I have a stack of email that I have neither the time nor the interest to answer individually so I’m going to do so here with some oft repeated inquiries.
The first FAQ concerns my own Christian beliefs and tradition…what tribe do I belong to and what do I believe?
I started off life in the Assemblies of God, moved to the Nazarene tradition, left it all for a season, went back to the AoG, went to Calvary Chapel, got ripped into pieces, discovered Calvinism and embraced it, learned to hold that loosely as well, and today I am an independent pastor who has realized that this is a process…a life long process of discovering God.
I don’t believe that I’m ever going to “arrive” at a place where the label fits perfectly.
I’m good with that.
Labels demand that you never grow outside the confines of a tradition and loathe both mystery and nuance…and the older I get, the mysteries I see and the more delicate the nuances become.
If you must, I’m theologically conservative, Calvinist leaning, premill, pre-wrath and still studying it all.
I trust in Christ.
This leads to the second FAQ…why do you allow heretics like “universalists” to post on your blog?
My definition of a “Christian” is really basic and boils down to the essential Gospel or “kerygma”.
If you believe that Christ came, died for your sins, rose from the dead, ascended to the Father, and will return someday to judge the quick and the dead, you’re in.
That leaves a ton of room for some really good or really not so good doctrine to fill in the voids.
However, as I’ve stated already, this is a process.
Because someone is walking in “error” today, doesn’t mean that their discovery process is over.
My job is to provide a place and provide resources where people can safely think through the next steps and hopefully arrive at “orthodoxy”.
The third FAQ concerns why a “Calvinist” would affirm folks that are Eastern Orthodox or affirm “Roman Catholic” authors or speakers.
Because some of them are far better “Christians” than I am. All ‘truth” is God’s truth and I’ll find it where I can.
What do you believe about the Bible?
I believe it’s true.
Why do you mock online discernment ministries? Don’t you believe in the Rapture?
I mock them because nowhere in Scripture do I see the command to rip your brothers and sisters to shreds, the more as you see the Day grow closer.
I find them to be divisive, unloving, and theologically inept.
I believe the “Rapture” and the Second Coming are the same event.
Are you “emergent”?
I don’t even know what the hell that means and I don’t think you do either.
“Emergent’ is now the catch all curse word for “different than me”.
Why do you think you’re so smart?
I don’t…I’m painfully aware of my ignorance and that’s why I committed to being a life long student many years ago.
Why do you put up with (fill in the blank)?
Because Christ puts up with me.
Because I recognize that this is a process, a journey, if you must.
Because people that are challenging the faith are usually folks who have been put through some sort of triggering crisis that precipitated it.
“a bruised reed he will not break, and a faintly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice.”
(Isaiah 42:3 ESV)