Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Doctrine, Wisdom, Conviction

There has been a lot of furor over Joe Zichterman's departure from fundamentalism and his embracing the emergent conversation.  If you have not already read Dan Miller's article “Why Do They Leave Fundamentalism?” then you really should.  Dan was a classmate of mine in college and his reasoning ability has been refined over the years to be very good.

In the article Dan ends up largely discussing the issue of music.  If you are a Fundamentalist and you have not wrestled with music then one wonders where you have been for the last 30 years.  The fact is that there are modes of worship that we are comfortable and familiar with and there are modes that we feel are not best.  Music a key area where this happens.

Dan shares his personal testimony of how he ended up,for a brief time, in a church that was not fundamental.  He found that while much of what they did was what he thought of as worldly and unwise that it came from a heart that was redeemed and that was striving to worship God.

This is the key.  We have too often forgotten as Fundamentalists what the fundamentals are.  The fundamentals do not include liturgical styles, music, specific translations, ordinance modalities and soteriologies, to name a few.  Now, these things are all informed by our view of scripture, creation, atonement and escatology, and well they should be.  However, we must be careful to not take our views of wisdom and conviction issues and artificially make them into doctrinal issues.  Our common sense is often not so common as we would like to imagine.

This actually does come back around to my soap box du juor: the Centrality of the Gospel.  We must embrace as brothers all those who are repenting of sin and trusting in Christ alone for salvation.  It is incumbent upon us to treat as fellow-citizens all who are looking for the Kingdom of God.  And we may not behave arrogantly toward others who are fellow bond-servants of Christ.

Doctrine is important.  We are commanded to pray for wisdom.  Our convictions should be informed by the Word and cultivated by the Spirit.  But we must be careful not to confound the three or we cease to be Fundamentalists and become simply Donatist sectarians.

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