It seems that too many Christians make agreement with the right beliefs into yet another work they use to save themselves and an excuse to hate other Christians (especially liberal and progressive Christians.) Do you think adherence to correct doctrine can become an idol?
Hey my friend: I don’t mean to sound like an alarmist, but pretty much everything can become idolatry. Especially doctrine.
A few years ago, I was really caught up by the Reformed Calvinist movement and their “Gospel-Centrality,” and while I still mostly agree with the theology, I no longer self-identify as a Calvinist.
Mainly it was because their heads were stuck inside the implications of the Gospel instead of the author of the Gospel Himself, so there was no real relationship with the Living God. But it was also because most of the Calvinists I’ve met were insufferable a-holes who yelled “heresy” from a distance on their super-blogs while hardly loving God or people.
I know I’m undermining my own point here, and God has grace for them too, but my friends who are actually cool Calvinists do not wear the label. In other words: if I can’t tell a Calvinist is a Calvinist, he’s probably doing it right.
The Christian life is often about maintaining a balance between tensions. So while we absolutely want to have correct doctrine, we also want to be in the mess with people and love on them. While we adhere to the discipline and law of God, we are also motivated by God’s grace and mercy. While I believe in predestination, I also believe this reconciles with free will — and I don’t claim to know how, because my brain is too small and I’m allergic to paradoxes. When we swing too much to either side, it becomes doctrinal idolatry.
Let’s break this down a bit. The reason why even Christians resort to shutting each other down is because —