Intellectual Uniformity: Not Going to Happen

Ed Cyzewski:

I’ve already mentioned this week that it’s biblically impossible to be “biblical,” but there’s something else that’s impossible for evangelical Christians: unity as intellectual uniformity. Authors/speakers/bloggers often lament that the church could truly be unified if only we could all agree on “X.”…

Since evangelicalism took shape largely around a common vision of sharing the Gospel, there’s a glimmer of hope that perhaps we can find unity again. However, it will never come about by signing a piece of paper or all subscribing to the same blog.

There will be evangelicals who disagree on the existence of hell.

There will be evangelicals with vastly different views of God’s power and sovereignty.

There will be evangelicals with dramatically different views of the atonement.

There will be Democratic, anarchist, apolitical, and Republican evangelicals.

There will be evangelicals with very different views on homosexuality.

There will be evangelicals who permit women to teach and those who don’t.

There will be vastly different evangelical approaches to church leadership.

It’s all a mess, and we’ll never line up every doctrine just right. If we’re waiting for someone to “come around” to our perspective, we may be doomed to frustration and disappointment.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://benjaminasimpson.com Ben Simpson

    This sure is fatalistic.

  • http://www.krusekronicle.com Michael W. Kruse

    I hear the concern about mistaking unity for uniformity. Yet, Robert Putnam says studies show that diversity without some unifying quality is actually destructive. So what is it that unifies us and makes tolerance of these intellectual considerations possible?

  • RobS

    If we focus on Christ & His mission… can we unify around that one?

    I was going to say if we spend all our time trying to win people over to the points above it’s probably a monster waste of time & energy (& disservice to the mission Jesus accomplished on earth to deal with sin in it’s entirety)

  • http://www.inamirrordimly.com ed cyzewski

    Thanks for linking up to my post Scot!

    @Michael, great question. This is part of a larger post, so I’ll try to keep from retyping the whole post here. However, the brief answer is that evangelicals can still organize around the “Jesus is Lord,” the importance of scripture, and the pursuit of holy living–all stuff that Bebbington, Knoll, and Stott would place at the center of Christianity.

  • Susan

    I think I’m suffering from label overload.

  • Ted Hill

    Ed, I love reading this without a specific answer or direction to a solution … it is often that God is waiting for us to carve out space for Him to act and speak; a place where WE have no solution or answer. It is right at the end of this short little statement where the activity of God’s grace is most vibrant and powerful. We are called to notice; be humbly aware of what He is up to!

    Thanks for your gift of words an honesty!

    Tes

  • http://www.jenniferdukeslee.com jdukeslee

    Could we at least agree on this? That Jesus Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He rose from the dead, ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

    I hope and pray, with my whole heart, that we can unify around that — around what Jesus has already done.

    In the original language, evangelical means “eu-angelion.” “Eu” means good, and “angelion” means message. Which would me that, as evangelicals, we are believers of the Good Message, the Gospel, which is the message of Jesus Christ.

    Evangelical is a way to wrap one’s whole life around a cup and a cross.

  • RobH

    I think this is realistic and constructive rather than fatalistic. Anybody who browses the various “Multiple Views” books or who has followed controversies over open theism, egalitarianism, annihilationism, and many others dating farther back will see that this is not particularly constructive and we are not converging toward consensus. Christian Smith’s book illustrates this pretty clearly. I think continued reflection and dialogue on doctrine, ethics, etc. is still important, provided its constructive and charitable, but we shouldn’t hold our breath for overwhelming consensus.

    So, having looked reality in the face, better to accept it and look for constructive points of convergence and consensus than to expend time and resources bickering. To me it’s a question of finding a creedal consensus and focusing on the core of the gospel/Kingdom of God vs. majoring in minors and getting bogged down in internecine warfare.

