Thursday, April 21, 2011

Look for the Christian Label

Recently a few different articles have come my way. One was from the blog of a person who had experienced physical or emotional abuse by her "evangelical" parents. Another was an article from a friend saying that "dispensational theology" may be a "wolf in sheep's clothing." I encountered a person with an opposing point of view, taking "dispensationalism" as a badge of pride, then expounding on how bits & pieces of the King James Version (the "only true version," of course) proved it.

In this article I'm not going to expand on my issues with all of the above. I just have one thing to say:

Stop the labeling, already!

In the interest, or lack thereof, of full disclosure, I am not a Dispensationalist. I am not a Calvinist. I am not an Arminian. I am not a Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, Lutheran (either type), Wesleyan, a Smith-follower (neither Chuck nor Joseph), an Evangelical, a Fundamentalist, or any other label you wish to try to stick on me.

"But how can that be?" you may ask. "Don't you believe in...?" I happen to believe in several dispensational beliefs. I happen to agree with some of what Calvin said. I also happen to agree with some of what Jacobus Arminius ("the other guy") taught. John Wesley had some agreeable things to say, and I do like what Chuck Smith, Charles Stanley, Jerry Falwell, and numerous others have taught.

But I don't follow them.

Paul knew that the church at Corinth was dealing with something similar. In 1 Corinthians 1:11-3:15 (yes, I know, a long passage, but it's all important) Paul hits them head-on with that fact. The Corinthians weren't a united group of Christians. There were followers of Paul. There were Apollosians. Some even downgraded Jesus to "good teacher" status and added Him to the mix.

Paul had enough of it. He treated them like little children, because that's how they were acting. He told them to break down the walls and remember that it was Christ who gave His life for them (1 Corinthians 2:2). It's a simple message, simpler than what these people who prided themselves as great philosophers and possessors of expansive wisdom wanted to hear.

Consider †his: the grace offered on the cross is that simple!

Christianity isn't complicated. There's no good reason to make it complicated. It only causes division, which makes a world literally dying in its sin wonder what we have that they need. They don't need division. They don't need high-sounding labels! THEY NEED GOD!

Plenty of people have plenty of good things to say. Many people need what God reveals through the Bible. Nobody needs to have a theology degree to come to Him. Theology can enrich one's life, and that can be used for God's glory, but not when it divides and allows the devil to conquer our delivery of the Good News.

I refuse to be labeled by theology, politics, or anything except my name. Even then, if my name doesn't make somebody think of Christ, then I need to change that label, too.

What labels do you need to throw away today?

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