FAITH INSPIRATION, Reviews

The “Missing Link” In The Calvinist-vs-Arminian Debate

The book, “God’s Will and God’s Desire” tackles the problems in the Calvinist-vs-Arminian debate with a distinctly different approach.

The “Calvinist vs Arminian debate” has raged for millenia now. I’m not sure that many people will change their minds once they’ve dug in on a position on the whole thing. The issues are complex and people are passionate on both sides of the debate.

God’s Will and God’s Desire” is a book with a somewhat unique twist on the issue.

The target audience is the “reluctant Calvinist….”

But the person I have on my heart when I write—my target audience, I suppose—is the person I would define as “the reluctant Calvinist.” He is the Christian who recognizes that lost men do not seek God and that he came to faith in Christ because God first did a transforming work in his heart. Yet he struggles with the fact that the sovereign God of the Bible seems to desire that all mankind should come to faith in Jesus Christ, and yet chooses in His sovereignty to save only some. He reads in the Bible that the ones God chooses, He chose from before the foundation of the world. And so, though he prays for the lost to be saved, he is left wondering whether it really makes a difference in the end.

Yeah, I know. Many of you have heard it all before.

From my experience in discussing these issues with people, I all-too-often get the feeling from many a Calvinist that it’s quite frankly not our business to worry about that. God’s got it. Some almost seem to PRIDE themselves in the fact that it’s just “God’s choice.”

But when you throw the idea out there that if God is choosing some, he is, effectively, choosing to “not choose” others, the Calvinist gets right royally ticked off with you. “God isn’t condemning them. They were condemned already.

To most people, that’s a shell game. It sort of feels like Hillary Clinton regarding the whole Benghazi debacle, where she said, in response to the pinning of blame for what happened, said, “at this point, what difference does it make?

The arguments feel tired and worn. And it seems to deliberately miss the problem. It’s a hard point of contention for the Arminian. From the book:

It is hard for the Arminian to embrace the Calvinist’s God. He is a God who is passionate enough about redeeming the elect that He sets aside His rights as deity and takes on the constraints of human flesh. He then allows His own creatures to torture Him and bleed Him to death on a cross. And from God’s view, He allows it for no other reason than to appease His own wrath toward a mankind whose very nature is so hostile to His that they killed Him when they had the chance. And yet this same Calvinist God who “spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” and who is now is willing, along with that, to “freely give us all things”—this same God who went to such great lengths of self-sacrifice to be able to bless His own so much—is the same God who decided in eternity past to do that only for some. The others He passes by, yet will hold them accountable for the acts that spring from a nature they are powerless to overcome. In the end, they will be in hell with the demons who fell from grace, and “the smoke of their torment [will rise] before the throne of God day and night, forever and ever” (Rev. 20:10).

If someone had two children, lavishing favor and blessing on one of them, but treating the other as though he were trash, that parent would be accused of being a monster. After all, a godly parent loves his or her children unconditionally. To do nothing less than to lavish unconditional love on all of them is what God expects a parent to do. Even if one child were to despise the parent while the other child was honoring and loving, the nature of a Christian parent is supposed to be one of displaying the love of Christ to that child with the evil heart, “if perhaps God may grant repentance” (2 Tim. 2:25). If the Calvinist is right, then God is the only one who can grant repentance. If He sovereignly saves someone, they will come. If He doesn’t, they will not because they cannot. How can someone see God as being so passionate toward some and cruel toward others, when He appears to expect something better from us?

For the Calvinist to merely shift the conversation away from this problem to say that our real focus should be on the fact that none of us deserve heaven, but God gives it to some of us anyway avoids the issue as far as the Arminian is concerned.

But the book also considers the hard realities of what the scriptures say about the true nature of a lost person – the “total depravity” aspect of the human condition.

It doesn’t steer away from it at all. It acknowledges the tension.

The difference is that “God’s Will and God’s Desire” proposes a distinctly different position on what (or who) it is that determines who will and who will not be saved.