  • RobH

    The only area where I might take issue with Ed is the choice of “it’s all a mess.” I think that is certainly a valid characterization in some sense, but it is kind of a glass half-full vs. half-empty deal. I think Ed’s overall commentary is “half-full” in orientation, even if the expression “a mess” suggests half-emptiness and a degree of futility. Nevertheless, the underlying point holds: there is a diversity of strongly held perspectives on doctrine, personal ethics (e.g., sexual behavior), gender roles, and political implications of faith; and this diversity shows no immediate sign of transforming into a homogeneous consensus (half-empty). Nevertheless, there is a sufficiently powerful common core “mere Christianity”–the Gospel, the power of the Kingdom, the trustworthiness and power of Scripture, the work of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle’s creed–to facilitate partnership in advancing the Kingdom (more than half-full). :)

  • http://www.krusekronicle.com Michael W. Kruse

    Ed, I think the challenge I often see is what people mean by “Jesus is Lord” or “the gospel.” Is the gospel John 3:16? Luke 4:18-19? I think it includes both but even the two combined don’t capture “the good news.” Mark 1:14-15 is the idea that resonates with me, “the kingdom of God has come near.” The imagery of king and kingdom seems a more all encompassing expression of “the gospel” to me.

    So I guess the ambivalence I have is that I can agree that “Jesus is Lord” and “gospel” are things that can serve as unifiers, but it is precisely in trying to articulate what they main and how they move us to action that brings such division. I don’t have any great solution. I’m just saying that finding our unity often feels a bit like nailing jello to a wall.

    BTW, did you see David Brooks piece “How Movements Recover”? He deals with some similar issues:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/15/opinion/brooks-how-movements-recover.html?_r=0

  • RobH

    I think one sign of unity is that we’re all here dialoguing on a blog that has a known semi-orthodox, quasi-evangelical bent. :-) It is likely that we differ in our views on things like hell, open theism, which scriptural narratives are literal (or “how literal” they are), yet we presumably share enough of a shared interest and affinity that we’re prepared to dialogue here with some presumption that we are all believers. That in itself is an indication that there is a common core and that Jesus is Lord means something similar (if not identical) to all of us. I think we easily find our way into false dichotomies where unless we can find some set of crystal-clear assertions that we all endorse, we are awash in total relativism and tribalism.

  • Shannon

    I apologize in advance- who would want intellectual uniformity! I believe what you mean, and I am sorry again if I am assuming, but that we are not supportive of and respectful to our fellow Christian’s affirmation. Am I correct? The beauty of humanity, and how God intended us, is that we can make or own choices. How boring if we were all the same.
    The problem here, Ed, is that we try to force our beliefs on others, who, for all intents and purposes, believe the same thing, more or less. THIS is what is a mess, not the fact that we are not uniform!
    There is no doom in all this, it’s actually quite beautiful. If you look at life as a debate, trying to win or make a point, verse dialogue, sharing views and being relational, then yes we are doomed. But if we dialogue and respect another’s unique self, then as I said, it is quite beautiful.
    Check out this scripture – unity through one God, one Father, one Spirit.
    As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6 NIV)
    We are not to be united in every single thought, yuck! But united in and by our Father!
    I wrote a poem, this Sunday Called Divided or One, its on my blog. Two lines I’d like to share:

    Does it really matter who’s interceding on our part?
    Christ, or priest, or saint? I timidly say, “I think not.”

    If we are all seeking truth and are walking with The Lord,
    Then these minute discrepancies, my friend, we cannot afford.

    I apologize for my leniency with my fellow brothers & sisters in Christ, but I believe it is what we are called to.
    And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:14 NIV)
    Unity is found in the heart, not the mind. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  • http://disorientedtheology.wordpress.com Paul A.

    There will be evangelicals who disagree on the definition of “evangelical.”
    Among those who agree on some basic definition like, “Those who believe in sharing the gospel,” there will be evangelicals who disagree on what the gospel even is.

    It seems to me we should just drop the label altogether.

  • AHH

    It seems like the message is that there are essentials where unity and even near-uniformity are desired and worth striving for (like “Jesus is Lord”), and nonessentials (even important things like sexual ethics) where expending major effort to force/convince others for uniformity is probably not a good use of our time.

    Yet the rub, as always, comes in deciding what goes into which category. If the author were writing in 1850, would he have written There are evangelicals who oppose slavery and those who think it is God-ordained.? But in hindsight, abolition was a good cause and the church eventually got to near-uniformity. I might put the abolition of treatment of women as second-class Christians in a similar category today (and others might nominate other issues).

    I don’t think I’m really disagreeing with the author overall — yes we need to move forward in pursuit of the Kingdom without obsessing about trying to achieve uniformity that may never arrive this side of the Eschaton, but many of these issues may be worth pursuing with vigor (if one does so constructively) along the way.

