Tim Challies, Matt Walsh, Owen Strachan: can we discern our essential unity?

"Exclusion Inclusion" (cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward) This last week has been slightly disturbing because of three different thinkers: Tim Challies combs through Christian roots to rake out all false teachers. Who will survive? Matt Walsh continues his hateful diatribes against all things not ultra conservative. Who can stand? Owen Strachan labels Rachel Held Evans' God as female reflections heresy. Who is immune? I am all for disagreement and dialog in what we interpret as truth. But I claim we should approach this with the presumption that we are one. Rather, what we are seeing in increasing measure is that the debate is being approached with the assumption that we are divided. In an attempt to refine the faith, we actually define boundaries and are making their camps more and more exclusive. Again, it comes down to hermeneutics... how the bible is interpreted. Challies minces no words:
"At the heart of mysticism is the primacy of experience over Scripture. Mystics seek to experience God directly rather than through the mediation of the Bible. Scripture demands for itself a unique place in the Christian life and church and mysticism threatens to supplant it. One of the great challenges before every Christian and every generation of Christians is this: Will the Bible be enough? Will we affirm the sufficiency of Scripture—that the Bible is all we need for life and doctrine—or will we demand that God reveal himself to us in other ways, such as mystical raptures?"
This articulates the edge of the sword that attempts to separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the chaff, the true believer from the false. As this endeavor becomes more and more focused, there will be less and less included. I already know I won't make the cut. And if you're reading this, you probably won't either. Perhaps there will literally only be 144,000 saints who make it (Revelation 7). But that's beginning to sound like a lot! Martin Luther King Jr. wrote about an experience he had in seminary where the shackles of fundamentalism fell from his mind. In contrast, what we are seeing today is the increasing arrest, incarceration, and confinement of theology. And, as baffling as it may be, it's increasing in popularity as well. A lot of theology today appears to be marginalizing and pushing people out. However, I believe it is possible to behave as if we are all a part of one family, as dysfunctional as it may be, and treat our theological endeavors as attempts to make our family less dysfunctional and more healthy for the benefit of all.
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