In the Preface to his classic work, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis mentions the great house of God and those living within its walls. “When you have reached your own room, be kind to those who have chosen different doors and to those who are still in the hall. If they are wrong they need your prayers all the more; and if they are your enemies, then you are under orders to pray for them. That is one of the rules common to the whole house.” This small statement is a macrocosm for what my life has been the past 20 years.
In first coming to the Reformed faith roughly 4 years ago, I have had my ups and downs of non-denominational life. The five points of Calvinism were never meant to serve as a home in which I could fellowship with others of the same type of faith as mine. They were merely a starting point for me in understanding the great doctrine of God and the not so great doctrine of Man. In Calvin’s Institutes he mentions that in order to know God we must know ourselves and to know ourselves we must know God. This has been my struggle, not only in my personal walk with God, but in the bigger picture that is the body of God.
I appreciate those who have gone before me, from all walks of church life, but not more than B.B. Warfield. This may seem an odd statement coming from someone who came up in a Charismatic church centered on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As I have slowly moved away from having that as the center of my faith to a crucified Christ as the center of my faith, Warfield has helped more than any other to see the worth of Christ. I don’t agree with everything Warfield says, though. I still hold to the continuationist view with regards to speaking in tongues and the speaking of prophetic utterances.
These beliefs of mine I hold in limbo with an understanding that God has revealed himself through his word and in the revelation of his Son. I would never take what a prophet speaks to be the word of God but instead I hold everything I hear prophets saying and compare that to what God has said in his revealed word. If the two do not match up then, sorry prophet but you’re a liar. Along with the Reformed/Charismatic struggle I find myself fighting everyday, there are other things I just don’t get.
As I get deeper into the ocean that is apologetics I am confronted with varying views of theology. Mainly I am wrestling with the truthfulness of positions like Amyraldianism and Molinsm. Are they true? Does it matter? The proponents of theses views are constantly making me run to the Word in order that I may understand the will of God in a more concise way. I appreciate what they have done for the faith but It seems like they aren’t for the laymen. They are for the scholarly pursuit of knowledge that only seminarians can attain to. So here’s my struggle; How can a small guy like me find his way in a sea of varying viewpoints and theological starting points? As an de-churched or un-churched or whatever you wanna call me, how do I begin to make sense of these things?
Do the Baptists have the answer? They get a lot of things right but is that where I land? The Presbyterians are tenacious in declaring and defending the gospel of Christ but can they overcome the many varying viewpoints among the members of their denominations? What about those in decline like the Methodists and Anglicans? Do they have the answers? As a non-denominational millennial man I find my place in many rooms. I enjoy spending time with those of varying views and ideas. It gives me a sense of the immensity of the house God has built for himself with people from every tribe and tongue. So I ask from those who are firmly planted in denominational quarters; how can we be kind to those who have chosen doors different from us? How can we build bridges instead of boarding up our own doors?