  • RobH

    AHH, I think I essentially agree with you. Note that, although Ed’s post may seem like a laundry list of different “types of people” who may identify themselves as semi-orthodox Christians, there are actually some pretty controversial implications. For example, Ed seems to be implicitly advocating a very wide-tent type of evangelicalism (or “moderately orthodox Protestantism,” if one prefers), such that he is prepared to say that one can be evangelical while affirming that a committed homosexual relationship is permissible. Likewise, he seems to suggest that one could deny the existence of hell and still be an evangelical. It is not my place to put words in Ed’s mouth, but these seem like reasonable inferences to make.

    This, of course, creates some interesting if not altogether paradoxical possibilities, viz. you can be a “true” evangelical if you are actively engaged in a homosexual relationship or if you actively engaged in opposition to gay marriage; if you preach hellfire and brimstone or if you deny the existence of hell. As a fuzzy set, it is, well, fuzzy.

  • RobH

    There is a larger issue that this raises, and it is: Does the church eventually end up adopting a more inclusive model, and how much is it possible/desirable for cultural/historical happenings to correct our understanding of Scripture?

    Theologians have this pet expression of “new light breaking forth from God’s word.” How do we know when we are moving toward greater maturity, wholeness, insight into the mind of Christ vs. just basically getting swept up in history and culture?

    When Webb wrote “Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals” about 10 years ago, the evangelical feminist movement had already gotten some traction, the slavery issue was obviously long settled, but the gay rights/ gay Christian issue was still-emerging issue. Webb’s work is very good, but given the time when it was published, one can’t help but feel that he was essentially rationalizing and ratifying what many left-moderate evangelicals (e.g., Christians for Biblical Equality) were already inclined to sympathize with anyway (as opposed to his work being an objective, bottom-up, let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may analysis).

    Likewise, many, many years ago, it was not unusual to believe that unbaptized infants would go to hell, that slavery or segregation was biblical, that literalism and strict inerrancy are accurate, that hell was literal eternal fire, that God most certainly knows all of the future (including our future free actions), that “those who have never heard” are just damned, etc. In all of these issues and others (women’s ordination, submission in marriage, universalism), there seems to be a gradual movement toward greater prevalence and permissiveness toward what I would call “warmer and fuzzier” views (more tolerant, more inclusive, less less deterministic, less literalist).

    I’m not saying that this trend is uniform and inexorable across all of these issues (clearly, some fronts are “farther along” than others); nor do I mean to imply that all evangelicals are jumping on all of these bandwagons. Still, for any given issue, there certainly seems to be a long-term trend toward a more liberal, permissive, inclusive, or agnostic viewpoint. For example, just as we (98+% of us, anyway) are now well beyond settled that slavery is not cool and dead infants are not in hell, is it not also the case that things like universalism, open theism, feminism, etc. are far closer to the mainstream of evangelicalism than they were just 15 years ago. Now “gay evangelicals” is the new emerging issue (we’ll see where that is in 15 years).

    I’m not calling this good or bad, but I think it’s a definite trend of trends in secular culture and liberal Protestantism serving as leading indicators (by about 15-20 years) of where evangelicalsm can be expected to arrive. If this is even 40% true, then is it a good or bad thing (or something else altogether)? Are we “selling out” or accommodating to cultural trends, or are we allowing God to teach us new things through, e.g., science, dialogue, biblical criticism, social activism, etc.? Are we twisting the bible to fit our personal intuitions and preferences, or is this a natural and healthy case of us allowing “reason,” “culture,” and “experience” to inform our theology in a Wesleyan quadrilateral kind of sense?

    Thorny stuff.

  • http://www.rethinkingao.com Mike Beidler

    Sorry, Ben (#1), but I completely disagree with you. Alas!

  • Andrew

    The greater inclusiveness/universalist strains are a byproduct of increased education, multiculturalism, and globalization and are inevitable. It’s easy to demonize the ‘other’ living an inclusive community insulated within itself. Much harder to believe a ‘non-believer is damned’ when you eat lunch everyday with a Muslim during your school lunch break and play with him/her during recess; much harder to contend that humans were created a few thousand years ago as we exist in the face of consistent evidence re: carbon dating and evolution; difficult to believe gay people are sinners doomed to hell when a family member comes out, or a long-time childhood friend.
    And despite what many contend Christianity has continually evolved a great deal throughout its 2000+ year history and will continue to evolve. What is generally regarded as modern Evangelicalism in the United States was a reactionary movement to modernism’s rise in the first few decades of the 20th century. It’s very insistence on biblical inerrancy and distrust of science was a byproduct of modernism and very much of its time.

