From that "of first importance" theological address, we move out toward the whole range of theological and practical questions asking for our attention. The more clearly our logic connects with that center, the more certain and the less open we should be. The further our thinking extrapolates from that center, the less certain and the more open we should be.Read the whole thing, as he explains the difference between "all certainty" Christians and "all openness" Christians.
When a question cannot be addressed by a clear appeal to the Bible, our conclusions should be all the more modest.
The gospel requires us to have high expectations of one another on biblically central doctrines and strategies, and it cautions us to be more relaxed with one another the further we have to move out from the center.
A church or movement may desire, for its own reasons, to define secondary and tertiary doctrines and strategies as important expectations within their own ministry. That's okay. But then it's helpful to say, "We know this isn't a dividing line for Christian oneness. It's just a decision we've made for ourselves, because we think it will help us in our situation. We realize that other Christians will see it differently, and that's cool."
May we become more certain where we've been too open and more open where we've been too certain, according to Scripture alone. And where it seems helpful to provide further definition on our own authority, may we do so with candor and humility but without apology.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Certainty vs Openness
A typically thoughtful post from Ray Ortlund: