Every so often I get an email from someone who has been reading this blog and hates it.
So they send me an email to tell me how wrong I am and how I should just do everyone a favor and stop blogging.
Here is one such email I got last week:
I’ve looked through your site and on the one hand appreciate some solid material but then I’m puzzled how you call all of it into question by stating you are NOT sure what you believe concerning some fairly basic and clear theological positions. While that may feel open minded and courageous in the today’s environment of wishy-washy watered down Christianity, the things which you cast doubt on totally undermine those things you say are true. In fact, while you give what amounts to a weak nod to a few “Jesus” things, the overall message is clear: you don’t know what you believe yet you profess to be a Christian teacher/author, a teacher of the very Bible you claim to not grasp.
You say the things about Jesus are true, but clear doctrines found in the Book His Father gave us are still in question. It’s not a matter of interpretation… the foundational tenets of the faith are clear, concise and easily understood. You do yourself and your readers a disservice by casting doubt on them in a day and age of deception when clear and confident Shepherds are needed to guide lost and confused sheep.
By writing and teaching publicly, you declare yourself a representative of God’s Word and teacher, and as such will be held to a much greater standard by God, accountable for every word you write, every person you influence. I would beg you to reconsider your “I’m not sure what is true” approach. It doesn’t build faith, it cracks it. You are questioning things that are abundantly clear in Scripture. What you are doing is casting doubt on the entire Bible in front of a world that rejoices when some Christian teacher “courageously admits” that God’s Word can’t be plainly interpreted.
You are proclaiming your doubt about pretty clear doctrines, but that’s between you and God. The only counsel I have for you is that you might considering not teaching because God holds you accountable for whatever you teach, whatever doubt you cultivate in other Believers.
If you aren’t sure what you believe, why would you try to teach? A Shepherd is not a shepherd if they are not sure about tending the flock.
There is no reason for anything clear in Scripture not to be clear to anyone. The reason they are clear, is because they are clear. God didn’t write a mystery we cannot discern, or words that can be interpreted (with honesty) in just any old way.
There is not a doctrine you stated on your page that you doubt that is not communicated and written in clear and unambiguous language in the Bible. Don’t let the world, politics, academics or skeptics steal the simple truth from you. Life is too short to live in doubt when God did His part by making sure His word was preserved clear and true for us to know.
This is actually one of the more gracious emails I have received. Usually the emails have more name-calling, Scripture quotations about apostasy and hell, and WRITING IN ALL CAPS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS TO GET THEIR POINT ACROSS TO ME!!!!!!!! Thankfully, this email had none of that. I will give this man credit. He showed more grace than many of the emails I get, and didn’t call me any derogatory names.
But to be honest, one of the reasons I blog is because of people like this.
No, I don’t expect them to read this blog, or to be persuaded by anything I write.
But when most people think of “Christians” they think of people who insist that everybody else believe and behave exactly like they do, and not ask any questions or express any doubts. And while this kind of Christianity is comforting to some, it turns most people off.
Furthermore, I don’t think this kind of Christianity accurately reflects the love, grace, and acceptance we see in Jesus Christ. This kind of Christianity does not look like Jesus.
So one of the reasons I blog is because I want to show people that there is another way to follow Jesus.
I do have firm beliefs. I hold to essential doctrines. But I am not afraid to let people ask hard questions, or to ask them myself. I do not run from doubt.
I am open to the fact that there are many areas where I am wrong. It is not that I might be wrong, but that I am wrong. And the only way to discover those areas where I am wrong, is to express my beliefs to others, and let others ask hard questions and even challenge my beliefs.
This is an open, loving, interactive, communal, humble Christianity, which reflects the life of Jesus Christ, and which invites other people to join in, whatever background, beliefs, or behavior they might have. This is the kind of Christianity I have, and the kind of Christianity I try to exemplify on this blog. I might fail at it sometimes, but that is all part of the journey as well…
When you run into Christians like this who insist that you should either agree with them or sit down and shut up, what is your response? How should we interact with other Christians who are like this? Is meaningful interaction possible, or just a waste of time?