erelah-tabbris asked a question:
What do you do when you have a bunch of different people telling you their interpretation of the bible a bunch of different ways, and if you dont believe in their way you go to hell? There are so many. If you sin you lose salvation, if you aren’t perfect, if you don’t do works, if you like un-godly things, if you mess up at all, all these ways saying its that way or hell. How do we know who’s is the right way? And what if we are all wrong?
Hey dear friend, to be truthful: I think having multiple interpretations is okay. What’s not okay is when these interpretations turn me into a jerk.
When a church says, “My way is the only way,” I think the main intent is that everyone likes to be in the Insider’s Club. It feels cool to have the keys to supernatural secret-sauce. We like a tiny little narrow doorway of doctrine.
Here’s the thing. We need to have grace for the people who don’t have grace. Whenever someone says, “Look at those bigoted fake Christians” — I have to remember that Jesus died for the bigots too. He died for racists and fundamentalists. He even died for people like me. If we begin to lump each other into categories of “fake” and “false” and “fascist,” then we’re doing the opposite of what Jesus did on the cross. And I would rather be where he is.
Jesus came to demolish every human category on the cross by bridging the gap between us-and-God and us-and-each-other.
If we must stand for justice, we must stand under the shadow of the cross, where we see sacrificial love. That means understanding why someone would hate or divide or exclude. It means working from the inside instead of beating up the outside.
You see: I knew a church where all they talked about was grace. “We welcome everyone!” They were part of the hyper-grace movement, and I totally loved it. But soon I noticed that they excluded people who weren’t gracious. They hardly talked about sin or salvation or rebuke. And it eventually blew up in my face when their lead pastor, a well-known celebrity, totally cussed me out when I tried to bring this up to him.
They had the right theology. They were doing amazing things in their community. But even right theology can be wrongly applied. Even wrong theology can be rightly applied. Everyone’s theology is going to be messed up somewhere anyway. So I don’t think this is a contest of who knows more or if we’re more right than someone else. It’s really a matter of who remains like Jesus and who includes the other guy — especially because the “other guy” is always me.
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