    Now it’s in decline and it will change and evolve just like all of its fore-bearers. And like with all change, there will be further reactionary movements, albeit smaller ones, who deny it’s happening and develop a persecution complex (the disciples all warned about false prophets! The “world” should hate us! we have the “real” truth etc.). It’s all be done before. Everything old is new again. The only times there was any sort of unity of belief in Christian history was at the end of a sword, when those who espoused views away from the mainstream were burned as heretics.

  • norman

    I agree with Mike #17 in that I didn’t read this as fatalistic at all.
    It’s a reality check and that’s a good exercise to go through.

  • RobH

    Andrew, I more-or-less agree with what you’re saying, but it is a bit reductionist, and it still leaves us wondering “what is ‘true’ vs. what is fashionable or intuitively appealing?” There is a long tradition of sociologists and intellectuals who envision an ultimate march toward greater enlightenment ending in atheism. And there is some cross-sectional evidence that atheists are, on average, more intelligent than theists of various persuasions. I’m not saying that you are advocating atheism, but my point is merely that your line of argument seems to follow the standard reductionist social-psychological line of thought that views anything that is more inclusive or less dogmatic as the teleological endpoint of human moral-theological development. So, there is definitely a reductionist argument (mixed with a little myth-of-progress fairy dust) that explains all of the trends I observed as a gradual process of shedding our religious fairy tales and tribal dogmatism toward a more enlightened Western secular mindset. And surely that does account for a lot of what is going on, both in the last 25 years within evangelicalism and earlier on in other strands of Christianity.

    I suppose my question is, how do we interpret this progress/evolution theologically, as opposed to purely in psychologically or sociologically reductionist terms (?)

  • Larry Barber

    It’s useless to seek for unity through uniformity of believe, it’s just not gonna happen. At least among thinking, mature adults. I’m reminded of something, usually attributed to LBJ: “Whenever you see two people who agree on everything, you can be pretty sure that only one of them is doing the thinking”. We can’t even strive for uniformity on “essentials”, since we would first have to agree on what is essential.

    I think that the diversity of views of God is a treasure. Everyone’s view of God is inadequate, and, indeed, idolatrous. But if we can learn a little bit more about God from others, and their view of him, which, of course is also inadequate but maybe in different ways from ours, maybe our view can be become just a little bit less inadequate, a little bit less idolatrous. But first we must learn that perfect love that casts out fear, and this is hard.

  • http://jtarb.wordpress.com William Tarbush

    I agree. It’s a good reason for respect, but orthodoxy sets up certain requirements to be Christian. You won’t agree with Buddhists or Muslims. . . When do you see religions uniting because of disagreements? When is a difference just a difference and when does ecumenicalism between religions set in?

  • Tim Sexton

    The problem is not with evangelicals, per se. The problem is the Bible itself. It teaches all these things and more. Evangelicals don’t even agree on the most basic doctrines, including what the gospel is and exactly what response is required, yet they are all examining the same data set, supposedly with the same basic exegetical presuppositions. Same data, different conclusions, even on basic, fundamental doctrines. The problem is the data. It is simply…not…clear. If the true God of the unverse inspired this book, couldn’t he have communicated more clearly, especially if his own Son supposedly prayed for unity (John 17)?Pervasive Interpretive Pluralism strikes again. This post beautifully illustrates one of the main reasons I no longer consider myself a Christian.

  • RobH

    Tim, I have sympathies with your viewpoint, but I think you carry the Pervasive Interpretive Pluralism line too far. For example, I would say that one essential for evangelicals is a believe in Jesus’ literal bodily resurrection. Similarly, I would argue that the Scripture as a whole suggests that Jesus was in some sense both divine and human. The New Testament makes clear that something about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection effects a transformation in our relationship with God. The NT indicates that there is something called the Holy Spirit that carries on Jesus’ ministry in our lives and in the world. Finally, the NT seems consistent in suggesting that we are called to make a choice to commit our lives to learning about and following Jesus, engaging him in prayer and sacrament and community, and in sharing his love with others.

