Saturday, December 5, 2009

Certainly Not: Part Six

Using an analogy, I argued in the last post that conversation is the best way to respond to Theological Fallibility. So what exactly does it look like to "leave an access door to the foundation" of your Theology? There are two things I would mention.

1. Welcome Dialogue from Different Perspectives

Take any chance you can get to talk to someone of a different faith. I firmly believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, so why would I spend the rest of my life only talking to people who believe the same thing? As a Christian, I should not be ashamed of the Gospel, I should be going into all the world to make disciples. However, don't miss the blessing that comes from witnessing - dialogue. You can leave that access door open and re-examine your foundation. When people ask you those hard questions about your faith, it's time to perform a little maintenance. Why does God allow evil? Can I trust the Bible? Does the New Testament display antisemitism?

Is dialogue risky? Of course. You could take the "easy" way out, and just seal off your access door - just don't be surprised when nobody wants to come and visit your house.

2. Welcome Books from Controversial Authors

It can be exhausting to read something you don't agree with. Your emotions run high, and you sometimes wish you could just sit down with the author and give them a piece of your mind. However, the attitude which most troubles me is the attitude that says, "I only have something to learn from those who are orthodox (agree with me)." Truth be told, and I'm speaking from personal experience, you can learn a lot from people you don't agree with. Believe it or not, the only smart people in the world are NOT people who believe the same thing as you.

Two words of caution:

First, sin, even false ideas, can be very appealing. In your quest for truth, you must remain committed to it. If you lack wisdom, ask God who gives to all men liberally. Fear God - this is the beginning of wisdom.

Second, I am not suggesting that you must read/watch moral filth in order to be more educated. I made a commitment to my wife to stay faithful to her, I don't need to frequent pornographic websites (for example) in order to "keep the access door open". Don't forget - there is black, gray, and white areas. My commitment to my wife is one area in which I am not ashamed to say I'm, "close-minded".

As I think back about this series, I certainly realize I don't hold all the answers to our Theological Fallibility. There are still lots of unanswered questions in my mind, and dots I have yet to connect. It's funny, a small part of me honestly feels like writing a rebuttal against myself! I've done the best I can to build a foundation, but let's just say I'm leaving the access door open.

1 comment:

  1. Jason,

    I thought this quote went well with your post:

    "Disagreeing with someone’s perspective is one thing, but dismissing it is something else. People can disagree respectfully. Respectful disagreement involves listening carefully to other individuals in conversations, understanding their positions, and considering carefully the arguments that favor them (or that weigh against one’s own position) before replying. When a perspective is dismissed, however, it is rejected as so implausible—and perhaps so damaging—that it does not warrant a hearing. Dismissiveness is often accompanied with derision..." (Dr. Kevin Bauder; Read on at http://www.centralseminary.edu/publications/Nick/Nick228.html)

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