Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lines In The Sand--Necessary Barriers And Where to Draw Them

We all have places in our lives where we might draw a “line in the sand” so to speak.  The problem comes, sometimes, in identifying where those lines need to be drawn.  Regarding theological matters, we need to be able to articulate those with whom we could cooperate with as Christians or at least affirm them as fellow believers and those who we would regard as being so out of bounds theologically that we could not affirm them as fellow believers.  For me, that decision comes down to three simple questions, or more particularly, how they answer those questions.  In order to affirm someone as a fellow believer, I would want them to answer “Who is God?”, “Who is Jesus?”, and “What is the Gospel?”

Who is God?

For me to consider someone a Christian, I would want to know first of all who they think God is. Is God just some mysterious force a la George Lucas? Is He the “god of our many understandings” as Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson said? Do Muslims worship the same god as Christians or is the God Christians worship distinct from Allah, making Allah a false god?

For me to be willing to cooperate with someone in gospel ministry or to at least affirm them as a fellow Christian, they would have to acknowledge God as a Trinity—one God, three distinct but co-equal, co-substantial, and co-eternal beings who are all equally God. Further, they would have to recognize God as the One who spoke the world into existence out of nothingness, therefore being the Creator of the universe. That creation would also include the special creation of the first two human beings on the planet—Adam and Eve. I would also add that they must recognize His holiness—His total separation from sin. In addition, they would also have to recognize Him as a truth-telling God meaning that when He spoke He spoke truth. In other words, the Bible totally is inerrant and inspired (the Chicago Statement does a good job of giving the singular definition of inerrancy, what it is, and what it is not). In short, someone who could not affirm verbal, plenary inspiration and the inerrancy of scripture including all miracles and the historicity of all events recorded is basically calling God a liar. They would be outside the brick wall.

Obviously, there is no way to adequately define a doctrine of God in a short blog post. However, those points above hit the major highlights of what I would consider non-negotiable items. If a person were to deny any one of those, I could not regard them as Christians or fellowship with them as such.

Tomorrow and Thursday I will post my answers to the other two questions.

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