The Calvinist says God determines who will be saved; the Arminian says that each lost person is responsible to choose. The book says “sort of wrong” on both counts.

The book says who will and who will not be “chosen” is determined not by God and not by the lost man choosing salvation, but by the church.

And man, does that idea seem to tick a lot of people right off.

But it’s a worthy position to consider and it is developed pretty thoroughly in the book.

The book covers the idea that this position isn’t really “new,” so much as “not documented much historically,” but seems to ring true to a lot of people somehow.

As more and more people read it, I began to realize that there were other Christians who saw it this way, too. They just never saw it presented in this fashion before. When people would read it, it sometimes helped them make sense of some of these difficult issues. Christians with strong Calvinistic leanings usually had a particular response, too. This was something distinctly different than they had ever heard before. Many told me that it gave them a serious reason to rethink their Calvinistic views. The feedback I usually got (from Calvinist and non-Calvinist alike) was that it was an important booklet and that it needed to be published.

It’s worth a read. It is available in PDF format. But you can read it here (at least for now) online. Please check it out. I truly think it’s different and worth some thought.

Please, I invite comments – if you’ve actually taken the time to read the book.

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Letters For My Sons

William: I see you.

I’m writing because I see you. Maybe not all of who you really are. Maybe I see my vision of you. But it’s where I start.

We don’t get as much time together as I’d like. In my perfect world, I would not have made as many mistakes as I did, and I’d be retired by now, and we’d have more time to spend together.

But we’re still both working for a living. And that’s the way it is.

But I think about you – a lot. And like any good dad, I confess I do worry about you sometimes. Maybe it means I’m not trusting God perfectly with all the ins and outs of your life. But I think it comes naturally.

Your grandfather said something to me a few years back, not long before he passed away, that stuck with me. He said, “you’ll worry about your kids until the day you die.”

It’s true. You guys are all grown now, getting married and having kids, and I still worry about what your futures will look like.

Your grandfather would always ask me about you guys – how you were doing, how you were earning a living, if you’d settled into any kind of a solid career yet. You used to drive a garbage disposal truck. He never saw much future in that.

I know that you didn’t either. And I always knew (as did everyone who knew you) that you had so much more potential than that.

But I always wondered how much you saw your potential.

I see you, and I see your potential.

It’s interesting to me that as you were growing up, if you’d asked your brothers, I think they would have all agreed that they thought you were my favourite. I don’t know if you knew that.

And I might be wrong about that. But it’s just that when they would make comments from time to time, it seems that was the consensus, as far as I could tell.

I don’t know that I ever had “favourites.”

Maybe I did. But I loved each one of you guys so much I never spent time comparing any of you in my head to see which one was my favourite. So if I did, I don’t know who it was.

But I know I was protective of you. I remember trips we took where your brothers would pick on you in the back seat of the van and it just got me enraged with anger. But I was angry over the situation.

You see, I hated it when any of you picked on any of the others. I loved all of you, and if any of you picked on one of your brothers, you were picking on someone I loved. And I hated that it was happening.

But now, that is all in the rear view mirror.

You guys all get along pretty good now. Compared to what I hear from other men my age, you guys are doing pretty good as a family. I’m happy that you all seem to care about each other and that you all get along.

But son, I see you. I see you and I’m proud.

I think the “normalness” of life can be overwhelming sometimes. You’re working a job you don’t exactly love, perhaps. But you’re doing it and you’re doing it WELL, in spite of the fact it maybe isn’t a dream job.

You’re doing it because it’s what a man does. He finds a way to provide for his wife and kids. You have responsibilities for those little critters – those grandchildren I love so much. And you’re doing it faithfully, and providing for your family. You and your wife both work hard and you’re going to make it. You’ll be alright.

Your uncle Dave once said, “there is no such thing as a perfect job. But there are jobs where there is enough about them to keep them interesting that it makes them good jobs, if you have to have a job.” And I think he nailed it for most people.

But my prayer for you is that you don’t find your identity merely in your job.