  • Eric

    The only way we’ll get uniformity is if we say & mean, “I’ll believe what you do”. Part of that “consider others better than yourselves” that – in Christ – we are empowered to do….

  • Andrew

    Tim: I think you are throwing out the baby with the bathwater but your point is understandable, especially if you grew up in an environment in which the Bible was put on a pedestal it doesn’t advocate or warrant.

    RobH: I’m not advocating atheism, and I don’t think all “progress” is good, but I find the evidence that increased tolerance of differences creating more peaceful and tranquil communities/society to be pretty overwhelming. New times produce new challenges and problems, but not too long ago we lived in a world where slavery was common, Kings were regarded as ordained by God, there was no such thing as “rules of war” like we have now, there wasn’t universal condemnation of genocidal acts etc. The horrors of the World Wars and increasing communication between cultures and peoples has unveiled that humans can grow up in very different circumstances but in the end we all are creatures of God who want the necessities of life and basic love and affection from one another. Sounds corny but it’s true.

    Much is made of conflict between secular humanism and Enlightenment ideals vs Christianity, but I see them often playing for the same team but simply wearing different colors (Enlightenment thinkers were almost all Christian and infused their writings with Christian thought, albeit what would be deemed “liberal” Christianity by some). Jesus’s preaching, IMO, was much more about actions and interactions with others than any declaration of faith. Does that mean I think faith or being a Christian is irrelevant? Not at all. But to lament about the decline of organized Christendom/less people identifying as Christian to me misses the point. The point is to follow Jesus’s all to action. If we do that, and not many of us do fully (I certainly do not to the extent I should or can), I believe our own faith and the faith of others naturally follows.

  • Jake

    Should I agree with this or…

  • Tim Sexton

    Rob H: Suppose we accept the “canon within the canon” you’ve just articulated: Jesus is somehow God and human, was bodily resurrected, “something about Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection transforms our relationship with God,” the Holy Spirit continues His ministry in some way, and “commit our lives to learning about and following Jesus, engaging him in prayer and sacrament and community, and in sharing his love with others.” Do you think there is uniformity of interpretation on these basic doctrines/practices? Of course not. The details of all of these items are debated within the Christian community, and the debate matters! The debate itself says something about the Source from which the debates arise: the Bible. You have your canon within the canon, but I’m sure every reader of this blog has their’s, too, and it would look a little (and maybe a lot) different than yours. The Bible itself doesn’t give us information on how to interpret it. I’m trying to be honest with myself. Why did I give the Bible so much slack for so long? It was because I already believed it, so I had to defend it. Now that I’ve seen reasons to doubt the Bible, it becomes clear that the Bible is human book with various opinions on various issues from various authos.

    Andrew: I definitely grew up in a way that gave the Bible a “pedestal,” but whether the Bible itself “doesn’t advocate or warrant” this position is one of the very issues that is debated within Biblical interpretation! My question for you and for the Christian Smiths of the world is: how does a Christocentric hermeneutic work, anyway (or how does your interpretive scheme, whatever it is) work in the real world? If you have an “authoritative” book that isn’t clear on it’s teachings, doesn’t Christianity just boil down to every person’s subjective opinion on which Bible passages apply to them or which “leadings of the Holy Spirit” apply to them or which parts of Jesus’ life and teaching to emulate? Doesn’t that just boil down to pervasive interpretive pluralism, too?

  • Andrew

    Tim, to put a long story short, I think following the ethics and example of Jesus ultimately leads to a better world. Studies have shown that in tough times, the survivors are the ones who aren’t selfish, who give to others, and who believe and strive for something greater beyond themselves. Christianity also values the inherent worth of each individual. Our modern focus on the inherent worth of each individual (human rights) is very much a product of the Christian tradition begun by early Church Fathers who argued that individuals had a God-given right of choice of belief (during the times of the Roman Empire) While this argument weakened severely as Christianity became the religion of authority and a tool of power in the ensuing centuries, it never really became extinct and resurfaced among the Enlightenment thinkers. The other major religions have bits and pieces but don’t follow this formula in total; thus I choose the Christian path.. I believe being a Christian means following that way of thinking and lifestyle (service to others, inherent worth in creation), whether someone confesses themself a Christian or not.

