Setting the Record Straight: What I Really Believe
I recently reposted my most popular blog post, Three Reasons Why Rick Warren is a Heretic. I get three responses to this post. One is appreciation for my satirical attempt to show that Rick Warren is acting biblically. Another is a complete misunderstanding of my post, where people are offended that I call a good man like Rick Warren a heretic. The final one is by people who dislike my satire because they really believe that Rick Warren is a heretic.
While I have only respect for Rick Warren, I don’t really care what people think. People should look at the facts (which they rarely do) and make up their own minds.
This post is not about Rick Warren. This post is about me. I have had people recently question my faith and my respect for the Bible. Again, people are free to think of me what they want. But if you are going to dislike me, do it based on what I really believe.
So, for perhaps the first time, I will reveal who I am and what I believe. If any of this offends you, I will not be bothered if you cut ties.
- I am a follower of Jesus (the most offensive claim of all).
- I am an Evangelical. Evangelicals are far from perfect, but I fully agree with the need for conversion and the high view of Scripture.
- I was raised Anglican and I do not deny what God is doing in mainline churches.
- I was baptized Pentecostal, and while I do not believe tongues is the evidence of the baptism of the Spirit, I do affirm that the gifts of the Spirit are still active. I am no cessationist.
- I am a Baptist because I love the theological flexibility within my Baptist group.
- Am I a liberal? Am I a conservative? I am a moderate, which usually means I am too liberal for conservatives and too conservative for liberals.
- I am not a Calvinist. I hesitate to say that I am an Arminian as I have never read any of Jacob Arminius’ writings. I absolutely love the works of John Calvin and I have tremendous respect for my Calvinist brothers and sisters but I have some different views.
- I do not hate Roman Catholics. While I disagree with some aspects of Roman Catholic doctrine, I have met very many Roman Catholics who are so obviously followers of Jesus.
- I am not a pacifist. I greatly respect pacifists, but I believe that there are times when force is needed to protect the innocent.
- I believe that Christians should not just be involved in evangelism but should be involved in justice issues as well. Christians should be active in helping the poor, not just in donating a can of soup but in really making a difference.
- I believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I believe the Bible is inerrant as long as we properly define what the Bible is and what an error is. I do not feel the need to harmonize every seeming discrepancy. The Bible was inspired in its original historical and literary context and should not be held to our western and modern standards.
- I believe in the real incarnation of Jesus. Jesus was not just God pretending to be a man, he really was human. I believe Jesus actually had to learn to walk and talk, the way we all do. He did not come out of the womb with one eye on Mary and the other on the rings of Saturn. Nor was Jesus a man pretending to be God. None of the things that Jesus did or said make sense if Jesus was not God incarnate.
- I believe that all people should be treated with respect. There is no group, no religion, no race, no sexual orientation, that is outside the realm of respect. We do not have respect what they do, as they do not need to respect what we do. Respect is based on the image of God that is within us.
- I believe that God has a special place in his heart for those with disabilities. I can’t prove it but I believe it.
- I believe in the importance of religious freedom and the freedom of expression, not just for Christians but for all religions.
- I don’t believe that all religions are equal ways to God. World religions are more different than alike and while I honour their religious zeal, I believe Jesus is the only way to God.
- I would work together with people of other religions or no religion on a cause that would make a difference to my community, nation or world. Joining efforts does not require me (or them) to compromise beliefs.
There is probably more but that is enough for now. You now have some idea of who I am. I don’t expect you to agree with all of my beliefs. I probably don’t agree with all of yours. But we need to decide if we can respect one another and work together for the kingdom of God.