It’s natural for a guy to find his identity in what he “does.” But life gets stressful sometimes and if what you “do” doesn’t seem to scratch the itch about satisfying “who you are,” it’s maybe not such a bad thing.

Because, in the end, “who you are” really is about much more than just “what you do.”

I look back over my life – the stresses that came, the mistakes I have made, and I’ve seen how God has used the pain of what I’ve messed up to put me on my knees, seeking His face and learning about His faithfulness and His provision for me and for the ones I love.

The reality is that, at this age, I’ve come to see that God sees me for “who I am” in spite of what I’ve “done.”

God loves me because of who HE is, and not because of what I’ve done.

My prayer for you, son, is that you will ultimately find your identity in “being a king’s kid“: that you’ll let God draw near to you, in all the humdrum of life, in all the “less than perfect” of your life situation right now.

I pray that you’ll seek His face. Don’t mask any frustrations you have with any of the “less than perfectness” of your life with distractions. Avoid the attractions of youth and the momentary pleasures of those things that fall short of God’s best choices in your life.

TALK TO HIM about it and let Him meet you where you are. He can use the pain of any frustrations you might ever have with your life to draw you into His pleasure.

God sees you. He is pleased.

God is not finished with you. I see hope and a future for you.

You love your kids. They adore you. You and your wife are their whole world right now. You guys have a place to shine in their world. Draw near to the Lord and seek His face so you can shine life and hope for those little ones that God has entrusted to you.

You know what you believe about Him. Let Him show you how to believe Him – to trust Him so He can show Himself strong to you.

Always continue to find your ultimate meaning and purpose in Him. Draw near to Him. Make it your life aim to fall in love with Him over and over again.

Son, I love you bunches. I always have. I always will.

And I see you.

Don’t let the pressures of life distract you from all the potential you have to be a “King’s kid” with all of what the means for you and for Him.

Dad.

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Letters For My Sons

Michael: Do you still remember the turtle?

Michael;

Do you remember the day I picked you up after work and brought you home from your grandparents’ house?

Grandma had invited you to come up to their house and stay for the weekend. And on Monday, when I finished work, I drove up there to pick you up and bring you home.

And on the way home, we saw him crossing the road in front of us. It was a painted turtle, I think. He was about eight or nine inches long. He wasn’t moving particularly quick (as is usually the case with turtles) and I had to slow down and steer around him so as not to “prep” him to be turtle soup.

And in that moment, I thought, “inquisitive kid. Teachable moment. Let’s turn around.”

You’ve always been a curious one, with what always appeared to be a love for learning and a discipline to do it well.

When we stopped and got out of the van that day, you were watching the turtle. But I was watching you. I loved how you interacted with people and with things back then, and I loved to watch you – to see you growing and becoming your own little person. I loved that chance to let you see something new.

Sometimes you’ve surprised me with your lack of curiosity about things, too. I remember a day I took you and your brothers into an auto plant close to home to let you see the equipment in operation.

I opened the door into the plant from the office, letting you see some of my world – with the robots working feverishly and parts of cars going everywhere.

And again, I watched you. I watched all of you actually. But in that instance, I watched you probably more than the others. Because with your love for computers and science and stuff, I thought for sure it would be a hit.

Nah.

You had enough after about 15 seconds. Not your cup of tea. Considering that you’re a physicist now, doing cutting edge research, I thought it would have been more to your liking.

But that’s ok. You’ve done well enough for yourself now. And I’m proud of you for all the hard work you’ve done that has gotten you to where you are now.

My job, as your dad, was to give you a chance to see as many doors open wide to you as I could. But I’m not hurt that you “found your own doors.”

Our Heavenly Father has opened doors for you that you’ve walked through. I truly believe that. He has put people in your path that have taken you on a journey that I never could have done on my own. He does stuff so much better than we can.

Anyway, I’m surprised to see how much of a thrill I get when I watch all of you guys all out doing things that I couldn’t do or wouldn’t see myself doing.

But I guess a good dad always wants to lift his kids up on his shoulders so they can climb from there to new heights and eventually go where dad has never gone.