    In terms of the Bible, I see being a Christian as following the example of Jesus, and the Gospels are our only source of his teachings and life, so they are definitely important. But I don’t view the Bible as authoritative in the sense that God somehow hypnotized the writers and through Divine will ensured that it came out in some special way. But I think studying the Gospels and the historical climate and time period in which they arose, one can come away with a basic sense of what his message was, whether historically he literally spoke certain passages (which people debate to death) or not.

  • RobH

    Tim, no time to engage now, but suffice to say that I certainly do recognize a “canon within the canon.” That’s a pejorative expression that gets tossed around, but I’ll embrace it proudly. Who in Christendom honestly feels that Haggai, or Numbers, or Jude is on par with Romans or Matthew in its interpretive primacy? The “canon within the canon” amounts to hermeneutical principles, like “The OT should be interpreted in light of the NT, with latter taking precedence.”

  • RobH

    Andrew, I’m down with at least 80-90% of what you say. I also agree that Christians in general have done a lot of false dichotomizing and straw man-ing when it comes to their fear of “enlightenment rationalism” and “postmodernism.” These are false bogey-men that actually have much that is constructive and corrective to offer.

  • RobH

    I do feel that belief in a literal resurrection and something like divinity for Jesus is pretty critical to being considered a bona fide, quasi-Orthodox Christian. A person who denies that is somewhat that I would consider to be not a Christian. It is a free country, and one can call themselves Christian and attend a Christian church, etc., but I suppose I do regard those as bare minimum for being in the tent. Whether such a person can or will be saved gets into murkier waters about inevitable or hopeful universalism. So, I’m not saying that a person is most assuredly damned, I’m just saying that I don’t consider someone who thinks Jesus was just a cool, wise, holy man and goes to church to be a Christian. It’s a start though :)

  • RobH

    Tim, I think there are evangelicals who would affirm everything you’ve said. Kenton Sparks does this in “Sacred Word, Broken Word” and his previous book. I will be the first to admit that there are a sufficent number of “difficulties” (tensions, contadictory voices, disjunctions from NT to OT, tensions within the NT, horrible acts presumably attributed to God, diverse renderings of the same events, etc.) to rule out a naive innerancy and/or mechanical dictation theory of scripture. Further, there are all kinds of side issue and bunny trails. When did that book enter the canon? Who said it should be in the canon? Did some people disagree that it belonged in the canon? If the Bible is truly the Word of God then there would have been immediate, universal assent as to precisely which books are in or out. And on and on.

    I can certainly see where a non-believer or skeptic, can say, “Ha, look at all of this, this is clearly just a bunch of books written by men and then compiled by other men.” I agree, it is a book written by men. Just like communion is just bread and wine. But I believe it transcends this by its participation in Jesus. What makes the Bible holy is that it is generally accepted as some of the earliest and must trustworthy testimony about Jesus, whom for varying reasons one either does or does not believe was resurrected and is divine and is holy. The fact that it has not uniformly produced model behavior or shared agreement at all times does not change that.

    There are many Christians both within and across congregation and denominations (to include statements and collaborative efforts across the Protestant-Catholic-Evangelical divide) who are able to worship and/or find common cause or shared doctrinal affirmations. I think these people would say, “Hey, I love Jesus and believe he is divine and is risen in a literal sense.” I know for a fact that many Christians across lines can affirm this together in love and that it fuels their lives.

    Your basic assumption seems to be that the bible cannot be silent, or ambiguous, or seemingly ambivalent (or, hell, contradictory) about something and also be inspired, holy, and efficacious in conveying power and information about Jesus. That it quite literally must compel universal assent-agreement on some privileged package of assertions or practices of your choosing. I reject that assumption. Tell me if I’m misunderstanding it.

    I think there is uniformity among Christians that Jesus was resurrected. This is a question of semantics, because I view those who deny the resurrection and call themselves Christians as by definition not truly being Christians. Does this prove your point? No. It just proves that people disagree and that there is no law against any given person saying, “I’m a [label] but I believe this.” I could tell you I’m a Mormon who actually believes Joseph Smith and Moses are alien goats. By become the first Mormon to assert this, have I repudiated any faith? No, I just happen to be wrong, crazy, creative, etc.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X