I have been told more than once that I think too much, and read too much. Actually I don’t read nearly enough, and not sure what to think on my thinking.
I believe in being open to change on what I think has been called second tiered truths or issues. These are issues which are something less than the gospel of Jesus, which itself is a nonnegotiable. I take this good news to be that Jesus is Lord and King by virtue of his death and resurrection, having brought the new into the world, God’s grace and kingdom having come in him.
When I say openness in regard to second tiered issues, I’m not at all suggesting that we should not take such issues seriously. We Christians are in disagreement on a whole host of such issues. Evidently scripture is not as clear on some things as on others, otherwise we would not have such disagreements. Perhaps God in his wisdom has made this to be so, that we might learn to live with inevitable differences within the unity that is in and through Jesus himself.
I know my openness will get me in trouble, even for being open on some issues at all. For example for some time I haven’t considered evolution to be intrinsically opposed to the gospel, or Genesis for that matter, though one has to work through theological issues, to be sure. And while I hold to a traditional view in regard to homosexuality, I have tried to be open to change there, as well, although I think what change may be coming in my thinking, probably already dormant there, is with reference to practicing unconditional love toward the gay community. And accepting that the Lord may be working even in their midst, and in their lives, which for me is no surprise at all, in fact it would be surprise if it were not so. So those are just two hot button issues among many, especially among Christian evangelicals, that can get one in trouble. There are others. From time to time we will touch on such issues on my new blog, Jesus community talk.
What we need to be rock solid on is the witness of scripture with regard to Jesus. The gospel is not simply for salvation as in an initial experience, but for all of life, and not only the life of an individual, but for the life of all creation, beginning now. That is not only our starting point, but in a true sense our parameter for seeking to understand everything else. We are to hold on to that, regardless of what we do or do not know elsewhere.
Being open I think involves not being hard and fast on issues, or holding them in quite the same way we hold on to the gospel. At the same time, neither does it mean we have to vacillate on them. We may be just as firm on some of those issues as on the gospel, as long as we don’t hold such as having the first importance the gospel has.
Not an easy subject, and it gets me in trouble with some. I’m glad to be a part of a denomination which not only accepts, but I think promotes this kind of openness, within the commitment we in Jesus are to have together to the gospel for the world.