So maybe, by that measure, I’ve not done all that bad.

Son, I love you bunches. I always did. I always will. And I’m so proud of you and where God is taking you on this journey of life.

Love,

Dad

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Letters For My Sons

Wesley: Son, I still feel the same way.

For Wesley – because you asked.

Hello, Wesley.

It’s January 10th, 2020. And I don’t know if you remember this, but I’m certainly anticipating you will.

I just found this in my notes on my laptop. It’s a note I had written to you a little over three years ago. I think I will just copy and paste here.

Yeah. That’s as good a place as any to start.

Wesley;

You’re 25 years old now; but I remember when you were little like it was yesterday.

I’ve been thinking about some of those moments today. And the reason I’m thinking about them is because you sent me a text a while back; in that text, you said,

“I remember when were young, you were doing this thing where you wrote letters to us to read later in our lives. Are you still doing that?”

Son, you wrote that text to me a good six months ago now. It is frustrating sometimes how time flies when you’re grinding out life. One of the biggest regrets in my life is that I never followed through very well on writing those letters. I still have one I wrote to your brother (Michael) when he was little. Sometimes, when I’m sorting through all the paperwork I have in my cluttered office, I see that. And sometimes, when I do, I cry.

You see, in all the busyness of life, in working, in trying to juggle all the balls in the air, and in trying to find my “place” and my identity in this world, writing those letters has always been one of those things I was “going to get to.”

But I realize that this is one of the best things I can do with what remains of my days on this earth before I go home someday to be with our heavenly father. If I can say this in a way that doesn’t sound selfish, I want to impact you in a way that you will miss me when I’m gone; at least just a little.

I also hope our relationship will always be healthy enough that you’ll not mourn too long when I go. A little is good. But just a little.

The main thing is that I want to be the kind of father to you that is worth being missed.

And so I want to embark here on a journey of writing to you guys about my thoughts about you, my dreams for you, all the things that keep me up sometimes at night asking our heavenly Father to fix and to bless and to carry you guys on to your ultimate goal in life – becoming men who seek hard after God’s heart.

I might send some of these to you when I write them; others, I might just park in a book for when I’m gone someday and your children are maybe missing me too – always in a good way, and never without hope that we will see each other again.

Son, you have no idea how much it hit me that you remembered the letters I said I was going to write to you. I had no idea that would be so significant to you that you would even recall my intentions to do so.

So I want this to be the first of many. Feel free to check up on me from time to time to see if I’m keeping up with it. If it’s important to you, I want it to be important to me.

I love you son. With all my heart I love you.

Thanks for asking.

Dad


It’s funny, son, that I just realized as I copied and pasted this note from over three years ago, that part of the problem for me has always been getting these things down without getting distracted by the tears that come. 

Young man, you’re pushing 30 soon. And I still remember when you were little like it was yesterday. And I still feel the same way. I love you bunches. I always did. I always will.

Love,

Dad

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SEX LOVE MARRIAGE, Thoughts

Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage and Ministry

If you’ve made it to this post, there is a good chance you got here by way of a blog I used to do a long time ago over at BlogSpot.com, where I dealt with the theological pretzel of marriage, divorce and remarriage. I was dealing specifically with the topic of “remarriage as a state of perpetual adultery that needed to be repented of.” The problem is, it’s been so long ago since I was even over there that I can’t even remember how to log into the account to do updates or to redirect over to here any more. But the blog was called

Knowing His Ways.

I started the blog because I was wanting to work through my concerns about my marital status at the time and how to make sure I was walking in the path that God wanted most for me to follow.

I was divorced and remarried, and was struggling with the theological position that said I was living in a “perpetual state of adultery” and that I needed to repent of that by divorcing from this “adulterous marriage” and to try to restore the marriage with my original spouse.

You, too, might even be struggling with a concern that must end your current marriage and return to your previous spouse.

If you’ve found your way here from that other blog (knowinghisways.blogspot.com) then you’ve gotten to the same guy.

