Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
My Position is the Gospel; Yours is Not!
I recently re-read James Emery White’s fantastic Christ Among the Dragons. It is a book that encourages Christian conviction with charity. That is, it encourages Christians to stand firm in their beliefs, while doing so in ways that do not lead to name-calling, bitterness, and resentment. One highly interesting part was when White discussed how some Christians tend to reduce the Gospel to their own position:
when we condescendingly say that our position is simply the ‘gospel,’ as if it’s not really a debate worth having, then we are being arrogant. When we make our view the litmus test of orthodoxy, or even community, we are being neither gracious nor loving. When we say that our view alone upholds God’s sovereignty or that our perspective is the only one that cares about lost people, we are not being truthful. When we exhibit a haughty smirkiness, or we so state our position that we divide churches, student ministry groups, or denominations, then we are sinning. (126-127)
White suggests various criterion for when we might say that one position is, in fact, not the Gospel, but this means moving past our narrow definitions of what we want others to believe about things that are not essentials of the Christian faith. Yes, these things remain important, but they do not allow us to exclude from the church of Christ those who disagree with us.
Christ Among the Dragons is a fantastic book, and well worth the read. White’s insights on this and other issues are spot-on.
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
James Emery White, Christ Among the Dragons (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2010).