harmoniously dissident orthodoxy

28 Mar

Just one quick thought I’m wrestling with until I post more.

People stand on different sides of the aisle with multiple theological issues.  One thought, of many that bounce around in my crazy head, is that it puzzles me how in the Christian Community we can be so divided on some sticky issues and believe that there is no merit or plausibility contained on the opposite side of a particular belief.  Sometimes we are divided so much as to disqualify people with differing opinions from leadership positions – which at times can be justified if an institution desires their leaders to all be of the same mindset without dissonance.  This has recently occurred at the church I’m going to, but I’m also speaking about this in big picture terms of other incidents in the church at large.  I spoke with a good friend about this on Thursday and what follows is basically what I shared with him.

To give a topical example:  currently I’m considering the merits of exclusivism and inclusivism.  I know of compelling ‘arguments’ on both sides for and against exclusivism and inclusivism.  What strikes me as confoundingly intriguing is how stalwarts of the faith are found on both sides of this aisle but mainstream denominations (‘denominations’ is a topic for another day, or maybe ‘denominations’ isn’t even worth belaboring) have decided that to belong to their denomination or church you can not hold an opposing view without repercussions.  C.S. Lewis denotes his support of inclusivism in, “The Last Battle” (Chronicles of Narnia) when Tash, a servant of a false God, stood before Aslan (Christ) and was shown mercy and thus given salvation.  I have belonged to churches where Lewis would not be allowed to teach or preach because of his endorsement of inclusivism.  Again, C.S. Lewis, a stalwart of the protestant faith, who has brought infinite, well, probably finite, but at least not easily calculated, glory to God, would not be allowed to teach.   That’s hard to understand.  While I might understand a church’s reason in that it’s reasoning is according to certain bylaws and such I still cringe at the thought of disqualifying someone’s eligibility because of such standards; especially someone such as C.S. Lewis!

To me, it seems as if some in the opposing camps are saying that their ideology is right and the other ideology is wrong (and vice versa) and that the two ideologies can never be harmonious (logically such stream of thought could be consistent).  It also seems that some people are saying that if you hold the opposing ideology as part of your theology we might not see you in Heaven partaking in some quality Schlafly pale ale alongside us.   Taking a holistic view of mine, theologically, such a hardline thought does not jive with me.  If I were to hold to such a thought it grieves me to think C.S. Lewis will not be in Heaven with me partaking in a pint or two; or if I’m in the other camp it grieves me as well to think that Ronald Nash will not be in Heaven.

I’m not sure if all that make sense in writing, but it makes sense to me.  If it doesn’t make sense feel free to comment and we can discuss this.  Or we can discuss this over a pint or two – which is my preferred method.

So as I sit here and wrestle with this thought I will leave you with a couple quotes which help me in my search to find a harmoniously dissident orthodoxy.

“I am the man who with utmost daring discovered what had been discovered before…I did, like all other solemn little boys, try to be in advance of the age…Like them I tried to be some ten minutes in advance of the truth.  And I found that I was eighteen hundred years behind it…When I fancied that I stood alone I was really in the ridiculous position of being backed up by all Christendom…I did try to found a heresy of my own; and when I had put the last touches to it, I discovered it was orthodoxy.”

– G. K. Chesterton, “Orthodoxy”

“Sometimes, honestly, I’ve felt like giving up and walking away in search of fresher healthier air.  But there’s something here that I love and can’t stop loving, and that something is actually Someone.”

– Brian McLaren, “A Generous Orthodoxy”.

Last night I enjoyed a Davidoff ‘bullet’ cigar. I forget the specific name of it, but it was a nice smooth 30 minute smoke.  Perfect for having while grilling without having to dedicate 1 hour of smoke time.


Posted by on March 28, 2009 in Uncategorized


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2 responses to “harmoniously dissident orthodoxy

  1. taddelay

    March 28, 2009 at 17:04

    I love that quote by Chesterton. I resonate with it because I’ve often been in that place where an honest question leads you to take a position which i may have previously boxed in a “liberal” or “unorthodox.” But a bit more digging so often reveals that the Church has wandered so far from its founding days that a belief now regarded as heterodox may be the most orthodox of any.

    I once heard Rob Bell mention, when asked how he responds to those critical of his theology: “I’m not aware of anything I’ve ever said that is outside of the ancient, deep stream of Christian orthodoxy. I think much of my critics are instead just showing that they are not aware of the full spectrum of Christian orthodoxy.”

    It can be tragic that there is so much division over such things. That’s a crazy thought that CS Lewis would be considered too heretical by many today to teach. I think McLaren joked about that in “A New Kind of Christian,” where he commented that, while people love to read CS Lewis in their homes, they would never allow his views taught from the pulpit.

    so when are we grabbing a beer again?

  2. Kimberly

    March 31, 2009 at 14:41

    Coming from a Southern Baptist background, I have a lot of friends who are Calvinists. I am not. Since I don’t see those friends very often, most of the Calvinist voices I hear are from online communities, and most of those people think I can’t rightly call myself a Christian because I have a different perspective on such “biblical” concepts as TULIP and the “Solas”. So then I find myself discussing Calvinism, and instead of thinking about my my friends I think about those people who think I’m going to hell… and I pretty much end up sounding just as divisive.

    A dear friend of mine wrote an article a few years ago that challenged, “If we find ourselves agreeing with everyone we spend time with, it might be time we broadened our social circles a bit. ” I’m striving to do this more, not just outside of the faith (which I find easy to do) but within the diversity of Christian voices.


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