In part 1, I talked about how skeptics and atheists often complain when I (or another apologist) make the comment that such-and-so Christian is wrong. The skeptic usually says it means I have found “True Christianity™” and every other Christian who disagrees is going to go to hell.
Not so. And there’s no such thing as True Christianity™.
In part 2, I discussed degrees of wrong, using a traffic light as a guide. Green light is 99% of Christianity; just denominations hashing out some differences of procedure. Yellow light redefines core doctrines. Red light denies core doctrines and is strongly associated with a central figure who receives his own divine revelations.
Paul talks about agreeing to disagree, to welcome everyone and to not make the work of God void over what we should eat and drink. So can we ever fight for the faith?
In green light situations, there is no reason to fight. My own denomination is the United States branch of a German group, so it isn’t its own denomination proper. However, we’ve split twice in the last 30 years. In the mid-80s, Grace College and Ashland College split over the classic Calvinism (Ashland) versus Arminianism (Grace) battle. In the early 90s, a Grace professor split over who to welcome into churches.
These aren’t worthwhile fights, but I know they happen anyway and will continue to happen until Christ returns. We should just let these green light situations be, and live as peaceably as possible with them as it depends on us.
Yellow light and red light situations are totally different.
In the case of Ergun Caner, an example of a yellow light situation, it kills me to see Christians not care that he lied about his background to win Muslims to Christ. All these Christians care about is that Caner won them. What does that say about their moral character if they are willing to excuse (I can’t believe I’m about to use this derided expression) lying for Jesus?
The ends do not justify the means. I know that God has called Christians to a higher standard than that. Which means that we should win people with the truth to the Way, the Truth, and the Life. And when we see lying like this, we should repudiate it and the supporters of it (I’m looking at you, Norm Geisler).
A bona fide red light situation, such as Harold Camping’s Family Radio, should be addressed expeditiously. Today, October 21, is allegedly the end of the world according to Harold Camping. Yet I’m here to write this and I presume someone is reading this.
Camping and his Family Radio movement deny the presence of the Holy Spirit within the universal church and have fixed today somewhat arbitrarily as the end of the world. That, together with the strong association with Camping, gives this the earmarks of heresy outlined in my previous post.
This error needs to be addressed, and Camping called to repentance. (I already did back in May.)
I hope that this series of posts have cleared up what True Christianity™ is, and is not. God has promised to preserve his church on earth, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. So whether we identify as Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Reformed Baptist, Grace Brethren, or Anglican, we should welcome each other with open arms in our churches and celebrate our differences rather than be divided by them.
When redefinition occurs, we should point it out.
When denial occurs, we should repudiate it.
Above all, we should join with Jesus in prayer that we be one, as he and the Father are One.