I keep a pretty low profile on here about who I am. But if you got here from there, I want you to rest assured that I’m working on this for you – as a resource for how to sort through the theological issues to understand God’s heart in the matter.

Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage and Ministry: My Views Have Changed.

And that is a good thing. God has shown me a freedom to move forward an I am since remarried, happily, and knowing that God put it together.

The short answer: God loves you.

God’s intention was never to leave you feeling condemned. There are answers. And due to the fact that this old web site keeps getting hits and keeps getting people posting comments over there with burning questions about this issue, I realized that maybe I need to address the issue.

That is what this will be about. But it will take a while.

In the meantime, if you need to contact me or have questions, feel free to reach out:

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Hillsong Church Doctrinal Problems
FAITH INSPIRATION, Thoughts

Is Hillsong Church New Age?

I’ve gotten so tired of the polarities in the body of Christ. God seems to have enough patience for all of us (including a lot of folks I honestly maybe wouldn’t like). And truth be known, the whole “Hillsong Church is new age” mantra feels so tired and worn.

Let me clarify. I do understand why some take issue with the doctrines of Hillsong Church. It’s just that saying they are “new age” is going way to far.

And I’m not talking about their other potential issues here.

There is a WHOLE LOT going on right now that regards Hillsong. I want to be careful not to defend things that should not be defended.

Polarities that arise over doctrinal differences in the body of Christ are inevitable. The issues are complex. We all bring different presuppositions and experiences to how we try to make sense of what is true and false doctrinally.

Hillsong is like any other church in this regard: doctrinal positions they take tend to be rather polarizing. But it isn’t really the “doctrinal polarization” that I’m concerned about.

My concern is more with the polarizing attitudes in the body of Christ that cause so many to shout “antichrist” about so many other believers who have nothing but good intentions and might just be a little misinformed.

Please understand: Hillsong “Theology Problems” bug me, too.

But If you’re going to hold yourself out to be a voice to the people to lead them from error, then be compassionate. Be compassionate enough to not be angry with those who do not yet hear what you think you have to say.

Be honest enough to recognize when your anger is just about others not acknowledging that you’re right.

It doesn’t do a lot of good to merely take shots at our “doctrinal enemies” simply over doctrinal differences. I’ve learned to speak to ungodly attitudes and separate those from false doctrinal beliefs.

I wish other people could learn to do this.

Look. I get it. I’m definitely not thrilled with all of what they seem to embrace doctrinally, either. I’m just not bothered by everything they say and do, contrary to what seems to come from some of their biggest critics.

And if you want to know specifically what theology they hold to that is “problematic” for me, I’m not going to tell you.

If that is the first place you’re going to go in your head – to try to get a radar-fix on what my doctrinal position is, then I might have a problem with you, too.

If you’re reading with your main focus to see if I’m “on your side” doctrinally, you’re still missing what I’m trying to say here.

There shouldn’t be “sides” in the body of Christ.

We could pretty much avoid doctrine altogether and still have an unfortunate look at what bugs me here about the Hillsong Church phenomenon.

Others have already listed all the “problems” with Hillsong Theology. And I would probably say most of the lists get it wrong anyway.

Besides, I have experienced much in my Christian walk that lines up with what I’ve personally heard in the teachings of Hillsong Church. I’ve also seen their words twisted and butchered before. And THAT is why the whole Hillsong Church controversy just bugs me.

In my opinion, the rest of the church is sometimes the biggest problem with Hillsong church.

Perhaps the fact that I tend to align doctrinally somewhat with them predisposes me to be sensitive to some of their critics.

The fact is that even if I was baptistic-leaning in my beliefs (which I’m not, but rather charismatic) I would still be annoyed with so much of what I see written about Hillsong (and Bethel, and so many churches like them).

So, what are the problems with Hillsong church, anyway?

Do the search for ‘Hillsong church new age’ and see what comes up.

And then ask yourself: does it make you angry? If so, why? Maybe the results make you angry because you have a passion for truth. And “New Age Theology” sure ain’t truth.

