These are some things I read the past couple of days. Quotes, then my notes at the bottom.
"The Big Lie is our false orthodoxy, our pseudo religion, our finger-pointing self-righteous Evangelicalism. We are too smart to be duped by false prophets who predict the return of Christ on such-and-such a date but too blind to see our own cheap substitutes for the real thing. Some call this pseudo-Christianity, others Christendom. I think "Churchianity" says it well. We choose simulated piety, and God lets us reap the consequences of our choice." (Dave Black, 5/19)
"Unity with one another is not something we have to choke down like brussel sprouts... It should be something that actually enriches our relationship in the church!
As we look into the Bible, God seems quite concerned that we be united because of our differences. The “dividing wall of hostility” has been removed and God uses all sorts of images and examples (Jesus among the formerly untouchable, Peter going to the home of a Gentile and the image of “unclean” animals on the sheet, “there is neither Jew nor Greek”). One of the key features of the Old Covenant was dividing the people of God from everyone else. Under the New, we are still separate from the world but we are united together by our common salvation. Yet we for some reason still seek every opportunity to find ways to argue endlessly with one another, divide from those who disagree with us and develop a bunker mentality that keeps most Christians at arms length from one another.
When we embrace our differences, we gain important perspective on all sorts of stuff. " (Arthur Sido)
"It is common in Christian circles to point fingers at other Christians or groups of Christians. There are so many Christians teaching really wrong stuff on so many levels. It is common to go as far as concluding that they are a cult, or false teachers, and that they likely are not even true Christians.
I find it a little arrogant. Considering all the denominations, movements and doctrines across church history. To assume my corner has finally got it figured out the best is equally misguided." (Jonathan Hutton)
"There’s so much polarization in the evangelical church that it’s a true scandal. We’ve got to learn how to talk to each other and listen to each other in a civil way.I think that we confuse uniformity with unity. Can we meet other streams of Christianity at the river and celebrate them? Can we affirm the ancient style of learning that is dialogical, where we debate and ask questions? Have we confused our interpretation of the Bible for the truth? Have we become so enamored with our tribe, our brand of Christianity that we become more followers of it rather than Christ? Have we become so detached from the person of Jesus that we forget that as a man, he was hated and brought up on charges of heresy by theological experts of the day?
Do evangelicals need to reexamine our doctrines of hell and damnation?
Yes, I guess I do think they ought to reexamine. They ought to be a good bit more biblical, not taking things out of context.
But the people who are against Rob Bell are not going to reexamine anything. They have a litmus test for who is a Christian and who is not. But that’s not what it means to live in community.
Luther said that we should read the entire Bible in terms of what drives toward Christ. Everything has to be interpreted through Christ. Well, if you do that, you’re going to end up with this religion of grace and forgiveness. The only people Jesus threatens are the Pharisees. But everybody else gets pretty generous treatment." (Eugene Peterson & Timothy Dalrymple, "Would Jesus Condemn Rob Bell?")