Picking fights in Jesus’ name

I find most theological discussions truly humorous. It is the certainty we all seem to have about our theologies that make me smile. We’re so sure of our beliefs that we use “right and wrong” a lot.  Okay, maybe not ‘we’ but I now I do, and I know I’m not alone.

Jesus said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”[1]

Some theological discussions make “The Jerry Springer Show” look like a regular lovefest, without the paternity test, of course. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have disagreements. Peter and Paul had their disagreements. Put two people in a room and eventually there will be a disagreement. That’s what happens with people. As one friend says, “we’re a hot mess.”

Theologically this is where I stand:

My church is the Church of the Nazarene. It is Wesleyan/Arminian theologically. Here are our Articles of Faith and The Agreed Statement of Belief for my denomination.

You might not think my denomination is right. You wouldn’t be alone, trust me. I have friends that wonder how I could believe these things. All I can say is that it is what it is. These are things with which I wrestle and submit myself to. They are things I discuss and wonder about. And because of all that wrestling and stuff, they have become my beliefs more than just what my denomination believes. Not everyone agrees with my denomination. That’s okay, I don’t always agree with their denominations either.

It is sad just how contentious theological discussions can get. I don’t mind discussing theology, but I usually make jokes rather than argue. I know, that is very passive/aggressive. I’m okay with that. Through it all I try to have a humble spirit.

Without humility things can get scary. One person said, “It is amazing the things people will do when they think they have to defend God’s honor.” Just ask Saul when he was on his way to purify the faith. He thought he was defending God and ended up finding out he was persecuting the God he said he loved. I bet that was awkward.

Maybe that is why I hope that love is enough. Love lets God move through me.  Love doesn’t need to know why anyone does anything, it just loves. I don’t think love is soft or only a partial/incomplete picture of God. It is the picture of God…I hope.

Can we disagree and still get along? I hope so…I really do. 

[1] John 13.34-35 NIV

2 thoughts on “Picking fights in Jesus’ name

  1. ‘My church’ as you use the term, is also Church of the Nazarene. However, I attend a PCA Presbyterian. Why would I do this, since they honor the Calvinist TULIP? I do it 1~because I love the people, and 2~because we agree on far more than we disagree!

    I agree that theological discussion is folly if it becomes contentious and mean-spirited. If we cannot, in human terms, adequately explain trinity, we should leave off pontificating exactly the working of trinity. Jesus spoke into our foolish contentions when he said John 3:12.

    We should allow Bible its seeming tensions and honor and live those points that are without doubt.

  2. Kim Nebel

    Love is enough. I was recently advised when a theological discussion became heated, that instead of getting nasty, it was best to shut the discussion down when it gets to the point that you are no longer enjoying talking to one another. God gets angry in the bible, we see it all the time, so I guess that for some reason, we get the idea that it’s ok for us to exhibit “righteous anger” the problem is, we aren’t God. We can’t operate with certainity that WE are right, and THEY are wrong to the extent that being MEAN to THEM is justified. God never says that we are to love everyone except the self righteous idiots. We are to love them too.

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