The links that come up that annoy me are “The World Finally Seeing Hillsong as new age” and “Why Hillsong Music Is Dangerous For Your Church,” just to name a few.

My issue isn’t that I think they Hillsong is “new age” (because I’m not convinced of that at all, yet). My issue is with so much of these sometimes false accusations about what Hillsong really teaches.

The reason these links bug me is because when I look at the articles that come up in the search, I don’t see much charity there.

Jesus said, “the truth will make you free.” And if you have a prophetic nature about you, you too may be zealous for pointing out the “non-truths” you see and hear to warn people not to be led astray into darkness.

But we are also called to love everyone – especially those of the household of faith.

Does this sound like that? Does this article from “Pulpit and Pen” look loving and kind? Here, they quote from the Hillsong creative team talking about how they try to function harmoniously within the framework of their church leadership, and their response to the idea.

It is so important that as amazing as our creative ideas might be, if they don’t ultimately line up with what our Senior Pastor and leaders want, then we happily put them aside.The church doesn’t exist to build our worship teams… our worship teams exist to build the Church!!

Douglass has made it clear who the Hillsong worship program exists to serve. (Hint: It isn’t Jesus.)

Pulpit and pen

Is this speaking truth in love? (How do you know?)

I’ve been involved with many a baptist church in the past that promotes the idea that God doesn’t appoint boards or committees; He appoints MEN. And if you don’t get in line with the pastor’s vision, get out.

But I’m not sure that “Pulpit and Pen” supports a “brethren model” of the church. So is this about the model, or is this a mixed motive of criticizing the man, and bending theology momentarily to support the prejudice?

I don’t know. And I won’t automatically take shots at the writers at “Pulpit and Pen” because I don’t know their hearts. I’m just not too sure I see them exercising the same kind of tolerance and suspending judgement. It feels like they claim to know other’s hearts in a way that I’m not sure I can.

Or what about this one?

Clearly Houston has no idea what the purpose and function of the church is. While he twists a passage out of Acts 8 in a sorry attempt to prove the church is made up of wicked people, he then states how he loves the fact that his church is full of broken, unrepentant people.

Pulpit and Pen

Maybe this is the way we are called to judge each other? Can we point out what we think are theology issues without crucifying the theologians?

Or how about this one?

While Christians worship Jesus, many people who claim to be Christian today worship what is coined as a ‘moralistic, therapeutic deity’. This ever-changing deity is whatever Hillsong wants this god to be at any given time. Slapping the word ‘Jesus’ on it and claiming to the world they are Christian does not make them Christian, nor a church. It is no wonder why people in their own movement cannot explain what Christianity is nor tell you what the gospel is.

Hillsong Church Watch

You can type in any – any – bible teacher into a google search window with their name followed by the words “false teacher” and see all kinds of bible-thumping, angry church goers taking them to task for being anti-christ.

Charismatics take issue with R. C. Sproul and John MacArthur. Baptist take issue with Joyce Meyers, Joel Osteen and Kenneth Copeland. Some baptists even take issue with R. C. Sproul!!

And flat-earthers take issue with all of them, based on bible references – even though a lot of flat-earthers don’t even believe a lot of what the bible says about Jesus.

However…

If I can rationalize that the people I have trouble with aren’t Christians, it makes it easier to pick a fight with their doctrine without having to love them while I do.

I get this, too. We all want to be sure we are “doctrinally sound.” Paul spoke of the need for solid doctrine and warned against “wolves in sheep’s clothing,” “false teachers” and “doctrines that tickle the ear.”

Regarding the whole problem of corruption in the leadership of Hillsong Church, I’m not qualified (yet) to speak to whether or not this is the case. Perhaps there are some among the leadership and staff at Hillsong who are corrupt.

But…

If we don’t learn to separate our differences over doctrines from our differences with those who teach those doctrines, we might do more damage than good to the body of Christ.

Again, I’m not defending everything that might be going on with the leadership at Hillsong Church.

