Scripture over systems. Trust me, it is a hard habit to break but once you see how you used to view everything through a particular system, you are then able to just read Scripture without so many extra lenses. Now, this does not mean systems are not important and have their place. Obviously, I am a huge supporter of having a well thought out systematic theology and a philosophy of history.
The point is to make sure that one’s systems are in their proper place and that is not on the definitional level. We are neither justified or defined by our systems. We should not dismiss someone’s teaching for adhering to a different system.
I have heard people say that they will have nothing to do with someone because they are a Dispy and I have heard others say that they have no use for those who are Reformed and I have seen many cast off and talk down to those who have a different eschatology.
This type of division should not exist in the body. These issues while important need to be placed on the third level of the theological triage. They can be debated in love but should never be a source of division.
With the left’s worldview dominating the culture right now, it is only a matter of time before it collapses. We need to be there to pick up the pieces and see God advance His Kingdom when it happens.
All Christians can agree that Christ will return. All Christians can agree that God has planned redemptive history. We may agree on how we see redemptive history playing out either through covenants or dispensations or other ways but we all serve the same Creator and understand through finite minds that are completely reliant on the Spirit.
One of my biggest learnings since leaving the cult of the IFB is that one can be wrong and that is ok. Of course, I am speaking of second and third-level issues. The definitional aspects of the faith are all so clearly taught that we can all stand together on them.
This is one of the goals and dreams I have for my network. We will have Reformed teachers and writers and we will have Dispensationalist ones. I want all views to be considered and taught so that we can be driven to the text and see what God has said.
It is my goal that we begin to find that as Christians we have far more that unites us than what divides us. This does not mean we sacrifice the clear teachings of Scripture on things like the Trinity, Justification by faith, Authority of Scripture, the Deity of Christ, etc. What it does mean is that we need to be more mature in recognizing that not everything that is taught in Scripture is definitional or fundamental. This is the error of the fundamentalist that says one must agree on all points as me or you are not orthodox. I have seen this when discussing the rapture probably the most often.
Friends, let us chart a new course. Embrace your brothers and sisters that are different. They will be in heaven too. I am sure that if you put my Pastor/Mentor Dr. R. Jay Waggoner in a room long enough we would find a point or two of disagreement on some issue. However, that would never be a point of contention or division among us. We are brothers in Christ and fellow Elders in Christ’s church before all else.
This type of maturity is a work in progress and as one who has come from fundamentalism believe me when I say that it is hard to break from expecting everyone to line up with you on all points but it is something we must do.
Everything that we have and everything that we are is by the grace of God and I can remember specific points in my life when my mind was changed and it was never sitting under a system being preached but under faithful and consistent Bible teaching.
Andy Cain is a biblically qualified and ordained Elder/Pastor in Christ’s church. He preached his first sermon on January 4, 2009, and has pastored one church, and is currently seeking where God will lead him next. Andy currently resides in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina with his family.