Jun 1, 2011

Just Because You Think You Know the Truth, You Don't Have to Be a Jerk About It

I felt so isolated, discouraged, embarrassed, dismayed, frustrated, alienated.

These aren't strange emotions for any evangelical that's been around the PC(USA) world. I've almost gotten used to feeling like that at General Assemblies or at certain presbytery meetings.

This is nothing new.

But what was new about these emotions on this particular night was that I was in a gathering of other evangelicals in the PC(USA).

It wasn't that I disagreed with the gist of what was being said.
  • I too think the 10-A (10-A was the amendment designation that was recently ratified by the General Assembly and the majority of the presbyteries that now allows gay ordination in the PC(USA)) decision was tragic. 
  • I too grieve over where we find ourselves as a denomination due to the passage of 10-A. 
  • I too agree that what we're really talking about is not just sexuality but Christology, authority of scripture, ecclesiology, soteriology, and a host of other primary issues. 
But the reason why I was so disheartened and discouraged was not the gist of what was being said, but the way it was being said.

Some of the comments that were made about people who disagreed - not just liberals and progressives, but other evangelicals who do not see things the way they do - were so disrespectful, vitriolic, and patronizing. If people didn't agree that the only God-honoring option to 10-A is leaving the denomination, it was pretty much stated that they were not being faithful to Jesus Christ.

Friends, leaving may not be the only faithful option. Leaving may be one of many faithful options for Christ-loving, Bible believing presbyterians.
  • Not everyone must leave the PC(USA) to be faithful Jesus Christ. There are many people who love Jesus, who obey scripture, and yet will choose to remain because they are called by God to do so. It is because they love Jesus and obey scripture that they will remain and be prophetic voices in the denomination.
  • Calling for a time of reflection and discernment to figure out how we can be the church God is calling us to be is a legitimate expression of faithfulness to Jesus Christ. 
I am an evangelical and I was embarrassed and ashamed at how things were being said.

There has to be other options for guys like me than to be in a denomination where either I am the minority voice, or to be in a denomination where others believe the same things as I do but where it's okay to be disrespectful and patronizing of others.

Perhaps it's not only about the gist and the content of what we believe to be true, but the way we go about presenting and discussing that truth particularly with those whom we disagree, that we fully become the body of Christ.

The problem is not in the content of the message but in how that message is being conveyed.

As someone once said, "Just because you think you know the truth, you don't have to be a jerk about it."