But having people in your church who “cannot explain what Christianity is nor tell you what the gospel is” – who cannot (yet) clearly articulate their understanding of the nature of God or the trinity – doesn’t automatically mean that the church is teaching “whatever Hillsong wants this god to be at any given time.”

It might mean that your church is growing and full of new members who have encountered Jesus and just haven’t learned to articulate all of what that means yet.

And that might just be a good thing. It just might mean your church is actually growing and that you’re not just preaching to the choir anymore. You’re actually preaching to new believers who aren’t going to get it all in the first 72 hours.

You see, when Paul spoke against false teachers as wolves in sheep’s clothing, he was talking about people who “knew better,” who he plainly knew to be in it for selfish gain; people whose gods were their bellies, and their appetites their shame.

Maybe you think you can read people’s hearts and motives like that. I know I need to allow more benefit of the doubt before I decide whether this is all about “selfish gain” in the hearts of Hillsong staff.

But maybe you’re more prophetic than I am. Whatever.

Quite frankly, I that the charges of Hillsong Church being “New Age” are ridiculous and overblown.

Now, maybe I’m wrong.

I know I’ve been wrong before. But so have you.

And that’s ok. We all grow and (hopefully) change our opinions over time. Even if the core ideas remain the same over time, our perspectives should become richer as we age.

And, hopefully, our attitudes become more charitable toward others who we think are messed up and confused. It’s not what I see on some of the websites I read on some of these posts.

You might be wrong now, too.

Do you keep this reality in mind as you interact with others who believe differently than you?

We all have to start somewhere. And as iron sharpens iron, as I see things with the openness to having my beliefs challenged by others who think differently, I’ve learned a lot and changed my views, SPECIFICALLY because I was open to the idea that I might be wrong.

And do you correct those you see as wrong in love? Can you say you are “on your knees in your heart” for those you criticize, praying for them to see truth as you do? Or do you enjoy being critical of them?

Are you guilty of wanting to rain down fire and brimstone from heaven to consume these “false teachers” you’re so bent about?

Thirty years ago, the Hillsong Theology problems that I see now would have creeped me out.

But then, thirty years ago, I thought I knew everything.

Thirty years ago, I would have been downright annoyed with some of the teachers at Hillsong because of what I consider “bad doctrine.”

But thirty years ago, my truth might not have had much “love” in it.

I would like to think that with my age comes some wisdom. Among the things I’ve come to see is the reality that doctrine shouldn’t be a contact sport within the church. I see so many of these articles written with unnecessary roughness toward other people who only mean well but might be a little misguided on some things.

The brother or sister in Christ who has wonky theology is not your enemy.

Yeah. I suppose there are a few things I might take exception to with HIllsong Church when it comes to their theology. But to be honest, I think that I, like you, probably find I don’t agree doctrinally with ANYONE 100%.

Part of our problem as believers is that as we hang out with like-minded people. I guess that’s not the problem, in and of itself. But what comes as a result of doing that is that we tend to avoid hanging out with (and INTERACTING) with people think differently than we do.

Do yourself (and the doctrinal “other guy”) a favour and get to really know someone you disagree with.

If you’re a good, solid bible-believing Baptist, get to know someone who is a fan of Hillsong Church, or Bethel, or some other similar church. And learn to listen to them. Give them room to share their experiences with you and hear their heart.

Our human nature is to want to avoid conflict and to avoid conversations that make us angry. But sometimes, we need to have our ideas challenged to discover WHY we believe as we do. And if we only hang out with people who think like us, there are some vast areas in our ways of thinking that never get challenged with any “mental fibre,” so to speak, to help us examine ourselves to see if we are aligned with what is true.

And if you’re a fan of Hillsong Church, try to get to know a good Baptist or Presbyterian and do the same.

You just might be amazed at just how much passion and how much “Holy Spirit” you find in that “mainline denominational Christian” person you’ve always thought to be spiritually lifeless and stiff.

You might actually find that you still think those people who were wrong before are wrong now. But they might still teach you a thing or two, too.

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