I once worshipped at a maverick church in Williamsburg, Virginia, The Williamsburg Community Chapel. It was good to me, and for me. My spiritual gifts of speaking, and leading and teaching Bible studies were identified while I was there, for instance, and I led four Bible studies in a row.
Williamsburg Community Chapel was non-denominational, with members from every Christian denomination, and none.
So, they had an answer to pretty much every theological question put to them.
And that was “Yes!”
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Oh, it drove me nuts. It seems an illogical way of answering an OR question, and an annoying way of deflecting it.
But thinking about it now, I see its brilliance.
Do you believe in infant baptism or in believers’ baptism?
Do you believe in water baptism as a once-in-for-all experience, or do you believe in the Baptism in the Holy Spirit?
Do you believe the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, the second blessing, is a one-time experience, or can we have a second, third and fourth Baptism in the Spirit?
Are we justified and saved by our faith alone, or does true faith need to have an expression in works?
Should a Christian woman be a keeper at home, or use her gifts outside the home too?
Should a Christian woman be silent or teach and lead, if so gifted?
Were Charismatic gifts given to establish the church, or are they still active today?
Do you believe in the gift of tongues?
But I don’t need the gift of tongues to be a Christian?
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It’s because God is so big and so rich that he is unlikely to confined to any of our restrictive, limited theological positions.
If you take rigid theological statements like Calvinism, and more moderate theological statements, truth is often to be found between the two extremes, with each of them having some truth, some Yes.
So the next time, I start getting emotionally involved in a theological controversy, that’s a theological word I am going to remember: AND. Most positions of sincere Christ-followers are likely have some truth in them, and the absolute truth is likely to be found somewhere in the middle.
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Jesus came to us, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). And where will we find him?
Quite likely between the position of those who interpret scripture rigidly when it comes to homosexuality, let’s say, or abortion or the demographics of hell–and the extreme grace, “everyone is okay because is God is love” position.
Not in the place of controversy, over “circumcision or uncircumsion,” but in the place of gentleness, of truth working through love. (Gal 5:6). In the middle ground between sheer uncompromising truth, and a look-the-other-way love.
The land of And, the place where love and truth meet, (Ps. 85:10) is the place where we are most likely to find Jesus.
I often talk to my friends about not putting God into a human-shaped box. I trust in the truth that he gave us – that if we believe and put our trust in him and if we love one another, that all will come to pass according to his plan. When I die, I will have a tidy list of questions for him…I foresee a wonderfully long conversation :), but all those questions will wait just fine until that time.
My all-time favorite Christian musician is Chris Rice…one of his albums has a song entitled “Smell the Color Nine”. I love this piece because it typifies for me the mystery that is God and that we, as humans, will never, ever fully understand. So far above our ways are his ways.
Here is an excellent video of this song a church put together – it has the lyrics so it's easier to follow the words.