I’ve been curious.

    So it’s interesting to finally see you play your hand, and can I say, BRAVO! You are exactly the intelligent, literate, reasonable sort of Christian I’ve always thought you were! That may not mean much coming from the token Pagan amongst your readership, but I just wanted to say it.

  7. cancerman says:

    I can believe all the Auburn readers are letting my last comment stand.

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