I had the chance to meet with my academic adviser, Dr. Dale Coulter, while in Virginia Beach this week. We were trying to iron out the remainder of my program at Regent. He was trying to help me understand where I fit within Christ’s larger family and realize the blessing of my pedigree. My historical context often leaves me swooning. Follow the time-line:
- Saved at 4 in a KJV-only fundamental church
- Raised in a Seventh-Day”esque”, Old Testament congregation
- Attended a Conservative/ Reformed college
- Trained and ordained by a Holiness denomination
- Pastored in Brethren, Holiness, and Non-denominational/ Baptist churches
- Graduate work at both Baptist and Pentecostal seminaries
I have paddled up many of the theological tributaries in the great river of Christian faith. And, as a history “student” tracked God’s working over the diverse landscape of time. I have covered a lot of ground and here is the result.
I find few things worth holding in a tight fist- theological things, hills to die on. (This often comes at the consternation of fellow church-attenders who have a great deal more “convictions” and feel the pastor should feel as the feel!) I have seen and studied too many Christian leaders, movements, splits, and reformations that chose to hold onto ideas over holding onto people. I have convictions, things that are important to me, and you need to have convictions. Never hold them and present them in a way that repel others. Keep your hands open as much as possible and as long as you can. Only fight over ideas if you can do so without abusing people’s journey towards God. If people trip and leave let it be over the gospel, (which is an incredibly narrow set of tenants, ala I Cor 15:3-4).
Make every effort to do what leads to peace…do not destroy the work of God over (issues)…whatever you believe about these (issues) keep between yourself and God. – Apostle Paul (Romans 14:19-22)